No Time to Make Sauce– Lemon Basil and Yogurt Pasta.

Farm Journal, Recipes

Oh lovely lemon basil! We brought you to the market and then brought you right back home again. I was surprised my sweet little basket of basils didn’t get snatched up in a flash last week, but alas… your foolish choices mean more delicious food for me!

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Basils front row center.

Funnily enough, this was a week on the farm where I managed to get almost more done on the home-front rather than the farm-front and it felt really good. Farming in the peak of summer means a constant battle against weeds, fighting our dry spell with time-consuming hand watering, and gauging how far I can push some of the leafy greens before they decide it’s time to flower. I’ve been operating on a level of stress these past few months that is too out of my comfort zone and one of my biggest stressors is coming home from a day of hard work, perhaps even then followed by an evening working at REI, to a messy house that is full of vegetables but no food to eat. You can see why farm wives are a thing.

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Anadama sandwich bread for our morning toast. I used some tasty cornmeal from Around the Table Farm!

 

So anyway this week I farm-wived for myself and instead of that meaning I stood in front of the open fridge while crunching on a head of lettuce, I actually went to the grocery store (!) Twice (!!) and made bread (!!?!!) and muffins (!!#omgdomesticgoddess!!) and cordial and hummus (!!swoon!!). My house got clean, I went through and put away my winter clothes and donated some stuff, and to cap it all I made all sorts of basil-filled meals with our leftover bounty.

 

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Don’t hate on the photography skills. This is some seriously good pasta and would also work well with new potatoes!

I grow the regular Genovese basil we’re used to throwing on our margherita pizzas but also Thai basil, Tulsi (also known as “holy basil”), and of course the aromatic superstar, lemon basil. This got a lot of play during my two days of domesticity and we capped our day at the farm with this amazingly fast, outstandingly delicious pasta. While the sauce was the star, it gets thrown together on top of the pasta so you don’t even need another pot or pan if you have the foresight to go big when boiling. The butter mellows out the yogurt tang and the reserved pasta water acts as the binder to keep both the sauce sticking to the pasta but also to keep the yogurt from separating or curdling. Starchy magic! Then it’s just adding in some shredded Parmesan cheese, veggies of your choice (we did the last of our peas and some thinly sliced carrots, dropped into the boiling pasta about two minutes before the pasta was complete), and of course your lemon basil. Add some seasoning and stir, stir stir. And now eat!

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Seriously, we were sitting at the table for a good half hour while this kid asked for more and more pasta.


No Sauce-Pan Lemon Basil Pasta:

1 pound pasta, shapes always preferred

1-2 cups vegetables. Peas, broccoli, the first green beans, thinly sliced carrots… go with your heart/ what’s in season!

1 cup whole milk yogurt

2 Tbs butter

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling

2 garlic cloves

2 Tbs minced parsley

1 bunch lemon basil, chopped (approximately 4 TBS)

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste (don’t skimp on the pepper!)

Directions

Boil pasta as directed on the package but reduce the amount of water by almost half. This gets you really starchy, salty water. Add your non-leafy vegetables to the water with about two minutes of boil time left.

Once the pasta is boiled, reserve about a cup of pasta water if you have to drain it.

Put the pasta-veggie mix and about half the reserved water into a skillet over medium heat and and add in all the ingredients except the cheese. Stir well and add more water if needed. If you are adding leafy greens, now’s the time! Once the mixture is warm enough, cut the heat, add your cheese and stir, remove the garlic cloves, and then serve with some more cheese sprinkled on top and a couple more cracks of black pepper. Yum! So easy!

To me, Basil=Summer but the squashes, tomatoes, and beans haven’t gotten the memo yet. We’re going to take a two-week hiatus from the farmers market while we wait for the stragglers to catch up and so I can have soulful times at a family reunion. I’ll see you CSA peeps on Tuesday and everyone else at the beginning of August!

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Lemon Basil and Yogurt Sauce Pasta.

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Sesame Miso Kale Salad and Farm Journal, July 8th-13th

Farm Journal, Market Dirt, Recipes

Yo, Yum, Howdy. It’s been non-stop sun for the last few weeks and I’ve been a garden watering fiend. Today, however, is a usual overcast Washington day and, while it still won’t give my garden some much needed rain, it did make for a certain someone snuggling up in bed for an extra hour, allowing yours truly to prepare some food with the veggies that erupt from my fridge with each opening.

