Friday, April 15, 2011

herbal haircuts

Most of the overwintered crops have already gone to seed and many of the earliest spring crops have too. We went from cool to down right hot and back to cool so most things got confused and went to seed. Even my bok choy and cabbage that were planted in March have already bolted. The rhubarb was a bust this spring as was asparagus. Both came through the soil with seed heads on them already. It is kind of bizarre but they do make things pretty. The kale was the latest to bolt so today I went and harvested most of it. We actually eat very little kale because we don't much care for it. We have so many other green things growing that we do like and its such a pretty plant that I tend to just let them grow even though its one of the most nutrient laden good for you foods out there. Instead, I dry most of our kale. I then crumble it and use it like any other herb in recipes. This way we get more healthy green veggies and nobody has a clue that I just stuffed the equivalent of a cup of kale into their diet. I do the same with spinach and beets.

Many of the other herbs are wanting to flower already and the walkin onions are getting ready to creep. It is a little bit too early for the herbs to be doing that so I gave them all a nice hair cut and brought them all in to hang to dry since we are in the middle of our weekly power outage and nasty storm.

Monday, April 11, 2011

simple supper- greens and pasta

It is the time of year that we seem to have a surplus of greens. I am always looking for recipes that are quick, easy, budget minded and use produce that we have coming from the gardens. This one takes 30 minutes from start to finish and that includes making your own pasta. Total cost for me to prepare the dinner for 4-6 people was the price of two cups of wheat berries. Even if all products were purchased from the store total cost would be under five dollars.

pasta recipe
3 cups white or whole wheat flour
3 eggs
pinch salt
3/4 cup water (bit more or less)

mix all ingredients and roll out into a rectangle. When rolled thin, roll it up into a tube then with a sharp knife slice into discs. Unroll and toss with flour and cook in boiling water until they float or about four minutes. When I slice ours I do not unroll them and simply cook in the disc shape.

the greens
large bunch of greens (collard, turnip, kale, chard
5 cloves garlic sliced
one large onion diced
tsp salt
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2-3/4 cups fresh parmesan or asiago cheese
crumbled cooked bacon or crumbled cooked sausage (optional)
handful of cooked beans of your choosing (optional)

Wash and cut up greens. In the last minute of pasta cooking, throw the greens in to blanch. Drain. Brown garlic in butter, add seasonings and return pasta and greens to pot and mix in half the cheese. Serve and top with remaining cheese.

monday's mountain musings and garden update

We have had beautiful weather around these parts since the last round of storms. We are supposed to have some move in again this afternoon and tonight. Hopefully,these will not be as strong as the last ones. I have been working out in the gardens as much as possible to finish getting in the cooler weather crops. Since it has been so nice and the soil is 72 degrees, I have also planted warmer weather crops in small quantities. The long range forecast shows no frost in the next two weeks and that would bring us up to our typical last frost week. If by chance a frost does come, I can cover any fragile stuff or suffer the quarter loss in seed and replant. I really see no loss in trying to get ahead on planting. Here is a video of a walk through most of the gardens yesterday. I skipped the tater patch and most of the herb beds as I was too lazy to walk there. I was plum tuckered out after spending near 9 hours stooped over and squatting. One would think after over a month of working outside a lot again I would not get so tired and sore still, but I do. I sure ain't what I once was!!!

In other news, I am again in my final week of classes so when not in the gardens I have my nose stuck in virtual books researching for my final papers.One is on a subject of my choosing and I am enjoying doing the work even if it is rather tedious. It is on the effects of modernization in Appalachia.I have not decided if I like how research is done these days or not yet. Not having to go to a real library is nice but the online libraries are overwhelming and the whole never touching a real book thing is still rather odd to me.