Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One Local Summer Weeks 3 & 4

This is late but better than never. I've been a bit over worked and simply forgot to post about all the yummy local food I have been eating. In both weeks 3 and 4 I have featured salads; the wholesome, chock-full-o-veggies kind but sadly I have no pictures...they were that good. In addition to some wonderful lettuces from my CSA box and the farmers market I have at times tossed in my own fresh snow peas, shelled peas from CSA, roasted market beets, CSA cucumbers, broccoli, onions, chard, zucchini, yellow squash, strawberries, blue berries, black raspberries, bacon from the market and have tried out a few herb infused vinaigrette as well as enjoyed them as they are.

Update: I found a picture of one of my salads hidden amongst some random garden shots. This salad featured sweet onion chibatta bread, bacon and lettuce from the leesburg farmers mareket, and my own peas, salad greens and nasturtium petals.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CSA Week 4

Week 4 is another green week, albeit with greater variety. The peas are young enough to eat, not shell and the broccolii is plentiful. I'm planning a local stirfry later this week. I have no clue what I will do with all the collards as I dont particularly like them steamed or as any sort of side on their own.
We also picked a some more black raspberries, a lot of shelling peas, and large amount of blueberries (K picked almost a whole pint on her own).
We didn't make it to any markets this week and I didn't really need anything anyway.
At home, its been multiple rounds of the same story: picked fresh flowers, picked the half dozen ripe peas and pulled a few onions. We must have done this a good 8 times over the past few weeks. I really cant wait for some more stuff to come ready in the garden.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CSA Week 3

A welcome variety of flavors, textures, colors and uses came in this weeks CSA share from Great Country Farm. It had been a steady downpour on our drive west and was threatening rain when we arrived in Bluemont but it looked like a significant break between fronts awaited us. Silly humans. No sooner had we checked in at the front desk, returned our boxes, got our instructions for what was available as a u-pick bonus and walked outside, just missing the hayride, when suddenly the skies opened up and buckets of water pelted the valley. I don't just mean a regular heavy drenching but a solid, unrelenting 15 minutes of pure dumpage (thats a word right). I now know what it feels like to be a tiny seedling under the onslaught of a water hose. Luckily we were able to duck onto the porch of the country store to wait it out and debate what we wanted to do. We quickly drove across the street and picked our half pint of black raspberries as the rain lighted and returned as the hayride of drenched strawberry pickers returned.

K was so excited for strawberries that despite my cautions she convinced me to go, even if it continued to rain. So we braved it and after the big dump of rain the fits and starts of summer showers didn't seem so bad. We both wore big hats and the rain mostly stayed off our face. We emerged completely soaked with our 2 pints of strawberries in hand. One nice thing about the rain is that it drove off the bugs and kept us cool on an otherwise hot and muggy day. Those berries were well earned.

Before we got to the farm we stopped at the market This week I made it back to the Leesburg Farmers Market and was lucky to find some lovely garlic scapes for 5 for $1. I picked up my customary breads, stocked up on ground beef and found some lovely red new potatoes. What isn't show here are the muffins, cookies and chocolate chip chibatta samples that were consumed in the car and never had a chance in the world to make it to photo time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CSA Week 2

Week 2 of our CSA share from Great Country Farms continues the beautiful green and red trend of early summer. In addition to more asparagus this week came with Chard instead of the spinach as it had wilted during a refrigeration meltdown. Fine with me. Chard made it into another Fritata and will sprinkle in many others. One strawberry pint came with the share while the other 3 were our u-pick bonus and the blue container is entirely filled with the bounty K picked for herself. K's are mostly squished or have little bites out of them and will make an excellent sauce for ice cream.

