Sunday Garden Update: Egg Salad and Skillet Soda Bread

As you may remember, last week I showed you where our future garden would be going:

And this week I’m ready to show you our progress:

What? Did you expect to see some green things already? Actually, we’ve accomplished a lot. This weekend we:

1. Turned over the second half of the garden and mixed in what compost remained in my compost turner (which is now ready to accept more compostable things in preparation for use in the fall or next spring).
2. Divided the bed into 32 usable square-foot plots with the help of some green garden twine, three 2×10″s, and a heavy duty stapler.
3. Set up the white picket fence (because Peter Rabbit has been known to visit on occasion)
4. Planted a few things. Let’s consult the garden map:

Squares A1 and A2 now contain 2 Columbine seeds each.
Squares B1, B2, C1, and C2 now contain 1 nasturtium seed each.
Squares D1 and D2 now contain 2 marigold seeds each.
Square C4 now has 4 Romaine lettuce seedlings.
And square A7 now contains 2 green bean sprouts, just for kicks.

Can you picture it?

While it might seem a random assortment of seed numbers, I planted based on how far apart the seed packets recommended the plants be spaced. For example, the nasturtiums needed 12″ spacing, so I planted 1 seed in the middle of each of four adjacent squares. This means that they are at least 12″ apart from any other nasturtium seed, and should therefore have plenty of room. Sure, I have a few seeds leftover, but I wasn’t planting a whole garden’s worth of nasturtiums. (Want to know more about this mad science I’m following? It’s about using small spaces efficiently and growing the amount that I’m actually going to need).

Here’s a close-up of the lettuce in the ground:

Hopefully they’ll make it…I made sure to talk to them when I put them in the ground…

 

The seasonal farmer’s market has started up again. We visited our regular favorites as well as some new vendors. I came home with a few goods, including a dozen eggs which I turned into egg salad which is one of those things that screams spring to me but which I had never eaten before.

Admittedly it looks a little bit like scrambled eggs in the picture. I assure you it is in fact egg salad (and a pretty basic recipe from what I can gather – eggs, mayo, dijon mustard, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic powder, pinch of cayenne). But man, these eggs were of amazing quality. The yolks were huge and practically orange (that’s a sign of a healthy hen diet, by the way). But what I really wanted to share with you was the recipe for the skillet bread. I am of the opinion that everyone should attempt to make bread from scratch. Not necessarily every day, unless that’s just your cup of tea. And hey, did you know you can cook bread in a skillet? And without yeast? And in less than 45 minutes? This recipe is so easy, I do believe a kid could make it (note: I have not yet tested that claim).

Skillet Bread (adapted from Darina Allen‘s recipe)
Yum Factor: Alex – 6.5, Jessalyn – 6
(In Alex’s words, it was just a plain bread: good, simple, great with our meal, but nothing super extraordinary. Jessalyn loved the crispy crust from the skillet)

– 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3/4 cup milk (Darina calls for buttermilk, and though it probably would have given the bread a richer flavor, I didn’t have any so I used 2% milk)

1. Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet on medium low heat.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients.

3. Make a well in the middle and add the milk (or buttermilk). Stir together until it forms a dough. If it’s pretty crumbly, add a splash more milk. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for just a minute or two. Shape into a round disc.

4. Cook the bread in the skillet for 15 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook for another 15 minutes on the second side. (Darina doesn’t specify whether to put the lid on or not. To mimic an oven, I decided to put it on at the 15-minute mark). Serve warm.

The bread will sound hollowish when tapped in the middle of the round. If your edges look underdone, prop the bread up on its side in the skillet to tackle those edges. This is just a basic recipe and certainly could be jazzed up with a sprinkling of freshly chopped herbs mixed into the dough. The convenience of skillet cooking makes this bread seem the perfect sort of thing to cook in the summertime when you don’t really feel like cranking your oven up to 450F+ for a loaf of crusty bread. You could probably even cook it on the grill next to your roast or steaks, if desired.

Okay, so, are you inspired to try to make your own bread now? Or perhaps you’re itching to get outside and commune with nature? Now that spring seems to be settling in and we’re shedding our winter layers, what sorts of foods are you craving? Do tell.

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Garden Update: Egg Salad and Skillet Soda Bread

  1. Jen says:

    I can’t wait to start up my garden as well! Your skillet bread kind of looks like cornbread (I’ve never baked bread but would love to try making it in a skillet)

    • Jessalyn says:

      I do like cornbread in a skillet too! But when I make that it usually takes up the whole pan. This one was more like a lump of dough that just happened to cook in a skillet instead of the oven. What sorts of things are you planning to grow in your garden?

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