September 30, 2009
In your bag this week you will find these lovely treats.
:: buttercup squash
:: spaghetti squash
:: zucchini or crookneck squash or Costenata Romesqua (ridged zucchini)
:: tomatoes (green, orange, and red)
:: smaller quantities of the above
Buttercup squash is one of the loveliest winter squashes. You can bake it like its squash-ly cousins (cut in half, scoop out seeds, roast cut-side-down on a sheet in a 350F oven until flesh is easily pierced with a knife) and use it for soups, or as mash, put it into a casserole, make souffle, make pasta sauce... really, it's very versitile and delicious. One thing about winter squash is that you can swap them with one another in pretty much any recipe, so if you have a favourite recipe for acorn or butternut or hubbard squash, you can use your happy Portugal Cove buttercup in its place. You can also use it as a stand-in for pumpkin puree, like in this cookie recipe here.
Happy eating, and thank you for all your organic veggie love!
September 23, 2009
Look at that: in order to get all the delicious veggies from this week's share into one photo, I had to stand on a chair. Yay harvest time!
Here's what you're looking at this week:
:: head lettuce
:: spaghetti squash
:: zucchini or summer squash
:: broccoli or Brussels sprouts
:: hot peppers (if you choose)
:: head lettuce
:: green sweet pepper
:: hot pepper (if you choose)
There were also a limited number of bags of kale and Swiss chard that went on a first-come, first-choose basis.
Looking at the vegetables in this bag, and the ones that I've picked up from other local farms over the past while, I think I may have enough produce to make this pickle recipe I've been wanting to do for ages. It's from Joy of Cooking's "All About Canning and Preserving" book, and is most aptly named for this time of year.
End-of-the-Garden Sweet Pickle Mix
(makes about six 1-pint jars)
4 medium ears corn - boil for 5 minutes, then remove kernels and discard cobs (or use for stock!)
1 pound young zucchini or cucumbers, in 1/4 inch thick slices
8 ounces tender snap beans, in 2-inch pieces
8 ounces tender carrots, in 1/4 inch thick slices
8 ounces cauliflower, in 1-inch florets
8 ounces bell peppers, both green and red, in 2" x 1/2" strips
8 ounces pearl onions, peeled
Make sure all vegetables are washed well.
Combine and stir until the salt has dissolved:
8 cups water
1/4 cup pickling salt
Pour over all the vegetables in a large bowl. Place a plate on the vegetables to keep them submerged and refrigerate 12 to 18 hours. Drain, but do not rinse. Combine in a large, deep skillet and boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved:
3 cups cider vinegar
3 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons celery seeds
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Add the vegetables along with:
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring often, until the largest, thickest pieces are thoroughly hot. Use a slotted spoon to pack the vegetables into hot pint jars. Add the hot vinegar solution, stirring to mix the seeds and chopped herb. Leave 1/2 inch headspace, and process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Happy eating (and maybe happy pickling)!
September 16, 2009
That's some nice-looking fall veggie bounty, don't you think? Remember the early summer veggie bags that were nothing but shoots and leaves? Not that they weren't delicious, because of course they were, but now we're really getting into the good harvest stuff.
Here's what's in your bag this week:
:: spaghetti squash
:: pablo (red) or chiagga (striped) beet
:: garlic & onion
:: carrots (some of them are red and purple!)
If you don't know much about spaghetti squash, its claim to vegetable fame is its unusual flesh that separates out into strands when cooked. The best method for this is baking: cut your squash in half lengthwise, scrape out any seeds, then place the halves, cut-side-down, on an oiled baking sheet in a 350F oven for maybe 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Turn your halves over, let them cool a minute so you don't give yourself horrible steam burns, then use a fork to fluff the strand-y flesh out of the squash shells.
Some people use the cooked squash the way you would use pasta, under any spaghetti-type sauce (how about some of those tomatoes, roasted with some olive oil and stirred together with some minced garlic?). It's a pretty cool, grain-free substitute for noodles if you have a problem with wheat or rice.
Spaghetti squash frittata is also delicious. There are loads of variations, but here's a basic recipe. I like to stir the "noodles" with garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan, then pour the eggs and milk over and cook it for a couple minutes to get the eggs close to setting. Then I cover the top with halved cherry tomatoes and a nice layer of mozzarella cheese, and put the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Delicious.
