Thursday, July 28, 2011

roasted cabbage.

Cabbage is one of those veggies you either love or hate, I think. I look forward to it every year to make some sauerkraut, or to cook with apples in the fall, but don't see it as really a creative summer dish. I've been exploring different ways to cook it and have found something we like and which REALLY brings out the best in cabbage. Roasting it. This is really easy to make and has spectacular flavor - both crispy and creamy with a nice nutty flavor.

::roasted cabbage::

1 head of cabbage, cut into 8 wedges, core removed

Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF. Place the wedges into a roasting pan. Smash a few cloves of garlic and place over the wedges. Drizzle with olive oil. Add a nice pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle over a good pinch (1/2 tsp) of dill seeds...either crushed a little with a mortar and pestle or chop a little with a knife (don't pound into a powder though, just crack it a bit). Place the roasting pan in the oven. Let roast for 15 minutes. Using a flat spatula turn each wedge over gently and let roast another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and eat warm!

good stuff:: Cabbage is full of nutrients. Vitamin K, C, fiber, manganese, B6, potassium, folate. It also contains other B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin), calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A and protein. What is interesting is that cabbage contains omega-3's! "There is actually far more ALA in 100 calories of cabbage than there is in 100 calories of salmon! "

csa box: week 6

We had rain! Two nights in a row! My garden is SO happy and I know that farmers in my area are relieved (for now).

::in the box:: 2 types of cucumbers, 2 types of summer squash, scallions, new garlic, green beans, sage, lettuce, carrots, beets, cabbage

With the dry weather there was not a lot of 'extra' available to purchase this week, but I picked up a few things.

::extras:: carrots, beets, sage

To see what was in our CSA box this week in previous years::
| 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

What is now in season where you live??

Thursday, July 21, 2011

csa box:: week 5

We have had some record heat and a lack of rain this month, so it was no surprise to hear from our CSA farmer on pick up day about how things were not doing so well this week. It was too hot to seed lettuces, radishes and other plants were bolting, and everything is dry dry dry. So this week she put in storage popcorn from last year to fill it out a bit. Hopefully the heat will at least boost the heat lovers like tomatoes, melons and cucumbers. Now, if it will just rain a bit more often!

::in the box:: kale, cucumbers, summer savory, new garlic, summer squash, carrots, popcorn, beans

I picked up a few extras:: carrots, beets, onions, dill heads, chives.

What is in your box this week? What is in season in your area?

zucchini chips.

If you love your dehydrator as much as I do, you will want to keep using it all summer. We love kale chips and make them all the time. But you can also make snack 'chips' from other veggies too (beets!). Zucchini is in that 'overabundance always have too much of it' category. And honestly, it doesn't have much flavor on its own. But these chips? So good, so easy and you can make them all summer long.

It is basically the same as kale chips. You slice your zucchini very thinly with a knife or mandolin and put into a bowl. In a small bowl mix together 2 tsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and any herb blend you like. I used a nice pinch of yellow curry powder and some dried cilantro from the garden. See what you like - smoky paprika, onion powder, fresh thyme...

Drizzle the mixture over the slices, tossing gently until completely coated. Lay the slices out on your dehydrator and dry until crispy. Be sure to rotate your trays so they dry evenly.

I like using the dehydrator because it doesn't heat up the house on hot days, and it also doesn't heat the food to a high temperature. You can do these in an oven on a baking sheet (or something that allows air to flow all around like a rack), just be sure to use the lowest temperature setting, open the door a bit if needed, and to turn them over midway.

The time they need to dehydrate will depend on the humidity where you are. Just let them go until crispy. They will stay crispy in an air tight container if they are really dry, but can get a little soft in a bag if there is much humidity or they were not dehydrated until fully dry. So best to just eat them right away! It is hard to stop anyway...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

lavender honey/lavender syrup

The past  few weeks I have picked up small bunches of fresh organically grown lavender at our CSA and have been drying it at home. My six year old really loves lavender. We make bath salts for his winter eczema. We make lavender oil to mix with our infused calendula oil for moisturizing and healing. And we make syrup and honey for lavender lemonade!  I like making both the honey and the syrup.  The honey is used most for hot and iced tea and drizzled on scones or biscuits. The syrup is used most in lemonade and for cocktails or home made sodas.

