Jul 30, 2010

And the Winners....

That's right! I said winners with an S at the end! That makes is plural, and that means that Jessica and Bridget both won the contest. Yay!!!

My camera was memory cardless, so I didn't get any shots of the huge celebratory party we held at Long Meadow Farm in honor of Bridget and Jessica, but trust me, it was out of this world.

I'll send some details along this weekend, but in the mean time, both of you ladies should be looking for fabulous recipes involving kale and basil and other mystery vegetables.

This coming week, posting will be even lighter than it's been lately. But I'll be back in force before you know it.

Jul 27, 2010

Some Hits and a Miss

July 27, 2010

Has this blog been neglected, or what? I absolutely hate it when work gets in the way of my internet time. I work part-time for a reason, and it's not because of my kids if you know what I mean.

In spite of my work projects, we've had some good stuff popping up in the kitchen at my joint. In case you haven't yet noticed, I'm knee deep in Adult ADD and couldn't follow a recipe if the life of my dog depended on it, so I just make sh!t up. And sometimes, it really does taste like sh!t.

But this was okay:

CSA kale and summer squash sauteed in olive oil, drizzled with red wine vinegar and topped with a big ass slab of mozzarella. I love cheese, especially fresh mozzarella. And I'll tell you what, if it didn't make me all kinds of constipated, I'd eat it every day.

This was good, too:

I put three potatoes in the microwave and mashed 'em up with CSA green onion, CSA garlic, CSA dill, some olive oil, and half a stick of butter.

And this? Well this was good enough to serve up at The Olive Garden--my mark of true culinary greatness:

Pasta tossed with sauteed with CSA squash and kale. I added four million pounds of salt and a bucket of olive oil. What can I say? It gave it a good flavor.

These are refrigerator pickles. Perfect for those of us who are too lazy to can things:

All you do is soak your CSA cucumbers in vinegar, salt, peppercorns, and whatever else you feel like putting in. Sometimes I like to add Ring Dings, or those soft carmel candies with the white dot in the middle.

And finally we had this tonight. It's Cabbage Au Gratin and I actually used a real life recipe:

It was just okay. I think it would work best served at a nursing home, or a work camp for refugees. I still have a whole mess of cabbage au gratin to finish up, so I plan to make the best of it by smothering it in bacon.

For those of you who really love old people food, here's the recipe:

Saute 1 sliced cabbage and 1 chopped onion in 1 TBSP of butter for 20 minutes over medium heat.
Add 1.5 cups of milk and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer on low for 5 minutes.
Add 4 well beaten eggs and stir continuously.
Add .75 cup of bread crumbs and keep on stirring.
Top with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

It's best served on a TV tray while wearing a house dress.

Jul 24, 2010

Week 7: Holy Over Abundance!

July 24, 2010

Oh. My. Balls. This week's share was beyond ginormous. Any kind of plant eater, even a triceratops, would be 100% blown away by this haul.

Check it out:

Do you ever fill your entire shopping cart with vegetables?  Me neither, but trust me, this load would have done it. If I had bought this produce from the grocery store, there's no way I could have fit my Cocoa Pebbles into the basket--unbelievable.

The breakdown looks something like this:

3 bunches of kale (I took one from the extra pile because I'm insane)
2 bags of lettuce
3 heads of cabbage (there were a zillion in the extra pile, but I passed)
2 bunches of swiss chard
1 giant zucchini
2 onions with ginormous greens
2 yellow squash
2 heads of garlic
1 light green squash
2 pat a pan squash
11 (!) cucumbers (3 from the extra basket)
1 bag of multi-colored carrots

I also headed over to the pick-your-own section and went home with nice, fluffy bunches of basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, and dill.

I've already made a huge batch of hash browns with kale, roasted carrots (this time with onions and dill), and a nice, big bowl of cole slaw. If you want more explicit recipes for any of these earth shattering delicacies, let me know and I'll post in on the recipes page--but if not, I'll bask in my continued laziness.

Today, I want to focus on swiss chard. Here's a stock photo:

I know it's beautiful to look at, but you know what? It's disgusting.

One time, when I was a kid, my sister dared to me eat some ear wax. Let's just say that swiss chard can be held solely responsible for a really nasty flash back.

Thankfully, I learned how to manipulate swiss chard beyond the point of recognition--in the form of pesto.

We already ate one batch, but I put four more in the freezer. Apparently, it freezes really well:

The bag on the left is a double batch and the other two are enough for one box of pasta each. Thankfully, the pesto used up every last leaf of that completely hideous vegetable of the devil swiss chard.

I used my immersion blender to chop and mix 2 bunches of swiss chard, a handful of basil, a handful of parsley, a few green onions, some slivered almonds, and enough vegetable oil to give it the right consistency. Salt and pepper only help the cause.

And now, I'll leave you with some pictures of James and his new best friend, the crazy cucumber.

