Tag Archives: seasonal recipes

Spring Greens Ravioli & a Spring Gardening Checklist

Waiting for the bounty of a mid-summer garden can be tough. As the weather gets warmer it can be tempting to reach for supermarket tomatoes, peppers, and melons even though those won’t be ready in most backyard gardens for several months. However, we can learn to slow down and appreciate local, seasonal flavors. This recipe takes the overabundance of greens available this season and turns it into a filling and delicious meal. 

There are so many spring greens available for this recipe. In this batch, I used kale, spinach, chives, lemon balm, parsley, dandelion greens, ramps as well as violet greens and flowers. A note on the ramps: please research sustainable ramp harvesting unless you grow your own! They are overharvested in many areas of the United States.

Depending on where you’re located and what you’ve got in your garden there are plenty of other options. Consider using nettles, chard or beet greens, collards, creasy greens, cleavers, or even lettuce! I also used onion and garlic stored from last season but you could also use leeks or chives.

For the filling:

  • A large bunch of greens (about 1lb)
  • 1 medium size onion 
  • Fresh garlic

Chop up your greens and onion or leeks. Then saute the onion until tender. Add your greens to the pan, stirring them into the onions and place a lid on the pan and turn off the burner. Leave them sitting like this for a few minutes. You just want to steam them. 

For the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • Spices to taste

Combine the flour, salt, and spices. Then add the olive oil and begin slowly adding water while mixing. Keep adding water and stirring until the dough forms a ball. You may have to work it with your hands a bit. The dough should be smooth, elastic, slightly sticky and easy to work with. If you’ve added too much water you can knead in a bit of extra flour. 

Roll the dough out into four sheets about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Then you can slice it into your desired shapes and add a small spoonful of filling. Press the edges closed with a fork or just pinch them with your fingers. 

Boil your ravioli for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.

This pasta goes great with many sauces like a spaghetti sauce you canned last season, just a touch of butter and salt, or broth. 

Spring Checklist

  • Amend soil with compost.
  • Sow cool weather crops like kale, lettuce, onions, collards, and peas and thin them as needed.
  • Harden off and transplant spring crops like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Continue starting warm weather crops indoors (depending on your zone).
  • Plant potatoes.
  • Sow or plan to sow multiple successions of crops. 
  • Get creative with the food coming in from your garden and local farmers market. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  • Mulch garden pathways.
  • Leave dead plant material and leaves as long as possible to provide shelter for beneficial insects and caterpillars. 
  • Watch transplants still indoors for problems and pot them up as needed. 
  • Install key garden elements like deer fencing, row cover, trellises, and drip irrigation.
  • Join the Big Bug Hunt. It’s an international ‘citizen science’ project that tracks when and how garden bugs appear and spread during the growing season. Making a report only takes seconds and they’re close to launching an initial pest prediction service!

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Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Even though the temperature isn’t really saying “fall is here” in our area the garden certainly is. We’ve been harvesting pumpkins, winter squash, and popcorn and sowing fall successions of beets, lettuce, and cabbage. With this and my love of all things autumn in mind I decided it’s time to bring out the fall recipes.

These cinnamon buns are a delicious way to start enjoying the autumn harvest without breaking out the pumpkin pie. They’re delicious and fairly easy to make.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 1/2-3 C all purpose flour
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 3 TBS vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 TBS molasses
  • 1/4 C pumpkin puree

Filling

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 4-5 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4-1/2 C brown sugar

Icing

  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 TBS milk

Never made your own pumpkin puree? Check out this post.

Directions

Raised rolls ready for the oven.

Preparing the dough.

To begin combine the milk, oil or butter, molasses, puree into a microwaveable bowl or small saucepan. Heat these ingredients until they’re quite warm but not hot.

In a separate bowl combine the sugar, spices, salt, and yeast. Once the liquid ingredients are warm pour them into the bowl as well. Stir until well mixed and then begin adding the flour a little bit at a time. As the dough gets hard to mix you can turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead it with your hands.

You’ll know you’ve added enough flour when the dough forms a nice ball and is tacky but not sticky. Now allow the dough to rest for about 5 minutes.

Next roll the dough into a rectangle. I generally roll the dough between 1/4-1/2 inch thick though you can change this to suit your preference.

Dough with butter, pumpkin, puree, and spices. Still needs sugar.

Filling

Now you can spread the filling. First soften or melt the butter and mix it with the pumpkin puree and spread this in a thin layer on the dough. Then sprinkle the spices (alternatively you can use a pre-made pumpkin spice mix) evenly over the dough. Do the same with the brown sugar. I rarely measure the spices or sugar and just go by eye.

Roll the dough into a long tube and slice it into 8-12 pieces and place them into a greased, 9×13 inch baking pan. Place the pan somewhere warm and let them raise for 2-3 hours until they have doubled in size.

Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes until they’re golden brown.

Icing

To make icing combine the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir in the milk a tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired thickness. Icing should be added after the cinnamon rolls cool.

Easy Fermented Cucumber Pickles

Fermenting food is actually one of the oldest and safest methods of food preservation. Despite this fermenting food as a means of food preservation has largely been replaced by canning and freezing. While fermented foods may require a little extra care and attention they are still pretty easy to make and are beneficial to eat. Eating a diet that includes fermented foods promotes healthy gut flora and good digestion.

Fermented cucumber pickles are an easy way to get started with fermented foods and they’re just as tasty as home canned ones! They’re also easy to make in small batches, perfect for people with smaller gardens.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • fresh cucumbers
  • filtered water
  • salt 
  • onions
  • spices (dill, pepper, garlic, etc.)
  • jar or crock
  • crock weight
  • *optional – grape leaves 

Directions

Rinse your cucumbers and remove any that are bruised or damaged. If you’re making a large crock and can fit them in whole they’re ready to go. If not slice your cucumbers however you desire. Spears and slice both work fine.

Mix your cucumbers, onion slices, and spices and pack them into your jar or crock leaving an inch or so of head space.

Don’t worry that the recipe isn’t specific. It doesn’t matter! Unlike canning you can mess around with ingredients without making your food unsafe. If you’re not sure what spices you’d like small batches are wonderful for trying different combinations.

In a quart jar mix 1 1/2 TBS salt and water until the salt is dissolved and pour over your cucumbers. Repeat this process as needed until they’re completely covered.

Place some sort of weight over your cucumbers to hold them under the water. You can purchase a crock weight, use a plate, or use a clean rock. In my mini batch pictured above I washed a small rock and used it.

If desired you can also layer clean grape leaves over the top of your cucumbers before weighing them down. The grape leaves help keep the air away from your cucumbers and the tannins in them help the cucumbers stay crisp.

If you’re using a jar you can now lightly put the lid on. Don’t screw it down tight. If gases can’t escape your jar will explode. If using a crock you can lay a clean towel or cloth over it. Let your pickles ferment for 2-3 days on the counter.

Once they’ve fermented they can be moved to cold storage like a refrigerator or root cellar and they’ll last for months!

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