Spring Planting Project Puts Veggies on Table | Culture | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Bend Nest » Culture

Spring Planting Project Puts Veggies on Table

Easy container gardening leads to fresh vegetable dishes



Central Oregon is famous for outdoor adventures, craft brews, gorgeous views AND a short growing season! But don't let that deter you from doing a little container gardening. Start by sowing seeds INDOORS in a sunny windowsill. Once established and once warm weather does come around, you can transplant those seedlings into bigger containers or a raised bed in the backyard. Getting the whole family involved can be a lesson in where food comes from and can get even the youngest of your brood excited to watch something grow.

Seed-starting kits make it easy for kids to take charge. - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • Seed-starting kits make it easy for kids to take charge.

Quick Container Planting Primer

Carrots, radishes, lettuces, peas, beets and green onions typically fare well in Central Oregon gardens.

Find seed starting kits at local stores OR use recycled yogurt containers or egg cartons. Just be sure to poke holes in the bottom for draining so your seeds are not over-watered.

Use seed-starting mix for best results.

Follow seed package directions and plant at the proper depth.

After sowing, set containers in a warm spot.

Keep seed-starting mix moist.

Place pots in a bright spot as soon as seedlings emerge.

Transplant after danger of frost has passed.

Spring Pea Risotto

Despite what you may think, risotto is an easy dish to make from scratch. The hardest part is stirring, and you can have the kids take turns doing that, with an adult supervising of course!

Spring Pea Risotto – kid-friendly and delicious! - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • Spring Pea Risotto – kid-friendly and delicious!

• 4 cups vegetable stock/broth
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice (It's important to use a high-starch rice for risotto in order to get the creaminess risotto is famous for; Arborio is a short-grain rice high in starch and typically easy to find in local stores.)
• 1/2 cup green onion, minced
• 2/3 cup green peas, fresh or thawed frozen
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• Grated Parmesan cheese, optional for serving

Bring stock and lemon juice to boil in a large, heavy pot. Then reduce heat to a simmer.

In a separate large pot or deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in rice (preferably unrinsed) and green onion. Stir and cook for several minutes. Then begin stirring in, one ladle at a time, the simmering stock/lemon juice. Stir gently and slowly after each addition of liquid until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding liquid one ladle or ½ cup at a time until all liquid is absorbed, and rice is thick and creamy. Add more warmed stock or water if need be, depending on the texture you prefer. Stir in peas, salt and pepper during the last ten minutes of cooking and stirring.

Serve immediately topped with more minced green onion and grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 4

Carrot Fries

You can cut your carrots into skinny fries or into big thick slices, whatever your family prefers. Just keep an eye on them as they roast since different sizes will require different cooking times. These are so delicious, reminiscent of sweet potato fries, that you'll probably want to double the batch after trying them the first time.

For something a little different, try roasting fresh carrots. - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • For something a little different, try roasting fresh carrots.

• 4 large carrots, sliced lengthwise into 'fries'
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon turmeric *
• 1 teaspoon ginger *
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• Your favorite ketchup, mayo or other dipping sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut carrots then toss them with other ingredients. Spread carrots onto a large baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between each fry. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through.

*You can substitute any other spices you prefer for the turmeric and ginger. For example, cumin and chili powder or simply salt and pepper.

French Radishes

Fresh radishes from the garden. - TAMBI LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tambi Lane Photography
  • Fresh radishes from the garden.

Eating fresh radishes from the garden is a common occurrence in the French countryside. A classic French way of serving radishes is simply to put them on the table with fresh butter and sea salt. You can find French Breakfast Radish seeds online. This variety offers a crisp radish with a mildly spicy flavor.

• Fresh from the garden radishes, washed, trimmed and peeled (if desired)*
• Unsalted butter, softened
• Sea salt

Wash, trim and peel radishes. Dip radishes in butter and salt as desired. Rye crackers or thinly sliced bread can be served with the radishes.

*If your kiddos think radishes are too 'spicy' or too 'hot' tasting, peeling them can mellow them out a bit.

Donna Britt is the creator of the Food.Life podcast and host of Central Oregon Daily's Taste This food series. Follow on Instagram @food.life.podcast & @allthingsfoodbend &@donnabrittcooks

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