Thursday, June 24, 2010

csa box: week 2!

We went through our first box quickly - I'm excited to see beets in this box, and while I normally buy as many extra beets as are available each week so I can make my favorite pickled beets, this weekend we have visitors, so I'm trying to keep my workload on the food front down. I have a bunch of fresh herbs and I plan to dry about half of them as well as make a batch of pickled daikon. Yum.

In our box this week:: beets, new garlic, kohlrabi, dill, snap peas, snow peas, broccoli, kale, romaine, leaf lettuce, daikon

My extras this week are:: mix of mushrooms, marjoram, lavender, sage, parsley, bag of basil

We are drying another bunch of lavender to make more goodies -- this week we made lavender bath salts & lavender sugar, and plan to make more of the bath salts as well as lavender honey this week. I think scones are in my future!

Friday, June 18, 2010

garlic scape pesto.

1 cup chopped garlic scapes
4-5 sprigs parsley (or basil)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
(1/3 cup pine nuts optional)

In your food processor whiz the garlic scapes & parsley together until they lie flat in the bottom (10-15 seconds). Add the olive oil, lemon and Parmesan cheese one at a time until it looks like pesto. ;) You may need to add a bit more oil if you have big scapes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Some recipes call for pine nuts or walnuts (about 1/4 - 1/3 cup) but I like the base recipe without. Why? I like using this as a base for many things, and it is easier for me to tweak the basic pesto for each recipe!
  • Of course it is awesome as a pesto on pasta (if you want the nuts, add roasted pine nuts when you toss it with pasta).
  • It makes a great base for salad dressings (just add more olive oil & a squeeze of lemon to thin and toss into your salad).
  • It is wonderful as a condiment on burgers/brats/grilled veggies.
  • It is a delicious dressing for steamed veggies like peas, swiss chard, spinach, etc. (after steaming, toss in bowl with the pesto...yum).
  • It makes a great dip for veggies or pretzels...mix with some fresh sour cream!
  • Use it instead of red sauce on pizza.
  • Make it using ramps (instead of scapes) in early spring...oh yeah.

I like making a lot of something at a time - it really makes it easier to just get a bunch done at once. From there, I can freeze small batches, store it in canning jars in the fridge, and of course use some immediately for dinner. It is pretty easy to double/triple this recipe during scapes season - we got some in our CSA box, and found them for sale by the bag full at our neighborhood farmer's market!

Scapes are part of the garlic plant, so contain the same health benefits as the cloves, such as immune system booster and inflammation reliever as well as good calcium, vitamin c iron and even protein! They just have a milder flavor than their bulby base.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CSA box :: week one!

It has begun! Today was our first CSA box of the season. I love the farm we get our share from, and just the process of going, picking up our vegetables, saying "hi" to everyone there we haven't seen since last fall, and being outside at the barn...ahhhh, I can finally feel like summer is beginning.

Today in our CSA box::

romaine lettuce, fennel, swiss chard, spring onions, fresh garlic, peas, cilantro, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, fresh flowers, and...

...a bowl full of cherries. yum.

I always pick up a few extras:: kohlrabi, parsley, cilantro, lavender, and nasturtium blossoms.

I love how the garden picks up right when our CSA shares start...I know it is the start of eating a wide variety of fresh veggies and planning meals around what has been picked (or picked up) today - love it!

Tomorrow:: recipe for garlic scape pesto!!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

strawberry rhubarb bread pudding.

It has been a long, long time! I took a break from this blog after a busy garden/CSA/canning season to just step away from it for the winter, and come back when growing season was in swing again. I have a lot of ideas and recipes this year - and I'm excited about trying some new things, stretching my food preservation muscles even more, and exploring all the goodness around me.

This week has been the beginning of strawberry season. The garden has been giving us spring greens for awhile, but it really seems like summer is starting when the strawberries are ripe. As we all know, strawberries and rhubarb are quite the duo. I love the preserves and crisps and pies that I always make, but I wanted to combine the flavors of the two with a more comfy cozy dessert - bread pudding. It turned out so good!

I based it on my favorite basic bread pudding recipe, with some tweaks for flavor and ingredients!

::strawberry rhubarb bread pudding::

1 cup chopped rhubarb
2 cups sliced strawberries
4 cups sliced or cubed bread
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch nutmeg
zest of one lemon

1/4 cup grated unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350º.

Place your bread into your baking dish. Add the rhubarb & strawberries making sure it is all mixed in between the bread pieces.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, honey, vanilla, milk and spices (room temp eggs work best to help mix honey).

Pour the mixture over your bread/fruit mix. Add the zest over the top. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Add the coconut & brown sugar to the top. We don't like things too sweet, so we add only enough brown sugar to mix well with the coconut for a nice topping - if you like sweet you can add a bit more.

Put back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let sit a few before serving.

I'm ready for summer!