Hi there! It may have been absent last week, but “Stuff We Love” is back with a vengeance. This week were talking about vegetable gardens. Just take a look at all this green. This is good good stuff. The site of all of this green makes me feel happy and healthy and alive. Because there’s nothing better for you then vegetables grown out of the ground, especially when they’re in your own backyard.
When I moved into my place last December, the one thing I was most excited about was having enough space for a garden. I was giddy with anticipation over all of the things I could grow. And so over the past couple of months I have been slowly planting my garden with vegetables that I can't wait to eat.
I don't have children, and I don't have pets, so my garden has become my baby. I feel like a proud parent, watching over their kids while they sleep. Every morning without fail, I hurry outside to survey my plants for any signs of growth, excitedly hoping that something has magically grown by leaps and bounds overnight.
When it comes to gardening however, I really have no idea what I'm doing. And I would describe my gardening skills as non-existent. In fact, the extent of my gardening skills is planting something in the ground. After that I water it, and hope for the best. I’m no plant expert, so I don’t have many tips or suggestions to offer, but I can say that if someone as dimwitted when it comes to gardening as myself, can grow something as beautiful and delicious as this:
Then anyone else can to. Even if you don’t have much space, there’s always room for vegetables of some sorts. There are lots of veggies that do well in large pots, including tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. And fresh herbs, which are so expensive in the grocery store, can be easily grown in smaller pots either inside in a sunny spot or outside in whatever space ya got.
Because there’s something magical that happens in the vegetable garden each year. It first starts with some dirt:
Add plants, sunlight, and water:
And voila! It turns into something like this! Like I said, all this green, it makes me happy.
A few highlights from the garden so far – Spinach so green I can taste the chlorophyll:
A baby strawberry just dying to turn red and delicious:
Morning dew on a radish leaf, only nature can create something so beautiful:
Leafy greens that make me impatient for them to grow:
And this, the first harvest of the season. I swear this is about a bushel’s worth of rainbow chard. Just look at that haul!
I had never really eaten chard until about a year ago, and I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on this whole time. What I love about chard, and leafy greens in general, is how good they taste, and how healthy I feel while I'm eating them. They just ooze vitamins. I’d like to share my favorite recipe for leafy greens if I could. It’s super simple, yet super tasty.
All that goes into this sauté is some cubed pancetta,
Some chopped garlic and jalapeno,
And of course, some leafy greens.
The combination is an amazing mixture of salty bits of pork, earthy greens, and a kick of heat from the jalapeno. The perfect way to highlight the first bounty of the season.
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Pancetta
Adapted from Sunset
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 oz.) chopped pancetta
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 fresh red chiles such as Fresno or jalapeño, finely chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard, leaves whole, stems and ribs removed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook pancetta, stirring, until crispy, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, chiles, and chard stems and ribs and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add chard leaves and pepper, cover pot, and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.