Thursday, July 25, 2013

great Indian greens recipe here

This is adapted from one of my favorite Indian cookbooks - Curries Without Worries, by Sudha Koul. 

Because we grow so much of our food, I often get into recipes without the EXACT right ingredients, and I have to wing it to make it work.

This one works.

Sag Goshth -
the ingredients read: (parenthesis are all my comments)
10 oz package of fresh spinach (I never measure my spinach, and it's rarely my green of choice - chard, NZ spinach, and kale all work)
6 cups of water (or less)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (or more if they're small - I've even used green onions in a pinch and it was wonderful)
4 cloves garlic
1 Tblsp chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup oil (I've used much less than this and had it work fine)
8 whole cloves
2 lbs lean lamb, such as lean sliced shoulder, cut into approximately 2" x 3" x 2" pieces (I don't grow lamb, but we do eat a lot of venison, which i've used in its place - however, i sliced mine quite thin to cut down the cooking time.  results were excellent - i suspect that you could use chicken, or probably even do this without meat at all if you wanted!)
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (in the winter, i use canned tomatoes - more than two)
1 tsp ground cayenne (use more or less as you like)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick, coarsely crushed (ground cinnamon is ok too - 1 tsp or more)
1/2 cup sour cream (homemade yoghurt is excellent here as well)
1/2 tsp cardamon seeds, crushed
salt to taste

Wash and drain spinach.  Place in a large pot with water.  Boil for three minutes.  Cool. 
Reserve greens and one cup liquid.  Puree in a blender or food processor and set aside.  (This really does need to be the first step to keep you from running into timing issues later.)

Puree onion, garlic, and ginger with 2 Tbsp water.   
In a 4 qt saucepan, heat oil on high.  Add cloves and onion puree.  Stir fry briskly for 2 minutes, until puree starts turning brown.  Add the meat and continue to fry 2 more minutes.  lower heat to medium high and continue frying until the meat starts to brown.  This takes a couple minutes.

Add tomatoes, cayenne, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, sour cream, cardamon and salt.  Stir fry well for a few seconds and bring to a boil.

Add the spinach puree.  Stir.  Reduce heat to lowest point.  Cover.  Cook until the meat is tender.  This should take about 45 minutes (unless you slice it thinner, then it takes almost no time and your dinner is earlier - yippee!).

Even our kids love this dish.  It's worth the effort.  I hope you think so too.

week 8

July 23, 2013 week 8

In one bag: Tomatoes Green and Red Peppers
Eggplant Garlic
In the other bag: Lettuce Green Beans Cucumber Summer Squash Chard Green Onions
Parsley Basil Celery
The tomatoes are really starting to roll around here! So many colors, shapes and flavors to enjoy. We grow some real oddballs – we hope you like them as much as we do. The purplish orangey ones are among our favorites, and they often maintain the green color on their shoulders (around the stem). Cut into them and they’re perfectly ripe underneath. Eat up!
When we fixed a mess of beans last week we found the final picking of the Yellow Wax to be a little tough. If that was your experience, we apologize. These green beans are certainly tender.
This week you have white eggplant. They’re called Casper and they’re wonderful. They need to be peeled, and they have excellent texture and flavor – very firm and meaty.
The other white item in your bags this time is another UFO-looking fruit – a patty pan squash. This particular variety is called Benning’s Green Tint and we think the flavor is better than just about any other summer squash. Patty Pans can be used just like you would use any other summer squash – we’ve used them interchangeably with yellow crookneck and zucchini (even in bread and muffins) with wonderful results.
It’s great to be sending some colorful peppers again. A green bell pepper is really just an unripe bell pepper – all peppers mature into some sort of exciting color. Once they mature they don’t keep or ship as well, which may be why they’re so expensive in the grocery. The flavor is beyond the pale and well worth the wait. There are many more to come!
Oh, and basil – the purple basil was getting a little leggy, so I picked just the top sprig off to send. This Purple Ruffles variety is fun to look at, great to smell, and even better to throw into a batch of pesto.
I’m out of time and space to post it right now, but I’ll put up an excellent Indian style greens recipe for that chard – check the blog.
Next week: The beans may slow down a bit – eggplant, too. But the tomatoes will likely increase. We hope to have new potatoes. Our corn is awful late, but it will come along eventually. This is a great season – with a little patience.

