The Daily: 10 April 2023

Prune forsythia and lilacs after they flower.
     — The Old Farmer's Almanac

First Planting Day!

Peas and fava beans, soaking

I gambled on the weather, betting that last night’s freeze will be the last dip below 25°F and this week’s projected 70s warmth will be as inspirational to the seeds as it is to me. I planted several rows of peas, saving plenty for fall sowing. There are greens in every bed where they will leaf out and keep the soil moist for the later veg and flowers. I mixed radishes, beets, turnips and carrots in one bed, and sowed a few rows of bunching onions in with the garlic that is now about 4″ high. I have nasturtiums and calendula ready to go as soon as the soil gets above 50°F, and I started soaking the sweet peas (in a bowl that is used mostly just for that since they’re poisonous).

It’s not much, but it is a hopeful start. By the end of May, I’ll have peas and greens and lots of new roots for the dinner table. There may even be asparagus and the first strawberries. I don’t store much from the early summer harvest. It’s too early to use the root cellar, and I can’t seem to set peas aside for the future. (A big part of the reason that I sow fall peas as well.) I grow just enough asparagus to eat fresh from the garden until I get tired of it, so that rarely gets frozen. I do freeze strawberries — I’m eating last year’s now — but there usually aren’t enough of them to fill a quart freezer bag until later in June. The first ones barely make it to the kitchen before I pop them in my mouth.

Blooming crocus!

I had crocuses blooming last week and the daffodils are racing to make up for the late start. Still no sign of opening buds on the trees, so sugar season is still going, but that might change by next weekend. I can’t imagine that the trees would snooze through summer temperatures. On the other hand, the lilacs seem to be ready to burst and the forsythia is covered in pea-sized swellings that will turn sunshine yellow in a few days and then explode into flowers.

With all this spring excitement, I decided to make a quiche, using up the last of the shallots — which kept remarkably long just sitting in a basket on a dark shelf in the kitchen. I saved enough bulb-lets to plant more of this amazing variety, which I don’t remember being touted as a long-keeper. I guess I lucked out. I bought kale from the co-op and had some local sheep’s milk cheese and fresh butter. I also used a locally pre-made whole wheat pie crust that has been living in the freezer since Candlemas. They come in packs of two. I rarely use two at once. So there’s always that one that sits around until I remember to use it. If you’re feeding more than four people (or one teenaged male), then it makes sense to double this recipe and use both pie crusts.

Spring Quiche

Quiche, just out of the oven


3-4 Tbs butter
4 medium shallots, minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
8-10 leaves kale, washed well & chopped
     (I used Winterbor.)
up to 1/4 cup marsala cooking wine
2-3 tsp pink salt, coarsely ground
6 eggs
1 cup shredded sheep's milk cheese
     (I used Vermont Shepherd Invierno.)

1 9" pie crust (your own or pre-made)
Herb mix
     1 tsp French thyme
     1/2 tsp marjoram
     1/2 tsp winter savory
     1/4 tsp chervil
     1/8 tsp white pepper

Yes, I appreciate the irony of a spring quiche made with winter kale and winter cheese…


Peel and mince the shallots and garlic.

Wash the kale very well. (Dirt loves to cling to those wrinkles). Chop it coarsely.

Melt the butter over medium heat.

Sauté the shallots until they are translucent but not browned.

Add the garlic and kale.

Pour the marsala wine over the veg and sprinkle with coarsely ground salt of some special variety.

Turn the heat to low and let the kale wilt in the pan, stirring occasionally.

Shred the cheese into a large bowl.

Add the eggs and beat together.

Add herb mix. I’ve suggested amounts, but use what you like. You might also use other herbs. Parsley and chives go very well in this recipe; I just don’t have any fresh right now.

When the kale is mostly wilted and somewhat dark, take the pan off the heat.

Let it cool a bit and then add to the egg mixture. Beat this all together well.

Pour into a 9″ pie crust, of your own making or pre-made.

Bake in the lower part of the oven at 350°F for one hour.

It is done when it is browned and firm.

Let it set a bit before cutting and serving.

If you have extra kale, toss it with capers, thinly sliced red onion, toasted hazelnuts and a vinaigrette dressing and serve as a side salad. Goes very well with a crusty wheat bread. (Which also just happened along today as well…)

Suggested Soundtrack

Ordinarily, I might listen to Peter Gabriel’s majestic Passion on Easter Sunday. But today, I slipped in Lisa Gerard’s eponymously named collection from her decades of work with Dead Can Dance and many movie composers.

With music like this, who needs ritual!

©Elizabeth Anker 2023

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