Wednesday, August 11, 2010

catching up on Newsletters!

July 29, 2010 week 10

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Beets Carrots
Cantaloupe Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Summer Squash Okra by request
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

We’re at the mid-point of the season. It’s always a sticky time of year. There’s watermelon and cantaloupe juice to stick to your face, and salty sweat to stick to your skin and clothes. If you’re having trouble beating the heat – come for a visit and swim in the creek! It’s really hot out here too, but the creek is shaded and cool (and fun for kids).

The next planting of cucumbers are trying to fend off a case of powdery mildew, and we’re trying to help them. They’re blooming, as are the next summer squashes and zucchinis. All three of our cantaloupe varieties will be represented this week. The tiny ones with the bulge on the bottom are Golden Jennys. They are very small, but in years past their flavor has made up for their size. The really large ones are Amish, and the mid-sized ones are Halonas. Bigger watermelons have ripened now, too. These are Crimson Sweets, a great traditional sweet watermelon. As much as we love the little Petite Yellows, these pink Sweets are a welcome change. How far can you spit a watermelon seed?

We got SOAKED picking the tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, and cantaloupes on Wednesday. The rain started as a nice Hawaiian style light rain, then gradually increased pressure to a full on pour. It was a funny feeling, and everyone agreed that we were actually more comfortable soaking wet with rain than we had been soaking wet with sweat earlier in the morning.

Beets and carrots are back! This year isn’t our best for beets, and this particular bed seemed to grow weeds faster than we could pull them, but they still made some bulbs, so we’ll just be glad about that! This little refrigerator pickle recipe is versatile and forgiving and a great way to pick away at your beets if you’re not up for baking them or using them up all in one dish.

Pickled Beets (from the Kripalu Cookbook)
4 cups cooked beets, sliced 5 cups water 1 tsp salt

½ cup lemon juice 1 cup vinegar ¼ cup honey
½ Tbsp dill ¼ tsp mustard powder

Cook the beets, and remove them from the heat. Soak and chill the beets in water and salt for several hours and then drain off the water. Prepare all the ingredients needed for the marinade, mix them together well and pour marinade on top of the beets. Allow this mixture of marinate overnight and serve the next day. This has a tangy sweet taste, perking up your lunch of dinner vegetables.

“A native of Afghanistan and a relative of celery, parsnips, caraway, cilantro, cumin and dill, the carrot is a most useful, versatile, nutritious and popular vegetable, revered not only as an accompaniment to other dishes but as a base ingredient for sups, stock and stews. In hotel in the town of Vichy, France, carrots are eaten daily as part of a cure for overloaded digestion; and many cultures have valued them as an aphrodisiac. Research has shown that three raw carrots eaten daily lower blood cholesterol; and that a single carrot per day cuts the risk of lung cancer among smokers in half. Carrots are rich sources of carotenoids, B vitamins, phosphorus, calcium and all important iodine.” (from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon)

Here’s an excellent carrot salad from that same book:
Carrot Salad
12 medium carrots, grated 1 cup fresh pineapple
½ cup raisins ½ cup pecans
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley ¾ cup basic dressing
Mix all ingredients and chill well.

Basic Dressing

1 tsp Dijon type mustard, smooth or grainy 2 Tbsp plus a splash raw wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp flax oil

Dip a fork into the jar of mustard and transfer about 1 tsp to a small bowl. Add vinegar and mix around. Add olive oil in a thin stream stirring all the while with the form, until oil is well mixed. Add flax oil and use immediately.

The next round of corn is tassling now, and the melons are spreading into their adjoining rows. As usual, the butternuts dominate their space, as well as their neighbors’, but it bodes well for the Autumn harvest. Eggplants are blooming again, too. There will be more green beans soon. Gardens are at full tilt, and so are we!

Basil is beginning to grow faster than we can pick it on a weekly basis. If you would like to put up pesto for the winter, you may start ordering extras ($5/lb).

Here’s a nice basic pesto recipe:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled ½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup pine nuts ¼ cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese
¼-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Please basil leaves in food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add garlic, salt, pine nuts and cheese and blend well. Pour olive oil into the processor in a thin stream until pesto forms a thick paste. Pesto will keep several days, well sealed in refrigerator; or it may be frozen.

Thank you for your good eating!

