New Zealand Spinach
Turnips or Potatoes
Our CSA member, Erika, made a crustless version of our Garlic Scape Quiche and was obliging enough to send me a lovely photo.
You rock Erika! It’s wonderful to see beautiful produce turning into delectable dinners. I think my next post will be a kale recipe, so get ready for a high nutrient feast this week!
Baby Salad Greens
Fresh Mint or Thyme
Bunched Swiss Chard and Kale
This year, our first basket is a ‘Welcome Basket’. We’re including the very first of our spring offerings, plus some extra items from local food producers. This is a smaller basket than our regular baskets, which will begin June 22nd, the opening day of the Farmers’ Market.
Fresh Herbs: Tarragon and Chives
Preserves from local vendors Touch of Dutch Baking
Well, it’s time to check on the rest of our vegetables! With our cooler nights, we’ve been feeling like harvest is in full swing. It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. We’re already planting our first patches of green manure to enrich our soil in the sleepy time of winter. However, that does not mean the garden is empty! No indeed…
Oh wow. People of Lagoon City, have we got tomatoes. Giant ,golden, yellow tomatoes. Single-sandwich-serving tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes for snacking. Crazy, convoluted, heritage tomatoes. Think eggs benedict with a thick slice of dark burgundy tomato. Think crispy baguette rubbed with garlic and olive oil and topped with diced tomato and basil. Think a marinara sauce that just screams summer freshness. Yummm!
And we have so many, were practically giving them away! (I know I sound like a used car salesman, but I’m not kidding.) So come out to the market and talk tomatoes with us. I’ll give you the recipes for any of the above, and I’m sure your own imagination will also go wild.
You know when it’s so hot you can’t do anything but lie on the couch, sticky magazine in one hand, iced tea in the other, with an upright fan blowing full blast two inches from your face? Well faced with the same conditions, most green leafy vegetables won’t do a darn thing either. Not so with one of the sleeper hits of the summer – New Zealand Spinach. It simply thrives in the heat. While not actually related to the traditional spinach we all know and love, it cooks up just the same, in fact it holds its texture a bit better. It’s been very popular this year and we’re very glad we took a chance on this unconventional plant.
Many people have been asking me about radishes. Yes, radishes are in no way greens, but we put them on salad so they can hang out in this category. And they’re just about ready for fall. Kelly will check for them this week, but if they’re not big enough they will be for sure by next Saturday.
The green onions, or scallions, as the slightly snooty call them, are continuing along their merry way. They have been a fairly underrated hero this year – there really hasn’t been a bad time for scallions since May. 5 gold stars for you, green onions.
And of course, the Swiss chard and kale are both still growing strong. I often get asked what to do with these two greens. They can be used anywhere you would use cooked spinach – spanakopita, lasagna, pizza, and many other foods that end with “a”. We should all eat far more of these two! They are both high in fibre, packed with micronutrients that will turn you into a superhero.
I must now bid you adieu. I’ve been canning tomatoes all afternoon, now it’s time to batten down the hatches in the garden before another awesome Ontario thunderstorm rolls in. We’ve extended the Saturday markets through to Thanksgiving, so see you there!
Well, summer is in full swing now, in fact we’ve swung so far that the nights are getting cooler and it feels like fall is around the corner. Hard to believe. However, we can still squeeze the last few drops out of summer, and squeeze we shall.
I thought I’d give a little overview of our lovely veggies, now that they getting consistent moisture (thank-you rain dancers!) and are really starting to produce. Our last few CSA baskets have been literally overflowing, requiring an engineering degree and a steady hand simply to keep all that goodness in there. Huzzah! So here’s the lowdown on all our little plant babies.
The carrots have finally sized up! It’s a miracle! Really, it is, seeing as a skunk or some other mysterious burrowing animal had a vigilante mission to rid the world of our carrots earlier this year. Every time the tiny little fronds popped up, Mr Skunk came along to wreak havoc. But somehow, they pulled through. We’re actually harvesting mid-sized carrots and we should continue to have them right up the end of the season.
We are harvesting potatoes for the third straight week now. The Onaways are lovely, well sized, and I think we’ll dig the majority of them today. Some of our other varieties had to battle the drought, but are at least still kicking. We planted so very many potatoes that we can’t really have an unsatisfactory harvest. Aaack! I can’t believe I would tempt the harvest gods in that way! Knock on wood one thousand times!
Our parsnips look very parsnippy right now. Not too much to report, seeing as we won’t harvest the majority of them till spring. We’ll throw a thick layer of mulch down and they will sleep cozy until then.
As far as onions go, I only wish I had planted twice as many! Most of them have really pulled along, for that matter so have the leeks and scallions. It’s so difficult to believe, even after doing it for years, that the wee little onion seedlings, much tinier than a blade of grass, could ever amount to anything. But of course, they grow up to become an indispensable vegetable. Life’s little miracles never cease to amaze me.
