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Blog/On the menu 2007

On the menu this week Oct 19 – 25

On the menu this week Oct 19 – 25

Radishes ‘Easter Egg’
Bell Peppers
Bunching onions
Cucumber
Assortment Summer squash
Salad mix – lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ and baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’
Tree ripened pears
Tomatoes
Freshly dug sweet potatoes
Freshly dug potatoes ‘Red La Sota’
Farm fresh eggs
Fresh basil
Fresh rosemary – for the potatoes

Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 10/21/2007 6:08 AM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/10/21/on-the-menu-this-week–oct-19–25.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/10/21/on-the-menu-this-week–oct-19–25.aspx</a> and is filed under uncategorized

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displace: to take the place of; supplant

displace: to take the place of; supplant
There are a lot of “key words” floating around in the media, like sustainable, natural, organic, ecological, etc. I want to introduce my own key word, and it isn’t a descriptive term, it is a verb. An action word, as my second grade daughter knows. Displace. The goal for this food is displacement. I hope that these veggies are taking the place of things you would otherwise buy at the traditional grocery store.
Ideally my visit to your home or workplace will displace a trip to the grocery store. The best way to combat the powerful marketing forces of the food giants is to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible. I include a list of foods in the bag to help with meal planning . Meal planning keeps us on track in the store.
I hope these healthy fruits and vegetables displace other foods in our diet that are less desirable. If a fresh, naturally ripened without ethylene gas, fungicide and pesticide free pear displaces a pastry or fast food breakfast, you are way ahead on the nutritional side, but there are other factors to consider as well. You have displaced an entire manufacturing, advertising, and transportation system with one simple action, replacing it with the power of sunshine, which is all it takes to grow these pears, and with the hand in hand cooperation of me and you. Two human beings exchanging resources face to face. This is an efficient and satisfying system that has been practiced through the ages, and I am glad to be a part of it, along with all of you.
So, when you unpack your bag, think displacement. The health of our bodies and pocketbooks will continue to improve as a result.

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On the menu this week – Sept.28 – Oct. 4 2007

On the menu this week – Sept.28 – Oct. 4
Bell Peppers
Bunching onions
Cucumbers
Summer squash – crookneck, straightneck, and scallop squash
Baby turnips
Baby ‘Black Beauty’ eggplant
Tree ripened pears
Okra
Jalepeno peppers
Freshly dug sweet potatoes
Farm fresh eggs
Fresh basil

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On the menu this week . . .

On the menu this week . . .
Bell Peppers, red and green
Fall tomatoes ‘Sunmaster’
Bunching onions
Cucumbers
Summer squash – crookneck, straightneck, and scallop squash
Mustard Greens
Baby ‘Black Beauty’ or ‘Ichiban’ eggplant
Tree ripened pears
Freshly dug sweet potatoes
Farm fresh eggs
Fresh basil

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There were assorted peppers in the bag this week

There were assorted peppers in the bag this week . . . here is the note that went along with them.
A note from Kandan: These are HOT peppers.
Habaneros look like little pumpkins. Do not eat these straight, or raw! You must use them to cook only. Dispose of the pepper when you have cooked with it, or, if you have chopped it then only use a little bit. This legendary pepper is fabulously delicious but is not for those that are faint at heart and are not familiar with Tex-Mex, Mexican, or Cajun cuisine. Do not eat these things straight! These are used in sauces, fajita mix, spicy Mexican, and a gambit of other dishes. Scoville units are 100-300K, the hottest pepper on Earth. Orange or green.
Cayennes, these are the red peppers of Louisiana fame that have taken over the world. They are long and spindly. It is red pepper. Like the habaneros, they really shouldn’t be eaten straight but won’t get you into the emergency room like the habaneros will. I use them in most sauces containing tomatoes and as a spicy ingredient in marinades and in other dishes. Virtually anywhere I use garlic. Be careful, these are hot. . Scoville units are 30-50K. Red or green.
Tabascos, the other Louisiana pepper that has conquered the world, this is the other stuff that comes in the bottle. They are small with a slightly blunted point. I eat these raw sometimes, but I’m not from here and don’t recommend this for those that aren’t familiar with hot peppers. They are quite hot. A sauce can be made by pouring a small amount of boiling vinegar over them or by taking a small amount of boiled vinegar and pureeing the peppers with it. This sauce blows commercial hot sauces out of the water; there simply is no comparison. They can be used like Thai peppers in the American cuisine we call Chinese, or in Cajun, Southwestern, Tex-Mex, Southeast Asian, or Mexican cuisines. Scoville units are 30-50K, but I don’t find them as hot as the Cayennes. Red, orange, or green.
Jalapenos, likely America’s favorite pepper, they are less predictable than the others, as you never know just how hot an individual pepper will be; what is predictable is that they will not be near as hot as the others listed above here. They are larger and plumper with blunted to semi-blunted ends. I eat these with beer on occasion, but as previously stated, I’m from a culture of hot peppers. They can be used in just about anything that needs a little spice and are great using a rellenos recipe. I use all these peppers in BBQ sauce. Remember that Jalapenos are hot also, just not as much. Scoville units are 2.5-5.0K. Red or green.
Mild Banana Pepper will be in a different bag. These look a lot like Cayennes but are much more plump and are larger. They are not hot and are used in salads or sauces with pepper flavor without the heat. I just eat them plain. Red, orange, yellow, green, or yellow green.
WARNING: You guys need to know that these things are hot. Don’t get it in your eyes. If you do then rinse with cold water and use an ice pack until the burn subsides. Do the same if you get it in cuts or abrasions. If burn in your mouth is too much then milk is recommended rather than water. Wear gloves and/or glasses if you think you should when working with them. Capsaicin is detectable by human taste at the equivalent of a single drop in an Olympic pool. It can be dangerous stuff.
I realize that some of you won’t use these, or won’t use them before they expire. They can be given to neighbors or friends, they can be pureed to make a powerful organic insecticide, and they can be preserved by the boiling vinegar techniques or frozen or dried. To dry them just run a string through them and hang them in a warm, dry place, preferably in the sun. They will last quite some time and you will be happy to have them in the winter and early spring.

