Beans.

The beans are in!  There’s a lot more too, here’s this week’s haul:

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Beans

Peppers

Cucumbers

Basil

Okra

Zuchini

Patty Pan Squash
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These are the different kinds of beans we grow: Jade- Green, Carson Yellow Wax & Royal Burgundy.  They’re all delicious 🙂

 

 

Basil

We all know basil is great for making Pesto.  Here’s a simple recipe and some excellent ideas for meals and snacks:

Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Special equipment needed: A food processor

Method

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Yield: Makes 1 cup.

pesto-and-tomato-quesadilla

Pesto quesadilla (above) take one: pesto, tomato and mozzarella between a whole wheat quesadilla.

Pesto pasta with extra protein: Toss steamed, shelled edamame, lightly sautéed spinach (optional) and whole wheat rotini in pesto. The buttery texture of edamame complements pesto surprisingly well.

Pesto tortilla pizza: Top an organic whole wheat tortilla with pesto, reduced fat mozzarella and sliced tomatoes. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably on a baking rack, until the cheese is golden and bubbling.

Pesto scrambled eggs: cook your scrambled eggs as usual and take the pan off the burner once the eggs are mostly set. Stir in pesto and top with Parmesan and diced tomatoes.

Pesto popcorn: stove top popcorn lightly tossed with pesto and grated Parmesan (optional).

Pesto grilled cheese: layer pesto, mozzarella, and roasted red peppers or tomatoes on good whole wheat bread. Grill. Amazing!

Arugula pesto pizza bagel: Top a 100% whole wheat bagel with pesto, mozzarella pearls and cherry tomatoes. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes, until the cheese is melted. Let the bagels cool slightly and top with arugula that has been lightly tossed in lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Avocado pesto pasta: This might not be the prettiest pasta around, but it sure is tasty. Combine roughly equal parts avocado and pesto in your food processor. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Blend thoroughly. Drizzle in extra olive oil if necessary. If you’re feeling adventurous, blend in some goat cheese, too. Toss with whole wheat pasta.

 

Hoping that everyone is having a great week,

Your Farmer,

Dawn

Plants are growing even though it’s snowing.

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One for the onions, one for the carrots, or something like that. Really, though I’m a little anxious to get planting, this weather has been a really good things for our future fruit this year. Last year at this time, everything was blooming, and as a result we were left with out some of our favorite fruits including service berries, cherries and grapes. Other trees that took a hit last year were the walnuts. Mother nature knows what she is doing, and I feel it’s going to be a great year for some of the early bearing fruits….can’t wait!

Garlic in the Cold Frame

Garlic is growing in the cold frame along with some other tasty treats…. like cauliflower!

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Strawberries are blooming in the greenhouse.   It takes an average of 21 days from bloom to berry.

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Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli and Kohlrabi patiently wait for the ground to warm up so they can go outside.

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The Pepper plants will need to wait longer, but they are not ready to go yet.

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Elderberry buds!!!!

I really am looking forward to a great season full of yumminess!

Cattails-Nature’s Buffet

Cattails

Cattails are truly a gift to have on our farm.   Year round nutrition can be found with these native plants in all forms from roots to shoots, pollen and pods too.   Comfort and function accompany cattail lore as the fluffy seeds insulated clothing and blankets, while the reeds and leaves were used for making baskets and containers.

Where cattails are found it is said that no man will go hungry.   Perhaps if we started with this time of year, and throughout winter, the roots can be dug and eaten in a variety of ways.   I recommend that young roots are used.    The larger they get, the more fibrous and woody they become.   I have stir fried cattail roots with dandelion roots and wild garlic for a satisfying and nutritious root skillet.

In the spring, the young green shoots are tender and tasty in all sorts of ways.   I eat them raw in salads, and cooked in everything I can add a little spring green to.   It goes well in rice, pasta, soups and stews.

As summer emerges, the young pods that will later become the notorious “cat tail” shape that we all know can be picked while still green.   They can be roasted or boiled and husked like an ear of corn and eaten much like an ear of corn.