Awww, look at those peek-a-boo tomatoes!
September 8, 2009
Look at those cucumbers! Aren't they great? And there was no joking around when the tomato plants were referred to as a "herd." That's a lot of tomatoes!
If you're hoping to get in a couple more barbecues before the weather turns, why not do some chicken or pork skewers and eat them Greek-style, with tomato salad and feta cheese and some olives, all dollopped in tzatziki from your very own Seed to Spoon cucumbers? There are plenty of recipes online, but they are all basically composed of thick yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. What's not to love? One thing you need is good, plain yogurt; best to go for full-fat stuff if you can find it (like Astro Balkan style). If you do use lower-fat yogurt, check to make sure it doesn't have gelatin or any thickeners in it, because then it won't drain well.
1 tub (750 mL) plain yogurt
September 2, 2009
Those tomatoes are coming fast and furious now! Lovely, aren't they? Their colours, with the yellow squash, the carrots, and the beautiful brown onion make a lovely late-summer tableau, don't you think?
Here's what's in the bag this week.
:: pole beans
:: jalapeno pepper
:: zucchini/summer squash
:: broccoli/Guy Lan florets
:: lettuce mix
:: jalapeno pepper
If you have a yellow squash in your bag and aren't sure what to do with it, just think of it as a zucchini in disguise. You can use the two almost interchangeably. The skin of a yellow squash is a little thicker, but you don't have to peel it. Some people feel that they don't freeze as well as zucchini, but other than that they work pretty much the same. They are excellent in casseroles or grilled on the barbecue (or just in a pan), and I know people who use them, very thinly sliced, in the place of noodles for a lasagna-like dinner. I also found this recipe for kid-friendly squash chips, but I'm not sure exctly how those would go over. Worth a try, though (and, if you have leftover zucchini accumulating in your fridge, this could use them up nicely).
One problem I've had is that I haven't been able to keep on top of my jalapeno peppers - my youngsters don't have the same appreciation for spicy food that I do, so I tend to keep dinner on the mild side. I was thinking I might make a half-recipe of these pickled jalapeno peppers to have on hand - something I can eat on the side while the kiddoes enjoy their un-zippy meals.
August 26, 2009
Leeks! They're one of the gentlest members of the onion family, and, paired with those beautiful potatoes you have there, make one of the most classic soups there is. If you don't have a recipe for leek and potato soup already, you'll find one in almost every cookbook, and about a bajillion on the internet. The simplest recipes call for only butter (about 3 tablespoons), leeks (cleaned and thinly sliced, white and green parts only), water, and potatoes (peeled and chopped). Usually you use 1 1/2 times as much potato as leek, so if you chop your leeks and get 1 cup, use 1 1/2 cups diced potatoes. For that amount I would use about one litre of water, and it would serve two people.
If you want to bolster your recipe with onions, shallots, garlic, white wine, different kinds of stock, cream, chopped herbs, whatever, go right ahead. Serve it cold, serve it hot, whichever you prefer. Traditional leek and potato soups are blended to a creamy consistency, but with these beautiful new potatoes, I would be tempted to leave the skins on and slice the potatoes into quarter-rounds. Kind of irreverent, and the soup wouldn't pass muster in a French restaurant, but I wouldn't want to compromise those buttery, beautiful spuds.
Oh, and you'll want to get your leeks really clean before you cook with them. They are grit-magnets. And nobody likes gritty soup. A lot of people just rinse down between the layers, but that tends to waste a lot of water. A better way is to slice your leeks (save the green tops for stock or some other use), place them in a large bowl, cover them with lots of water, swish them around and leave them about ten minutes. The dirt will settle to the bottom, and the leeks will float. Skim your clean leek slices off the top and use the water for your garden or your houseplants. No waste, and clean, tasty leeks!
August 19, 2009
August 18, 2009
Another week, and more delicious fresh veggies. The greens and reds and oranges sure looked beautiful against the grey (but very necessary) rain today. Here's what's in your bag:
:: Brussels sprouts
:: snap peas
:: spicy salad mix
:: yellow zucchini
:: blond cucumber
Now, there's a good chance you're wondering what to do with peppergrass. It's not commonly eaten here, but it's a tasty green that is delicious in salads. There aren't a lot of recipes floating around that use it, but here's one interesting one for veal escalopes. If you're lucky enough to know where to get wild mushrooms (people I know are picking chanterelles all over the place) then you could have a really lovely time with it. If you don't eat veal you could certainly use turkey cutlets, and if you're a vegetarian I'll bet the sauce - mushrooms, butter, peppergrass, white wine and all - would be really nice tossed with some egg noodles or over rice. I've never seen a recipe that calls for wood ash before. I think I'd probably leave that optional ingredient out.
