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

Quick Pickled Radishes Recipe

My little radish sprouts are rapidly growing into peppery bulbs– so colorful and flavorful–it’s typically one of the first vegetables harvested out of the garden.  Of course, when one thinks of a radish, you may think of adding them to a salad or to a veggie plate.  But imagine showing up to a backyard BBQ with a mason jar full of homemade pickled radishes!

Pickling radishes is easy to accomplish and something you must try! You will be delighted by the spicy vinegar sting in your mouth…perfect to add to your favorite savory cocktail in place of a celery stick or a wonderful accompaniment to an Asian dish.  You might also try adding them to a grilled burger or topping off a piece of poached fish.  Or perhaps, like me, you’ll devour them right out of a jar or crock! Here is a general recipe that can be tweaked to your liking:
Makes 1 pint

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups radishes
10 fl oz vinegar
10 peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar (optional, or use honey, stevia, etc.)
1 small onion
1 bay leaf

Directions

Slice up radishes and onion. Bring vinegar, peppercorns, sugar and salt to a boil.  Place radishes, onion and bay leaf into a clean mason jar.  Pour vinegar mixture over radishes.  Refrigerate overnight.

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.

14 Apr

Spring Greens: Asparagus, Mustard Greens and Kale Stir-Fry Recipe

You can use curly kale or ornamental kale, though Tuscan kale works especially well. This kale stir-fry can be served as a side dish, or toss in grilled chicken strips and serve with a salad and oven-fresh bread on the side for a quick and easy main-dish meal.
SERVES 4

Ingredients

8 ounces multigrain penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 carrots, cut into thin matchstick strips
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thick matchstick strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 large bunch kale (about 1 pound), leaves cut into 1/2-inch slices; stems into 1/4-inch lengths
8 ounces mustard greens or dandelion greens, chopped
1 pound asparagus; washed, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 pound Roma or other paste-type tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated or shaved Pecorino Romano cheese or Asiago cheese
Pepper and additional salt (if needed), to taste.

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well, transfer to a large serving bowl or platter, and then toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, red pepper, garlic, sugar and chile flakes; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in kale, mustard greens, asparagus and vinegar; sauté for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Spoon greens mixture over cooked pasta; toss well to combine. Transfer Kale Stir-Fry to a large serving dish or bowl. Top with shredded or shaved cheese and season with salt and pepper.
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.