We left the farm just in time to make it to the very end of the Purcellville Farmers Market. High on my priority was a bag of salad and some coffee and in addition to some wonderful beets and turnips I picked up a whole frozen chicken and a bag of chicken backs to use for stock at some point. Here is a close up of the coffee bag. I got their darkest roast.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One Local Summer Week 2

The first week of One Local Summer was fun but it took a little planning to make it work while on the go so for week 2 I took it easy and stuck with your basic frittata. Throwing in what ever is local and fresh takes a lot of the planning out of it and this one came out so good. I used onions, chard and asparagus from the first week of my CSA share, the eggs and butter are from the local farmers markets and only the salt/pepper and a little sprinkle of Parmesan were from the supermarket.

I began by preparing all the ingredients: slicing the asparagus into .5"-1" lengths on the diagonal, slicing the onions into rings, separating the chard leaves from the stem (to be used in something else) and chopping them thin, and scrambling the eggs with the salt, pepper, all but 1 tbsp cheese. I heated my smaller cast iron pan(though if your serving more than one and a mouse you might want to go for the big pan) over medium heat and let the butter melt. I love the smell and character of real butter compared to the commercial stuff; it cooks differently. First the onions and chard went into the pan at the same time, stirring constantly. It will reduce down by about half.

After about 5 minutes, when the onions were almost starting to caramelize I tossed in the asparagus and gave it a good mix. I let it go another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let everything get cooked through without losing the bright green color. It was about now that I remembered to turn on the broiler. Then I added the eggs and gave everything a good quick stir to get the egg mixed in before it started to cook and stick.

It continued to cook on the stove top until the top was almost set. I use the giggle test--shake the pan and if the bits move it needs more time, if only the top most bits move it needs a very little bit more time and the second the top bits stop moving its ready to be moved--as the top of the egg should look moist even when it is nearly set. If you wait until the top starts to look dry or set then you'll likely get a little too much brown on the bottom. If you move it too soon you may get undercooked areas in the center and in between the vegis--eeewww.

Sprinkle with your cheese. I used Parmesan for flavor without lactose or lots of extra calories but I seem to remember that many cheeses go well. Next I placed the pan under the broiler for 3-4 minutes to get the top to cook, the cheese to melt and to get a beautiful golden brown color.

I served it with a slice of locally baked bread topped with more of the butter and a dollop of home canned strawberry jam. Yum.

CSA Week 1

We collected the first week of farm shares from Great Country Farms and once we got home and opened the box we found precisely what we should have; lots of green with a bright spot of red. I had purchased the smaller handful of asparagus when we were in the farm store just in case but as it turned out, that would be totally unnecessary. We didn't make it to the farmers market this weekend but had plenty of food to enjoy. The asparagus made it into fritattas and sliced up in various ways for side dishes and the kale is destined for a bean soup.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Local Summer Week 1

This has been a good start to the One Local Summer challenge. I was camping locally over the weekend and brought enough local food to allow us a nice local breakfast al fresco under the canopy dripping from an overnight spring thunderstorm. We cooked up local bacon and scrambled local eggs on the camp stove and toasted the last slices of a local loaf on the cooling grill and spread the second to last jar of strawberry freezer jam from the 08 harvest. I've been very carefully dolling out the few containers of the jam, which is really more of a low sugar preserve, over the winter to make them stretch out until we had fresh ones again. K tried everything and begged for more jam.
The second meal, which I've had 2 times this week, has been a salad nearly entirely from what I've grown in the containers on my back porch. I harvested a variety of lettuces, mustard greens, spinach, a micro green mix, beet greens, kale, sliced green bunching onions, the first 6 snap peas, and a bright orange nasturtium blossom (all from the porch). I then picked most of the large basil leaves and blended up a vinaigrette that included the pureed basil leaves, a clove of local garlic (farmers market), local honey(farmers market), a little olive oil (not local) and some apple cider vinegar (also not local, though I'll be looking for an alternative once I run through the giant bottle I have on hand). The dressing was a bit strong but when reduced made a nice complement to the simple, fresh salad that traveled 5 yards from "field" to table. K gets a thrill out of the salad spinner and its her reward for helping to pick the lettuce (and not ripping all the leaves off my non-edible green plants) and trying at least 1 bite of it.