Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Harvest (Part 1)

There's not a whole lot of food growing on the ranch this time of year. Last year's chard is still going strong, but my new lettuces seem not to be growing at all. Other residents have a few things growing, but nothing ready to harvest, either. One exception is the riot of arugula in the middle of the Kinu Orchard where my vegetable garden used to be two summers ago. Over the months, they've self-seeded and established themselves next to the wild oregano. There's also baby chard and collards popping up, too. Nothing's been tilled, or worked, or watered. Just nature having its way. Accidental permaculture. I love it!

In fact, knowing how much arugula seems to like our land, I've been tossing arugula seeds all over the place, hoping they'll keep out some of the nastier weeds (the ones we seem to be allergic to, for example.)

Some people don't like the spiciness of arugula (also called "rocket" or "roquette") but both Big Dog and I love it. It gets mixed in with salads, sprinkled on top of pizzas, stuffed into calzones. Big Dog loves thin slices of steak on a mountain of arugula, with a simple vinaigrette and bits of shaved parmesan. Now, with the seemingly endless supply, I've been parboiling them for an o-hitashi side dish, sauteing them with garlic and olive oil, adding them to my miso soups and pastas (nice with pine nuts!) I think I'll salt-pickle them into next, after we go through our hakusai (nappa cabbage) tsukemono.

Arugula gone wild.

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