Friday, November 18, 2011

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights

It's hard to believe that the photos below were taken in the same Edible Garden bursting with okra, eggplant, and tomatoes this summer!  The current stars of the garden are whimsical flowers and beneficial insects of energy-efficient LED lights sure to turn on your holiday spirit. 

Photo courtesy of Joey Ivansco.
Photo courtesy of Joey Ivansco.
Photo courtesy of Joey Ivansco.

The show extends far beyond the Edible Garden and far beyond anything you've seen before.  Mark your calendars to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden before January 7.

Photo courtesy of Joey Ivansco.

You can find all of the details here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Irish Stewed Apples with Blackberries

There’s a tree in the Edible Garden, often overlooked until late summer and into the fall when it’s laden with Arkansas Black apples. One of the darkest cultivars, the Arkansas Black apple is a keeper - lasting up to six months in storage.

Some found these apples to be too firm. Garden Chef Megan McCarthy decided they would be perfect for stewing.

Need a quick, last minute dessert? Heat up some blackberries or frozen mixed berries while you stew the apples. Spoon both over vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Irish Stewed Apples with Blackberries

4-6 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
water, to cover
½ cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
2 T water
2 T evaporated cane sugar
fresh mint, for garnish

In medium saucepan, combine apples, water and cane sugar. Bring apples to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cinnamon and stir. Remove stewed apples from heat and let cool slightly.

In sauté pan, add water to blackberries and cane sugar. Cook over low heat until blackberries become tender and juicy.

Serve warm stewed apples over favorite vanilla frozen dessert and top with blackberry sauce. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Discover more Garden Chef recipes here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Vinaigrette

The most popular question visitors asked Garden Chef Megan McCarthy on the weekend of October 9 was: Is a yam the same thing as a sweet potato?

Answer: No. They are from different families. The sweet potato is from the Morning Glory family and originally hails from Central America. The true yam is the tuber of a tropical vine and originally hails from Africa.

There are two dominant types of sweet potato: one has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh which is not sweet and has a dry texture, similar to a white baking potato; the other has darker, orange to reddish skin (often called "yam" in error) with a vivid orange, sweet flesh and a moist texture. There are over 200 different varietals of sweet potato in the world. In this recipe, Garden Chef Megan uses four varietals (including ‘Porto Rico’ and ‘Nancy Hall’ from the Edible Garden) for an assortment of color, texture, and taste.

Keep the skins on to maximize the nutritional value of this recipe; however, choose organic potatoes when possible. Potatoes do absorb many pesticides from the ground, and most toxins will end up in the skins of a potato.

Chef Megan grills the parboiled potatoes to finish the flavor and add those lovely grill marks. Married with the Cilantro Vinaigrette, the end result is a mouthwatering combination of tangy and sweet. Pair this delightful side dish with steak or fish. You won’t be able to stop saying, “Just one more.”

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Vinaigrette

4 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Wash and wedge cut sweet potatoes lengthwise, leaving skins on. In large pot, cover sweet potatoes with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until potatoes are softened. Drain and rinse with cold water. Lightly coat grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Arrange sweet potato wedges on grill pan and cook until grill lines appear before turning on next side of wedge.

Whisk together lime juice, salt, and pepper and slowly add olive oil. Stir in cilantro and season to taste. Arrange grilled sweet potatoes on platter and drizzle with cilantro vinaigrette to serve.

Discover more Garden Chef recipes here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vegan Sweet Potato Soup

The great thing about cooking in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen is that you are never at a loss for fresh herbs. Above, a volunteer harvests some thyme for the soup from the Herb Wall.

This delicious, vegan soup lets coconut milk act as a flavorful substitute for heavy cream. The curry powder will not only fill your home with a delicious aroma, but it will add a nice, yellow color to the soup, prompting your dinner guests to go “Mmmm!” long before they lift their spoons.

Garden Chef Christina Curry recommends using a teaspoon as a tool to peel the fresh ginger. With a little scraping, the skin will come right off. Go ahead and throw whole sprigs of thyme in the soup. Some of the leaves will fall off while the soup simmers; you can remove the rest with tongs before you blend.

Sweet potatoes were a staple crop for homesteaders and farmers in Georgia before home freezers, imported produce, and supermarkets. Before the advent of modern medicine, doctors “prescribed” them to combat malnutrition in children because of their high Vitamin C content as well as Vitamin A, iron and thiamine. Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods you can find. Enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato Soup
serves 6

3 T olive oil
1 lb sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small apple, peeled and diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 T ginger, minced
1 T curry powder
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 T maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the sweet potato, apple, onion, ginger and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes, stirring continuously. Add the thyme and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Finish the soup by stirring in the coconut milk, maple syrup and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Discover more Garden Chef recipes here.

Aspiring chefs and sisters pose with Garden Chef Christina Curry.