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Looks more like new potatoes than kale… Poor, ubiquitous vegetable doesn’t even have a photo on Val’s phone.

I’ve been excited with each week’s new veggies (peas! broccoli! new potatoes!) but rather than go glamorous (and because it’s always the first thing to throw itself at me when I open the fridge), I grabbed a couple of bunches of kale and went to work. It was a lovely, cool morning for it but I knew that I’d be picnicking as usual so wanted a nice salad that would hold up in the fridge.

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Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

I’ve been re-reading Nancy Hachisu’s wonderful cookbook/ window into the lives of Japanese farmers and foodies aptly called Japanese Farm FoodMost of the recipes are vegetable-powered and simple, relying on the best ingredients to make a dish shine. The whole thing makes me want to eat light noodle soups and vegetable pickles at every meal. And tofu. It makes me want to eat tofu.

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Eat tofu, maybe, but making tofu is off the table after one lucky bunny chomped all the edamame yesterday.

I borrowed inspiration from her sesame and miso salt rubbed cucumbers for the kale and whipped together a rubbed kale salad in about five minutes. Or more. It was a mindful five minutes either way and I took the time to admire the look of the sea-green kale in the blue enamelware bowl, of the oil droplets glistening on the leaves before I began massaging, and of the pomegranate molasses speckles in the dressing bowl.

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The dressing before you whisk it together.

This was extra mindful because you use your hands so much more with a recipe like this.  A chiffonade cut requires extra concentration to get the ribbons of kale thin enough and using your hands to mix and massage brings an extra connection with the food. When you dig in and massage raw kale with oil and some sort of acid, it breaks down much like it would if you cooked it and then retains a sweetness that is usually lost otherwise. So yes, you must get your hands all oily and kaley, because a spoon won’t do.

Massage, massage, massage, mix up a dressing of miso paste, tahini, and pomegranate molasses, and then combine the two along with some raisins, sunflower seeds, and the other half of yesterday’s avocado.

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Massaged Kale Salad with Sesame Miso Dressing.

You can add any kind of seeds, fruit, or more sweetener if you like, just avoid adding extra salt because the miso will more than have you covered in that department (I even rinsed my salted sunflower seeds because of this).

Sesame Miso Kale Salad

For the greens:

1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut in a chiffonade

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp Sesame oil

For the Dressing:

2 TBS miso, preferably reduced sodium and organic

2 TBS Tahini

1 TBS pomegranate molasses

Salad Add-ins

1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins or diced apricots)

1/4 cup seeds, either sunflower or pumpkin (or slivered almonds)

1/2 an avocado, diced (not necessary. It was literally just next to the cutting board and I said ‘meh, why not?’)

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, pomegranate molasses, and tahini. You may want to add up to one teaspoon of warm water to soften it a bit but don’t go nuts– we want this clumpy so it sticks to the leaves better.

In a large bowl, add your lovely, chopped up kale and drizzle with the oils. Roll up those sleeves and get your (clean, please) hands in there, massaging the kale for a good four to five minutes. It will be bright green and soft when you are done with it!

 

 

 

 

Farm Journal and Market Dirt, July 8th Edition

Farm Journal, Market Dirt

Hello all! Summer is in full force and the memory of our harsh, wet Spring is starting to fade, especially as some Capital S Summer crops are starting to rear their beautiful, sunny heads. While I’m still knee deep in snap peas, radishes, and lettuces, the very first tiny summer squashes and cucumbers have made their appearances.

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Cherries get pitted, the kitchen gets spattered.

We are also in Fruit City this week and I’ve spent every extra moment ignoring dishes, weeding, and, erm, showering and instead have been pitting cherries, over twenty pounds worth (!) which will become our jam for the year as well as pies, cakes, and tarts. I had some friends over for a farm picnic Thursday and I whipped together a clafoutis for the occasion AND managed to clean my house after five days of solid neglect while Stella napped. I’m glad to see the back of the cherry pitter for at least another year.

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Yummy clafoutis! This super easy French dessert takes about ten minutes to throw together (assuming your cherries are pitted, of course).

