01 Jul

Bow Tie Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Olives Recipe

With appealing Mediterranean flavorings, you’ll feel like you’re vacationing. For a non-veg variation, toss in some grilled shrimp or chicken breast.
Serves: 4

Ingredients
12 ounces bow tie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomato
2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons sliced kalamata or other ripe olives (about 5 to 6 olives)
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, combine the oil and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Do not brown. Add the tomato and cook for about 4 minutes longer, or until the tomato starts to soften. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, for about 1 minute more, or until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, olives, capers, pepper, and salt. Reduce the heat to low.
3. Add the tomato mixture to the reserved pasta and toss to coat. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, if needed, to moisten the pasta.
4. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

 

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.

10 Sep

Garden News – September 10, 2015

The garden has really  been coming on strong.  With the cooler nights, the plants are wanting to finish their growing cycle of production because they know fall is coming!  What that means for us is that we are harvesting, harvesting, harvesting! Any special projects that we have planned, like weeding and preparing for winter are just having to wait.  We can barely keep up!  Cooler space is at a premium, too!  That is why it is so important for everyone to get here to pick up your shares, as there is not enough room to store anything extra.

We are hoping that the lettuces, spinach and other greens that we seeded a few weeks ago are liking this cooler weather.  They seem is be up and growing well, which means that we can start harvesting some for you in another week or two.  I don’t  know about you,  but I miss not being able to have  a nice green salad during the heat of the summer.  I love cabbage slaw, braised kale and chard, but lets face it….they are not the same as spring lettuce.  I could live on salad!

I have lots of tomatoes for you this week, so take advantage….recipe for a great roasted tomato pasta is listed below. The smaller early  tomatoes are great for this recipe.  As long as you are at it, make extra and freeze.  Those tomatoes that are going to be in the markets during the long winter season taste like cardboard and are not fit for eating!

The cauliflower has been picked over the  course of the last week and a half.  I wish it would all be ready at the same time, but unfortunately,  that is not the case.  Each head is different and not all are perfect.  They are still good.  When I find a little brown spot, I just scrape it off, or rub with a lemon.  One of my favorite ways to cook it is to roast it, as cauliflower is kind of bland on its own.  Roasting brings out the flavor and the addition of slivered garlic, a splash of balsamic vinegar and Parmesan or Romano cheese is over the top.

I will have extra cucumbers out for you  to take, too!  They have been going crazy!  Anything that is not used this week is going to the food bank, as I don’t  have enough room to store them all.

This weeks share will include the beloved zucchini, cucumbers, cauliflower, beets, bell pepper, tomatoes and herbs…Pineapple Sage to try  in the recipe below.   If I find anything else out there that that I have time to  harvest, it will be added to your share.

Enjoy this beautiful weather while you can and see you later today.  If you can remember to bring back those clam shells that would be great.  Tomatoes are hard to package,especially when they are picked ripe!

Here are some great recipes for you to try.

Pineapple Sage Pound Cake

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ cup honey (light wildflower or sage preferred)
5 eggs
2 T chopped pineapple sage leaves (small, new leaves have the most flavor)
3 T chopped pineapple sage flowers (optional)
1 t grated lemon peel
4 T well-squeezed, chopped pineapple
1 t baking powder
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in honey. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to beat one minute after each addition. Beat in sage leaves, flowers and lemon peel. Stir dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture. Fold these together gently until just blended. Pour into 4 mini loaf pans (6”x3”x2”). Bake at 350oF for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Paccheri Pasta with Cauliflower and Spinach

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (best quality), for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (about 3 cups)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (best quality)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, with 1 tablespoon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound paccheri pasta (large tube) approximately 2.5-inches long by 2-inches wide
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Directions

Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil over medium heat, then add in the salt and the cauliflower. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan, and saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute. Remove the cauliflower from water with a large strainer or spider and add it to the pan with the garlic-red pepper mixture. Saute briefly until starting to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, add in the spinach, cover and let wilt for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and capers with juice and reduce the heat. Remove the cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Return the cauliflower water to boil, adding more water, if necessary, to cook the pasta. Add the pasta add cook to al dente. Remove the pasta from the water and add it to the pan with the sauce, adding a little pasta water, if needed. Stir gently to combine, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Garnish with the parsley and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Serve immediately with remaining cheese on the side.

