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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MARCH


I must admit, these pre-spring days have been glorious!  The ducks have been in queaven--crusing all over the farm.  Every day a patch of snow melts and is replaced with nice, wet, soggy earth.  The cats have changed their schedule to sleep all day to sleep just most of the day and Simon has been sniffing the new season until he zonks out for the night. 

Usually in March most of our time is spent collecting maple sap with our friends Mitch and Penny.  We hung buckets in the mid February thaw (very early for Maine).  But soon after, the temp dropped into single digits and stopped the trees from "running".  We had a few good days last week and then the heat moved in and stopped the trees once again.  So it's been a funky sap year. 

No field prep or planting yet, but thousands of onion, lettuce, chard, kale and cabbage seeds have been started in the greenhouse.  We finished pruning our last apple tree this week, now on to the blueberries and peaches.  Tractor and equipment maintenance will commence soon--oil changes, blade sharpening and repairs.  All signs lead to spring!


Maine made Dinner
(yes my mouth really did fit around that burger!)



The hoop house is overflowing with spinach.  I have had the doors open often these last few weeks to keep it cool enough in there for the vigorous plants.  Once we crest mid February, the new growth on the plants is measurable--it's all due to the increased day length and height of the sun--what a beautiful thing. 


Winter Share Pick up March 15th from 3-7

Recipes:

This week everyone gets a bag of dried edemame soybeans!  They were grown here last season (GMO free of course!), dried and then hand threshed (the process of removing the dried pod from the edible bean).  I believe I removed all dirt, pod parts, etc, but be sure to scan them quickly and rinse before eating.

To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, dried soybeans should be presoaked. There are two basic methods for presoaking. For each, start by placing the beans in a saucepan and adding two to three cups of water per cup of beans.

The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours. The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing pan in the refrigerator so that the beans will not ferment. Before cooking the beans, regardless of method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.

To cook soybeans, you can either cook them on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker. For the stovetop method, add three cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. If any foam develops, simply skim it off during the simmering process. Soybeans generally take about one to one and one-half hours to become tender using this method. They can also be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about 40 minutes to prepare. Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked since adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.

Eating them!
Once you have soaked and precooked the beans, they then can be used alone as a side dish, thrown into a cold bean salad or a soup or...

Baked Crispy Edemame
Place precooked edemames into a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  bake at 400 until crispy and golden


Spinach!!!
I think this time of year the spinahc is sooo sweet and awesome that it should just be eaten raw in salads or on sanwhiches or just lightly cooked. 

Spinach Chop --Heidi Swanson

16 oz of spinach
1 TBS olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 TBS harissa (or some type of chili powder)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 slivered almonds, roasted
sea salt
grated zest from 1/2 lemon (optional)

Hard boiling eggs: cover eggs by 1/2 in of cold water in a souce pan. Bring to a gentle boil on medium heat.  Turn off heat, cover and let eggs sit exactly 7 minutes.  Place eggs in ice water for 3 minutes.

Roasting Almonds: Place nuts in a skillet and toss every few minutes until fragrant.

Recipe:
Add 1/2 in water to a pot and bring to boil.  Add spinach and stir one minute.  Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.  Spin spianch in a salad spinner or in a towel to remove excess water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Stir in garlic and lightly cook garlic (stop before it browns).  Remove from heat and stir in harissa and add the spinach.  Add the eggs, almonds, salt and zest.  Serve warm or at room temp.


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