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!
Canning, pickling, preserving, drying…these tried and true methods of ‘putting up’ the harvest have recently come back into vogue. You can’t swing a turnip without hitting someone holding a pickling seminar or dehydrating workshop. This is a good thing. Our dependence on grocery store produce is both contributing to global warming and dulling our taste buds. Have you tried a tomato in February? I figure I could just draw a tomato on a piece of cardboard and stick that in my sandwich instead, it would save me money and taste the same. Also, and this is maybe most important, we are killing the magic embodied by seasonal foods. Have you ever looked forward to the taste of Grandma’s Christmas shortbread? Or Auntie Lorraine’s rumballs? Would you feel the same sense of anticipation if you munched on gingerbread year round? Of course not. That’s why when I see shrink-wrapped corn on the cob in April on the supermarket shelves, I want to cry. Why desecrate the sacred act of crunching into August’s first harvest of corn, butter dripping down your fingers and heaven dancing across your tongue?
Alright, you may say, but what about when it’s not August? It’s freezing, snowing, ain’t-nothin’-growing WINTERTIME here 8 months of the year? What then? Well, aside from ODing on the aforementioned rumballs, winter is the time to crack open a jar of summertime preserves, or stomp down into the root cellar to pull out carrots and rutabagas that are as crisp as the day they were picked. I heard a fantastic saying yesterday “An aching back in autumn, and a full stomach in winter”. Well, I’ve got the aching back from the never-ending potato harvest, we may as well spend some time putting up all this food for a deep-winter reward.
So today I’m hiding from the rain (and my harvesting duties for tomorrow’s market!) and putting up some preserves. I’ve been up to my ears in tomatoes lately, ever since I harvested about 90lbs from my canning tomato plants. I’ve done everything from roasted vegetable marinara to hot pepper salsa, with quarts and quarts of plain old crushed tomatoes in between.
Today, I’m making grape jelly for the first time. My lovely neighbour, Leslie, gave me about 7 lbs of Concord grapes yesterday, so there was really only one thing to do with them, other than wrestle them away from my kids, who have a much higher tolerance for tart than I do. I generally try to stick to preserving things that will actually translate into a meal over the winter, there’s really only so much chutney and fruit butter one can eat. However, the grapes were looking at me with sad little grape faces, just begging to be turned into a high-sugar treat that my husband and kids will go gaga over, and who can say no to a grape with a cute purple pout? Well, the end result was delicious, even for a bit of a snob like me, and it will be great to open a jar in January, and be reminded of the aromatic experience of driving back form Leslie’s house with 12 quarts of grapes perfuming my hot, summertime car.
I heard from one of our CSA members that she was a bit overwhelmed by the bounty of the garden lately (not a bad problem to have!), and her comment was what prompted me to write this post. I’m not going to give out any preserving instructions here, there are so many fantastic books and other resources out there, plus this new-fangled thing called the “internet” that will teach you basically everything you need to know instantly. I am, however, going to recommend some books and give you a fantabulous recipe for salsa that I’ve been experimenting with. All of the vegetable ingredients will be available at the market this week, most notably the tomatoes. Since many of our tomatoes have developed cracks with the uneven moisture levels of this season, they are cheap, cheap, cheap. Not so pretty to look at, but perfect for canning or freezing. Ask for “seconds”, this goes for any farmers’ market wherever you are reading this in the world.
Is preserving food difficult, dangerous, not worth the bother? No, no and certainly not. At the very least, sit in an armchair and lob baggies of vegetables into your freezer. You can do that! Or if you want to get a bit more involved, check out these books:
Put ‘em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling by Sherri Brooks Vinton – This is a trendy recipe book with recipes that are a bit more gourmet than the relishes and pickles you remember Grandma making.
The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market by Linda Ziedrich – I LOVE this book, it covers absolutely every possible pickle, from garlic dills to sauerkraut to pickled eggs. I have learned so much from this book, I feel really grateful to have stumbled across it.
The Joy of Keeping a Root Cellar: Canning, Freezing, Drying, Smoking and Preserving the Harvest by Jennifer Megyesi – Hmm, bit of a theme developing here. This book is unrelated to the one above, but also fantastic. It gives a very comprehensive look at the best ways to put up each kind of food. I can tell you from experience, just because you can dehydrate kale, doesn’t mean you should. You definitely don’t need a root cellar to get a lot out of this book.
Okay, here’s the recipe I promised. It doesn’t have the syrupy, unpleasantly-viscous quality that many recipes for salsa seem to produce. You can make it as hot as you like by scaling up the hot peppers. The recipe will make about 8 cups, so you’ll need around 4 quart jars, but feel free cut make more or less, just halve or double it as you see fit. As for me – the blog post is over, the jelly is happily sitting on my countertop, but the rain is pounding down more relentlessly than ever! I’ll have to get my wellies and tromp out there soon. Was it really me begging for rain back in July?
12 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 3 lbs)
3 medium onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 or more jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
9 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, etc.)
¾ cup cilantro, chopped
6 tsp honey or cane sugar
1 ½ tsp pickling or kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 35 minutes, or when the desired thickness is reached. Stir often, and check the finished result for salt and adjust of necessary.
Fill sterilized jars to ½ inch of rim. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
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.
I am very pleased to announce that we harvested the first third of our garlic yesterday! The bulbs look good – all of fair size, with large cloves, I’m definitely satisfied with our first year’s crop. Right now, they are lying in the sun on the clean straw, curing. We had a wee bit of fresh garlic available last week at the market, but the garlic from here on out will all be cured, making it suitable for storage.
Garlic is one of those foods that is so ubiquitous, most people don’t even think about where it comes from. Well, I can tell you where the vast majority of it comes from, at least in Ontario, most supermarket garlic comes from China. Now, I have nothing against China, in fact, my 6 year old son and I have already planned a fantasy bicycle trip there. But we have all the available resources to grow our own darn garlic, right here in old On-tar-eye-o. Garlic grows very well here, I plant mine in the fall, throw a thick layer of mulch over top and I barely have to think about it until harvest time. After it cures, it can be stored for up to a year, if you don’t eat it all first. It takes up very little space, and can be grown amongst vegetables (even flowers!), where it acts as a pest deterrent to unwanted crawlies. So folks, let’s let China manage the production of panda bears and green tea, and grow our own garlic ourselves!
You probably don’t need a garlic recipe, but I’m going to give you one anyways. Don’t let the name fool you! Green Goddess Dressing is not some hippie glop, but was actually created in 1923 by the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, in honour of a theatre production of the same name. It’s everything a summer salad dressing should be: bright with lemon, lots of fresh herbs, with the zip of that newly harvested garlic. And don’t be afraid on anchovy paste! If you like Caesar salad, then you like anchovies. They aren’t at all fishy in this recipe, just give it a certain je ne c’est qua that will have you reaching for seconds.
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
• 3/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 chopped green onions
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
• ¼ cup chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
To prepare, just whirr the whole deal up in a blender. Easy!
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