Today’s guest blog post comes from Mark Fennell, the instigator and mastermind behind the Eat-from-your-Yard Challenge week.
The only words from me will be what I ate today:
Green smoothie (greens, banana, plums, blueberries, strawberries, scallop squash)
Acorn pancakes w/ elderberry syrup, 2 eggs
Green salad with roasted butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, avocado, balsamic vinegar and leftover fish
1 apple, 1 orange, 1 grapefruit, pineapple guavas
Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce, beans, and roasted eggplant, peppers and onions; applesauce, sapote, canned apricots
Day Four, Kale, Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Frittata
by Mark Fennell
“But where will you get your protein?” That question was a common response I got after telling people about our Eat-from-the-Yard challenge, and it was often followed by the statement, “Oh, I could never go a week without meat!”
Well, it turns out you can indeed get adequate protein when eating from your yard (and the yards of your friends and neighbors). We prepared for our protein needs by planting several varieties of dry beans, including black turtle beans, kidney beans, and heirloom Pawnee bush beans. The plants grew quickly and thrived in our mild Santa Barbara summer weather. By mid-to-late September, the pods had dried and the beans inside were hard, which meant it was time to harvest. Each day I’d come in with a full bowl, and Gina and I would sit down and pop beans from their pods, occasionally chasing wayward ones across the room.
In total, we ended up with almost 8 cups of dry beans. At 11 grams per ¼ cup, the total protein content of our dry-bean harvest was 350 grams. Quite coincidentally, that’s about the recommended amount for one adult for a week!
But there are two of us, so we need additional sources of protein. We also planted a 4’-x-4’ bed of soy beans, which yielded about a pound and a half of edamame (immature soy beans in the pod). Plop a handful in salty boiling water, and five minutes later you have a tasty, protein-packed afternoon snack.
Another protein-rich crop we grew, albeit with more limited success, was quinoa. It’s prefers a higher-elevation cool environment, but I like experimenting in the garden so I planted it in a few spots around the yard. The soil quality and micro-climates varied, and some plants grew better than others. The quinoa grains are seeds that form in a large colorful flower on a thin center stalk. We harvested them when they were mostly dried. It was a shame to destroy the pretty quinoa bouquet, but we needed the grain, and after quite a bit of threshing and winnowing, we ended up with a little more than a cup of dry quinoa. That’s enough for a meal later in the week.
But not all our protein is coming from plants this week. Our four lively chickens continue to provide us with 2-3 eggs a day, and we sparingly use the milk and chévre we received in a trade with a friend who keeps pet goats.
So as we finish Day 4 of our Eat-from-the-Yard challenge, we have already enjoyed a bunch of healthy, tasty food and we’re neither protein-deprived nor hungry. Here is a list of what Gina and I have enjoyed thus far:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs topped w/ avocado & tomato; hash brown potatoes; canned apricots
- Lunch: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, grape juice, kale, honey)
- Snack: Edamame, tomatoes, roasted squash seeds
- Dinner: Fresh fish, baked butternut squash w/ goat cheese, sautéed kale w/ onions and garlic
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, OJ, nectarines, blueberries, goat milk)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover fish, goat-milk mozzarella, figs, apple, pickled green beans
- Mark Lunch: Fried new potatoes, over-easy eggs, “tangerine Julius” (tangerine juice & milk blended
- Dinner: Frittata (potatoes, eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, zucchini, onion), salad w/ avocado, tomato, and pickled green beans
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, kale, grape juice)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover fish, sautéed squash, apple
- Mark Lunch: Leftover frittata
- Snack: Edamame, figs
- Dinner: Spaghetti squash w/ marinara sauce, fish, roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, salad, goat-milk ice cream
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, grape juice, goat milk)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover frittata, apple, figs
- Mark Lunch: Leftover frittata, roasted butternut squash
- Dinner: Minestrone soup (beans, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, new potatoes, onions, oregano, hot pepper flakes)
Kale, Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Frittata
6-7 small potatoes
3 Tbl. Olive oil, divided
2 c. kale, chopped
1/4 c. oil-packed dried tomatoes
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 c. goat milk
1/2 – 3/4 c. goat cheese
Salt/pepper to taste
1. Boil whole potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain water and smash potatoes to flatten.
2. Place flattened potatoes on bottom of greased pie pan. Put a little oil on top of potatoes.
3. Bake in 400 degree oven about 10 minutes.
4. Sauté kale, onion, and zucchini in olive oil until tender.
5. In another bowl, mix eggs, milk, sun-dried tomatoes together. Add salt and pepper.
6. Put sautéed kale mixture on top of potatoes. Add crumbled goat cheese. Pour egg mixture over all.
7. Bake in 350 degree oven about 30 minutes until done.