30 Aug

2017 CSA News – August, 30th 2017

We are so blessed to be living here in Billings

Well, I lied!   The new seedlings that we planted over the course of the last few weeks were starting to germinate, but  some of them did not make it.  I guess the hot weather, once again, did it’s number on them.  Is it ever going to cool off?  It’s already the end of August!  I am trying to decide on whether to try again, or if it may already be too late.  I do not have a  sense about how long the fall season will last.  Oh well!  The challenges in the garden are nothing like the challenges that people are facing in other parts of Montana with the forest fires, and in Texas with the Hurricane.  We are so blessed to be living here in Billings.  We have food to eat, water to drink and homes in which to live .   We have much to be thankful for!

Wendy harvested lots of beautiful carrots this week.  Aren’t they something!

Harvesting our many crops can be very labor intensive….especially the root crops like carrot, beets and onions.  Once they are forked out the soil,  they are washed, visually inspected, allowed to dry and then either bunched for our CSA boxes or bagged for bulk sales to our restaurants.  We are always amazed at the visual beauty of our veggies!

Beautiful Edirne Eggplant

Beautiful Edirne Eggplant

This weeks share will include some of these eggplant, along with the last of the summer lettuce, and more broccoli greens.  I hope you have enjoyed the greens.  Ben and Tyler at the Fieldhouse have been using the broccoli greens to wrap around fresh fish filet, and their guests have been loving it!   More tomatoes for you too, this week, along with Suyo Long Japanese cucumbers, more delicious haricot vert, patty pans, zucchini, and, of course, the herbs.

29 Aug

Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

Refrigerator Pickles

The garden is overloaded with slicing cucumbers. I was hoping that some of you would want to preserve some this year. Refrigerator dills or bread & butter pickles are so easy to make. They don’t have to be pressure canned or water bathed….just put in jars and kept in the refrigerator. Of course, they can canned, too, and stored in your pantry to use during the year. I have even seen recipes for freezer pickles. Here are a couple of recipes for you to try. Please come and take these babies off my hands, or I will be taking them to the food bank. I am selling them cheap!

Refrigerator Pickles
Makes 1 gallon

Slice pickles into jar (can either slice into rounds, or thin lengths)
Add sliced onions and green peppers (hot or mild). I like to add thinly sliced red peppers or red jalapeno or serrano, for both taste and color. Can eliminate peppers, but onions are a must.

Heat until dissolved:

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dry mustard
¼ cup salt

Pour over pickles and cool. Place in refrigerator. These will be ready to eat in 1 ½ -2 weeks. Will keep all winter.

Refrigerator Pickles

Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Yields: 3 jars

Ingredients

10-12 pickling cucumbers
4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
big bunch of dill
1 head of garlic, skins removed, cloves smashed (less if its a strong garlic)
10 peppercorns

Instructions

Slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices or spears. Set aside
To make brine, combine water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and swirl to make sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Add cucumbers to jars. Do not pack them super tight as you you’ll want room for the brine. Add the fresh dill, smashed garlic, and peppercorns to the jars. Finish by adding enough brine to cover the cucumbers. Seal with an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator for at least one week. Pickles should be good for at least 4-6 weeks after that.
This recipe made enough for me to fill one pint and two quart jars.

28 Aug

French Potato and Green Bean Salad

French Potato and Green Bean Salad

Ingredients

2 pounds medium potatoes, like Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
3 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
1 tablespoon chopped anchovy
1 tablespoon chopped capers
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound small French beans, or small romano or wax beans
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil
6 to 8 anchovy fillets, optional, for garnish
8 ounces arugula, optional

Preparation

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, bay leaf and thyme branch. Cook at a brisk simmer until the potatoes are firm but easily pierced with a skewer, about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, anchovy, capers, mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk again before using if the dressing separates.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins with a paring knife and carefully cut into pieces 1/4-inch thick, or slightly thicker. Put the slices in a low bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper and add half the vinaigrette. Using your hands, gently coat the potatoes with the vinaigrette, taking care not to break them. Cover and set aside at room temperature.

25 Aug

Tomato Salad on a Roll

4 servings

This sandwich, a delight of summer, is a cross between the pan bagnat from Nice and the Catalan tomato bread with anchovy. And it’s dead simple. Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovy and basil. A splash of red wine vinegar. This sandwich comes together quickly, but the ingredients need to stay inside the loaf for at least an hour. That way, the juicy tomatoes and all the tasty aromatics permeate the bread in a soggy, heavenly way. Eat it outside.

Ingredients

1 pound ripe tomatoes, in assorted colors and sizes
Salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and roughly chopped, optional
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
12 basil leaves
A few tender parsley leaves
4 fresh French rolls or a long baguette

Preparation

Cut larger tomatoes in thick slices or wedges and smaller ones into halves, and put them in a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the garlic, anchovies (if using), capers, olive oil, vinegar, pepper flakes and half the basil, torn or chopped. Gently toss with the tomatoes and leave for 5 or 10 minutes.
Split the rolls or baguette lengthwise. Spoon tomato salad and its juices onto bottom of each roll (or bottom half of the baguette). Lay a few basil and parsley leaves over tomatoes. Replace tops and press lightly. If using baguette, cut crosswise into 4 pieces.
Cover sandwiches with a clean dish towel and wait for an hour or so before serving.

19 Aug

Chinese Chicken Zoodles

Chinese Chicken Zoodles

Serves 2

These Chinese chicken zoodles are a quick and easy 15 minute meal. Packed with flavors from your favorite takeout dish but way healthier for you!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 medium zucchini, spiralized on blade “D”
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Instructions

Whisk the soy sauce, garlic, coconut sugar, water, sriracha and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add the sauce to the skillet and let cook for about 1 minute. Add the chicken and zucchini noodles to the skillet, toss to fully coat in the sauce and cook for about 2 minutes, until the zucchini noodles are just slightly softened. Serve immediately.

18 Aug

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (may need more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 T finely minced fresh garlic
1 lb. ground beef
12 oz. ground turkey
(use any combination of ground meat you’d like
1-2 tsp. seasoning of your choice….fresh herbs are preferred
salt and pepper to taste
2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce
2 cups mozzarella or other mild white cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Chop onion and green pepper. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then sauté onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Add minced garlic and sauté about 1 minute more, being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove the onion, pepper, and
Remove the onion, pepper, and garlic mixture to a bowl.

Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan. Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey, season selection of herbs, salt, pepper and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned. Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there is, then stir cooked vegetables and garlic back into the meat. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.

While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak liquid when they cook.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up. Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture into zucchini cups, pressing down with the spoon and mounding it up a little over the top of the zucchini.

Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese. Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

17 Aug

Honey-Lime Sriracha Salmon with Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodle Salad

Honey-Lime Sriracha Salmon with Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodle Salad

 

A healthy honey marinated sriracha salmon served over a delicious spiralized sesame cucumber noodle salad!

Ingredients

FOR THE SALMON
1 1/4 pounds wild salmon
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 tablespoon sriracha
3 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh peeled grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
FOR THE CUCUMBER NOODLES:
4 large cucumbers, peeled and spiralized
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh peeled grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons water
Optional for dressing: 1 teaspoon honey
Optional for serving: sesame seeds, spinach, green onions, cilantro or chives

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients for the salmon: honey, chili paste, sriracha, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Place salmon in a large ziploc bag and pour in marinade; refrigerate for 1 hour (no longer).
While salmon is marinating you can prepare the cucumber noodle salad: In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, water and honey, if using. Add cucumber noodles and stir to evenly coat the noodles; cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve with the salmon.
When salmon is ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet (important) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. The salmon will take 15 minutes per inch of thickness. Mine is usually always perfect around 18 minutes.
Cut salmon into 4 pieces and serve on top of cucumber noodles. Sprinkle on garnishes like sesame seeds, green onions or cilantro if desired.

