Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: July 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Garden Grub, CSA, and Farmer's Market - July 25, 2009

Well, my cold decided to stick around for most of the week, which means I didn't cook very much. I made a couple of rounds of fried zucchini, we ate lots of tomatoes and salt, but aside from that, Brett was doing "husband duty" and keeping me loaded down with soup, orange juice, and plenty of tissues.

With that said, happily, I am feeling much better. We still had quite a bit left from the farmer's market last weekend, so we didn't need to pick up much today. I've got plans this week for some things we have been craving for awhile.

Selina has been torturing me via email with her tales of her wonderful-sounding roasted squash, onion, and hummus sandwiches on sourdough rolls. This got me to thinking hummus, which also got me to thinking falafel, which in turn got me to thinking about Greek salads. So needless to say, I am going to make a batch of Classic Hummus, falafel, tzatziki, and keep plenty of cut tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled peppers, and kalamata olives around. I also have the fixin's to make her roasted veggie and hummus sandwiches. We've also been craving our Super Easy Tasty Taco Salad, so I am going to make up a batch of Traditional Refried Beans and season up some cooked green lentils with fresh garlic, onions, chiles (sweet and hot), cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper and we are going to have taco salad with some local Country Goodies hot salsa. While I'm not planning on working on any cookbook tester recipes this week, we are going to be eating some damn tasty grub, starting with a bruschetta I am making as sooon as I am done with this post. Stay tuned, I'll take pictures and take a cue from Heather from Simple-Green-Frugal and her Market to Table posts (so drool worthy, I am telling you), and do a little "what we've eaten this week" kind of post - that is if I don't go all lazy on y'all. :-)

Anywho, our cayenne plant is working overtime! Check it out:

Another 13 gorgeous cayenne peppers.

When we were at the community garden last week, a fellow gardener was there as well. She tends to at least half a dozen plots and as a result has far more produce than she and her husband can handle, so she gives away the excess to her fellow gardeners, check out what she gave us:

First off, how cool is it that she shared? As soon as our gardens start to produce, if she is ever there with us again, we'll try to share as well. Though I'm not sure there is much we are growing that she isn't. Starting from the bottom right: a ripe banana pepper, 3 gypsy peppers, onions, baby garlic, a tomato, and a cucumber.

And here is our week 11, DanJo Farms quarter CSA veggie share:

We seriously get hooked up, I am so pleased with our CSA, the variety, the quality, and the farmer's themselves. I have heard horror stories of CSA's filled with limp and rotting vegetables, no shares at all, but we've been nothing but happy with DanJo Farm. I just wish we could afford a fruit share as well. Sigh. Someday maybe...

Starting from the bottom right: 3 tomatoes, boiler onions, a cucumber, 2 sweet peppers, a cantaloupe (!!!!!), a head of cabbage, a zucchini, and a summer squash.

Here is this week's farmer's market haul. Most of this, obviously, was for Brett. As I mentioned earlier, we still have a lot of stuff from market last week, and with our CSA share, we didn't need much from the general farmer's market area. This haul ran us $37.

Starting from the bottom right: a pound of Susie's Grass Fed Meats gyro meat (on a plastic bag so it doen't drip anything icky on our chair), a pound of Sho-Me-Farms ground beef (on the plastic bag for the same reason), Goatsbeard Farm feta, 2 bulbs of garlic from Chert Hollow Farm - one German Extra Hardy and the other Bogatyr, Country Goodies hot and regular salsa, and a bag of Uprise Bakery ciabattini.

Well, I've got some cooking to do and then there is much laziness to be had, the weekend is still young.

J' Song of the Day:
"Long Line of Cars" - Cake

Have a great weekend everyone!

'Til next time!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garden Update - Community Garden Pictures - 7/18/09; Container Garden Pictures 7/23/09

Wow, I have been horrible with the garden updates this year! We have had many 'a setbacks this time around and we have finally got things in fairly decent order.

