Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quinoa & Currants

Quinoa & Currants. Doesn't that sound fancy? Like it should be the name of some gourmet food blog or something.

Anyway, this was my breakfast. Drizzled in raw honey from a friend, but you can't see that in the picture. Currants came from the Extension gardens. I know my folks have currants too, so between the two bushes, I should have plenty for jam and for eating.

If you're not familiar with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) it is a high protein grain. The back of my quinoa box informs me it is "one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom." Also it is the only grain that is a "complete protein," whatever that means.

I hadn't used quinoa before, but so far so good. I actually enjoyed this way more than oatmeal. It's light and has a very subtle nutty flavor.

I know you can find quinoa in bulk food stores, including the bulk foods section at Copps. But I prefer starting out with the prewashed stuff that comes in a box, with all the nice handy cooking instructions for now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Beet Affect

Six pints of pickled beets finished last night. Plus more just for eating right away. And some to take to a neighbor.

And that takes care of about half of one half of a cold frame.

Did you know that eating beets will make your pee pink? I had a few moments of alarm during last year's beet season, but this year I knew enough not to worry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kale Shortage?

Is there some sort of kale shortage?? Two weeks in a row I've overhead someone at the farmer's market asking a vendor for kale. "It's coming," or "not yet," was the answer.

Not yet? I've had kale coming out of my ears for a solid month already.

Made that kale-laden Portuguese Potato Soup again today. Yummers. Ain't it purty?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tight Quarters

Okay, for educational purposes...for those of you who come out to view the high tunnel in person...let me just say the space is a little tight.

This is not the first scrape I've walked away with. Would love a few more inches between the piping sytems we use to hold row covers and the outside wall. If I'm not scraping myself on the pipes, then I'm getting scratched by bolts in the walls.

Since I also ripped a pair of jeans on a cold frame this spring--something which has nothing but wide open air around it--my husband would probably argue my injuries have a lot more to do with the person, than the structure she's working in.

I get no sympathy.

(And yes mom, I disinfected this.)

Monday, June 14, 2010


Frightened this little guy as I entered the high tunnel on Sunday. He froze, in one of those misguided--if I don't move, maybe she won't see me--moments. I snapped a few pics and then quietly left to work in another area of the garden so he could get over his panic attack and leave in peace.

Saw him run out the door a few moments later. That said, there is definetely a hole in a corner of the high tunnel. Multiple exits--this guy's no dummy.

It was 98 degrees in the high tunnel yesterday and the lettuce is starting to look a little done-in. Not sure how much longer we'll get out of the greens.

Planted basil and several kinds of pepers in the high tunnel last week, so they should be happy with the heat at least.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Jam of the Year

Oh that photo is not the best. I should have taken one when the berries were all pretty and sliced and waiting to go into the pot.

And actually, I should clarify, it's not 'jam' but 'preserves.' The difference? Preserves aren't meant to fully set up like jam. They're meant to be a little runny and good for pouring over pancakes, poundcake, ice cream, or yoghurt.

I got the recipe from Saving the Season--my new uber-favorite canning blog discovered late last season. My jam books might just now be tragically obsolete. (Nah....just supplemented.)

The recipe is for Strawberry Perserves with Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper. Sadly, I think my palate is weak. I doubled the black pepper and used 25-year-old-imported-direct-from-Italy balsamic vinegar and I still don't taste it. It was my very last tablespoon of good balsamic or I might have been tempted to double that too.

(That gets me in trouble in the kitchen. If something is good, more is better, right? Um, yeah....not always.)

Still I have to say that the preserves ARE heavenly. Really. Way better than jam.

I spent $18 to get three quarts of organic berries at the farmer's market. (All you folks back home with large wonderful gardens will be shaking your heads in amazement, but that's only $1.50 more per quart than regular berries at our city-folk prices.) What can I say? Berries are on the dirty dozen list. Pesticides cling to these beauties like stink on a goat. It's worth the added expense.

I had enough for the jam and loads to eat fresh on the side. And I just might do it all over again this Saturday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Arugula Pesto

We have a houseguest right now. She's a grad student from Iowa State here to study the Oneida sustainabile farming methods at Tsyunhehkwa. It's been great fun not only having a student in the house, but having another veggie lover around.

Here is the argula pesto she made a few night back, and her recipe:

Arugula Pesto!
4 c packed arugula leaves (approximately 6 oz)
¼ c pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted*
¼ c packed freshly grated Parmesan
1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
¼ c olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, blend the arugula, nuts or seeds, parmesan and garlic until smooth. Scrape down the sides. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until well blended. Scoop it all out into a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Its best if chilled for a few hours, but serve it at room temperature.

This recipe is great for arugula that’s “on the edge” of being too bitter—just blanch the leaves first. Add the leaves to boiling water for about 15 seconds, stirring the whole time. Remove and place in a bowl with ice water and you should be good to go. For more detailed instructions, this website is useful: Food Network arugula pesto

*These can be raw as well, whatever you prefer. Walnuts are also a good substitute.

Thanks Jenny!