While we are always touting the fresh flavors of homegrown vegetables, we cannot emphasize enough how much this is true for salsa made from homegrown ingredients. The freshest, brightest flavors are found when tomatoes, cilantro, and peppers are grown at home and blended into your personalized salsa. Here’s our favorite recipe!
½ white onion
2 jalapeños (we left the seeds in for a spicy kick)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 ½ lbs. Roma tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
splash of lime juice
- Pulse the onion, jalapenos, and garlic into small chunks in a food processor or blender.
- Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended.
- Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour for flavors to marry.
That’s it! Serve with tortilla chips or with your favorite Latin foods.
With beautiful, edible flowers and delicate onion-flavored foliage, chives are at home anywhere—even in the flower bed! But chives don’t have to be just a garnish on your baked potato. Chive blossom vinegar or chive-infused oil work deliciously in a salad dressing. Try cooking your morning eggs in chive oil for a subtle, yet scrumptious, onion flavor, or add chive vinegar to your potato salad recipe. Chives are so easy to grow because they require little maintenance, and they are perennial!
Chive-Infused Oil: Blend one bunch (10–15 stems) of chives with 1 cup of light oil like vegetable or grapeseed oil in a blender until puréed. Cook over medium-high heat in a saucepan for about 10 minutes. Cool and strain over two layers of cheesecloth overnight. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Chive-Blossom Vinegar: When ﬂower heads begin to fade from bright pink to a rosy color, harvest them for vinegar. Fill a glass jar loosely with ﬂower heads, then ﬁll with white vinegar. Put the lid on and place on a sunny windowsill. In 1 to 2 weeks, strain off ﬂowers. Dilute with more white vinegar if the chive taste is too strong.
These quesadillas are both sweet and savory thanks to our ‘Sweet Meat’ winter squash. Super quick and easy to make, you can even prepare the filling ahead and keep in the refrigerator for a healthful dinner in minutes!
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
3 bunching onions (green), chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup roasted winter squash (Sweet Meat or Waltham Butternut)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces goat cheese
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
- Sauté spinach, onions, and garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes, just until leaves are wilted.
- Add black beans and roasted squash. Cook until heated through, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread goat cheese on two tortillas.
- When filling is heated, add to one tortilla, then stack the other on top.
- Brown in pan with another teaspoon of cooking oil.
- Repeat for remaining tortillas.
- Serve warm with cilantro, sour cream, and salsa on the side.
Home-grown beets are delicious root vegetables, and the leaves are considered by some to be the best of all greens! Roasting and pickling are traditional ways to prepare beets, but we’re marching to a different “beet” with these oven-baked beet chips! So quick and easy to make, you’ll even get the kiddos to enjoy them.
2–3 whole beets (or however many you wish to make)
A couple tablespoons of olive oil
salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Peel beets, but remember, red beets stain! We use gloves or paper towels to protect our hands. (Or you could use Golden Boy beets that don’t stain!
- Slice into thin rounds. A mandoline will make this much easier (see photo).
- Spread out on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt to draw out excess moisture. After about 15 minutes, blot dry with clean paper towels.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oil. Place beet rounds on baking sheet and add a pinch more of salt or any other herb or seasoning you’d like.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp.
Nothing says summer like fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes from the garden! As many of us start our tomato seeds, we can also start thinking about the endless ways to enjoy these garden gems. One of our favorites is drying, for a sweet and tangy burst of tomato flavor that enlivens your favorite dishes. Some excellent varieties to consider for drying are Principe Borghese, San Marzano, Speckled Roman, Italian Roma, and Supremo. Any and all cherry and grape tomatoes will also make excellent dried morsels!
- Fresh-harvested paste, roma or cherry tomatoes (as many as your oven racks or dehydrator can fit after tomatoes are halved)
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Sea salt
- Slice all tomatoes in half, and gently remove seeds.
- Place halved tomatoes in the oven on a sheet pan or on dehydrator racks with the cut side facing up.
- Lightly salt each slice
- Set dehydrator to 150°F (10 to 12 hours), or oven to 250°F (4 to 6 hours). Dehydrating time will depend greatly on the size of your tomato slices. Dried tomato slices should be crisp but still pliable.
- Using tongs, quickly dip tomato slices into red wine vinegar.
- Layer tomato slices into clean canning jars, leaving about ½” of space in each.
