Time to Cook

As Lynne shared previously, she was able to spend some time before the baby’s arrival making a bunch of meals we could freeze.  Having two weeks of paternity leave also freed up my time to watch Eliza, work in the basement, and get back in the kitchen, too.  Below are some fun dishes I was able to make this week using up some of our vegetables from the garden.  If you don’t keep up with the high yields, you end up wasting produce, and no one likes that!

Lamb pitas with Greek salad

Since we had a lot of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes ready to eat in the garden so I found this great recipe for a Greek salad (I love recipes that have a “100% would make again” score!).  Of course, some delicious veggies in a pita weren’t going to make a filling meal, so I thought it would be nice to add some lamb.  I found this recipe for some lamb patties to add to the pitas, using a bunch of spices my parents brought us from Turkey.  We tweaked the recipe using Turkish coriander, cumin, and oregano, as well as mint from the garden (and nixed some things like the allspice and the sauce), and the patties turned out delicious and crispy (ala falafel).

This may be one of my favorite meals I’ve had at home recently, since it’s definitely something I’d order at the local Mediterranean sandwich shop.  I was also really excited to use the cherry tomatoes, since they are growing so well and I didn’t even plant them this year.  Last year I had tried planting some cherry tomatoes from seed (and two years ago I had tried planting some Roma tomatoes from seed), and neither ever took until this year they all started growing randomly in different areas of my garden!

Tilapia with mango salsa and roasted beet salad with oranges

As I mentioned before, Lynne asked me to grow beets in the garden this year.  She enjoys them but I have bad childhood memories of disgusting sickly-smelling canned beets.  Well, they grew very easily and now we have lots of beets to eat!  I knew I had to find a recipe that got me excited, or else I wouldn’t want to try them again. I found a roasted beet salad that featured oranges and made use of the beet greens (they’re kind of like chard).

Overall, I was pretty happy with it.  The oil and vinegar took away some of that “beet smell” that I didn’t find appetizing and left them a bit sweet and sour, and the oranges were a very nice touch.

My parents’ neighbors brought them some large mangoes from Miami, which they were kind enough to share with us, so why not make some mango salsa?  These were hands down the best mangoes I’ve ever eaten in this country (almost as good as Thailand!).  I also added some mint to the salsa, which I think made it even better.  If you like your sweets spicy, you could also add some minced jalapenos or cayenne.  The salsa went great with some simple grilled tilapia.

 Homemade quiche with kale, onions, and toasted garlic

We’ve eaten a lot of Lynne’s delicious homemade quiche (the best crust in the world! Just ask Eliza), and since we have a plethora of kale in the garden (that didn’t make it into the quiche), I figured the two would go well together.  I simply sautéed the kale with some onions, but the fancy touch (and bit of a mistake-turned-awesome) is the toasted garlic.  

Corn – Raw(r)!

This one definitely doesn’t qualify as a recipe or anything I cooked.  The garden is full of corn, and on a whim I decided to pick a smaller ear for Eliza, since she loves eating corn on the cob.  Since the kernels were a bit smaller, we both enjoyed it raw about 30 seconds after it had been picked.  This was amazing!  I had never eaten corn on the cob that wasn’t boiled, grilled, or microwaved, but it was even better fresh and raw.  I’m not sure if store-bought corn would taste the same uncooked, but now it’s the only way we’ve been eating it, big and little ears alike – talk about easy!

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