And aren't the Brussels sprouts wonderful? When I was growing up in St. John's, Brussels sprouts came frozen in blocks and were a yellowish grey by the time you cooked them. I remember one Thanksgiving dinner when a young guest declared, "I don't like them big peas!" The Brussels sprout is the U.K.'s most despised vegetable, according to polls. I don't know where it stands in Newfoundland, but at my house Brussels sprouts are well loved, even by the five-year-old. Of course, they have to be fresh, and lovingly steamed just to doneness, not a smidge more. In case you're interested in something beyond steaming, there's a recipe here for beautiful, golden-crisped sprouts (my other favourite way of cooking them), and another here for Brussels sprouts cooked with shallots and juniper. I haven't been out to see if the juniper berries are ripe yet, but if you have some around then you're just a few ingredients away from something that I think would be very tasty. I, unfortunately, won't be able to try the recipe out this week because, ahem, I ate all my Brussels sprouts already. But if you try it, why not leave a comment here and let us all know how it turned out?
August 11, 2009
:: 1.5 kg potatoes
:: Sturon onion
:: rainbow chard and kale
:: 600g potatoes
:: taxi yellow tomato
:: Brussles sprouts
:: half cabbage
For some people, that hint of fall in the air on an August morning means nothing good, but for farm types, it means that the harvest season is coming in full force. Nothing signals the beginning of harvest time like the first, thin-skinned new potatoes. Just look at these beauties:
If you're saying to yourself, "my, they sure left a lot of dirt on these potatoes," well, it's partly to help protect the delicate skins, which rub off easily, and partly so that you can have the pleasure of rinsing your spuds and watching the beautiful red-purple emerge from underneath the layer of good, black soil. The colour fades as the potatoes cook, so take a moment to appreciate it before it's gone.
Most Newfoundlanders will hardly need to be told what to do with potatoes, but just in case you're at a loss, you should know that new potatoes don't need much embellishment. There's no sense peeling them, as the peels are barely there to begin with. Steam them or boil them whole and enjoy them with butter or a drizzle of olive oil, a good shake of salt and a grinding of pepper. Or cut them in half and roast them with some oil and some chopped herbs.
If you've ever read a recipe calling for "waxy" potatoes, these are they. Potatoes fall into two categories: waxy and floury. Waxy potatoes have thin skins and hold their shape well when boiled. Floury potatoes, like russets, are thick-skinned, and are best for French fries, mash, fish cakes, that sort of thing. New potatoes shine in chunky potato salads. If your usual potato salad is of the mashed-to-a-paste variety (don't be ashamed, mine is, too), then maybe one of these variations might oomph things up, and befit a potato of such late-summer magnificence.
Another way to enjoy your tasty new potatoes is on the barbecue. Who knows how many good barbecue days we have left (I know, I know, sad thought). One great way to do it is to clean your potatoes - select the smallest ones, or cut larger ones into golf-ball-sized chunks - and pat them dry, then wrap them, with a glug of oil or a good brushing of butter, some salt and pepper, and chopped herbs, maybe some minced garlic if that's your fancy, in a layer of thick aluminum foil. Fold your foil packet securely and place it on the barbecue for 20 to 25 minutes. Done!
