18 Jul

Roasted Garlic & Tomato Bruschetta

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 garlic head, whole
3 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium tomato, diced
¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonaded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
12 slices baguette, 1/2-inch thick

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the top 1/3 off of the garlic head, exposing cloves. Place on foil; drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the head of garlic and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Wrap with foil. Bake in preheated oven 1 hour or until tender. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine tomato, basil, 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Squeeze garlic out of skins. Mix garlic, cream cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a small bowl; set aside
4. Arrange bread slices on baking sheet; spread garlic cream cheese mixture over one side of each slice; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 12 minutes or until golden brown. Top with tomato mixture and remaining cheese.

06 Jul

Garden News – June 2016

There’s been a whirlwind of activity here in Kate’s Garden  since my last newsletter.  I’m am finally feeling like I can come up for air!  I feel blessed to have found two wonderful young women, Raechl and Sherry, to help me this season and we  have been working around the crazy weather  as best as possible.   The transplants that were started in the greenhouse during the winter months are now outside firmly planted in the ground.  The majority of direct seeding into the garden beds is done with the exception of some more carrots and  I will be starting new seeds in the greenhouse for second plantings  of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and scallions for fall harvest.

The timing for seeding,( whether that be in the greenhouse or outside in the garden),  is so important when you are planning production for the CSA.  It’s not like a home garden where you plant once and eat what grows when it is ready.  In a production garden you must make sure that you always have certain crops that grow fast always available, like radishes and greens for instance.  So you are re-seeding every few weeks for a continuous supply.  We call that succession planting.  Some plants like the greens and brassicas do not do well in the heat of summer, so you must get those crops in the ground early in the spring so they are ready before the heat comes on, and then there are the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and squash that thrive in the heat. Second plantings of beets, kale, spinach and other greens usually go in now, as the first plantings have been harvested for my wholesale accounts or will be ready soon for the beginning weeks of the CSA.   It was so warm in April that those heat loving plants that were in the greenhouse grew rapidly and were ready to put outside way too early.  I had to get them in the ground so they have been just sitting there not doing much because of the temperature fluctuations and the cool nights.  Every year in the garden is an adventure!  You just think you finally kinda know what you are doing as a grower and then Mother Nature throws you a curve ball and has a good laugh on you!  I am constantly challenged and always learning.

The majority of culinary herbs are harvested in the Spring and early Summer. The essential oils in the plants are at their highest in the cool of the mornings and before the plants flower.  So, we are out in the gardens at that time harvesting.  We have been sending lots of herbs to the restaurants,because the chefs here in Billings and Bozeman use them.  It is great to be able to find people who appreciate them and it brings in extra income and gives me such a sense of support right here in our own community.  There are lots of chive blossoms right now, so if you happen to have them growing in your own gardens, here is a recipe from my website for making chive blossom vinegar that is delightful in salad dressings and splashed over poultry and fish.

The beehive that my friend, Tony Seitz, installed last month is already humming!  He is building hand crafted  chicken coops and beehives and they are exquisite.  The honey bees are returning to the hive  heavy with yellow pollen collected on their hind legs which will help feed the queen and create a thriving hive.  There is a plethora of flowering plants in the gardens right now, as the roses, peonies and poppies are all blooming. The bees are happy and busy!

I sometimes find it challenging not to worry and stress myself out with anxiety over the gardens.  I beat myself up thinking that the they are not perfect, not producing as I expect, and there are always things that go wrong.  I don’t want to disappoint my clients and want them to be happy with the food and energy that is produced here and have wonderful experiences with everything that Kate’s Garden has to offer.  But this morning, as I sat outside in my daily meditation, I realized that everything is perfect just the way it is.  Just the experience of being blessed with the beauty the surrounds me and being able to do what I love to do,  is enough….I am enough!  We are all perfection and enough!  Being in gratitude for everything that life brings us evokes a sense of peace.  We are worthy and deserving.  It is a discipline that we must practice in every moment.    What is that song?   No worries!  Be Happy!

The snap peas are starting to climb!  That is usually an indication that the CSA  will be beginning soon.  June 23rd will be the first pick up day.  You can come between 4 and 6 PM.  Be sure and bring a box,  cooler or bags to carry your produce home, as I do not provide boxes.  The gate will be open, so just walk down the gravel driveway  to the shop.  You will be greeted by my German Shepherd, Bodie, who can sometimes be boisterous, but a big friendly baby!  I am so happy that the majority of this year’s subscribers purchased full shares, so that I don’t have to figure out who picks up which week.  It can sometimes be a little confusing.  I will be in touch by email with the half share subscribers to let you know when your first pick up day will be.

Bodie and I are looking forward to meeting you here in the gardens.  You are welcome to come by for a visit anytime, just let me know when you are coming.  You don’t have to wait until the CSA starts.  The gardens are in a constant stage of change so it is always so beautiful to see.  I will be in touch again in a couple of weeks!

Before I close, I wanted to mention that there is a pre-buy of Colorado peaches being offered as a fundraiser for the Shepherd-Warrior Martial Arts Scholarship Program for at-Risk & Underprivileged Kids.  I have purchased organic peaches from them for serveral years now and have never been disappointed.  They come in ripe, juicy and ready to eat or preserve.  It’s always a challenge finding organic fruit….especially peaches.

Rocky MT Freestone Peaches
from Palisade Colorado
Coming in Early to Mid August 2016!
Order NOW! Limited Quantity!
Call Sherry at 406-671-2933
This is a fundraiser for Shepherd-Warrior Martial Arts   Scholarship Program for at risk & Underprivileged Kids
Certified Organic Peaches $46.00 per 18lbs
Non-Organic Peaches $38.00 per 18lbs
02 Jul

Freshly Harvested Lavender

Lavender Harvest 2011 003

What’s not to love about Lavender!  Besides its visual beauty, it can be used for so many things.  We include it in the formulations for our  “Lavender Collection.”  Inhaling its fragrance brings relief from the stresses of our daily  lives.  The soothing properties of this amazing plant are a must in our lotions and creams.  A quick spritz of our Lavender mist can uplift the spirit while bringing about a restful nights sleep.  We can even cook with it!  The dried flowers are in the classic French  “Herbs de Provence” culinary herb blend.  Here in Montana the first harvest is usually in late June or early July, and sometimes we can harvest again in late September.

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.