Wednesday, 17 March 2010

It is Easy Being Green!

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you!
I think one of the reasons that people love it so is the open invitation to actually be Irish. I think all holidays should take note.

My daughter came home for dinner last night - calling ahead to request veggies in copious quantities. "I have been eating junk for three days, I need a veggie detox". Or something like that. One of the things I served was a green pea bruschetta - fresh and healthy and delicious and gloriously green!

Broad Bean Bruschetta
Nigella Lawson, Feast

This is the lazy person’s version of the bruschetta of the same name in the second River CafĂ© Cook Book. NL

1.5kg young broad beans in the pod; 310 podded weight (I used peas)
1 clove garlic
Small handful fresh mint (I used dill)
1 tsp Maldon salt or ½ tsp table salt
4 tbsp grated perocino or Parmesan
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
12 slices rustic bread

Put the podded baby beans in the processor, mince or grate in the garlic, chunk in the mint and the salt and then blitz to a rubble. Now add the grated pecorino or Parm, the zest and juice of the lemon and a good grinding of black pepper and blitz again. Stop the machine, open the lid, scrape down with a rubber spatula and then put the lid back on and, with the motor running, add the olive oil.
Toast the bread, and when still warm but not hot, smear with the nubbly green paste.

Green Pea Bruschetta for the Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge and I Heart Cooking Clubs *It's Easy Being Green*

My Grow-Op!

A little while ago I converted an old aquarium into an herb grow-op. I was tired of paying the big bucks for herbs that wilt in days if they were ever any good to begin with. Canada has a short growing season and my area is particularly harsh on basil. It is either too cold or too hot (mostly cold), we have few in-between days.
When I started to think about growing herbs in the aquarium (I don't have much in the way of natural light) I had an idea that there must be plant bulbs that would fit in the existing canopy. Hubby thought that was nuts, why would they make plant bulbs for aquariums? But I knew that there were lots of reptiles and such that lived in them and one of them might just happen to need full spectrum lights. Lo and behold I found such bulbs at the aquarium superstore at the alarming price of $15 each. They are super energy savers though and guaranteed to last, oh, I don't know, about seventy billion years or so. They also don't heat up the tank, which is a good thing.

I started with three basil plants in 4 inch pots, so far so good, and recently added parsley, oregano and chives. I would have added thyme but could only find lemon thyme - I may switch up and put the oregano in the garden when thyme plants are more available. Each pot of herbs costs less than a bunch at the market so I am only really out the cost of the bulbs - so if this works out in the long run I will save money and always have fresh herbs about. My only real fear? Bugs. Nothing yet though, so far so good.
Between this and my sprouter I am feeling like quite the indoor farmer.
I do grow herbs outdoors in the summer, but like I said - the season is short.
I am proud of my little grow-op, which sprung from my imagination - I just hope the feds don't come knocking down my door to investigate, because, you know, doors are expensive.

It's a jungle in there.