Yard Fresh

I buy plenty of farm fresh local food year round but my favorite time of the year for eating in Portland is the summer and early fall because so much of what's on the plate is yard fresh -- straight from our garden. Last year I expanded the vegetable garden to the front yard -- before I just had beds and mounds in the back. The front yard up until then was mainly fruit trees, berries, herbs and perennial vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes and cardoons. This year I have tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, chiles, celery, pickling cucumbers and more in the front in addition to a whole bunch of veggies in the back. In the last several weeks the garden has been very giving. Here's a bit of what it's offered and what I've made of the offerings...

 I harvested this year's hard and softneck garlic last weekend and now it's curing in the utility room. Rubin eats just about anything -- in this case dirt.

I harvested this year's hard and softneck garlic last weekend and now it's curing in the utility room. Rubin eats just about anything -- in this case dirt.

 These are some of the softnecks. I mulched them with straw this year and it really seemed to help with weeds and warmth. These are the biggest softnecks I've ever harvested.

These are some of the softnecks. I mulched them with straw this year and it really seemed to help with weeds and warmth. These are the biggest softnecks I've ever harvested.

 A couple weeks ago I took this...

A couple weeks ago I took this...

 And made this -- garlic scape pesto from the hardnecks finishing off in the backyard.

And made this -- garlic scape pesto from the hardnecks finishing off in the backyard.

 Gooseberries look like marbles.

Gooseberries look like marbles.

 I made them into gooseberry chutney with mustard seeds and all kinds of curry spices.

I made them into gooseberry chutney with mustard seeds and all kinds of curry spices.

 Dandelion salad with hot bacon vinaigrette and a side of canned tomato chile puree from last summer.

Dandelion salad with hot bacon vinaigrette and a side of canned tomato chile puree from last summer.

 Vine to mouth sugar snap peas

Vine to mouth sugar snap peas

 Butter lettuce, sorrel, mint, chive and chive flower salad with red wine vinaigrette and crumbled feta

Butter lettuce, sorrel, mint, chive and chive flower salad with red wine vinaigrette and crumbled feta

 Caramelized onion spaghetti with roasted hazelnuts, arugula and feta

Caramelized onion spaghetti with roasted hazelnuts, arugula and feta

 Sorrel pesto with hazelnuts, parmesan and lots of olive oil

Sorrel pesto with hazelnuts, parmesan and lots of olive oil

Yes, I do eat meat and seafood too but other than what the cat drags in and we drag back out -- every spring a couple unlucky starlings and usually a mouse or two -- we aren't producing any animal protein on our urban lot. I have half wondered about the slugs but will leave that culinary experiment for someone else to try.

Eat, drink and be hairy!

You can also check out: Yard Fresh Pt. 2Yard Fresh Pt. 3