Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
"This simple snappy salad with fennel seeds and roasted peanuts can be made as spicy as you like by adding a few more chiles.
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/4"-thick crescents (about 4 cups)
2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 to 2 tsp seeded, minced fresh chile (or more to taste)
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts, or more to taste (crush peanuts using a food processor, or put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin. About 2/3 cup whole peanuts will yield 1/2 cup crushed.)
Stir together the cukes and salt, place in colander, and drain for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the cukes well and drain again.
Meanwhile, in a small jar, mix together the brown sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved.
When the cukes have drained, heat the oil in a small saucepan. When it's hot, add the fennel seeds and the chile. Lift the pan off the heat to avoid scorching, and swirl the pan for about 30 seconds. Continue to cook on low heat for another minute, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and set aside.
Transfer the drained cukes to a large shallow serving bowl and pour the hot seasoned oil over them, tossing well. Stir in the vinegar mixture. Set aside at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Top with the crushed peanuts just before serving.
3 cups cucumber crescents: peel 3 medium cukes, halve them lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice crosswise in to 1/2 inch-thick crescents.
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp wasabi powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2-3 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1/2 sheet toasted nori (toast it by waving briefly over a flame until the color deepens to a bright sheen-- also available pre-toasted.)
Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
In a small jar with a lid, stir together the vinegar, wasabi powder, sugar, and soy sauce. Add the pickled ginger. Using scissors, cut the nori into long 1-inch wide ribbons. Bundle the ribbons of nori and hold them over the bowl. Snip them into tiny squares and stir into the dressing. Pour the dressing over the cukes and serve immediately. Yum!
summer squash & zukes
slicing and pickling cukes
small bunch carrots
2 lbs new potatoes - Adirondack Red
1 head garlic
sugar snap peas
Herbs (l-r): coriander, sage, chamomile, dill, thyme. Lemon basil is included in your share.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Salsa Besciamella - white sauce
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups hot milk
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture acquires a light-brown color. Add the milk all at once and stir vigorously to avoid lumps. Cook slowly for 5 minutes.
Pastella per Fritti di Verdura - Batter for frying Vegetables
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
ground white pepper
Sift together the three dry ingredients. Gradually add the cold water and the oil, stirring just until a smooth batter is formed. Add pepper to taste and mix. Use as directed. Yields about 1 1/2 cups.
BIG thanks to Eleanore for sharing her recipe and tips and big heart.
I should also tell you that she once delivered to the house a half dozen tidily-wrapped, hot blossoms when I couldn't make it to lunch one afternoon... We were up on the roof bolting in solar hot water panels-- what a treat!!
bunch baby carrots
2 lbs new potatoes
1.3 lbs sugar snaps
summer squash and zukes
bunch swiss chard
slicing and pickling cukes
bag lettuce mix
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Dry beans are flowering up abundantly, green beans plants are nice and healthy and a few days from flower, which means we'll have green, purple, and striped baby beans (or should I say haricot verts...) in the coming week or two.
Red and green cabbage is starting to head up, and we should have broccoli at the end of this week. The first round of baby carrots should be good for this week, too, replacing radishes which will make an appearance again at the end of summer.
Speaking of radishes, yesterday I planted two of my personal favorite crops: daikon radish, a long, white, cylindrical Japanese radish that is one of the bases for Korean kimchi, and also Misato Rose-- what I think is by far the best tasting radish around. It's sort of like a cross in flavor/texture between kohlrabi, apple, and radish. It's gorgeous on a cheese plate, and pairs beautifully with a good sharp VT cheddar. Come fall, we'll be back rolling in radishes!
Tomatoes and peppers are wildly flowering away, and the first green fruits are in. They got a bit of a late start due to "figuring out" temperature control in the new hoophouse-- the first several flats of tomato starts FRIED early on in a spat of hot, sunny days, so this is round deux.
Basil will be in your shares this week-- we've got three main types: genovese (regular), lemon basil, and thai basil. Mmm, summer.
My first beet crop failed this summer. Spotty germination combined with something that they didn't like in the soil means the direct seed crop went to wasted space. Boo. I've got more transplants ready to go out this week, so we will have beets in a month or so.
Humble kale is coming along, was transplanted out early last week and will be a nice late summer/fall crop, in case anyone is wondering about the good old faithful.
