Salad with Mint Dressing

7 03 2013

ImageThe best thing you can make from a bursting garden is a big, beautiful salad!

And that is what we did this week. It was fantastic. We had a great turn out, with lots of kids clamoring to help make our harvest in to something delicious.

The kids gathered up what was on hand and we put it all together in to a GORGEOUS salad. We were able to harvest the first of the shelling peas, a lot of mint, radishes, nasturtium flowers, carrots and celery. We blanched the peas along with some bok choy greens in some salted boiling water and then everything went together with an amazing salad dressing that was SO simple!

How simple?

Three weeks ago we picked and dried some mint. This week, we crushed that mint and added it to 3/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Whisked together, it created an emulsion…that’s what it takes to make dressing, but what it really is, is “a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.”  And it was delicious.

Amazing, how much we can learn in the garden.


Pasta Salad!

27 02 2013


What makes cooking in the Farm King Garden so great is that we never know what is going to happen. We are only there once a week, (on Tuesdays! Come join us!)  and when we show up we only sort of have an idea about what’s going to be ready to harvest. Will the broccoli be ready? Will the mint still be abundant? How many radishes will we have to work with? In other words, it’s a bit of garden-roulette.

This week, with the fabulous warm weather, we decided to make a simple, green, pasta salad. Nothing fancy, but oh-so-good. We used the flowers and stems of our bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower and a few lettuce plants that had bolted because of the heat. Flowers are usually edible, but check before you eat them.

1 lb whole wheat, rotini pasta. Cooked, cooled and set aside
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup celery, chopped fine
Flowering bok choy (including stems and flowers!)
Flowering broccoli, chopped (including stems and flowers!)
Flowering arugula (including stems and flowers!)
Nasturtium flowers
1 head lettuce, cleaned and torn in to bite sized pieces
1 large bunch dill, minced
1 large bunch mint, minced
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the kale, celery, bok choy, broccoli, arugula, nasturtium and herbs.

In a bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Add more seasoning as needed. (That means, taste it and decide if you like the way it came out. Want it more pucker? Add more vinegar! Not salty enough? Add a pinch more. It’s all up to you.)

Toss together the pasta, vegetables and dressing. Let rest for 5 minutes to meld, then serve.

We hope you like the recipe! Oh, and we almost always post pictures on Twitter, FourSquare and Instagram with the hashtag #farmking. Check them out some time, and next time you’re in the garden, take a few pictures of your own to share!

Garden Soup

20 01 2013
Garden Soup

Garden Soup

After our long winter break, it was great to see so many students join the Garden Club at Farm King on Tuesday. But wow was it cold!

With the chilly weather there was no better choice than to make a cozy winter soup. It’s *super* easy to do with all the greens we have right now.

This made a large pot-full. It was perfect for the day and almost everyone went back for seconds. Team work made it a quick endeavor, too.

The only ingredients we added that weren’t from the garden?: Olive oil and salt. It’s always thrilling to use what we grew! And it’s sooooooooooo healthy, too!

3 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 spring onions. White and green portions. Minced
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups water
2 handfuls celery leaves
4 cups, mix of bok choy, chard and kale
5 radishes, chopped
3 tablespoons, mix of fresh, minced thyme and oregano
1 small chile, de-seeded and minced

Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil, until brown, in a large soup pot over medium heat.

Add six to eight cups of water or vegetable stock. Add the sweet potatoes and some salt. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 6 – 10 minutes. You are waiting for the potatoes to cook. How long that takes depends on how small or large the pieces are. When they are soft, proceed to the next step.

Add the remaining ingredients.

When the greens are wilted, the soup is ready. Add salt as needed and serve with a green salad. Our salad was fresh escarole dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.


And check out this beautiful purple and green cabbage, bringing amazing color to the garden!


Swiss Chard and Bean Soup in the Garden

29 11 2012


It was a beautiful, warm afternoon when we gathered in the garden to make Swiss Chard and Bean soup. Funnily enough, by the time we were done, some clouds had moved in and it was perfect soup weather.

We harvested a LOT this week. Sweet potatoes (more on that next week. Sweetpotatopalooza 2012 is coming!), two types of eggplant, onions, lots of herbs and chiles, green beans, Swiss chard and some beautiful scarlet runner beans. It was a bounty for sure!

For our soup, we sauteed onion and garlic and then added some stock and water and the rest of the vegetables. The kids had a lot of fun practicing their knife skills on this one! Chop, chop, chop!

Here’s the recipe so you can make it at home.

6 cloves garlic, minced. 2 onions, minced. 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot and saute the garlic and onion until just golden brown.

Add mixed beans and vegetables to the pot. Make sure everything is chopped. We used 4 stalks of celery, 8 cups of swiss chard (don’t worry! It reduces), 3 small eggplant, 2 cups fresh beans, 2 cups green beans and 1 cup of peeled and diced sweet potatoes.

Pour 5 cups of vegetable stock over the vegetables to cover, reduce your heat and let simmer. Don’t forget to add some salt and pepper!

A minute or so before you serve the soup, add lots of chopped basil, thyme and rosemary. Taste it and add more as you think is needed.

Serves six to eight!

Using a Bike Blender at Farm King

1 10 2012

The Farm King garden is beautiful place for learning, but is it somewhere to go for a good work out or to burn calories after a day of sitting in the classroom? It can be!  There is a lot more bending and lifting going on in a garden than you would think. And on September 25th the kids got an extra boost when they were able to cook and get some physical activity at the exact same time! How? We were lent a BIKE BLENDER.

What’s a bike blender? It’s, well, a stationary bike with a blender attached to it, so the faster the pedals go, the faster the blade in the jar of the blender spins. We used it to make a simple basil, olive oil and garlic pesto because basil is so abundant right now. The kids all got a turn (or two) and the results were incredible and delicious.

We sauteed eggplant, mushrooms and onion to serve with it, and then made a creamy (tofu) basil dressing for a salad. You can use a regular blender at home, but we loved getting to be out in the sunshine, in the fragrant garden, to make some food!

4 cups basil, leaves only
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup silken tofu
1 small chile pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups lettuce. Washed and chopped.

In a blender, combine ½ the ingredients. Puree, remove and repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Toss with prepared lettuce and serve.