August 4, 2009
As the weeks go on, those bags just get bigger and heavier, don't they? And more intoxicating, too, with the basil and tomatoes and, for the full share crowd, sweet and musky blackcurrants. More about those in a minute. Here's the breakdown for this week:
- tomato & jalepeno & basil & dill & parsley & onion tops
- fava beans & snow peas
- Brussels sprouts or broccoli or guay lan or beans or chard
- half a Melissa Savoy cabbage or turnip or head of lettuce
- spicy lettuce mix
- beets (with tops)
- tomato & cuke or zuke or pepper
- onion tops
- half a Melissa Savoy cabbage
- fava beans
- bonus: blanched cabbage leaves if you wanted them
When I was looking for blackcurrant recipes to link to, I found out that someone had already done the job for me. If you aren't familiar with blackcurrants, they're very popular in Australia, New Zealand, and in Europe, but pretty much neglected here in Newfoundland (although they grow very happily all over St. John's). They're wonderful in a sauce for meat; because they're so assertive, they can hold their own with wild meat like moose and caribou (although they're lovely with a pork roast, too). They're often used for jams and jellies, and, indeed, the jelly they make is transcendent, especially when the blood-burgundy juice is bolstered with some spiced port. Beautiful for Christmas, if you can keep your paws off it that long. I, for one, will be using mine to make this Danish blackcurrant schnapps. I have a feeling it will go very well over ice cream for a boozy winter dessert (for the grown-ups only, mind you).
July 28, 2009
Here's what you should have in your bag (or, by now, your fridge):
- kale & half a cabbage (Melissa Savoy or Peral White)
- turnip with greens & onion tops & edible chrysanthemum leaves
- snow peas, tomato, jalepeno, basil and parsley
- head of lettuce
- surprise bag: cukes or zukes or Brussels sprouts or spicy salad greens
- turnip with greens
- peas or beans or favas
- tomato, basil, parsley
One dish I've been turning to for using up veggies that might not be part of my usual repertoire is risotto. It's nowhere as difficult to make as people might have you believe, so long as you 1) have all your vegetables chopped and ready to go before you start, and 2) can give the risotto 20 minutes of your undivided attention. Other than that, it's all just stirring. Most current cookbooks have a good risotto recipe (or three, or eight); I use Jamie Oliver's recipe here, swapping in whatever relatively sturdy veggies I have around.
This batch has fava beans, green beans, garlic scapes, cauliflower, broccoli stalks, and basil (which I added near the end). Big ol' pork chop is optional.
Also: if you find that you're not making it through all your delicious kale, there's a great, very detailed tutorial on blanching and freezing the tasty stuff right here. The same method works for turnip greens, beet greens, chard, or any other sturdy braising green. You'll be glad you did it when you dig it out of the freezer come March month!
July 22, 2009
Here's what else you'll find:
::beanie bag: Shweitzer Risen snow peas, fava (or broad) beans, Provider green beans
::full share brassica bag: broccoli (some are slightly flowered, due to our hot weather), cauliflower, kale and/or Swiss chard
::half share brassica bag: broccoli (some are slightly flowered, due to our hot weather) and/or cauliflower, kale and/or Swiss chard, guy lan (Chinese broccoli)
::lettuce: Romaine, curly, speckled butterhead, and red oakleaf are some of this week's varieties
::Garlic, onions and herbs: garlic scapes (flower buds), onion leaves, and a mix of herbs, dill, parsley, and basil. Some of the basil is cinnamon, some lime, and some is good for pesto.
::A bunch of shunguku (edible chrysanthamum for salad) and a surprise tomato or small jalapeno pepper!
The tiny bit of flowering on the broccoli shouldn't make a difference to the taste or texture. You can simply cut the flowered bits off if you like. The stems might want peeling (just with a regular potato peeler) before you cook them, but they will still be delicious.
If you've never cooked fresh fava beans before, you might not know that the beans inside the pods have to be peeled. This isn't difficult at all, and popping the beans out of their tough skins is actually kind of fun. There's a great step-by-step tutorial here, with beautiful photos. You can add fava beans to soups or stews, puree them in dips, add them to risotto or pasta, or just eat them steamed, as a side dish, with a little butter or olive oil and salt. They're plenty good for you, and tasty indeed.
July 16, 2009
July 15, 2009
Apologies to all for the lateness of the list. I'm sure you've figured out most of what's in your bag of veggies for this week, but, just in case, here you go:
bag of salad greens (mizuna, lettuce, red mustard, arugua) with edible chrysanthymums
If you've never had garlic scapes before, they're the long, curly, green stalky things, and they're delicious:
They're great sliced up and served as a side dish - they're a little like garlicky green beans. I like to cut them into 2-inch lengths, blanch them (that is, drop them in some boiling water for a minute, then dunk them in cold water to stop them cooking any further) and add them to an Asian-style noodle salad with some matchstick carrots, green onions, and a sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing. There's some good reading on garlic scapes here, here, and here.
