Thursday, July 29, 2010

CSA - July 29 - P&P

What's in the box?
White Corn, cucumbers, garlic, zukes, tomatoes, green beans, onions, German butterball potatoes, tomatillos, basil, santalina, lavender and flowers.

This weeks gifts, Grisini or Bread and Pineapple Apricot Jam.

And then there were 2! Oh those hens, they are so precocious.

Tomato Salad

3-4 Large tomatoes, quartered, and a handful of cherry tomatoes
1-3 garlic, peeled and minced.
Fresh basil cut with scissors into strips
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. vinegar
2 oz Tomato-basil feta cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Santolina & Lavender

What to do with those weird herbs

Santolina is one of the most effective insect repelling herbs I have ever come across. Going out in the bog, stuff some in your pocket. Moths in your winter wools? Put some in a potpourris and they will go away. However, don't rub it into your skin....

  • Internal use: Tea: 1 to 2 tsp whole herb per cup of water. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes or even up to 15 minutes. Soothes tension and helps insomnia.
  • External use: inhalation: dried flowers in 2 to 3 cups of boiling water; inhale vapors for headache, depression, or insomnia.
  • Topical application: lavender water can be safely applied. Pour 3/4 cups boiling water over 3 Tablespoons dried lavender flowers or buds. Let cool and strain. Can be sprinkled on your pillow for a good night's sleep, or applied to skin to cool, soothe and refresh.
  • Lavender Bath and Oatmeal: place into a muslin bag or multiple thicknesses of cheesecloth, two tablespoons each of lavender buds or flowers, and freshly ground oatmeal (whirl in blender). Tie tightly with a long piece of string or ribbon. Attach the bag to the bathtup spigot, so the bag hangs below the water level. While bathing, rub the bag on the skin to soothe dry, itchy, achy spots. Very relaxing!

You can mix the two together in a potpourri and stuff it in a pair of stinky tennis shoes....or a sack of gym clothes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CSA - July 28 - SCVWD

What's in the box?
White Corn, cucumbers, garlic, zukes, tomatoes, green beans, delicata or dumpling squash, German butterball potatoes, chives, basil, santalina, lavender and lilies.

This weeks gifts: bread and fruit salsa. Fruit salsa = peppers, peaches, apricots, pineapple, (okay the pineapple is not from the farm), chilis, onions, garlic, cilantro and lemon. If it's too hot, don't be afraid to mix it with tomatoes!

Chipotle Corn Chowder

4 cups par boiled corn kernels, removed from cob
2 cups chopped potatoes
1/2 onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

4 teaspoons adobo sauce from can of chipotles in adobo

3 cups milk
Heat oil and butter in a soup stock pot until butter foams. Add onions, potatoes and salt. Sautee until onions and potatoes are tender and just starting to go translucent. You don't want color on the onions.
Add ginger, corn, and milk and stir well. Heat through until all in the pot is hot. Don't let milk boil.
Add chopped chipotles and stir. Stir and taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
Blend soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender and serve with a one teaspoon swirl of adobo sauce from the chipotle chile can on top of each bowl. Serves 4 I canned some of this last night in the pressure cooker....yummy!

Chive Butter
I spread the chive butter on fish fillets before grilling, buttered roasted corn-on-the-cob, and mixed it in with garden-fresh steamed vegetables. It can also be used to scramble eggs, or spread on toasted bread.

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

4 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced (optional)

1. Use scissors to snip the chives into small pieces of similar size.
2. Cream the snipped chives into the softened butter.
3. Add the lime juice and mix until well blended.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, mix together.
5. Add minced garlic, if desired, and mix well.
The butter will keep in the refrigerator for a week if stored in a small, covered container. It can also be rolled into a log, wrapped in plastic wrap or waxed paper and stored in the freezer to use in small batches when needed.

