My Little Victory Garden: Entry Three

Yukon Gold potatoes ~ the debate remains on whether or not you need more than one "eye" per chunk when you plant.

I was talking to my dad on the phone Saturday, sharing with him that I was getting ready to plant potatoes.  He said, “You’re not waiting until St. Patrick’s Day?”  I didn’t even know that was a THING. (Later, I felt slightly better when Mick told me ‘the sign said sometime between February 20th and March 15th.’  Heck, I wasn’t even being risky if we were using the sign’s standard!)

I wonder how many THINGS I don’t know?  I found out another THING while on the phone with him.  He recalled for me that my grandmother Porter (Julie At The Ranch’s great-grandmother as well) used to peel her potatoes fairly thickly, then simply plant the peelings, saving the core to cook for a meal.  Then he, my mother across the room speaking “through” my dad, and I had a third conversation:  How many eyes do you need per chunk of potato planted?  She said two, he said probably just one.  Knowing me, and my inability to identify exactly what constitutes as a bonafide eye, I’ll probably plant three or more.  It’s one thing for roots to be growing forth from the potato, hence easily identifiable makings of a plant.  However, are the little dents with tiny dots in them ALL eyes?  Who knows.  My potato chunks may have four eyes or more due to my lack of experience.

So, earlier that morning, prior to speaking with my dad: I was feeling a little guilty having only purchased three seed potatoes from the feed store.  I looked around a bit more and found a packet of last year’s cucumber seeds for fifty cents.  A discussion ensues…this time with Mick.

Mick: “Don’t you want to buy THIS year’s seeds?”

Me:  “Why?  Don’t you think LAST year’s will grow?”

Mick: “I don’t know.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Me: “Okay, first of all – that’s silly.  Of COURSE they’ll grow.  Secondly, I’m simply trying to find something to add to my potato purchase so the total will be over a dollar.  These are nice people and I’d like to spend more than eighty cents with them!”

Mick (known for always tipping the employees at Sonic more than he should): “Oh, yeah.  Good idea.”This conversation began when we were married twenty-five years ago.  I use the milk past the pull date; Mick “pulls” it as soon as it expires.  I will eat something if it “smells fine;” Mick critiques our rotation of refrigerated products and anything over three days is at serious risk of being sent to the composter.  So, I secretly make him meals with cheese I’ve cut the mold from, and I’m sure he secretly checks the grocery cart after I’ve selected a dairy product to ensure I got the one with the most shelf life.  These are true facts of our life together, so sayeth me.

My garlic. Yes, I plant it in my flower beds. This is ONE of my flower beds growing garlic.

Garden 2011 Report is as follows: Lettuce is UP! Swiss Chard is a slow poke plant, only three of their little first leaves are showing. Spinich is working on it’s second set of leaves. My cauliflower and broccoli plants frown at me every time I check the garden.  They’re still trying to figure out why I allowed the edges of their leaves to freeze three times now, thus making them work harder by having to produce replacement leaves.  The onions are going gangbusters…no wonder they grow wild. And, I planted potatoes.  I put the leftovers in my flower beds.  Confessional?  I put ALL my leftovers in my flower beds.  I’m a firm believer in “edible landscaping.”

And speaking of "out of date," the last of my green onions need to be used. First, I cut off all the greens right above the white sections with kitchen shears, snipped them into small slices and put them in the freezer. These literally freeze "IQF" style in about 20 minutes. Then, I simply toss them into a little baggie and keep them in the freezer for times when my recipe needs a green onion boost.

I told you last week that I was working on a recipe idea for the rest of the green onions, so I’m going to finish this post out by documenting that experiement.  Most all the instructions are written into the caption portion of my photos.

