Monday, June 30, 2008

strawberries:: part 1!

This is a week of strawberries. With over 20 pounds of strawberries, we spent all day Sunday cleaning and cutting and prepping and preserving. We made freezer jam, dessert topping and bagged whole strawberries to freeze for baking and smoothies. Yum! So I think some strawberry recipes are in order.

coconut rice pudding with fresh strawberry mash

1 c. sushi rice
1 can organic coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. brown sugar (or sweeten to your taste preference)
1/4 c. organic coconut flakes (optional)

a dozen or so strawberries
2 fresh lemon verbena leaves
1 tsp honey

Rinse the sushi rice in a strainer for about 1 minute, drain. Measure 1 1/2 cups water into a pot. Add the rinsed rice & vanilla. Cook on med-high until bubbling. Reduce heat to simmer and put a lid on it for about 15 minutes. (Or, follow the directions on the package)

While rice is cooking, mash your strawberries in a bowl with a fork. Finely chop the lemon verbena and mix it in, then add the honey. Stir and let sit to macerate while the rice finishes.

When rice is done (don't over cook - it needs to be able to soak up the coconut milk!), add the coconut milk, coconut flakes and sugar. Stir and let sit (no lid) for a few more minutes until thick and creamy.

Serve warm with the strawberry mixture drizzled over the top.

Why Sushi Rice? Sushi rice has just the right starch balance for a nice creamy texture when cooked and absorbs additional liquid well.

According to the Environmental Working Group's report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," strawberries are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. So be sure your strawberries are organic!

Friday, June 27, 2008

CSA Box This Week.

This week in our box: lettuce, swiss chard, hothouse cucumbers, broccoli, garlic scapes, strawberries, spinach.

(Here is what we had last year in the same week...)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

CSA Box This Week...

CSA box this week: garlic scapes, young garlic, strawberries, cucumbers, basil, swiss chard, lettuce, mustard greens...

(Here is what we had last year this week...)

Our CSA farm usually has a ton of strawberries - in the box, at U-picks, and at the Farmer's Market. With all the rain and flooding they lost a large percentage of the strawberry crop. Sad! Looks like we will have to venture to other farms to get enough berries for freezing and preserves. We are looking foward to strawberry ice cream!

Our garden is doing great - we had some hail damage but then everything just popped after all the rain. We are eating radishes, swiss chard (lots!), greens and a lot of herbs. Yum.

We have had a lot of garden work recently - weeding and monitoring pests and staking...and so much of what we have been eating has just been what is in our CSA box and yard. A lot of greens and salads. So good. I know as the summer progresses we will have more variety - meaning many more recipes as well as more cooking and baking in the kitchen.

Radishes & swiss chard.

Tomatoes growing!

Raspberries getting bigger!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

home made granola.

I love really good fresh granola. I make a huge batch a few times a year - it is never the same recipe twice, but I always write it down. I love variations in texture, crunch, sweet vs. salt. This batch is awesome - which is good, because I made 5 pounds! The good thing is that it is perfect with home made yogurt from our fresh milk - so we made some of that too! YUM.

Here is the recipe -- but remember that with granola you can substitute or tweak anything. Add what you have, what is in season, what you like. I use a variety of sugars so that there are many good nutrients added to the mix, but you can keep it simple and use just what you have!

It sounds like a lot of ingredients and expensive when using all organic. BUT, we calculated the cost for us was about 22-25 for ingredients, and it made 5 pounds. That is a lot less per pound than the organic bulk fruit & nut granola at our local coop - and it is fresh!

4 cups thick steel cut organic oats
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup unsweetened organic shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups crushed raw walnuts
2 cups sunflower seeds (you can use raw, I used honey roasted)
1 cup organic oat cereal (per special request from my husband...)
1 Tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp crushed sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup oil (I used organic sunflower)
8 oz can organic crushed pineapple (no sugar added)
1 cup hemp milk (or use water, rice, etc.)
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup agave
1/4 cup brown sugar
10 oz. bag natural peanut butter chips
5 oz dried cranberries
5 oz dried cherries
3 oz raisins
1 cup organic/FT dried banana chips

I used organic ingredients...makes for better taste and quality.


Mix together all of the seeds, oats, coconut & nuts in a big bowl. In a separate bowl, combine oil, hemp milk, vanilla, honey, agave, pineapple, salt & molasses. Stir. Pour over the dry mix, and stir quickly to get all over everything evenly. Spread onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top. Place in a pre-heated 350º oven for 15 minutes. Carefully stir and turn over the mix. Bake again for another 15-20 minutes and stir again. Lower the oven temp to 225º and bake for 1.5 hours or so, until dry (but not burned or hard as a rock - keep an eye on it!). Let cool. Once cool, add in the dried fruits, banana chips and peanut butter chips. Stir gently. Store in airtight container!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

CSA Box This Week. Week 1.

It is finally here. CSA season. Today, we raced to the farm hoping to beat a huge line of severe storms and made it back just in time. The farm has had some flooding with all of the storms (who hasn't) but it seems that perhaps it isn't too bad. The greens have holes from the storm damage - but perfectly delicious - and our onion is a bit early due to a flooded field - yet still super tasty!

This week:
Lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, hakuri turnips, red radishes, green onions, storage onion, cucumber, spinach.

(Here is what we had last year this week.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

spring green.

I was so excited. Then I received the email from our CSA stating that due to the unseasonably cold spring, late frost(s), and super dry May, the CSA would be delayed by one week. The first time in 11 years they had to do that, they said. Since that email we have had tornadoes, hail, up to 8" of rain (in a 24 hour period), massive flooding and...and...but haven't gotten another email, so here's hoping for our first box this Thursday.

Although our CSA delayed, I was excited to be able to harvest enough salad greens from our pots for dinner - with fresh herbs too! Yay! And then today ...

I bought many pounds of fresh asparagus from a small local farmer. SO good. I blanched and bagged so that we can have asparagus for soups and stir fry for a while. Tomorrow I think I'll make some cream of asparagus soup!