Later on the brown cat tail blooms start to pollinate.   The yellow pollen can be gathered by simply shaking the yellow dust into a bag.   Golden cattail pancakes can be made with any amount of cattail pollen, add flour to the pollen to make 2 cups.   Add 5 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 cups of milk and 2 tablespoons of oil.    Mix well then drop 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto a hot skillet with butter or oil.   Turn the pancakes when they start popping bubbles on top.   Serve with your own syrup or apple butter.

After the pollination the fertile seeds will emerge from the spires with white tufts.   These fluffy seeds can be used for stuffing pillows, blankets, mittens and slippers.   This is also just about the right time to harvest the reeds and stems for making baskets with.

What a great plant!

Week 18 New England Pie Pumpkins

I made a delicious spaghetti sauce last evening that included pumpkin in the sauce.   I slow roasted the pumkin, onion and peppers in the oven at 300 degrees.   On the stove top I had some tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano simmering until the roasted veggies were done.   I pureed everything together and it turned out way better than I expected, and my family raved about it!   I actually had to boil more noodels for seconds, which I wasn’t expecting, but such is life in the experimental kitchen.

Pumpkin Spaghetti Sauce

2 peppers with seeds removed and sliced in half 1 onion 1/2 a pie pumpkin seeds removed, and saved for the next recipe 5 tomatoes peeled 1 tablespoon minced garlic 2 tablespoons of oregano leaves 1/4 cup of basil salt and pepper to taste In a roasting pan place onion, peppers and pumpkin face down, I add a little water to keep them from drying while roasting.   Roast these veggies until the pumkin is soft, about 1 hour.   In the mean time, place the remaining ingredients on the stove and simmer for the same amount of time.   When all ingredients are done, mix in small batches in the food processor and puree until all ingredients are combined.   Serve over spaghetti noodles or rice.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We all snacked on the seeds while we waited for the spaghetti sauce to cook.   This is my usual recipe, but I have added garlic powder, cinnamon or cardamon for extra flavor. Pumpkin seeds Olive oil Sea Salt On a cookie sheet place the pumpkin seeds.   Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.   Roast at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes.

New England Pumpkin Pie

Here’s my relationship with pie- I love to eat it, but making it is a very different story.   My mom started making pies long after I was out of the house, as my younger siblings grew more independent.   The pie crust is intimidating to me, as far as time investment goes, so I usually cheat and buy store made pie crusts- that’s my confession.   I have no trouble throwing together nearly anything from scratch, but pie crust is a hurdle that I may cross one day, just not today!

I will give you a recipe that makes a wonderful pie filling, but the crust is entirely up to you.   If you have a favorite recipe, by all means use it.   Or you can opt for the easier softer way of purchasing your favorite brand of ready made crust like I do.

1 roasted pumpkin mashed (instructions for roasting are in the first recipe)

1 cup of sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can evaporated milk

3 eggs

Blend ingredients together and pour into pie shells.   I believe you will get 2 9 inch pies from this recipe, depending on the size of the pumpkin.   You could also make lots of little serving pies with the filling if you like, but the baking time will be much shorter.

Bake at 425 for the first 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes for a 9 inch pie, 20 minutes for a single serve pie.

What we are getting this week

1. Pumpkin

2. Apples

3. Tomatoes

4. Peppers

5. Turnips

6. Beets

7. Salad blend of lettuce, kale and baby chard

8. Radishes

9. Basil and Oregano Herbs for recipe

 

Have a great week!

