Thursday, August 9, 2012

week 12

Sweet Corn                 Green Beans                           Cucumbers
Cantaloupe/Watermelon      Summer Squash        Peppers   Eggplant      Tomatoes        Potatoes          Garlic
Green Onions              Basil               Cilantro          Parsley

Thrush song, stream song, holy love ~ 
that flows through earthly forms and folds, 
the song of Heaven’s Sabbath fleshed ~ 
In throat and ear, In stream and stone, A grace living here as we live,~ 
Move my mind now to that which holds ~ 
Things as they change. 
~W. Berry

The summer roller coaster is running full speed ahead.  These intense thunderstorms tend to pop up on Thursday nights, fortunately AFTER we’ve gotten home.  The weeds think they are winning the garden, but the fruits are still coming, and with perseverance we shall overcome the goose grass, maintain beauty, and make room for the Fall greens in every nook and cranny.

One week is a long time in the life of a corn ear worm.  There will probably be more of them in this week’s corn harvest.  Much of this patch landed on the ground in one of the last couple storms.  They’ve held up amazingly well, all things considered.  It’s uncertain whether there will still be corn next week.  If we have any, it will be the smaller secondary ears.  Enjoy!

The fun news in the farmyard lately is that two of our hens are setting on eggs.  When we refreshed our chickens last year, we chose more old fashioned breeds with the hopes that they might “get broody” sometime and make chicks.   It’s been several years since we oriented our flock toward natural reproductive cycles.  Many modern birds have the broodiness bred out of them for the sake of better egg production.  When hens get broody and hatch chicks, they don’t want to make eggs for awhile (makes sense!).  Broodiness also tends to spread throughout a flock, so even if just one hen wants to set, the others may not lay as many eggs.  So, our egg production is down, but excitement is high to see how this whole hatching phenomena unfolds.    The chicks should be beautiful multi-purpose mutts.  We’ll try to post photos as we go along.

Lettuce is still struggling.  It seems strange that we managed to bring lettuce to town all during the drought only to have it wimp out on us now that the rain has returned!  We have a few theories: In dry conditions, roots grow deep, seeking water.  When rain pours down and the soil is soggy, the roots die back because they don’t need to go deep.  This is not good for the leaves above ground.  Also, when it pours 1 ½ to 2 inches in a sudden storm, the lettuce drowns in the anaerobic soggy soil.  A couple days later, the sun is blazing again, temperatures reach up into the high nineties, and the plant struggles to cope with the change.  Most of you know how much we love to grow, and eat, lettuce.  We’ll be glad when this little rough spell is over.

Last weekend’s storm also brought on a string of tomato explosions.  At the first picking, as soon after the rain as we could bear to get into the garden, almost half of the tomatoes were split open.  The plants had taken up so much water that the tomato fruits couldn’t contain the change in their tender skin.  That was sad.  Wednesday’s picking looks better, but still kind of rough.  The good news is that there are MANY BIG green tomatoes on the plants.  With a few good turns from the weather, we’ll see a steady stream of tomatoes for quite awhile.
This eggplant recipe is a tapas-type, not for anyone who doesn’t like to fry.  We had something similar (and stunningly delicious) in a restaurant in Asheville – with no breading.  To make it really sing, add rosemary.  I’m sure deep-frying is not necessary here.

Fried Eggplant Chips with Honey Drizzle
1 small eggplant (or Japanese), cut in half lengthwise and sliced very thinly
2 eggs, beaten well                 1 cup breadcrumbs (or seasoned breadcrumbs)
honey                                      oil for frying

Slice the eggplant lengthwise and slice very thinly. Dip the eggplant into the beaten egg and then coat with bread crumbs.  Heat the oil to 375° and fry the breaded eggplant slices until crisp and brown. Drain on cooling rack (without paper towels). Put on individual plates or large platter and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

And our friend Judith passed along these tips about roasting tomatoes to make a delicious sauce.  Everything we’ve ever eaten from Judith’s kitchen has been wonderful – give it a try:

Roasted Tomato Sauce
Preheat the oven to 400.  Use a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Wash and lightly core the tomatoes.  Slice in half at the widest point round.
Sit open face up and place on the pan as tightly as will fit filling the pan completely.
Sprinkle dry basil and oregano - no salt, no oil.

Roast them for about 90 min more or less.  When you see steam pouring off them and they are about 1/3 or 1/2 cooked down it's the best time to use them. 

Pull out and use when cooled enough to easily transfer to the food processor.  Make a paste or flavorful sauce by adding fresh basil, fresh garlic, a little olive oil.  Blend. Yum! Try tasting before adding salt.  I have never needed any.  Oh yes and I leave the seeds in.  Lots of recipes call to have them removed.  I don't get that at all...that's just me.

Squash Lasagne
Use the above sauce for the base.
Add any of these layers in combination to make a delightful creation:
-garlic, fresh basil, olive oil pesto      -layers of romano cheese and mozzarella
-mushrooms sauted with onions       -lightly roasted thin sliced chicken breaded with parmesan
-italian sausage                                  -thinly sliced and lightly roasted eggplant
-tofu (non gmo) with basil and parmesan as a non-dairy cheese alternative.

Slice the patty pan squash or any kind in very thin but cohesive rounds or lengthwise.
Arrange as layers in the same way you would the noodles of lasagne.
Layer sauce; squash; mushrooms & onions; cheese and pesto etc. as you would for a lasagne.
Be sure to add sauce to every other layer and finish at the top.
Bake for 1 hour at 350 or until it looks done. Might be less than an hour.

This is the end of green beans for a little while.  The okra is finally getting big enough to warrant regular picking, so we hope to send some next week.  Melons will continue to roll in, and there will be more eggplant, and maybe more chard or similar greens.  Until then…
Be well!                                                                                           Your gardeners, the Entwistles

No comments: