29 Jul

Garden News – July 29, 2015

We had a great week with a nice heavy rain and a couple of cooler days.  It made things go a little easier.  Barb noticed some paw prints in the mud yesterday and we determined that they  were from  a racoon!  Now I know what is knocking my pepper plants over.  Guess I will have to keep an eye out for damaged veggies, but so far have not seen any.

The garden was blessed with a visit from Lindsey Jamesn today, who is one of our CSA shareholders.  She worked for several hours in the strawberry patch and basil beds.  She was great help and brought some new energy to the plants. Thank you  Lindsey!   You can come back any time.  It was so great having some extra help.

We also spread manure, grass clippings and alfalfa pellets and tilled them into some of the already harvested beds to ready them  for the replanting of some fall crops.  Hopefully more carrots, radish, broccoli, lettuce, spinach and greens will be planted this next week.

The cucumbers are really starting to produce so you will have some in this weeks share along with beautiful bush green beans, the last of the sugar snap peas and oakleaf lettuce, yellow summer squash, patty pan squash, a few small bulb scallions, and, of course some fresh herbs.  I am including a great recipe below that you can use some of this week’s produce to make.

Fresh Herb & Beef Salad with Southeast Asian Flavors

Having a delicious and interesting salad is not hard with this recipe that combines many great tastes and Southeast Asian flavors

Did you know that grass fed beef can be just as low in saturated fat and as good for you as chicken? Choose cuts that have the word loin or round in the name and you have a high-protein meal that is just as healthy as chicken.
Serves: 4
Ingredients

  • 1 lean boneless beef top round steak (12 ounces), well-trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 5 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed through a press
  • 6 cups shredded mixed red and green leaf lettuce, romaine
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet white onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

Directions
1. Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil. Coat the broiler-pan rack with cooking spray. Rub the steak on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon of the red-pepper flakes.
2. Broil the steak 4″ to 6″ from the heat source, turning once, for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°F for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate.
3. In a large salad bowl, mix the lime juice, fish sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes with a fork. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the dressing over the steak on the plate and let the steak stand for 10 minutes.
4. Add the lettuce or greens, cucumber, onion, radishes, cilantro, and mint to the remaining dressing and toss to mix well. Divide among the 4 plates.
5. Cut the steak into thin slices on an angle and arrange on top of the salads. Spoon the steak juices over the top.

See you on Thursday afternoon….4-6 PM.

22 Jul

Garden News – July 22, 2015

Another hot, busy week here in the gardens.  The last of the sugar snaps are harvested and will be in your share this week.  The Romanesco zucchini is going crazy and the yellow summer squash is starting to produce nicely.   We harvested the first few cucumbers and beans…not quite enough for this week’s share, but definitely will be in next week’s.  The tomatoes and peppers are really slow this year.  I have talked with other growers and we all seem to be complaining.  I think it is because of the temperature fluctuations.  Extreme heat, then cool nights, and then we had that cold snap a week ago.  The grasshoppers  aren’t doing the damage yet that they did last year, but with this heat who knows how long that will last!  The garden seems to be pretty bug free so far….keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Besides the peas, this week your share will contain cabbage, oakleaf lettuce, radish, zucchini, kale or swiss chard, fresh white onions, and, of course some herbs.

I am asked quite often why I am so passionate about growing good food.  I used to think it was just about the taste of homegrown veggies….they just taste so much better.  But over the years I have come to realize that there is a deep connection within us with all things from nature. Food reconnects us with nature and from there to our spirit. When food has been grown with care and attention, we are drawn to it…we can tell.  We recognize it.  When we can talk to the people who grow our food and share our experiences, we are drawn more deeply into ourselves and the connection we all have with each other and nature. I recently saw a sign that said “Food is love made visible.” For me, it is not going too far to say that love is the driving force behind the resurgence of passion for local food over the last few years. When love reveals itself as food, we respond.

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Yield: 12 boats, about 6 servings

Ingredients
6 small zucchini
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup marinara sauce
1 ½  cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
¼ red onion, sliced
¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade
1/2 cup mini pepperoni slices
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner, set aside.

Cut each zucchini into halves through the length (if they don’t lye flat trim a thin portion from bottoms so that they will lye mostly flat.  Pat insides dry with paper towels (cut portion). Align on prepared baking sheet. In a bowl, stir together olive oil and garlic then brush lightly over tops of zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste then brush a slightly heaping 1 Tbsp marinara sauce over each zucchini, leaving a small rim near edges uncoated. Sprinkle tops evenly with mozzarella cheese then with Parmesan cheese. Top with tomatoes, olives and pepperoni slices (placing them more near centers as the cheese will melt and spread). Bake in preheated oven 12 – 18 minutes (bake time will vary depending on how thick your zucchini are and how crisp/tender you want them).

Remove from oven and sprinkle with the fresh herbs.  Serve warm.

