Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pesto with a Difference

I just finished making more pesto.  I did two batches and put one in the freezer, so I got two containers in the freezer this week and one last week.  I am sure it will tatse really wonderful in the middle of winter!  This time I added a bunch of stuff besides the basil (I split the bunch that we got in our share between batches) for the leafy part.  For each batch, I used between 4 and 5 cups total of the following: basil leaves, parsley, oregano, chives, and chopped chard (stems and leaves).  I added 1/3 cup of walnuts and some granulated garlic.  I turned on the food processor and when everything was pulverized, I added 1/3 cup olive oil through the chute until everything was blended well.  At this point I put the first batch in the freezer.  I repeated for the second batch, but then added 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and stirred it in with a spoon.  We will have some tonight with rice for supper and tomorrow for lunch with bread and cheese.  After that, who knows ;-) 

I will probably end up freezing the rest of the chard from last week's share, but I will wait a couple more days and see.  I still have a whole onion and some chopped bits from the first one, green beans, 2 or 3 zucchini, a partial head of cabbage, and some cucumbers left from the share, so I am not sure that I will get to the chard.  No matter.  I am thrilled to be able to be freezing stuff to have in the winter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

All About the Farm Share

Last night's supper was all about the farm shares--old and new!  Since it was coolish, especially compared to last week, and I had some leftover pesto, made with last week's basil, I decided I could afford to turn on the oven for a few minutes.  So I sliced part of a multigrain baguette and spread each slice with pesto before placing on a cookie sheet.  I then topped each slice with a piece of provolone cheese and baked at 425 until the cheese was melted.  The bread got just a little crunchy and the combination of the cheese, pesto, and bread was yummy!

Earlier, after I had put away our farm share items we had picked up yesterday, I made an herbed slaw. I had 4 small carrots in the produce drawer (not from the farm), so I peeled them, cut them into chunks, and placed in the bowl of my food processor fitted with the steel blade.  I pulsed until the carrots were little bits.  I emptied these into a bowl and then put in the chopped outer leaves of the head of cabbage I had gotten and a slice off the side that I had chopped.  Again, I pulsed until everything was diced very fine.  The cabbage went in the bowl with the carrots.  Then I diced half of the green pepper from the share and snipped some fresh chives, oregano, basil, and parsley over everything.  I had an empty mustard jar, except for the bit that stays on the sides and is impossible to get out and actually use, so I made a lemon vinaigrette in the jar, just using lemon juice in place of vinegar.  When I shook the olive oil and lemon juice together, it cleared the mustard off the sides of the jar and I did not have to add any more.  I poured this dressing over the veggies and herbs.  We had this slaw for supper and I had some again today for lunch.  There is still more left.  I tend to make extra on purpose whenever I prepare something so that the leftovers will be readily available for lunches and future dinners.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cooler and Heavier!

Another afternoon at the farm--and it was much more pleasant this time!  Cooler and breezy.  Yay!  We bring two bags with us now--one for the share and one for the U-pick and our load is heavier each week.  There is more and more in the U-pick fields--this week there was dill, cilantro in flower, oregano, basil, marjoram, parsley, thyme, sage, chives, flowers and green beans.  I have hung the sage, thyme, and marjoram up to dry and will use the rest fresh--or at least I will use some of it fresh and if it looks like I won't use it before it goes bad, I will dry it.

In the share this week: 6 cucumbers, 7 zucchini/summer squash, 2 big sweet onions, a bunch of basil, mix and match chard and baby bok choi, cabbage (either Chinese or a darker green round compact head with ruffly leaves--don't know the name), and a choice between a green pepper or an eggplant. 

From the farm store I bought a dozen organic eggs from the hens that I see pecking around the field each time I come to the farm!

Tonight we are finishing the pesto that I made several days ago from last week's basil--at least the stuff that I didn't freeze.  This morning I froze a container of kale and one of chard from last week as well.  I will probably make at least one more batch of pesto for the freezer with some of this week's basil.  For the past few weeks I have been freezing all of the chard/kale that I get.  I might use a little of it fresh this week and freeze the rest.  We'll see.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Picking Up the Pace

Another (HOT!!) pick-up day at Crystal Spring.  There was a pretty nice wind blowing, so it did not seem as bad as last week, but it was still too hot.  I was looking forward to going to the farm today as I had a 3 hour meeting this morning that I really did not want to attend, but kind of had to, so I went.  It was a waste of time, but the building was air-conditioned, so that was nice.  I got myself through it by telling myself that when the meeting was over, I could eat my lunch and go to the farm--a little mental bribe.  This shows me how much I enjoy these little outings--being among the flowers and veggies and seeing the pigs--it always makes me happy, even when it is miserably hot.

