Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall/Winter CSA Week 4 and Carrot Soup!

It has been a wild weather week.
As a country dweller, I likely have a few different concerns on a blustery night that saw Hurricane Sandy's remnants enter our area.
Will the hydro go out? If it does my sump pump in the basement won't work and I'll be bailing water all night.
Are all my hoop houses going to have plastic on them come morning?
Are my boats going to float away with the rising Welland River?
I was relieved to get up this morning after a restless sleep to find that most things were just fine. Not sure about the boats though..but I think the oars are gone!

Last Thursday I wore my shorts out in the garden while harvesting. All has changed now though and the last few days it has been full gear. Rain suit, coveralls underneath, rubber boots and whatever I can figure out for my hands to keep them warm and dry.
When I heard all about all the rain that was coming, my thoughts turned to carrots. I mean, didn't yours?
My carrots did really well this year with my super-duper special technique of planting carrots in clay.
But with sitting in a low spot and all, the huge amount of rainfall would mean they would be sitting in water.
That would only result in one thing....rotten carrots.

The last few days has been digging carrots in lousy conditions. Boot-grabbing mud, wind whipping, heavy rain and chilly conditions. These carrots were fought for and the battle won. The carrots are in and safe.
Good too.

Today's baskets had a good few roots in them.
The carrots of course, plus bright red turnips and oriental radishes that were either white or purple.
The turnips can be eaten either  raw or cooked, as can the radishes. If you can't get to the radishes right away, don't worry. They last a long, long time.

There were also beets and somebody got the VERY large ones pictured above. Wow.
There are still peppers too which were included as well as chard, rosemary, thyme, leaf celery, parsley, broccoli or cabbage.

After working out in this weather my mind turns to soup. And with carrots being so bountiful, carrot soup is a great place to start. I usually just add what I like, using the following recipe as a bit of a guide.
Last night I sauteed onions and hot peppers before adding the carrots and water. I left out the curry and it was yummy.
(This recipe is from www.glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com)

Carrot Soup


2 lbs. carrots, trimmed, peeled, chopped

Cold fresh water

Sea salt, to taste

A pinch of curry powder, to taste*

1/2 cup organic apple juice (or if you like it creamy, add your favorite creamy beverage, such as light coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk)

Toss the chopped carrots into a soup pot and add just enough cold water to cover them. Season with sea salt and a dash or two of curry or cumin, to your liking.
Cover and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Add a bit more spring water, if needed.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender until the carrots are blended and the soup is silky smooth. Add the apple juice or creamy beverage and stir well; gently heat it through.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall/Winter CSA-Week 3 and Autumn Vegetable Burgers

Today my trip into St Catharines scored big for Joey.
My friend Tiffany picks fruit that would otherwise be wasted and donates it to worthwhile and helpful organizations.

Joey is pleased no doubt that Tiffany is fond of him as well.  Today I picked up some donated pears for Joey which he thoroughly enjoyed for his dinner.

Todays's CSA baskets mark my 33rd week in a row of doing baskets on Tuesdays. My immense gratitude to all who have taken part, and especially those folks who have been along for the entire time.
If you aren't in my CSA I am often able to do extra baskets and bring them into town as I did today, so please get in touch if you feel you might be interested.

There are 12 weeks to go in this session and lots of food in the garden still, with the greenhouses growing nicely too.

The baskets today were pretty full.
They included onions, squash, carrots, peppers (both hot and sweet), and green tomatoes.

Also radishes. The ones pictured below are Watermelon Radishes and are gorgeous when cut open.

The herbs I added today were parsley, leaf celery and oregano.

Then came a good helping of greens such as chards, kales, or mustard greens.
On the top a bag of lettuces and I'm sure the baskets contained something else too!

I used the following recipe as a guide, but made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand. And what I had on hand you will  also find in you baskets. 
This recipe is from Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian", a wonderful cookbook. I've noted my substitutions in brackets.

Spicy Autumn Vegetable Burger

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes with cooked beans and kale
Here's a burger flecked with bits of green and orange vegetables, with both creamy and chewy textures. It's also a handy way to use leftover greens like kale, chard, cabbage, or spinach. If you don't have any handy, just cook and shock them according to the directions on page 241 of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It will add only a few minutes to the recipe. Serve these on a crusty roll with barbecue sauce or your favorite condiment.
Vegan if you use the oil.
2 cups cooked kale or other winter green, like collards, turnip or mustard greens, or broccoli raab (about 8 ounces raw)
2 cups cooked or canned cannellini or other beans, drained well (I used kidney)
4 or 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 medium sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and grated (about 1 cup) I used grated carrots and added chopped onions too)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Fresh Bread Crumbs (page 804 of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) or panko
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (left out)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (left out)
Pinch cayenne, or to taste
A little all-purpose flour, if needed, for binding
1. Squeeze all the water out of the kale and finely chop it. Put the cannellini beans in a large bowl and mash them roughly. Stir in the greens with a fork.
2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil or butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, add the sweet potato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften and color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs and remaining spices and cook and stir for another minute or so.
3. Stir the sweet potato mixture into the bean mixture with a fork, mixing until well blended. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes if you can before shaping it into patties. If it seems too wet, stir in a little flour to help bind it. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (You can make the burger mixture up to several hours in advance. Just cover tightly and refrigerate, then bring everything back to room temperature before cooking.) Wipe out the skillet.
4. Shape the mixture into 4 to 6 patties. Put 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter or oil in the skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, carefully slide the burgers into the pan. Cook until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes; turn carefully and cook on the other side until firm and browned, adding the remaining butter or oil if necessary.
5. Serve on plates with your favorite accompaniments or on buns with the usual burger fixings. Or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Monday, October 22, 2012

And the winner is....

