Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 25th and 28th

Eggplant Frenzy

I hope your kitchens' are as fragrant and beautiful as ours.  Full of colorful veg and vibrant flowers, we are loving the bounty summer brings.  I never really like eggplant before I started to grow it.  Actually, I refused to grow it for my first several years at LRF, feeling that it was a tricky plant to grow in Maine's short and somewhat cool summer.  Plus, since it's not a favorite to all, finding field space for it was never a priority.  But a few shareholders, (uh-hmm, Mark and Anita) kept asking for it so I gave it a try.  There must be something about this place, but from the get go, eggplants just seem to spew from my plants.  And this year has been no exception (although, maybe I have just jinxed myself for 2016!).  In fact, I have made a farm note to grow less next year, we just can't eat it fast enough.  Not only are the fruits gorgeous, but they are a fun sweet texture in the dishes we have been cooking lately.  I think the fresh farm flavor converted me.  So if you think you don't like eggplant, or any vegetable for that matter, give it a 2nd chance at Little Ridge Farm, amazing new flavors might just surprise you. 
Sunday morning has been filled with chopping and roasting, charring and puréeing.  We are freezing baba ganoush and diced, roasted eggplant that will add flavor to many winter meals.  It's raining outside, a nice soft rain, so it's a perfect morning for food prep and savory indulgence.

Last night was also spent in the kitchen, dancing and cooking some amazing stuffed Pablano peppers.  This is the first year I have grown them, and I think they are keepers!  The dish we made was pretty rich, but there are so many stuffing options...potatoes, chicken, salsa...we will be sure to try many variations.  We are also trying to dry a few--they twill turn a rich red and be used to make ancho chili sauce.

While we work so hard, sweating, harvesting, weeding, planting... the carrots just stroll around the farm, hand in hand under the shade of our tropical kale "trees".  Ah, what a life.
This week's Bounty!  kale, chard, sweet onion, scallions, cukes, zukes, summer squash, peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, melons and herbs
Farmer's Table:
  *veggie lasagna with kale, eggplant, zucchini...
  *chard spanakopita
  *pasta primavera
  *stuffed Pablanos
  *blueberry cream pie with a grahm cracker crust
Shareholder's Table:
Eggplant Anonymous:
"I have been cutting eggplants into slabs, then coating with olive oil and garlic scape puree, salt and pepper.  Then grilling the eggplant until nice and soft. Once cooled, i put it in food processor with basil, lemon juice and a bit more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and puree.   I have been using this on sandwiches with melted cheese, tomatoes and lettuce, dipping carrots and pita wedges into it, or using as a pizza sauce and even adding dollops onto a salad.  i am a bit obsessed (and i never cared about eggplants before either)."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 18th and 21st

 Summer's Heat and Beauty

Be sure to enjoy the PYO flower garden!!!  The flowers are amazing this year and unfortunately it's a fleeting season.  Soak up the color while you can! 
PYO cherry tomatoes!  They are just starting to ripen and it's a bit of a jungle in there.  I tried a few new varieties this year, but I admit, I still like the orange Sungold best.  To provide more flower space in the flower garden, we moved the cherry tomatoes across the way, along side the driveway.

Mmmmm Blueberry Pie!
It won't be long and we will be complaining of frost an cold weather, but this week is going to be a bear.  Hot and humid, no breeze...even starting at 5 am gives no relief.  We will do our best to keep up with what needs to be done, but to be sure, we will be wiped out by nightfall.
This week's bounty: lettuce, cabbage, chard, kale, carrot, new potatoes, sweet onions, scallions, beans, cukes, zukes, summer squash, eggplant, sweet peppers, cilantro, dill?
The Farmer's Table:
Blueberry Pie
After that I am drawing a blank, but I know I have been eating well!
Cabbage Recipes:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 11th and 14th

We love our new pasture!

Me too... look at my smile!
Pastured raised can't get any better in my opinion.  The animals get fresh water, sun, bugs, and room to run.  The turkeys "cluck" with happiness and the pigs "grunt" with glee.  These guys have a great life and in turn give us superb nutrition.  You are what you eat!
This week's bounty: lettuce, cukes, zukes, ss, eggplant, beets with greens, carrots, beans, sweet onions, scallions, parsley, cilantro, basil, garlic

Monday, August 3, 2015

August (already?!) 4th and 7th


It's official, the sun is now working for us!  Revision Energy finished installing our solar panels last Thursday.  The power gained from these panels should offset 100% of the farm's energy use.  We are pretty excited about it!
The bounty keeps coming!  We spent part of the weekend processing cherries, blueberries and raspberries.  Zach's mom came into town just in time--she loves to cook--so this will give Zach a break from the kitchen : )  I have been soooooo busy harvesting, it's a daily from now until the end of the year.  It's a fun time, seeing the fruits of our labor, but also exhausting because all the other daily tasks still remain constant as well.  And the humidity takes the spring out of my step, so getting it done seems all that much harder.  ANYWAY, life is good here on the farm.  Hope you are enjoying!
This week's bounty: lettuce? (I think I may be between plantings), fennel, carrots, cukes, zukes, summer squash, eggplant, sweet peppers?, green beans, wax beans, chard, kale, tendersweet cabbage, baby leeks, mini red onions, basil, parsley and a watermelon for the full shares! (more coming for everyone soon)
Shareholder's Table:
"Fantastic meal from this week's bounty:  lettuce, tomato, sliced pea pods, chopped basil, cukes, broccoli, and salmon- lightly dressed with blue cheese dressing" -Deb
"Thanks for another week of delicious food! I wanted to share this recipe that I've made the past few weeks. So tasty and you can change up the seasonings to fit your taste." -Kimberly
"Thought I'd share this recipe with you. I made it over the weekend and it was a HIT!! Fresh tomatoes are the key and I snuck in a little mozzarella!" :-) --Jessie

For the zucchini Parmesan:

·         2 to 2¼ pounds zucchini

·         Salt and pepper

·         3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

·         ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

·         (pepperoncini), to taste

·         ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the tomato sauce:
·         2 to 2½ pounds fresh ripe tomatoes
·         1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
·         1 small onion, chopped
·         2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
·         Salt and pepper
·         teaspoon sugar
·         2 sprigs fresh basil
·         1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
If you have a food mill, quarter tomatoes. If not, peel, seed and chop them. (See step 5.)
To make tomato sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and  basil sprigs. Increase heat to medium-high. When tomatoes are bubbling briskly, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down and are beginning to stick to pan, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on consistency. Remove basil sprigs; taste and adjust seasoning.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment. Trim ends off zucchini and cut in half crosswise, then into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange zucchini slices on baking sheets in one layer and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.
If using a food mill, put sauce through medium blade. If not, pulse sauce in a food processor fitted with steel blade until just coarsely puréed. Stir in chopped basil.
To assemble the dish, oil a 2-quart gratin with olive oil. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over bottom of dish. Arrange a third of the zucchini in an even layer over tomato sauce. Spoon a third of remaining sauce over zucchini and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat with 2 more layers, ending with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Drizzle on remaining tablespoon olive oil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top and edges. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.