So in the u-pick field this week we got lots of flowers--I divided mine up so I could give some to a neighbor.  I don't have lots of space to put jars of flowers, so I share them with her.  I do enjoy looking at the ones we keep, though, even if I am not a flower arranger!  We also got peas--last until the fall, I guess, as well as cilantro, basil, and dill.  Chives and thyme were available, too, I guess, but I forgot those.  Maybe next week.

In our share, we got a head of lettuce, and the tatsoi and mustard greens were back!  We got a bunch of basil in addition to what we picked from the field.  There was chard/kale/baby bok choi for mix and match, so I got some kale and chard this week--I will probably freeze this.  There were more beets--without the tops this time, as well as sweet onions--2 big ones per share.  And there is no shortage of summer squash--we took home 5 zucchini and 5 cucumbers as well!

In the farm store we bought a dozen organic eggs from pastured hens and some local organic tempeh--not sure yet what I will make with that, but I will let you know!

Lots of happy eating in the week ahead!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ready for the Next Pick-Up

Today I made sure we were ready for the next pick-up tomorrow afternoon.  I had all of the chard from last week as well as the beet greens left.  I froze these.  I know that I will be glad I did when I have this stuff for soup in the fall and winter.

I also had some Chinese cabbage left.  I made a slaw with an orange dressing for tomorrow night's supper and chopped the rest to use on tacos/tostada tonight.

Also in the tacos were some of the beans that they sell in the farm store--the beige ones with the brown specks.  I have bought some of those and the brown with beige specks, but have not cooked any of the latter yet.  The other day I soaked some beans in water all day, then put them in the Crock Pot on low that night--it was probably about 7 or 7:30.  I happened to be up at 2:30 and they were done, so I turned off the slow cooker and let them sit.  A few hours later they were still hot and I drained them and put them in a container.  We have been having them in salads and I used the last of the cooked beans tonight.  They are quite good.  I still have some but will be buying more throughout the season so I have them later.

Tonight's meal was basically put together from leftovers.  I put an onion and the beans in a pot with some olive oil and cooked these together for a few minutes.  i added some chopped, cooked chicken and some cooked brown rice.  I sprinkled with chili powder.  Then I spooned this into taco shells/onto a whole wheat tortilla, and topped with chopped fresh jalapeno, pepper jack and hot habanero cheeses, the chopped Chinese cabbage, and salsa.  We eat a lot of Mexican-ish food.

It is miserably hot and getting hotter, although I am well aware that other people have it much, much worse.  I hate summer.  In a ridiculous attempt to stay a tiny bit cooler, I will not cook tomorrow.  I have the slaw and still have some chicken, so I will use the latter for chicken salad on whole grain bread.  I am sure we will get something in our share tomorrow to put on the sandwich or in the chicken salad.  Or something.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fish, Etc.Tacos/Tostada

Tonight I made fish tacos/tostadas.  I like the crunch of a taco shell but Bill prefers not to eat them because they always shatter into a million little pieces whenever he tries.  So he has his "fillings" as toppings instead, layered on a whole wheat tortilla.  This will also be lunch tomorrow.

I had a haddock fillet that we got the other day from a local fish market.  I also had scallions, cilantro, and Chinese cabbage from the farm.  I bought a few fresh jalapenos that were, according to the sign in the store, from a farm in Maine.

I chopped the white part and the thicker green parts of three large scallions and put them in my cast iron pan that had some olive oil in it.  I saved the more tender green parts--cut them in small pieces with scissors and set them aside as a topping.  I cut up two jalapenos and divided these as well--one for the pan and one for topping.  I took out the seeds, so they were not all that hot--fresh jalapenos usually are not, I find, although once in a while I am surprised. I tend to like things hotter than Bill does anyway, so if it were just for myself, I might have left some seeds.

 I cooked the scallion and jalapeno for a few minutes and then added the fish.  It was still a little frozen.  I didn't bother to cut it up--just put in in as a whole fillet.  I sprinkled one side liberally with garlic and chili powders, black pepper and a bit of oregano.  As the fish cooked, I broke it up with a spatula and mixed everything together in the pan.  It flakes very nicely this way and everything becomes melded.  It doesn't take very long--just a few minutes. 

I filled my taco shells and topped Bill's tostada as follows:
cooked brown rice, then the fish mixture, then some scallion tops, fresh jalapeno, pepper jack and extra sharp cheddar cheeses, snipped cilantro, and chopped Chinese cabbage.  I am not a huge fish fan, generally speaking.  It has to be the right kind of fish prepared in the right way for me to be interested in eating it, and usually I prefer salmon to white fish, but I love this stuff.  Bill loves fish--especially white fish, and he loves this stuff.