Not sure if any of you recall or not, but we had two community garden plots at the beginning of the year. Now we have one. Let me explain why. You see, planning and attending a wedding during the first part of the growing season is just not the best idea. The plots got a little neglected with our being out of town and busy so often with wedding planning. So after the wedding, we went down to the garden and our plot with herbs, greens, squash, cucumbers, beans, and sugar snap peas was loaded with weeds. So we took to working on the weeds. We got about half way through the plot and realized there was no hay left to cover the plot with. We decided to wait a little while before really weeding to see if some hay would show up.

We wrote the community garden coordinator who said he would get some more hay to the garden whenever he had the time. These wonderful folks also have full-time jobs and family and other obligations and yet take their time to do something like make sure folks have what they need at the community garden. Anyway, it ended up taking a few weeks for him to get around to retrieving and delivering the hay. In that time, we just neglected the plot more as we would not have been able to keep up with the weeds due to constant rain, and we don't have a car, it isn't as if we could go get our own ground cover. Needless to say, we went back to look at the plots and the plot with the squash and such was just overrun. The plants were being choked out by all the grass and it was really beyond repair. Our tomato, tomatillo, carrot, and okra plot was, however, salvagable. As much as we didn't want to do it, we wrote to the community garden coordinator and asked him if he would till up the plot for someone else to use or for use next year.

So last week, with hay being available and the time being right, we went down and took care of our other plot. It was a few hours of intense weeding, but we got the plot weeded, hay put down, and all the plants tied up or tied to tomato cages. We only had one bit of trouble with our second and now only plot. Brett had gone down last Friday to begin the task, as it was a big one, crab grass really gets rooted and is hard to get out. He did about a quarter of the plot, and left our tools, tomato cages, and stakes down in the plot so we could go finish the next day. We had two tomatillo plants, one near each end of the plot. Now sadly, I didn't get to see this tomatillo plant before it was too late, but one had reached a massive height of about 4 feet tall and was loaded down with blooms. It was also hanging a bit over into the neighbors plot. Not a big deal, thought Brett, since we were coming down the next day to finish taking care of it, and our plot had been seemingly unattended for weeks prior and nobody had bothered it. Well the next day when we went to finish the job, Brett found our prized tomatillo plant ripped out of the ground and laying next to our plot. Our neighbor thought it was a weed and pulled it. We were a bit pissed as tomatillos really don't look anything like weeds and why now? Why after it had been in his plot for weeks did he decide when we were actually staking up and taking care of the plot to rip it out? We sent out a respectful, but slightly angry email indicating that the proper course of action is to contact the community garden coordinator, not just start messing with other people's plots. But it was too little too late for that tomatillo. I guess on the bright side, we do still have one.

Okay, check out the selected pictures of the community garden plot. I am really lazy, I know, as these pictures were taken last Saturday.

Not the greatest picture, but it gives you an idea of what our plot now looks like.

This is our remaining tomatillo plant. It's just a regular 'ol green husk tomatillo plant.

It has a lot of fruit developing on it! It seems that the tomatillos plants are the bumble bees' favorite. They flock to this plant like I've never seen them do with other plants.

Some Moneymaker tomatoes.

Here is a picture of some nicer looking Moneymaker tomatoes.

Some lovely striped Tigerella tomatoes.

A bad picture of some okra.

The only thing I didn't get a picture of were the carrots. I'll try to remember to get a picture of them when we go down next time.

And on to the container garden.

A week or so ago, I checked last years' garden updates to try to gauge our pepper plants' progress at this point. It seemed like they were behind, and looking at our updates from last year, our hunch was substantiated. We started all but the serrano plants from seed this year and had a bit of trouble starting out. We weren't very on the ball with things - I was dealing with a bit of anxiety troubles and in February, gardening isn't always on the brain. So long story short, the seedlings that actually did take hold were started a few weeks later than they should have been. BUT, the plants are starting to flower and produce, so I can't complain too much. Gardening is a learning experience and I am just thankful that I don't rely on, for my livelihood, their doing well. We'd be in a bit of trouble if that were the case. :-0

So here are the pictures of the container garden that I took yesterday morning.

