Even though I've spent a great portion of my time out in the garden the last four years, I am still a new gardener. Combine a little inexperience with my every cluttered brain, I do get some things confused. Our cabbage patch is doing great and the plants are getting huge. Due to the wet and cloudy weather the actual cabbage heads have been slow to form. The plants have some really large outer leaves. Most are coming in but these two plants just didn't seem to be making a cabbage head. After working around them a little more, it dawned on me that they were collard greens, duh! No wonder there's no cabbage. I got to work harvesting those wonderful collards right away. Going over to Rachel's the next day, they will make a great addition to whatever she and I come up with for dinner.
On the way home from the garden Friday night we stopped at the market where I found a very nice rice, grain, and lentil mix in the bulk foods. It has a variety of grains: barley, spelt, wheat berries, quinoa, two kinds of lentils, black and brown rices. I scooped some up and took it home. We're headed out to Rachel's and Damon's on the island the next day for our cherry canning day and when I go out to Rachel's I usually throw whatever vegetables and fruits are around in a box, some favorite cooking ingredients, and my favorite knife. She's a whole foods cook also, a very good one too, and between the two of us and whatever is in season, she and I come up with a pretty fantastic meal together without any pre-planning.
When I got there I steamed up the rice and grain mixture and set it aside. I cooked it the same way I do rice, but since it has whole grains, it cooks just a little longer than rice, about 50 minutes.
I had a couple nice ripe mangoes at home so I brought those with me. While the rice cooked I whipped up a very simple Mango Ginger Sauce in the food processor.
Mango Ginger Sauce
½ small mango, chopped (¼ cup)
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon seeded and minced hot chili pepper
1 tablespoon water or more for desired consistency
1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste
Maple syrup or agave nectar to taste
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Next, I lightly stir fried some fresh vegetables in a little toasted sesame oil. The first veggies from the garden this year: zucchini, red onion, peas, and garlic scapes. I added some fresh paddy pan squash and carrots I picked up at the farmers market, about a half cup of fresh pineapple, and a splash of tamari.
Then I put it all together. I gently washed and dried the collard greens and brushed them with a little garlic chili flax oil to soften them.
I wrapped them up and set them on the grill for just a few minutes, just enough until the collards were bright green and a little crispy. Served with some mango ginger sauce for dipping, these were an ideal summer treat during a long day of canning.