Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adopt a Crop update: Arugula Visitor

Since I got all weepy over the closing of last summer's Adopt a Crop going off on its merry and grown-up way to its new adopted mommy, why don't I just do that again. Right now. For the Winter Adopt a Crop: Rocket/Roquette/Arugula.

The Winter Edition of Adopt a Crop was one of those ideas that I have because I'm sad and missing something and trying to swap the thing I really want (tomatoes) with what I can feasibly have (a vegetable that's not afraid of the frost).

I do this sometimes (think American Eagle jeans for $20 rather than Sevens for $185) and sometimes it works out (see: jeans example) and sometimes it fails miserably (see: Kraft Mac and Cheese rather than Velveeta Shells and Cheese).

I'm happy to say that while arugula is no tomato (obv.), it is a fine winter green that satisfies my need to have a decent salad regardless of the weather outside. In the summer, I make salads almost entirely from my tomatoes and, I think, I'll be making my winter salads mainly from arugula for many future winters. So - I'm calling this winter swap for tomatoes a success. Mostly because it has distracted me from my longing for warm, succulent, rich garden tomatoes that taste like tomatoes instead of sand like the ones from the grocery store do.

OK, nothing distracts me from tomatoes, but the arugula has been good. And I will grow it again. And eat a lot of it.

Why? Because this shit is so easy to grow, is delicious and lends itself to things other than salad. It's diverse, people. Dynamic. Flexible.

It is the tomato of the leafy green world.

If you don't believe me, let me tell you all the things I've done with this easy ass crop that grew abundantly from one (one!) packet of $.99 seeds:
  • Swapped it for basil in Thai Chicken Soup (I need to tell you about this. Remind me. AWESOME.)
  • Put it on pizza
  • Added it to tomato soup
  • Used it as greens in a million salads
  • Made arugula pesto
  • Added it to rice noodles
  • Ate it straight from the garden
  • Slid it into sandwiches instead of limp lettuce
  • Chopped it up in tuna salad
  • Froze it into cubes for future use

Really now. That's a lot of work for one packet of seeds that ended up taking very little room in my garden. I think the space I planted was about 2'x2'. And all the water it needed came from The Sky. Plus, it didn't even balk at frost, wind, cold or rain. And when I harvested it and then let it sit in the sun in a big black bucket for 4 hours, it perked right back up when I rinsed it in the sink under cool water.

If nothing else, this shit is resilient. And I hear it's good for you too, or something.

All good reasons to love this crop and then maybe grow it on your own. Or, if you're brave enough to try something as exotic and bizarre as pesto made from something other than basil (Thank you to Farmgirl Susan for this arugula pesto recipe), maybe you want to adopt this crop?

Oh yes, you want this.

We sent some off with our neighbors (the nice ones, you know), but the batch I made was huge, and I have enough to send some off with one lucky adoptive parent. When it shows up, you can treat it as you would any delicious pesto - spread it on something, stir it into some pasta, swap it for your usual sauce on pizza, dip something in it or just eat it with a spoon.

I will not provide the spoon, but this is my preferred method for eating anything spoonable. Why bother with extra vehicles that take up valuable belly real estate when all you want is the stuff on the spoon?

Perhaps I learned this while properly appreciating Nutella? I can't say for sure.

Anyway, if you are a free-spooning pesto lover or just adopted arugula as this winter's crop because you wanted to see if I'd plant my cat (her name is Rocket, you know) - leave a comment to the effect of, "I want some of your weird pesto" and I'll do the random name picker thing again and announce the winner.

Just comment by this Friday, THE THIRTEENTH SCARY, and I'll announce the Winner of the Arugula Visitor next week. Perhaps on the same day that I announce the winner of the Covert Bathroom Storage since I seem to have forgotten about that whoopsy! I remember now!

And now we can all consider ourselves wiser in the ways of arugula because now I know that it's not just for salad. Even though I totally sin my ass off by making entire salads of just arugula and no other greens and for some reason that's wrong but who makes up these rules? Obviously not me, but I'm telling you, now that we're all Arugula Wise, we can do whatever we want, including making whole salads from this one green and then also making pesto from it while we miss tomatoes. And basil. And fresh corn. OH! And green beans!

Garden update coming shortly. There's news. Fancy Bubba-built-me-something news.


  1. I have never had arugula, so I totally want to try some of your weird pesto!

  2. I definitely want to try this pesto. I tried the recipe with stuff from the farmers market-it must have been too old because it was so bitter I couldn't eat it!

  3. I want some of your weird pesto.

  4. I would love to try some of your weird pesto! :-)

  5. Gimme some of that weird stuff! Oddly enough, I've never tried it because I always hear it's so "peppery", and I've never cared for other greens that are listed as "peppery" (nasturtium leaves come to mind). Nast!

    But if I were to receive your green goop, I'd definitely try it with a very open mind!

