When I first started a vegetable garden, I had this big dream. I wanted to be able to cook a full meal without going to the grocery store. But, it was so difficult to have every vegetable and herb ready at the same time to cook a meal!
This year I got a little smarter and started freezing vegetables each month so I could have more convenience with my cooking.
Today I ran out of food, and with my husband under the weather, I don’t feel comfortable doing a lot of errands and potentially spreading germs right before the holidays. So, I went out to the garden to hunt for some fresh vegetables and dug in the freezer to see what I had available!
The Garden Hunt!
First, I found a ton of leafy greens. All those Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Swiss Chard, Radish, Mustard, and baby greens are up for grabs! Cut out the mid-rib of older tougher greens, and use the entire baby green or soft stemmed greens!
It just rained which means the peanuts had to be harvested before the seeds swelled and re-sprouted.
Plus, the Wax Melon (wax gourd) needed to be harvested and will add some umami to the dish.
Second, I went looking for other flavors and herbs. Fresh savory and thyme along with garlic and onion chives made the cut!
Third, it was time to check out the freezer for last season’s savory additions! Pre-sauteed onion and whole tomato would easily defrost and cook for additional umami.
Plus, last year’s Scotch Bonnet Peppers were made into a paste and frozen for easy culinary use.
The peanuts were shelled, cleaned, and boiled in a medium pot of salted water for 1 hour (they were green/fresh, so they don’t need a long cook). Leave this pot on the stove on medium low.
Then, greens were washed, tough stems and mid-ribs removed, and chopped. Everything was thrown in a large saute pan on medium high heat with oil and sauteed until all greens are wilted. These greens are added to the peanut pot so flavors can start combining. Scotch bonnet paste was added to the pot as well so everything would start absorbing that sweet heat!
Whole tomato and onion were given a quick defrost in the microwave (2 minutes), added to the saute pan with oil on medium-high to high heat making sure all the liquid from the tomato is cooked off and the onions continue to cook until see through. Garlic, onion chives, savory, and thyme are added for a 30 second cook, and then everything is added to the pot.
Wax Melon (wax gourd) was peeled, the soft seedy core was removed, and the white flesh was sliced into small pieces for maximum surface area. These were added to the sautee pan on medium-high heat for just a minute or two on each side to remove some moisture before a little extra oil is added to the pan. This begins the cooking process without the flesh absorbing too much oil right away. Otherwise, you will have the flesh absorb all the oil and there will be nothing left in the pan to cook with. Saute until the flesh just starts to be see through but still holds it’s shape. You don’t want a mushy wax melon, but you also don’t want a crunch.
Add everything to the pot, there should be some liquid still in the pot but only enough to be in the bottom inch of the pot. Stir well to combine.
Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes while the flavors have a chance to combine before serving.
- 1 cup fresh (green) shelled peanuts
- 4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 6-8 Tbsps oil for cooking (divided)
- 4 cups chopped fresh tender greens (tough stems & mid-ribs removed)
- 1 tsp fresh hot pepper paste (or substitute with 1/2 tsp dry pepper flakes)
- 7 small whole fresh tomato (option to peel tomato before cooking or leave skin)
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp chopped fresh savory leaves, stem removed
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, stem removed
- option: garlic & onion chives (or substitute 3 cloves garlic, chopped)
- 4 cups wax melon (wax gourd), sliced into 1/4″ thick 1″ x 1″ pieces
*Tip: Prep all other ingredients while peanuts are cooking.
- In a 6-quart dutch oven or pot, add 4 cups water, 1 Tbsp salt, and 1 cup fresh (green) shelled peanuts. Heat to boiling, then cover and simmer for 1 hour. After the peanuts have finished cooking, all other ingredients will be added to this pot, so leave on medium-low.
- Heat a large saute pan to medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp oil. Add 4 cups chopped fresh tender greens and saute until wilted. Add greens to the peanut pot.
- Add 2 Tbsp oil to the large saute pan. Add whole tomato and onion. Flatten tomato and stir regularly until juices from tomato are cooked off and onion is see through. Garlic, onion chives, savory, and thyme are added for a 30 second cook, and then everything is added to the peanut pot.
- Add sliced wax melon (wax gourd) to the saute pan (no oil). Cook for 1 minute on each side. Then, add 2 Tbsp oil (or more if needed) to coat wax melon. Continue cooking until flesh just starts to become see through but still holds it’s shape. Add everything to the peanut pot.
- Stir well to combine all ingredients. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit 30 minutes before serving.
*Tip: Add cooked cubed chicken or powdered chicken bone broth for additional flavor and protein.