My husband has grand plans: Wonderful, complicated, time consumning, labor intensive, expensive plans. Every year or so he begins to follow a new hobby or passion. It could be anything from windsurfing to beer brewing, from rock climbing to bread baking. The more research and specialized equipment required the better. Some of these interests flourish and grow and add value to our lives, others wither away, their paraphernalia ignored. This years passion is my favourite. This year he is growing microgreens in the basement.
When he first broached the topic my reaction was not positive. I envisioned our entire basement humming with grow lights, a sky rocketing electricity bill, dampness and strange smells wafting up the stairwell, neighbours suspecting a grow up, the SWAT team swinging through our windows in the middle of the night. But his plans were much more modest.
He was able to construct a simple shelf using materials we had lying around, and only needed to purchase a few inexpensive items from the hardware store. The entire set up takes up about as much room as a duffle bag, and smells better.
He was motivated to start growing indoors by the closing of the local farmers market for winter. All summer we subsisted on salads of fresh greens, local cheese, and free range eggs. Dinners were simple, delicious, and healthy. But in winter most of the produce avalable is from California or Peru, so it’s not exactly fresh by the time it gets here. Sold on the health benefits of eating microgreens, which can have up to 40 times more nutrients than the mature plant, he decided to grow his own.
Skeptical, but willing, I watched him and E plant their first trays of seeds, a Broccoli Brassica Blend from Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds. E was ecstatic. She’d somehow managed to learn what seeds are already (Thanks Sesame Street!) and was thrilled to be getting her hands dirty.
E helps water and care for the growing seeds, and in the process learns about where food comes from, and the work involved in growing and preparing it. She’s learning to care for and nurture a living thing, to take responsibility of keeping it alive (without me having to buy a gold fish). She’s also learning that she is capable to doing important work and contributing to our family’s well being.
And she eats the greens.
This weekend when our tray was ready for harvest we decided to use it all at once, and make a large salad. The microgreens were dressed in olive oil and vinegar and served with roasted beef and a loaf of crusty bread.
4-6 handfuls of Microgreens
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Ingredients: Sirloin Roast
1 lb Sirloin Roast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon English mustard powder
- Preheat Grill
- Mix spices together and rub onto sirloin roast
- Grill Roast to preferred level of doneness
- Allow roast to rest, covered for thirty minutes
- Wash and dress greens
- Thinly slice beef and arrange over greens