Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 25th baskets and farm notes

Stacked Tomatoes and Mozzarella with a Roasted Tomatillo Dressing
Roasted Tomatillo Dressing:
14 purple and green tomatillos, husked and rinsed
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 red onion, cut into quarters
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons verjus
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
For the salad:
1 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 heirloom cherry tomatoes, yellow, green and red
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 pint crabmeat, picked over for shells
1/4 cup tomatillo dressing
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the tomatillos, garlic and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables in the oven until browned and softened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and place the tomatillos and onion in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their peels into the food processor. Add the verjus, vinegar, and parsley leaves. Pulse until the mixture is pureed, drizzling in the 1/4 cup olive oil to thin dressing. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

To complete salad:
Arrange tomatoes, cheese and crabmeat, alternating to create a stack on serving plates. Drizzle the top with the dressing.

Thanks to Leslie for sending me the above recipe created by Emeril. She says it is a good one and even better of course because it uses heirloom tomatoes as well as the tomatillos.

Baskets were pretty heavy with the potatoes,tomatoes and heavier non-greens items in them.
Not much to say really in terms of the garden that hasn't been said before. The rain has been overwhelming and has clogged my soil badly, causing lots of losses. One of my friends who works on a computer all day said it is like beginning a project in March, working steady at it and then in August someone pushes the delete button, Well, that is what has happened here to many crops. Deleted.
It is clear to me that the CSA season will not last 20 weeks, the food isn't there, despite all the seed planted and replanted and work done. CSA people, stand by for more word on this.
The big event is this weekend, we are praying for sun on Saturday despite a forecast for rain. Tiff, a CSA member is getting married here. Flower gardens are actually looking really good. Strangely it seems for the most part that the flowers are happy this year! My sister Susanne has been spending her spare time getting everything cleaned up and it is awesome. Too bad more flowers aren't edible, we'd be laughing.
Oh to be less practical!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 17th baskets, farms notes

Baskets for the 17th included an ever widening assortment of heirloom tomatoes, beans( mostly an italian slicing bean, green and wide),peppers, cukes or summer squash/zucchini/patty pans, tomatillos and ground cherries, potatoes, herbs including basils, papalo(cilantro taste),a savoury mint,garlic....what did I forget?
If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos and ground cherries, they look like their relatives, the chinese lantern but of course are edible.
Just husk the smaller ones, the ground cherries, and eat as is,
The tomatillos are used in salsa and a recipe follows, thanks to Suzanne. As well I will share Suzanne's zucchini recipe which can be used also with the summer squash or patty pans.
The tomatoes make a fabulous salad. I like to cut them into bite size pieces, add a bit of vinegar (any kind), a bit of sunflower oil,salt and pepper to taste and chopped basil. If you have some good mozzarella it is a great addition.
It was nice to feel the heat over the past week or so. Aah, summer has arrived!
Sadly, it makes no difference to many of the crops in my garden. Once they start to go, they aren't coming back. Carrots have rotted out, eggplants ditto, some of the peppers and brassicas.I suspect as well that late blight has hit my tomatoes here, as it has many other areas around us. There are lots of tomatoes, but the plants are dying. Potatoes and garlic are two very good looking crops however.
Please note we have cancelled the tomato festival because of slow ticket sale. Thanks to everybody who expressed an interest in attending....who knows, maybe next year.

Grilled Zucchini Roll Ups with Herbs and Cheese
3 small zucchini *about 0.5 lb each, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices.
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt, plus more to taste
PInch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 oz fresh goat cheese.
1 tbsp minced fresh parsely
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.
Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with oil
on both sides; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender,
about 4 minutes per side. You can make the grilled zucchini a day
ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley and lemon juice,
mashing them together with a fork.
Put 1/2 tsp of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a
zucchini slice. Top with a couple of basil leaves. Roll up and place
seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini

Roasted Tomatillo-Serrano Salsa (adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen)

1 lb (10 to 12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed.
Fresh serrano chiles to taste (can substitute jalapenos), roughly 5, about 1 oz total
2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 small (4 oz) white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed roughly chopped cilantro
Salt, about 1 generous teaspoon
Sugar, about 1 scant teaspoon (if needed)

1. Lay the tomatillos, serranos/jalapenos and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and place 4 inches below a very hot broiler. When the tomatillos blister and blacken and soften on one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and roast the other side. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Cool, then pull the stems from the chiles and peel the garlic.

2. Scrape the roasted tomatillos and any juices that have accumulated into a food processor or blender, along with the roasted chiles and garlic. Pulse the machine uintil everything is reduced to a rather coarse-textured puree.

3. Scrape the salsa into a serving bowl, then stir in bteween 1/4 and 1/2 cup water to gie the sauce an easily spoonable consistency. Scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess and stir into the salsa, along with the cilantro. Taste and season with salt and a little sugar.

Note: those of you with less tolerant tastebuds could probably only stand to use 1 to 2 chiles instead of five.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4 baskets and farm notes

A little bit of summer crept into today's baskets. Yes, heirloom tomatoes are now beginning to appear, as well as peppers, summer squash/zucchini, some nice heirloom beans. Also broccoli, cutting celery, African Blue Basil, peppermint, collards or New Zealand Spinach.
I hope folks tried the Rich Zucchini Soup recipe, if not, it is worthwhile. I have made all the other recipes to date on the blog, but my sister chastised me for not making that one, so I did. was good, and Gary even looked forward to the leftover soup the next night.
I hope you like the variety of beans. Clearly I like to grow some that are a little bit different, but please use them all in the same manner. My favourite bean always used to be Dragon Tongue, that marvellously fleshy pale yellow bean with purple striping. Great to snack on raw even! But I think the last several years of growing Bobis Albenga have convinced me to give it the number one spot. Great green bean flavour, slim with purple striping. I love this bean! It is quite a rare bean- if I don't save my own seed I won't have it.
One great way to enjoy beans other than the obvious steaming or boiling is roasted. Coat them with a bit of olive oil, add sea salt and roast in a 400 degree oven until cooked through. Also try the following recipe from "Farmer John's Cookbook"


1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 lb green(or any colour) beans
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP olive oil
4 oz Parmesan cheese , thinly shaved, about 1/2 a cup

Toast the walnuts in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. Transfer nuts to a dish to cool.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beans and salt and cook until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the beans to a colander in the sink and run cold water over them. Trim the beans if necessary.
Toss the beans and walnuts in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, whisk the lwmon juice and olive oil until well combined. Pour this mixture over the beans and toss until well coated. Transfer to a salad bowl and sprinkle cheese over top.

Farm notes
Again, a difficult growing year with cool temperatures and rain pummelling us on a regular basis. Lots of new plantings have been washed away, and the soil isn't really having a chance to dry out before the next rain comes along. The garden was reasonably well weeded 3 weeks ago, but now is very weedy and I can't take the tiller into it because of the wet soil. So hand weeding, an impossible task is taking up some time, but I won't get ahead of it.
Because of this, I won't be having my farm open ain't pretty here!
But some crops do seem quite okay with it all, particularly the potatoes, which need to grow a bit more before they appear in your baskets and the cole crops seem to like it too. Oh yes, and the tomatillos which are sprouting like crazy everywhere on this property! When they come, they will really come, so start looking up recipes now!
If anyone has any recipes they would like to share, or comments about the ones I have posted, please be my guest. My preference is for vegetarian recipes, in case you didn't notice.
Stay well and eat your veggies!