My Little Victory Garden, Entry 12: Cleaning Out…Everything

These markers represent some of what is now planted in my summer garden.

Cleaning out the garden, the refrigerator, the cabinet, my neighbor’s garden…that’s what My Little Victory Garden life has been like for the past week.  I’m starting to use up the cabbage in my garden which leaves space for…peppers, Cucuzzi squash and cucumbers.  I’m starting to pull up and use my mature lettuce heads which will leave space for, well, more lettuce. And some late okra.  And we finished the summer garden bed so I can clean out the plants in my garage that have been waiting for a nice home.  I’m incredibly pumped about the beautiful heirloom varieties I purchased in Guthrie.  I’ve been waiting for a good time to swing by Terra Cotta Garden Center on Division (I can’t even find a phone number for them!) because they carry a nice variety of Red Dirt Plants.  They’re large, strong and healthy and help me catch up on the growing time I missed.

Everyone goes through “cleaning out” periods in their kitchen’s, homes or gardens…so here’s what mine looked like on Sunday night when I started writing this post: 1) Hmmm, I think I’ve had that box of Green Chili Stew Mix since Christmas…2009; 2) Wow, the veggies are starting to pile up in my fridge drawers – time for stir fry; 3) Oops! I forgot I had ordered Creme Fraiche and need to use it!  Now…HOW to pull all that together?  Here’s my solution:

My daughter was over for Mother's Day so she chopped some garlic. I think I have 20 photos of garlic as she not only loves to mince garlic but loves taking photos of her work!
There they are in the slicing stage. You may be wondering...will we see more garlic photos? The answer is "decidedly so!" Later.
I needed to use my baby beets from Peachcrest Farms. I've been collecting ideas on how to use beets because I DO NOT like them. But they're so PRETTY! And also, they kind of look like a squid with the roots extending out like that.
Okay, back to the beets. I'm going to wash and clean them up, trim the tops, and then TRY to eat them in stir fry which was one of the suggestions given to me by friends. I have reservations about this, but I'm willing to risk a dish in order to encourage my beet aversion to find another person to bother.
Cleaned beets...and GARLIC!
Sometimes stir fry just needs rice. Since we didn't have a protein for dinner I thought we should bring in some grain. My daughter, son-in-law and brother are all vegetarians so occasionally we just eat veggies for family meals.
There's the stew mix. Have any of these? By "these" I mean...Christmas gifts that sit around for a while. Or a year. Or more? This is from New Mexico so no Okie plug here...I just like the packaging. It basically sounds like dried chilies, spices and potatoes. We'll see....
As much as I despise beets, I LOVE sweet potatoes in a stir fry blend.
The last of my broc, some cabbage...this is gonna be good!
Here's the product I haven't used from my food Coop order yet. I adore creme fraiche, but just forget to use it. This product is rare in Oklahoma and is in only about one in six or seven grocery stores. I haven't seen any in a long time, and many times I see an empty slot and label in a store. I'm thinking there just may not be the demand? Viva la Creme Fraiche! Creme Fraiche forever...Yeah!
My neighbor's garden is a cilantro jackpot. God bless the neighbors!
Okay, I've built the stew. I put in a rice bottom, covered it in stew, and topped it with cilantro, cheddar and creme fraiche. By the way, do any of you have these Frankhoma bowls? I love them.
My verdict? The soup is delicious BECAUSE of all the fixings. It's pretty mild, and I don't like dried potatoes. However, I would use another box, take out the potatoes and add my own. The kids and Mick loved it.
This is the very best time of the year for cheap berries at the store. So, I'm planning on another way to use up my groceries. A light berry dessert. I use caster sugar because I don't like eating corn starch (in powdered sugar) over raw fruit like this. You can make your own in the coffee grinder if you wish. Superfine sugar is so palatable and melts quickly, unlike regular sugar.
Okay, a little creme fraiche and ground nutmeg.
Mmm. I LOVE fresh berry desserts! Two ginger snaps, and we're done! This dessert got four out of four stars when it was eaten. Simple, fresh, yummy!
Oh yes, the GINGER SNAPS are also a cleaning out item! I've had them in the pantry for - um - a very long time. I just forget about the food I buy you?
Okay, for those of you who stir fry all the time, this is a no-brainer. For those of you who rarely stir fry, remember to start with your large and most dense veggies first! I'll cook these probably 5-8 minutes before adding the rest of my veggies.
Once the dense veggies hint at becoming tender, then it's time to add the next less dense group (cabbage and broc).
Right after I toss in the cabbage and broc I add the garlic. I didn't want the garlic to be dark brown so I saved it till later in the process. By the way, I'm cooking in Teoli Olive Oil! Normally I would use sesame oil, but this is more of a traditional side-dish with no Asian flavors (just veggies) so I didn't want to East-flav it up by using peanut or sesame oil.
Okay, here's my veggie dish to accompany the soup and dessert. I'm going to be honest - I tried the beets and just can't stand them. I guess I'll check "stir frying" off my list. My cabbage is lovely, the broc - well, it was a little crunchy because I forgot to wash it (cripes!), and the rest of the dish - just lovely. Word to the wise - even if veggies look clean, wash them. Twice!

Next week, I’ll introduce you to my summer garden and tell you stories of how I was able to give away my lettuce before it got too mature.  I’m writing that sentence because I thought it would motivate me to give away my lettuce before it got too mature!

I’ll also share a little “Organic Gardening” in Oklahoma secret or two.  I met “dude” this past week, and need to introduce you to him as well.  He’s…well, groovy.  Good luck with your gardens this week!



My Little Victory Garden (11): Buttermilk Biscuit Throwdown / My Little Victory Garden (12): The Urban Agrarian and One Last Walk Through Grandpa’s Treasure House



8 thoughts on “My Little Victory Garden, Entry 12: Cleaning Out…Everything”

  1. Your meal looked lovely!!
    Have you tried roasting beets in the oven? Olive oil, sea salt, garlic, & rosemary….yum….;)

    1. Hi, Susan – Wow – that theme MUST be the way to go. Did you see “orangpower’s” suggestion? Close to the same thing. Thanks for encouraging me past my “ick” and onto better ways!

  2. I just left a comment with recipes for juicing with beets – i guess it flew off to internet twilight zone 🙁 I’ll try again later, can’t bring myself to do it all again. Will it not accept comments that contain links?

    But quickly, using beets with juicing, and they are very strong (as you know!) so they must be super-dluted in another juice, usually carrot, is a great way to consume them and get the vitamins & other good stuff they offer into your system. And this is from a “I dislike veggies so much, i will swear tomatoes are vegetables til i die” girl 🙂

    1. Aw – don’t you HATE that!? I don’t know if a reply can contain a link or not. I’ll test it or look into it – thanks for the heads up. Amy, one of the must-have appliances we’ve decided we need that we do NOT have yet is a juicer. I have no doubt that put with a carrot and perhaps a lime or apple I could easily begin to love beet juice! Thanks for the idea!

  3. I gotta say, since you are already predisposed to dislike beets, stir fry is not the way I would go. Try roasting them wrapped in foil with a few cloves of garlic. Roast until they are very soft, top with butter and salt!

    I like the sweet potato stir fry idea!

    1. Orangepower – I saw your roasted beet idea and thought it sounded as dreamy as any – perhaps the most dreamy. Perhaps I should have gone with that one first! I’ll let you know what happens when I try them that way. I hope they’re not like liver and sweetbreads…forever doomed to never be in my tummy!

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