So, I have two recipes. One is using raw honey (lavender infused honey) one is for using sugar (lavender syrup). There are many recipes out there for lavender syrup - I like mine using lemon. It makes the lavender pop and is more fragrant without being too floral and cuts the sugary sweetness!

::lavender honey::

1 cup raw local honey
2 Tbsp. dried lavender buds

Gently warm the honey in a pot (don't boil or overheat). Add the lavender buds and let sit in the pot with the honey on a low burner for 15-30 minutes (longer=stronger lavender flavor).  Stir gently. Let cool a bit and pour into a bottle using a strainer when just warm.

::lavender syrup::

1 cup fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup dried lavender buds
juice of one small/medium lemon
1 cup of water

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add all ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and it starts to thicken a little, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool a bit and pour into a bottle using a strainer when just warm.  Syrup will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered in a glass jar, about 2 weeks.

Note: Be sure to use organic/untreated dried lavender (if you buy it dried, be sure that is for culinary use). 

Idea:: If you want to find a use for those sweet crystallized lavender buds in your strainer, try adding to muffins, scones or tea bread recipe. It is really good.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

csa box:: week 4

In general if something grows in our region and it isn't in season we don't eat it. We still buy a few things like citrus, ginger, avocado and other things that don't grow here from the co-op, but we try to eat local produce with the seasons, and freeze/can/dry the rest to get us through the winter. And Wisconsin has long winters. So, when certain things come back in season we relish them. Especially in years where the weather has been 'off' and we are behind schedule (like this year). I get downright excited about seeing carrots, fresh cucumbers, apples picked from the tree, and when the tomatoes ripen? Oh. My. This week we have some things in our box I've really been looking forward to!

::in the box:: lettuce, collard greens, cucumber, red raspberries, carrots, summer squash, kohlrabi, parsley, sage, green beans, beets, garlic scapes.

::extras:: dill heads (pickling!), cucumbers, chives, carrots, purslane, lavender, calendula heads.

To see what was in our box this week in previous years click the year::
| 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

Have a CSA box to share? Include your link in the comments. What is in season from your farmer's market, CSA or garden?

kohlrabi slaw.

I have many go-to recipes that I love to make again and again, but don't always post. You see, I am a chronic by the seat of my pants cook. I know the general recipe that I like and rarely make it *exactly* the same twice.

Kohlrabi Slaw is one of those things. I love it. I make it every year that we start getting kohlrabi in the garden and CSA box. I am not a big fan of raw tasteless cabbage and shredded carrots in a runny sauce as is common for American picnics and barbeque's. I like the idea of slaw and the crunchy rawness of it, but I want flavor. Kohlrabi Slaw is so flavorful but still has that fresh crunchy summer feel. This recipe is flexible, because I tweak it based on what we are eating it with. But I find that I most often make it this way - I really think the ginger/sesame oil go so well together with the veggies, and yet it never overpowers. So here it is. My favorite Kohlrabi Slaw.

This makes enough for a few servings - side dish for dinner for a small family. If you are having a barbecue or taking it to a pot luck, double or triple. If you don't like hot pink slaw, just use a different kind of beet. ;)

1 kohlrabi, peeled and grated
1 carrot, grated
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
1 medium fennel head, grated
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
a few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1 Tbsp créme fraiche, Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
1" knob of fresh ginger, finely minced
salt & pepper to taste

Grate/chop all of your veggies and toss in a bowl. In a small bowl mix the dressing. Pour over the veggies, stirring to coat. Salt & pepper to taste. Let sit for 30 minutes or more to get those juices and flavors going. Tastes like summer!

::food for thought:: This slaw not only tastes better than the more common slaws, but also is packed with more goodness. Kohlrabi is high in vitamin C and B, magnesium, potassium, fiber and many great anti cancer compounds. Beets are high in anti oxidants, folate, manganese, potassium, fiber, vitamin C and even iron! Fennel is another one full of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese, folate and iron. And of course carrots...not to mention sesame oil is very high in linoleic acid, one of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) our bodies cannot produce. And you know about ginger and garlic. So see? Picnic food doesn't have to be flavorless and empty. It can be raw and fresh and packed full of flavor and goodness.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


10 days of waiting and we have limoncello. Home made. Absolutely delicious. Lemony and sweet and over the top aromatic.

Want to make some? It is very easy!