  6. OOOOhhhhhh, pick me, pick me! ;)

    shinz3 at cox dot net

  7. Look at me, commenting ALL THE WAY FROM ARIZONA (which is actually closer than I normally am to you, but whatever), just to say, yeah, I'd like to try this. I don't really dig arugula raw in salads (not by itself, anyway), but I think the pesto would be more to my taste. My taste running, of course, to anything that can be dumped over pasta.

  8. Ooooh. I want your weird pesto! It sounds great.

  9. Finny. You're killing me with all this garden talk. We're supposed to get snow tonight. I'm sooo jealous -- very happy for you and all your weird gardening and fabulous, but jealous!

    Speaking of which, have you ever tried growing tomatoes upside down? Do you think it will work?

  10. Years ago I ate so much regular pesto I can't even look at it now. But I grow arugula, too, and I love it. So I'm up for some rocket pesto - it even sounds better!
    And...you are fast becoming my goddess: I've decided to use your latest apron tutorial to make Mother's Day presents for all the appropriate people. Don't your feel cool?!!! Jenny

  11. Gimme some weird pesto! I live in your area, so I should have priority. Makes sense, right? No?

  12. Oh my, yes, I would like some of your weird pesto. Yummers.

  13. Dear Finny,

    Please consider me your one regular reader who does not want to try your irregular, sorry, arugula pesto.

    When I was a child I got separated from my Mommy at a big summer camp inhabited entirely by serial killers, televangelists, and arugula. The arugula chased me. The killers left me alone because I wasn't old enough to go running around alone in the dark in my underwear. The televangelists didn't even notice me because I didn't have a credit card. But the arugula? It came after me with a machete. I ran and I hid. I fell down, a lot. I begged "please, don't make me eat you." But still it came.

    To this day I have nightmares in the produce section. Flashbacks. It's like Nam.

    Keep this stuff away from me.
    Your friend,

  14. As much as I would love to give your freaky pesto a good and loving home, I think you should send it to Decca. Just to mess with her.

  15. I want some of your weird pesto...please.
    I like Arugula, cause it is fun to say.
    How's that?!?

  16. Dawnie, you're mean. If I have nightmares tonight, it's your fault.

  17. i want to win and this made me want to plant arugula and ALSO my running is going GREAT. i got new shoes.

  18. Arugula pesto...I am highly intrigued...

    And while I'm commenting, let me just tell you that while I became addicted to reading blogs a just few months back, yours is the only one I check EVERY DAY. There is, in my humble opinion, no funnier Finn on the Internets.

  19. I totally need to try the arugula pesto! Yum yum yum, I'm imagining it with some nice chicken sausage and some pasta, a nice simple dinner on a Wednesday... Why a Wednesday? Well why the hell not!

  20. Jemima - Really? Are you sure you don't just call it one of its many other names? That isn't right.

    Jenn - I bet they used too many old man leaves from the plants. For the record - Old Man leaves are the giant ones that have been on the plant forever. They get bitter. Also, "Old Man Leaves" is my term, not a technical one. Just so you know.

    Amy, Jill, Mira, Lynn, Sarah, Elisa: You're all in the running :)

    Jeph - this green goop is peppery and DELICIOUS. To me.

    Kris - If you stir this into warm pasta it tastes like a peppery dream. You're in.

    Thimble - You know, I haven't. I heard that it works though. I also heard that if you pull your tomato plants in the fall and then hang them upside down in the basement (root cellar, or whatever some people call their basement), the tomatoes will ripen and be really good just like the sun-ripened ones.

    However, I have not tried any of these things because it seems like a lot of work. LAZY, I know.

    My seeds came in the mail yesterday. I CAN NOT STAND IT.

    Anonymous Jenny - I DO feel cool! I think I need a sweater right now. Due to the coolness. ;)

    Jennifer - You're nearby? Is this call coming from inside the house? I'm scared. But you're in...

    Decca - Thank you for sharing your deep-seeded fear of arugula. I will keep this in mind for our future visits and keep it locked safely in the basement with our inbred cyclops son.

    Dawnie - You're such a giver. And, no. Decca is dangerous when cornered by leafy greens.

    Claudia - I like to say "ah-roo-guuoo-lah" like an asshole. It's funny! To me and Bubba only, I think.

    Katie - You planted some, too?! Awesome. Use Farmgirl's recipe to make this pesto - it's loverly.

    Allison - You can't see me, but I'm blushing right now. And also a little ashamed at how much you probably realize what a nutter I am. Yeesh.

    Cure - That is the most creative Wednesday night meal ever. You're in...

  21. pick me! pick me! because the thought of planting ANY seeds right now is a pipe dream. it's 19degrees outside. i'd KILL to have something growing in a garden. homegrown freshness is a jar, please.

  22. cmon random # generator thingie, pick me you a hole!

  23. This sounds great! I'd love to win some.

  24. Arugula... does this taste like anise? Black licorice?
    Great idea on the pesto!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.