Thursday, June 28, 2012

week 6

Lettuce                        Onions                       Fresh Garlic
Carrots            Chioggia Beets            Summer Squash
Parsley                        Sorrel   Cilantro or Dill     Basil        Tulsi

A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help.  A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.” ~ Wendell Berry (The Work of Local Culture)

Summer is off to a roaring start, folks.  Let us tell you about our week!  The good news is that Paul fixed the tractor PTO, which means we were finally able to mow the perimeter of the top garden and will be able to use the rototiller again when the soil is moist enough to till.  He's so handy – I think we would hire him out if we didn't keep him working full time here on the farm.  The not so good news is that Paul had a collision on our little one lane dirt road and our farm truck is wrecked beyond use.  The best part is that no one was injured.  We loved our twenty year old Ranger pick up.  We bought it in Seattle, on our way home from living on Maui.  It has been with us through some changes and served us well.  Now, if any of you see a full sized pick up truck, 4 wheel drive, extended cab for sale at a reasonable price – PLEASE let us know.

As for the drought, oh my.  We're fortunate to have created a way to irrigate our lower gardens.   The situation of our gardens is like this: there are lower gardens, where the lettuce and greens, summer squash, and most root crops are grown.  These are on our property, down in the hollow by our house.  Our property is not connected to city or county water.  We pump water from the spring fed stream on our perimeter into a holding tank on the hill above our home.  It gravity feeds down into our house where we filter it twice for home use and drinking water.  When we're not irrigating, we pump water up to the tank every two weeks or so.  Last year, we created a special line off the tank to feed drip lines in the field.  Almost ever row in the garden now has a line of drip tape at its base.  Lately, we're pumping the tank full twice and sometimes three times every day.  And so, the lower gardens are holding on.  We're wracking our brains to figure out a way to bring just a little irrigation to the upper gardens, which are not on our property but up the hill, quite a little hike, on our neighbor's place.  There's no well up there, no city water, and no electrical hook up.  The road is steep and narrow.   It's quiet and very beautiful, but not at all convenient. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, melons and winter squashes are up there.  Tomatoes are doing OK so far, and will likely begin ripening next week.  Tomato season may be fast and furious this year if the heat doesn't break.  The peppers and eggplant didn't have time to set their roots deep enough to be very happy with the current weather conditions.  The melons are doing surprisingly well, and we're amazed that the field corn is holding up as well as it is.  A nice long rain is definitely in order around here.  Just wanted to let you know how it goes around here in this long hot dry spell.

Our neighbors at Long Hungry Creek Farm grew an over abundance of these beautiful Chioggia beets.  They are exceptionally sweet and festive in coloration.  Carrots have struggled a little in the temperature extremes, but we're grateful to be pulling them through.  The white potatoes have been a little sad in the heat, but we're happy to share some new potatoes, harvested just yesterday, for your Fourth of July potato salad.
Recipes this week are courtesy of Deceptively Delicious (Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food), by Jessica Seinfeld.  If your family is rejecting vegetables, this might be a good book for you.  These creative recipes use vegetables, grated, mashed or pureed, in many surprising forms.  To puree your veggies, just steam (don't boil!) them until soft, then grind them in a blender or food processor for a minute or two, until they are really smooth, and proceed from there.  Purees freeze easily too.  Have fun!

Tortilla “Cigars” These pack well for picnics and lunches – enjoy hot or cold!
1 cup sauteed or roasted chicken or turkey, cubes (optional)
½ cup shredded Cheddar or American Cheese
½ cup yellow squash puree                           ½ cup carrot puree
4 oz cream cheese                                          ¼ tsp garlic powder (or tsp minced fresh!)
¼ tsp salt                                                        6 large whole wheat tortillas

1) Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
2) In a large bowl, stir together chicken, cheese, squash and carrot purees, cream cheese, garlic and salt.
3) Cut the tortillas in half.  Place one half on the work surface with the straight edge facing you.  Spread about 2 Tbsp. Of filling along the edge from one side to the other.  Starting at the edge, roll the tortilla into a cigar shape, completely enclosing the filling.  Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Stuff and roll the rest of the tortillas the same way.
4) Bake until the tortillas begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.

“Buttered” Noodles Very clever idea – she uses a trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, but I prefer to use a little real butter, or combo with olive oil, instead.
8 oz. Spaghetti, angel hair, or other pasta               ½ cup yellow squash puree
¼ cup milk                                                                  2 Tbsp butter or alternative spread
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan                                            ¼ tsp salt

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
2) Drain, return the pasta to the warm pot, and stir in the squash puree (make sure it is very creamy), milk, butter, Parmesan, and salt.
(You might try sprinkling some finely chopped parsley or other green herbs on here too!)

We're getting a little nutty around here waiting for tomatoes and cucumbers to come around.  In the meantime, use your extra veggie pieces to make some really good stock.  Use those carrot and beet tops and onion and garlic skins in simmering water (add meat bones if you want) for a long time.  Pull out the veggies and use that good liquid to make soup, beans, rice, or anything good.  Freeze it in quart or pint freezer bags for later.  If you like mint tea, try tulsi – it's the long purplish flower tops with the strong fragrance.  We're headed for iced tea days this weekend, so make the most of that.   Also, I use the pretty UFO shaped patty pans just like zucchini – shredded in a thick sweet quick bread with lots of raisins.  If I get a spare moment, I'll post my favorite recipe on the blog.  Please share your favorite recipes with me!  We love to hear from you.

Have a very happy, safe Fourth of July celebration.  Drink water and stay in the shade as much as possible on these hot days.  If you see any rain, please push it our way! 

Vegetably yours ~                                                                            Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

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