Heather picks okra while some of the new chickens have a look.
Our fields and fridge are full of vegetables – and eggs! – and we’re feeling mighty inspired these days! Just a taste of what we’ve been reading and cooking:
Did you know this coming Saturday, August 13, is the first annual National Can-It-Forward Day? The folks at Canning Across America, along with Jarden Home Brands (they’re the ones who make Ball jars and other canning products), are encouraging everyone to gather with family and friends at home canning parties to learn the basics of canning. One of the coolest resources they’re offering is a day-long live stream of several how-to canning demos (mixed berry jam, kosher dills, tomatoes in their own juice, more!) happening at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. See the live stream schedule and find the link here.
The August 2011 Bon Appétit had a fun article about an LA canning party. The recipes for dilly beans, pickled beets with star anise, tomato jam, and zucchini dill pickles are all on our list to try this summer!
And this recipe for onion jam has been tempting us for weeks. Just onions, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and butter! I could do that today! We think it would be especially delicious on pizza, topped with just about anything else that’s in season right now.
(We should point out the turn-the-jar-upside-down method of sealing is no longer recommended; we’ll probably just make one jar for the fridge and another for the freezer, but here are two good resources for safe canning guidelines.)
We’ve made this heavenly tomato & cheddar pie twice in as many weeks. It does require a little planning: the biscuit dough for the crust needs to chill for an hour, and the tomatoes need to drain for 30 minutes. But otherwise it comes together quite easily. And the crust is quite forgiving. The second time we made it we didn’t use quite enough flour, and the dough seemed a sticky and hopeless mess as we eased it into the pie pan. But it baked up beautifully, and didn’t get soggy even after a day in the fridge. And seriously: tomatoes, mayonnaise, cheese, biscuit crust? Do we need to say more? Make it! Any of the tomatoes you’ve been getting in your shares or at market will work great.
We haven’t tried it yet, but CSA members Yajaira and Domenick independently told us we also had to make this heirloom tomato pie.
And while we’re on the subject of tomatoes: how delicious does Tyler Florence’s Roasted Tomato Soup look? Thanks to CSA member Tracy for this one.
We’re longtime fans of Mark Bittman. We pull his How to Cook Everything down from the kitchen bookshelf at least weekly, often more. The How to Cook Everything app is pretty great too! For close to fifteen years he wrote a cooking column for the New York Times called The Minimalist. We’ll admit to feeling a twinge of disappointment this winter when he decided to write less about cooking and more about food politics. Certainly the systems of food production and distribution in this country are damaged, and we appreciate compelling writing from folks who can help us think about how we might begin to fix things. But there are many people writing eloquently about these issues; fewer writers have Bittman’s skill for making home cooking seem simple, fun, and approachable. So we were really delighted by one recent op-ed: “Make Food Choices Simple: Cook.” In it, he argues we should cook more and eat out less – because it’s cheaper, because we have more control where the food comes from, and because it tastes better. He writes:
When I cook, though, everything seems to go right. I shop an average of every two weeks in a supermarket, and make a couple of trips a week to smaller stores. I’m aware that my choices are mostly imperfect, but I rarely conclude that I should make a burger and fries for dinner or provide a pound per person of prison-raised pork served with fruit from 10,000 miles away, followed by a cake full of sugar and artificial ingredients. Yet, for the most part, that describes restaurant food.
Also fantastic? “101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less,” a Minimalist column from 2007. Loaded with awesome ideas for no-fuss summer cooking.
Oh! We’ve posted our favorite ratatouille recipe before, but it bears reminding — early August is definitely ratatouille time in Central Virginia!
That does it for this week! We’ll be back this weekend with more tasty links. And we hope to post later this week about two delicious vegetables that we know can be intimidating: okra and eggplant.
We’ll wrap things up with some more recent images from the farm. (Click on any to see ’em big!)
Weekend Links is a (soon-to-be!) regular feature here on the farm blog: a weekly(ish) list of articles, recipes, and other resources that have been inspiring and amusing us of late. A tasty smorgasbord for brain and belly!