Answers to questions:
1. Yes, you can share and give away my recipes.
2. Yes, you can give away jars of my jam, etc. as gifts...however, you need to kick down for the jar. Regular Mason jars = $2.00, Italian or German Jars = $5.00.
3. The string I tie everything with is organic hemp from "Hemp in the Heartland"
4. Do we have room in our CSA? Yes, one spot and one spot only. Someone had a baby and won't be cooking for awhile.
5. Grapes and melons are coming along.
6. There are no more onions. It was a bad year for onions.
7. Canning questions. E-mail me if you want any specific ingredients or would like to make a request.
8. Recipes...yes! Send me yours!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another Weekend on the Farm

It started with potatoes
Potato harvest at the farm has looked the same for about 20 years. It takes 2 of us. One of us crawls on our knees and other other pulls hoses, wields the fork, and slides the harvest boxes along. And I'd like to say right now, that it is not true that I am a hose's just that I am a lot shorter than Leo and therefore I am the one who crawls and puts the potatoes in the box. A couple of hundred pounds later, the field was cleared and Leo prepared the beds for the next crop. Gee that sounds easy. Really, he has to clear the debris, rake and haul it away to the compost pile, roll up the irrigation and then till.

To the right, German Butterballs. They are not great keepers, they green really easily, so when you get them, use them up. I have a thing with green potatoes. I won't eat them, and try never to give them to you either. To keep the potatoes from getting green, I try not to expose them to light. From the field, the potatoes go to the dark barn. they are transferred from boxes, to the scale, to the bag and into big coolers. From the harvest, I sort out all the tiny weenie taters and we use those for seed potatoes. All the greenies we also use as seed potatoes. From the best potatoes I weigh out 1 and 1/2 pounds of potatoes per CSA box. We go through 22-25 pounds of potatoes a week. Of course, I'm not through weighing and bagging. Thankfully, Zack and Casey have promised to help me when they come back to visit in August.

Bread Next
Then I moved on to making bread and Leo went out to do the squash bug stomp. To the left Grinsini and bread rising. To the right, bread and Grisini for you.After the squash bug stomp, we harvested Delicata Squash and pulled the vines. In their place we put in those experimental tomatoes that Dr. Carolyn Male sent us. These are very rare heirloom tomatoes. I have never in my life planted a tomato in July, I'm anxious for these little fellers. It seems very late to me, but I hope at least to get a few tomatoes to be able to send her back seed.

Leo rounded up one of these spare roosters and we traded him for chicken food from the local feed store. He was a beautiful specimen. And you'll never guess after all that hullaballou, look what Leo found...the first egg from the Cuckoo Marans. So, we had to get the nest boxes cleaned and reinstalled in the coop. It's been a busy weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CSA - July 22 P&P

What's in the box

Parsnips, beets, carrots, rutabagas (all last of the season), corn, tomatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, cukes and zukes.

This week's gift: Peach Pepper Jelly. This is not your ordinary peach jelly. It's hot!

Parsnip Tater Curry
Toasting brown mustard seeds in chili oil enhances their characteristic sharpness. Be sure to cover the pan because the seeds will pop as they cook. Use yellow mustard seeds for a tamer heat.
• 1 tablespoon chili oil
• 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar
• 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 1/2 pound parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices
• Cooking spray
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Combine chili oil, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until seeds begin to pop, shaking pan occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 1 minute. Stir in cumin and garam masala.
3. Combine spice mixture, olive oil, and next 4 ingredients (through parsnips) in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, turning vegetables after 10 minutes. Sprinkle vegetable mixture with cilantro; toss.

Garlic Alfredo Sauce
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cut to 3/4 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 cup or so of heavy cream
1/4 cup of chopped shitake mushrooms or portabello or even button
2-5 cloves of garlic chopped small
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Oregano flowers about 2 T.
Fresh ground nutmeg to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Saute the chopped mushrooms in olive oil then add the garlic and saute until translucent but not browned and the mushrooms are tender. Add butter and heavy cream. Once the butter melts add the parmesan cheese, add the nutmeg and herbs. Simmer until thickened. Once you’ve plated it up, on your zukes or pasta, add the black pepper.