Yesterday I posted some pictures of cool veggies I'm growing this year.
Here they are identified.
By a hair, the winner is "Blue laced redhead".

Thanks to both of you for commenting...you know your veggies!

Red celery




Red Malabar Spinach


Oriental radishes

Red turnips

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Let's play identify that veg!

The 30 days straight of blog posts is so not happening anymore.
Life beyond the computer took over this weekend.
After a great deal of agonizing I bought a car to replace my old and failing Honda. That took time.
Then family came and family needed my time. And I needed my time with them.
So the garden...and the blog sat this one out.

Just to see if anyone is still out there, let's play identify that vegetable!

You win nothing. But you are a winner! And who doesn't like that title?
If you are the only one to actually comment, then you are automatically the winner whether you get any right at all. How sweet is that?








Answers tomorrow!

Friday, October 19, 2012

30 Days On My Small Farm - Day 19

The new camera came today. Joey was the only one who would pose, hence the above bee-ootiful picture. Handsome devil.

I asked Mollie to do a pose to promote kale. This is what I got. Hmm. (She does actually like it.)

The last few days has been harvesting, watering and continuing to plant the garlic.

The greens in the greenhouse have gone crazy! The growth over the last two weeks is fabulous and I would say everything is right on schedule to have wonderful winter of greens. 

Tons of food outside still too though. 
It's a good time of year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

30 Days On My Small Farm-Day 18

Well, I'm not sure what to call this post. Day 18 or Day 19.
I missed yesterday and was hoping Jo would read my mind and there would be a post waiting in my email inbox.
It was not to be.
I'd love to share these pictures that my good friend Iz took when she visited me last year at this time.
It makes me happy just to see them again.
Hope you come visit soon Iz.





Who's there?

Fall tomatoes



Along the walk


My backyard

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

30 Days On My Small Farm-Day 18 (Fall CSA Week 2)

Well, there will be no pictures of today's baskets.
My camera has officially bit the dust and I'm waiting for delivery of the new one.
Ah, my high tech life!

So I'll just pop in pictures you maybe haven't seen!

Chickens get the not so great greens from CSA days

Realistically  I am about as low tech as a person can be these days.
I have a cell phone, but it is never on. I had it for a few months before I figured out how to answer it.
Texting? Not my specialty.
Amazing really that I'm able to write a blog.

My low tech abilities fit very well with my career of choice. I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong era. My work is very labour intensive with my hands dirty and my back always bending to pull weeds, plant or harvest.

Today my hands were cold when I rinsed off the veggies for the CSA baskets outside.  I don't do well in the cold, particularly my fingers and toes and I've always found harvesting and cleaning veggies tough at this time of year and into the winter.  I had to go in the house to soak my hands in warm water before I could finish up!
And THIS is just the beginning!  It's not actually even cold yet.

Baskets today contained beets, carrots, french breakfast radishes, lettuce, braising greens, leaf celery, sweet and hot peppers, and a tomato or two. This is most definitely the end of the tomatoes for 2012, as last Friday night's frost was a killer.  That's okay too, because they just don't taste nearly as good once the cold nights hit.

Adios for another year my friends!

The following recipe is one of my favourite ways to serve carrots...and tofu. It is so simple and yummy it has become a staple in my house.
This recipe is from The Vegetarian Times cookbook.

Recipe Ingredients for Carrot and Tofu Scramble

2tbsp vegetable oil
1lbs carrots, grated
1lbs extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1/3cup soy sauce
1/3cup sesame seeds
1tsp teriyaki sauce

Recipe Directions for Carrot and Tofu Scramble

  1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the carrots, stirring, for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the tofu and cook, stirring, until the carrots are soft, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds. Cook 1 minute more.
  4. Stir in the teriyaki sauce.
  5. Serve hot.

Monday, October 15, 2012

30 Days On My Small Farm-Day 17

When the wonderful Harrowsmith Country Life Magazine was still being published, some of my veggies and tomatoes scooted as fast as possible to Montreal for photo shoots. Pretty cool, eh?
I sure thought so.

Today I got some pretty veggies ready for a shoot at Niagara College.
These pictures will show the process from kitchen to dining room.

Can't wait to see the pictures.
Bet they are better than these. I think the veggies are pretty anyways though.
(And...by the way I have a new camera on order!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

30 Days On My Small Farm-Day 16 (Saturday Frost)

We had a very heavy frost on Friday night.
This is how it looked.

All is well in the hoophouse.  Things are growing and changing daily....