Thank you all for eating up our garden – feel free to contact us with questions if needed.
Be well. Paul, Coree, Lulah, and Levon

weeks 6 & 7

OK - finally...

July 16, 2013 week 7

Tomatoes Peppers Yellow Wax Beans Lettuce
Garlic Cucumbers Eggplant Summer Squash
Fennel Green Onions Parsley Basil Sorrel
We're still shaking down the results of the nine inches of rain. The cutting herbs have recuperated fairly well. Some of the next patch of green beans took a hit, but we seem to be over-planting sufficiently to off set the loss. Your beans will be green next week!
The sun and heat is ripening the tomatoes. We'll be bringing increasingly more over the next few weeks. I try to vary the type, size, color, and ripeness in each bag so that you have some to eat now, some to last a little while, and a nice sampling of different varieties. We enjoy growing some really unusual looking but delicious tasting fruits. Please don't refrigerate your tomatoes. They are tropical fruits and lose flavor and texture in the cold. Hope you enjoy.
Eggplant came in thick this week. I only put what I thought you could eat in the bag. There will be more. Experiment with these beautiful fruits. They have the potential to be just as tasty as they are beautiful. Eggplant are also tropical by nature. You can leave them in a shady place on your kitchen counter and they should be fine. Sun will degrade almost anything. Recommended recipes to look up: ratatouille and baba ghanoush. I'm pretty sure there are a few renditions on our blog if you go poking through the archives.
We found our favorite treatment of fennel bulbs last week. Here it is. Maybe some of you still have a head of cabbage kicking around?
Simple Fennel and Cabbage Skillet. Thinly slice an onion (or leek if you've got one), a small head of cabbage, and a couple of fennel bulbs. Wash the fennel and cabbage, but don't dry it. Warm 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. Throw in the onion, cabbage and fennel. Stir and cover. Check it in a few minutes to make sure it's steaming, not burning. Let it cook 10-15 minutes total. In the meantime, mince a couple tablespoons of parsley and melt 2-3 more Tbsp butter. Mix parsley and butter with a few Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best). Drain any excess water from cabbage mixture and add the butter. Toss, taste for seasoning and enjoy.
And, a versatile recipe for putting SO much food to good use: Roasted Summer Vegetables
8 to 10 cups fresh vegetables. Cut into bite sized pieces for even cooking time. Toss with one of the seasoning options below. Then spread seasoned veggies in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve over cooked pasta or rice with parmesan grated on top. For a salad, cool the veggies and add some ripe tomatoes, feta cheese, and vinaigrette dressing.
Seasoning options: 1) Several Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, 1-4 cloves fresh garlic. 2)1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp chili powder, salt, pepper, and dried thyme. 3) ¾ cup italian dressing. 4) 4 cloves minced garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Have fun with vegetables!

