Thursday, August 30, 2007

CSA Box This Week

This week ... red & green lettuce, green beans, fennel, celery, red pepper medley, carrots, red potatoes, leeks, green tomatoes, Italian parsley. And I forgot to include 2 watermelon in the photo. In trying to avoid "gravity experiments" this week, I put them in my cooler pack and forgot! I will remember now though, because we want to make watermelon sorbet. MMMMMMmmmmm.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Baking Bread & Pumpkin COokies

Today was another rainy day, so we did some baking. The summer is for preserving foods, eating fresh veggies, grilling, and having lots of tomatoes. Each year as the weather is cooler and fall rolls in, we get back into the groove of stews, crock pots, bread baking, and warm comfort foods. While I know that we will definitely be getting hot sunny days again at some point before fall arrives, we have felt that drive to make things as the rain hits the windows.

Today G helped me bake a loaf of whole grain white bread with oats and flax. Very yummy.

For a sweet treat, both boys helped bake pumpkin cookies (can you tell we REALLY want fall to arrive?). They turned out great - and the drizzled icing on top is too much for one little boy to stay away from (other little person helped bake, but doesn't like sweet things much-but he loved the fresh bread with butter!).

Here is the recipe - I make 2 sheets of the base recipe for kids, and then I add fresh homemade granola into the rest for the adult version. Your kids may be reasonable and like granola in all of them! ;) It is a nice recipe because the base cookie is soft and not so you can make some with icing and some without too!

Pumpkin Cookies:
2 cups of organic all purpose flour
1/2 cup organic oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder (we use aluminum free baking powder, but you can also use arrowroot powder)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg or pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar (you can use white, turbinado, cane, xylitol, etc.)
1/2 cup packed organic brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat to 350.

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in one bowl and mix a bit. In a second bowl beat the sugar and butter until blended. Beat in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until it is smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture in, stirring. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets. Bake 15-18 minutes. Cool.

Alternate version: When dough is ready, stir in 1 cup of mixed crunchy granola (not the cereal type). Today I used a crunchy apple cinnamon with sunflower seeds granola.

2 cups organic powdered sugar
3 tbsp organic milk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Stir together until smooth - add more milk if it is too thick.
Drizzle over cooled cookies (use a wire rack with parchment paper under to catch the drips).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

CSA Box This Week

A was SO excited to go to pick up our CSA box at the farm today. He has toasted 2 pairs of shoes in 2 weeks playing in the pit of mud running down from the wash station - and he KNOWS how much it has been raining...While the farm missed out on the heavy destructive flooding experienced by some in their area, they do have lots and lots and lots of mud. Miraculously, A only piddled around in the stream coming from the washing trough, and picked at a few rocks. I believe it may have even been too wet and muddy for him!

From our CSA newsletter this week: "We’re not flooded, we’re not using boats to move around the farm, we’re not having to lay off staff, no one is hurt and because of some good conservation tillage and strips of land and waterways, very little of our soil has moved. There is very little erosion, and the watershed is recharging from nearly a year of too little water."


This week we have red & green lettuce, romano beans, fennel, celery, 3 types of peppers, carrots, romanesco broccoli, lacinato kale, leeks, and italian parsley.

I already made a delicious white bean & veggie stew from our goodies today. SOOO good.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

CSA Box This Week, Seed Collecting

Today our CSA box is full of the super summer goodies. Red & green lettuce, romano beans, summer squash, eggplant, several varieties of red peppers, colored carrots, broccoli, brusselini, yellow onion, sun jewel melon, watermelon.

And yes, that is a shattered golden watermelon in the photo. My 4 year old helped carry it into the house with great care. As I unloaded the cooler, I heard a loud sound...I asked what happened and went to the living room to see it shattered on the floor and A lying UNDER the couch. He said he was "testing gravity"...lovely.

