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Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 19 Sept 28th and Oct 1st

BEETS
I find beets to be one of those you either love them or you hate them kinda veg. Personally, I love them...shredded raw, pickled, roasted, baked in brownies...anything that can naturally turn your skin a color must be good for you! A classic fall beet dish is borscht. It is a flavorful hearty stew and uses many of the vegetables available at this time if year. I will also unveil my beet brownie recipe once again. Well, it's not really "mine" but I found it in this great cookbook called "Gardener's Community Cookbook". It is a fabulous collection of recipes from all over the states. Mostly they are simple recipes, but very tasty--unique ways to eat fresh veg.
Introducing Pedro (the six fingered cat) and Inca Dink.
So I am a sucker for kittens. They were buy one get one free! I just couldn't help it.


Ahhhhh! A little break on Moosehead Lake.
Today is raining. It always seems to do this right before a frost, which makes harvesting a tad uncomfortable. Luckily it is not too cold a rain. I am planning on getting quite a bit in this wed/thurs, if anyone wants to get dirty : )
The tomatoes are just about done. Seems like the theme for this season--a rush of color and juice, then gone. Feast or famine, chow when you can. I have been feeling a bit gluttonous this year. First it was peas, then beans, then corn (man I ate alot of corn), melons and then tomatoes...now we are moving into winter squash. Oh and onions, but for some reason onions seem a little bit tougher to be gluttonous with. I cut up 16 about an hour ago for catsup and my eyes are still burning!
PYO Pumpkin Party and Potluck this Saturday from 10-2!!!!

This Week's Loot: lettuce, onions, carrots, beets, potatoes, kale, winter squash tomatoes
Next week's Loot: spinach, onions, carrots, pumpkins, chinese cabbage?
Recipes:
Beet Brownies
4 oz unsweetened choc
1 stick butter, room temp
1/2 pound trimmed, cooked and pureed beets
3/4 cup raspberry jam
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1. preheat to 350, lightly grease a 13x9
2. melt choc and butter, add the beets and 1/4 cup of the jam, whisk til smooth
3. crack eggs into a bowl, add salt, beat until foamy. add sugar and vanilla. whisk in choc beet mix, add the flour and whisk until smooth. pour into baking pan
4. gently melt remaining jam and drizzle it over top of batter. bake 25-30 min.
Chocolate Sour Cream Topping
5oz semisweet choc, melted
1/3 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
whisk together until smooth and spread over cooled brownies

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week 18 Sept 21st and 24th

LEEKS
When I think of leeks, I think of fall. One can have spring leeks but to me leeks are best with fall kale and potatoes, when the air is cooler and you need a little soup to warm you up. Leeks are much like onions, but a little sweeter. Many recipes call for just the white of the leek, but we use much of the green too. The white is the part that was underground when growing. The problem with burying them too deep in the ground though is that you then get loads of dirt in the layers of leaves. So I opt for less soil in your kitchen and more in my fields.


I transplant these guys in late April, at the same time I am transplanting onions. They are as small as little blades of grass when I plant them. Now some are 2 inches in diameter and 3 feet tall!