July 9, 2013 week 6

Tomatoes Peppers Yellow Wax Beans
Lettuce Garlic Cucumbers
Sugar Snap Peas Cabbage Summer Squash
Fennel Green Onions
We're getting into some serious veggies now, folks. Eat up.
Featured veggies this week: FENNEL. Those feathery wands of leaves poking from your bag? That’s fennel. At the bottom is a bulb. It has a strong anise smell and flavor. This is an old world vegetable. Let us know what you think. This is the only time of year we grow it, so if you don’t love it, just rest assured that it won’t last long. Some culinary suggestions for your fennel:
Cut the fine leaves into salads. Use the stems like celery. Chop stems and leaves fine and use them in cream cheese dips and flavored mayo. Store the bulb separately. Trim off the top and root ends and cut it in half or quarters lengthwise. Parboil it for a few minutes (7 to 10), drain it well, and thread it onto kebabs with the summer squash on the grill. Or you can roast it in the oven with potatoes and cabbage. It works as a gratin, too, and pairs well with potatoes.
This is the season of – how many cucumbers can you eat? They just keep coming. Our two year old Levon can polish off one a day. I hope you can keep up.
If the beans are too much for you – blanch them for four minutes in boiling water. Dip them immediately into cold water. Then drain them. Pack into a freezer bag and freeze for enjoyment when there are no fresh Yellow Wax Beans to be had. You can also blanch and cool them and use them in a salad – just like that.
One of my favorite fun things to do with a green pepper is slice it in thick rings, butter a frying pan, lay the rings out and crack eggs into them. It's egg-in-a-nest sans toast. Very fun food.
Wrap your cabbage up tight in a grocery bag. It will keep for a long time in the crisper drawer. You can also make a small batch of sauerkraut. Just shred the cabbage and salt it. Crunch it with your hands until it releases moisture and looks wilted. Pack it in a wide mouth jar. If it doesn't create enough liquid to cover the cabbage, add some salted water. Keep it on a room temp. counter for three days then store it in the fridge and enjoy your kraut. When the summer kraut happens, I start singing “Reuben Reuben, I been thinking....”. For more on kraut, look at our blog or look up
We finally ripped the broccoli out to make room for the late season tomatoes. The chickens are picking over those dark green leaves. I would have sent you more chard, but there's simply no more room in the bags. It will be back.
In the upper garden, the Sugar Snap Peas are just about finished. This should be the final picking. We look forward to clearing them out and digging the potatoes. Melons didn’t enjoy the rain that much, but everything else in the upper garden is holding up and looking good. Next week, there will be eggplants. Take care and enjoy your food!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

week 5

July 2, 2013 week 5

This season is the kind we gardeners dream about. The rain keeps us working hard at weed control, but otherwise, everything looks wonderful. The is the first time in the nine years we've gardened here that we've had peas and beans at the same time! I've also never seen the broccoli continue to produce so well. Really and truly I believe this is its last week. We need to clean out these spring crops and get ready for Fall. Believe it or not, Paul just started the Brussel Sprouts.

As we come into the mid-season veggies, please don't be shy. If you're throwing a dinner party, or would just like more of something, just ask. If it's available, we'll be glad to share or sell you more at a reasonable price. I can't promise we'll have it, but please don't hesitate to ask.

Happy Independence Day! With this harvest, we celebrate a vision of greater independence from the corporate food system. However you celebrate – we hope you have a very safe and fun holiday time.

In one bag: Yellow Wax Beans – oh yum!, Sugar Snap Peas – not as aesthetically perfect as they were a couple weeks ago, but still perfectly delicious, Suhyo Long Cucumber – I've been waiting for these, some of our favorite crispy, nearly seedless, so tasty cucumbers, Fresh Garlic – there's nothing like it and this is the time of year it happens, eat it up! Summer Squash, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage – for your 4th of July cole slaw.

In the other bag: Two heads of summer lettuce – this is the variety of lettuce we've found that holds up best in the long hot days of summer. A final handful of broccoli. Parsley, sorrel, basil.

I have reason to believe that there may be enough tomatoes to share next week.

We'll likely be sending more chard, garlic, green onions, and green peppers.

Spread the word, share your food, and Enjoy!

weeks 3 and 4

June 18, 2013 week 3

Coming right along here. It dried up enough to tractor cultivate the open spots in the garden, and get a good start on hand cultivation, too.

If you're wondering how some of your veggies, feel free drop us a line. You might also skate around on our blog and find the information you need. I'm slowly making the blog a more beautiful and user friendly online 'place'.