Harvesting Garlic
Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating at least as far back as the time that the Giza Pyramids were built.
On the left harvesting garlic in the 15th century. On the right, just a few days after.

July 23, 24 & 25 the 32nd annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. Although garlic is known to be antibiotic, good to eat, and ward off ware wolves, it won't help with traffic. Avoid 101! And if you're going, Friday is the least packed.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Our Customers are the Best
I wanted to just say thanks to all of you who went out and purchased vases for the farm. What a surprise! I was just trying to figure out how I was going to get back to Ikea to get more vases, when a couple of you spontaneously donated vases. Hurray!

You are wonderful. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CSA July 21 - SCVWD

What's in the Box
Beets - last of the season, carrots, delicata squash - first of the season, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cukes and zukes, oregano flowers, flowers, and corn (already delivered).
This weeks gifts bread and the very last of last season's canning. Use 'em up! I need the jars it's almost time for salsa. Hot salsa music to can by.

About 100 years ago, I took a class on Indian cooking and once summer hits, Leo and I eat a lot curry. I make this cooling raita to wash down all that spice.

1 - 2 cucumbers, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cups whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 T. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 T fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Quick grind of fresh pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg, cinnamon & cardamon

Place cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Toss well; drain for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water; drain. Place cucumber on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, and remaining ingredients.

About those chickens
Let's play count the rooster. I see 3. Okay, they are all crowing in unison now. However, 1 of these big boys need to go. We don't even need more than 1 rooster, but I like to be prepared! One large Cuckoo Maran goes by the name Rooster "T" Cogburn. Comes with crow. The hens are looking beautiful, I still suspect we'll have eggs by early September. And on your left, the traveling chicken road show....hmm Huston, we have a problem there's about 6 roosters in this group. One is crowing, but he's a juvenile, so his voice still cracks. Anyone rooster?

Leo's Bruschetta

A handful of cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 T. chopped fresh basil or oregano flowers
3 T. olive oil
1 T. wine vinegar
1/8 t. salt
1 loaf Holly Bread

Mix all the ingredients into a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, slice the bread into 3/4" slices and brush with additional olive oil on one side. If you like garlic like Leo likes garlic, rub the bread with an additional clove. Broil oil side up until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool, top with 1 T of tomato mixture.
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cucumber sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 T wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Couple of turns of freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed. For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Baked Delicata
1 Delicata squash
1 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Pinch of salt
A pinch of fresh ground pepper (optional)
A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a strong knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Spoon out seeds and stringy bits in the center of each half. (save the seeds!) Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Rub 1/2 Tbsp. butter on the inside of each half. Add a pinch of salt (and black pepper and cayenne if you wish), add 1 Tbsp brown sugar to each half, then drizzle each half with maple syrup. Adding a little water, about 1/4 inch, to the bottom of the baking pan will help keep the squash from drying out.
Bake for an hour, or until the squash is very soft. When serving, if there is any of the sugary butter sauce left, spoon that over the squash.

Tempura Delicata
1 egg
1 cup ice water
1 cup all purpose flour
Beat an egg in a bowl. Add ice water in the bowl. Be sure to use very cold water. Add sifted flour in the bowl and mix lightly. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Do not make the batter ahead of time. Try not to over mix the batter and not to coat ingredients with the batter too much.
To check the temperature of frying oil, drop a little batter into the oil. If the batter comes up right away instead of sinking to the bottom of the pan, it's about 360 F degree. If the batter goes halfway to the bottom and comes up, it's about 340F degree. This is said to be the right temperature to fry tempura. Dip the delicata in tempura and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

Have a good week. I'm off to plant tomatoes and harvest green beans.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sizzling Summer Heat

Vegetables on!

The heat is good for something look at these melons, they are getting close. Finally, look look tomatoes are coming! Leo and I harvested many many pounds of potatoes over the hot hot weekend and we are about to do the last planting of the summer: Corn, dried corn, dried beans, Butter Beans and pumpkins.

