Garden Center Demos

Every third Wednesday of the month, I trek down to the http://civicgardencenter.org to do a 1 hour cooking demo from 6 to 7 PM. Normally, pre-Covid, we held classes in 3 different HUB gardens around the city. One garden was in OTR, one in the West end and one in Amberly Village. Anyone could attend the classes and we did a taste test at the end.

The classes are now virtual and anyone can sign up around the country. It’s not quite the same without an audience and I miss the interaction of participants and taste test at the end. But, it’s still a way for me to share my nutrition knowledge and participants can ask questions online during the class. A gardening tip class is also available on the first Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7 PM. Sign up here: https://www.civicgardencenter.org/classes-events/#cookingfromyourgarden2

What’s cooking?

The purpose of the garden demos is to highlight the seasonal produce that’s growing and provide nutritional benefits. It’s also a way to show how to use the produce, reduce food waste and taste something new. This month, we shared the recipes early so participants could cook along with me.

The challenge

What’s challenging for me is to find a new and different recipe each month since some of the produce gets “repeated”. Kale, for example, is available for several months in the summer through fall. You can only make so many kale salads and soups! But, there’s so many different ways to enjoy this hearty vegetable, I can always find new ways to enjoy it.

Stir fries

This month, I opted to use cabbage and peppers in an Asian stir fry. I make this at home periodically, but have a picky daughter that’s not fond of ginger or soy sauce. But, if I’m doing the demo for another crowd, well- the skies the limit.

What I discovered with this recipe is that corn starch should be added with the vegetables and oil before cooking. What a difference this made! The sauce was consistent and not clumpy. Try it yourself with any garden (or store bought) vegetables you have on hand.

Nutritional benefits:

From a nutritional standpoint, this recipe is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, folate and other cancer-fighting nutrients. It can be served as a side dish or add chicken, pork, tofu or other protein and serve over rice, noodles or other grain for a full meal.


1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ginger paste or chopped ginger root

¼ cup canola oil, divided

1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets

¼ head of cabbage (green or red)

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 carrot, julienned

2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

2-3 Tbsp. water

½ red, white or yellow onion, thinly sliced

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Sesame oil

½ cup chopped cilantro


  1. Place cornstarch, garlic, ginger paste and 2 Tbsp. canola oil in a bowl. Add broccoli, cabbage, bell pepper and carrots and toss to coat.
  2. Heat the remaining canola oil in a large skillet or wok.
  3. Cook vegetables in skillet for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the soy sauce, water and onions.
  4. Continue to cook vegetables until onions are translucent.
  5. Drizzle sesame oil over the vegetables and serve with chopped cilantro.

Makes 6 servings.






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