WOW what a bounty this year! I have been scrambling to keep up with harvest and now with fall right on my heels, I have "first frost" nagging me too. Many things will do okay in a light frost but it is good to start harvesting now because it takes a long time to pull food out of the field and get it ready for storage. Storage. I am in need of storage. crates, bags, SPACE--I am out of all of it! I am not panicking yet, but soon you may see veggies piled high in any container imaginable. That being said, please excuse the "tightness" of the barn when you come for pick up. At least it is edible clutter : ) I promise to have the potato sacks out of the way when you come...well most of them..I hope
I harvested all of the storage potatoes this weekend--1600#!!! Sweet. I did have a few brave helpers Saturday am. We certainly got our knees dirty. I borrowed a "digger" from my friend Mitch. It helps to loosen the soil and maybe throws 50% of the potatoes up out of the soil but the other 50%...well you gotta work pretty hard for them. I wanted to take a few photos to show you the process but my hands were dirty too. Besides I figure the best way for you to really know is to get your hands dirty yourself--maybe next year?
So I am a little weary. Good weary though. I do sleep well at night. And the weather has been gorgeous!!!! For the most part I am happy with the season but I am a little bewildered as to why my fall spinach and lettuce did not germinate so well. I think it had something to do with the 90 degree dry spell we had in August, but still I am ready for some fresh fall greens and well, there ain't none. bummer. But we do have tomatoes :)
Sign Up for Apple Cider!!!
Fresh, unpasturized from Willow Pond Farm
Soooooo good!
Freezes great too..stock up
This Week's Loot: tomatoes, potatoes, chard, pac choi, carrots, broccoli, leeks, sorrel
Next Week's Loot: tomatoes, potatoes, kale, spinach?, carrots, beets...
Recipes:
Leek and Swiss Chart Tart1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed (I used a basic tartdough instead)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 large leeks coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups whipping cream (I used whole milk)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Roll out pastry on floured work surface to 12-inch square. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold under; crimp edges. Cover; chill.
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard; saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.
Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer (this took my oven about 10 minutes longer). Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 17 Sept 14th and 17th

SPAGHETTI SQUASH


This picture doesn't really show the winter squashes very well, but they are there, all of those little dots. We have cut them all from their vines and hopefully this week I will get them in for the winter...frost is just around the corner! They are extremely sensitive to cold weather especially now that their leaves have died back and they have no protection.

This week I will give out spaghetti squash. It is a very unique squash; once cooked the insides are stringy, sort of like spaghetti. It is kind of crunchy in texture and has a nice sweet flavor. We like to bake it and then saute it with butter, garlic, tomatoes and edamames.




PYO PUMPKIN POTLUCK!!!
Saturday October 2nd from 10-2
Don't miss out on "the Great Pumpkin"! We will take a wagon ride out to the patch, harvest pumpkins and then head back to the barn for a potluck lunch.


Tomato Tasting

This weekend we compared flavors of all of our tomatoes. I must admit, they were all pretty good, but we did have our favorites. I think mine was Prudence Purple, Zach's was Black Prince. And actually Jet Star was a close second for me. Some of you have given me some great feedback on the veggies you like/dislike...keep it coming, it is YOUR share and I make my seed order based on your tastebuds! Feedback is good!
This Week's Loot: a bit o' lettuce, kale, onions, potatoes, spaghetti squash, edamame, carrot last of the summer squash and zucchini, oh yea and tomatoes : )
Next Week's Loot: Leek, carrot, beet, chard, tomatoes

Recipe

Zach's Style Spaghetti Squash
Bake squash until adente. Remove from skin, then saute with onions, garlic and cooked edamame. Garnish with fresh tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.

Italian Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 16 Sept 7th and 10th

EDAMAME SOY BEANS


I grew up in Ohio and although I did not grow up on a farm, I was surrounded by them. Mostly beef cattle, hay fields, corn and soybeans. Of course most of the corn and soybeans were grown for finishing cows in feedlots. (We all know that grass-fed is better, right?) Anyway, these soybeans, unless roasted, were pretty bland, starchy. So when I first heard about growing soybeans when I was working in PA, these starchy beans are what I thought of. Boy was I wrong! Edamame are a variety of soy beans that are grown and used a snack food in much of Asia. They are easy to prepare and even more fun to eat. They grow on a bush like a green bean. Since these plants only flower once, all the beans are ready at one time. So I harvest the entire plant and make you pick off the beans. Call it my fall break. I harvest as many plants as you guys will eat. The remaining plants turn yellow in the field and I let them dry there. After they are dry, I harvest the entire plant and thresh it..knocking off all the outer shell and keeping just the bean. These dry beans I use for seeding the following year. They are also good as a dry bean, so if you don't get to your edamame while they are fresh, don't be afraid to remove them from the pod, soak them a bit like dry beans and then cook them up.