Leo did a heroic job of weeding the sweet potatoes. I did not help at all. I was in the kitchen canning apricots: apricot conserve, apricot-pineapple jam, apricot chutney and brandied apricots. There's also a jar of peach pepper jelly in this photo. Of course, Leo has pre-tested each of these and says they are "all good".

Look at those beautiful sweet potatoes. Today I tarped them to prevent them from sending down more than one root which in turn helps them set big tubers. It also helps keep Leo from having to weed them again. By fall, this will be a mat of vines that look like ivy gone wild.

Every year someone asks me what to do with chutney. Okay, here's the big list.

What to do with Chutney
Chutneys are served on the side to accompany assorted curry dishes, or with cold meats - much the same ways as you'd use pickles or herb jellies. They are condiments. I like to toss in a spoonful or two of chutney into a meatloaf or meatballs just for a flavor change, or you can add some to a gravy for the same reason.

Use chutney with roast pork instead of apple sauce; with lamb instead of mint jelly; with turkey instead of cranberry sauce; with chicken nuggets instead of ketchup or sweet and sour sauce; with ham instead of mustard.

Pour 1/4 cup over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers or cocktail bread slices.
Mix 1 tablespoon into a mild vinaigrette to make a salad dressing.
Stir 1/4 cup or so into a pot of plain rice to make a pilaf.
Mix half mayonnaise and half chutney and serve on sandwiches.
Toss 1/4 cup with steamed broccoli, carrots or green beans.
Serve with baked sweet potatoes.

You can toss chutney into sour cream or other base to make a dip. This mixture is delicious on baked potatoes or chips.

It makes a mean cheese and avocado/tomato/cucumber sandwich.

Mix equal amounts of chutney and soy sauce to make a great BBQ marinade for zukes or chicken.

Chutney Goat Cheese Puffs

Puff pastry (frozen is fine)
One jar of chunky style chutney
Goat cheese, one log, chevre style

Allow the puff pastry to defrost according to package instructions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut and lay out puff pastry into squares and place equal amounts of chutney and crumbled goat cheese in the center. For small puffs use approximately 1/2 teaspoon of filling per 2 inch square of puff pastry. Brush the edges of the square with water and fold over to create a triangle, pressing edges to seal. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or until brown. Serve warm. (From Amy Sherman)

Well, being that it's Monday, I'm off to do important work like laundry. It's going to be another hot one.


Otis Disappeared
While we were at the cabin, he just vamoosed. I have called for him every morning and every night. Rocky, the cross-eyed goofy feral cat comes, but no Otis. Hissy Missy, the mean mama feral comes along with her kittens, Bibbs & Boots, but no Otis. Holstein Nakai comes out, but no Otis. Leo and I were about to go to the pound and see if he got picked up, when guess what we found stalking the Asparagus. Talk about skinny! Leo is very fond of Otis. Officially, Leo hardly notices the feral cats. But Otis is his special case. He and Zack tamed Otis. I really didn't think it could be done. I thought Leo and Zack would get bitten or scratched at best and were wasting their time. If they wanted a tame cat, we could go to the pound and get one. However, I was wrong. Otis chose Leo and now we have a dedicated affectionate garden cat. I'm glad he's home. As for Leo, I caught him in the garden cuddling this skinny little boy. Where do cats go?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Cabin Part Two

Progress was made. There were thundershowers, which of course delayed how much bead board I could paint. But we got enough done to get Zack and Casey a counter, and a refrigerator. And of course, Leo got the vent in. I don't know, looks like it may be a kitchen by Christmas!

Of course we had to have a garage sale, so that there was some space in the garage to work in! It's hard to have a garage sale in the rain. I don't want to even think about how many times we moved this furniture out the rain.

Oh, and Leo wants me to make sure that you all know that we have had fun over the years. Well, at least before the remodel started.

There's been snowball fights, shameless cheating at badminton, tubing on the river, hiking in Lassen and family and friends have come to visit. Zack and Casey are making it a real home and that's the best part.