- Fill jars with olive oil, completely covering all tomatoes.
- Store tomatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Use tomatoes and oil in salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches, or eat them straight from the jar!
What are cauliflower tots? The answer to your tater-tot yearnings without all the fat, carbs and starch! So good for you, simple to prepare, and a great way to sneak more vegetables onto your kids’ plates.
2 cups of steamed cauliflower
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Mash steamed cauliflower and mix in all other ingredients.
- Form into tots and place on greased cookie sheet.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Serve with your favorite condiment (chipotle mayonnaise shown in picture).
Red onions have a high sugar content already, so when you slow cook them with honey and apple cider vinegar, they get even sweeter! Make this versatile garnish to enjoy on cheese and crackers, in a grilled cheese sandwich, atop burgers, or over roasted chicken.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
3 thinly sliced red onions (we used our new ‘Cabernet’ onion)
3 minced garlic cloves
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
fresh thyme leaves from 3-4 sprigs
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat butter and olive oil over medium to low heat. Add onions and cook for 20 minutes until translucent, stirring regularly so as not to brown the onions.
- Add remaining ingredients, and stir to incorporate.
- Cook down another 20 minutes until sauce thickens, and onions are dark.
Makes about 1 cup of caramelized onions.
We’re loving all the microgreens and baby greens we grow in our Kitchen Garden Kit. While chilled, crisp salads are cool and refreshing in the summer, we like to warm it up in the winter, still using nutritious, baby greens in this colorful, tummy-warming dish.
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
2–3 teaspoons of garlic salt
1 cup of quinoa (cooked by package directions)
3 cups of spinach baby greens or Superfoods baby greens
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of ½ lemon
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potato cubes with 2 tbsp. olive oil and the garlic salt. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes until tender and browned. Mix potatoes with cooked quinoa and baby greens; salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Serves 2.
We’ve recently discovered herb salts as savory, mouth-watering additions to recipes, and also as an ingenious way to prolong the life of fresh herbs. Salt preserves the herbs, and the herbs infuse the salts, making a flavor combo you can’t resist. Try herb salts on meats, roasted vegetables, popcorn, garlic bread, and even in your cocktails! With the holidays around the corner, you’ll want this new ingredient in your culinary arsenal.
3 cups loosely packed, fresh herbs
½ cup coarse salt
1. Wash and dry herbs thoroughly.
2. Either pulse herbs and salt in a food processor (careful not to create a paste), or finely chop herbs and salt together with a knife.
Store your herb salt in a glass jar in the fridge. Shake periodically over 7 to 10 days while flavors blend. Herb salts will last about 6 months or longer in the refrigerator.
Italian blend: Basil, oregano, parsley, and salt
Summer blend: Dill, parsley, and salt
Thanksgiving blend: Sage, thyme, parsley, and salt
Salsa blend: Cilantro and salt
Bloody Mary blend: Celery leaves and salt
As you can see, the possibilities are endless!
When your garden tomatoes get into high gear and start producing, start saucing! We used heirloom tomatoes in this recipe, creating more color and flavor diversity. We enjoy Black Krim, Brandywine, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Pineapple, and Oxheart, but any tomato will make delicious sauce.
Yields approximately 1–1.5 quarts of sauce.
5 lbs. fresh heirloom tomatoes
2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweet peppers, finely chopped (like Italian Marconi)
1/8 cup mild to medium hot peppers, finely chopped (like Hungarian Wax – optional)
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried oregano leaf
1 1/2 tbs. honey, agave, or sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar
black pepper to taste
1.Using a paring knife, gently cut out the top of your tomatoes, where the stem was connected to the fruit.
2. Slit an “X” into the bottom of each tomato, and drop them into boiling water in batches. In about 60 to 90 seconds (larger tomatoes may take a bit longer), the skins will begin to wrinkle and split. Remove tomatoes and plunge into ice water, allowing them to soak for another 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from ice water and gently peel skins away from the tomato.
3. Using a blender or food processor, pulse the skinned tomatoes to the consistency that you prefer (chunky or smooth).
4. Pour the tomato sauce and the garlic and peppers in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil, adding remaining ingredients as it heats.
5. Reduce the sauce to almost half, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
6. Allow your sauce to cool, and continue to thicken before using or freezing. Tomato sauce can stay fresh up to a week in the refrigerator or up to several months if frozen.