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On the menu this week Sept 14-20 2007

On the menu this week Sept 14-20
Bell Peppers
Bunching onions or potatoes
Assorted hot peppers
Cucumbers, including ‘Orient Express’
Summer squash – crookneck, straightneck, and scallop squash
Mustard Greens
Eggplant
Banana peppers
Pears
Muscadines
Farm fresh eggs
Fresh basil

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On the farm . . .

On the farm . . .

During the whole month of August, the availability and variety of local produce has been declining dramatically.  This is a natural seasonal phenomenon, resulting from the end of the growing season of crops planted after the last frost, like squash and tomatoes.

To alleviate some of the availability and lack of variety problems, I have temporarily moved all deliveries to every other week.   If you are already on an every other week schedule, you probably didn’t get a call from me to discuss this, as things won’t change for you.

Don’t worry, it won’t last long.  I saw the first tiny baby squash on my plants yesterday, and we have green tomatoes that will soon be red, and other growers have cucumbers coming on, and we bought the first bunches of greens this week.  The chickens are laying more eggs.  Things are looking up!

Next year we may take a break from deliveries during August.  It is a busy time for life outside of the farm, with kids going back to school, and it is a time of low farm productivity, because early crops are tiring and late crops haven’t come on,   and high farm demand on the grower, with watering being critical and the intense heat making every hour of work feel like four hours.

Behind the scenes things are happening!  Delivery trucks bring boxes of seeds, the results of hours of pouring over catalogs, comparing varieties, scrutinizing planting charts and zone maps, and moaning and crying over this summer’s closing of Roy D. Hopkins Feed and Seed.  It is over – no more choosing seeds from little wooden drawers, scooped out by hand and carefully measured on a beautiful worn scale.  No more discussing the merits of one type of pea over another with an experienced seedsman.  No more trying to decipher the handwritten scrawl on the package that seemed clear when we bought it, but after a couple of months becomes cryptic.  I am just thankful we were able to experience it at all – Hopkins, you are missed!

But back to the goings on – we have planted garlic and bunching onions already today.  More ground is prepared for more garlic!  Garlic in all its forms is good, but freshly dug garlic is wonderful!  I can’t wait for you to try it  – but it will be next year, because the garlic must grow all fall and winter.

Seedlings are sprouting and growing in the refrigerated greenhouse (formerly known as my living space!).  There are all the winter brassicas coming up now – the familiar ones like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, and some exciting plants growing such as ‘Romanesca’, a living fractal – see it below, and Brussels sprouts – a family favorite.

I’ve never grown this stuff before – I have two varieties in the trial this year, one is much faster to mature than the other.  It will be cool weather before either are ready to taste, if they grow at all!  I am hoping for the best!

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What’s on the menu this week . . . Aug 31 – Sept 6 2007

What’s on the menu this week . . . Aug 31 – Sept 6
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 9/1/2007 6:47 AM and is filed under uncategorized

Sweet potatoes are a top ten power food . . .

Asian Pears
Purple Muscadines
Purple hull peas
‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes
Mustard Greens
Freshly dug sweet potatoes
Banana peppers
Orange Bell Peppers
Jalepeno peppers
Tabasco peppers for pepper sauce
Farm fresh eggs
Freshly stone-ground Miller County cornmeal – Williams Family Cornbread mix

Fresh basil
Fresh chives
Fresh rosemary

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Bitter Melon – Tried it, Stir-fried it . . .