I could have added salsa, too, and probably would have if I had an open jar, but all I have is a full jar in the cabinet and I did not want to open it just for a couple of spoonfuls.  I think in future I would only use it if it needed using up because I really like this without it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heating Up!

Hot.  Humid.  Miserable.  That is Brunswick today.  I know other places have it worse, but Farmer Seth hit the nail on the head when he commented this afternoon that, "This is the kind of thing that people come to Maine to get away from!"  Supposed to start improving tonight.  In the meantime, the veggies on the farm are going to town.  We've been having warm days and rain here and there.  Great for the plants.  The pigs might feel otherwise, though!  They were out of the barn today, lolling around by the U-pick field.  One smart pig was in the water trough sleeping.  S/he almost looked like s/he was smiling.  Others were crammed underneath a cart in the shade.  But two poor piggies had nowhere to go and were out in the sun.  They had their mud puddle though, and made good use of that.

We sort of raced through the picking today, getting more peas, cilantro, chives and flowers.  It was hot out there.  In the farm share pick-up area, we discovered two giant fans.  I considered getting a chair and plunking myself down for the rest of the day, but figured I would be in the way, so I picked up my food instead.  We got a head of butter lettuce, a bunch of huge scallions, a head of cabbage (we took Chinese again, but we also had the choice of regular cabbage), two summer squash, a cucumber, a bunch of beautiful red beets with the lovely leaves still attached (yay!  I will cook these), and of course, I got another bag of chard.  I did end up freezing last week's share of chard yesterday afternoon because I realized that we would probably be getting more today.  I have to say, the idea of having my chard for the vats of soup I cook all the time in the winter is very appealing!!  Next week the basil begins, I am told, so I may be freezing some pesto, too!

We also bought a couple dozen eggs and a bag of local dried beans from the farm store and stopped to chat with Farmer Seth--I was conveniently located in front of the giant fan. 

Because of the heat I think we will do another salad tonight--this is a repeat of last night.  I had made cole slaw Sunday night with the last of last week's Chinese cabbage, some carrots, onions, and a fresh jalapeno (these last 3 things were not from the farm).  I don't like cole slaw dressed with mayo, so I made a vinaigrette, but I poured a little too much on.  So yesterday I made a salad of it.  I added some lettuce from last week's share, a bit more onion, some chard stems and baby leaves that I had chopped before freezing the rest of the chard, a hard boiled egg, some extra sharp cheddar cheese, and some smoked trout that we had gotten from a local fish market.  I needed no dressing because of the overdressed coleslaw.  I still have some slaw left, so I will pretty much do the same thing tonight, although now I have chives, cilantro, cucumber, and peas to add to the bowl!  We should finish the red leaf lettuce from last week tonight.  I have some multigrain bread to go along with the salad.  There will be no unnecessary heat in my kitchen tonight!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Save It for Later

I just finished making supper.  It is in the fridge and will be heated up as needed later.  I always try to make things that reheat well on Saturday and Sunday--or things that can be thrown together quickly.  Bill doesn't get home from work until after 7 on these nights and I would rather have everything cleaned up by then.  I prefer to eat earlier anyway, so this way we can eat when we want and there's no mess to clean up at the end of the day.  Today I had added incentive to cook early as it is decent right now--not too hot, but supposed to be unpleasantly hot--at least for me--later.  Don't want to be standing in steam then! 

I used some more of the Chinese cabbage from our farm share.  Last night I used a bunch of it with the rest of the peas and broccoli, an onion, and some boneless, skinless chicken breast.  It was all cooked in some olive oil with some dried herbs sprinkled on and spooned over rice and a little cheese.  The leftovers will be rolled in a whole grain tortilla to make a kind of burrito for lunch. 

Tonight for supper I made a colcannon-ish dish.  I whipped some red potatoes with the skin on and some plain soymilk.  I added garlic and black pepper and whipped a little more.  Then I added a mixture of Chinese cabbage, a Vidalia onion and some turkey ham that had been cooked in olive oil.  I stirred this in.  We really like this dish and the variations of it, so I always make plenty so we have leftovers.  I do this a great deal, in fact, because the leftovers are very handy for breakfast and lunch the next day.  The colcannon itself looks a little pale, even with the pinkish potato skins and ham.  Had I used kale, it would have had more green in it.  I probably could have used some chard as well. 

I still have some cabbage left and will probably make a slaw tomorrow.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot Off the Farm!

The operative word there is hot.  It appears that summer has arrived.  I hate summer.  I am one of the 1% of the population who, according to an article I read last week, have a form of seasonal affective disorder that pops up in the summer.  It is a struggle every year to not let myself fall into a lethargic depression.  I have been tired since we changed the clocks and I will be tired until we change them back.  I wake up too early with the light and it throws me off.  The sunshine causes me serious agitation.  When it rains and is grey I am very happy.  Still, this summer is not as bad as last summer was here--that was our first one in Brunswick and we were thinking that's the way it usually is, although people assured us otherwise!  So I am glad that it has not been so hot and humid as last summer and I cheer myself up thinking about how happy the veggies on the farm are to have this warmth and sunshine.  Whatever positive thoughts I can muster to get through, you know!

