my daughter’s extra garlicky green beans

Ever since she was a toddler, my child has loved herself some garlic.  Given the health benefits of this perennial bulb, I have gladly allowed her to partake of it in many forms.  Her favorites?  Roasted and pickled.curing the garlic

One of her favorite recipes is my extra garlicky green beans.  She regularly requests them for dinner and has friends whose mothers call begging me for the recipe.

Given that it is exam week, I am trying to make her extra special healthy dinners and snacks with a few of her favorites thrown in for good measure.  Tonight?  Pesto and cheese ravioli and her favorite vegetable side dish.  Be warned, however, this recipe may having people keep their distance the next day.

My Daughter’s Extra Garlicky Green Beans

2 handfuls of french or new beans (the skinnier, the better) or 1 pkg of frozen beans

3 cloves of garlic pressed, 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced

garlic powder

sea salt

olive oil or chicken stock


In a pan, heat the olive oil or chicken stock on medium heat (approximately 1-2 tbsp).  Add pressed garlic and sliced garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Turn up the heat to med-high and add the green beans.  If needed add some water or stock to create a bit of steam.  Saute until bright green and to desired crunch.

Spread the beans out as much as you can in the pan and sprinkle with garlic powder and a bit of sea salt.  Stir to mix.

Serve warm.

Side note: sometimes, I’ll squeeze a bit of lemon over them.

taking advantage of small spaces in the garden

If you are a front yard farmer like I am or have limited full sun spaces, don’t fret.  I’ve been there, and I’m doing that.  Our little farm has continued to expand a little each year, but this year I am committed to maximizing our produce yields.  I’ve been reading and studying, planning and dreaming so I thought I pass a bit of that along to you too.

  • Go vertical–many veggies and fruits will climb stakes, planks, walls, and fencing.  Growing up instead of out saves ground space for those yummies that can’t eyed peas trellis
  • Try succession planting–I’ve not been as organized as I’ve wanted to be the last few summers, but after reading up on succession planting, I’m giving it a real go this year.  Taking the time to plan to plant seeds every few weeks can keep the produce coming in regularly.  Once the first round is harvested, you can also replant in that spot as well.
  • Think outside  of the box–once I quit dividing “flower beds” from “produce beds,” I doubled my options for growing space.  Now, my kale provides a great filler around my coneflower and daisies, and my herbs have become neighbors to my veggies.
  • Pair sun with part sun plants–Some climbing veggies, such as cucumbers and beans, can provide shade over tender plants like lettuces that will burn in hot, direct sun.  Creative use of chicken wire, pallets, or bamboo can be functional as well as artistic.
  • Contain ’em–I’ve actually used food safe pots that I could move into sunny areas so that veggies could get enough light.
  • Tighten up the space–take advantage of the small space by planting items closely together, remembering to leave them enough room that they don’t compete for nutrients

Over the next few weeks, who knows what else I’ll discover.  I’ll be glad to share any other ideas and hope you’ll do the same!

enjoying autumn greens

In autumn, the sun sinks just low enough in the sky that she hides behind our trees most of the day.  The farm sadly surrenders to shade which means that fall veggies for us are limited primarily to greens.  No matter.  We love chard, kale and spinach in our home (and our chickens did too) and find creative ways to prepare them on a regular basis.

Tonight, rather than posting one recipe, I’m going to share two of our favorites.  We have made these with all three types of greens, sometimes incorporating the trio all at once.  Both dishes can be quite colorful if you use different varieties of kale and chard and make for beautiful autumn side dishes.

Vates kale

Sauteed Greens

In a pan warmed on medium high heat, drizzle some olive oil in the center (approximately 1-2 tablespoons depending on amount of chard).  Chop or press fresh garlic and add to heated oil.  When garlic begins to soften, add greens and a splash of broth (I use/make organic veggie broth), a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.  We like our greens with some crunch and remove it from the heat as it begins to wilt.  You can always wait a bit longer until it is completely wilted and soft.

After removing from the pan, we try different “dressings” sometimes.  For an Asain flair, my daughter will add a dash of tamari.  Sometimes, I’ll stir in fresh basil and oregano.  Our favorite, however, is to head over to our favorite oil and vinegar store and purchase some apple elderberrry vinegar then drizzle that on top of the greens.  The pairing of the sweet vinegar with the bitter greens is quite delicious.

Rainbow Chard Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette  (we’ve used with kale and spinach as well)

This salad quickly became a family favorite, and now friends request that I bring it to gatherings.  The sweet fruit compliments the bitter chard nicely.

Ingredients for salad:

chard, pears, dried cherries or cranberries,  shredded parmesan cheese, sugar-salted nuts

Ingredients for sugar-salted nuts:

pecans or walnuts, a pat of butter, brown sugar, sea salt

Ingredients for citrus dressing:

olive oil, juice of half naval orange or whole clementine, white wine vinegar (or other mild vinegar), honey, Italian or Greek seasoning

Making the salad:

Chop chard and pears and toss in bowl.  Add dried cranberries or cherries to taste.

In a pan warmed over medium high heat, melt the pat of butter.  Add a handful of nuts, a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar, and a generous pinch of seasalt.  When the butter and sugar combine and melt to coat the nuts, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes or so.  Remove nuts, cool, then add to top of salad.  Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.

Vinaigrette:  Combine 1 part juice to 1 part oil, add a splash of vinegar, a small drizzle of honey to taste and herbs to taste.  Shake.  I find that mixing it in a small Mason jar works well.

Other ingredients we’ve tried:  apples, dried blueberries, almonds, grapes, and gorgonzola cheese (and not all at once!)