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On the menu 2009

On the menu – August 3, 2009

Slicing Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes ’Black Cherry’

Eggplant

Apples ‘Golden Delicious’

Rosemary

Sweet Basil

Baby Onions

Garlic

Potatoes

Bell peppers

Cucumber ‘Burpless’

Farm fresh eggs

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On the menu this week – July 27, 2009

Slicing Tomatoes

Salad tomatoes – assorted, including ’Black Cherry’, ‘Sun Gold’, ‘Be My Baby’, and romas

Eggplant

Lemon Grass

Rosemary and Sweet Basil

Cabbage

Garlic

Potatoes ‘Kennebec’

Bell peppers

Cucumber ‘Burpless’

Farm fresh eggs

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is an ingredient in Thai and other Asian cooking.  Lemongrass often flavors fish and chicken dishes and soups.
Lately there have been a few vendors at the farmer’s markets selling Asian ingredients – they are providing much needed diversity in the Texarkana food supply.
Here are some tips for using lemongrass from my online research.  I will be trying this new seasoning along with all of you.
The useful part is the thick white end of the stalk.  The rest of the stalk and leaves can be tied in a bundle and added to soups as seasoning or simply discarded.
The thick stalk can either be crushed and added whole for seasoning or minced and pureed and added as an ingredient to the dish.
To crush, split the stalk lengthwise and press with the flat of a knife or any hard surface, such as the bottom of a heavy glass.  You will smell the fragrance being released.  Add the whole crushed stalk to the dish as it is cooking, and remove it before serving, as you would a bay leaf..
To puree, cut the stalk into thin slices using a sharp knife, then puree in a food processor or pound with a mortar and pestle.  Then add the resulting paste to your dish and allow at least 10 minutes cooking time to soften the lemongrass fibers.
Look at thaifood.about.com for recipes or google “lemongrass” and a lot of recipes come up.
Have fun and enjoy!

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On the menu this week – July 20, 2009

Slicing Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes – assorted, including ‘Sun Gold’, ’Black Cherry’, ’Gold Nugget’, ‘Ruby Gold’, ‘Be My Baby’, red cherries and romas

Cantaloupe

Rosemary and Sweet Basil

Cabbage

Garlic

Potatoes ‘Yukon Gold’

Bell peppers

Farm fresh eggs

Baby onions

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On the menu this week – July 6, 2009

Slicing Tomatoes and ‘Sun Gold’ Cherry tomatoes
Blackberries
Summer squash
Rosemary ‘Tuscany’ and basil
Cucumber
Garlic
Farm fresh eggs
Sweet Corn
Sweet and mild peppers – Bell, banana, and poblano
Baby red onions

It is that time of year, tomato season, and that means it is time for the annual reissue of the

Sunshine Tomato Salad recipe!

Here it is:

For a platter salad, use slicing tomatoes and cut very thin.  Lay in a single layer, and top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt to taste, finely minced garlic and fresh basil.  Serve either chilled or room temp.

For a layered salad in a pretty clear glass container, do the same but stack the tomatoes with each layer dressed with the seasonings.

To use cherry tomatoes, just cut each one in half and dress with the seasonings.  Serve as a side dish.

Leftovers (if there are any!) are wonderful on a sandwich.

If you lack fresh basil, just leave it out – the salad will still be delicious.  Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to replace with dried basil!

About ‘Sun Gold’ tomatoes – these are an orange or gold color when ripe.  They are the variety that is all the rage this year, and I think they are a winner.

I packed them in clamshell to prevent crushing in the bag, but they need ventilation, so open the shell as soon a possible.  Conventional wisdom is to store tomatoes at room temp and not in the fridge, and I find that this is true.  But these sugary little cherry tomatoes need to be eaten up rather promptly.

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On the menu – June 29, 2009

Tomatoes
Blackberries
Peaches ‘Harken’
Potatoes
Rosemary ‘Tuscany’
Garlic
Farm fresh eggs
Sweet Corn ‘G-90’
Green Beans ‘Kentucky Wonder’
OR
Sweet peppers – Bell and banana

If you did not get green beans this time, I will give you some next time – if they are still producing well.

I only have one row of green beans, and I had not intended them for the veggie deliveries, only for my personal use.  But they are growing so prolifically that I thought I would share!  However, they are hard to pick, and I can only get enough at a time for half of the delivery list.

I am hoping this works out!  Next year I will plant more rows if I can come up with the trellising.

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On the menu this week . . . June 22, 2009

Kentucky Wonder pole beans in our garden

'Kentucky Wonder' pole beans in our garden

On the menu this week . . . June 22, 2009

Tomatoes – the very first!

Cherry Tomatoes – yes, they are orange

Lettuce ‘Oak Leaf’ – the very last . . .

Summer Squash

Peaches ‘Harken’

Sweet Corn ‘G-90’

Green Beans ‘Kentucky Wonder’

Cucumber

Garlic

Farm fresh eggs

What to do with Green Beans . . .

Green beans are suited to a variety of preparations, from elegant to country style.