Here are my leftover onion shoots. See where I cut the tops off? This left between 2.5 and 4 inches of mostly white sections. This is the foundation for my creation: "Green Onion Parmesan Fritti."
Grate 1/4 c. of parmesan or romano cheese. I had small wedges of both, so I blended them.
Add 1/2 T. dried Italian seasoning, 1/2 sleeve finely crushed low fat Club crackers (you can use day old bread crumbs equaling approximately 1.5 cups), 1/2 t. sea salt and 1/2 t. ground black pepper. Mix this crumb mixture well, so the spices and cheese are evenly distributed throughout.
Take a second bowl and put in 1/2 c. of flour, and a third bowl for the egg coating. I used two eggs, but if you don't have many onions, I would start with only one. Whip the eggs with a fork until they are bright yellow and have no large globules in them.
Next, simply carry out a three step coating "assembly line" process until all your onions are done. First coat with flour...
Next, dip in the egg batter...
Next, toss the onion pieces into the crumb mixture, making sure to cover all sides. I usually pile crumbs on top of them and press gently in an attempt to get the coating to make a good coverage.
Pan fry in a heated pan, the bottom covered with olive oil. I keep the burner on medium heat. When the coating is golden brown, flip once. Take care to be gentle so as to keep the coating stable.
Drain the finished veggies on a paper towel for a couple minutes, and prepare your dish. I stirred a dash of sea salt and pepper into cold Greek yogurt as a dip and garnished with a few of my frozen trimmings.

The verdict?  The smaller onions (and, probably, the more FIRM shoots) were delicious.  This recipe is very rich so the yogurt dip was the perfect compliment.  The larger onions got a bit mushy and stringy as I ate them.  And, although I liked them, I wouldn’t recommend this recipe for very large onions.

I’ve decided that the best use of this recipe would be one of two ideas:

A.  I think I could serve it as an amuse-bouche at a nice dinner party in this way: One small “Green Onion Parmesan Fritti” on a tiny plate with a smear of the yogurt dip, and a side spoon of either fresh hot corn chowder, or a roasted corn blini.

B. OR, on a nice steak dinner plate, I would put two of these, criss crossed on top of the steak, and a dollop of the yogurt sauce on the side.  They would really set off a steak very nicely.

I would NOT, however, recommend making this recipe with big, thick green onion trunks…it’s just not right.

Okay, that’s the end of my experiment for the week and I have something to take with me the next dinner party I have.  How are you doing with your gardens?  Are you growing vegetables I don’t have? Any of the same? What are they? I’m eager to hear about your progress…I’d especially like to hear from someone growing purple potatoes.  I couldn’t find any locally and may have to order them online next year.


Victory Garden ~ ENTRY TWO / ENTRY FOUR



7 thoughts on “My Little Victory Garden: Entry Three”

  1. Kelly, I once cooked a roast in the crock pot, left it to cool before putting it in the refrigerator. When I got up the next morning there it was on the counter! We hadn’t even had ONE bite off of it. I put it in the refrigerator and we had it for dinner that night. No one was any the wiser and will never know unless they happen to read this!

    1. Hmmm…this scene you recounted has been taking place in history for years, I’ll bet you money. I know it did at MY house!

  2. You guys sound like my wife and I. As long as it smells okay and does not tingle on the tongue you can still eat or drink it. As for my garden, lets just say the farmers market takes care of that.

  3. Mick is my kind of guy! Nanc will keep leftovers and milk/cream/yogurt in the refrigerator long after I would. I have to sneak it out and into the compost pile while she’s doing chores, or ask her to finish it and then keep an eye on her the rest of the day for signs of botulism or tomain. I swear we have cheeses in the fridge older than some coffee mugs we own. This spring all we’re growing are potatoes and spinach. Easy, and something I know we’ll eat almost every day. We grew purple potatoes two years ago, but can’t find them locally this year either. Best of luck with your garden!

    1. Sue – your note made me smile. That’s funny that you and Nanc have complimentary food-keeping styles, like Mick and I do. Oh my gosh…there is just nothing like fresh spinach, quickly stir-fried w/a bit of garlic and balsamic. I’m drooling thinking about it. Good luck with yours too…and if you see signs of botulism, let me know. Maybe I should educate myself on them in case I come down with something!

Comments are closed.