I won’t be bringing cherries to the market (Back off! They’re mine!), but I will be bringing three types of jewel-like currants for all your tart and jelly needs. These are perhaps the most beautiful fruits, especially the pink ones; they remind me of an art deco chandelier when I’m harvesting them. Plus they are juicy and delicious!

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Photo from Stark Bros. Farm. We’ll be bringing half pints of these beauties to the market.

 

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The lavender maven!

Liz will also be back with her beautiful lavender bouquets, both the small twee English variety and the big, bold, French-type we’re used to seeing as we drive through Sequim.

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English lavender in bunches for any sized vase. Pick your length and get them fast!

She even pain-stakingly made a few lavender wands for the magicians among us. Actually, they last for years and when you give the little handle a squeeze, out poofs a blast of lavender fragrance. Magic, indeed!

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The prototype!

 

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Get the lavender before it’s gone!

 

Oh yeah! We grow vegetables, too, remember! We will have a lot of salad mix, some broccoli raab, several funky mustard greens, and the first hidabeni red turnips for you gourmands! See you Saturday!!

Market Dirt, June 24th edition: Caramelized Radishes and Radish Greens Muhammarra

Market Dirt, Recipes

Greetings and YUM! It’s a delicious week on the farm, what with the peas finally coming in and the lettuces still going full bore. New this week will be turnip greens, sorrel, peas, ruby streaks, and three kinds of radishes. The radishes matured faster than expected (or the weeks have just been flying by) and I’ve been eating them out of the field since Tuesday. They aren’t as spicy as the next batch will be which is kind of a treat to taste the radish flavor without your tongue catching fire. The French Breakfast radishes are our most mild while the reds and the easter egg radishes have quite a bit more bite.

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A “for us” bunch of easter egg radishes, red radishes, and a couple Frenchies hiding in the back.

 

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Get a load of these beautiful greens. Radishes grow so fast that I mixed their seed with Japanese scallions, which you can see tickling the radish underbelly and which take months longer to mature.

The greens on these things are beautiful right now and I threw together one of my tastiest dinners in awhile using a bunch’s worth to make a raw, pesto-like sauce for pasta that I mixed with caramelized radish slices and peas. Radishes are relatives of mustard greens (and kales, boc chois, arugula, broccoli, and on and on…) so when their leaves are young like this, they are really similar to a turnip green. The sauce I made took advantage of the tenderness of the leaves and really is kind of a mix between a pesto, a chimichurri, and muhammura. It would taste delicious with beef or lamb and I’ll certainly be making it again once the first new potatoes hit the scene. The middle eastern flavors of ras al hanout and pomegranate molasses aren’t overpowering but enough that you could have this as a side to couscous or as something mega-fresh to brighten up a slow-cooked tagine. Oh MAN! I didn’t even think about this with fish (!!!)

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No cheese or herbs, so not exactly pesto, no roasted red pepper so not exactly muhammura, and not as much oil as a traditional chimichurri. Muhammuradish it is!

 

 

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Yep. It’s good to be me.

The radishes themselves have enough sweetness that they caramelized up perfectly in a cast iron pan with some brown butter and then I just tossed them with some pasta, our chimichurri muhammuRa(dish) and some peas for one of the best twenty minute meals of the season.

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Stella approved!

Chimichurri muhammuradish:

Ingredients:

1 bunch radish greens, chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 TBS olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 TBS pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or walnuts or pistachios)

1/4 tsp ras al hanout spice

1/4 tsp aleppo pepper flakes

Put everything in the food processor and whir together until blended and cohesive. If you want a smoother sauce (more pesto than chimichurri) add the garlic and sunflower seeds first, whir those up, add everything except the oil, pulse pulse pulse, then add the oil slowly to emulsify. You may need to add more oil to get a fluffy texture.

For the Pasta

Get your water boiling, since that will be the longest part of this process. Next, put 1-2 TBS butter into a cast iron pan on medium and let it brown for a minute or two (you will see it turn golden and it will smell richer). Slice up your bunch of radishes thinly and once the butter is brown, tip them into the pan. Stir every minute or so and they are ready once their edges are slightly crispy and they are browned. Steam some peas (or add sliced up snap peas along with the radishes) and once your pasta is cooked according to the directions, combine everything along with your desired amount of chimichurri sauce.