So tonight in spite of it being hot, I cooked.  Last night we had a big chef-like salad.  Tonight it was a Vidalia onion (not from the farm), broccoli, zucchini, and red pepper and asiago chicken sausage cooked in a little olive oil and served over little ziti.  We also had a small salad and a small piece of multigrain organic bread to go with the veg and pasta.  Bill will have the same for his lunch tomorrow and I will have the sausage/veg wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla--probably with a little habanero cheese. 

I used the little bit of last week's lettuce in some fish tacos we had on Tuesday.  The last of last week's chard went into yesterday's salad.  Today I used the last bit of last week's broccoli.  And we have, of course, started on this week's share.  One head of the leaf lettuce is almost gone and the chives and cilantro have been used, as has the zucchini.  One pint of peas has been used in salads.  Tomorrow I will use the other pint and some of the Chinese cabbage.  So far, so good!  I am making sure to keep my eye on everything and notice what keeps best.  The chard keeps really well, so I can save that and even freeze it if I want to--someone on the facebook group mentioned that and it's a great idea.  Same with the broccoli if it comes to that.  How wonderful to have some for soup in the winter!  Anyway, the goal, of course, id to be organized enough not to waste anything.  I hate food waste in any case, but especially such beautiful food as this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 5!

Things are starting to pick up some steam at the farm--at least it seems that way to me!  Today was the first day the U-pick fields were open.  We got 2 pints of peas--snap and snow.  I got a pint of each, but could've mixed that up in whatever way I wanted.  We also got some cut flowers, some of which I put in a little jar for my neighbor, some cilantro, and some chives.  This is perfect as I had planned on fish tacos for dinner tonight!  The U-pick fields are meant as supplements to the regular farm shares and there will be more flowers, herbs, beans, and cherry tomatoes as the season progresses.  Yum!

In our farm share this week, we got a very large head of Chinese (I knew it as Napa) cabbage, two heads of leaf lettuce, a bunch of salad turnips (it was that or a head of kohlrabi, either green or purple, but I have never had or even heard of salad turnips before so wanted to try them), a big bowl of chard (once again, I decided on all chard and no kale--what can I say?  I am in love with the chard), a bunch of broccoli, and a summer squash (green or yellow--I have a feeling this may be the opening of the floodgates with that!!).  I also bought the last two dozen organic eggs from pastured hens in the case at the farm store--hope they have more to restock!

It was a nice day to be at the farm if you like the heat.  I don't.  I could sympathize with the poor sheep who were baaing all over the place.  It made me stop and ponder the things sheep everywhere go through so that I can have their hair for my wool yarn.  So here's a shout out to sheep everywhere.  May you find relief from the heat in your built-in wool sweaters!  Still, it was impossible to be cranky, even in the heat, surrounded as I was by the snuffling pigs, the baaing sheep, the lovely flowers, the beautiful fresh veggies, and the cheerful and friendly farm intern who helped us today.  It cheered me up enormously!  This is my first CSA experience and I have to say I love it so far!  Who would not rather do what I did this afternoon than spend time in a grocery store?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sweet and Sour Kohlrabi and Apples

Tonight I made sweet and sour kohlrabi with apples to go with baked beans and smoked sausage for supper.  As is usual for me, I just eyeballed measurements, so feel free to add or subtract according to your taste.  Also, I did not add salt.  Unless I am baking, I do not cook with salt.  I do not care for too much salt and I find that food is always salty enough for me.  Tonight, for example, there was ample salt in the sausage, mustard, and beans.  I did not need more, but you should add it or not depending on your own preferences.

Sweet and Sour Kohlrabi and Apples
coarsely chopped kohlrabi (I used 1 1/2 bulbs [peeled], including the stems, which I did not peel)
2 small apples, cored, but unpeeled (I used Gala because that is what I had--use whatever you have on hand)
1/8 cup packed brown sugar (maybe a tad more if your apples are really tart, or add a little splash of apple juice)
1/8 cup vinegar (I had white, so used that, but you could use cider vinegar if you prefer)
1/4 cup of water

Place all of this is a pot, cover, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes at medium-high.  You may need to add a little more water partway through the cooking time, depending on how much juice the apples produce.  Just add however much you need or add some apple juice instead. 

That's it.  The apples were soft at the end of this time and the kohlrabi was crisp-tender.  If you are using more kohlrabi and apples to make a larger batch, just increase the sugar, vinegar, and water accordingly.