April 11, 2012

You’ve already read about our garden project that’s underway for next year’s Summer Cookbook (catch up

How has Maple Valley changed the way you think about food?
The way I cook has done an about-face. Much like cooking from a CSA or what's in season, our menu is dictated by what's fresh. That's the riddle and the fun of it, really.
I love searching recipes by ingredients to make the most of our harvests. I think, inadvertently, it's also made us eat healthier (though I'm not opposed to decadent homemade vanilla ice cream and cookies, still!). I married a meat and potatoes Italian guy who now has recipes like fresh Lacinato kale salad, baked kale chips, or poached eggs and asparagus in regular rotation!  

We're so excited you guys are planting for us. Have you learned anything new during the process? Anything you would've done differently?
I've learned that it's truly more fun to "give than get." We've found it so rewarding and exciting to grow our own food and enjoy the whole seed-to-plate process. Watching veggies ripen and thumbing cookbooks for new ways to prepare the harvest brings such a neat experience to the dinner table. But, partnering with you all has made it exponentially more fun because we've been able to share the joy and surprises with folks new to pulling up tasty radishes or carrots fresh from the soil, and watching that satisfaction and smile.

And we know our desire of what to grow never matches the space we have—you just have to roll with what Mother Nature gives. It was unseasonably hot for radishes in March (85 degrees!) and some bolted to set seed. Seasoned foodies say radish pods are a delicacy in stirfry and salads, so why not make "lemonade" out of lemons?

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