Farm Journal and Market Dirt for June 17th

CSA, Farm Journal, Market Dirt

Hello party people!

Who’s celebrating the Solstice this next week? Tuesday is going to be the longest day of the year which in our northern climes means the sun comes up just after 5am and then goes “night night” (#spendmyentiredaywithababy) at 9:10.  It obviously marks the beginning of summer and the plants begin to change their growth patterns when the days get shorter and shorter. While heat is certainly a factor in how well some plants grow (seeds won’t germinate if the soil isn’t warm enough and the solanaceae family and other tropicals need the heat continuously in order to not kick the bucket), length of day is how I set my planting calendar. It could be 100 degrees at the beginning of August but in goes all the winter greens and roots nonetheless.

The early bird plants– the spinach, bok chois, and lettuces, though, are wanting to get some shut eye and not have to work so hard all day. They do better when the days are shorter and, in the case of lettuce, taste better when not using their sugar-power to beat the heat (hence why lettuces taste bitter in the summer’s heat, and why radishes are hotter). Right now I have the BEST TASTING LETTUCE I’ve ever eaten and we are going to bring a boatload to the market. Not only are they grown in delicious black dirt and tended with loving care, but the timing was just right.  The lettuces got in the ground and rooted down in the cool, wet spring, were able to explode when the heat came, and now are ready for us to eat. There are about a dozen different varieties going at the moment, all chosen because they have a reputation for being delicious. I harvest my lettuces less than 24 hours before they hit the market– less time for them to get bitter and wilty.

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Forellenschluss, a couple heirloom icebergs, rouge d’hiver, butter crunch, and the super unique cracioviensis which will grow up to be celtuce. Beautiful jewels of deliciousness.

I’ve been eating glorious and gigantic entree salads all week and, even though we’ve had a downcast week here in western WA, it still feels like summer. While not necessarily an ingredient-by-ingredient recipe, here are some tips for a stupendous salad. I made this with salmon, strawberries, and blue cheese for a friend’s family while she adjusts to having a new baby in the house (#helpthemamas).

Here is the formula for an amazing salad:

  • A salad mix (like my fancy salad mix) or at least two varieties of lettuce, preferably with different colors and textures.
  • A “spicy” green, like mizuna, arugula, or ruby streaks. You can mix these, too, but keep the ratio of lettuce to “other” about 3:1.
  • A “chewy” green, like baby kale or baby chard. Not necessary, but mixes it up a bit. If your dressing has an asian bent to it, consider shaved napa cabbage.
  • Some kind of fruit– maybe fresh, maybe dried.
  • Some kind of nut– maybe slivered, maybe roasted.
  • Some kind of seed– again, choice is yours if you want salted or roasted.
  • A homemade vinaigrette
  • Cheese, either shaved and mixed in if a hard cheese, or dolloped on top after the salad is mixed if soft.

That’s it! Now, to make the best salads, get a salad spinner. You know me, what with my minimalist blog and teaching the ultralight backpacking classes, I am probably the county’s leading proponent of multi-use items and getting rid of cluttery extras. That said, and I shall repeat, GET A SALAD SPINNER! It’s the only way you are going to enjoy a salad that isn’t soaking wet. Do as Farm Bestie Courtney does, and come home from market, cut all your salad up for the week, wash and spin it, and then leave it in the salad spinner in the fridge until you’ve nibbled it all down. Or if you spin right before you are making the salad, tie the leaves in a cloth and have them sit in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.

 

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Image from Wild Oats. I approve of the mizuna in abundance!

 

Another secret to a glorious salad is using a big bowl to mix it all up. This isn’t the time to give people dressing options nor is it worth the mess to save doing a dish. Why? Because it tastes so much better! Put all the ingredients in a very large bowl and mix with your hands (better for the tender leaves) until dressing coats all the leaves evenly and the toppings are distributed. Now transfer to a serving bowl or people’s plates and top with a little more cheese, some ground pepper, or some grilled meat or fish and you are IN BUSINESS.