It's a necklace:

It's a crown:

It's a belt:

It's a mustache:

Hoo boy--it's either a noose or an Abraham Lincoln beard. Hard to tell:

Jul 22, 2010

Local Loves

July 22, 2010

I've got to say, that the absolute best part of eating local has been meeting all kinds of new people who live just down the street. Sure I love the CSA girls over at Long Meadow Farm, but how about the granola makers and the honey producers of Maine? Believe me when I tell you that I love them, too.

And you know what? They deserve some serious pluggage, so here goes...

Have you tried Grandy Oats Granola? It's 100% organic, it's made in Brownfield, the owner is an absolute love who is insanely passionate about organic oats, and it tastes fantastical. As if that's not enough of a sell, Grandy Oats Granola is priced almost identically to Bare Naked, their primary non-organic competitor. You can buy it at Whole Foods, Hannaford, Health Food Stores, and straight from the website. Its calories come from organic nuts and organic dried fruit--not all kinds of added fat and sugar. And--this is a good one--the granola comes in a reusable BPA free container. Seriously, now that I've discovered Grandy Oats, I'll never buy tupperware again.

Another product I'm completely loving on right now is Root Cellar Preserves. While they're not local to Maine, they're local to New England via Massachusetts, and that's good enough for me. I bought a jar of their zesty sweet pickles at Whole Foods last week, and let me tell you, I'm now a certified pickle snob. I scoff at Vlassic and the lowly peasants who enjoy them. Ha ha (that was me scoffing).

And as an added perk, fifty percent (FIFTY PERCENT!) of their profits go toward the restoration of antique New England homesteads. We're New Englanders! Souless subdivisions can kiss our patriot asses! We like old stuff! Now go buy pickles to help save it all!

And then, there's the place that's so close to my heart it might as well just open up my chest cavity and crawl inside--Wildmirth Farm. Wildmirth is owned and operated by my new friend Monika, and this woman, far and away produces the most beautiful honey you'll ever have the privilege of tasting. Aside from that, she's generous and sweet and kind. She basically flits around Central Maine, gifting friends and strangers with hugs, and recycled jars of her complete amazingness. She's like a honey missionary.

This past week, she came to my house and left those two jars behind. One was for my family, and the other was for a sweet little friend who's working like heck to get his good health back. After all, he's three, the has a lot of things on his to do list--climbing, sliding, running around naked. He's my kind of kid.

Monika charges $7 a jar, but she strongly prefers a good old-fashioned barter. In exchange for my next jar of honey I plan to gift her with the joy of my children for an entire weekend while I jet off for a mini-vacation. I love bartering.

If you're interested in Monika's honey, let me know and I'll put you two in touch.

And finally, this week, my sister-in-law and I loaded up the car for a day-trip and took the kids up to Steep Hill Farm for some blueberry picking. Between the toots, the screaming, and the cousin-fighting, we sucked the peace right out of that place. But now that we've gone, and you can rest assured we won't ruin your experience, you should absolutely go.

Don't miss my post from earlier today. It's all about foods that should get busy more often.

Foods that Should Hump

July 22, 2010

We've already established that chocolate and zucchini should get together on a more regular basis. But you know what else should get to humping? Butter and soy sauce:

This is cabbage, sauteed in butter with almonds and sesame seeds, and sprinkled with soy sauce. The creamy butter and salty soy sauce? You could have bent me over and spanked me and I swear I wouldn't have noticed. It took me to another place.

And this? This was freaking good, too:

CSA green beans, rice, and pan fried scallops marinated in lime juice, olive oil, and CSA mint. The lime/mint combination never occurred to me until I did a little internet searching, but I've got to say, those two might think about getting a room tonight, too.

Jul 20, 2010

Cake Love

July 20, 2010

This past week, a fellow CSA member gave me a life changing tip. She told me, that when zucchini and chocolate cake 'have intimate  realations', really great things happen. I followed her recipe to the very last detail, and this was the result:

Um, oh my word.

Even my nephew, who literally wretches at the sight of green vegetables, ate three pieces. The poor kid never suspected a thing. If at all possible, peel the zucchini before you grate it. This completely eliminates all signs of green vegetablishness and will sufficiently fool boys and men alike.

This next recipe, on the other hand, wouldn't fool a 90-year-old blind man with dull taste buds:

Those are homemade veggie burgers, and I swear up and down that they taste really great. I used a few different recipes to adapt my own. Here's how it works:

Empty 1 can of drained chick peas, 1/2 cup of oats, 1/4 cup of sesame seeds, 3 or 4 chopped kale leaves, and a few chunks of fresh garlic to the food processor. Mix it up until it's smooth and add 1-2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil to the mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes on each side. Put one burger on your child's plate and watch him run away--usually not a bad thing.

And finally, a quick Asian stir-fry I made last night for friends:

Yellow squash, purple cabbage, chopped kale, onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil. Add soy sauce to taste. Dump some red quinoa to the mix, and you have yourself a meal! Especially if you top it off with some of that cake.

