Nov 20, 2013

Washing and Prepping CSA Box Veggies

If you have seen any of my "What's in the Box?" posts, then you know that every week for the last 6 weeks, we've gotten a huge box of fresh veggies. 

No pre-washed, pre-bagged produce here.  Everything we get is straight from the field.  It takes a bit of work to get it ready to go into the fridge, but it's worth it to keep things at their peak for as long as possible.  

These are the steps I take to wash and prep the produce each week. 

With only 2 weeks of the autumn season left, I'm really writing this for myself so I can remember the process I've developed when spring rolls back around.

Step 1 
Open the box and lay veggies on counter, remove any hitchhikers(bugs)

Step 2
Arrange artistically and take a picture for blog entry.

Step 3 
this fall, 3 categories have worked well

A-no washing needed prior to storage:   very clean sweet potatoes, onions, etc.  Sorry there's no pic, I already put the sweet potatoes away. 

B-needs washing before storage

C-requires extra processing before washing root veggies, corn if not to be cooked in husk, etc.

Step 4
Put up items in Category A

Step 5
Process items in Catagory C
For example:  cut tops off of root vegetables.  If tops are edible, set them aside with other greens to be washed.

Step 6
Thoroughly wash veggies starting with cleanest and working to dirtiest, by spraying with veggie cleaner, rubbing,  scrubbing, or soaking.
Spin greens in salad spinner to remove extra water. 
Set on towel to dry.

Step 7

Nov 18, 2013

What's in the CSA box?Week 6

This week we received: 
1 bunch of vitamin greens, 2 bunches of arugula, 1 bunch radishes, 2 bunches of beets, 2 bunches of carrots, 2 purple kohlrabbi, 1 bunch of swiss chard, 1 bunch onions?, 1 red cabbage, 1 head cauliflower, and 3 sweet potatoes

plus this weeks extra: 

We also had a few unexpected visitors.

Like most people, I don't like bugs in or on my food, but as my dad would say "they don't eat much"  and I try to see it as a positive thing.  After all, if the bugs are fresh, so is the food.

Nov 15, 2013

Onion and Chard Quiche

With all the super fresh veg from the Doe Run Farm CSA, I've been creating and trying new recipes.  This caramelized onion and Swiss chard quiche was a hit in my house with kids and grown ups alike.

pie crust of your choosing
1 T olive oil
1-2 onions sliced (if you really love onions use 2 or even 3)
large bunch of Swiss chard washed and chopped 
(stems chopped separately)
3 eggs
1 1/2 C skim milk
"Fine herbs" or any other herb blend to taste
freshly grated nutmeg
1 T corn starch.
freshly ground pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 C Grated Monterrey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Heat saute pan or skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil to pan and saute onions and chard stems till tender.  Add chard leaves and cook til leaves are tender.  Continue cooking to "dry" the ingredients and remove excess moisture.

While onions and greens are cooking, whisk together milk, eggs, cornstarch, herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Prepare pie crust.  Fill uncooked pie shell with onion and chard mixture.  Top with cheese, then pour on milk and egg mixture.  Bake at 425 for 15 min.  Then lower heat and continue baking 30-40 min or until custard is set and a knife comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.


Nov 13, 2013

What's in the CSA box? Fall Week 5


This week we received:
2 bunches of carrots, 1 bunch of radishes, 2 bunches of beets, 2 purple kohlrabi,  3 sweet potatoes, 1 bunch of arugula, 1 bunch of red lettuce, 1 bunch of swiss chard, several turnips with the tops removed, 2 tomatoes, and 1 very large head of cabbage

Plus freebies:
extra turnips and cauliflower

Nov 10, 2013

Pumpkin Planter How to

Need a long lasting splash of color for your fall gatherings, but don't want to spend big bucks on a fussy arrangement from a florist that is just going to wilt and die after a few days?
 For about $5, and 10 minutes, this little cutie pie is easy on your eyes and your wallet.  And in my experience, can last up to a month inside or on a patio.

Step 1 Decide if you want to use a plastic liner(juice bottle).  

