Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week 2, June 1st and 4th

Tat Soi

So this year I decided I wanted to focus on a vegetable each week. I realise that some veggies are mystery veggies to you all. Or that even common veggies are seen on a shelf and not in the ground, so you may not know that a carrot grows under ground, or that broccoli looks like a mini tree... so I thought it would be fun to show you.

This week's featured vegetable is tat soi. I grew it for the first time last year and it was a big hit in the CSA. I transplant these guys, but I could also direct sow them in the ground and harvest them as little leaves (like I do spinach) and they would grow again for a 2nd and maybe even 3rd cutting. However head harvesting is much more efficient for me.

What is it's nutritional Value? Greens are high in fiber, vitamins, calcium and antioxidants.
What does it taste like? Well, I think it is a bit like spinach, but with more flavor. It is in the brassica family, so it has a tiny bit of mustard flavor, but hardly.

How do you eat it? You may eat this Asian green raw or cooked. Cut it up in your salad, put it in a soup, stir fry, casserole...Don't over cook it though!

How can I store it? I bought those green veggie bags that absorb ethylene (the gas that a plant emits as it is aging), and they work great! Can buy them at FW Horsch in Brunswick. But you may also place then in a plastic bag in your crisper.

I hope you love it! I have a few succession plantings going so you will get it more this year than last (that was many's request), but we will take a break in the heat of the summer and resume again in the fall. (HA! that is to say it usually isn't this hot right now!)

Walking through the strawberry patch this afternoon, I was sooooo happy to see some shining yellow-centered flowers...and some small green fruits! The plants were alive with buzzing bees and hopefully with a little rain this weekend, we will get a nice crop. Whew! much better than I expected!

Some of you may notice that I am writing this on Saturday (I am NEVER this early!!!). This California weather has helped me to catch up quite a bit. I mean when there is so much sun and no rain, there really isn't an excuse not to work. I have actually been enjoying the routine of starting at 6am, working til noon, breaking til 3 and then working til dark. It's been the only way I have been able to transplant anything...right at dusk. Plus it allows me to catch up on paperwork midday in the cool of the house and not wilt along with the poor little plants.

This week's loot: chives (you may have to remove some tough stems, but you can eat the flowers), sorrel, sage, tat soi, lettuce, spinach

Next week's loot (yes we should have weekly pick ups now!!!): more greens and some herbs, I'll let you know

Recipes: Alright so here's the honest scoop. I find most of the recipes on the web, so much of the time I have never tried them before. BUT I do try to pick recipes that sound good, simple and include much of the ingredients you can get here at the farm. And to be totally honest...Zach is really the chef around here (I just make baked goods) and he rarely uses a recipe, so I can't really duplicate his ability to make something out of "nothing". So let me know if you like the recipe, or PLEASE let me know if you have one you'd like to share!

Browned Butter Pasta with Tatsoi Serves 2
Your pasta of choice, preferably curved or with ridges

1/2 stick unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Leaves of 2 bunches of tatsoi, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped sage
Freshly grated Parmesan
Lemon wedges, optional

Cook pasta to al dente in salted water.
When pasta almost done done, melt butter in a skillet. Swirl the butter in the pan as it foams. (At this point, remove pasta from the heat and drain well in a colander.) When butter begins to brown, toss in pasta and mix to coat with butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Add tatsoi and sage and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Plate and serve immediately with grated Parmesan and lemon wedges on the side.

Gingery Sauteed Tat-Soi with Tofu Steaks Serves 2

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into "steaks"
1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
2 small bunches of tat-soi
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients from soy sauce through cayenne pepper.In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add tofu steaks; cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to skillet; add tat soi; once wilted, add sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook just until sauce slightly thickens.Divide greens on plates. Top with half of the tofu. Drizzle with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Tat Soi and Mustard Dressing
12 oz. washed and chopped tatsoi
handful of chopped chives
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, salt and oil. In a wide skillet or wok combine tatsoi and dressing and saute until leaves are tender but stalks are still crunchy. Add scallion greens and toss. Arrange tatsoi on serving platter and drizzle with any remaining dressing from the pan.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The First Pick-Up


A few weeks ago I was asked "what is the most challenging thing about farming?" Without hesitation, I responded "the weather". If it's not too wet, it is too dry, if it's not too hot, it is too cold, if there's not a nice breeze to waft the black flies away, it is gusting 50mph, and so on. I hate to say it, but I wish we could have a little rain. A normal amount, like a nice soft inch per week. We are planning on a little irrigation for the driest fields in the driest months, but we aren't quite there yet. The other bonus to having irrigation would be to save the tender strawberry flowers when a frost threatens. Unfortunately, we got down to 22 degrees here last week and 90 percent of the strawberry flowers froze. That means no berries : ( Well, hardly any. We are hoping for a few handfuls...

