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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 15--The New Additions


STAIRS!!!! When we built the barn a few years ago, we put in a nice loft, thinking it would be great space for storage and drying foods like onions and garlic. What we didn't plan was how we were going to actually get up there. I've scaled the north wall of the barn often...but no more!!! Although these stairs are super sturdy, they are utilitarian and are for farmer use only. Please be mindful of the kiddoes!


HONEY!!! This spring a neighbor put 4 bee hives on our property. They are filled with Caucasians, a black and white honey bee. I have seen them often this season, happily pollinating the raspberries and the buckwheat. This past week, the beekeeper pulled his first honey from the hives. It is delicious and beautifully clear! And eating local honey can do wonders for your allergies.


A SWIMMING POOL!!! for Dora that is. I finally broke down when I was at the hardware store the other day. She was a bit afraid of it at first. Going totally under water was a little alarming, but being a duck, she caught on quickly and now goes in for a dunk whenever she pleases.

DUDLEY!!! We felt Dora needed a feathered friend to keep her company during the day and to keep her warm this winter. As you can see he is a bit camera shy (He is the one on the right) and a bit people shy and a LOT dog shy. He seems to be warming up to his new home...very slowly. But Dora likes him, when he is around : )


A MEMORIAL BENCH. Just a year ago, our friend and neighbor, Martha Blowen died of breast cancer. This property had been in her family for several decades and she was a strong advocate and supporter of our endeavours here on the land. She would be very pleased to see the changes we have made and the bounty that her family's land is producing.



I have joined American Cancer Societies "Making Strides Against Cancer". It is a 4 mile walk that takes place on Sunday October 18th, starting at Monument Square in Portland. You may have noticed the can on the sign up table, please feel free to donate or visit www.cancer.org/stridesonline for more information.



This week's Loot: Pac Choi, Lettuce, cucs, zucs, leeks, potatoes, edemames, carrots, melons, garlic, Spaghetti squash


Next week's Loot: Pac Choi, Lettuce, cucs, onions, melons, beets...


Spaghetti Squash

This unique winter squash has a fun, stringy, crunchy texture. After you bake it and scoop out it's insides, it is great treated just like pasta.


To boil: Heat up a large kettle of water, big enough to hold the whole squash. When the water boils drop the whole squash in and boil for about 30 minutes, or until a fork pierces the flesh easily.


To bake: Fork holes in the side. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 1 hour.


Open up the squash and scoop out the seeds. Then fork or "comb" out the "spaghetti"


Mix with salt, olive oil, tomatoes, edemames, capers, garilc, capers...



Leeks

These are a little sweeter than onions, but can be used just the same. Use the stem, from the roots up to the where the leaves branch off. (recipes always say just to use the white parts, but it is such a waste!)



To wash: Cut leek length wise first.



To eat: Potato Leek Soup is a classic


3 tablespoons butter

3 leeks, thinly sliced

1 medium or large onion, chopped

6 – 8 potatoes, thinly sliced

3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or enough to barely cover potatoes)

1 cup heavy cream

salt to taste

fresh ground black pepper to taste
1) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown.
2) Add sliced potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached. As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom.
3) Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you desire) and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

Notes: *Make sure to clean leeks thoroughly and slice only the white and light green part of the leeks. **You don’t need to peel the potatoes as the peels add to the rustic texture of the soup. But make sure to scrub them thoroughly and remove any obvious blemishes before slicing. Although we always make it with chicken broth, this can easily become a vegetarian soup by simply using vegetable broth instead.

Start the soup by sauteeing the leeks and onions in butter until they are limp and just starting to brown.

Next, add all of the potatoes

After adding potatoes, pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover them. The amount you use depends on the size and amount of potatoes you sliced. Two 14 oz. cans of broth is average but use more if you need it.

If I push down on the potatoes with the masher, they will be completely submerged. This amount of liquid results in a very thick soup. The soup can always be thinned at the end with some extra broth if desired.

It doesn’t take long for the potatoes to cook and you can probably start mashing within 10 minutes or so. The amount of mashing you do is entirely up to you. If you like chunkier soups, leave the potatoes a bit chunky. If you want a smooth soup, mash for a longer time. If you prefer a completely smooth soup, peel the potatoes before slicing and puree soup with a hand blender. I’ve never done this but I’m sure it would work.

When the soup has reached your desired consistency, add some heavy cream. The original recipe says 1 – 2 cup of cream but I never use more than one cup. I think you lose a lot of flavor by adding more cream. But, again, it’s up to you. Make sure to season well with salt and pepper after stirring in the cream.




Pac Choi:

The names Bok Choi, Pak Choi, Bac Choi are used interchangeably with Pac Choi, an Asian cooking green that is standby in many Asian recipes. It's a beautiful vegetable with a sumptuous shape from stalk to leaves, a juicy, mild and almost sweet flavor. The whole vegetable can be used from stalk to leaf. Lightly steam it and toss with rice vinegar, sesame oil and garlic or stir fry with marinated chicken and beef and serve over steamed, sticky rice.



Pac Choi Stir Fry

2 T vegetable oil2 cloves of garlic,

chopped onions or leeks,

1 head of Pac Choi, stalks and leaves chopped into bite sized pieces

1 large carrot, peeled and julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned1 (2 inch) piece of peeled,

fresh ginger, chopped

1 T soy sauce

1 T brown sugar

1/2 T rice vinegar

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp sesame oil

1 T toasted sesame seeds

In a large sauce pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Toss in onion and garlic, stirring with a wooden spoon or tongs, for 2 minutes. Do not let them burn. Add the vegetables, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and stir for another minute until the vegetables are hot and slightly wilted. Sprinkle on the sesame oil and sesame seeds and serve over hot, steamed rice.(Serves 2 to 3)Variations: Try adding protein like beef, fish or tofu before adding the vegetables. Even a couple of beaten eggs will do nicely in a dish like this. Cashews or peanuts are tasty when tossed in after cooking and you can always vary the sauce with something store bought like a jarred plum sauce or Thai-style peanut sauce.


Sorrel: These lemony leaves are a great addition to soups or salads.

Sorrel Soup

3 Tbs oil

1 leek

4 cups sorrel leaves

10 cups chicken or veg broth

1.5 # taters, chopped

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 cup half and ha;f


1. Heat oil in a heavy pot over med heat. Add the leek and sautee 10 min. Stir in sorrel leaves, until wolted.

2. Add broth taters, lemon juice, spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer till taters are soft, about 40 min. Puree. Cover and chill

3.Stir in half and half























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