28 Feb

Winter still here? Tomato transplants are around the corner!

I don’t know about you, but I hope that the winter of 2017/18 is finally winding down. The sun has been shining the last few days, which has nudged the nighttime temperatures up a degree or two from below zero. I finally decided to put on my high-top rain boots in order to get to the back gate in the hopes that Bodie and I could take a walk along the ditch; however, needless to say, I needed thigh-high waders! Bodie didn’t enjoy our attempted excursion either, so we had to call it quits!  The next best thing for us to do was to start seeding the tomato transplants that are now on the website for  pre-order.

Even though I was born and raised here in Montana, one of the most challenging aspects of our winter season is the fact that I really haven’t made friends with the cold again, after living in Hawaii for 12 years. From early spring to late fall, I have been blessed to be able to be outside working in my gardens. Having my feet firmly grounded on the earth and the sun warming my body provides me the opportunity to go into a working/walking meditation. The chatter of my brain quiets and that inner sense of nothingness becomes palpable. I can still get there when sitting on the couch, but it is certainly not as easy.

I have been out working in the greenhouse starting the seeds that will be transplanted out into the gardens starting early spring. The tomatoes, peppers, mustard greens, broccoli, scallions and onions are already coming up! I’ve planted lots of flowers, too.  Edible flowers of violas, nasturtium,  calendula, citrus marigold have been a big hit with the local chefs.    When the sun in shining it has been over 80 degrees out there! I even had to start removing my layers of jacket and sweater. The feel of potting soil in my hands and the earthy aroma brought a smile to my face! I guess it is true that the simplest things can bring the greatest pleasure.  You might think that it is way to early to start seeds, but I am holding the door open for an early spring!

Tomato Transplants

Heirloom, organic tomato transplants are now available for sale on my website.   The photos and descriptions are already making my mouth water for summer salads and tomato sandwiches.  Nothing better than these sweet, juicy homegrown beauties!  I can hardly wait!

In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy this wintertime comfort food stew.  It will warm your body and delight your stomach!

Better with Cheddar Cornbread Stew

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14 ounces) Cheddar Smoked Sausage or any sausage you prefer
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large red onion, cut in small wedges
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 package (8.5 ounces) corn muffin mix

Preparation

  1. Cut sausage into 1/4-inch slices and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring broth to a boil.
  3. Add vegetables, continue to cook for 10 or until vegetables are crisp and tender.
  4. In a small bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Stir until smooth.
  5. Add to vegetables, continue to cook and stir for 2 or until thickened.
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese and sausage.
  7. Spoon mixture into a greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish.
  8. In a small bowl, mix corn muffin mix according to package directions.
  9. Spoon batter over the surface of vegetable/sausage mixture.
  10. Add remaining cheese to batter.
  11. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 or until corn bread is golden brown.

If you have friends or family members whom you think would like to find out about the happenings here at Lady Kate’s Garden, you are welcome to share this blog with them.

 

01 Oct

Potato, Bacon, and Greens Frittata

You can substitute sliced Canadian bacon for a lower-fat alternative in this hearty Spanish egg dish.

Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups roasted or boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup cooked greens, such as mustard or kale, chopped
2 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet onions, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
8 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet with ovenproof handle over medium heat. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, turning with tongs, 10 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in vinegar and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in potatoes, greens, bacon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

2. Pour eggs over vegetables and stir to blend. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to set, 3 minutes. Place skillet in oven and cook until set, 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. To serve, loosen around edges with rubber spatula and turn out onto platter.

28 Aug

French Potato and Green Bean Salad

French Potato and Green Bean Salad

Ingredients

2 pounds medium potatoes, like Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
3 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
1 tablespoon chopped anchovy
1 tablespoon chopped capers
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound small French beans, or small romano or wax beans
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil
6 to 8 anchovy fillets, optional, for garnish
8 ounces arugula, optional

Preparation

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, bay leaf and thyme branch. Cook at a brisk simmer until the potatoes are firm but easily pierced with a skewer, about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, anchovy, capers, mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk again before using if the dressing separates.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins with a paring knife and carefully cut into pieces 1/4-inch thick, or slightly thicker. Put the slices in a low bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper and add half the vinaigrette. Using your hands, gently coat the potatoes with the vinaigrette, taking care not to break them. Cover and set aside at room temperature.

18 May

It’s cold out there!

