30 Sep

Garden News – September 30, 2015

The weather these last few days has been absolutely incredible, hasn’t it?  Such a difference from the 90 degrees we had last week.  I know this will be coming to a screaming halt within the next couple of weeks, as fall is here.  Did you get to watch the eclipse/blood moon on Sunday?  The clouds parted just in time for me to see the full eclipse.  It was beautiful and so very powerful.

Last week I was fortunate enough be invited to attend the 100 mile dinner at “Ten” in the Northern Hotel.  Tim, the executive chef, featured veggies grown here at Kate’s Garden, as well as beef from White Deer Ranch out of Fishtail, buffalo from Ted Turner’s ranch out of Livingston, coffee from Rock Creek Coffee Roasters, and a different beer was featured at each course (all 7 of them) from Uberbrew.  The food was over the top and as we all sat at long tables there was much lively conversation going on.  Such fun, and I was certainly honored and delighted to be included.  Tim is really wanting to work with local producers, so I hope the community supports him in his endeavors.

The nights have been quite chilly, which is prompting the tomatoes to ripen at an unbelievable pace.  I have so many that I am over-run!  There will be help yourself boxes full of gorgeous heirlooms, cherries and saladettes for you to take.  The summer squash are done, but the cucumbers are still producing.  Take advantage of the bounty, as when the season is over, you will have to purchase at the grocers again, and  the quality, flavor and prices will not be the same.

A word on the winter squash.  Winter squash need a light frost to gain sweetness in it’s flavor.  I do not harvest my squash until after we have that frost.  There are certain other crops that do well in a colder environment, too.  Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beets, Radish, Carrots, Lettuce, Spinach and the other greens can take a frost….just not a hard freeze.  I an in a conundrum …I really don’t want it to frost, as it will kill everything else in the garden, but I think we are all a little tired of tomatoes and cucumbers, right?  But the peppers and eggplants are just needing more heat and time to get bigger fruit and ripen and the winter squash need a frost!  What to do???  I guess I will just have to let Mother Nature take care of it for me.  Whatever happens, I am not in control.

There are only  two more share days after this week.  Because the majority of you are half shares, we would need to run an extra week for those half share subscribers, but we will have to see what the weather is like that final week.  I may have to have all of you, (both the full shares and the half shares) come on October 15th.  I will let you  all know how it will work out.

This weeks share will include the last of the radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, braising greens, beets, swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes.  I am including these tomato recipes so that you have some ideas for using them up.  The soup freezes well.

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart


Yield: 2 tarts sliced into 8 pieces

Serving Size: 2 slices

A gorgeous side or appetizer for any meal. Heirloom tomatoes, marinated mozzarella and flaky puff pastry all drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Ingredients

1 package frozen puff pastry dough, defrosted and rolled out, then cut in 2.
Heirloom tomatoes
Marinated Mozzarella
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat cook the balsamic vinegar until reduced by 1/2, about 3-5 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to thicken.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice (not going all the way through the dough!) a border about 1/4-1/2″ around the dough. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven and lightly press down the middle to make it flat and even. Sprinkle with a little of the olive oil marinade from the mozzarella, mozzarella, chopped tomatoes, and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

Simple Roast Tomato Soup

This one 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 broth, or you can also use chicken stock
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.

Tomato Chips
Ingredients

Tomatoes (Can use others)
Kosher or Sea Salt
Dried Basil

Instructions

  1. Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange on dehydrator trays.
  2. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and basil.
  3. Dry on vegetable setting for 8-12 hours, or until crispy.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli cut into small florets
1 head of cauliflower cut into small florets
1 small red onion finely diced
1 cup of dried raisins
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of real bacon bits

Dressing

1 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad.
Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and poor over the salad.
Toss until blended.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or more before serving.

~~~This is a gentle reminder to please let me know if you are not going to be able to pick up your share.  Just call me and if I do not answer the phone, leave a message.  There is hardly a week that goes by that I do not have shares that have not been picked up.  I understand that sometimes things happen, but I can always leave your box out in front if you are going to be late, and if I know ahead of time,  I can leave it in the front on Friday morning.  Otherwise I have to find new homes for the shares.  Thank you for your consideration.

16 Sep

Garden News – September 16, 2015

We have had an exciting, busy week here in the gardens.  As I mentioned earlier, the garden is gaining interest from some of the local chefs, in particular the executive chef, Tim Freeman and sous chef, Tyler Ellis from “Ten” at The Northern Hotel.  Tyler comes here every week, walks through the veggie rows, tastes and thoroughly enjoys being here.  He takes product every week and I am so happy to be able to share the bounty with the restaurants customers.  They are featuring a special “100 mile farm to table” dinner there next Tuesday evening the 22nd.  All of the food will be local and I will be presenting during the event.

Things have slowed down a little with the cooler weather, but it is supposed to warm up again this weekend.  I have a plethora of small tomatoes that need to go, so if you are interested in them, I am selling them for $2 a pound.  I am going to roast allot of them myself and then freeze them to make soups and sauces this winter.  They don’t take up much room in the freezer and have such a great flavor, especially if you roast them with lots of olive oil and garlic. You can add some of your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil toward the end the the cooking cycle.

The beans are producing again!  So some of you  will be getting the snap beans and some the Romano, as there weren’t enough of one kind.  I have been creaming new potatoes with the Romano’s and they are so delicious, especially with a nice steak!  You can use the snap beans the same way.  Comfort food for a cool autumn night.

In your box will also be a nice head of cabbage, some beautiful new greens for braising (frilly red mustard, mizuna, red pac choi, lacinato kale and spinach), small white onions, broccoli side shoots, cucumbers, zucchini and heirloom tomatoes.

I don’t know about you, but I just love Asian Curries, any type, any  color.  My favorite, however is green curry.  This recipe is a mix between Indian and Thai Curry.  The broccoli side shoots would be perfect for this dish.  Feel free to add additional veggies and if you want more protein some chicken would be nice.

5 Ingredient Coconut Curry

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red, green or yellow curry paste
  • 2 small heads broccoli (and/or other veggies of choice)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • optional: minced garlic or onion, cut up chicken breast

Instructions

  1. Saute broccoli (and onion/garlic if you’re using it) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
  2. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools.

It feels like fall is here and soups are a great way to transition into the season.  Since you have that nice big head of cabbage, why not make a batch of this soup.  It freezes well, too.

Sweet & Sour Beef-Cabbage Soup

This wholesome sweet-and-sour soup combines beef, caraway seeds, sweet paprika and cabbage—ingredients that star in a number of German dishes. It is particularly nice served with crusty rye bread. For an even heartier soup, add diced cooked potatoes along with the cabbage.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean (90% or leaner) ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups  bell pepper and diced onion mix
  • 1 medium Golden Delicious or other sweet-tart cooking apple, unpeeled, diced
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, preferably Hungarian sweet
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped Savoy, or green cabbage
  • 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef, caraway seeds and thyme and cook, stirring and breaking up the beef with a spoon, until it is mostly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in pepper-onion mix and apple; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, honey and paprika and adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in cabbage and cook just until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with vinegar to taste, salt and pepper.

I would like to make sure that you are all receiving the newsletter and hope you are finding it enjoyable and useful.  I have heard from several of you that you really like the recipes, but really haven’t heard anything from the majority of you.  So give me some kind of an idea if I am on the right track.  It does take a certain amount of time to organize my  thoughts in order to write the newsletter and it is important to me that it is serving a purpose.

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

 

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.