I am really stuck on the fact that it is August already! I haven’t yet had a chance to remember all of the fun things I wanted to do this summer, much less do them! As far as the farm goes, though, we are having another unusual summer. I am enjoying it a bit more than last summer’s frantic heat and drought, but I think the tomatoes and peppers were a little more in their element with the heat. The cool weather seems to have really slowed the ripening of all of our nightshades and although the lettuce would be happy if it had stuck around for a week longer, the brief hot spell that we had a few weeks ago sent a few lettuce plantings packing. The insects have really not been too bad this year; both the plant eating kind and the stinging kind, but the weeds are certainly thriving. There has been a lot of weeding to do this season.
The chickens have been enjoying the cooler weather and green grass, too. Just keeping the grass mowed in their areas so the fence doesn’t short out and the birds can get through the tall stuff is once again a weekly chore. Last year, we really never had to mow the grass more than once! It has been a good year for our berries and the orchard, too. Our pear trees and older apples are loaded and starting to get nice color on the fruit and we had a great crop of raspberries earlier in the summer.
During the growing months on this farm, meal planning is not the first thing on our minds and generally when we first realize that we are very hungry, it is as the sun is going down and we still have chores to finish. That is about the time that I start doing a mental inventory of the fields and of things that we have recently harvested. Usually, the actual meal planning occurs between when I take a bag and a knife into the field and when I carry a bag full of vegetables up to the house. As I quickly shower before making dinner, I wonder how farmers managed in the old days to come in to a nice, healthy meal and I remember that many had wives and large families that made these things part of their daily chores and I am envious. I’m sure my husband probably is, too.
I also imagine that mealtime often involved a slowly cooked roast or stew with meat and here, during vegetable season, meat is not often thought of (or defrosted) in our meal “planning”, especially if I am looking for a quick meal. With an arm load of vegetables and herbs, sometimes just the sampling, the fragrances and the textures create the meal.
Here are a few of the recipe creations from the past week that we really enjoyed using some of the vegetables that we have sent out over the past 2 weeks that really only take 30 minutes at best to prepare!
These vegetables all work well with curry seasonings and the combination of them is perfect! The tender baby carrots gave a perfect sweetness with the turmeric and the new (I used ‘Norland’) potatoes were cooked to “melt in your mouth” perfection!
I confess that the seasoning measurments are only estimates because I am not a the measuring type of cook (I am a terrible baker!) but they are probably fairly close. If you had a little cilantro to top the dish with, it would probably be a nice touch. Dismayed at the condition of my “fresh” gingerroot, I used powdered and I didn’t feel like going out to the barn to get fresh garlic and it was still very good- I’d probably use fresh next time, though.
Fresh Cauliflower – Vegetable Curry
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut oil
- 1 med. sweet white onion, chopped
- 2 medium-large sized red potatoes, diced ¼” dice
- 1 ½ cups baby rainbow carrots, sliced ¼” – ½” slices
- 1 med. head cauliflower, chopped
- 2 med. heirloom tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp ground ginger (or fresh)
- ½ tsp ground garlic
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
Heat oil over med. heat and add onion and potatoes. Stir. Add ginger, garlic and salt. Stir until potatoes are coated. Add a few Tbs. water if it is sticking to the pan. Cover and let the potatoes steam for a few minutes. Add carrots and cover (add a bit more water if necessary). Add cauliflower, cumin and turmeric. Add ½ tsp. salt. Stir, cover and let steam for a few minutes. Add tomatoes. Stir and let steam until tomatoes have softened but not become mushy.
Serve over rice.
(The fennel bulb gave this dish a refreshing sweetness and was perfect with the coconut milk sauce.)
Fennel-Vegetable Medley with Lemon Basil Coconut Cream Sauce
(Served over linguini pasta)
- 1 Fennel bulb, cored and diced
- 1 med or ½ large white onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 small (1 cup) summer squash or zucchini, cubed
- 1 handful lemon basil, rinsed and chopped
- Salt and white pepper
- Butter or oil for cooking
Coconut cream sauce
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 2 Tbs. flour
- Coconut milk (lite)
- Milk to thin if necessary
8 oz., cooked per package directions
Sauté onion in butter for a few minutes on low heat and add fennel. Continue to sauté over med-low heat until they begin to soften. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften garlic. Add broccoli and a little water if necessary to steam-cook until broccoli is tender and season with salt and white pepper. Cover and let simmer over low heat while making the sauce. When broccoli is almost done, add squash, stir-fry for a minute or so until squash is heated and starting to cook. (Don’t over-cook the squash!) Add sauce and simmer over low heat until flavors are blended. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve over the linguini.