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

This pesto is bursting with seasonal flavors and nutrients. Hello lycopene! It’s also quite low in oil thanks to the roasted tomatoes adding body and flavor. I left the almonds chopped and it added a nice texture that was great mixed into pasta or spread on a toasted sandwich. I suggest making some and freezing it for a later date.

Yield: 1 cup pesto

Ingredients:

  • 9 large roma, heirloom or any tomato, sliced in half lengthwise – if really large, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup pinenuts, almonds or walnuts, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling on tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Your desired amount of cooked Pasta

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 minutes s at 400F. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting.
2. Reduce oven heat to 325F and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup into food processor and process until finely chopped. I prefer mine a bit chunky for texture. Remove and set aside.
3. With processor turned on, add 2 garlic cloves and let it whirl around until finely chopped. Now add in the basil and process until finely chopped.
4. Add in the oil, optional nutritional yeast, and 1.5 cups of roasted tomatoes (you will have tomatoes left over). Process until smooth. Pulse in 1/3 cup toasted nuts. Season generously with salt and pepper.
5. Pour your desired amount of pesto over the cooked pasta and mix well. Chop the remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into pasta. Chop remaining nuts and chiffonade the basil.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp

9 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 (17-ounce) containers Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 9 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 lemons)
  • 3/4 pound cooked large shrimp, halved
  • Thin slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
  • Fresh dill, for garnish

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, half-and-half, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, salt, and pepper. Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed and then pour into another bowl. Continue processing the soup until all of it is pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.
Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the shrimp, lemon, and fresh dill.

Cream of Zucchini and Anise Soup

Serve this soup either hot or cold.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
6 cups chopped zucchini (from about 6 medium zucchini)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or whipping cream
2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur

Additional olive oil

Directions
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped zucchini and chopped onion and sauté
 until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups water, chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds and thyme sprig. Stir in 2 tablespoons crème fraîche and 2 tablespoons Pernod. Simmer soup uncovered 20 minutes. Remove thyme sprig from soup.
Working in batches, purée soup in processor until smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Return to saucepan and rewarm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

15 Jul

Spinach Salad with Strawberries + Pine Nuts Recipe

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups spinach
2 cups quartered strawberries
3 tbsp. roasted pine nuts (roasted on a skillet over the stove on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring)
1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Peel and dice the cucumber, and slice the strawberries.

Roast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly roasted.

In a bowl combine the cucumber, spinach, strawberries, and pine nuts.

Mix the Dijon mustard, honey, white wine vinegar, and canola oil in a small cup.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to mix, adding some salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

01 Jul

Spinach Salad Recipe

This is a classic salad that is hearty enough for a meal! Add some crumbled blue cheese if you like. Soup and bread complement this nicely.

• 1- 1 1/2 lbs washed spinach, either baby leaf or mature (if using mature leaves, rip up into smaller pieces)
• 8-12 pieces of bacon
• One small red onion, sliced thinly
• 4-6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped or quartered

Warm Bacon Dressing

• 5 tablespoons reserved bacon fat (or use olive oil if you feel weird about bacon fat)
• 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• salt and black pepper, to taste
Cook bacon until very crisp in a skillet, in batches if necessary. Drain bacon pieces on a paper towel, and add 5 tablespoons of bacon fat to a small saucepan. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients, mix well, and warm over low heat.
Place the spinach in a large bowl with bacon and onion. Just before eating, add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat spinach. Divide onto 4 plates and top with chopped eggs and blue cheese, if using.

 

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.

 

28 Apr

Seedlings galore!

Hello everyone!

It’s finally beginning to feel like spring!  The meadowlarks are singing,  the robins are gathering grasses and leaves for their nest building and the male pheasants are strutting their stuff!  The sun’s warmth has once again returned and brings forth the promise of an abundant, vibrant garden season.

Thank you all for joining the CSA this year.  I am excited to see and experience the miracles that always present themselves each year as we travel through the spring, summer and fall garden season.  Just a quick update to let you know how things are going here in the greenhouse and garden.

 

Greenhouse-hotbox seedlins-4-27-14 2014-04-27 007The warmer weather the last couple of weeks has allowed Barbara and I the opportunity to move the tomato and onion seedlings from the greenhouse out into the window boxes to harden off before we plant them    into the garden.  I was bold and even transplanted the seedlings of lettuce, Napa cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and scallions out into the garden.  I am trusting that they can handle the temperature fluctuations so that we can provide you with some early crops.  We also direct seeded beets, radishes and spinach.  As you can see we are getting ready for a bountiful CSA season.