Just a friendly reminder to let me know  ahead of time if you are not going to be able to come and pick up your order, as I do not have room in my coolers to store any extra produce.  Three boxes this week were not picked up, so they were given to my neighbors.

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.

15 Jul

Garden News – July 15, 2015

It’s been a busy week in the garden, with lots of harvesting and seconding plantings going in.  The summer squash are finally coming on strong, and we have to check on them every day to make sure we pick them before they get too big.  Even with constant diligence, some of them slip by and get huge!  Those are the ones that I like to shred for breads or desserts.  It’s amazing what you can do with zucchini!

I havested some of my favorite herbs this week to make herbal tinctures and oil macerations.

Hyssop

Bees love the flowers, so I always have it growing near the garden.  The fresh leaves and flowers are stripped from the stem and infused in Everclear to make a tincture for respiratory challenges.  The herb is my go to for asthma, bronchitis, colds and anything affecting the lungs.  Because it is good for inflammation, I use it in my pain balms and foot creams.

Calendula

The fresh calendula flowers are macerating in extra-virgin olive oil and are used in all of my creams and lotions, baby products and massage oils. The herb is soothing to the skin, and good for pain and inflammation. When you walk back to the shop to pick up your share, you will see both of these herbs growing along the driveway

We harvested some beautiful big cabbage for you this week and there will also be a small amount of broccoli…not allot, but enough for a stir fry. I am not happy with the the yield, but because it became so hot all at once it affected the production in a negative way. I just planted a second crop and it will hopefully germinate well so that there will be a late fall harvest. Radishes are planted every few weeks, too, for a continuing supply. Your share will also include some beautiful oakleaf lettuce, sweet onion, radishes, summer squash and fresh herbs.

Have you ever cooked radishes? If you are like me, we were taught to eat them raw, on a relish tray or sliced into a salad. But, oh how wonderful they are cooked! I was amazed at the transformation in flavor and texture. This recipe is quick and delicious!

Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens

Serves 8

3 bunches small radishes with greens attached
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 500°. Trim the radishes and wash the greens; pat dry.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the radishes, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the radishes for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender.

Return the skillet to the burner and stir in the butter to coat the radishes. Add the radish greens and cook over moderate heat until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Serve the radishes right away.

…and a recipe for your Cabbage

Sweet Beet Dressed Slaw
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
2 small to medium-sized red beets, peeled and grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
8 to 10 radishes, julienned
1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly shredded (can substitute green cabbage)
3 bias cut scallions
2 rounded spoonfuls dill pickle relish
Directions
Preheat a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Once you see the oil ripple in the pan add the grated beets, season with some salt and pepper and cook stirring every now and then until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beets to a bowl and let them cool down a bit. Add the mustard and the vinegar to the beets. Whisk in the remaining extra-virgin olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Add the fresh dill, radishes, shredded cabbage, sliced scallions and relish and toss to combine, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve now or the next day.

 

…a gentle reminder…pick up times for you CSA share are Thursday from 4-6 PM. If you are unable to pick up your share, please let me know ahead of time. Last week I had 3 shares that we not picked up. I would not have had to harvest those shares and then give them away if I had been given a heads up. Please remember to bring you boxes, and you can recycle back to me any of the clam shells and extra packaging that are in your share.

See you tomorrow!

08 Jul

Garden News – July 8, 2015

From 99 degrees on Saturday the 4th of July to me wearing my insulated Carharts the very next day while I was out harvesting the garlic!  Only in Montana, right?  I am wondering if the plants are as confused as I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first of six 20 foot rows of garlic harvested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the Inchelium Red artichoke type garlic.  Some of them were as big as baseballs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic needs to cure for a couple of weeks or longer. This allows the necks to dry down so they will store well. I place them on raised screens in a protected shady area. Then I will clean off all of the dirt, remove the dried stems and trim the roots. Some of the garlic will be saved to replant for next years crop.
Lots of weeding again this week. I am also experimenting with a new method of training the tomatoes to climb on strings. It took a couple of days to get them all tied up. We will see how it works. I am seeing a few tomatoes set fruit and there are quite a few flowers on them. So, am hoping for a beginning harvest by late July or so.

The grasshoppers are starting to do some damage on the kale and other greens. I am hoping that we get some rain, as we really need it to keep the insect eating frenzy down.

This weeks share will include rhubarb, sugar snap peas, beets, radishes, lettuce, kale, red overwintered onions and herbs. This will be the last of the peas, as those high 90 degree days did the number on the flowering tops. Peas don’t like the heat. I am happy that everyone received some during the first two harvests, but I was really planing on a longer harvest window.

I am including a recipe for a great breakfast/brunch dish using your kale. Frittata’s are so quick and easy to make. You can use almost any veggie in them and you can also top with a nice feta or aged cheese..

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 nonstick 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.

There will be eggs available for $3 a dozen. See you tomorrow…Thursday….4-6 PM. If you can’t make it, please let me know. Remember to bring you bags, boxes or coolers

 

 

01 Jul

Green Goddess Dip with Vegetables and Homemade Pita Chips

The best thing about this crowd-pleasing platter is that you can offer up whatever is fresh in your garden or from the farmers’ market.