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world’s luxuries, king by the grace of God over all fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented.” ~ Mark Twain

August 5, 2010 week 11

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Carrots Potatoes
Summer Squash/Okra Tomatillos
Cantaloupe or Watermelon
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

I’d like to be more chipper about the heat, but honestly, it’s not easy. Things are holding up amazingly well in the garden, but anything that can be stressed by heat is definitely stressed now. The tomato harvest is lighter than usual and the squashes are stalling. The lettuce still wants to bolt, but that’s to be expected. For all that, we can also fairly speak of what plants LOVE the heat. Peppers are un-phased. Eggplants aren’t producing gobs, but don’t wilt in the midday sun and persist to bloom. Okra just keeps going and the sweet potato vines look wonderful. Tomatoes are getting a little bit blighty now, but tomatillos just get more vines, more fruits as the summer heat progresses.

We’re a little nervous as we begin transplanting thousands of tender young greens into the soil. These are the plants that will thrive in the cool weather, but if we wait until cool weather to plant them, then we’ll not get any until late October. It’s a conundrum that we face each year, tho this year is really putting us to the test. We plant with faith that the weather will break, and that there will be at least enough.

Next week we anticipate the possibilities of… green beans, sweet corn, and maybe new cucumbers, too. Remember to order basil by the pound if you’re ready to make pesto.

We’re not sure what to think of zucchini anymore. Five summers ago we had a great time with zucchini. Ever since then, we’ve had no luck at all. The early yellow crooknecks and patty pans do fine, but zukes all get mildew, blight, and bugs before they can set fruit. We’re still working on it – we have no explanation. We just share what we’ve got and thank you for eating with us.

These potatoes are courtesy of our neighbors at Long Hungry Creek Farm, who have room to grow an acre of tubers without interrupting their rotation. They’re great potatoes, completely organic, grown just a couple miles from here.

We have received some comments lately about too much food. As usual, we can’t honestly apologize for this problem, but we do want to help however we can. First, please don’t take what you can’t eat. Pass extras to neighbors and friends, or, (our favorite option) PUT IT BY. This is the phrase used to describe the ancient science and art of food storage.

Dry or freeze your parsley and basil for use in winter. Either can be chopped and mixed with olive oil in an ice cube tray or small freezer zip lock bag. Drying takes a little more time, but a paper bag in a fairly un-humid house (not like ours) will do the trick.

Tomatoes are fine frozen. We recommend slipping the skins first. To do this, dip the tomatoes in boiling water until the skin bursts, then quickly pull them from that water bath and dip them into cold water (a large slotted spoon works well for this). The skins should ‘slip’ right off. You can pop them right into zip locks from here and use them any time before next tomato season.

Store your potatoes in the dark, not the fridge, not the oven, just a dark dry place where they won’t be tempted to make sprouts and turn green on the skins. If some small places on the skins turn green, just slice off the green before you cook them.

Peppers don’t need to be blanched before freezing. Just wash the, chop them to your favorite size, pop ‘em in a bag and store them in the freezer.

Here’s another way to prepare peppers for storage, and general eating:
Roasted Sweet Peppers
1. Turn a gas burner on high (an electric stove will work too, but a gas flame produces better results) and place the peppers directly on the flame. Use any number of available burners to accommodate the peppers, or if the peppers are small you can place two on one burner.
2. Using tongs, turn the peppers as their skins blacken; you want to end up with a pepper that is completely black (the amount of time this takes depends on the size of the pepper, how hot the flam is, and how often you turn the peppers). Once they’re blackened, place the peppers in a paper bag and seal the bag tightly. Let them sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the peppers from the bag, cut them in half, remove the stem and seeds, and flatten each half on your cutting board. Use a knife or your finger to scrape away the skin. The peppers are now ready for use.
4. To store your roasted peppers, place them in a container, cover with olive oil and seal tightly. Store peppers in the refrigerator for about a week, longer if they are completely covered in oil.

Peppers prepared this way are great on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, or in omelets, mixed in mayonnaise, or hummus. You can also freeze roasted peppers for a taste of roasty summer in the cold of winter.

Oh, and couple irresistible ideas if you’re tired of cantaloupes:
Cantaloupe and Cardamom
1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes ¼ tsp ground cardamom
1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate 1 hour.

Ginger Melon Sorbet
1 medium cantaloupe cut into 1 inch cubes ½ cup sugar
1 ½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until just smooth.
2. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and free according to directions. If you have no ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a tray or zip top bag and freeze it on a flat surface. Remove from freezer, thaw, then put it through the blender again. Repeat this process at least once more, or until the mixture is very smooth and blended with no separation.
3. Serve garnished with mint leaves.

Stay cool and enjoy the ride…
Thank you for your support.

The Entwistles

“All flesh is grass, and all its strength like the flower of the field.” Isaiah 40:6

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