Our most recent article talked about planning and planting your cold weather crops. After that hard work is complete and you are ready to harvest, turn those crops into mouth-watering dishes for the family.
Here are some recipes for cold weather crops to get you started:
Greens and Black Eyed Peas
Here’s a good way to put that crock put to good use. These black-eyed peas and collard greens make a fabulous meal with baked cornbread and a salad. Black-eyed peas and greens are a natural combination and with the addition of some aromatics the dish becomes spectacular. Use fresh collard greens or a combination of collard greens and turnip greens.
- 8 ounces bacon (diced)
- 1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 large bay leaves (dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (crushed)
- 2 cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- Optional: kosher salt and black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
Fill the sink with cold water. Wash the collard greens in 3 to 4 changes of water, or until there is absolutely no grit on the bottom of the sink. Cut thick stems out of the greens and chop the leaves or cut them crosswise into strips. Even if the package says “cleaned,” rinse the greens thoroughly.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until cooked but not crisp; remove the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook until lightly browned. Add the greens, a handful at a time, until all are added and have wilted from the heat.
Add the bacon, onions, and greens to the slow cooker along with the garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaves, and the red pepper flakes. Stir in the cooked black-eyed peas.
Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
Serve the peas and greens with freshly baked cornbread and a tossed salad (also from your cold weather crop garden!)
Beets are very much a hot food item these days and should be one of your cold weather crops. For a quick and easy recipe, try these sweet-and-sour pickled beets. Use a mix of red and golden beets, if you like. Pickled beets have a long shelf live so make extra to have on hand. They add a great tang and color to a fresh cole slaw, bright flavor to a cheese board and earthy notes to a spinach salad (with the greens you picked from your garden). The pickling liquid is a great base for other vegetables you might have in the fridge including cucumbers, carrots and onions.
- 1 pound small beets (about 7 beets)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
Leave root and 1-inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Cool slightly. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Thinly slice beets; place in a large bowl.
Combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Pour vinegar mixture over beets; cover and chill. Discard bay leaves.
If you have a hard time getting your family to eat kale, try these crispy, addictive chips. They are wonderful served with sandwiches or they make a delicious, health snack just by themselves. If you want to spread the goodness, crumble them on salads or soups.
- Cooking spray
- 1 small bunch kale (about 1/2 pound)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two baking trays with cooking spray. Remove the center rib and stems from each kale leaf and discard. Tear or cut the leaves into bite-size pieces, about 2 to 3 inches wide. Wash the kale and dry it very well.
Place the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the garlic powder and salt, and work the oil and seasonings into the kale with your hands to distribute evenly. Place the kale in a single layer on the baking sheets, and bake until crisp and the edges are slightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.
Carrot Cake with Pineapple
All cold weather crop recipes don’t need to be veggie-centric and good for you. After eating the healthy recipes above, treat yourself to this spectacular carrot cake. The pineapple adds terrific moisture and a bit of sweetness. Yum!
- 2 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup safflower oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup drained crushed pineapple bits
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup sweet flaked coconut
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
Turn oven to 350 degrees. Grease and generously flour two round cake pans.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Make a well in the center and add the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. Mix the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.
Stir in the carrots, coconut, walnuts and pineapple. (Walnuts can be omitted.)
Pour the cake batter into the cake pans and place them on the same rack. Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven.
Cool the cake completely before attempting to remove it from the pan or frost it. Removing the cake from the pan can be tricky. Hold the pan firmly in both hands and then shake it, one side at a time, to loosen it. Perform this step slowly and gently as this cake has a tendency to split.
Frost. Cream cheese frosting is wonderful on this cake.
Ah, a full belly is a great way to celebrate the harvest of your cold weather crops. Take pride in your efforts and enjoy the accolades as you share recipes prepared with food from your garden. Bon appétit.