Nothing would seem more natural for a vegetarian than to have a greenhouse and grow year-round peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, in small quantities anyway, plus herbs, right off the kitchen. But, it's not that easy.
Just like outdoor gardens, greenhouses are subject to pests, a problem for organic growers who depend on natural predators. However, greenhouses are highly unnatural settings -- cut off from the surrounding environment and those natural predators.
One who has conquered this problem is Shane Smith, of Cheyenne, Wyo, with the book "Bountiful Solar Greenhouse" (John Muir Publications, 1982).
Smith clarifies many questions about what will grow best.
Chard is one crop that does splendidly in greenhouses. It doesn't bolt quickly in heat the way spinach does, and the same plant can go on producing for months. Chard Cheese Pie is a great way to serve it. And with or without a greenhouse, this is the season to enjoy brussels sprouts -- in the Brussels Sprouts-Squash Casserole:
CHARD CHEESE PIE (4 to 6 servings)
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups lightly cooked chard, well drained
1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
Paprika for sprinkling
Beat together the cottage cheese, eggs, lemon and salt. Stir a cup of this mixture into the chard and press it down in a well greased 8-by-8-inch pan.
Spread the remaining cottage cheese mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle on the bread crumbs and paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour, or until set. Allow to stand for several minutes before cutting into squares.
Variations: Add 3/4 cup grated swiss cheese to the chard mixture and omit the lemon. Add a chopped, saute'ed onion.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS-SQUASH CASSEROLE (4 to 6 servings)
1 pound brussels sprouts
1 1/2 cups winter squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 cups milk or soy milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Clean, trim, and score brussels sprouts; cut large ones in half.
Steam sprouts and squash separately until barely tender. Set aside.
While squash and sprouts cook, chop onion and celery. Saute' onion in butter and oil. Add flour and cook slowly for 3 minutes or so, stirring continually. Add milk and spices slowly, stirring to keep mixture smooth. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Correct seasonings.
In a greased 8-by-8-inch baking dish, arrange cubed squash on bottom and spread over it an even layer of brussels sprouts. Sprinkle chopped celery over the top. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.