Kitchen Experiments


A few weeks ago, I decided to grow my own micro greens. I got tired of looking at Studio Kitchen and Ideas in Foods photographs where each bite has a leaf or two of what I’m sure is this incredibly tasty, vibrant microgreen.
I went to our Molino and got a bunch of seed packs and little brown cardboard type planter boxes and then planted: chicory, fennel, parsley, mache, arugula and something called “raperonzolo” that I have no idea what it is, except the picture on the packet looks like a white carrot.
Observation #1: I thought it would take a few days; it took a few weeks to get these itsy bitsy sprouts.
Observation #2: the fennel was a total dud, not even one sprout. I’m disappointed.
Observation #3: Raperonzolo seeds are really, really tiny. The dot over this “i” is bigger than a raperonzolo seed.
Observation #4: with the exception of the arugula, everything else just tastes vaguely ‘green’.Microgarden

So, all those lovely photos of microgreens tossed on a single bite of sous vide poached salmon….are they just there to look good, or have I missed the boat entirely in my micro garden?

We are in the heart of pomodori, or tomato season. They are cheap, cheap at the market, and mighty tasty. I took a batch, sliced them and stuck them up on the roof to make sun dried tomatoes. Hell, we’ve certainly got sun and now we have tomatoes, so it seemed like a natural. I’ll report back….maybe in a few days, maybe in a few weeks. I’ve learned to scale back my expectations.

Dried pink peppercorns are a new obsession. I tasted them at Pink_pepprcorns
 , the wonderful beach restaurant in the Le Marche region, and then I tried to recreate them.  I poached the peppercorns in a very strong simple syrup and then put them in a low oven to dry. I wound up making pink peppercorn brittle, too much syrup, and not enough dry time. But, if I break apart the individual peppercorns, they taste great, a burst of sweet, flowery heat, and they were a delicious surprise note in a recent batch of mountain strawberry gelato.  I got the strawberries off the back of a truck up in Castellucio; tiny, sweet berries that you normally don’t see around here. I dropped the peppercorns into the gelato maker, one by one, so they wouldn’t clump up and it was certainly tedious, but worth the effort. See what I mean about obsession?

Who knows what’s next? Thanks god, I have a tolerant husband.


  1. mitch on August 7, 2008 at 8:46 am

    To me, it’s the whole baby vegetable thing…they never taste as good as a fully mature veg.

    For really easy micro greens, can you get seeds for mesclun mix or just a bunch of different lettuces? Then, grow ’em all together in half a wine barrel or a big planter – just pick ’em when they’re really young!

  2. Swisskaese on August 14, 2008 at 7:03 am

    I failed trying to grow anything from seeds. I feel like a complete failure, but…. I am not giving up and am still determined to grow some artichokes.


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