19 Jul

Garden News – July 19, 2017

We have zucchini, which means that summer is really here!  The cucumbers are now just beginning, too, so from now on there will be a plethora of both.  Just remember this when you start complaining that you are getting tired of eating them, because in the deep of winter, you will be missing their wonderful taste!

There are not too many things things in the garden that can handle this heat.  Even the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants aren’t sure if they want to set fruit.

We are starting early each day and harvesting before it gets too hot.  We began seeding our fall crops  this week.  That means that making sure the seed beds stay good and wet is a priority.  Seeds are typically planted shallow and the soil will dry out quickly in this heat.  We always use a light mulch over the new seed beds to retain moisture and keep the soil cool, but it is a challenge with daytime temps well into the 90’s.

Your share this week is another bounty  of goodness.  The last of the tender leaf lettuce, cabbage, beets, rainbow chard, braising mix (all cut up and ready to wash), scallion, dragon radish, haricot vert and basil.  I have some wonderful recipes listed below using some  of  the produce, so let’s get cooking!

Sautéed Greens with Creamy Polenta

First, cook the polenta which will take around 30-40 minutes.   Of course, before serving, add butter and Parmesan to the pot and then taste it, and add more butter and Parmesan.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced or 1/2 cup ramps, Chopped
  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Swiss chard, the greens roughly chopped and the stems sliced small. Use the whole plant. You can also use other greens like kale, mustards or spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pinches hot pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese grated to taste

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add oil, wait 30 seconds and add onions, chard stems, pepper flakes and garlic.  Cook/sauté until they begin to color and the chard stems become tender, but still crunchy. Next, add the greens, lower the heat to medium and cover pan with lid and allow greens to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Taste, season with salt and pepper and serve over creamy polenta. Drizzle a little good quality olive oil over the dish and top with shaved or grated cheese.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
Recipe from DELANCEY, by Molly Wizenberg (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

Serves 2 to 3

Don’t be put off by the number of steps. The dressing can be made a few days ahead.  This salad is wide open to adaptations and a great vehicle for using up leftovers or odds and ends. Take the recipe and run with it, using whatever vegetables and cooked meats you have on hand. Though it changes the whole concept, try substituting hot freshly cooked rice for the noodles.

The dressing:

3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons water, to taste
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 fresh Thai (also sold as “bird’s eye”) chile, minced

The salad:

8 ounces thin rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
3 or 4 napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise (can substitute any other cabbage)
1 medium carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1/2 cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 handful chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
8 ounces cooked meat or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of the water, the garlic, and the chile. Whisk well. Taste: if it’s too pungent, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If you’d like more sweetness, add more brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Remember that you’re going to be putting this dressing on unsalted vegetables and noodles: you want the dressing to have a lot of flavor, but it shouldn’t knock you over. Pour into a serving bowl. (Covered and chilled, the dressing will keep for 3 days to a week.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, and rinse them well with cold water. Lay out a clean kitchen towel on the countertop, shake the colander to drain away excess water, and then spread the cooked noodles on the towel to drain further.
Divide the noodles between two or three good-sized bowls, depending on the number of diners, and top with the vegetables, herbs, and meat. Scatter the peanuts on top. Allow each person to spoon on dressing to taste. Toss well, and eat. (Alternatively, you can present this salad family-style: Toss the vegetables, herbs, and noodles in a mixing bowl and then mound them on a serving platter. Arrange the meat over the noodles, and top with peanuts. Each diner can scoop their own portion from the platter and dress it as they see fit.)
I will see you all tomorrow from 4 to 6 for your share pick up.  I thank you all again for your support of Kate’s Garden.  It really means allot to me and even though it has been so hot this season, I am still enjoying being able to provide vital nutritious food for you and your families.  Blessings to you all!

14 Oct

Garden News – October 14, 2015

The gardens are really slowing down now, with the cooler nights and shorter days.  The leaves are falling and some of the trees are already bare while others are slow to let go of their fall clothes!  As I walk around the yard there is a crunch where there once was soft grass.  I guess it is time for one last mowing and then the raking that will go on for several more weeks.

That wind last Sunday did some damage here.  Three sections of my cedar fence went down.  The  4X4 cedar posts snapped off at the ground.  John Pugrud, my savior, will be coming to fix everything this week.  I don’t know what I would  do without him.  Thank you, John!  Some of the wire fence for the tomatoes also blew down.   The tomatoes are so heavy right now, but I am not going to worry, as I will be harvesting them all soon, depending on whether it freezes of not.

My friends Steven and Robin Earles are also bringing me lots of leaves and grass clippings that I will be spreading over my gardens getting them ready for bed.  Thank you Robin and Steve!  The garden and I love you!  I am also bringing in manure.  A light tilling will then be done and the garden will be ready for winter sleep.  Rest and rejuvenation are important….for me too!

This is the final pick up for the following subscribers.  Virginia Bryan, John Pugrud, Charis Cravens, Sonya Whiteley, Lindsey James, Paula Larsen, Vanessa McNeill, Merita Murdock, Kat Pakora, Alicia Pettys, Kerry Sandelin, Sue Tanner, Carol Wardell, Jordan Westerholm, Nancy Wilkin,  Mike Williams.

