Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Photo: Pixabay

Ingredients:

1 medium head cabbage (any color)
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
¼ t. pepper
3 T. olive oil
2 t. balsamic vinegar

Adjust oven rack to middle position. Place rimmed baking sheet on rack and heat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine salt, pepper and sugar in a small bowl. Quarter cabbage through core and cut each quarter into 1-inch wedges, leaving core intact. (You’ll have about 16 wedges, depending on the size of your cabbage.) Lay cabbage out on another sheet pan. Brush cabbage wedges all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt mixture.

Transfer cabbage to hot baking sheet and roast until cabbage is tender and lightly browned around the edges, about 25 minutes. Drizzle cabbage with vinegar and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Chef’s Notes: Try adding other ingredients & spices to your cabbage wedges before cooking, such as smashed garlic cloves, paprika, red pepper flakes, etc.

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Download a printable version of the recipe here.

Raised Bed Project Provides Food Access

By Gabriela Estrada, Solano Gardens Program Manager

People often say that it takes a village to perform really great things. As a program manager with Sustainable Solano, I can tell you that is true. After all, nothing is done in silos and often some of the best programing I’ve accomplished has been with the support of my team and partner organizations. The collaborative South Vallejo Raised Beds Project has been just that: a collaboration between Food is Free Solano, The Vallejo Project and Sustainable Solano. This partnership’s goal is increasing food access for those living in food deserts and who are interested in growing their own annual fruits and veggies.

Due to the collaboration between these three organizations and other community partners, we will be able to fill 12 raised beds ranging from 1 foot by 4 feet to 4 feet by 8 feet. To date, we’ve received 36 requests! We will need to go back to the drawing board to see how we can match all of our community needs with the very limited funding opportunities out there and ensure that we achieve the mission of increasing food access in South Vallejo. All in all, there have been some very exciting opportunities that have arisen from this collaboration, and I hope to see where this collaboration project will take us!

Learn more about the partners below.

The Team

Food is Free Solano

Food is Free Solano’s mission is to connect local neighborhoods in Solano County with easy-to-access free food from many food stands managed by community members. There are a number of Food is Free stands throughout the county, and the organization is currently located at the Vallejo Fairgrounds, providing food boxes through a USDA Farmers to Families Program. Due to their amazing work, they have a wide network of folks all over the county. While they do not specialize in gardening, a project like building raised beds to increase food access made a lot of sense. After all, in their food stands they often have community members donating starter plants. It was with this in mind that Food is Free Solano Executive Director Heather Pierini reached out to Sustainable Solano and The Vallejo Project for support.

The Vallejo Project   

The Vallejo Project’s mission is to empower youth to realize their fullest potential by connecting them to enrichment and development opportunities in the trades, art, wellness and culture. Because of their objectives, they have a wide network of professional carpenters who stepped forward to help when the Vallejo Project’s Executive Director Adjoa McDonald asked for support in building the raised beds for individuals who needed it. While they could have stopped at building the raised beds, they took another step and provided transportation so that we could deliver the raised beds to their new owners in South Vallejo.

Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano’s mission is Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole, so when Heather called to ask if we could team up, we saw a natural fit. While we had never done anything solely with raised beds before, Sustainable Solano does have a number of online videos and virtual gardening resources on our YouTube channel, as well as our website’s plant resources, soil resources and water resources. Given the emphasis of the Solano Gardens program, we have a Garden Care Plan that was adapted for growing produce in raised beds. And with funding from the Solano Community Foundation, which awarded us funds for the Solano Gardens program, we were able to purchase soil and seeds for the raised beds.

Other Collaborators

There were other people and organizations that made this project possible, including our newest addition to the Solano Gardens program in Vacaville. The homeowners donated wood panels from their barn that were repurposed into raised beds. We will be building a garden at their home on March 20 and April 17. If you would like to support the installation, click here.

We also count on nurseries like Mid City Nursery in American Canyon, who gave us a nonprofit discount and are always ready to answer any gardening-related questions.

Please be on the lookout for where this project might go and ways that you can support should you choose to!

