Grocery Gardening is Achievable Feat
When Jean Ann Van Krevelan sat down to write her latest book, she had gardeners and foodies in mind. “Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food” is one part gardening guide, two parts cookbook.
“It was one of those logical thought processes,” she says. “I just couldn’t understand why we didn’t have all of this information in one book.”
Jean Ann is a ninja gardener, social media fanatic and a “non-snooty” foodie based in Portland, Ore. She wrote the gardening/cookbook because she feels it’s important that we all regain a sense of respect for growing our own food and an understanding of where our food originates.
For readers of her book, food can originate in backyard gardens, patio containers or on sunny windowsills.
“Grocery Gardening” includes everything a beginning gardener needs to know about soil, fertilizers and seed starting to managing pests and the secret to purchasing quality produce.
The rest of the book explains how to grow a wide variety of herbs, fruits and vegetables with recipes for using the produce in dishes from Basil Sorbet to Blue Cheese Baked Apples; from Curried Carrot Soup to Mockamole.
A Group Effort
“Grocery Gardening was a long-distance collaboration with co-authors Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley and Teresa O’Connor. The group met through social media networking and never met face-to-face while writing the book. Another unique feature of the book is that other gardeners, fellow foodies and readers of their individual social networks contributed to the group effort.
“I love the idea of collective wisdom,” Jean Ann says. “We all have something we can contribute to the world, or to gardening/cooking in this case. I wanted to collect and preserve some small part of that.”
Speaking of preserving, the last chapter in the book includes details on how to preserve the harvest including canning, freezing, and dehydrating.
I think every gardener who likes to cook or every cook who likes to garden will enjoy having “Grocery Gardening” in the kitchen library. It’s a beautiful book filled with tips for growing great gardens and fresh recipes for enjoying the harvest.
In fact, you can plant and grow almost all of the ingredients for this delicious Spinach and Tomato Frittata. If you raise your own chickens, you won’t even have to buy the eggs.
Spinach and Tomato Frittata
(Reprinted with permission)
Though spinach and tomatoes are not in season at the same time, they both store exceptionally well. Just substitute canned or frozen tomatoes and frozen spinach, depending on the time of year.
8 large eggs
Splash of milk
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh spinach*, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary
Pinch of red chili pepper flakes, optional
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tomato, seeded and chopped*
*If you use frozen spinach, be sure to defrost it, place in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove all moisture. If you use canned or frozen tomatoes, drain as much liquid as possible.
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt and black pepper to taste until the yolks are broken and the eggs are incorporated. In an ovenproof plan over medium heat, add olive oil to coat the pan. Add the onion, garlic, spinach, oregano, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Sauté.
• Pour the prepared eggs over the spinach mixture. Use a spatula to ensure the mixture is even and to lift contents of pan so any uncooked egg mixture can reach the bottom of the ovenproof pan. Top with the feta and tomato. When the eggs are starting to set, put the pan into the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until top is golden and the center doesn’t move. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
“Grocery Gardening” is available from Cool Springs Press. If you’d like to follow along on Jean Ann’s latest exploits, visit her Gardener to Farmer blog or check out her Good Enough Gardening podcast. Follow her on Twitter @JeanAnnVK.
Read another review of Grocery Gardening on FineGardening.com.