You will find the recipe over at FuoriBorgo where Francesca shares her piece of Italy with the world.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

csa box:: week 3

Week 3! So many good things this week.

in the box:: snow peas, red raspberries, spring onions, beets, lettuce, kale/chard mix, kohlrabi, broccoli, sage, and two types of summer squash.

extras:: I only picked up beets, dill (pickling!) and lavender this week. Our lovely farmer said I should pick some of her calendula flower heads around the barn if I could use them for oil/balms, so I did!

I immediately blanched all the greens and prepped them for the freezer. I started a pot of veggie stock with all the ends and bits and stems (what Ms. Hunka our angora rabbit won't/shouldn't eat). Put in a tray of beets and garlic to roast in the oven, and baked raspberry mini-pies. YUM.

See what was in our box on week three in previous years::
| 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

What was in your CSA box this week?
Or what is in season at your local Farmer's Market?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

lacto fermented garlic scapes

While I love the twang of vinegar based pickled vegetables, I definitely think there is a place on the table for lacto fermented vegetables. The lacto fermentation leaves you with a heady flavor of the original vegetable, a salty brineyness (well, it should be a word) and that nice crispy bite. Another think I love about lacto fermentation - in addition to the healthy benefits - is that it is easy to make in small batches. It isn't a whole kitchen all day canning extravaganza if you don't want it to be. I often make a pint of this, a quart of that, little by little - whatever you have leftover. Having some nice pickles on the side with dinner is really yummy and they also are always wonderful on a snack platter type of thing.

Last week I made a pint of lacto fermented garlic scapes. Super easy to do, and I really love them chopped on salads!

::lacto-fermented garlic scapes::

For all of my lacto fermented veggies I basically use the recipe from Nourishing Traditions.

Take up to about 10-15 clean garlic scapes (will vary based on how big yours are and the type of canning jar you use). You can cut off at the flower head spot, or leave on--your call.

Cut them into pieces that are the height of your canning jar - give yourself about a 3/4"-1" head room so your scapes will be fully covered by the liquid with headroom to spare.

Add them to a sanitized canning jar - pack in there!

Tuck sprigs of fresh dill into the spaces and sides. As much as you like - I use about 5 sprigs.

Add any dried herbs you like - I like adding 1-2 teaspoons of pickling spice which includes allspice, coriander, fennel, peppercorns...

In a separate jar, mix 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 2 tablespoons of whey, and about 3/4 cup of room temperature filtered water (If you don't have whey, increase salt to 4 tsp).

Let that brine sit for 10-15 minutes for salt to dissolve.

Pour the liquid over the garlic scapes, and add more water if the scapes are not covered.

Screw lid on tightly and keep at room temp for about 2-3 days, then put in the fridge! You can eat them as soon as they are chilled, but they do get even better after a few more days. They will last a few months in the fridge.

Here are just a few other lacto fermented recipes I like::

| pickles/cucumbers | garlic (yum!) | sauerkraut |

"The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine." -Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions

Monday, July 4, 2011

kale chips.

Kale always seems to be one of those under-appreciated greens. In my house I am the only one who likes it. In fact my boys just don't like leafy greens and the only way they enjoy eating them is juiced into their morning smoothies with frozen fruit. But, kale chips is one of those things that everyone likes. Even picky kids (or husbands). They are crispy, salty, and have lots of good flavor. They are also really easy to make - so when you have a bunch of kale that you don't know what to do with...make chips!

::kale chips::

1 bunch of kale

::base flavor::
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

::spice mixes to add to the base::
1 tsp fresh finely minced dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

2 shakes of toasted sesame oil
1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
pinch cayenne
pinch yellow curry powder

-Wash and dry the kale.

-Cut out the thick center stalks (clean scissors are the easiest way).
-Tear/cut into 3" pieces.

-Add your oils/spices to a bowl and stir a tad. Then toss the kale into the bowl, tossing and stirring until it is all coated.
-Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

-Toss again and arrange in a single layer in your dehydrator.
-Let dehydrate until crispy.
-Store in airtight container. They won't last long.

If you don't have a dehydrator you can arrange on a cookie sheet and use the oven on the lowest setting until crispy. I like the dehydrator because I don't have to crank the oven on a hot summer day and the low temps keep it nice and green. But either way works!

::good stuff ::

Kale is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese; a very good source of copper, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium; and a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorous, omega-3's (alpha-linolenic acid/ALA) and vitamin B3.