Join CompostGal’s Lori Caldwell for Gardening 101

By Lori Caldwell, CompostGal

Lori Caldwell of CompostGal has given talks for Sustainable Solano on container gardening, perennial edibles and much more! Her next talk will be a Gardening 101 class on March 19.

Dear Fellow Gardeners or Gardeners-yet-to-Bloom,

If you’ve never gardened before or just need a refresher prior to next season, then please join us on March 19 for Gardening 101. I’ll be discussing the process from soil to fruit, touching on the terminology and all the tips and tricks I’ve used over the years. While it’s still “winter,” it’s time to start planning for your spring and summer gardens!

The idea of being a successful gardener to some may seem like a daunting enterprise. Maybe you think it’s too expensive or that you possess a “brown thumb?” Seeds or starts? In-ground or containers? Hand-watering? Drip irrigation?

Gardening is not perfect, but it is fun and rewarding. You will kill plants! There will be bugs, good and bad ones (more good than bad, promise). However, when the year is good, it’s really good! It is worth the journey for sure! Come along with me!

See you in the garden,
Lori Caldwell aka CompostGal

About me:

Gardening has always been part of my life. From houseplants to fruit trees, my family always had something growing. Seeing them tend to their plants gave me the idea that those plants had value. I remember the smell and feel of freshly turned earth, the scent of chemical fertilizers (yikes) and being small and looking up at towering tomato plants.

Grandpa’s garden (Pittsburgh, PA) circa 1970s

I’ve been happily teaching sustainable gardening classes since 2007. Some of my other fun jobs are gardening maintanance and garden consultations. If you need help, please feel free to contact me!

Find videos and handouts from Lori’s past talks and more plant resources here.
Want to connect with Lori? Find her information on our Sustainable Landscaping Professionals List!

The Solano Sustainable Backyards program and the talk are generously funded by the Solano County Water Agency.

Springtime Colcannon

Photo: Unsplash

Ingredients:

8 russet potatoes
1 small head of green cabbage
1 small head of white cauliflower
1 bunch green kale (de-ribbed and cut into pieces)
1 bunch spring onions (reserve some green parts for garnish) 2 leeks
3 cloves garlic
8 Tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups half and half (you can substitute milk)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
parsley (optional for garnish)

In a 350 degree oven, roast quartered cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and leeks until tender. When fully cooked, remove the cores from the cabbage and cauliflower. Cut all roasted vegetables into bite size pieces and set aside.

In a sauté pan or skillet, sauté cut-up kale and sliced onions, reserving some of the green parts for garnish.

In large pan, combine peeled and cut-up potatoes and one teaspoon of salt. Add enough water to cover them and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Immediately drain potatoes to remove any excess water. Return to low heat and cook for 1-2 minutes to remove any excess moisture. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Heat butter and half and half in a small saucepan. Remove “dry” potatoes from heat and mash until there are no lumps. Stir in warm butter and half and half until you achieve a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine warm mashed potatoes with cut up cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks, garlic and chopped spring onions. For a traditional presentation, serve colcannon in a mound with a pat of butter on top, and a drizzle of half and half around the base. Garnish with chopped green onions and parsley on top and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Chef’s note: If you choose to add “charms” to your colcannon, cover in plastic wrap.

Download a printable version of the recipe here.

Braised Winter Greens with Coconut & Curry

Photo: Unsplash

Ingredients:

3 T. avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. curry powder
2 lbs. kale or collard greens, ribs removed, leaves chopped into 3” pieces (about 24 loosely
packed cups)
1 cup low-sodium chicken or veggie broth
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 T. lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup toasted cashews

Heat 2 T. oil in a Dutch oven or deep braising pan (with lid). Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder; cook 1 minute.

Add half of the greens and stir until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens, broth, coconut milk and ¼ t. salt. Quickly cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally until greens are tender, around 20 minutes for kale, 35 minutes for collards.

Remove lid and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated (bottom of pot will be almost dry and greens will begin to sizzle), 5-10 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Stir in lime juice and remaining tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle greens with toasted cashews and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.

Download a printable version of the recipe here.

Learn how to make this recipe by watching the cooking class below