The greenhouse is bursting with seedlings wanting to go out!  I know we need the rain, but the garden is going to take off slow this year unless it starts to heat up real soon.

It seems I always end up talking about the weather, I know!  But it plays such a huge part in what I am trying to do here at Kate’s Garden.  I can put on a few extra layers of clothing and my mud boots  in order to stay warm and dry when I go out side, but the transplants that I just planted these last couple of weeks  do not have that option.   We do need the rain though as we have had such a dry winter.  I lost quite a few trees this year…even some that have been in the ground three or more years.   The fact that we experienced such high winds and did not have allot of snow really hurt.  I am sure you have noticed all  of the yellow,  burned evergreen trees and shrubs around town.

Today is a soup kind of day, as the weather is a bit chilly.  This recipe should warm you up.  If you took the time to freeze any of the kale or chard that you saved from the garden harvest last year, this is a great way to use it up.

Zuppa Toscana

 

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb Italian sausage ( I like mild sausage)
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
Brown sausage in your soup pot.
Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
Add bacon.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Turn to low heat.
Add kale and cream.
Heat through and serve.

 

 

11 Sep

2014 CSA – Week 13 – Is Winter upon us?

Boy!  What a week this has been.  Barb and I have been working from sun up till sun down harvesting and then covering as much of the garden as possible.  I can’t believe that I already had to wear my insulated jeans and rain gear!  Oh!  I also put the flannel sheets back on the bed!

Our first experience of an ununsual season started with the hail storm in early May, and now we have frost/freeze/snow slated for this evening.  I must say that it is quite disturbing to have worked so hard producing a beautiful garden and wonderful food, only to have it not come to fruition.  We are doing all we can to insure that this first taste of winter will not prove too damaging.  Hopefully it will be short lived and we can then return to a beautiful fall.  Let’s all hold this thought!

Bonnie Martinell from Bridger is continuing her harvest of apples.  If you want to order for next weeks pick up, let me know.

She will still have:

Liberty and Honey Crisp   $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box

New this week will be harvesting Sweet Sixteen and Harralson, which is a large crisp apple with a slight pear taste.  They will both sell for $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box

The apples that were ordered last week are here and available for pick up.  If you are writing a check, please make it payable to Boja Farms.

I only have 4 dozen regular sized eggs this week and Marlene brough me 3 dozen smaller pullet eggs which sell for $1.50.

This weeks share includes savoy cabbage (they were so huge that I cut them in half), green beans, eggplant, 3 varieties of peppers (bell, Anjo/Poblano and jalapeno), beets, Parisienne carrots, cucumbers, red and yellow onions and tomatoes.

I hope you enjoy some of these fall time recipes and take advantage of some of the veggies that are in this weeks share.

See you soon!

Cabbage and Pear Slaw
Serves: 4

Ingredients
• 1 cup chopped pears
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons apple cider
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded German Dumpling Soup
• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Directions
Give the reserved pears a rough chop.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, cider, sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pear, cabbage, onion, and parsley. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cabbage and Potato Bake

Serves: 6

Ingredients
• 1 cabbage, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
• 2 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 1/2 pounds
• 12 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 2 cups yellow onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned, low-sodium chicken broth

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Rinse the cabbage under cold running water and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the hard core. Cut the cabbage quarters into halves and place, rounded side down, in a roasting pan.

Cut the potatoes in half crosswise and peel. Cut the peeled potato halves into quarters, and arrange in the roasting pan, alternating with the cabbage pieces.

Fry the bacon in a heavy medium skillet for 7 minutes. Add the sliced onions, salt, and black pepper to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Evenly distribute the bacon mixture and pan drippings over the vegetables, then pour the chicken stock on top.

Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving. Serve the vegetables with the bacon and broth spooned over them.

Chunky Guacamole with Hot Peppers
Serves: 16
Prep: 35min

Ingredients
• 6 avocados, roughly chopped
• 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
• 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 cup chopped cilantro (from 1 bunch)
• 1 serrano or jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped – more if you like it hotter
• Juice from 4 small lemons or limes (about 1/2 cup) I prefer limes!

Directions
Put avocados, tomatoes, onion, salt, cilantro, pepper, and lemon juice in large bowl. Stir gently until well combined.
Serving Suggestions
Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer or on top of steak.

