Garden Therapy

It’s impossible to feel bad about yourself or focus on your problems when you’re outside on a beautiful day, playing in the dirt with one of your best girlfriends.

This is my friend Kate’s garden.  I went over to her place to help her plant peas, beets, eggplant, and carrots on Sunday.  We had a record-high temperature that day, and it felt so good to get some sun.

Also, Kate made the most wonderful lunch: homemade hummus sandwiches!  She had made the hummus the day before, I believe, and that morning she mixed up the pita dough and set it aside to rise.  When we were ready to eat we divided the dough into 12 (?) sections, rolled it into balls, and then flattened the balls with rolling pins:

Next, the trick is to preheat the pans in the oven.  Then you throw the pita dough onto the hot pans and bake for just a few minutes.  Some kind of magic happens, creating an air-bubble pocket in the middle.  It was actually quite easy, and SO much cheaper than store-bought pita, I’m sure.

I can’t possibly express how divinely delicious they were.  Oh, and the smell!  They would be worth baking for the smell alone!  I wish these were scratch-and-sniff pictures.

We stuffed the pitas with hummus, tomatoes, and lettuce:

We enjoyed the sandwiches with a side of leftover grapefruit-quinoa salad.  Yum!  Kate said she would send me the recipes, so I will try to write another post with more details in the future.  This post is really just food porn.  And plant porn, I guess.

So, I asked Kate to divorce her husband and marry me.  She declined, but offered that I could live in the spare bedroom upstairs.  Alas, my cats would miss me, but I will be helping with the garden on a regular basis.  She even sent me home with some fresh spinach.  I was amazed that she already had some in the garden; I think she said that she planted it in the fall.  Here it is with a little homemade vinaigrette (another post coming soon):

It doesn’t get any better than this.  It was sweet and tender, not the slightest bit bitter.  I was nice enough to share some with my Dad, and after eating it he said, “I can feel the vitamins and minerals coursing through my veins!”  It sounds hyperbolic, but he’s right that spinach picked two hours ago is a lot more nutritious than stuff that has to travel far to get to your table.  As soon as the produce is picked, and especially when it’s cut, it starts to lose vitamins rapidly.

So, all of this left me wanting a garden of my own.  Of course, I live in an apartment, but not to worry.  If you have any access to sunlight, you can grow something.  Luckily, Kate also sent me home with some starter plants:

Here we have basil, oregano and thyme, mint, carnations, and parsley.  I spent about $20 on pots and soil:

…but fresh herbs are expensive at the store, usually about $3-4 for a few stalks.  Once I use these herbs in 4 or 5 recipes (which won’t take long…I’m a pesto addict), they will have earned their keep.

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2 responses to “Garden Therapy

  1. Yes, I planted the spinach last fall, and I’m still amazed that it over-wintered. The humus recipe is this: 1 large can (28 oz?) garbanzos, drain but save the liquid. 2 ROASTED garlic cloves (you can do this on the stove- leave the skins on during roasting and use a dry skillet.) Puree the beans and the garlic first, adding a drizzle of olive oil and some of the liquid from the can until the desired consistency is reached. Then add at least 1/3 c tahini (it’s a LOT cheaper if you buy it at an Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store, btw) and a squeeze of lemon. Usually I don’t add salt, since canned beans usually already contain plenty. Puree it some more so that the tahini and lemon are thoroughly mixed in, and you’re done! Refrigerate what you don’t eat. You can drizzle some olive oil over it if you’d like.

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