New, this week... Kohlrabi – this is another brassica – a cousin of broccoli, kale, and cabbage, developed for it's tender round stem. The leaves are ok to eat, too. Just peel the outer flesh off and enjoy the tender crisp heart of kohlrabi raw or cooked. We slice it thin and throw it in stir-fried or steamed veggies (lemon and butter work well). We also grate it or slice it into salad. It makes a nice addition, or base, for cole slaw type salads, grated with carrots and the like. Take off the leaves and store them separately. The bulb keeps well.

Nasturtiums – again – eat your flowers! Nasturtiums aren't so much cutting flowers, but their spicy sweet flavor is a real treat. I once stuffed nasturtium flowers with some kind of spiced veggie cream cheese as an appetizer. It was as tasty as it was beautiful. Store them, without crushing, in a loose bag in the fridge, or you can try to keep them in a small vase – jury's still out around here as to what works best.

Sorrel – these bright green arrow shaped leaves have a strong lemony flavor. In our experience, kids like them. Great way to sneak some greens into a wrap or pasta salad, with a nice zing. We throw a few of these leaves in every salad.

New Zealand Spinach – This unusual succulent green hails from the South Pacific, where it is fabled that Captain Cook's crew survived by eating it when they ran out of sauerkraut. We love that it thrives in heat – a rare quality in cooking greens. NZ Spinach is best cooked – but it doesn't take much cooking to make it wonderful. It works in quiche, lasagna, or substituted for cooked spinach in just about any recipe.

Otherwise, there are the familiar veggies: Lettuce (Romaine this week – go Ceasar!), more Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Onions, Cilantro, Parsley, and Green Hot Peppers.

The radishes may be getting too hot to produce now, and the arugula is trying to bolt, so there may not be a lot more of that, either. Summer squashes aren't quite ready yet, but it won't be long now. There are beautiful green tomatoes on the vines, and the cucumbers are beginning to flower. Come out for a wade in the creek and visit the garden anytime.


June 25, 2013 week 4

In one bag: summer squash, broccoli, kohlrabi,
green pepper, sugar snap peas

In the other bag: lettuce, parsley, sorrel, cilantro, nasturtiums, green coriander

Did you know.... that we have more taste buds in the last trimester of out time in the womb than we have ever after? So, our taste preferences are being established even before we're born. Isn't that cool?

The friendly UFO's of the garden are back this week, and this time, they're purple. These kohlrabis are an heirloom variety, and their leaves have held up better than the green hybrids we sent last week.

A nice surprise this week: green pepper. We've uncovered the peppers and eggplants and they look GREAT. This is just a little thinning I did to give them room to grow. Other harbingers of Summer on on the way. Green beans and cucumbers are getting close, and we found the first ripe tomato this week – just one – but it's a nice early start.

We've sent a little more sorrel this week with the hopes that you take our advice and try it in a quiche. I sauteed it with the onions, it wilts fast, then layered it in a crust with feta cheese. The bite of the lemony flavor is subdued and something wonderful remains.

The zucchinis in your basket are called 8-ball. They're our favorite. We hope you enjoy them, along with these sweet buttery little crooknecks. Summer is grand.

Another unusual and season-specific treat this week – green coriander. These little green seed clusters in your salad bag are the unripe seeds of coriander – the fruit of cilantro. Taste one and you'll see why we like them. Crush them and add them to a light salad dressing or marinade. You won't be sad.

And, BASIL. You'll find that we hand out basil and parsley as if they were green vegetables, or superfoods, because they are. It's impossible to maintain a grumpy disposition while picking basil. Just the smell is enlivening goodness. What great stuff.

If you have a collection of clean plastic grocery bags you'd like to pass along, we would be happy to put them to use in weekly deliveries.

Thank you all for your good eating habits. If you have friends who would be interested in our services, we still have room for a few more – please spread the word! We hope you enjoy this week's smorgasbord.