 

The greenhouse is bulging at the seams with the rest of the seedlings we have started.  There is not 1 square inch of room on the tables for more!  I need to get things outside soon, so that I can start more plants.  This week I will be harvesting the lettuce and spinach that is growing in the ground and send it to Market Day Foods in Bozeman.  It is really nice to have another place to sell my produce.

Greenhouse-hotbox seedlins-4-27-14 2014-04-27 004

I still have a few more openings available for this season’s CSA, so if you know of anyone who would be interested, please let them know.  I was hoping for 16 this year and we stand at 11 as of today.  I will probably place an ad in the Billings Gazette this week.  I had hoped that I would have had a greater response from the article on my garden in the Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine, but sadly that has not been the case.

I have planted extra seedlings of tomatoes (early small, large slicers, both yellow and red, and several different colors and shapes of cherries), peppers (bell, jalapeno, habanero, ancho/poblano and sweet Italian) and eggplant that I will have available for sale for those of you who would like to have a few plants at home.  They are organic, healthy heirloom plants  and in 4 inch pots.  They will sell for $3.75 ea.  Let me know soon if you are interested and I will save some for you.  I also have beautiful large, hardy lavender plants that have been growing in the greenhouse all winter. The are just starting to bloom.  They are ready to plant now.   They are hardy here in our zone and are plants that have self seeded from my lavender that has been growing here for over 10 years, so they are well acclimated to our environment.  They will sell for $5 ea.

There is still time to let me know if you are wanting to can or pickle this year.  The canning baskets for tomato sauce, salsa and cucumber pickles need to be ordered soon, so that I will have the available produce growing for you.  You may want to consider fermenting some of your veggies this year.  I made sauerkraut last fall from some of the “not so perfect” cabbage I had left from the garden, and it turned out great.  I am planning on doing allot more fermenting this year, as it is so good for you, and it is so easy to make.

You are more than welcome to come by for a visit any time to see the garden and greenhouse.  It will be looking better, greener and more lush in a few weeks.  Give me a call if you do.   Just a reminder that for those of you who have not paid in full for your subscription, your final payment is due by May 15th.

Here is a great recipe for taking advantage of the baby spinach that you find in all of the markets right now. It’s quick, easy and tastes great. Enjoy!

Bow Tie Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Olives

With appealing Mediterranean flavorings, you’ll feel like you’re vacationing, not watching your waistline. For a non-veg variation, toss in some grilled shrimp or chicken breast.

Serves: 4

Ingredients
12 ounces bow tie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomato
2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons sliced kalamata or other ripe olives (about 5 to 6 olives)
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, combine the oil and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Do not brown. Add the tomato and cook for about 4 minutes longer, or until the tomato starts to soften. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, for about 1 minute more, or until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, olives, capers, pepper, and salt. Reduce the heat to low.
3. Add the tomato mixture to the reserved pasta and toss to coat. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, if needed, to moisten the pasta.
4. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

14 Apr

Loaded Spinach and Salmon Salad

The mix of greens, vegetables, and salmon covers almost all of your nutritional bases.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 salmon filets (6 ounces each), rinsed and dried
1 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch ground black pepper
4 cups spinach leaves
10 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
20 asparagus spears, with bottoms cut off
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 tablespoon honey mustard (use the lowest sodium one you can find)
1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Directions

  1. Place the salmon in a deep skillet big enough for the salmon to lay flat on the bottom. Cover with 1″ of water.
  2. Add the parsley, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque.
  4. Lightly scrape off the skin and fat line.
  5. Evenly divide the spinach, tomato, and blueberries between two plates. Top each with half of the salmon.
  6. In a nonstick skillet, combine the oil, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  7. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, and pinch of black pepper.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly tender.
  9. Add the honey mustard. Cook for 30 seconds longer, or until the honey mustard slightly caramelizes.
  10. Lay the veggies over the top of the salmon. Sprinkle with the almonds.
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.
14 Apr

Creamy Spinach Dip

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) container of sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed
3 scallions or green onions, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder (fresh minced garlic is even better).
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shredded Asiago cheese (or parmesan or Romano)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll spinach in paper towel and squeeze to release water, or make it dizzy in your salad spinner. Combine first seven ingredients in a casserole dish; sprinkle cheese on top; warm until cheese bubbles. Serve with fresh veggies, baked chips or warm sourdough bread.