Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 20, 2013

Well, once again, not much happening on the farm this week.

This is who keeps dad company in the greenhouse!

In Your Share
·         Spinach
·         Lettuce
·         Winter Onons
·         Arugula

I don’t know about you, but I have been eating quiche nearly  every week now.  It makes a great breakfast, quick lunch or light supper (with a nice spinach salad!)
Arugula:  another item that can be added to almost anything to add some zing.  When I was in Italy, and starving after cycling all day, I ordered a pizza.  Being from the Midwest, I was anxiously awaiting an Italian specialty with meat!  I was so hungry for some meat.  But, since my Italian wasn’t very good, you can imagine my disappointment when a pizza topped with tomatoes, cheese and arugula was placed in front of me.  That’s it?  To my surprise, it was the best tasting pizza ever.  So I challenge you to try arugula in all sorts of things.  Here is a salad dressing for arugula:
                ¼ c balsamic vinegar
                1 tsp. Dijon mustard
                1 tsp. sugar
                ½ tsp. salt
                Freshly ground black pepper
                1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed on a cutting board
                ½ c extra virgin olive oil
                2 ounces shaved Parmesan
Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic until the sugar and salt are dissolved.  While continuing to whisk, add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until emulsified.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Pour some over the salad mix and add the shaved Parmesan on top.
Any remaining vinaigrette will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in a non-reactive container in the refrigerator.

Magic hangs out in the greenhouse on rainy days.
What’s Happening on the Farm
Not much!  There was some sun and dry weather last Sunday, so another bed of peas was planted in the outside garden as well as a few more beds tilled.  A lettuce mix and kohlrabi were seeded in the greenhouse.  Broccoli and cabbage plants have been hardening off outside, but I’m too leary of cold weather yet, and the fact that the garden hasn’t been dry enough to transplant into anyway.  The potatoes are waiting for some dry dirt as well.  And, Dad has been busy transplanting:  herbs, tomatoes, celery, peppers, kohlrabi and many more.  I think it keeps him from getting bored!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13, 2013

Well, maybe I spoke too soon, not sure what happened to spring.  I wasn’t sure if I would write a newsletter this week, because there is not much to report.  Rain, rain, rain.  But here goes…

Color in the greenhouse.
In Your Share this Week

·        MORE Winter grown greenhouse spinach
·         MORE  Winter grown Buttercrunch lettuce
·         Leek
·         Eggs

Herbed Spinach Bake

1lb. fresh spinach, cooked in water remaining on leaves from final rinse
1c. cooked rice
1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2T. butter
1/3 c. milk
2 T. chopped onion
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed rosemary or thyme leaves or 1T. fresh

Pour mixture into a 10x17 inch greased baking dish.  Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.  Cut into squares.  Serves 6.

What’s Happening on the Farm?

I did have a few hours last Sunday to really start working in the outside garden – remember my Pythagorean theorem?  I think it will work.  I was able to get two beds planted with onions, a bed of carrots, one of beets and one of Sugar Snap peas.  And then it started to rain, and that was the end of planting for awhile.  Meanwhile planting and transplanting in the germinating house has been full speed ahead.  Lots of broccoli and other brassicia plants, tomato, pepper and eggplants and many, many herbs.  Lettuce, spinach, carrots and radishes continue growing in the greenhouses.
Herbs - Basil and Tomato Plants
The Pythagorean Garden with pathways.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6, 2013

It is finally feeling like spring, well sort of.  How about it sounds like spring?  The Red-winged Blackbirds are back making lots of noise in the trees and the Robins are like marauders overrunning my yard looking for worms.  The Canadian Geese are back on the pond along with the Mallard ducks.  And of course the ground is getting softer every day.

In Your Share this Week

New baby Spinach
·         Winter grown greenhouse spinach
·         Winter grown Buttercrunch lettuce
·         Leek
·         Eggs

You are probably wondering what to do with all of this spinach?  Spinach is very versatile.  It can be eaten raw in salads (my favorite), but that’s a lot of salad!  It can also be sauteed, steamed, added to eggs, put on pizza, layer it on a cold or warm sandwich…lots of choices. 
A quiche is an excellent option for any meal of the day.  Alone for breakfast, with a salad for lunch or a light evening meal. 
I use the biggest pie pan I can find, put a crust in it and bake until lightly golden.  You can buy ready-made piecrusts or puff pastry.  These work great and save time, especially if pie crusts aren’t your special talent (they aren’t mine!)
But if you would like to make your own:
·         1 ¼ c flour (I mix some whole wheat with the white)
·         ½ tsp. salt
·         1/3 c plus 1 tbsp. shortening (I use butter)
·         3-4 tbsp. water
Combine the flour and salt and cut the shortening into this until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle cold water, 1 tbsp. at a time, evenly over the surface; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.  Shape into a ball; cover and chill until ready to use.

Roll out the crust and place in a pie pan, prick the bottom with a fork and bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes and you are ready for the quiche ingredients. 
·         Saute the leek in a little butter before placing it on the baked quiche crust.
·         Meat:  not necessary, but I always fry a few strips of bacon, drain and layer on top of the leeks;  cooked ham or sausage would work as well.  If you want to steer clear of meat but would like protein, open and drain a can of butter beans and layer the beans on top of the leeks.  A can of tuna would work just as well.  (Tuna + bacon + 1 tsp. of powdered mustard mixed with the eggs)
·         Sliced mushrooms – if you have any.
·         Wash, drain and chop your spinach – as much or as little as you like and layer this on. (Some recipes say that you should cook your spinach first, I think it is personal choice, it wilts in the quiche anyway.)
·         Grated sharp cheddar or gruyere with your ham?  As much or as little as you want.
·         Sprinkle the top with a little salt and pepper .
·         (Chopped parsley – I hope to have some for you soon!!!!)
·         Eggs – crack and whisk.  How many?  Depends how big your pie pan is.  Start with 4, whisk with a little milk or water and pour over the top.  (Sometimes I have to whisk a few more).
Bake quiche at 350° for 40 minutes or until eggs in the center of the pie pan are set.  Eat warm or cold. 
What’s Happening on the Farm?

Buttercrunch Lettuce
Do I need to mention that everything is later this year than last?  The overwintered greens are doing well, the spring planted seeds are much slower than I had anticipated.  The early carrots are about an inch tall and were planted in February.  Hopefully there will be a little arugula next week or the week after to spice up your greens.
The outdoor garden soil is just getting ready to be tilled.  I did get two rows of leeks transplanted.  This year I decided to create permanent beds and walkways in one part of the garden.  I wanted to square this garden up and layout 50 foot rows so rotating crops and green manures will be much easier.  In order to have it look semi-professional, I wanted to square up my corners to make sure they were all 90 degree angles.  Does anyone remember how to do that from high school math?  It’s a 3-4-5 triangle with the 5 being the hypotenuse, or a2+b2=c2.  So, my a=40ft. my b=50ft and so my hypotenuse should be around 64ft.  With two tape measures, I measured either the 40 or 50 ft. segment and the 64ft line and where those met was my stake and therefore the right angle.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, it took me about 5-6 tries before I staked out the outside of the garden – hadn’t even started on the beds.  Who says we don’t use high school math?