These remaining subscribers will pick up their last share on October 22nd.  Susan Baak, Jessie Browning, Annika Charter Williams, Steve Charter, David Duke, Pamela Gustafson, James Haney, Halcyon LaPoint, Paula & Tom Larsen, Vanessa McNeill, Nanette Kuhl.

I am not quite sure what the selection will be in your share this week, but for sure there will be  winter squash, eggplant, bell peppers, leaf lettuce, swiss chard, dry onions, broccoli side shoots, red cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers.  With a possible frost and even a freeze looming just around the corner, I will be trying to time the harvest getting the more tender veggies out of the garden first. It is really dry out there and things are still growing, so I had to water with city water this week  as the water in the canal is too low to pump anymore.  The county empties the canal on the 15th of October.

With the crisp fall temperatures, its time to start thinking about those meals that feed the body and spirit….I like to call them “Soul Foods”.

Creamy Winter Greens Gratin

Serves four as a side dish.

You can make this gratin with your choice of spinach, Swiss chard, kale, or broccoli raab. You’ll need to boil the greens first, following the instructions below. You can also substitute any hard cheese for the Parmigiano.

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2-1/2 oz. bacon (about 3 strips) or 1-1/2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
2 cups cooked winter greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale, or broccoli raab)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or a combination of Parmigiano and another hard cheese like Gruyère, Emmental, or aged Gouda

Prep and cook the greens:

To get the 2 cups of cooked greens you need for the gratin, be sure to start out with the amount of raw greens specified below.

Cut off and discard the tough stems (use a small, sharp paring knife and trim around the stem). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, submerge all the greens, and cook just until tender (see cooking times below). Drain well and then spread on a towel to absorb excess moisture. If the greens still seem very wet, squeeze them gently to remove excess liquid.

Spinach
Start with 1 lb. mature spinach, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped to yield about 7 cups tightly packed (or 12 oz.); cook for 30 seconds, just until wilted.

Broccoli raab
Start with a 1-lb. bunch broccoli raab, tough lower stems removed (almost half the bunch), as well as any discolored leaves, and the rest very roughly chopped to yield about 6 heaping cups; cook for 2 min.

Swiss chard
Start with 1-3/4 lb. chard, stems cut away and reserved for another use (slice, freeze, and add to your next vegetable soup) and leaves roughly chopped to yield about 9-1/2 cups (or 12 oz.); cook for 1 min.

Kale
Start with 1-1/4 pounds kale, tough stems trimmed away, leaves roughly chopped to yield 6 cups tightly packed; cook for 8 min.
Assemble and bake the gratin:

Heat the oven to 400°F. Have ready a shallow 4-cup ceramic gratin dish or casserole dish (any shape is fine as long as it’s shallow). Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter and toss it in a small bowl with the breadcrumbs and a pinch of kosher salt and a little ground pepper; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat (watch that it doesn’t boil over), immediately lower the heat, and simmer vigorously until the cream reduces to about 3/4 cup, 4 to 8 min. (Don’t over-reduce.) Take the pan off the heat and remove and discard the garlic cloves. Let the cream cool slightly, stirring occasionally to keep a skin from forming. Season with 1/4 tsp. of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon or pancetta over medium heat until crisped and browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels, and carefully pour off most of the excess fat in the skillet (but don’t wipe it clean). Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add the cooked greens, season with 1/4 tsp. salt if using bacon (omit the salt if using pancetta), and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 min. Transfer the greens to the gratin dish and spread them evenly.

Crumble the bacon or pancetta over the greens. Sprinkle on the cheese. Pour the seasoned cream over all, and top with the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake until the gratin is brown and bubbly, about 25 min. Let rest for 10 to 15 min. before serving.

For a change, serve these gratins individually. Just divide ingredients among four small gratin dishes and bake as directed above.

Emeril’s Favorite Cabbage

8 to 10 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 head green or white cabbage (about 3 1/2 pounds), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
Directions

Cook the bacon in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, until browned and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, salt, cayenne, black pepper, sugar, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir to mix well. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage just begins to wilt or soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the beer. Stir to mix.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves. Remove from the heat and serve warm.

Thai Squash Soup

Refreshing and earthy, this recipe puts a Thai twist on winter squash soup.

Serves: 4
Ingredients

  • 6 shallots, unpeeled
  • 1 can (13 1/2 ounces) light coconut milk
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro + 1 tablespoon chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions, green parts only
  • ground black pepper

Directions
1. Preheat the broiler. Spray a sheet of heavy foil with organic cooking spray and place the shallots on top. When the broiler is ready, broil the shallots, turning occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened and blackened. Remove from the broiler, let cool, then peel and halve them lengthwise.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the shallots, coconut milk, broth, squash, and the 1/w cup of cilantro. Cook just until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat, add the salt, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir in the fish sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
3. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of the minced scallion greens and the chopped cilantro and season with pepper to taste.
Recipe Tips
To make an edible soup bowl, cut a thin slice from the bottom of a small pumpkin or squash. Cut off the top and scoop out the insides, leaving at least 1/2″ of shell intact. The bowl may be cooked or served raw if it’s cooked, you can eat it when you’ve finished the soup!

