This photo made the social media rounds this week, and it really was a lovely dinner. Salad Nicoise is an annual event on the farm, to welcome new potatoes and green beans, along with quite a few other lovely veggies in your CSA box.
This is a great segue into the joys of eating seasonally, when a salad is elevated to a celebration when all the components are as fresh as they possibly can be. While it’s possible to have salad nicoise in February, it’s also quite unsustainable for the lettuce, green beans, tomatoes and other vegetables that don’t grow here that month to make an appearance on the table. By then, there are other dishes to celebrate! Lettuce makes way for chards and kale, salads become stews and soups. and warm, nourishing comfort foods again take center stage.
Celebrate the season, relish all the freshness and welcome the transition that’s already in the air as we start to don layers to take off the chill.
August is the month for canning, when the bounty of the farm is captured for the winter. Greg Brown croons “taste a little of the summer, Grandma put it all in a jar.” This weekend we canned dillys, jalapenos, pickles, salsa and whole tomatoes. Our interns and new WOOFER Lili quite literally invited themselves to the party (to learn the ropes), and it became an old fashioned canning bee, complete with music and lots of laughter.
If canning is not your thing, or you simply cannot stand a hot kitchen on top of all the other hotness, try refrigerator pickles! Easily scalable to handle however many cukes you have on hand, prep done in minutes, no special equipment other than a glass container, and your kitchen stays cool as a . . . . cucumber (ha!). So simple you may start quick pickling other produce just to have a crunchy flavor zing on hand. Pickled red onion comes in handy for everything from sandwiches to pizza, quick pickled turnips with a beet added for color are awesome on schwarma – possibilities abound!
Meet Amy and Maleah, our star interns this summer, and superb parking/security detail at last weekend’s FarmFest. I’m making popsicles for them at the moment, as it’s become farm tradition to keep our interns happy and cool with home made frozen treats. Not just any popsicles, ours are of course farm grown and bougie: raspberry/rosewater, blueberry/basil, plum/thyme. While I wish I could take credit for the flavor combos, I’m very indebted to Erica Strauss’ (NW Edible Life) flavor chart for jam. We of course steer clear of the boozy wet zings, but with Heat Dome II coming up, you may want to give it a try for popsicles, and save the jam for a cooler day. Also in anticipation of the heat, here’s my go to recipe for pasta salad, also here. Another chart format so you can mix and match to make the perfect combo from your CSA box. Stay cool!
Beans are back! One of the darlings of summer – green beans are highly adaptable and just plain delicious! Try them steamed, sauteed, roasted, and in salads. A quick search pulled a compendium of 35 recipes from the Pioneer Woman – from a simple saute with cherry tomatoes to grilled and even deep fried. Maybe try more than one!
Collards came out last week – and boy are they BIG! (Thanks Alice <3). We were reminded that not everyone is familiar with collard greens, and don’t they need to be cooked for hours with a ham hock anyway? Not true! And as an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, a rich source of vitamin K, and a good source of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium, collards should be at the table more often! Below find a beloved recipe to try if you don’t have a ham hock handy (bacon grease optional). Cucumbers have arrived as well, and here’s 18 new ways to enjoy them. Have a great week!
Thanks to those who noticed we missed week 8 ❤ This is a busy time of year between weeding, harvesting and other home projects. Last week we sanded the old, peeling deck down to bare wood and are beginning the slow process of bringing it back to life. Hard work with great reward.
But back to eating! The heat dome effect still continues in crop management, and TJ’s hustle to provide you boxes means that share sizes are receiving different produce on a rotation schedule. So today’s message is about fried rice. It’s easy, delicious and highly adaptable to things you have on hand. (Already make fried rice? Then up your game with some Bibimbap!) For years we’ve eaten stir fry, but have only recently come around to fried rice. Its humble origins are based on leftovers, using day old rice such as strata or bread pudding is to wheat. If you don’t have day old rice around, make some in the morning, so you get that nice dry texture that takes on flavors and gets a little brown in the pan. Its nice to have a wok to cook it in, but we don’t, and I transfer cooked items (don’t forget greens, yummy in this too) into a big bowl on the side for mixing. There’s lots of internet recipies, but we keep coming back to this one, with soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and butter. Butter? Yup! And sometimes, if it looks dry, I’ll add another little knob to moisten it up. I’ve also been known to add a splash of fish sauce because, (hello!) umami. But you do you, and enjoy.