Difficulty Level Easy
It's hard growing a vegetable garden in the city when you spend six or more weeks of the summer at a cottage. Despite my better judgment, I let my daughter talk me into planting one earlier this spring, with mixed results. Given the fact that the green beans took over, I got a pretty good harvest of them. However, they completely overshadowed my beets and radishes, so I didn't get any of those at all. My potted tomato plant was supposed to come to the cottage with me but got buried in the rest of the garden overgrowth and when I returned home after labour day, it was three feet high and sporting numerous flowers and one tiny tomato. All of this, of course, was entirely my own fault because of the way I planted the garden. I'll know better next year.
And I will try again next year because there is something so intensely satisfying about seeing everything grow and then eating what you produced. In a way it's a bit romantic, but there is also some practicality involved. My lettuce plants produced so many leaves, I didn't need to buy any for the entire summer, and I had plenty of herbs on hand. My other star performer after a struggle to establish itself was the swiss chard. Early on it was a fight with the slugs to see who was going to get those tender leaves.
We actually ended up getting a number of meals from the chard and I really enjoyed them. I had a good handful to harvest and I cooked them up with some fresh tomatoes and mushrooms for a quick, throw together meal that was easy and cheap. All the measurements are approximate, and you can easily put together other legumes such as chickpeas or lentils, or other leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach. You can eat this as is, in a bowl, or serve it over pasta or rice. If you have any leftovers, you can eat it as a cold salad or add some liquid and puree it into a soup.
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|1||medium onion, chopped|
|1 clove||garlic, minced|
|6||mushrooms, roughly chopped|
|1||medium tomato, cubed|
|1/2 bunch||of swiss chard, roughly chopped|
|1 can||navy beans, drained and rinsed|
|salt and pepper to taste|
|grated Parmesan cheese|
|basil or thyme for garnish|