***This is important!  Be sure and let me know if you are coming to pick up your share.  I know  it might be confusing with this last pick up because of the half shares.  It is confusing to me, too!  Just give me a call, or send an email to confirm that you are  coming, or if you have questions.

08 Aug

Chard Stalk Hummus

Chard Stalk HummusChard Stalk Hummus is a traditional Lebanese dish that resembles baba ghanoush in flavor and texture.  It uses chard stalks in place of the chickpeas to make a rustic dip for raw veggies and pita.  You can use any color of chard stalk.  Each will add its own tint to the dip.

Makes 1 cup

2 cups chopped chard stalks
2 garlic cloves
¼ c tahini
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon

Swirl of extra virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley for garnishing

Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Add the chard stalks and boil for 5-10 minutes depending and how thick they are, until they are very soft.

Drain well squeezing out any excess water, and add the stalks to a food processor, along with the garlic, tahini, salt and lemon juice. Pulse continuously until the dip is slightly chunky and still has some bite to it, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Serve with a generous swirl of oil on top and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

17 Sep

2014 CSA – Week 14

What a difference a week makes!  From 27 degrees last Friday morning to this afternoon’s 90, the garden is in shock!  That’s a 63 degree difference!  Even after all of the hard work of covering the garden, we still received major frost damage here in the gardens.  The cucumbers are toast, as are all of the herbs.  The summer squash vines are struggling.  The tomatoe vines are fried, but the tomatoes are okay, so will leave them on to ripen.  The eggplant and peppers are recoving and we will still have cabbage for later.

We still are okay though, with a good selection for this weeks share, so I am thankful.  It could have been allot worse, if we had not covered things up.  I will know more tomorrow as I begin harvesting, but it looks like we will have tomatoes, scallions, green beans, zucchini, peppers, lettuce and either kale or chard.  I am giving you a break from the beets, but you will be getting them next week! I am including some beautiful nasturtium flowers for you to add to your fresh lettuce salad.  They are delicious and taste like capers!

The apple harvest at Boja farms is in full swing, so if you are wanting apples for winter eating and baking, let me know and I will get them from Bonnie for you.  Barb and I will be going to visit the farm on Saturday.  We’re helping harvest apples and will be pressing them for cider.  There is nothing better than fresh pressed cider!  I have a press here, and made allot of cider last year from my own apples.  My apple trees only produce every other year however, so next year I am looking forward to another bumper crop and that cider!

See you on Thursday!

I am including some recipes for using the beans and greens.  I hope you enjoy them.

Pasta with Green Beans and Tuna

For a burst of briny flavor, add 1 tablespoon chopped olives or capers to the tuna mixture.

Serves 1

Ingredients
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 3 ounces fusilli or other short pasta
• 2 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved
• 1 can (3 ounces) chunk light tuna, packed in water, drained
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon natural almonds, chopped and toasted
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
Directions
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions, adding green beans 1 minute before end of cooking. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tuna, oil, almonds, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and beans and add to tuna mixture. Stir to combine.

Mixed-Bean Salad

Ingredients
• 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, shallot, and mustard. Add green beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas; toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Rainbow Chard Slaw

1 large bunch chard (or kale), sliced into thin ribbons
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup scallions, chopped

Dressing

1/2 cup minced salad onion or yellow onion
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (we like Duke’s)

In a small bowl, whisk together the onion, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the mayo until mixture is emulsified. Place the greens, carrot and scallions in a large salad bowl, and drizzle with slightly more than half of the dressing.

This salad is best dressed 20 minutes before serving. It will hold up, refrigerated, for several hours, but is best eaten day of. To enjoy later, simply save the greens and dressing, and combine them as needed.

Simple Roast Tomato Soup

This has big tomato flavor with smoky notes and hints of fragrant herbs. It’s exactly what you want to be eating as the first leaves of fall flutter by.

4 large tomatoes, halved
1 yellow onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (I am partial to white peppercorns)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (make your own!)
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop the seeds out of the halved tomatoes with your finger. Tuck the garlic into the tomatoes, and lay them, and the onions, out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and turn everything to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 30 – 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are bubbly and the edges are brown.

Combine the broth, roasted tomatoes and onions in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the herbs. Puree with an immersion blender or regular blender so that you maintain some of the texture. Add the balsamic, check salt and acid levels, and serve with an herb garnish and a piece of toast slathered with goat cheese.

14 Apr

Rainbow Chard Slaw

Ingredients

1 large bunch chard (or kale), sliced into thin ribbons
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup scallions, chopped

Dressing
1/2 cup minced salad onion or yellow onion
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (we like Duke’s)

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the onion, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the mayo until mixture is emulsified. Place the greens, carrot and scallions in a large salad bowl, and drizzle with slightly more than half of the dressing.

This salad is best dressed 20 minutes before serving. It will hold up, refrigerated, for several hours, but is best eaten day of. To enjoy later, simply save the greens and dressing, and combine them as needed.