Cucumber salad

Spring spinach salad is a distant memory, lettuce salads are done until fall, and slaw is about to wrap up for the season, too. So, it is time to move on to salads of summer vegetables, such as this cucumber salad. It is best if the cukes are sliced to near paper-thinness, though it is still plenty good with lazy thicker slices. A slicer attachment on a food processor is a good way to produce thin slices for a large batch. Let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to blend the flavors. Or, skip that step (as we often do) before the first serving, but make enough for several meals at once. Continue reading

Borscht master recipe

Borscht (beet soup), chilled or hot, can be an excellent way to use a variety of spring produce. Detailed recipes abound, but you really just need a sense of the basic structure of the soup to adapt it to whatever is on hand. Below we present our loose master recipe for borscht, based on spring produce from the farm, which makes an easy meal that’s great for leftovers as it serves well chilled on a hot day. Continue reading

Asian cabbage slaw

We love fresh cabbage, and by far our favorite recipe is based on the Asian Cabbage Slaw from Moosewood New Classics. This is a vinegar-based recipe, which we much prefer to mayo-based slaws. Everyone we serve this to goes nuts over it, and we can eat it by the gallon. Slaw contents can be quite variable based on the season. Here’s our spring version of this dish, incorporating the wide variety of slaw-compatible produce available right now and a few personal touches. Continue reading

Adapting a great Mexican pumpkin-seed sauce

Rick Bayless has a great recipe for a Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce using lots of fresh ingredients that are generally in season in spring. Its complex flavor is fantastic with meats or vegetables, and is well worth trying; it’s quite easy to make vegetarian if desired. The link above is to a rather poorly formatted Readers Digest version but will give you the idea. However, like many recipes, we often adapt it to meet the ingredients we have on-farm, since we don’t grocery shop on a regular basis and prefer creativity to targeted purchases. The original produces a thick green sauce that looks & tastes quite nice. The version we present below results in a equally good, but far more hideous-looking, brown sauce that doesn’t photograph well. The major difference involves replacing green pumpkin seeds, which we don’t normally have around, with organic Missouri pecans, which we order in bulk as our basic house nut (other than me). Below we’ll present the original and our latest adaptation of it, to illustrate how you can be creative with interesting recipes and items on hand. Continue reading

Ribs & borscht

We’re eating a lot of salads, sautes, stir fries, and other seasonal dishes lately that make quick & easy use of the produce on hand during our long and busy days. Tuesday’s dinner, though, was a nice treat based on a more even mix of fresh product and still-preserved items, highlighting the quality and diversity of foods we’re able to prepare and eat year-round sourced primarily from just this farm. All on-farm ingredients listed in italics. Continue reading

Home yogurt making

As non-fans of drinking milk on its own, we love making fresh yogurt as an alternative. It’s quite versatile in the kitchen, usable for everything from breakfast to dessert, and we easily go through 2 quarts a week or more. Before we established our own year-round milk supply, we found that we could make a batch of yogurt from local organic milk for about half the price of buying the equivalent volume of organic plain yogurt, with what we considered superior flavor and not shipped in from far away. Whether with our goat’s milk or your own preferred source, learning to make yogurt at home can be a really rewarding and cost-efficient process if you have a little time to spare. Continue reading

Homemade whole-milk ricotta

Whole-milk ricotta is the easiest fresh cheese to make at home, requiring fairly standard kitchen equipment and a minimum of steps. It doesn’t take very long and produces a very tasty and versatile product which we think tastes much better than the ricotta that’s readily available in stores. By some definitions, whole-milk ricotta is not really a cheese (because there’s no culture or rennet), and it’s technically not true ricotta (which is made from reheating whey of hard cheese but produces miniscule quantities of curd). However, we consider the simple process and tasty results to be a good first step into home cheese-making. Continue reading

Using (raw) milk as an ingredient

We ran a survey of our CSA members this week, assessing interest in receiving deliveries of raw goat’s milk from the farm under the condition that it’s not to be consumed raw (read more about this here and here). Quite a few people expressed theoretical interest tempered with some version of “I like the idea but I don’t know what to do with it if I can’t drink it”. This is thoroughly understandable, given the very Western/American cultural view of milk primarily as a pure drink, quite different from many other cultures’ uses of the product. In this and further posts, we’re going to discuss various other ways to use and handle milk in the home to create lots of fresh and tasty foods. Even for folks not interested in our goat’s milk (or for non-CSA members), there’s a lot to learn here about diverse ways to use good milk to make new foods and often save money. (If nothing else, many of these recipes/techniques are the base of versatile ways to use vegetables.) Non-organic goat’s milk is currently selling at a local grocery chain for over $5/quart, as compared to our price of $6/half-gallon, and the equivalent yogurts and cheeses you can make are even pricier. Continue reading

Using mint in beverages

One of our favorite ways to use mint is to infuse its flavor into various beverages. Most of these involve heating the liquid, then tossing in a few sprigs of mint. To maximize the mint flavor, we’ve found that it is best to add the mint when the liquid is a bit below the boiling point of water. Here are a few recipes for using mint in diverse beverages including tea, mojitos, and chocolate milk. Continue reading