Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day

So I'm a couple of days late, Happy Earth Day anyway! Besides, shouldn't every day be Earth Day?

I spent part of Earth day working, weeding and piddling around in my garden and yard, just as I should have, when I got the brilliant idea that that evening's supper, which would of course be eaten outside on the deck, would have something grown in our yard in every dish.

So, I made my usual spinach and mushroom quiche. I had planned on it to please my daughter; it's her favorite and it had been a while, but I substituted half the spinach for swiss chard that I planted in November and is still going strong in the back yard. For a salad I made tabbouleh, which I love (I always add some cubed avocado if I have it for a little surprise creaminess) with lots of parsley from the garden where it has totally taken over its bed. There are 2 fennel plants in that bed that are having to fight for their space...okay, I am helping a little, but I plan to sacrifice quite a bit of the parsley to the Swallowtail caterpillars later in the season. Now, here is the great thing about the tabbouleh, I added just a bit of young tender arugula that I have coming up by the front door. This was an accidental stroke of genius; the nuttiness of that small amount of arugula just SO enhanced the whole dish, that I went out and scattered more arugula seeds in the kitchen garden the next morning (and kept the tabbouleh leftovers for myself!) My 10 year old daughter devoured every grain of the tabbouleh on her plate...and then went back twice for more quiche, of is her favorite, along with tomato basil soup.

My dessert got postponed by my not planning ahead with the sorbet/ice cream maker, but it got good reviews from the family last night. I gathered lemon balm from the front garden and a bit of apple mint from the back herb bed and made a light sorbet. Here's a kind of recipe, but it's very flexible, and you can pretty much put "approximately" in front of each ingredient.

Lemon Balm Sorbet

1 1/2 - 2 cups water
leaves from 3 8 - 10 inch lemon balm stems
6 -8 apple (or other) mint leaves
1/2-3/4 c. sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup apple juice
juice of one lemon

Simmer leaves and water about 5-8 minutes, press/bruise leaves a little with back of spoon. Strain, returning liquid to pan, discard leaves...a few specks of green okay and even desirable. Add other ingredients to herb water and simmer low for about 10 minutes. Chill thoroughly. Run in sorbet/ice cream maker, or freeze about 45 minutes, stir, freeze 30 minutes, stir, scraping sides, repeat, then let freeze solid.

Options: This would also be nice with a handful of ripe strawberries or blueberries, mashed or blended up. You could then use just sugar, but for the herb only recipe, the honey really enhances it for me.

And Happy Belated Earth Day!

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