Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Everready Dressing Recipe

This one's a constant in the fridge...

1 small shallot, diced
handful of parsely, chopped with scissors
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinager
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp maple syrup

I like to put all the ingredients into a pint mason jar, then cap, shake, and enjoy! Keeps easily in the fridge for 2 weeks, and would be a great glaze for grilled squash, too!

Week 9 CSA

A couple of important notes:

Your next two chickens will be ready for pickup this Saturday, anytime after 2pm. You are welcome to pick them up fresh anytime Saturday or Sunday. After that they are going into the freezer, and can be picked up on Tuesday with your next share.

In your share this week:
summer squash
green and purple beans
lettuce mix
red onions - loose
yellow onions - loose
bunch of cippolini onions
bunch of red shallots
green peppers

More peppers are coming on this week, as well as onions. You can use the onion tops to add a dash of flavor and color just like scallions, and I'm excited to run a few taste-test-trials to see how great a difference there is in using shallots, cippolini, red, and yellow onions. Please let me know your thoughts!

Onion family bulbs store best in the dark of the refrigerator, and if you're interested in keeping the greens crispy, store them in an untied plastic bag. If you don't intend to use your onions/shallots/cipps in the next few weeks, you can "cure" them for storage by bending the greens back and leaving them in the sun for a few days. The sun cues the bulb to develop a thin, papery shell to help prevent bruising and permeability-- like wrapping itself in a brown paper bag. All onions that you purchase in a grocery store have been cured-- and then stored from the summer. As onions and allia are one of the few commercial crops that are sensitive to seasonal day-length periods, they can only be grown in the summer. Of course, we can't forget about South America and the southern hemisphere-- but still, that only gives us, as eaters in a modern, global community, two growing seasons for onions. Scallions and leeks are, to some extent, exceptions.

Here's a pickle recipe, as promised. Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Dill Sandwich Slices-- Makes about 5 pint jars. I like this recipe because it takes the "cold pack" method-- you don't have to cook the cucumbers twice, which is faster, neater, and ends with a nice, crispy pickle.

3 tbsp pickling spice (available in bulk at natural food stores)
4 cups cider vinegar
4 cups water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pickling or canning salt (non-iodized)
5 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic
2.5 tsp mustard seeds
5 heads fresh dill
13.5 cups sliced, trimmed pickling cukes

Other supplies:
mason jars with metal bands and lids
medium square of cheesecloth
large ladle
clean dish towels
towel-covered cutting board for letting jars rest overnight.

I also really like having the gizmos that Ball sells for canning-- small tools that make everything very easy and neat--jar grabbers for removing jars from water or steam bath, a medium-sized funnel for filling jars with liquid, and a small, magnetic lid grabber to get them out of hot water without burning fingers.

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids. I prep these in a dishwasher, making sure that your dishwasher has a "sterilize" setting. While these are washing and heating up, wash, trim, and slice cukes into spears, and prep garlic cloves.

2. Tie pickling spice in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.

3. In a large stainless steel saucepan combine vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt and spice bag. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until spices have infused the liquid.

4. [I like to go jar by jar, start to finish here-- keeps things hotter, in my opinion, but the book has you ...] Place 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp mustard seed and 1 head of dill into each jar. Pack cucumbers into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of the top of jar.

5. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot pickling liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tight.

6. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.

Disclaimer: this recipe is not recommended for first-time canners, as risks exist with food preservation (as in all things) and I can't be held responsible for mistakes or incorrect information. Please familiarize yourself with basic canning techniques before consulting this recipe! Whew!

Anyway, this recipe also works well if, instead of canning for long-term storage, you just want cooked pickles -- in which case, skip all the jar parts and toss everything in the pot! This style of pickles should keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so.

Chickens Saturday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CSA Week 8

In your share this week...
cukes-- slicers and picklers
summer squash
sugarsnap peas (likely the last week for these)
bunch cippolini onions
bunch scallions
small bulb fennel
bunch beets
lettuce mix
baby carrots
mixed green and purple beans
lots of sunflowers!
bunch cilantro
bunch parsely

Recipes for this week... Two Dressings adapted from Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons

Lime-Cilantro Dressing (makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (from 2-4 limes)
  • 1 cup canola or corn oil
  • 1 cup sour cream (your choice, whole, low-fat, or non-fat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more, to taste
  • fresh-ground black pepper to taste

In a blender or food processer, puree garlic, sugar, cilantro and lime juice. With the machine running, add the oil in a thin stream. Then add sour cream, 1/2 cup at a time, blending between additions. Season with salt and pepper. This will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Shocking Beet Vinaigrette (makes 1.5 cups)

  • 1 small beet, trimmed but unpeeled
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 shallot or cippolini, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Simmer the beet in a small saucepan until it is tender. Drain the beet, cool with cold, running water, and slip the skin off-- cut into a few pieces. In a food processor or blender, puree the beet, ginger, shallot/cippolini, and mustard. Blend in the balsamic vinegar. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil, then salt and pepper. Should keep well for 5 days.

Chicken Scratch

Some notes on your chickens...

Your chickens are a hybrid cross between Cornish and Rock breeds-- known for their efficient grain:meat ratio. They were fed premium grain from Green Mountain Feeds, a Vermont-based, family-owned company. In addition, for the final day, your chickens were fed the most local grain possible: soybeans grown here at Green Peak Farm. It's a good feeling to complete the cycle of energy-- even if it is only one day in seven weeks-- and feed grain that is grown here.
Chickens and dried soy plants-- edible beans are inside the shells.