Sowing the seeds from your garden in the kitchen
Some simple and tasty dishes that use your leftover seeds
Though spring is most often celebrated as gardening season, I love the fall — when plants prepare to regenerate, producing flowers and seeds to ensure offspring the following year.
I'm no gardening expert — I have a couple raised beds, a few potato condos and container herbs on my patio. I love poking around friends' gardens, asking questions and learning tips that might make me a better gardener.
Over the years, I've gained the confidence to allow a few plants to go to seed so I can tuck a stash away from each harvest for the following year.
I've come to look forward to some of the seeds as much as the plants themselves — poppy pods that transform as they dry into tiny poppyseed shakers, and dill seed that can be used as a dry spice reminiscent of caraway.
And smooth coriander seed that can be plucked while still fresh and bright green to be used as you would dried coriander seed — in a many stews and curries, marinades and spice pastes, or pounded into a world of fresh green sauces with handfuls of herbs, garlic, chilies and olive oil.
(Coriander and cilantro are the same plant, the seed with its own distinctly floral flavour, with just a hint of fresh coriander/cilantro.)
Of course, cilantro seeds can also be dried — or harvested dry — for planting the following year, or stored in a small jar in your spice drawer.
Here are a few things to do with the seeds you harvest.
Onion + Poppyseed Bialys
Named for the city of Białystok in Poland, bialys are often compared to bagels but don't have holes in the middle — just deep indentations — and aren't boiled before they're baked.
The soft rolls typically have caramelized onions and a bit of cheese in the middle, and a generous sprinkle of poppyseed, which you can scatter over the buns before baking, or stir into the onion mixture.
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2½-2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- canola or olive oil, for cooking
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
- grated Parmesan, aged white cheddar or Gouda (optional)
Stir the yeast into 1 cup of lukewarm water, let it sit for a minute and then add 2½ cups flour and the oil.
Stir until the dough comes together, then knead by hand or with the dough hook on your stand mixer until smooth and elastic, adding a bit more flour if needed — it should still be tacky.
Leave in the bowl, covered with a tea towel, for an hour or two, until doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile, set a skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and with the butter and cook the onion for 5-10 minutes, until golden (but not too dark).
Divide the dough into six to eight pieces. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, shape each into a thick round with a deep indent in the middle, like a small pizza with a thick edge. (It will puff up as it bakes.)
Put a spoonful of caramelized onions into the middle of each, and, if you like, grate a bit of cheese overtop. Brush the outside of the buns with a little of the oil left in the bottom of the skillet, and sprinkle with poppyseed. Let them sit as you preheat the oven to 425 F.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and deep golden.
Makes 6-8 bialys.
Roasted Beets & Carrots with Coriander Dukkah
This is a very versatile dish — though it works well with sweet carrots and beets, you could use most any root vegetable, or even roasted squash, sweet potatoes or cauliflower.
Plain yogurt is delicious on its own, or spiked with garlic and/or lemon, or stirred with a spoonful of tahini.
If you have some feta in the fridge, you could crumble some over or whiz it into the yogurt to spread on the plate or drizzle overtop.
The dukkah will keep on the shelf for weeks, to sprinkle over veggies, salads, eggs, chicken or fish, hummus, or flatbread drizzled with oil.
- olive or canola oil
- plain yogurt
- feta (optional)
- tahini (optional)
- garlic (optional)
- lemon (optional)
- 2 tbsp whole coriander seed
- 2 tbsp whole cumin seed
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
- 2-3 tbsp sesame seed
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
To boil your beets, cover them with water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer; cook for 30 minutes or so, depending on their shape and size, until you can pierce one with a fork.
Drain and cool, then slip off their skins with your fingers.
Alternatively, roast them by wrapping in foil (larger ones alone, smaller ones in groups of two to three) and placing directly on the oven rack.
Preheat the oven to 425 F while you trim and toss the carrots in oil, and spread them out on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and golden. Slice a few beets onto the sheet, drizzle with oil and return to the oven for a few more minutes to heat them through.
- Listen to Julie Van Rosendaal's full interview on the Calgary Eyeopener below for pantry staples and tricks for when you're missing an ingredient.
Leave the yogurt plain, or add a finely crushed clove of garlic and pinch of salt, or a spoonful of tahini, garlic and salt, or puree with some crumbled feta, and a squeeze of lemon to any of the above combinations, if you like.
To make the dukkah, toast the coriander and cumin seed in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan, until the seeds are fragrant.
Transfer to a spice mill or a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush them. Put the sesame seeds into the pan and toast until pale golden, and transfer to a food processor (or mortar and pestle), then do the same with the nuts. Add the coriander and cumin, pepper and salt and crush or pulse everything together until well blended and coarsely (or finely) ground.
Store in a jar or airtight container.
Serve the roasted beets and carrots drizzled with the yogurt sauce and sprinkled with dukkah.
Serves as many as you like.