This cayenne plant, one of the few successful early starts has produced more already than our cayenne from last year did. And they are so darn good looking cayennes too. These are in various stages of ripening.

Here is another picture of the cayenne plant, you can see there are green ones, some that are starting to ripen, and some that are just about there.

I need to get off my lazy butt and get that ristra started!

Some jalapenos.

A blurry picture of a New Mexico chile.

Wow, I am stoked that I finally did a garden update. I gotta stop slacking so much. I mentioned, I believe, two weeks ago something about a cookbook teaser post I would be doing that I have still yet to do. I think I just have to accept it, I am lazy. So I will say this, I would like to get a cookbook teaser post up at some point in the near future. That is about as much detail as I am willing to give.

Happy Friday everyone!

'Til next time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Garden Grub, CSA, and Farmer's Market - July 18, 2009

It is a gorgeous day here in Columbia this fine Saturday. Not even 70 yet, sunny, with a slight breeze - you really couldn't ask for better weather. Which is why, I suppose, Mother Nature determined that I was due for a cold. But, we did have a very successful trip to the farmer's market and I also stopped by the library yesterday for a new haul of books, so I think I'm going to open up the apartment and settle into a book for the day, try to rest and keep the cold from getting too bad. The uncontrollably runny nose, cloudy head, and slight cough really feel out of place in the summer, but hey - what are you going to do? Spending a Saturday in a comfy chair reading a good book doesn't sound too bad, eh? Always gotta look for that bright side, that silver lining, and all those other cliches that I can't think of at the moment.

Anyways, we got a bit of garden booty this week, check it out:

Twelve ripe and beautiful cayennes. There are probably close to that number of chiles on the three plants in various stages of ripening as well. The cayennes do quite well here I must say. Looks like I'm going to have to start a ristra tomorrow.

And this lovely load of booty below is our week ten DanJo Farms CSA quarter veggie share, I'm telling you, it just keeps getting better and better each week!

Starting from the top: 3 ears of sweet corn, an onion, green beans, 2 cucumbers, and a zucchini.

Check out this week's farmer's market haul. This ran us $24 and not pictured is a pound of Sho-Me-Farms ground beef we got for Brett that was put into the freezer before the picture was taken.

Starting from the top: cilantro, 6 ears of sweet corn, 5 tomatoes, 6 small boiler onions, 12 jalapenos, 6 unripe cherry bomb chiles, a yellow zucchini, a regular zucchini, and a quart of Country Goodies zesty dill pickles (they put a jalapeno in the brine with the cukes!).

We made out quite well this week. I am always surprised when folks say that the farmer's market is too expensive. While processed things like bread, cheese, salsa, jam, etc., do cost a little bit more than the corporate versions at the grocery store, the quality is far better and the produce is where the real savings lie. Try getting the haul above at the grocery store (it is almost all organic too mind you) for $24, I don't think it would happen.

Well, I'm off to do a little garden work at the community garden with Brett while I still feel good enough to do something, then we'll have some corn on the cob, and I will settle myself into a good book.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

'Til next time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Farmer's Market and CSA - July 11, 2009

Happy Sunday everyone. It is a rainy day here in Mid-Missouri, but we aren't going to complain, now we don't have to water the gardens, nature will do it for us! A bit of an aside - I apologize for the lack of Garden Updates this year, we have had some issues with our community garden that we have finally figured out a solution to, so hopefully next week I can get some pictures of both gardens and give an update.

As you will notice, we didn't get much from market this week. We decided it would be nice for me to have a bit of a break in the kitchen, so this week we are going to do really easy, tried and true meals, instead of 3-5 tester recipes that I have tried to plan each week. It will be nice to have a break, it is no fun when cooking feels like a chore. Not to mention, I still have some goodies from last week's market left over to use up.

Enough of my rambling, check out this week's goodies!

