Book cover for Seed to Supper by John Tullock

SEED TO SUPPER: Growing and Cooking Delicious Food No Matter Where You Live

John Tullock

March 29, 2016
ISBN-13: 9780757318887

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John Tullock is a lifelong gardener, self-taught gourmet cook and trained ecologist whose previous books have covered a range of topics including aquariums, hardy orchids, sustainable living and starting a small business. His Natural Reef Aquariums sold over 75,000 copies and is considered a “classic” in its subject area. Growing Hardy Orchids was named by the American Horticulture Society as one of the five best garden books of 2006. Pay Dirt, released in 2010, sold over 10,000 copies during its first six months. The New American Homestead: Sustainable, Self-Sufficient Living in the Country or the City has inspired people all over the country to grow food at home. His most recent works are Idiot’s Guides: Vegetable Gardening andIdiot’s Guides: Straw Bale Gardening, both published by Alpha Books. He writes, cooks and gardens on his suburban homestead near Knoxville, Tennessee.

Not since the Greatest Generation marched off to war have Americans embraced home food gardening with such enthusiasm, with everyone from apartment dwellers to the First Family growing fresh, wholesome food. SEED TO SUPPER provides the perfect introduction to food gardening and cooking with homegrown produce.

America is a land of foodies. From local supermarkets to gourmet food trucks, we’re cooking, buying and eating more discriminately than ever. And, as our options for healthy eating grow, so does our awareness of additives, preservatives and other ingredients on food labels that we can’t pronounce (and don’t want). So, what could be more natural than taking our passion for food to the source? To actually nurture herbs and vegetables from tiny seeds to aromatic glory is beyond a mere accomplishment―it’s deeply fulfilling (and delicious!).

In SEED TO SUPPER Tullock takes a novel approach to help growers succeed by organizing cooking and growing information by the nature and size of the garden space itself. Beginning with herbs and greens that can be produced at a sunny window, he moves on to larger containers for a patio or deck, followed by the diversity of raised beds, and finally to an integrated backyard landscape.

Yet, SEED TO SUPPER is much more than a gardening book. Tullock includes more than 100 kitchen-tested recipes that feature the most popular homegrown vegetables and fresh herbs, which can be paired with meat and dairy from the grocery. And it doesn’t take an expert either in the garden or in the kitchen to grow the ingredients or create the wonderfully nutritious recipes featured in each chapter.

Potato Salad with Arugula Pesto

This nutrition-packed salad is as delicious as it is beautiful. I created this
recipe to highlight the peanut butter taste of fresh arugula. The pesto is also
delicious on pasta, on grilled pork, as a sandwich spread, or as a condiment
for soup.

Potato Salad
Yields 4 servings

  • 2 cups purple potatoes, quartered or halved if large
  • 1 small yellow cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed as needed
  • 1 small head red leaf lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, and spun dry

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and the potatoes. When the
water returns to a boil, adjust the heat to maintain a steady boil and cook for 10 minutes. Test one of the potatoes for doneness. A wooden skewer should meet no resistance when the potato is pierced. You may need to cook the potatoes another 2 or 3 minutes, but do not allow them to become so done they fall apart. As soon as they are done, drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Allow to drain while you continue with the preparation.

Bring another pot of water to a boil, add another tablespoon of salt, and drop in the cauliflower
florets. Adjust the heat to a steady boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the peas and continue to cook 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse well under cold water. Allow to drain thoroughly.

Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl.

Dry the prepared vegetables with kitchen towels and transfer them to the bowl with the lettuce. Add the pesto and toss to coat everything well. Serve immediately.

Arugula Pesto
Yields about 1 cup

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup grated
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup, packed, arugula leaves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

With the motor running, drop the garlic through a food processor’s feed tube to mince it. Drop
in the peanuts and pulverize them. Turn off the food processor. Add the butter, cheese, and arugula. Process to a paste. Then pour the oil through the feed tube. The pesto should thicken and emulsify.

To store, transfer the pesto to a storage container and place a sheet of plastic film over the top,
pressing down so the plastic is in contact with the surface of the pesto. This prevents darkening. Store the pesto in the refrigerator for up to one week. The pesto may also be frozen in small amounts, in which case it need not be protected with the plastic wrap. Just transfer the prepared pesto to small freezer containers, label, and freeze.

Cress Tea Sandwiches

Yields 16 sandwiches

One simply cannot serve a traditional high tea in the South without also
serving these traditional sandwiches. This filling breaks with tradition,
however, to lower the fat content dramatically by substituting white bean
hummus for cream cheese.

White Bean Hummus

  • 1 cup dried Great Northern beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Sprig of thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Rinse the beans and remove any shriveled or yellowed ones. Add cold water to cover the beans by one inch. Soak the beans overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans, rinse, drain again, then transfer them to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough cold water to cover them by one inch, the bay leaf, garlic, and thyme sprig. Bring to a boil.
Adjust the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1½ hours. Test by mashing a bean against the side of the pan with a spoon. When the beans are done, remove them from the heat. Pick out and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig, and drain in a colander, reserving the liquid. Allow to cool for ten minutes.

Transfer the beans to the bowl of a food processor, along with the salt, several grinds of pepper, and the olive oil. Process to a smooth paste, adding a little of the reserved liquid to achieve the proper consistency for spreading. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Tea Sandwiches

  • 8 thin slices of homemade-style white bread
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White bean hummus
  • ½ cup chopped cress
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons very finely minced parsley (optional)

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. This helps to keep the sandwiches from becoming soggy. Spread four of the bread slices on the oiled side with the hummus, leaving a border about one-quarter-inch wide all around the edge of the slices, and arrange them on a work surface. Top each slice with two tablespoons of chopped cress.

Spread the oiled side of the other four slices with hummus in a similar fashion, and place them hummus side down on the first four bread slices to make sandwiches.

Trim the crusts from the bread, using a kitchen knife. Then cut each sandwich diagonally into quarters to form a total of sixteen triangles.

OPTIONAL: While the sandwiches are delicious as is, you can fancy them up considerably with
this simple trick. Carefully spread the long side of each sandwich with mayonnaise. Dip the mayonnaise edge into the minced parsley to decorate. Arrange the sandwiches on a platter. Cover with plastic wrap. They will keep for several hours.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from SEED TO SUPPER: Growing and Cooking Delicious Food No Matter Where You Live by  John Tullock. (HCI, March 2016; $21.95/paperback; ISBN: 9780757318887).

Contact: Kim Weiss
954.360.0909 x 212