Serves: 20

Ingredients
3 6-inch whole-wheat pitas
2 tsp canola oil
cumin
chili powder
kosher salt
2 cups chopped avocado (about 2)
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt or plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
7 cups assorted fresh vegetables, raw or lightly steamed (e.g., beet slices, baby carrots, sliced fennel, julienned jicama, snow peas, radish, scallions)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Brush with oil and sprinkle with ground cumin, chili powder, and kosher salt–all to taste. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Turn off oven and let chips stand for 15 minutes or until crispy.
2. Meanwhile, put avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, 1/3 cup chives, parsley, and salt to taste in a small food processor or blender and puree until creamy. Stir in most of remaining chives, reserving some to garnish dip.
3. To serve, spoon the dip into a small bowl and surround with vegetables and pita chips on a platter.

 

01 Jul

Garden News – July 1, 2015

Wow! After all of the indecisive weather patterns and the challenges that came with our Montana spring season, Kate’s Garden is opening her gate for the first week’s CSA share pick up. I hope you are as excited as I am! I am looking forward to meeting you, as many of you are new this year. I will get to see those of you who purchased full shares every week, and for those who are half sharers, every other week. I sent you the information on your scheduled pick up dates in the last newsletter, but you can view it again on my website, where you will find all of the past newsletters and blogs.

There are some general housekeeping instructions that I will clarify for you now, as some of you are unfamiliar with our procedures.

1. Please bring your own box, cooler or bags in which to place your produce, as I do not have extra boxes or bags. Your veggies will be field washed or cloth wiped clean, however, you will need to wash them when you get them home just as you would when purchasing at the store.

2. I encourage you to recycle the produce clam shells, egg cartons and any appropriate packaging that you acquire at the store and bring them with you when you come. I can use them here to send things like beans, peas, herbs, tomatoes, etc back home with you. Even those cute plastic pouches that they are packaging grapes and cherries in nowadays will work! If you are not sure what I can use….just ask! That way I don’t have to buy more plastic and it keeps it out of the landfill. No deli containers, though. They always smell!

3. I am planning on having local, free range eggs available again this year. Marlene, the lady that supplied eggs last year has increased her production this year. Now, f the hens do their job and don’t start molting in this heat, we will hopefully have more eggs. Marlene sells here eggs for $3 per dozen, which is a steal!

4. Pick up time is from 4 to 6 PM. Please be on time. Thursday’s harvest begins early in the morning, so it is a long day for me. I will have the big gate open. Walk down the gravel driveway to the back shop, where we will be waiting for you. You will probably be greeted by Bodie, my German Shepherd. He is boisterous, but friendly.

5. I invite you to take the time to walk through the gardens. I am very proud of them and want you to enjoy them, too!

6. If you are unable to make your pick up day, please let me know ahead of time. I know that some of you are traveling and things come up. I cannot hold your share, or adjust your pick up day as there are so many of you that are picking up every other week. It would be a scheduling nightmare to keep up with it all. What works best with most CSA’s is to make arrangements with a friend or another family member to pick up your share for you. I am sure they would love having some fresh, local produce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a photo of the Snap Peas growing on the fence along the driveway. They are in flower right now and use their tendrils to help them climb. You have to harvest them everyday day in order to keep them producing, but they don’t like the hot weather, so there is a short window of harvest. I just can’t resist eating a handful when picking them! Yummy, sweet and crunchy!

This first week’s share will include Sugar Snap Peas, Beets with their greens, Radishes, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Rhubarb and fresh herbs.

Here is a quick and delicious recipe for the Sugar Snaps.

Spicy Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas

Serves 3-4

1 lb. sugar snap peas
2 T soy sauce (can use low-sodium soy sauce if you prefer)
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
2-3 slices fresh ginger root
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 T peanut oil
1 tsp. black sesame seeds or sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Remove the strings from the each sugar snap pea by snapping the stem end and pulling the string down the side, then slice each one on the diagonal. (The sugar snap peas actually have a string on each side, but on most of them I only removed the string from one side.)

Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Put the wok or heavy frying pan on the burner and preheat at least one minute. (It should feel very hot if you hold your hand above the wok.) When wok is hot, add the oil and let it heat until the oil is shimmering (about 15-30 seconds, depending on how hot your stove gets.) Add the sliced ginger root and garlic and stir-fry just long enough so that they become fragrant and season the oil, then remove. (Be careful not to brown the ginger and garlic or they will have a bitter taste.)

Add the sliced sugar snap peas and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the peas turn bright green and are just starting to cook, about 2 minutes. Pour in the sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce just starts to coat the peas, about 1 minute more. (There will be some sauce in the bottom of the wok, but not much.) Serve hot, sprinkled with black sesame seeds or sesame seeds if desired.

See you on Thursday! 4-6 PM! Can’t wait to see you all and share the garden’s bounty!