Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week 12

Cucumbers- Check out the Tabbouli recipe below. Also don’t forget to try Cucumber Yogurt Salad- see recipe below.

Sweet peppers and sweet bell peppers- Remember, there is a heart shaped pepper called “Lipstick.” It is a sweet and mild pepper. I won’t sneak anything spicy with your peppers!

If you start to get too many peppers you can chop them or slice them and stick them in a bag in your freezer.

Cherry tomatoes- Sweetest little things! Try cutting them in half and putting them on crackers with goat cheese or mozzarella. We like to make all sorts of combinations for a snack like a cracker with…hummus and cucumber, or a cherry tomatoes half and goat cheese, or with a cherry tomato half and chopped basil.

Tomatoes- These babies seem to be doing well right now, and we’ve gotten several good harvest from them since last week. Yay! We are hoping for lots of heavy harvests.

Parsley- Check out the tabbouli recipe below. Parsley is rich in Vitamin K and antioxidents. Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100


Look forward to:

A return of squash and zucchini (a little break from them is kind of nice though)

Just around the corner-fall greens! We will be transplanting kale and chard soon. In the greenhouse we will be starting head lettuce to have ready in September. And finally, we hope the weather will cooperate and make it a little easier to try a fall lettuce mix (you may remember we didn’t have any last year, it was just too hot and dry)


From Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine, Abourezk

Marie’s comments in italics

Go ahead and switch the recipe up a bit! I recommend adding sweet peppers and cucumbers with feta cheese and basil.


½ cup bulgur wheat (I’ve used cous cous before too)

½ cup water

4 cups finely chopped ripe tomatoes

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tbs olive oil

2 large bunches parsley, about 5 cups finely chopped (1 large bunch is plenty! Chop parsley very fine- almost to a fluff)

1 cup chopped onions

1 tbl dried mint flakes

1. Rinse the bulgur, drain and then add ½ cup of the water and let stand for 15 minutes. Place the bulgur in a large mixing bowl, then add the tomatoes and lemon juice. Chop the parsley (very fine-almost to a fluff). Place on top of the bulgur and tomato mixture. Add the onion, mint flakes, and the oil and mix thoroughly.

2. Tabbouli can be prepared a couple hours ahead of time if you wish. Simply leave out the oil and lemon juice dressing until you’re ready to serve. Adding the dressing too soon makes the parsley wilt and creates too much liquid in the bottom of the salad bowl.

3. In the Arab world, tabbouli is scooped up and eaten with lettuce leaves, rather than with silverware. Putting each serving of tabbouli inside a lettuce or a cabbage leaf rather than displaying them in a flat dish is a very tempting presentation. Or, for an elegant looking and tasting hors d’oeuvre, cut cherry tomatoes in half, remove the center, and fill them with tabbouli.

Cucumber yogurt salad

Wash cucumbers well. Finely slice, dice, or grate cucumber. Mix with plain yogurt (greek style yogurts are particularly good for this recipe). Add as much yogurt as you prefer. This salad can range from being almost purely cucumbers with a yogurt dressing to a bowl of yogurt with some cucumbers in it. Salt to taste. For flavor try adding dill, crushed garlic, diced spring onion, parsley, or another of your favorite herbs.

Farm News

This week we have finally been catching up to ourselves and cleaning up some of the spring crops. The least fun part of that job is cleaning up the old irrigation line. It is a thin plastic tube that we laid out on the nicely tilled ground back in March. Since then dirt has been thrown over the tubing and the weeds have gone crazy. Now we get to not only find the irrigation line in all that mess, but pull it out, without losing the many 6 inch long sod staples we used to hold it in place before the weeds took over. Then we get to do it 36 more times-once for each line! With that out of the way the job gets considerably easier. I hop on the tractor and prepare the ground for a cover crop, plant the seed, and use the tractor to till the seed in.

Before the tractor work could begin though we also had to play a fun game we called “find the black widow spider!” In the spring (and fall) we use a thin cloth covering to help protect our plants from the frost. We hold the row cover down with sandbags. This spring, when we were done using them we just piled them at the heads of the bed. Today we had to move them out of the way of the tractor paths. It turns out that the moist, cool, full of good hiding spaces habitat formed by a pile of sandbags is ideal for black widow spiders. We found 10, most with egg sacks, in only 3 piles! We had previously noticed that we were finding more than usual around our house and farm already. It must be a good year for them. So if you are going our back to move and old lumber pile or clean up the junk heap, be careful!

In addition to planting one cover crop we are busy incorporating another. A cover crop of millet and cowpeas we planted in the spring had reached head high-ready to mow. Some of the crop I had to mow because we needed to chop in down quickly for the imminent planting of fall crops. However, in another section, we are letting the sheep do the mowing. When we first put them into the paddock they were a little nervous because the crop was taller than the grass they were used to. Consequently, they couldn’t see very far. They kept poking their heads up as high as they could reach to try to get a better view. Every time another sheep or Clyde the guard dog would unexpectedly burst through the tall plants they would spook and jump away. Interestingly, they all turned their noses up at the crop for the first few hours. They wanted their regular grass and were having no part of the millet and cowpea mix. The sheep just weren’t sure they believed us when we told them that a book had told us that they would like the cover crop. Fortunately, instead of breaking out of the fence they eventually sampled the available food and decided it was acceptable.

Cherry tomatoes with their friends the marigolds

Marie in the cucumber patch

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