Ahhh, okay, on to brighter things! Even if we did have an early spring coupled with a late frost, I will take this spring over last year's any day! Milo is enjoying this fine spring. He rests while I work, he thinks it is a purrrrfect arrangement. Thank you for supporting our farm--we hope the season surpasses your expectations.

Mid Coast Growers
Rt 125, Bowdoin
Many of you know that I do not have a green house yet. So I have been renting space at a greenhouse just 7 miles away in Bowdoin. It has been a great deal for me. I usually go in twice a week and seed and/or transplant things, then while I am back here cultivating the soil, Dale is at the green house watering my plants whenever he waters his. This spring it was a wee bit tight for space, but I think we were both happy with spring bursting at the seams.
Hanging baskets from Dale will be here for sale at the farm $25 each--they are gorgeous!

He has three HUGE is my little square of plants : ) They have beautiful neighbors!
Well this week's loot will be light, but hopefully very tasty. We will take a few weeks' break and then resume the second week of June. I will be in touch to let you know dates...until then enjoy and Happy Spring!!!
Asparagus--the first year I could pick! (they are only 3 year old plants)

Winter Carrots and Parsnips--These sweet guys were in the ground all winter

Rutabagas--The wonder of all root storage crops!

Rhubarb--The spring "fruit"

Sorrel--A lemony spring green, great with fish or in soups, or with eggs!

Chives--Use a bunch, just like onions, raw or cooked
Hamburg Parsley--This is a root that tastes just like parsley! You can shred it and eat it raw, or chop it up and cook it wherever you want that fresh parsley flavor

Sorry no greens. I decided to let them get a bit bigger, so you can enjoy them in June : )

Recipes: The Smitten has been my new favorite blog for recipes. This one is for potato gratin, but check out the bottom for "more gratin ideas" she uses, sorrel, parsnips...I bet you could even use rutabagas!

Rhubarb--There are loads of sweet breads and cobblers you could make with rhubarb, but my favorite thing to do is to eat vanilla ice cream with rhubarb sauce...

chop the rhubarb
place it in a saucepan
add just a, 1/8" of water to pan
on low/med heat the rhubarb til it falls apart and makes the consistency you want for your can even add a touch of maple syrup

Sorrel Omelet
4 eggs
1 tablespoon cream
1 cup sorrel, cleaned and shredded
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 tsp salt
In a heavy pan, heat half the butter and add sorrel and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, while stirring. Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl, beating gently. Add the sorrel mixture and combine. Add the remaining butter to a skillet and heat until butter is slightly browned. Add the egg mixture and stir briskly with the back of a fork or spoon until the eggs are evenly spread on the bottom of the skillet. Keep moving the unset eggs around with the utensil smoothly until there is no liquid left. Do not overcook. Shake the pan gently over the heat a few times. Fold the omelet over in half and serve.
Sorrel Soup:
1/2 pound sorrel
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
Clean and shred sorrel, then chop. In a large heavy pan, heat butter. Add sorrel and cook, stirring, for ten minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Add the water, potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and mash or puree the vegetables. Stir the cooking liquid into vegetables and return to pan. Bring to boil. Stir in milk and yolk. Cook until hot, but do not boil.
Lentil Soup with Parsley Root and Carrots
1 lb Dried lentils, -washed and drained
1/4 c Lard, bacon drippings, -or oil
2 md Onions or leeks, chopped
1 parsley root or parsnip, chopped
2 md Carrots, sliced
1 c Sliced fennel or celery
8 c Water
1 t Salt to or to taste
Several whole black pepper-corns
2 Whole cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 lg Potato, peeled and grated
2 lg Links (or 4 small) smoked -sausage, skin pricked-with fork
2 tb Good vinegar
In a large pot, heat fat and add carrots, root vegetable and onions. Saute until onions are golden. Add lentils, water, celery, and seasonings. Grate the potato into the mixture and add sausage. Simmer covered 1 hour until lentils and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves. Add vinegar just before serving and adjust salt. Serve with a crusty bread and salad. Serves 4-6