I frequently am asked to share recipes for the dishes I mention on my various social media outlets. I am happy to share, however I am not a recipe developer (never knew there was such a person before twitter). I have read that the key to being a successful restaurant chef being able to make a dish taste exactly the same every time. That is not my goal. My cooking style is much more improvisational. I rarely make the same dish the same way twice. Much of the time i create dishes from unsold vegetables we bring home from our markets. Also I can walk outside and harvest from a dozen or more fresh herbs to use in whatever I am making at the time. We also ferment our own kim chee and pickles which i frequently use as well.
My goal is to make something delicious and as nutritious as possible. Today a twitter friend asked me to share my recipe for raw beet salad since he has more beets than he knows what to do with. Here a guide to making it. I encourage y'all to be creative. Improvise with what you have on hand. You really can't go wrong when using fresh, organic, home grown or locally grown ingredients. That is what you use right?
Raw Beet Salad - Ratios
2 Parts (2 cups) raw beets grated or finely diced
1 Part (1 cup) raw carrots grated or finely diced
1/4 part (1/4 cup) leeks, or shallots or scallions or onion finely sliced
1 Tablespoon of fresh dill or parsley or lemon thyme or all three. finely chopped
Garlic Miso Dressing
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon miso or tamari
4 cloves garlic - finely diced
salt to taste if needed. (miso can be salty)
put in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.
Serve over a bed of arugula or lettuce or finely chopped kale.
When we first started the Funny Farm we brought with us many plants from our former community garden that became the beginning of our food forest. Louisiana Purple fig, nanking cherry, pomegranate, apples, blackberries, bay laurel. and a host of herbaceous perennials ringed the perimeter of the front garden. Each of the last 4 years we have continued to add new trees, shrubs, vines, tubers and herbs either by propagating what we have or purchasing from local growers.
The first year we moved some figs to new locations and propagated more by layering.
3 years ago we added blueberries and sunchokes. Next were the plums and additional apples. This past year we planted persimmons, asian pears, apricots, more blueberries, grapes, rhubarb, and Tiawanese sour oranges. We dug up some volunteer nanking cherry seedlings and put them in pots to grow out so we can add more of these favorites to the forest.
Comfrey in bloom
I am taking a year long herbal medicine workshop now so we have begun to add more perennial medicinal plants into the mix. Valerian, angelica, feverfew and comfrey are happily growing now. I have goji berry seedlings growing in pots that i plan to plant in our hugulkultur bed. (more on this experiment later). I have learned that I have lots and lots of medicine already growing throughout the garden. We have been harvesting and making medicine from them regularly.
This spring the nanking cherry produced a bountiful harvest. We are now harvesting some gigantic precocious Louisiana Purple figs that weigh 1/4 lb. each are are so delicious. We have been enjoying daily treats of blueberries and yogurt for the first time this year. The blackberries are just beginning to ripen. Our apples are still a year or 2 away from production, however there are a few fruits on one of the trees that we hope to be eating this summer. The plums have grown well and may start to produce next year if the weather cooperates. These days we are thankful for any harvest we are blessed with.
Pomegranate in bloom
Now will need to take a step back and assess the garden to see what and where we can add more multi-purpose plants to increase our yields from this wonderful thing called a food forest.
I have been an organic gardener for 30 years. I am the manager of the Decatur Farmers Market in Decatur, Ga. It is held on Wednesdays from 4-7.
I live in Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta, GA, where my wife and I will spend the rest of our days creating a model of suburban permaculture. We have 3 acres with a .5 ac. pond, barn and land for growing. We grow veggies, small fruits, herbaceous and woody flowers, herbs, mushrooms, chickens and worms.
We teach classes on organic gardening and sustainable living. You can contact me at email@example.com