16 Aug

Garden News

Hawthorne

It’s been a week of “hurry and catch up”!  As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the plantings that were done a month ago did not germinate.  So….we planted all the crops again, and hallelujah,  they are all coming up!  We are hopefull that fall lasts a long time so there will be abundant harvests of late season crops.

There is a plethora of veggies in your share this week.  Among them are some TOMATOES!  There are still not a huge amount of them, but at least there are enough to get us started!  There will also be beets, carrots, scallions, Swiss chard, cucumbers, zucchini, patty pan, a small bunch of broccoli side shoots and basil.

Hawthorne berries are traditionally used as a heart tonic.  I make tinctures out of the fruit and it is an important addition to my herbal apothecary

I also make what I call a “Roadside Jam” out of these hawthorne berries, along with whatever other berries I have here on the farm…chokecherries, elderberries and  Oregon grape.  You can find all of these berries out in the wild!  I remember picking wild chokecherries along the country roads with my mom when I was a small child.  What fond memories.

I know you are probably getting a little bored with all of the summer squash and cucumbers.  But this is what the garden has been producing in abundance,  so we need to take advantage of the bounty,  There are many ways to preserve these veggies, and you will most certainly enjoy taking an entree out  of the freezer that you made with the summer harvest.

I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather.  I know Wendy and I sure are!  I  look forward to seeing you all tomorrow from 4 to 6 PM.  If you are unable to pick up your share, be sure and let me know ahead of time, so that I do not make up your box.  I am unable to hold your box for later a later pick up.

14 Aug

Tubetti Rigate with Long Cooked Broccoli Leaves and Pecorino

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

¼ pound mixed broccoli leaves, washed & large stems removed
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, peeled, germ removed & thinly sliced
1 long fresh red chile, stem removed & minced
1 pound tubetti rigate or orcchiette
Salt, to taste
¼ cup grated pecorino cheese

PREPARATION

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a boil. Add the broccoli leaves and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Drain and let cool. Squeeze the leaves gently, discarding the water. Chop the leaves finely. In the same saucepot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil with 2 tablespoons of salt for the pasta.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped broccoli leaves and cook stirring often to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes reducing the heat if necessary to prevent browning. Make a space in the middle of the pan by pushing the broccoli to the sides. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to this space, then add the garlic and chiles. Cook for about 20 seconds or so, until the garlic is cooked but not colored. Mix everything together and continue to cook very slowly until the flavors marry. This should take about 6-7 minutes.
In the meantime, add the pasta to the boiling water & give it a stir so that the pasta pieces do not stick to the bottom. Stir several more times while cooking. Cook the pasta until it is just done about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta, saving a cup of the pasta water.
Add the pasta to the broccoli & toss together with 2 tablespoons of the pasta water to moisten. Add more pasta water if too dry. Continue to cook on low heat for about 30 seconds. Adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary then toss with the remaining olive oil. Plate the pasta and sprinkle with the pecorino.

09 Aug

Garden News

It’s been such a pleasure working in the garden this past week.  We have actually been able to plant new crops of snap peas, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, radish, beets, Asian greens, carrots and more.  Now all we have to do is pray that the heat doesn’t return to the high 90’s in order to give those little seeds time to germinate.  The second plantings of cucumbers and beans are starting to climb their fencing, so it won’t be too long before you will have some more of them in your CSA share.

We use lots of leaf mulch this time of year, especially when we are planting new seed beds.  The leaves were saved from last year’s tree cleanup, so nothing is wasted.  The mulch helps to conserve the moisture in the soil, which is so important on hot sunny days when new crops are coming up.

It’s been wild berry picking time!  Although I grow these here on the property, they are still a native berry.  On top are chokecherries, and below, Oregon grape.

Oregon grape is sometimes referred to as “False Holly”  You can see why in this photo.  It is a low growing, ground cover like shrub that is evergreen.  The berries are challenging to harvest because the leaves are prickly!