Bitter Melon – Tried it, Stir-fried it . . .
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 8/18/2007 4:44 PM and is filed under uncategorized

The votes are in.  Four votes were counted: one in favor, one against, two abstained and had grilled cheese.  So it’s a draw.  But this is not in doubt, the bitter melon is one strange and interesting vegetable.  It is as weird inside as it is on the outside.  I was prepared for its innards because I read about “crimson seeds”, but the sight was still shocking.  The plump lipstick red slick seeds are in a cavity filled with white moist fuzz-like fibers.  The fibers and seed coating are very sweet.  I dutifully scraped it all out, sliced the melon into thin slices, and went on to the bitterness reducing measures recommended on various websites, such as wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_melon and the National Bitter Melon Council <a href=”http://www.bittermelon.org.”>www.bittermelon.org.</a>  I salted the melon slices and let them drain in a colander for a couple of hours.  Then I rinsed the salt off, and parboiled the slices in several cups of water, and drained that off.  I was left with a pile of green stuff that was quite tender, but had lost its beautiful lime green brightness.  And it was very bitter.

So making this stir fry was an all day affair.  I set the pork to marinating early in the day.  Kandan had cut up a large boneless pork roast into thin slices, and I cut the slices into ribbons (which was a pleasure to do since he sharpened my favorite knife – thanks, dear) and put it in the fridge with soy sauce and a little sherry.  Since I was so pleased with my pork ribbons, I decided to cut everything up into these thin strips.  Throughout the day, when I felt like working on it, I cut up a huge pile of red bell pepper, eggplant, onion, mushrooms, and a lot of fresh ginger (about 3 T finely chopped) and garlic.  And one whole spicy pepper.  I wished for broccoli, but had none.  I don’t know how I would have make that into a ribbon anyway.  I had a hard enough time with the mushrooms!  Since many of the recipes I read had egg as an ingredient, I decided to try this.  I scrambled one egg and cooked it without stirring until almost firm, then flipped it and finished the cooking.  Then I cut that into strips, like everything else.  It added a nice golden color.

I made the sauce and had to taste the sherry to make sure it was still good and ended up tasting way too much of that.  I admit to being a little woozy as I made the sauce, but here it is:

I mixed it up in a measuring cup, starting with

-almost 1/2 cup soy sauce, then add
-enough sherry to make it measure 1/2 cup
-1 t sugar, heaping
-3 t rice wine vinegar
-2 T toasted sesame oil
-1 t red pepper flakes
-3 T cornstarch mixed with 2T water

The sauce is added at the end.

The quantity of pork was 1 pound, and the quantity of vegetables was enough to fill a large dinner plate to heaping.

Of course home stir frying is never as effective as it would be in a restaurant, our stoves just cant match the BTU’s needed.  I do my best by cranking my gas burner up to high, and heating my biggest cast iron skillet to smoking.  Use plenty of oil, and fry in small batches.  Set the cooked food aside on a platter, just keep piling the batches up on top of each other.  I think a good pair of tongs are indispensable in the kitchen, and I use these to stir the food and transfer the cooked food to the platter.

So, anyway, I cooked the pork strips in two batches, and the cut was perfect.  It cooked so fast, and was so thin that it evenly distributed the meat throughout the dish.  The ribbon may be my standard cut of stir fry meat from now on.

I did the veggies in three batches.  Err on the side of rawness, because they will get warmed again with the sauce, and you want them crispy and fresh. Then dump everything back in the pan, and pour the sauce over.  You have to stir consistently at this point, because the sauce needs to coat everything and not clump.  As soon as it is thickened and glossy, turn off the heat and serve.  We ate ours with brown rice, but any rice you like is fine.  Don’t eat the hot pepper!

Since there was violent opposition to the bitter melon from my dinner companion, I kept it to the side, and as I was plating my meal, I put the cooked melon on the rice before I spooned on the stir fry.  I found that it had a distinctive, but not unpleasing, bitter taste that didn’t overwhelm the other flavors when used in small amounts.   I wouldn’t want to have to live on bitter melon alone, but if I were transported to a culture whose cuisine had a lot of this bitter flavor, I think I would come to like it very much.

I do not intend to repeat the ribboning theme with my stir fry vegetables.  I prefer the look of the different shapes, each suiting the nature of the individual vegetable.    But with the meat it was a great discovery.

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What’s on the menu this week . . .

What’s on the menu this week . . .
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 8/10/2007 4:53 AM and is filed under uncategorized

August 10-16, 2007

Yellow watermelon
Banana peppers
Italian Roasting peppers
Yellow summer squash
Zucchini squash, including yellow ‘Gold Rush’
Slicing tomatoes
‘Rellano’ Anaheim pepper
Bell peppers
Jalepeno peppers and cayenne peppers
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Farm fresh eggs
Fresh basil – for the tomatoes

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