All of the garlic has been pulled from the field, and will be doled out in your shares as we head through the rest of the season. I'm steadily building seed stock, so some of the cloves that you see in your share might be a little less than perfect (smaller head size, small toe/clove size.)
Herbs are coming along: dill is growing wildly and ought to be flowering up for pickling toward the end of this week. Parsely is slow growing to get established, but it's still coming along. Cilantro is thriving hiding in the shade of the peas-- and some volunteer cilantro is rapidly on its way to becoming Coriander (the seed balls formed on the umbels of the flower)-- same plant, different parts/stages thus different names. I have lots of thyme transplants that somehow did well-- if ayone would like a few for their home gardens, do let me know. Fennel bulbs and scallions have germinated up and will soon be ready for a late summer transplant, both thriving in the cooler weather.
That's about all the news from Green Peak Farm at this point-- thanks for reading and hope everyone is off to a great start of the weekend!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
There is no replacement for fresh cilantro. Cilantro is important to ethnic food around the world, from Mexican to Thai cuisine. Anyone know the connection here...? It begs a bit of research. Use cilantro fresh, adding it to dishes at the last minute as the flavor disappears rapidly with cooking.
As always, let me know about any recipes or sparks of inspiration you'd like to share!
Monday, July 11, 2011
In the past, I have hand-plucked birds, which takes about ten to fifteen minutes per bird, depending on how fast you can move. With Jane's machine, we got it down to about two minutes per bird, seriously speeding up the process. This enabled us to get all thirty birds in done in one batch, which saves hours in cleanup/setup time. BIG THANKS to Jane, Jimmy, Doug, Axel, and John (for bearing witness!) for their hard work, creativity, and general awesomeness.
CSA members, some notes about your birds:
Friday, July 8, 2011
boss of the grassy green
boss of the silver puddle
how happy is my lot
to tend the green to catch
the water when it rains
to do the doing Boss
the way the sun wakes up
the leaves they yawn a bit
each day a little more
for a tiny reason then
when the leaves outgrow their green
the wind unwinds them Boss
that's the way you go around
if you loose me like a leaf
if you unburden me
if I untaste the taste
of being bossed by you
don't boss me down to dust
may I become a flower
when my blossom Boss is full
boss a bee to my blue lips
that one drop of my bloom
would softly drop into
your sweetness once again
if I go round that way
I'll know the doing means
to you what it means to me
a word before all words
This is the first poem of a lovey collection. I will be sure to post more-- or make your way to Northshire Bookstore and pick up a copy for your pocket as you're out in the field this summer!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
This weekend was such a great reminder of how much I appreciate Vermont's small towns and their individual senses of identity. Bristol's got the outhouse races-- outhouses on wheels-- racing down Main Street. Dunmore had the longest fireworks celebration (almost 40 minutes!) I've seen. There were at least two movie screenings in barns in Landgrove and Middletown Springs of which I'm aware-- one a Miyasaki film; the other a documentary about the history of the ukelele. Manchester with its Vermont Symphony Orchestra picnic-concert, and sales at the outlet stores. A Red, White and Blues Festival in Ludlow. Londonderry was packed to the gills with the West River Farmer's Market and roadside grillin'. Glory.
In your share this week:
sugar snap peas
bunch swiss chard
herbs: dill, lavender, oregano, summer and winter savory, mint.
New potatoes were freshly dug this morning. After some stellar help planting from my advisees at school, the plants are big, happy, and spudding right up. You'll notice your new potatoes are rather dirty-- the skins are super delicate and will rub off under gentle pressure. I bit into one raw this morning, and had a sudden realization why the french call them pomme de terre-- earth apples. They've got killer crisp! New potatoes are used just like regular potatoes. Remember to store them in the dark (a paper bag works great.)
Lettuce mix is a blend of four types of lettuce and nasturtium leaves for some peppery zing and nice color. If your lettuce looks flat before serving, you can always soak it in a bowl of the coldest tap water you've got. LOTS of garlic scapes this week-- the end! We're at the end of the season for scapes, so they need a bit more cooking to soften them up. I'll suggest again making garlic scape pesto as it holds beautifully in the fridge and is outstanding with a cheese plate. Like basil pesto, it freezes well. Scape pesto just substitutes scapes for the basil; I also only use half the amount of pine nuts that the recipe calls for, as they're a little pricey. For the other half I substitute in sunflower seeds.