Mid way through- Week 11

Well, I decided to take a break yesterday from the gardens.   Our boys are at camp for 6 days, I will miss them so.   I spent yesterday getting them ready for their week’s adventure and saying goodbye.   This is the first year our youngest is old enough to go.   My how they grow so fast.   This morning is really quiet in the house.  It’s even a little creepy without them around.   I will be honest in saying that I haven’t taken a good look at things since Saturday, so I’m basing my week’s menu from what I witnessed on Saturday.    Here goes it-

 

Here’s what’s coming for the week:

1.   Tomatoes- Mostly Sun Sugar Cherry tomatoes, possibly some Black Prince slicing tomatoes

2.   Cucumbers

3.   Eggplant

4.   Squash- summer-and I had seen promising signs of spaghetti squash being ready!

5.   Beans

6.   Potatoes

7.   Thyme and oregano for the recipe below

8.   Purslane

9.   Swiss Chard

10.   Flowers

 

Zucchini, Eggplant and Green Beans

The beauty of having fresh veggies is how easy dinner can really be.   Simply by slicing, sauteing,  adding garlic salt and pepper, you have healthy meals in minutes that are also as colorful and pleasing to the palette.

Tomatoes- you can half 6-8 cherry tomatoes for this recipe.

1 onion sliced

1 eggplant sliced

1 zucchini sliced

1 handful of green beans

some oregano chopped

some fresh thyme chopped

4 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper to taste

With a little oil in a skillet saute veggies for 10-15 minutes or until zucchini is cooked through.   It’s that easy.

 

Chilled Zucchini Soup with Purslane

2 T olive oil

1 small onion sliced

2 cloves of Garlic sliced

2 medium zucchini sliced

1 bay leaf

2 t thyme leaves

2 t oregano or basil leaves

pepper to taste

1 c purslane leaves

2c water

Saute onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and oregano and basil in a skillet until onions and garlic are clear.   Ad zucchini and cook an additional 10 minutes, then add water and discard the bay leaf.   Working in small batches, puree the mix in a blender or food processor and chill for 3 hours.   Serve chilled, with fresh purslane leaves sprinkled over the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 10 Eggplant, Parsnips and Peppers!

Let’s switch it out a little!

We’ve slowly been introducing our season’s finest, but slowly is the word.   I haven’t received any complaints at all,  I appreciate the patience.   But I feel like I’ve been picking the same things for a while now, and I’m excited to provide a seriously different line of products this week!   Chicken for you meat eaters, parsnips, eggplant and peppers sound like a great way to do it too.   Of course, we are swimming in potatoes and beans, and I’ll be checking in on some more fruit before the day ends.

 

Parsnips!

For those who don’t know, parsnips are in the same plant family as carrots, and are very similar to carrots.   In my opinion, they are sweeter than carrots, but may be used in any recipe that would use carrots, or just eaten raw.   Parsnips are not often found in the produce isle, maybe because they can lose their crisp easily.   When you receive your parsnips, they will not be washed.   This is only because washing parsnips makes them get “rubbery” faster than leaving the dirt on.   We will try to brush most of the dirt off for you.

 

Eggplant

From left to right: Fairy Tail, Orient Express, Raveena, and Black Beauty.

These are the different eggplant varieties we are growing this year- fairy tale, raveena, orient express, and black beauty.

I went on a burrito building marathon for my family yesterday, and made the following recipe and it was amazing, I even surprised myself!

Eggplant Burrito Skillet

2 T olive oil

1 c. Eggplant cubed into 1/2″ pieces

1/2 c onion sliced

2 small Marichi peppers- sliced into rings with seeds removed- unless you like it spicy!

1 clove of garlic minced

2 T freshly chopped cilantro

2T lime juice

1/2 t salt

Heat oil in a skillet and add veggies.   Sautee until onions are clear.   I use tortilla wraps and I make a variety of other burrito fillers such as refried beans , rice and Mole Chicken (see recipe below)

Mole Sauce

2 Marichi peppers

1t cumin

2T cocoa powder

1/4 c onion

3 tomatoes diced, or 1 15 oz can of tomatoes

1/2 t salt

Sautee ingredients in a skillet until onions are cooked through.   Place ingredients in a food processor and puree.   This sauce may be used on veggies, beans or chicken.   It made a wonderful addition to our burrito bar.

Getting more from the mix!

