Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 8 7-6-2011

Week 8 box

Carrots (the last for now, so enjoy)

Beets- They have a sweet earthy richness that so many people love. Others just can’t understand this diamond in the rough. Once you’ve boiled the beets ‘til fork tender, rinse with cool water, and slip the skins from the beets. Then prepare as you wish. See a recipe below that is a delightfully delicious summer salad. (These are the types of salads we eat when lettuce is out of season.)

Red Russian Kale- I just love the Epicurious website. I peruse the site and then always vary the recipes base on my own whims and the seasonal or available ingredient. Try this recipe: Kale with Panfried Walnuts …

Swiss Chard- I’ve been adding basil and goat cheese to the Chard dishes we’ve prepared lately. Mmmmm…

Cucumbers- Do you put cucumbers in your pasta salad? Try mixing in nice triangular chunks of cucumbers.

Squash/Zucchinis- One other item that I’ve discovered is raw, shredded squash and zucchinis along with cucumber chunks and shredded carrots. I dress this mixture with a basil vinaigrette.

Bell Pepper- The plants are beginning to bear fruit. As the plants mature, we’ll allow the fruit to ripen into nice red and yellow peppers.

Basil- See the vinaigrette recipe below. I know I’ve put it out there many times, but allow your creativity take over as you make it and add your own twists. (I like to crank up the amount of basil and call it a “Basil Vinaigrette.”

On the way!

Cherry Tomatoes

Green beans (snap beans)

Pigs Corralled!

Last Wednesday was a hectic adventure with many pig escapades. The final escape occurred during CSA pickup. A member came down to the house and said “are there supposed to be pigs on the driveway?” Nope! By the time I got fencing supplies in the truck and got up there they were headed toward the neighbor’s yard. Luckily I caught them before they made it there. I herded the 7 or so 250 pound hogs back to their home fence area. Then I fixed there fence-so far it has held. Instead of the one wire that has proved sufficient for the previous 40 or so pigs we have raised these 13 trouble makers required 2 hot wires and a ground wire to make sure they really get shocked! The gang of 13 has taken the title of worst behaved animals previously held by the sheep for their triple escape weekend. We attribute their ability to escape to their athletic prowess. Off to the butcher in 3 weeks (not that we’re counting).

Spiny pig weed

In the garden it is spiny pigweed season. Spiny pigweed is a hot weather weed in the amaranth family. The family includes many not so bad weeds most of which are edible. Spiny pigweed is the bad seed in the bunch. The entire stem is covered in needle sharp, nearly invisible spines. When touched these spines practically jump off the plant into your finger. They will penetrate gloves, socks, or the mesh portion on a running shoe. Once in your finger the spine is almost invisible and breaks off easily when tweezed. In short it is, a highly irritating painful, hard to get pain in the finger. Unfortunately, spiny pigweed is highly tenacious if you simply cut the plant it will grow several branches where there was only one. The only way to deal with this hydra of a plant is to pull it up by the roots. So with gloves and fork I did battle this week. Now where the pig weed had moved in edamame soybean seeds are beginning to germinate! We look forward to their delicious seeds in fall!

Cooling Rain

Today we suffered a setback during chicken butchering. When I went out early this morning to start the scalder up so that it would be ready when we start butchering, it wouldn’t light! Fortunately, we were able to fix it, but not before 7:30-when we were supposed to starting to butcher. Once lit the water takes nearly 2 and half hours to heat up. So we had to go find other things to do for that time-move chicks to pasture, move the horse, clean, relax, eat a snack. We didn’t start butchering until almost 9:30. We had an amazing crew though and we made up much of our lost time, finishing only about an hour later than usual at 2:30. As we ate lunch on the porch the clouds began to move in thicker. As the crew pulled out of the driveway the first few drops began to fall. The breeze and rain came in earnest and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon storm bringing a much needed 1.35 inches of rain. I had front row seats to the storm from the chick brooder. As I cleaned out the space in preparation for the next batch of chicks the storm crashed around me. There were frequent lightning flashes with thunder following just on its tail. Crack-boom! Crack-boom! The coolness and energy of the storm transformed the normally hot and tiresome job into an almost fun task. Poor Petunia didn’t think so though. She eventually found me in the shed as she nervously sought shelter from the storm. She eventually settled down in the fresh shavings as I finished the job. She does not like storms!


Classic Tangy Vinaigrette Variation: Pack the basil in this recipe. I like to reduce the mustard and then add around 12 leaves of basil into the blender or food processor.

Orange-Beet Salad

From Better Homes and Gardens annual Recipes 2001

Note: I used olive oil instead of walnut oil and plain chevre instead of feta cheese. I also omitted the orange peel (the peel of conventional citrus have a high concentration of pesticides) and used 1 extra tablespoon of orange juice. I let the beets marinate overnight in the dressing and topped the beets with the walnuts and cheese on the dinner plates. It was delicious!

3 medium beets (about 9 oz)

3 Tbsp. walnut oil or salad oil

1 tsp. shredded orange peel

2 Tbsp. orange juice

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or white vinegar

2 Tbsp. broken walnuts toasted

3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese

¼ coarsely ground pepper

1. Wash beets well. Cut off and discard root tails and all except 1 inch of stems. Do not peel. Cook, covered in lightly salted boiling water for 40 to 50 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Let cool until easy to handle.

2. Slip skins off beets under running water. Carefully slice each beet into 1/4 inch thick slices, removing and discarding remaining stem ends.

3. Meanwhile, for dressing, in a screw-top jar combine walnut oil or salad oil, orange peel, orange juice, and vinegar. Cover and shake well.

4. In a medium mixing bowl gently toss the beet slices with the dressing. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

5. To serve, let mixture come to room temperature. Gently stir walnuts into beets. Sprinkle with feta cheese and pepper. Makes 4 servings.