Your summer squash is the first harvest of the season. Three types: pattypan (shaped like flying saucers/sunbursts), yellow crookneck, and costata romanesco zucchini. They're all harvested small before the seeds fully develop to keep the flavor potent, and flesh firm. I think the costata romanesco (green) has the most squashy/blossomy/sunny/summery aroma and flavor-- what are your thoughts?
I love cutting the pattypan laterally so the slices maintain the pinked edges... and are awesome baked on a greased tray with a dollop of scape pesto on top.
So many sugar snap peas (full-sized shares get 1.25 lbs!) They are awesome to have in excess since they're just oh-so-snackable. I'm a big fan of the Soy Vey teriyaki marinade as a dipping sauce (available at our very own Shaw's) or as a base for stir fry. It's got a very potent flavor, and it's magic for making fresh peas disappear... You can also blanche and freeze peas by boiling for a few minutes then rapid-cooling them by dunking into ice-cold water. You can, of course, shell the fattier pods for little sugar-bomb, naked peas. This especially great if you've got little people (or relatives in town for the holiday) who need a task!
Swiss chard is great cooked, steamed, or chopped and added raw to your salad mix!
I've been making lots of omlettes-- which open up the category of entirely-local food. We used to do breakfast for dinner as a family a lot when I was a kid, and I'm having fun bringing that back, especially using lots of fresh herbs (dill, the savories, thyme...)
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
the worms crawl out.
The worms play pinochle
in your snout.
-- childhood ditty
I was nearsighted and had to get up close
so I could see it in the first place: the earth
that'd been torn with a disk or plow.
But I could smell it, and I didn't like it.
To me it was gruesome, suggesting death
and the grave. I was running once and fell
and came up with a mouthful. That
was enough to make me want to keep my distance
from fields just after they'd been sliced open
to expose whatever lay teeming underneath.
And I never cared anything for gardens, either.
Those over-ripe flowers in summer bloom.
Or spuds lying just under the surface
with only part of their faces showing.
Those places I shied away from, too. Even today
I can do without a garden. But something's changed.
There's nothing I like better now than to walk into
a freshly turned field and kneel and let the soft dirt
slide through my fingers. I'm lucky to live
close to the fields I'm talking about.
I've even made friends with some of the farmers.
The same men who used to strike me
as unfriendly and sinister.
So what if the worms come sooner or later?
And what's it matter if the winter snow piles up
higher than fences, then melts and rains away
deep into the earth to water what's left of us?
It's okay. Quite a lot was accomplished here, after all.
I gambled and lost, sure. Then gamble some more,
and won. My eyesight is failing. But if I move
up close and look carefully, I can see all kings of life
in the earth. Not just worms, but beetles, ants, ladybugs.
Things like that. I'm gladdened, not concerned with the sight.
It's nice to walk out into a field any day
that I want and not feel afraid. I love to reach
down and bring a handful of dirt right up to my nose.
And I can push with my feet and feel the earth give
under my shoes. I can stand there quietly
under the great balanced sky, motionless.
With this impulse to take off my shoes. But just an impulse. More important,
this not moving. And then
Amazing! to walk that opened field--
and keep walking.
Friday, July 1, 2011
lavender - aromatic, calming; infuse for a soothing tea
garlic scapes are the flowering heads/stalks of garlic plants, and have a mellow garlicky flavor
"green" garlic is fresh, juicy, uncured garlic that is best stored in the fridge.
mint is great used fresh in cold salads, juleps, or iced tea, and it has long been used as a stomach soother-- just infuse in hot water for 3-5 mins.
dill is easy to mistake for fennel tops (same family) but remarkable for its scent. Another palliative stomach easer.
chamomile is generally harvested for the flower buds/heads, and is a key component in Sleepytime tea
curly parsely is easier to identify than its sibling, flat-leaved parsely (coming in a few weeks.) The curly structure makes it a much better cold-winter survivor.
green onion/scallion -use fresh and add to soups, salads
greek oregano has soft leaves, with a distinctly opposite leaf arrangement. Classic pizza/italian herb. And, it grows wild-- it's all over the landing up on Green Peak! thyme contains the compound thymol, which has known antibacterial and antifungal properties, and was used to preserve mummies in ancient days. It's also part of why chicken soup is so good for colds!
Most of our common cooking herbs are in the mint family-- an enormous grouping of related plants, including thyme, sage, rosemary, lavender, oregano, basil, sage, and bee balm. More installments to come as the herb garden keeps growing! Thanks for reading.