Chicken, Green Bean, and Cucumber Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh parsley and basil
• 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
• 4 ounces green beans
• 1 Basic Poached Chicken, breast half, cooled and torn
• 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
• 2 teaspoons chopped toasted almonds
• Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lemon juice, parsley, basil, and capers. Boil green beans, trimmed, in salted water until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water; drain and add to bowl along with poached chicken, cucumber, and chopped toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

 

01 Jun

Garden News – June 2014

It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least!  One day hot and dry, the next, damaging winds and hail.  The Sunday hail storm two weeks ago did major damage to my roof, shop, greenhouse.  I was able to save the majority of the garden by covering the larger plants with buckets and pots….over 200 of them!  It took me all day.  The pots got broken up but everything survived.  The row crops of greens and the the new seedlings coming up were set back a little, but I think everything right now is doing pretty good.  I am so thankful the storm predicted yesterday did not manifest.  I would have been in a world of hurts, with over 100 tomato transplants out there just getting started!  I have a strong feeling that we are going to be in for it this summer.  I have never experienced hail storms this early in the season.  The garden devas will certainly have their hands full keeping everything safe .

 

The direct seeded crops of beets, snap peas, radish,  carrots and cucumbers are up and the scallions that I transplanted out earlier are starting to bulk up.  I still have to transplant the bulb onions, peppers and direct seed all of the summer and winter squashes and melons.  I am being more than a little cautious because of the weather.  Barb and I are hoping to get all  of this done this week so that we can concentrate on weeding and installing supports for some of the heavier plants.  With the winds that we have been having,  I don’t want them to topple over.

I have to admit that at times I feel overwhelmed by all of the work that goes into an organic market garden.  Maybe it is because I am not as young as I used to be and work at a little slower pace, but the joy I experience when I see the fruits of my labor far exceeds the stress and sore body.  Being a able to share the garden with you provides me with a great sense of accomplishment and I know that we all  benefit on so many different levels.

I have been sending herbs and greens to the Good Earth Market and it is great to be able to have an outlet for some of my early harvest.  So if you shop there, look for my products.  They are all bagged and labelled “Kate’s Garden”, so you can’t miss them.  FYI…The GEM really walks their talk when it comes to their support of local producers.  I was really disappointed in “Lucky’s Market”.  They are not set up there to purchase from local producers.  All of the purchasing is done through their corporate office out of state, so it is next to impossible for producers here in our area to market to them.

I am also planning on being at GEM for their summer Saturday Farmers Market which will be held in their parking lot every week in June until the downtown Farmers Market begins in July.  So come by for a visit.

We are still on track for the first CSA pick up day beginning Thursday, June 19th which is just a little over 2 weeks away.  Hopefully the weather will be good to us.  I will be in touch with you before we begin with more garden news.  In the mean time here is a wonderful recipe to take advantage of early spring spinach or broccoli.  It’s still a little cool out there in the evenings, so what could be better than a stuffed baked potato?


Spinach and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

A healthy, yummy twist on stuffed potatoes. While spuds contain their own vitamin C and iron, spinach and cannelini beans offer even more nutrients. If you’re not a fan of spinach, substitute broccoli florets for an extra dose of vitamin C.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

4 large russet potatoes, pricked several times with a fork
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 can (14-19 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour, or until soft when squeezed (wear an oven mitt).

3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut each lengthwise in half. Let stand until easily handled but still warm.

4. Scoop out the potato pulp into a large bowl, leaving a 1/4″-thick shell. Place the potato shells in a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.

5. With a potato masher, mash the pulp with the cheese, sour cream, oil, milk, salt, and pepper. Fold in the spinach, scallions, and beans. Spoon into the potato shells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

 

14 Apr

Spinach and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

A healthy, yummy twist on stuffed potatoes. While spuds contain their own vitamin C and iron, spinach and cannelini beans offer even more nutrients. If you’re not a fan of spinach, substitute broccoli florets for an extra dose of vitamin C.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

4 large russet potatoes, pricked several times with a fork
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 can (14-19 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour, or until soft when squeezed (wear an oven mitt).
  3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut each lengthwise in half. Let stand until easily handled but still warm.
  4. Scoop out the potato pulp into a large bowl, leaving a 1/4″-thick shell. Place the potato shells in a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.
  5. With a potato masher, mash the pulp with the cheese, sour cream, oil, milk, salt, and pepper. Fold in the spinach, scallions, and beans. Spoon into the potato shells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.