putting food by

Weekly recipe roundup

Posted by Lisa on November 16, 2012
autumn, carrots, greens, kale, pork, potatoes, preserving, putting food by, recipes, root veggies, soup, weekly recipe roundup, winter squash / Comments Off on Weekly recipe roundup

 

carrot harvesters

The weekly recipe roundup certainly fell by the wayside over the last couple weeks, as we sorted out details of our big move. But we’re back! Here’s some tasty inspiration to see you through the weekend. We’ll try to post a special Thanksgiving edition of the roundup early next week, hopefully Monday.

Massaged Kale Salad, Three Ways at Frog Bottom Farm :: If you haven’t tried a raw kale salad before, or if you find kale to be bitter – do try this! This stuff is good. We’ve been waiting to remind you about this recipe until we had our first frosts because the kale is so much sweeter once the weather turns. Did you know kale (and other brassicas) use their sugars as a kind of antifreeze to protect themselves in cold weather? But they only produce that extra sugar when they need it. Isn’t nature awesome?

Fermented Ginger Carrots at 6512 and Growing :: Pickles! They’re not just a summertime thing. I can’t wait to try making these with Arlo.

Spareribs with Coffee-Molasses Marinade at The Splendid Table :: Our freezers are fully restocked as of about 4:30 this afternoon. Come stock up!

Butternut Squash 5-Spice Liqueur at Food52 :: Don’t mind if I do.

Hearty Potato Soup with Kale at Frog Bottom Farm :: A soup for right now.

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.

Fridge pickles

Posted by Lisa on July 04, 2012
CSA, cucumbers, preserving, putting food by, recipes, summer / 4 Comments

We’ve mentioned these pickles here before, but boy howdy, have we got some cucumbers for you this week. Wait until you see your CSA share. Wait until you see the market tables. If you love to pickle – or if you’ve been meaning to learn – now is the time!

We’ll share some other great approaches to pickling here soon, but we think these fridge pickles are a great way to begin. Maybe you’ve been curious about making your own pickles for a long time but feel a little intimidated. Or maybe you’re a seasoned pickler, staring at this week’s share, looking at the thermometer, thinking there is no way in heck you’re going to be doing any canning this week. Either way: hie thee to your kitchen! These are very fast, very easy, and very delicious.

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Fridge Pickles
adapted from dlyn

Crunchy, garlicky, and just sour enough, we can’t stop reaching for these. Pour a simple brine of water, vinegar, and salt over cucumbers, garlic, and herbs. Leave the jars alone for a few days … and voila! Pickles! They aren’t canned, so they need to be stored in the fridge. They’ll keep at least a couple months in there — if they last that long. Makes 6 pints or 3 quarts.

For the brine:
2 quarts water
1 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canning or pickling salt (kosher salt is also fine, but may result in cloudier pickle brine)

For the pickles:
Cucumbers, enough to fit snugly into your jars, washed well and sliced into spears
Garlic, 1-2 cloves per pint jar or 2-3 cloves per quart jar, smashed and peeled
Herbs (dill is classic; we also love thyme), 1-2 sprigs per pint jar or 2-4 sprigs per quart jar, rinsed well

Clean your jars thoroughly with soap and water. They do not need to be sterilized.

Combine all brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to be sure the salt dissolves completely. While the mixture is coming to a boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Place a smashed garlic clove or two in the bottom of each jar. Add the sprigs of your chosen herb.

Fill the jar the rest of the way with cucumber spears. Really cram them in there — otherwise some spears will float above the brine when you add it, and this can lead to premature spoilage.

Add another smashed garlic clove to each jar — wedge it down between some cucumber spears so it won’t float when you add the brine.

Pour the simmering brine over the vegetables, being sure they are completely submerged. If your brine isn’t simmering, bring it back to a simmer before pouring it over the vegetables.

Put a lid on each jar.

Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days (less time when the weather is very hot, more when it’s cold) and then, if you can stand it, put them in the fridge for an additional 1-2 weeks.

We usually break into the first jar right away but give the rest of the jars the additional slow fridge fermentation before eating them.

 

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Weekend Links (on a weekend!)

beet seedlings

We’re still mad for summer vegetables, but these tiny beet seedlings in the greenhouse also have us daydreaming about early fall.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

It’s a Can-a-Rama! The folks at Canning Across America hope you’ll keep the momentum from National Can-It-Forward Day going all week long with home canning parties.

Simple Bites has a slew of great posts on food preserving. Canning 101: The Basics is a great place to start.

We’ve been on a lacto-fermentation kick here in the Frog Bottom kitchen – lately, with vegetables.  Famous lacto-fermented foods include yogurt, sourdough, sauerkraut, and kimchi.  Lacto-fermented vegetables use a simple brine of water and salt (and sometimes whey) – no vinegar – to encourage good bacteria to preserve the food.  We may write more about this at some point, so for now I’ll just say I love how fast and easy this is! A few minutes chopping, a few minutes stuffing a jar, and then just a few days of waiting for all that good bacteria to do its work.  No giant pots of boiling water, no hours at the stove – the salsa you see below took me about 20 minutes to prepare, and that was mainly because of all the chopping.  Cucumber pickles and okra pickles each took under 10 minutes.  Read a bit more, and find the salsa recipe we used, at Lacto-Fermentation: an Easier, Healthier, and More Sustainable Way to Preserve.

lactofermented salsa

Check out this fun infographic on home gardening!

Tired of pesto and Caprese salads? Wait — not possible.  But, we think you should try these basil cookies anyway.

Here are five awesome tomato soup recipes.  Make ‘em now or freeze some of the incredible tomato bounty and try them when the first fall chill creeps in.

(Did you know freezing tomatoes can be as simple as waiting until they’re dead ripe and then throwing them whole into a Ziploc bag and stashing them in the freezer? A quick blanching/peeling/seeding will make them a bit easier to work with come thawing time, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, seriously, just throw them into the freezer whole.)

From the pen and kitchen of the ever-reliable Mark Bittman: 101 Simple Salads for the Season.  More fantastic and fast summer fare!

Umm, how fun does Lucky Peach look? It’s a new food journal published by the McSweeney’s folks. Have a look here.

And finally, we loved this essay about processing peaches and the way the long slog through a bushel of seconds can be a kind of meditation.

More to come later in the week! We’ve heard from a number of you that you need some help with okra, and with the mad bounty of eggplant, so that’s where we’ll start.

planting mei qing choi

later, ladies

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Weekend Links is a 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!

(These were nearly) Weekend Links

Eggplant pick

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!)

Howdy

Curing onions

Bean blossom

Planting collards and kale

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Still no name

Harvesting okra

Nest boxes

Okra blossom

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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!