In his cookbook debut, P. Allen Smith, America’s best-known gardener and garden designer, celebrates the bounty of each season with recipes of flavorful fruits, vegetables, and herbs at their garden-fresh best.
P. Allen Smith’s Seasonal Recipes from the Garden features 120 recipes: 30 for each season. These are dishes that everyone loves to eat. Taking delicious advantage of ingredients as accessible as bell peppers and carrots and as beloved as fresh peaches and tomatoes, the recipes are Allen’s favorites, most from his own kitchen and some adapted from family and friends. They are perfect for those who garden as well as anyone who simply enjoys fresh food. They include:
SPRING: Chilled Pea Soup with Bacon and Whipped Cream; Grilled Salmon Sandwich with Lemon-Dill Mayo; Salad of Asparagus, Edamame, Arugula, and Cheese; Radish Top Pasta; Speckled Strawberry Ice Cream
SUMMER: Savory Grit Cakes with Oven-Smoked Tomatoes; Zucchini and Lemon Salad; Aunt Martha’s Corn Pudding; Rosemary-Garlic Smoked Pork Tenderloin; Peach Moon Tart
FALL: Parmesan Pecan Crisps; Roasted Red Pepper Soup; Citrus-Glazed Turkey Breast; Goat Cheese and Leek Tart; Allen’s Favorite Sweet Potato Pie
WINTER: Cranberry Spice Cocktail; Slow-Cooker Lamb Stew; Savory Rosemary Butternut Squash; Tiny Orange Muffins; Old-Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake
The recipes, many of which are Southern-inflected, include delightful personal stories, full of Allen’s much-loved wit and charm. All-American Blueberry Muffins evoke memories of him and his siblings roaming the woods searching for wild berries; Lady Peas with Red Tomato Relish reminds him of shelling peas with Ma Smith in his grandparents’ kitchen after supper; and Blue Cheese and Onion Cornbread conjures up the great sweet-versus-unsweet Southern cornbread debate.
Allen offers cooking tips as well as advice on selecting fresh vegetables. There is also a how-to guide with basic gardening suggestions for growing the best varieties of produce. If you are new to gardening edibles, you’ll learn that you should consider starting with zucchini (the most “overachieving” of vegetables) and herbs (a windowsill gives you all the space you need).
So, as Allen says of gardening and eating, those well-matched passions, “Dig in!”
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About the Author
P. ALLEN SMITH appears monthly on NBC’s Today show. He is the author of numerous gardening and outdoor living books, including P. Allen Smith’s Container Gardens and, most recently, P. Allen Smith’s Bringing the Garden Indoors. He is the host of the syndicated and public television shows P. Allen Smith Gardens and P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home and is featured regularly as The Weather Channel’s gardener.
Read an Excerpt
Goat Cheese and Leek Tart
Dough for 1 Easy Pie Crust (recipe below)
4 large eggs, beaten
2 pounds leeks (about 2 medium leeks)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ cup snipped fresh chives (1/2-inch pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup Greek yogurt
Place a baking sheet on the center shelf of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Very lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out the dough and press it lightly but firmly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, being careful not to stretch it. Trim the edges, and then press the dough up about ¼ inch above the rim of the pan all around. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Brush some of the beaten egg over the dough.
Place the pan on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Check halfway through the cooking time to make sure that the pastry isn’t rising up in the center. If it is, just prick it a couple of times and gently press it back down with the back of a fork. When the crust is done,
remove the tart pan but leave the oven on.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling: Cut off the tough green tops of the leeks, leaving 2 to 3 inches of the tender green portion. Then make a vertical split down the center of each leek, and wash the leeks thoroughly to remove any sand or grit. Cut the leeks into ¼ inch-thick slices.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, and add the leeks, artichoke hearts, chives, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook gently, uncovered,
for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Remove the skillet from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, yogurt, and remaining beaten eggs. Add the leek mixture and blend well. Pour the mixture into the baked tart crust, and return it to the oven. Bake the tart for
30 to 35 minutes, or until it’s firm in the center and the surface has turned a nice golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for
10 minutes before serving (this makes it easier to cut into portions).
The best way to remove the tart from the tart pan is to ease the edge from the side of the pan with a small knife, and then place the pan on an upturned jar or a large can, which will allow you to carefully ease the ring away from the tart. Next, slide a long, thin knife between the pan base and the tart, and ease the tart onto a flat plate or board (or you can cut the tart into serving portions straight from the pan’s base). Serve warm.
Easy Pie Crust
Mak es two 9-inch crusts
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2⁄3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 ⁄3 cup cold milk
In a bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Measure the oil and milk in the same liquid measuring cup, and add the mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon until the liquid has been absorbed and the dough forms a ball.
Divide the dough in half. Dampen the countertop with a clean wet cloth, and place a sheet of wax paper over the damp spot. Place one portion of the dough on the wax paper. Place another sheet of wax paper over the dough, and roll it out to the desired thickness for 1 crust.
Remove the top sheet of wax paper. Pick up the bottom sheet, and invert it carefully over a pie plate. Remove the wax paper carefully, working from the edge toward the center. Carefully ease the dough into the pie plate. (Repeat this process for the second crust, or freeze the dough for a later use.)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Fold under the edges of the dough to be even with the pie plate and crimp or press with a fork. Prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork to prevent bubbles. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is slightly browned.
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