This is this week's DanJo Farms quarter veggie CSA share:

I decided to take the pictures outside this week for better lighting and a little change-up. Starting from the bottom: green beans, carrots, a cucumber, a very large zucchini, and four orange tomatoes.

And this week's farmer's market haul. This ran us a whopping $7.

Two heads of German Extra Hardy garlic from Chert Hollow Farm and two of the first of the season cantaloupe. To me, summer hasn't really begun until the cantaloupe have arrived. And I'm not sure if any of you care or are aware of this but cantaloupe is my favorite food - period, it even tops out sriracha and spicy food, there is nothing like a perfectly ripe cantaloupe.

Speaking of our cookbook though, I have enough new recipes for another teaser post which I will work on sometime this week.

I hope everyone has had a great weekend - though I must say, weekends are never long enough.

'Til next time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Garden Grub, CSA, and Farmer's Market - July 4, 2009

This week's market fell on the 4th of July, but that didn't stop anyone from coming out - neither vendors nor patrons. It was an excellent market, albeit the weather was overcast, but it was also fairly cool so I won't complain. My grandparents, known as Nanny and Papa, came down on Saturday and went to market with us. After market we came back and went through wedding pictures and had a nice brunch served family style. We had veggies and scrambled eggs, spicy black beans, plain brown rice, roasted potatoes, sour cream and cheese for the dairy eaters, small tortillas, and Indiana salsa from the one and only Selina. I also made corn on the cob slathered with butter, chipotle chile powder, garlic, and cotija cheese. I had mine sans cotija and it rocked nonetheless. All around it was an awesome visit complete with good food.

We also got a tiny bit of garden grub this week, so let's start off with that.

3 more cayennes from the cayenne plant we refer to as "the Big Cayenne". We have three cayenne pepper plants, but one was started inside back in February and got a mighty head start on the others.

Check out this week's Danjo Farms quarter CSA share. We didn't have to get nearly as much from market after getting our CSA share, it had all sorts of needed goodies in it:

Starting from the bottom right: carrots (!!!!!), a yellow summer squash, 3 zucchini, 4 cucumbers, and 2 orange tomatoes.

And finally, this week's farmer's market haul. This ran us $32.

Starting from the bottom right: epazote (!!!!!), 2 black Hungarian peppers, 4 jalapenos, 2 gypsy sweet peppers, 2 Anaheim peppers, 6 ears of sweet corn, a pinto of yellow new potatoes, cilantro, 3 heads of green garlic from Chert Hollow Farm (one is Georgian Fire like we got last week, I cannot remember what the other two were called but it was a fairly "standard" variety in terms of flavor), Country Goodies zesty dill pickles, and 2 bunches of small, sweet red onions.

We tried the Georgian Fire garlic last week at the suggestion of Eric, from Chert Hollow. He suggested it as it was a spicier variety of garlic and we were planning on using it in Mexican food. I was a bit nervous as I know that some varieties of garlic, especially the strong ones, can have a bit of a bitter quality to them. Not this garlic, it is very, very good garlic. It is spicy, and the flavor is bold, but it is also smooth, and not bitter at all. It is even a bit creamy. We used it in both Mexican and Asian food (the Manchurian-ish Mushrooms) and we really enjoyed it. I'd like to try Georgian Fire out in refried beans, but we were only able to get one head of it this weekend and it is almost already gone. Eric informed us that the cured garlic, in all their varieties, will be available next weekend at market. I am really looking forward to that. So far, in our garlic tasting experience, our favorites are Music, Georgian Fire, and German Extra Hardy.

There is lots of good food to be made this week. Most of it will be cookbook related. Selina and I are very focused on making the cookbook a priority when we determine what we are going to make for our daily meals, so we've both been immersed in the world of Mexican. I hope to have a second cookbook teaser post up in a week or two.

I hope everyone has had a great weekend, any American's out there had a wonderful 4th of July, and everyone has a wonderful Sunday.

J's Song of the Day:
"Fever" - Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Smith

'Til next time.