Many call themselves seasonal eaters nowadays and that’s just great and all but the gardener in me has come up with something a little bit more edgy. Why not go ahead and start to actually eat the seasons (yeah literally)? When spring comes around my plate seems to always resemble what’s going on in nature (remember this cake that I did for Green Kitchen Stories way back?). First a tasty base resembling the fertile, oh-so-amazing-smelling soil that I just can’t get enough of, seriously. Then comes the longed for flecks of powerful yet still a little timid greens. Lastly we have the bold sprinkles of color, yellow, purple and pink. Their brightness is still a bit surprising to my eyes which just got used to the winter tones but nevertheless they are undoubtedly here to stay (thank goodness!). Turn all this into a meal and Ta-Daa – You have officially just eaten the season. Welcome to the cool kid’s club, baby!
The incredible super hot and trés cool Eating The Season-club doesn’t have any strict rules, you can simply follow these tasty guidelines:
Dive deep into in the goodness that is now (yep, you can take that beyond food)
Tap into your inner organic veggie shopaholic/forager
Find yourself some amazing seasonal produce
Make nature reflecting art in the kitchen
Dig in and love.
Ps. You’re turned off the lights for Earth Hour yesterday, right? ..Eating The Season couldn’t be more appropriate, expanding the brilliant thoughts behind Earth Hour and turning it into something that lasts for a bit longer then, well.. an hour.
Fun & Fabulous Facts
We all know about the sensational sprouts and the greatness of including them in our diet. Sprouts pack an incredible punch when it comes to vitamins, minerals, buzzing enzymes, protein and never-ending lists of medicinal benefits. Not to mention sprouts are super tasty, crunchy and adds a whole other dimension to a regular salad/stir-fry/smoothie/other. And so lately I bet you’ve heard wispers of something new (and also quite tiny) – Microgreens. Microgreens is a fancy pants word for plants that are grown in real soil – not in water as sprouts are – and harvested after around 7–14 days. Studies on microgreens are now popping up everywhere and the results are quite grand although I’m not as surprised as many seem to be. The studies have shown among other things that microgreens can actually carry up to 40 times the nutritional load compared to their grownup counterparts.
Even if you don’t have a big garden, with microgreens you’ll still have the opportunity to eat freshly harvested greens (not to mention this is a fun thing to include kiddos or your inner kid in). I absolutely love having some microgreens growing in the house, it’s a gorgeous high-vibe interior touch and it’s also like having a few hundred besties around (yup, you can talk to them too). So go ahead and purchase some top quality organic seeds (important!), a bag of rich organic soil fit for seedlings and follow sowing instructions on the seed packets. Keep in a sunny spot and water as suggested on the specific packet. And friends, no cheating with the quality of the soil you use, ok? Remember this; that same quality and minerals (or lack of) will later be inside your microgreens meaning this makes a hell of a lot of difference when it comes to the end result. Harvesting time comes around when your tiny plants have gotten their so called ”heart leaves”. Heart leaves are the first pair of leaves on all plants, these resemble hearts and have none of the characteristics that the next pair of leaves will but all of the flavor. The most important thing I’d say is not weather you let your plants grow for 7 or 14 days, it’s that you harvest just before you’re planning to savor them in a meal. If you do this your greens will still be bursting with life force and nutrients going straight into your system insted of loosing a high percentage of these during storage. With Microgreens you can have it all, all year around and still be incredibly kind to the earth and your body.
So, is microgreens better then sprouts you ask? Well, microgreens grow in actual soil instead of just water and this enhances it’s nutritional value. Also microgreens are often exposed to more sunlight, meaning they develop and carry a wider array of nutrients, not only the alkalizing and healing chlorophyll. As microgreens are older then sprouts they also have a higher amount of fiber in them. Then again, sprouts have other benefits. My final thought is this: Whichever way you do it, upping your intake of top quality greens and vegetables will love up your body in soul in plenty of amazing and tasty ways. Sprouts! Microgreens! Grownup veggies! Munch away!
Sunchokes Three Ways w Black Quinoa & Microgreens
Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes.. this darling has got plenty of names and is widely loved and used around the world. My favourite way to eat sunchokes is either slow-roasted or raw and thinly sliced so I though why not combine these two!? The Umami Sunchoke Sause is based on the slow-roasted ones so it’s super easy to prepare (and later savor) and while some roots are in the oven you have your hands free to prepare the quick-pickled sunchokes and a big-ass microgreens salad. Add the gorgeous black quinoa for some extra bounce and turn it all into a salad or plate it as in the pictures for a true eat-the-season-feeling.
Quick Pickled Sunchokes
250 g sunchokes
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp whole fennel seeds
1/5 tsp paprika powder
1/4 tsp high quality salt
1/2 tsp ghee or virgin coconut oil
1. Rinse and scrub the sunchokes (peel if not organic). Thinly slice using a mandolin slicer.
2. Heat the ghee/coconut oil in a frying pan and toast the fennel seeds on medium temperature until fragrant (around 1 minute)
3. Mix all other ingredients thoroughly in a medium-sized mixing bowl, add toasted fennel seeds and sunchokes last. Combine, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
Slow Roasted Sunchokes
1. Preheat the oven to 175 °C /347° F
2. Rinse and scrub the sunchokes, add to a lined baking sheet and roast for 45 min. They should be heavy and moist on the inside, not dried-up.
Umami Sunchoke Sauce
4-6 big slow roasted sunchokes (see instructions above)
3 tbsp roasted tahini
1 1/3 cup pure water
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
a pinch of high quality salt
3 sundried tomatoes
1 stalk celery
1. Grab 4-6 of the slow roasted sunchokes that you just prepared. Add these and all of the other ingredients for the sauce to a high speed blender (or simply use an immersion blender). Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more salt to taste.
1 cup dry black quinoa
2 cup pure water
a pinch good quality salt
a pinch cayenne
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Rinse the quinoa then add it to a saucepan along with the 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
2. Add salt, cayenne and lemon juice during the last couple of minutes of cooking.
5 handfuls mixed microgreens of your choice
some lemon zest
a few drops of virgin olive oil
a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar
Either mix the cut up slow-roasted sunchokes, the pickled sunchokes, the microgreens, the black quinoa and the final additions (lemon zest, balsamic vinegar and olive oil) into a big salad OR plate it all up by putting a small handful of the quick-pickled sunchokes, a few tbsp of the sunchoke umami sauce and a couple of whole slow-roasted sunchokes onto a plate then add the microgreens, final additions and a serving of black quinoa.
Now head out into the sunshine and bring forth your inner eating-the-season-enthusiast. It’s spring, you guys!
Ps. Remember to show off your creations on Instagram using the #earthsprout hashtag – I for one cannot wait to see all of your innovative nature reflecting plates of goodness!