Adventures in Gardening

If you have been following along with our story, you will recall that Harrison put together a mini greenhouse several weeks ago, and there was much rejoicing.  We immediately seeded the ground with some cold-weather crops–radishes, various types of lettuce, and some spinach.  We watered and waited patiently and were thrilled when a huge flush of green began to emerge.  Days went by, and that field of green turned into a field of something that looked nothing like lettuce:

Hmmmmmm…I picked a few and tasted:

Yes, just as I suspected–we had been nurturing two large swaths of baby dill.  The dill had gone to seed in the garden and when we moved in the soil we had inadvertently planted lots and lots and lots of dill.  No lettuce seed had managed to win the fight, just dill and a few lonely radishes.  Sigh.

Well, at least we like dill.

I have been reading the lovely book A Homemade Life, by the author of the acclaimed blog Orangette, and last night I went to sleep with sensory images of her meatballs in yogurt sauce dancing through my head.  We don’t do typically do meatballs around here, and the recipe called for cilantro and cumin, but I thought, hey, how about chickpea croquettes with dill?  Not much like the original recipe, but I thought it sounded like a great way to use up a bunch of volunteer baby dill.  I started by rinsing and draining a 25-ounce can of chickpeas and putting them in the food processor with a third-cup each of pine nuts and golden raisins, along with a good fistful of dill fronds and a sprinkle of salt.

I pulsed this to a chunky paste–you want some texture left, so don’t go too far with this:

If the golden raisins sound strange, please trust me and try them–they add a burst of sweet, slightly citrus flavor to the croquettes and you will not be thinking “raisins” when you taste these.

Stir a whole egg, a teaspoon of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and a half cup of breadcrumbs into the chickpea mixture, then refrigerate for thirty minutes to let it firm up a bit.  Form into small balls (I made eighteen):

Working in two batches, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and brown the croquettes, turning to brown on all sides. Repeat with the other half and another tablespoon of olive oil, if needed.  They will flatten a little as you move them around, but this is charming, right?  You don’t want them to look like they came from a falafel factory.   Place the first batch in a warm oven or on a warm plate tented with foil while you cook the second batch.

When they are nice and golden they are ready to eat.  I doubled my dill usage by serving these with an easy yogurt-dill sauce, made with plain yogurt seasoned with some garlic, a little lemon juice, some ground white pepper, and another fistful of snipped dill.

We will need to eat about another 38 batches of this recipe to use up the rest of that dill, so fortunately they taste pretty good.  They would be good cold, too.

The annoying part, of course, is the total lack of lettuce in the greenhouse.  Ah well, this is a lovely recipe.  They would also be nice tucked into some pita bread or tossed with some buttered egg noodles and sprinkled with more dill.  If you need some dill, let me know–I can hook you up.

Thanks for reading,

-Angela

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5 Responses to Adventures in Gardening

  1. Karen Harris October 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    All of your dill makes me think of putting up some dill pickles. I'd love to think that I make delicious pickles to share with my family and friends but the last ones tasted a bit like cucumbers in gasoline. My daughter would LOVE your recipe. I'll pass it on to her.

  2. Eric October 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Too funny!

  3. Angela FRS October 28, 2010 at 3:49 am #

    Karen, we made an inedible batch of dills last year–something went horribly wrong with the salt. I feel your pain.

  4. Erin January 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    What r the measurements for your dill sauce? This sounds great cant wait to try it!

    • Angela January 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Hi Erin: For about a cup of yogurt you would want a teaspoon of crushed garlic (I like to use garlic paste for this type of thing), a quarter teaspoon of white pepper, juice of half a lemon, and anywhere from a quarter of a cup to a half of a cup of fresh dill, finely chopped. Hope that helps! This is one of my favorite recipes.

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