How do you prepare fresh Edamame? Remove the pods from the plants and place them in a pot of salty boiling water. Boil them until tender and drain. Then you slip the pod through your teeth; pulling the beans out into your mouth--DO NOT EAT THE POD! (stringy!) I sometimes like to drizzle olive oil, garlic or soy sauce on the shells so as you pull them through your teeth, you get the flavors. Have fun with them!

Ahhh, cooler weather! The 2.5 inches of rain Friday night was welcome and this breeze has been heavenly. It feels like it is cleansing the earth after all of that hot and dry. One downside to the breeze is the bit of anxiety it brings me. Wind has always made me a bit nervous but now with the new hoop house, it hits my nerves even harder. Please please please don't blow away or get damaged in a storm!
On a good note, the hoop house is just about finished. I have a few more things to do, but for the most part, it is DONE--barring any unforseen happenstances, like Milo running across the top, ripping the plastic (he did really). I was planning on seeding the first succession of greens the 3rd week of September. But it has been so hot..nearly 120 degrees in there! So hot, it killed all the weeds! That was my plan all along :)

Today truly felt like fall. I started to harvest the cornstalks towering over the pumpkins...so orange and round. Simon, Sunny and Milo all helped. Oh and Zach too, well he took photos of me working. We feed the stalks to the cows and pigs, they love their sugary sweet taste. And it gives them something to play with for awhile.



So this week I will start to limit your share again. The beans, melons, cucs, zucs and summer squash are just about finished. We may have a couple of weeks of lull since most of the fall crops are still in shock from all the late heat. But soon we will fall into fall and be back on schedule. No worries, I won't let you starve!

This Week's Loot: edamame soybeans, zucs, carrots, onions, beets, chard, tomatoes, hot peppers and GARLIC!

Next Week's Loot: lettuce! carrots, kale, tomatoes...

Green Tomatillo Salsa--in PYO garden

Cooking it is simplicity itself; you just chop the ingredients–I did the tomatillos in medium sized dice, and the peppers and onions in small dice, and minced the garlic and cilantro–and then put everything in a pot, bring it to a boil, turn it down and simmer it for ten minutes. I find that the colors look especially lovely in the uncooked salsa–not only does the red onion boost the sweetness of the salsa and complement the natural sugars in the fruit, but the violet color, even in the finished, canned product, looks lovely flecked through the variegated greens of the salsa.
The recipe I give here fills five pint jars or ten half pints. Whether you pack into the larger or smaller jars, the processing time is the same–you boil them in the covered canner for fifteen minutes. Then, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes before opening the canner and lifting the jars from the water.
So, what do I intend to do with my finished salsas verde?
Make
enchiladas verde, of course! Or chile with pork and white beans….mmm.
There are lots of possibilities for soul warming foods to be made with this salsa in the coming winter months.

Tomatillo Salsa For Hot Water Bath Canning
Ingredients:
11 cups husked, cored and chopped tomatillos2 cups diced red onion1 cup green Anaheim or New Mexico chiles, diced finely1/2 cup green jalapeno chiles, diced finely1/2 cup green poblano chiles, diced finely8 cloves garlic, minced1 cup white distilled vinegar8 tablespoons lime juice2 teaspoons ground cumin4 tablespoons finely minced cilantro1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika1 teaspoon salt
Method:
Wash five pint or ten half pint jars, their lids and rings thoroughly in hot, soapy water and rinse well.
Fit jars in the rack to a three-quarters full hot water bath canner, lower into the water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for ten minutes. (Make sure water comes over the top of the jars and fills them all the way up. Turn off heat and allow jars to sit
Put lids in a saucepan and bring to a simmer–not a boil–and allow to simmer for ten minutes. Turn off heat and keep the lids warm.
Put all the ingredients to the salsa in a clean, heavy bottomed dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then turn heat down and cook at a vigorous simmer for ten minutes, stirring now and again. Turn heat off of salsa.