July 14, 2009
July 7, 2009
Welcome to July, Seed to Spoon farm-share friends!
So, as I type this up, the weather isn’t exactly hollering, “summer picnic time.” It’s a bummer of a way to start the season. But you know what might make everyone feel better? A big bowl of freshly stir-fried organic veggies, that’s what. Or perhaps a big salad?
In your hands this week you’ll find an array of delicious greenery to grace your dishes and fill your bellies:
• the last of the sweet, delicious Hakurai turnips – enjoy them now, because there won’t be any more until next year!
• a bag of salad greens (lettuce, arugula, herbs)
• bag of sturdy stir-fry/steaming greens (Swiss chard, kale, spinach, turnip tops)
• rhubarb – another crop whose time is ticking, so enjoy it while you can!
• spring onion tops
• half a Melissa Savoy cabbage OR bag of broccoli sprouts/guay lan (Asian sprouting broccoli)
• a beet OR a few baby carrots
If the bags seem a little light, don’t worry – it’s still very early in the season, and the fields and greenhouses are bursting with growing vegetables that will be making their way home with you in the coming weeks.
Since it’s still a little wet and chilly out there, maybe you ought to take some of your new tasty veggies and put together a nice grainy salad for some serious fortification. Pick out your favourite whole grains, or combination of grains: maybe barley, bulghar, wheat berries, amaranth, or my top combo, brown rice and quinoa. Cook them according to package instructions to make about 3 cups. If you’re combining grains, cook them separately, or else you might end up with one very mushy grain and one undercooked one.
I’d hesitate to call this a recipe, but here’s what I do.
Combine: 3 cups cooked grains (cooled slightly)
1 handful of raisins
Make a vinaigrette of:
1 part vinegar (red wine, apple cider, rice)
2 parts oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, vegetable, or a combination)
salt and pepper to taste
Shake this up in a bottle and douse your grains/seeds/raisins liberally. Set the bowl in the fridge to cool completely.
When the grains have cooled, add in a big handful of each of the following:
spring onion tops, finely chopped
finely sliced Savoy cabbage, broccoli or sprouts (whichever one you found in your bag)
finely chopped spinach leaves
one diced apple, some grated carrot, thinly sliced red onion, whatever else you might have laying about
Stir to combine, add some more salt and pepper or vinaigrette as desired. Serve over a great tangle of salad greens and enjoy.
This salad keeps for days and days in the fridge, so you could just keep munching on it all week. It’s also easily increased if you have a bunch of people to feed.
If you’re looking for more ideas for eating up those cooking greens (Swiss chard, kale, spinach, turnip greens), there are a couple of tasty pasta recipes over at the Scope site:
Also, did you know that, in the Mediterranean, spanikopita is usually made with greens that are more like Swiss chard than like spinach? Why not substitute your mixed cooking greens for spinach in your favourite spanikopita recipe?
Enjoy your veggies, and see you soon!
May 7, 2009
Two nights ago I had a friend ask me if we were doing anything out at the farm yet. Not including the marathon gardening brainstorms and catalog shopping on winter nights, the fun began in February.
February 22, 2009
Nadya planted three trays of double seeded Sturon onions, 276 in total. Seed donated from Oliver's Pond, ordered from William Dam. Planted two trays of Hannibal leeks, single seeded. 144 in total.
Nadya and Matt potted 66 garlic cloves from Oliver's Pond and Judy in three inch pots. Put garlic outside Matt's house in fish boxes under the snow. Also planted 240 leeks and onions.
Nadya, John and Cathy dug weeds out of long greenhouse, turned 3/4 of soil, and started putting rocks in path. Dug snow into dirt in front of grapevine for 1/2 of one side to water. Everything very dry, and three rows of spinach mysteriously still green. Started a compost pile, including dried weeds, horse poo, dirt and blood meal in the corner of greenhouse.
Three flats of sturon onions germinated, and under lights at Oliver's Pond.
Planted old seed at Matt's house: One flat spinach. One flat cauliflower - Snow Crown, 2 flats Premium Crop. 1 flat Jerico Romane Lettuce, and sprinkled Arugula and Kale in ground.
John and Matt turned soil in large greenhouse into beds. Nadya planted Kale, arugula, spinach, beets, cress in first three beds, and cleared weeds out of asparagus bed in small greenhouse.