Luckily big and beautiful salads are one of the fastest meals you can throw together, no extra long northerly solstice day required. I will be taking advantage of it’s speediness come Tuesday, however, because into that big, beautiful day I will be squeezing in our first CSA harvest day and pick-up! Three cheers for Community Supported Agriculture and all the awesome women who put money up front to fund the farm. I’m saving the first snap peas for you (for a salad or straight out of the container 🙂

Abundant Asian Greens and Farm Journal June 9th

Farm Journal, Market Dirt

Happy Harvest Day, friends! We had a few misty and rainy days, which the plants thoroughly enjoyed and which made me happy, since I didn’t have to water the garden as much.  The weeds are liking it, too, and you can tell the change of season when the itty bitty purple purslane sprouts are starting to blanket the vegetable beds. Our plot is looking more and more like a market garden, and it’s been wonderful to hoe along and peer up to see Stella toddling around under the pear trees.

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While our plot is a blossoming work-in-progress, the Greenwoodes plot is nearing the end of its first round of 2017 plantings. To keep a farm this small continuously in vegetables ready for the market and our tables, I have to do succession plantings every one to three weeks, depending on the veg. This means that next week when I till in the remains of our first round of Asian veggies, I’ll then plant another plot of lettuces and some green beans in their places. I have to pay attention to plot rotations, too, so I can work on building up the soil in addition to reaping the fruits of my labor.

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Say sayonara to those veggies in the back!

Almost the last of Asian Greens, Round One will be at the market this Saturday before taking a two week hiatus until the next planting comes in. We also will be saying our good-byes to the spring Spinach.

Speaking of good-byes, it is with a heavy heart that I report that Floppsy the foundling bunny hasn’t been seen since Sunday. Maybe he hopped off to greener pastures but I have a sneaking suspicion he is now sunning himself in the great chicken corral in the sky. There are eagles that fly low over the farm each day and we’ve lost two chickens these past two months as well. The balance between happy, free range chickens (and bunny) and more protection is something we’ll look into later this year.

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Our chicken rabbit. Who knows?! Maybe we’ll have a rash of grey and white baby bunnies later this year…

I hope to see you all Saturday at the market! In addition to the last of the chois and spinach, we’ll have the first of our head lettuces, delicious heirloom varieties that are the sweetest I’ve tasted.

 

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Joi Choi, chopped up and ready for tom kha soup.

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Tom Kha soup, with our bok choi stir fry mix, a few joy chois, and the kui chai leek scapes over Japanese sushi rice. YUMMY!

 

 

 

The Spring Garden

Market Dirt

The knives are sharp, the twist-ties are bundled, and the signs are (mostly) laminated. It’s farmers market time! Back in my Henry’s Farm days, we would wake up to be in the fields, knife poised, at first light each Friday and would work until all the vegetables were picked, bunched, washed, and packed. While I probably will start at the bright hour of 8am, I did make a Japanese curry for our quick farm lunch in homage.

Henry chose to grow a huge variety of Asian vegetables and I, conveniently, grew to love them. The chois are sweet and juicy, with just the right amount of mustardy kick, some with a little more spice than others. Gailans (Chinese broccoli) have such sweet stems, and the deep digging gobo (Japanese burdock) was the biggest hit I’ve ever had at a catering gig and one of my favorite things to harvest on a cool October morning. But for now it’s late spring and the leafy greens in garden have exploded. While this has been great for the lettuces, it’s a delicate balance with some of those Asian vegetables, which tend to flower as the days get longer. When caught before the shoots turn into woody flower stems, the result is the juiciest stir fry vegetable you can imagine– a close cousin to broccoli bred to be tender and sweet. I planted several varieties of flowering Asian greens this year and am excited to share them with you!


Once while working at Henry’s, my dad came and visited with his Thai girlfriend. I gave them the grand tour of the fields and she kept finding these onion bolts that we had chopped unceremoniously off the top of the onions during a particularly hot spring. She thought we were nuts for throwing them out, since the long, tender stems are a favorite in Thailand. She cooked some up for dinner that night and they were SO GOOD! They had a sweet, slightly onion-y flavor but the texture of a perfectly plump asparagus. Think garlic scapes but thicker, sweeter, and more tender. Lucky for you, our leeks went to bolt-city, so I’ll be bringing some bundles of the Kra thiem to market this week!

 

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A not-so-asian way to use my kra thiem, sauteed with spinach and potato, mixed with eggs, and then made into a quesadilla.