I have to admit, I made this dish for one reason only... to serve as a base for my microgreens. They're not essential to this recipe, but I grew them and they're tasty, nutritious and beautiful and I wanted something else tasty to put them on. This recipe is similar to another spring risotto I made before, so I'm not going to score any points for originality on this one. It does, however highlight some of the herbs that are fresh in my garden now and the microgreens I've been growing. I've grown microgreens before, but usually tried growing them outside. This time, I used the grow lights indoors that I use ahead of the growing season for my seedlings. It's surprisingly easy and bountiful.
Learn how easy it is to grow microgreens and learn a trick for what to do with herbs if they're fresh when you're not ready to use them.
8 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups shelled fresh peas or frozen peas thawed
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, cut into small pieces on the diagonal
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt to taste
Microgreens for garnish
- In a saucepan, heat stock to a simmer. (Don't boil, just heat.)
- In a large cast-iron or heavy saucepan (I use a dutch oven), heat the oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes or until translucent.
- Add rice and stir about 3-4 minutes.
- Add wine and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.
- Add 1/2 cup of stock and cook until absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time. When one addition is almost fully absorbed, add another 1/2 cup. Stir frequently. Continue for about 20 minutes or until the rice is almost fully cooked, but still al dente.
- When adding the last or near last batch of stock (about 3-4 minutes to go), add peas and stir.
- When ready, turn off the heat and add lemon zest, herbs, and cheese and stir. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Tip: If you run out of vegetable stock, you can use water as a substitute.
I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).
I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)
This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.
In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself.
With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix DMC-ZS15 compact camera.)
I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.
Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!