When I made the burritos, I also made extra rice.   I used the bones left from the chicken to make stock, and then I made soup with the parsnips, leeks and Swiss chard.   I also added a few bay leaves, and lemon juice, salt and pepper and the left over rice from last night’s burritos.   I now have lunches for a couple of days for the family and our helpers:)

I am so excited about the new varieties this week!

1. Parsnips

2. Eggplant

3. Marichi Hybrid Peppers- these are mild jalepenos, but you should remove the seeds if you are wanting mild taste.   If you like the spice, leave the seeds in.

4. Beans- mix of burgundy and green

5. Leeks

6. Potatoes

7. Chicken for our meat eaters.  For our vegetarians- sunflower seeds, walnuts and elderberries.

8. Yes, we have flowers too!

9. Peaches

 

Week 9 Beans, Nectarines and Swiss Chard Sushi

If you haven’t checked out our face book page in a while I posted a pic of a recipe that we experimented with here at the farm.

Swiss Chard Sushi

First you wash the swiss chard and cut the stems from the leaves, saving the stems for the filling.   Cook 2 cups of rice  with 3 cups of water 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 T oil, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 T of salt.   Place damp swiss chard leaves in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until slightly wilted.   Slice the stems of the chard into thin strips.   You may add carrots, zucchini, cucumbers or any other crisp veggie or fruit, also sliced into thin strips.   Lay the chard leaves flat and spoon the rice mixture into the center of the leaf.   Lay the strips of the stems parallel with other veggies of your choice.   Roll the leaf around the rice and stems and slice.

 

What we are getting this week is

1.   Burgundy Beans

2.   Potatoes

3.   Swiss Chard

4.   Nectarines

5.   Onions

6.   Leeks

7.   Wild Spinach

8.   Hydrangeas

9.   Buddlia

10.   Parsley

Organic Certification Application

ARRRGH!!!   How am I to be a farmer and write down everything that’s in my head about it too?   I have been spending my late nights filling out the PA Certified Oraganic application, which is very thorough, indeed.

Save my seed packets for three years…really?   Well, I hope receipts will do, for now, and I need to clear a space for the packets in years to come….Later in question105 I am  asked how long I keep my records, followed by their own answer “minimum five years.”   So should I still answer it?

How do I measure the carbon to nitrogen ratio in my compost?   And is that before it decomposes or after?

Does it really make a difference how I dispose of my garden hoses?  (I usually just keep patching them until they become tree ties!)

My goodness!

I am serious about the certification, serious enough to purchase the application for $75.00 and serious enough to send another $700.00 after I’ve filled it out.   The point is, it is 66 pages, not counting the attachments I am to add which may run into hundreds of pages.   I can see why people aren’t jumping in line to go through with it.

I am confident enough in our farm’s management practices to go through with it.   We have been working hard to do the right things concerning stewardship of the land.   It is a lot harder to manage land without the use of “prohibited materials.”   And we have been working hard to stay within the confines of restricted materials too, manure included.   Since we have been doing the right things, I believe we have earned the title organic.   The process is daunting and expensive, though.   And I’m not sure if I’m willing to spend the additional $660.00 for my five dairy goats and another yet additional $660.00 for our four pigs and 130 chickens, oh and those figures are annual contributions.   That just doesn’t make sense, so again the small family farm can be outnumbered literally.   I’m not even sure I can get certified without spending all of the application fees for each “division” of the farm.   I’m still going to try.   It’s going to be another long night.

Rob Rescues Bees!!!

We received a call last weekend about bees that had colonized in the siding of a clients home.   OH JOY!!!!   Not for the homeowner, of course, but we have been considering getting bees again.   We haven’t had bees since we moved to the farm, and it just seems that the time is right.

Our very first date was at “Bee School.”   We had taken a class on raising honey bees at the Lavale Library in Maryland offered by the Allegheny Mountain Beekeeper’s Association.   I was thrilled to be asked to such an interesting venue.   It sure beats the ole dinner and a movie anyday.   And I learned so much during the class.