Yes, Virginia, there is a cucumber. During the drought, our cucumber vines were growing all over the place, but no fruit! When they are on the vine, we call them fruit for some reason, which brings me to any issue I could really only gripe about on this blog. People are always going on about how tomatoes are really a fruit, but we call them a vegetable. Something about the fact that they contain seeds. Last year, my son’s Grade 1 teacher taught him that anything with seeds is really a fruit. Which would mean that beans, peas, zuchinni, eggplants, squash, cucumbers, peppers and countless others are also fruits. You see where I’m going with this? I feel this is food bigotry. Why must we continuously classify and force our plant friends into society’s molds? I, for one, will let my cucumbers grow outside of the box. Which is what they’re doing right now, we’re getting tons of cukes and I couldn’t be happier.
There are straightneck summer squash, along with pattipans, and let me answer this question right up front – what do you do with them? Cook them like zuchinni. They taste exactly the same. Why don’t we just grow zuchinni instead? I have no idea.
And happy, happy day, we have some pumpkin and other winter squash that have set fruit and are sizing up! I was having a sick-to-my-stomach moment not long ago at the thought of not having any pumpkins for fall. What self-respecting gardener can’t produce a pumpkin? None, I tell you, but while I was considering Hari-Kari as my only course of action Mother Nature stepped in to help me both save face and my pumpkin crop. So now we have to wait and see how big they will get before frost comes.
Wait a second… this blog post is getting a little long winded. I don’t want to push the parameters of the public’s interest in our veggies, as earth shattering as they are. So, I think I’ll make this a two part post, and you’ll simply have to wait on the edge of you seat to learn about the brassicas et al. So…
TO BE CONTINUED…
This week’s CSA basket includes kale. There are so many ways to prepare kale but one of our favourite ways to enjoy it is to make delicious and healthy kale chips!
All you need are:
- 1 bunch Simcoe Organics kale
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Kohser or sea salt to taste
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
4.Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
Well folks, our first market day went off without a hitch. Tons of folks from Lagoon City came out to enjoy the festivities. We had a rockin’ band, bouncy castles, face painters, and lots of great vendors. It was a blast.
And we actually had vegetables for sale! After our crazy dry spring, I was seriously concerned we’d have a big ol’ table of nothing on the opening day. However, our veggies were finally meeting my expectations, and loveliest of all the garlic scapes were ready! What’s a garlic scape? Apparently, even Microsoft doesn’t know, because it’s giving me the squiggly red underline as I type this.
Garlic scapes are garlic’s futile attempt to reproduce by seed. Each June, little curly shoots holding all the seeds the garlic plants wish to put forward come sprouting out of the top of our garlic. And what do we award this attempt to further their delicious race? We snap the scapes off, of course, to promote proper bulb development. And then we eat them.
They are absolutely delicious! I just polished off a plate of fresh pasta with cilantro pesto and sautéed garlic scapes, so I’m an expert on their excellence right about now. They have a texture somewhere between a green bean and an asparagus stalk, with a beautiful mild garlic flavour when cooked.
The season for garlic scapes is really short, they were ready last week and will be pretty much over by this weekend. If you’re itching to try them, but are not sure how to prepare them, you’re in luck, my friend. I’m including in this post an amazing recipe for garlic scape quiche that I developed last week. MAKE THIS RECIPE! Your mouth will never forgive you if you don’t.
GARLIC SCAPE QUICHE
Pie Crust (makes 2, save the other for another use)
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup solid fat (butter, coconut oil, shortening, lard)
1 tsp vinegar
1 ½ cups grated Jarlsberg (or try gruyere or gouda)
1 cup heavy cream
¾ tsp salt
8 garlic scapes, cut into 2 cm pieces
1/3 cup chopped onion
Dash of cayenne or black pepper
Butter or olive oil
To make the pie crust:
Combine the flours and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the solid fat, cutting it in with 2 knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the vinegar. Sprinkle on 4 tbsp cold water, and gently combine with a fork until the mixture forms a ball. If you need more water, add it 1 tbsp at a time. Do not overwork the dough, the key to a flaky piecrust is touching the dough as little as possible. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Cut the dough in half, roll one half out and place in a pie plate, crimping the edges. Prick all over with a fork, place a sheet of foil on top of the crust, and then fill the bottom of the crust with either pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven, remove the foil and weights, and then bake for 3 minutes more. Set aside.
For the filling:
Sautee the onion and garlic scapes in the oil or butter until tender. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the cream, salt and pepper, and the sautéed scapes and onions.
Place 2/3 of the shredded cheese in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the surface. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the filling is firm. Let sit for 10 minutes after removing from the oven. Can be enjoyed either hot or cold.
Mm, let’s use those fresh green onions from our first CSA basket in a yummy holistic salada recipe!
Mixed-greens salads contain large amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, iron and a variety of trace minerals. A 1-cup serving of salad greens provide 70% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A and 20% of the Daily Recommended Intake for vitamin C! In fact, mixed greens are really great for your immune system, and the Vitamin A keeps your skin and eyes healthy!
This recipe is so easy, just mix and toss. And eat!
1 cup Simcoe Organics Mixed greens
½ cup thinly sliced radishes
½ cup diced sweet potato
½ cup Cooked edamame beans
½ cup Grated carrots
¼ cup Roasted sesame seeds as a topper!
Sesame Miso Dressing
3 tablespoons White miso
3 tablespoons Brown rice vinegar
A pinch Stevia
2 teaspoons Spicy toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup Fresh orange juice
1/4 cup plain Sesame oil
1 tablespoon Simcoe Organics green onions, minced