Begin by giving them a good rinse in cool running water.  Snap off each end from the bean – and if a “string” happens to be attached, just pull down the bean until it comes off.  I haven’t encounter many strings with this Kentucky Wonder pole bean – but some green beans are very stringy and called “string beans”.  Leave them long for an elegant presentation or snap into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long if you prefer.  Now they are ready to cook.

There are two approaches to cooking the beans.  One is to keep them crisp and bright green, the other is to cook until very tender.

I like both ways, but the way I most often prepare green beans is a very Southern, country style.  Fry a few pieces of good bacon in a large cast iron skillet.  When crispy, add the snapped green beans to the pan with a little water, maybe a cup. And let cook, covered, over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.  As the water cooks off, the beans will start to brown a little.  This is the effect I am looking for – the beans have a lot of natural sugar and they will caramelize a bit and have a rich flavor, and it looks beautiful.  Keep adding a little water if the pan is getting too hot, and keep stirring.  Add salt.  When the tenderness is to your liking, turn it off and serve hot.  The leftovers are even good cold with a little vinaigrette, like a green bean salad.

Other popular variations are to cook the snapped beans in a pot with new potatoes until all are tender.  Serve with salt and pepper and butter.  Also, cooking in plenty of salted water and serving the tender beans with fresh cornbread is an old fashioned hearty meal.

To achieve the crisp bright beans, it is necessary to either steam or simmer the beans briefly – maybe 10 minutes or so.  If you are serving hot, do so promptly or the color will fade.  To serve cold, like on a vegetable tray for dipping, you must stop the cooking by “shocking” the beans, plunging them into icy cold water.  They should stay green and crispy.

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On the menu this week . . .June 15, 2009

Blackberries

Summer Squash – yellow crookneck and straightneck, gray and green zucchini,  yellow zucchini ‘Gold Rush’

Carrots

Lettuce ‘Buttercrunch‘ and ‘Jericho‘–  washed whole leaves

Sweet corn

Sweet Onions

Garlic

Farm fresh eggs

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On the menu this week . . . June 1, 2009

rows of garlic in the winter garden

rows of garlic in the winter garden

Sweet Onions

Baby Summer Squash – yellow crookneck and straightneck, gray and green  zucchini, yellow zucchini ‘Gold Rush’

Carrots

Lettuce – mixed, washed whole leaves – red leaf, buttercrunch, oak leaf, and romaine

Radishes

Spring garlic

Farm fresh eggs

Blackberries and peaches??????

Normally by this time we would be full on into blackberry season.  My daughter’s birthday is this week and I know that for eight birthdays there have been blackberries and here is the ninth birthday, and no blackberries.  These early berries were damaged at the flower stage in a frost.  There will be berries soon when the later varieties come on.

The report at the farmer’s market is that there is a half peach crop this year – they aren’t in season yet, of course.  Half is better than none!  In 2007 there was a total loss, in 2008, a great crop, this year, 2009, half.  The life of a peach farmer is one of uncertainty.

Onions

The onions in Fouke took a beating in the hail storm a few weeks ago.  These onions are delicious, but some have a soft core as a result of damage to the stem.  Keep them refrigerated and discard any soft parts.  If we were in pioneer days and growing onions to keep for our families through the year, we would be going without this year.  These soft cored onions will not keep.  I can imagine folks including onions in every meal to get them all eaten up before they went bad, then going months with no onions – an important seasoning ingredient for the bland pioneer diet.  No California or Georgia onions for them.

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On the menu this week . . . May 18, 2009

New Potatoes

New Potatoes

Spring onions

New potatoes – ‘Yukon Gold,’ and Red La Sota’

Kale

Edible pod peas – sugarsnap and snow peas

Cabbage

Spring garlic

Beets

Farm fresh eggs

Our first vegetable delivery of the 2009 season!

I might be getting started too early, because the bag feels a little skimpy, but I will throw in something extra as soon as I can to make up for it.  I wanted to go ahead and get started because I have been getting a lot of calls and questions about when I’ll be showing up with veggies. But this is about 2 weeks earlier than we started last year.

Weather woes

Rain, rain, and more rain.  Oh, and let’s not forget hail.  And a 3 day power outage.  And a little sunshine would be appreciated by my growing plants.  Although the rain event we have been experiencing these last few weeks is over, the effects will linger.  There is still standing water in my garden.  The bugs are tremendous in variety and quantity.  Most plants are growing through their tattered leaves and broken stems sustained in the hail at the beginning of the rain onslaught.  The tomatoes and squash, for instance are pulling through and looking good.  Others either just didn’t make it at all, like the eggplant, which was totally crushed and destroyed, and the onions, which are alive but look terrible and won’t get any better.

Spring garlic

This is like the soft-shelled crab of the garlic world.  Peel off the outer layer and inside is the developing head of garlic.  The cloves are so tender that you can just chop up the whole thing and use it – no peeling.

This is a bit unorthodox, but we should enjoy this garlic while we can.  I am hoping that it continues to develop, but the soil is very wet and the appearance of the plants is unfortunately declining.  This is so disappointing, because we tripled our garlic production for this year based on positive feedback from last year’s crop.  We planted in the fall last year, it has been growing all winter and looking beautiful, and now the leaves are yellowing and they should still be growing vigorously.  Too wet!

Looking forward to a great season!

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