This week we had lots and lots of rain, but we did manage to bring in some seeds. A didn't mind helping with the herbs, but wasn't thrilled about the smell of the peppers as we retrieved the seeds. He has tested a few of the dill already by sprinkling the heads around, and has a bunch of new green shoots to show for it (boy the bunny loves baby dill). What he wants is to squash a pumpkin to save the seeds...he has 2 random pumpkin plants out front in the bushes that are from his squashed pumpkin "experiment" last fall, so I have a feeling we'll have many more showing up next year!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

CSA Box This Week

I have been trying out a few new things in the kitchen. For the past several months we have been making our own yogurt, ice cream, bbq sauces, jam, dry rub mixtures, and so on, and freezing or storing extra as we go. I have moved into new territory in trying out some fermentation and pickling. I don't have time for the whole big canning process at this point, but I have found several recipes for quick pickling, which requires clean jars but no canning.

From left to right is fridge pickles, pickled garlic, and dried tomatoes in olive oil with rosemary.

1. Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil. The tomatoes from my garden have been dried in the dehydrator, and then put in a clean jar with olive oil to cover, and a few sprigs of dried rosemary. This is stored in the fridge and can be used for salads, stews, and pasta. They taste SO good coming from fresh ripe tomatoes it is amazing.

2. Pickled Garlic. The pickled garlic was easy too. I basically used the recipe from Nourishing Traditions. Take up to about 12 heads of garlic, remove the outer skin and then bake the cloves in an oven until the rest of the skin can easily be removed. The garlic is not mushy soft, but slightly soft and aromatic and beginning to look less opaque. Put the cloves in a clean jar. Mix together a few teaspoons of dried herbs (I used dried oregano and rosemary from my garden), 4 teaspoons of GOOD sea salt, and about 1/2 cup of water. Pour the liquid over the garlic, and add more water if the garlic isn't covered. Screw lid on tightly, keep at room temp for about 2-3 days, then put in the fridge.

3. Refrigerator Pickles. The fridge pickles I adapted from several books I have out from the library. Each one has a different recipe, but I used what I had at home. I took the 5 cucumbers I have from our CSA and cleaned and sliced them into 1/4" slices. Pack them in the canning jars (or clean glass container). On the stove combine 2 cups of water, 3/4 cup of high quality apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup of good quality sea salt.

To the cukes I added amongst the jars a total of 4 dill heads and a handful of dill sprigs from my garden, as well as the seeds from 2 large dried dill heads (I dried in the sun over this week). You could use a few store bought sprigs of dill or 2 or so tablespoons of dill seed. I added 1 clove of my pickled garlic per container. If you like stronger dill flavor, you can add more. If you like heat, add hot peppers or pepper flakes as well.

Bring the liquid on the stove to a boil, then add it to the cukes in the jar - make sure they are covered. Let it come to room temp and then refrigerate it and eat all within a few weeks! They taste SO great.

A key point with using the raw apple cider vinegar and good sea salt for the recipes is to increase the nutritional value of the it is an important part!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

CSA Box This Week

This week: Wax beans, 3 types of peppers, a tomato, cilantro, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and garlic!

We have been preserving the harvest of everything we are not using weekly for our CSA (which is not much), and of course, our garden. I have had out the dehydrator this week and have made several batches of sun dried tomatoes, lots of dried herbs, and even dried peppers. That, combined with our homemade yogurt, bone broth, ice cream, and my new experiments with lactic fermentation make me feel like we are progressing with our food choices, and really taking more full advantage of what there is locally. And having the boys "help out" with picking, washing, and rotating the drying trays means they are interested and participating in all of this too (now if they would only eat it!)...we have even let a few of our herbs "go to seed" and have saved the seeds for later, or have re-planted. Fun stuff.

AAAAAAAAnd, this weekend we are going berry picking - YUM!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

CSA Box This Week

This week in our CSA share we have romano beans, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, red cabbage, hakuri turnips, yellow onion, uncured garlic, basil.

In our garden we are cranking out the tomatoes. The boys and I must be picking 20+ sungold and yellow cherry tomatoes, and 2-4 ripe red ones (diff. varieties) daily. Our yard bunny is loving the low hanging tomatoes - we find at least 1 every few days still on the vine 1/2 eaten. We will have more than we can handle shortly, and I am anticipating freezing all kinds of yummy things for the fall and winter. The rest of the garden is becoming abundant too - all thanks to the hose...with no rain in site!