Back to the bees.   Our wonderful clients know that Rob can handle this kind of situation with courtesy to life and asked if he would remove the bees.   We just so happened to have a hive body ready to go in the barn, empty and waiting for a colony.   Rob got his gear ready and went this evening to recover the bees.

If you Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em

Oh the weeds!    They pop up when and where it is least convenient, changing my entire day’s plan… and dinner.   I have decided to take advantage of my bounties of weeds over the years and have come across some delightful ways to prepare them.   For this time of year, I am dealing with dandelions, lamb’s quarters and upland cress in my garden, and soon to be in my kitchen and on my plate.

Weeds can be not only delicious, but packed with good nutrients.   Upland cress contains vitamin C, Riboflavin, Iron and Calcium.   Lamb’s quarter’s contain vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamins E, B6, and thiamine.   Dandelions are a real super food, bearing vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, E, K.   Dandelions contain respectable amounts of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Phosphorous and Potassium. And dandelions are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One cup of chopped dandelions contains 1.5 grams of protein.

Lamb’s Quarter aka Wild Spinach

Lambs Quarter Pesto:

remove leaves from stem and wash (there is a slight “dusty” feel to the leaves which is normal and will wash off for the most part)

Blend in blender
1 1/2 cups of leaves
3-4rushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

blend using a wooden spoon carefully to push the mixture into the blades without hitting the spoon
add olive oil as needed to get a paste like mixture while blending

Uses for the pesto:
On Pizza instead of tomato sauce
stuff mushrooms with it and bake
Couscous salad: add pesto to cooked couscous, lemon juice to taste and diced onions, salt and pepper, stir till all is coated and green

You can also eat Lambs Quarters raw in salads, or sauté it like you would spinach.

Upland Cress


 

Beet & Upland Cress Salad

 

 

Ingredients

 

3 cups of Upland Cress
2-3 medium beets cooked and sliced
2 oz. Goat cheese cut in 4 slices
1 oz. pistachio nut kernels (approx 47)
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Viniagrette

 

 

Directions

 

Put pistachio nuts in a ziplock bag and roll with rolling pin to crush. Separate larger chunks from ‘dust”. Place larger chunks into a skillet on over medium-low heat to toast. Shake pan occasionally while toasting, and remove when aroma starts to release (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from pan & set aside.

Trim the Upland Cress at the stem, then trim down to remove all stems.

Place beet slices in a salad bowl. Cut slices into quarters. Add Upland Cress and balsamic dressing and toss. Separate onto two plates or bowls. Sprinkle toasted pistachio pieces over salad. Take each slice of goat cheese and roll it in the pistachio ‘dust’. Place two dusted goat cheese slices atop each individual salad.

 

 

Dandelions


 

Dandelion Greens Recipe

 

 

The Beans: Soak 2 cups of beans overnight. The next day drain and rinse. Transfer to a pot and cover with water + an additional 1/2 “. Add a generous amount of sage, 1 crushed garlic clove and a splash of olive oil. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for about an hour and a half until the beans are crumbling.

 

 

 

The Greens: Take the 2 bunches of dandelions, chop the stems off and cook in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water and strain well.

 

Heat a pan with olive oil and 2 lightly crushed garlic cloves. When the garlic begins to smell add 4-5 seedless and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes until the tomatoes turn slightly soft and add the greens, some more olive oil, salt and fresh pepper and the reserved liquid. Cook while stirring until all the liquid evaporates. That’s it.

 

 

Back to the Beans: When the beans are very soft, transfer to a food processor and puree. Don’t add all the liquid at once. The consistency should be that of a thin polenta or a very thick soup. Add more salt and olive oil. I used sage from my garden which turned out to have very little sage flavoring this year…I added more by sautéing a few sage leaves in some olive oil with garlic cloves. This gave the bean puree a wonderful sage-y flavor, but you may not need it.

 

 

 

Place the bean puree in a bowl, top with the dandelion leaves and drizzle olive oil. I have a feeling a little parmesan would work well too.