Tuesday, June 30, 2009
June 30-CSA baskets, Niagara Heirloom Tomato Festival !
In addition to items in the basket you definitely recognize, there may be a few things that have you scratching your head. As I have said before, not all baskets contain all the same things, so a bit of recognition work will be necessary here.
Salad, and garlic scapes you will know...hope some of you tried the pesto.
The baskets also contained greens-collards or chard or tuscan kale. Also some New Zealand spinach. Collards are the bigger cabbage-y leaves, kale is the darker green bubbly type leaf and chard is the more oval and tender leaf. All three can be lightly sauted in olive oil, with garlic, or of course steamed. Another recipe follows my blurb here.
NZ spinach is a warm weather spinach type green which despite it's name isn't in the spinach family at all, but it can be used in just the same way. To enjoy it, eat lightly steamed, raw in salads. It is a bit of a succulent with a fuzzier texture.
The true succulent in all baskets is purslane- the domesticated version. It is either a golden, or greener colour, with smallish oval leaves. It is the only veg source of Omega 3 fatty acids, so it is tres good for you. Use it in your salads.
Also you will have received some Italian Parsley, or cutting celery-use both similarly, adding their flavour to your cooked or raw dishes. As well basils- the purplish toned one is African Blue Basil-doesn't grow from seed!
Another very strong flavoured herb you will have is the mexican herb papalo-intense cilantro flavour. Can you see the oil glands on the back of the leaves? Good used as cilantro, or sparingly in salads. Also a smallish bag of radish micro-green....rinse before using.
When the chard comes on strong, here is a really great recipe to consider from the really great cookbook, Laurel's Kitchen
Chard Cheese Pie
6 cups lightly steamed chard, well drained
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 eggs beaten
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs
beat together cottage cheese, lemon juice,eggs and salt.stir a cup of this mixture into the chard and press it down in a well greased 8x8 pan. Spread the remaining cottage cheese mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle on bread crmbs and paprika. Bake for 1/2 an hour or until set. Allow to stand for several minutes before slicing into squares.
It continues to be pretty busy here in the garden. I continue to fill in empty spots with new seed, but by far the most dominant task right now is weeding. All the rain has meant everything is growing quickly, but truly nothing as quickly as the weeds.Perhaps it is just a bit more rain than we really needed but at least watering tasks have been minimal so far....a good thing!
My 27 chicks are growing like crazy...now 7 weeks old,and pecking and scratching with the best of them. Lots of eggs are in the forecast. Also arriving a week ago was our new collie pup Ellie. Boy, puppies are full of energy, you kind of forget how much! She's a wonderful girl. I can't tell you how much we missed have a dog after Casey and Becky passed away. Not good without them.
I now have tickets available for our Niagara Heirloom Tomato Festival, to be held at Balls Falls on September 6/09. This event is presented by The Wildflower Market, and Tree and Twig, and for the tasting event I will have up to 100 varieties of tomatoes to try. The $45 ticket price also includes 2 glasses of wine, tomato-dish samples from 5 of Niagara's top chefs and entertainment. Children under the age of 6 are free. Chefs involved are Stephen Treadwell, Mark Picone, Frank Dodd, Eric Peacock and Joel from the Keefer.
That evening, a delicious tomatoey dinner with wine included will be created by Wolfgang of The Wildflower for $85. This cost includes taxes, gratuities and entertainment. If both tasting and dinner tickets are purchased you will receive a gift!
We are really excited about this event! Tickets can be purchased from either me (cash or cheque) or from The Wildflower,which will accept your credit card as well.
Hope to see everyone there!