The benefit to using a liner, is that if you need the arrangement before Halloween, but not after, you can actually remove the liner and plant leaving a carve-able pumpkin shell, and a plant for your garden. 
However, by not using a liner, when the planter has severed it's purpose you can move it to the garden and plant it pumpkin shell and all.  The shell will compost and enrich the soil, while the flowers will continue to thrive (weather and climate permitting)

Step 2  Mark and Cut the opening.

If you are using a plastic bottle, go ahead and cut the bottle in half about  1 inch shorter than your pumpkin, and use the top section as a guide to mark the opening.  Without a plastic bottle, cut your hole at least as big as the root mass of the plant your using.

Step 3  Scoop out the guts.  

If you are using the plastic bottle, slide it into the pumpkin and trim the top edge so it is flush with the pumpkin.

Step 4  Add the plant.  
Add extra dirt if needed so the plant is secure within the pumpkin shell, or plastic bottle.

Step 5 Water and admire.
Makes a sweet centerpiece, or add a few sticks and use it to display wares at fall craft shows.  It also makes fabulous Halloween decor adorned with "shrunken"  apple heads and "zombies".

Nov 8, 2013

Pictures from the Fall 2013 Southland Flywheelers Show

Back in early October, I attended the Southland Flywheelers 2013 Fall Tractor Show and History Expo as a demonstrator of:  

I took several items for display like Apple Doll Magnets,
 Witch Pins, and Shrunken Heads.

I also brought a few dolls.

 The lady in blue is Mary.  The fellow with her is Abraham.  They both have painted, sealed faces, with pose-able bodies and hands.  Martha, (seated in the front) has a soft body and an unsealed face, like most traditional Apple dolls.  Over time, her face will oxidize and darken to black.

This little lady had a name, but was sold/bartered, almost as soon as she was set out, to a fellow demonstrator, who was happy to let me keep her on display til the end of the day.

Speaking of other demonstrators, we didn't have as many this year, but the ones that came were great.  There was a blacksmith, cabinet maker, spinners, dyers, and a chair caner.

 This is Lou Ann Poole, a sweet and spirited person I'm proud to call friend.  

She is one of those amazing women who can and does do, just about everything.  She and her husband Mark even built a log cabin in their back yard to practice open hearth cooking.  For this event, she demonstrated chair caning.

Another dear friend of mine, is Master Cabinet Maker Christopher Lang.He received training in Williamsburg and has since worn many hats from historical interpreter, to curator, to furniture restorer, to stay at home dad.  No matter what his current title, his skills and tools are always kept sharp.  If you need an antique restored, he is the go to guy in the area.  

  This gorgeous hand made cherry sewing box will be mine in the very near future as payment for a set of historical clothing I made for his daughter.  There is a divided tray(not shown) that sits in the sewing box.  I had the opportunity at this event to choose the layout of the dividers and am so excited to see how it will turn out.
* Update 1-6-14:  The box is now finished and in my possession.  You can see pictures here.  
Other presenters and their displays:  

Nov 6, 2013

What's in the CSA box? Fall Week 4

This week we received:
2 bunches of carrots, a bunch of radishes, a bunch of beets, 2 bunches of salad turnips, 2 bunches of arugula, 3 sweet potatoes, 1 onion, 1 butternut squash, 3 kohlrabi, and a small head of cabbage

Plus freebies:
extra radishes

As usual, I wasted no time turning the radish tops into radish pesto.  The radish bottoms got some special treatment this week and have been reincarnated as radish pickles. 

These turned out to be so pretty.  I took a standard ratio for vinegar to water to sugar to salt, that I found across several recipes.  Then did my own thing with the spices, adding turmeric to get more of an orange color.  

They look nice, but how do they taste?  
Well, lets just say there is a reason I'm not including my recipe modifications here.  They are o.k., but not great.  

In my opinion, my pickled radishes taste better than their raw unaltered counterparts, but they need something added or left out.  I'm not exactly sure which.  Back to the drawing board for me.  

Good thing I have a crisper full of radishes.

Update: 11/16/13
I tried these again today and while I still don't love them, they are much better than they were.  I'm hoping they will improve with age.  Cloves.  I really wish they had more of a clove taste.