CSA July 15 - P&P

What's in the box
Yellow plums, tomatoes - Early Girls & Sungold, Carrots, Beets, Green Beans, Garlic, Potatoes, Tomatillos, Flowers, Corn, Zukes, Cukes & this week's gift - Zucchini Relish or B&B Pickles.

I picked the corn at 6:30 a.m. so please, have it for dinner.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Glaze (directions follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1 Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

2 With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

3 Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

4 Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rac

k to cool thoroughly.

5 Drizzle glaze over cake.

Glaze: Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Cut in thin slices to serve. Makes 10-12 servings. This is from "Simply Recipes" and when I remember who I lent my bundt pan to, we'll all get some!

My Favorite Salad

Wash and Peel cucumbers. Wash and stem tomatoes. Chop up some relish or B&B pickles, mix them with a little honey, mild vinegar, olive oil and dry mustard. Slather over tomatoes and cukes.

Mexican Green Bean Salad Recipe

10 oz fresh green beans, ends snapped off, cut in half into about 1 1/2 inch length pieces
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice or white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3/4 cup packed, chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup canned, pickled jalapeño chili peppers, sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese or Feta
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced or cut into inch long pieces
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges, or a cup of halved cherry tomatoes

1 Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until just crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. Drain completely.

2 Place beans in a large bowl. Gently mix in the the lime juice or vinegar, olive oil, 1/4 cup onion, sliced pickled jalapeños, sea salt, oregano and cilantro. Let sit for half an hour.

3 When ready to serve, gently mix in the chopped red onion and cotija cheese. Serve the avocado slices and tomato wedges on the side or mixed into the salad.

Serves 4.

Casey's Favorite Corn

Pull back the husks on the corn but don't remove, de-silk the cobs. Pull the husks back up, wrap in foil and put on the BBQ. The foil isn't really necessary, but sometimes we get over zealous removing the husks. You can never have too much butter on corn, but go easy on the salt.

Fun Facts About Corn
• Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
• One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of Coca-Cola.
• There are about 800 kernels in 16 rows on each ear of corn.
• The corncob (ear) is actually part of the corn plant’s flower.
• The main ingredient in most dry pet food is corn.
• Corn is America's number one field crop. Corn leads all other crops in value and volume of production.
• A pound of corn consists of approximately 1,300 kernels.
I have never waited this long for an early season corn. We planted in March. This is the longest 65 day corn variety I have ever seen. Let me know what you think. Of course then again, I have never had to wait till July for tomatoes.

And what about peppers? They are coming along, I think we'll have sweets and hots in a few weeks, Bells-sometime in August. Melons soon! Basil and cilantro soon.

Don't forget boxes every week! Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weekly Boxes

Summer is here. Boxes will be delivered every week. Please remember to drop me a line if you are going to be on vacation.
We will be on the every week schedule till either I or the garden keel over, usually around October. We will then return to the every other week schedule.


Two Years Ago
Leo and I decided that we had better start adding permaculture to the farm produce mix. We started with artichokes, which finally started to produce this year. There are 2 varieties, Violetta and Globe. The Globe is big and green and the Violetta was a little smaller and very thorny. If anyone has a comment about either of these, I'd love to hear it.

We started a small patch of Rhubarb, which is producing enough for one week. I'm thinking about expanding it. Which will mean in 2 years, we'll have enough for about 3 weeks.

This year we put in strawberries and asparagus, which you should begin to get next year. We've planted Purple Passion Asparagus. They are looking very healthy and are quite pretty with their ferny nature. The Mare de Bois Strawberries are up and looking good. We may even see some berries this fall. The blackberries are also up (ouch) and by August we should see them.

We have been working on a blueberry trial for a couple of years. We have finally gotten a handle on what we are going to grow. Here's Leo, picking no blueberry before it's time. That still leaves what I think is a hole in the production.

My list for this fall looks a little like this:

Tangelos for February
Nectarines for June
Apricots & Apples for July
French Prunes and Limes for August
Pears & Peaches for September
Pears and Persimmons for October
and finally Apples for November.