This is the time of year when I do most of my preserving, canning and playing with the bounty that surrounds me.  The wild berries will be made into jams, chutney and flavored vinegar.  Other fruits and herbs will give their personalities to flavored oils, butters and other experimental concoctions.  It’s an alchemical process with such a wonderful assortment of inspirational vegetation.   So, this is a good time for you, too,  to take advantage of the beautiful organic produce that is grown here in the gardens and preserve some of the goodness for your own eating over the winter.  If you have never “put away” produce, I have lots of experience and recipes, so just ask!  I encourage you to find ways to become more self sufficient.  Right now, there is an over abundance of cucumbers, summer squash and basil that would be wonderful additions to your  freezer or pantry.

This week’s share will  include beets, carrots, scallions, kale, summer squash, shallots, broccoli greens and basil.  There will be a few tomatoes again, but it definitely is not a tomato year.  I am really disappointed and at a loss!  The heat was just too much for them.  Peppers are struggling,  too, but they are coming slowly.  Eggplants are showing promise.

03 Aug

Garden News – August 2nd, 2017

planting, organic farm produce and vegetables, garden, kate rossetto, billings, montana

What a difference a day makes!  It was only in the 70’s today!  Wendy and I felt like children with lots and lots of energy to keep working well into the afternoon.  The July heat had forced us out of the garden by 1 PM on the days that we worked and by that time were were sweaty, exhausted, dehydrated and quite bitchy if I might say so myself!

The challenges we have faced are not like any I have had to deal  with in all of my years of farming.  I always tell people that I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time, but that has been exceptionally true this year.  Just keeping everything watered has been a full time job.  We tried to plant new seeds of the lettuces, radish and other greens and they didn’t even sprout.  What a waste of seeds!  The tomatoes are full of flowers with a few fruits set, but they are not ripening.  I have talked to other growers around the area and everyone is having the same problem.  I think it is just too darn hot!  I am thankful that at least the summer squash and cucumbers are producing!

Today, Wendy and I took  advantage of the cool temps and bravely transplanted the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages that were started  awhile back.  I had planned to get them  into the garden sooner, but I did not want them to succumb to the heat.  I hope we have a nice long fall, so that we can once again enjoy these cooler weather veggies.  Keep your fingers crossed!

It’s chokecherry picking time and my  next door neighbor has a huge shrub that she invited me to pick as she never uses nor wants them.  So far I have harvest over 35 pounds. Some of them went to the Fieldhouse, some up to Quality Food Distributing in Bozeman and some I will make into a lovely fruit vinegar.  I made some last year and it was a huge hit!  I have a few pounds left and there are more that I can get, so if you would like some let me know.

Your share this week will include the last of the beautiful broccoli, along with carrots, beets, a selection of summer squashes, swiss chard, slicing cucumbers, scallions, Genovese and Tulsi basils.  Pick up your share between 4 and 6 PM and be sure and bring your shopping bags of boxes.  I think it is supposed to be cooler again so it might actually be more pleasant to hang out visit!

02 Aug

Broccoli Salad with Bacon & Cheddar

This is one of my favorite salads in the summer using broccoli.  It was my mom’s recipe and I think she got it out of the Junior Women’s of Billings cookbooks.  Whenever I  make it I think of her!  Warm memories of us in the kitchen.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon & Cheddar

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb. broccoli about 4 cups, cut into florets
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped red onion, diced
1/2 dried white raisins or substitute dried cranberries
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded or cut into small cubes
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup real mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar ( I use cayenne wine vinegar that I make every fall)
1/4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl mix together the broccoli, crumbled bacon, onion, raisins or cranberries, cheese and the walnuts.
In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar and the sugar. Add to the broccoli mixture and gently stir. Chill and serve.

01 Aug

Blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

Blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

Need to use up some of that Zucchini? This cake will surely hit that sugar craving spot and with the addition of blueberries, it’s got to be healthy, right? I found the recipe on Pinterest and it is a good one!

Blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

Ingredients
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pint fresh blueberries (you can reserve a few for garnish if so desired)

Lemon Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest of (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.
Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid comes out. You will want to have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.
In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.
Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream
Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.
Add lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.
Fold in zest*.
*If you are piping this buttercream, I recommend leaving out the zest.