I know that you receive some plums and pears from the garden, but I'm thinking about planting 8 more fruit trees, so that there's a little more to go around, plus jam, pie filling, and fruit leather. Let me know what you think. Of course it will be 2 to 3 years before you get to eat all of these.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


What's in the box?
Sungold Tomatoes, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Beets, Tomatillos, Broccoli, Onion
s, Garlic, Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn, and Rutabaga. (thyme or tarragon)

(On the right- Sungold Tomatoes on the vine). On the plate, Isis Candy (L), Black Cherry (M), Sungold (R). The Isis Candy is just a little larger than the Sungold. If you got some this week they will be on the vine, so that you can figure out what is what.

This weeks gifts, miscellaneous jams or salsa, and Zucchini Bread.


While we were out the Zucchini took advantage of our absence and began to party down. They have run wild and made clubs, boats, and now there is no choice but to make the chickens eat them. Anything over 12 inches I don't use in any of my recipes. For those of you who are looking for more things to do with Zukes, check out

Eugenia... I send a blessing on your
head. Below is one of her great recipes for Zucchini. Leo, guess what we're having for dinner? I am also making Zucchini Relish and pickles that you should be seeing soon. Zack at Big Lake about 10 years ago, even then he knew what to do with Zucchini...float 'em.

Penne with Shredded Zucchini and Tarragon

This is yet another recipe that I make in order to deal with the abundance of zucchini in the garden. You can get away with using an older, bigger zucchini in this recipe.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
2 medium-sized zucchini, grated on the large holes of the grater (4 cups)

2 tablespoons tarragon, finely chopped
1 lb. penne or other small cut pasta
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté them until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook the vegetables until the zucchini releases its water, and the water cooks out, about 10 minutes. Add the tarragon.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the penne. Cook the penne until it is al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and combine the penne and zucchini mixture in a serving bowl. Toss in the butter, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese.

Preparing Tomatillos

Before using, peel off the husks and rinse to remove the sticky residue. Other than peeling off the husk, do not peel the green skin.

Tomatillos are traditionally used in three ways — raw, boiled/blanched, or roasted/grilled:

Raw - Uncooked tomatillos add a fresh, tangy citrus-like flavor and are often used raw in Mexican table sauces. Finely dice or puree them.

Blanching - Mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and
boil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in a sauce recipe.

Fire roasting - Leaving slightly blackened skins on enriches a sauce with a smoky, woodsy flavor. Can roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, o
r over an open flame such as a grill or a gas burner. Make sure the heat is quite hot, otherwise the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred. I always fire-roast my tomatillos!

Dry roasting - Produces an earthy, nutty flavor. Place the tomatillos in a heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron). Turn heat to low. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, letting each side take on a rich, burnished golden color before turning.

Finally, tomatillos can be quite inconsistent in flavor, with some being intensely sour and others tasting mild and sweet. Some cooks use a pinch of sugar to balance the taste of very tart tomatillos.

Café Azul Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

1/3 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered

1/4 pound fresh jalapeño chilies, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and halved

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 firm-ripe avocado (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced

1/2 cup minced onion

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice


1. In a blender or food processor, whirl tomatillos, chilies, garlic, and cilantro until coarsely puréed. Pour into a bowl.
2. Stir in olive oil, avocado, and onion. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

There are 5 types of cucumbers in the garden:
Poona Keera-a very dark gold/brown cuke, White Wonder-a very light colored small oblong cuke, Lemon-a round pale cuke, Delicatessa-a white and green medi
um large cuke and our standard green-Marketmore.

The current crop of green beans are Blue Lake.

Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme
2 lbs green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 T.chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Steam the beans for 5 minutes and proceed directly to the skillet.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in half of the fresh thyme (1 T.), the Dijon mustard and garlic salt into the butter. Add the beans to the skillet and toss until heated through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and the remaining 1 T. of thyme.