Jul 17, 2010

Week 6: Dirty Girls

July 17, 2010

I don't know about you, but I think this is a fantastic view of Long Meadow Farm. Makes me want to run around naked. But I'll he honest here, a lot of scenarios have that effect on me:

Down in the front of the picture, you can see part of the pick-your-own section of the farm. There's basil, cilantro, mint, all kind of medicinal herbs that I'm 100% clueless about, and some flowers, too. I don't think the pick-your-own section is technically open yet, but technically speaking, I'm really bad at following rules. The basil's fantastic.

Here's a shot of the beautiful ladies who toil in the field to provide my family with a continuous supply of kale:

Left to right we have Caitlin, Anna, Maggie (who pooped on Anna's shirt three seconds after I took this picture), Betsey, and Michele.

Now I know they appear to be a little rough around the edges, but I'm pretty sure that if you hosed 'em down or put 'em through an electric car wash, any one of them would be completely suitable to bring to a homecoming dance.

These are Caitlin's feet:

And from everything I could tell, those mason jars are Caitlin's water bottles. C'mon now, how au natural is that?

When we got to the farm on Thursday night, Anna, Caitlin, and Betsey were getting ready to watch a movie (probably something foreign...or independent...probably not featuring Will Ferrell), and scrambling around getting their snacks ready.

Now me? When I get ready to watch a movie, I usually run down the street to Cumby's and come back with Twizzlers, some Gatorade and a bag of those Andy Capp Hot Fries. Don't judge--it's an ugly habit.

But these girls are cut from a whole different mold. Anna grabbed two little cabbages and was like, "I need to make a stir-fry before we start the movie."

And Caitlin was all, "Wait for me!!!! I just need to whip up some quick granola, it only takes a sec!"

I looked at James and said, "Let's go to Dairy Queen for dinner."


As usual, this week's haul didn't even come close to disappointing:

Before I snapped this picture, I'd already used a zucchini and and a yellow squash to make some lunch:

It's a mish-mash of squash, zucchini, frozen corn, and black beans. It's topped with salsa made from CSA green onions, garlic, and cilantro.

The grand total for this week looks like this:

2 zucchini
5 yellow squash
2 UFO-looking squashes
a whole mess of baby cucumbers
2 heads of garlic
2 bunches of kale
a bag of green beans
a bag of broccoli
2 purple cabbages
1 torpedo shaped green cabbage

Don't forget to tell your friends about the contest!!!

Jul 15, 2010

Pre Pick-Up Rush

July 15, 2010

If you never have the chance to eat roasted carrots before you die, then you've absolutely lived an unfulfilled life.

Before my Long Meadow Farm days, I had absolutely no idea that carrots came in any color other than orange. Next thing you know, Mother Nature will start making yellow and purple Cheetos.

I pick up our share this afternoon, so when lunchtime rolled around and I still had some vegetables to finish up, I got creative. I ended up with a dang good lunch:

I stir-fired some kale, green onions, basil and squash in olive oil. Then I added breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and noodles. If you're looking for an Italianish flavor, get crazy and add some breadcrumbs to your stir fry. Way greasy. Way good.

And just so you know, you can blanch a zillion different vegetables--not just leafy greens. If you buy it frozen at the supermarket, then you can blanch it and freeze it at home. This is blanched squash about to hit the freezer:

That way I can torture my husband in the dead of winter, too.

Jul 13, 2010

Accidental Vegan

June 13, 2010

I just realized, that for the last couple of days, I've unintentionally made a lot of vegan recipes. I swear, if there was a way to make animal-free steak, I'd jump on the bandwagon right this minute.

If you ignore the Ritz crackers over there, this soup is totally vegan:

I threw a whole mess of stuff into the crock pot (vegetable broth, a cubed CSA summer squash, a can of rinsed chick peas, a cup of brown rice, some CSA carrots, and 3 or 4 leaves of chopped CSA kale leaves) and let it go for a couple hours.

Believe it or not, it wasn't bad. Even my five-year-old ate a bowl without calling me any horrible, humiliating names.

Here's another fabulous vegan CSA creation:

Hash browns with rosemary, CSA green onion, and CSA kale chopped so small that I swear you don't even know it's there. We had these hash browns with grilled squash and chicken.

And this zucchini bread? It's vegan, too:

But only because I didn't have any eggs in the fridge. It actually turned out really well despite the lack of eggs. I guess a whole cup of sugar can fix anything.

Jul 12, 2010

The Contest!!!

July 12, 2010

If you haven't seen it, make sure you check out the fantastic contest I'm hosting for the farm. If you're available do to a local pick-up, you can win one week of a CSA share from Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner, Maine!

For details, just click on THE CONTEST!!! tab up at the top of the page.

If you decide to enter, please be sure to include your name and your email address in the comment--we've had a couple of anonymous commenters forget to leave any identifying information--and if they win, it could take a whole lot of detective work to get the cabbage to its rightful owner.

Your email won't be added to any kind of a list, it's just so I have a way to contact you if you win. If you feel nervous about posting it in the comments, you can email your address to me at LawsonAmyB @ yahoo . com--but you still need to leave a comment to be entered.

And please, pass this along to all of your family and friends in the area. It's an awesome prize, and the more people who know about Long Meadow Farm, the better.

Jul 10, 2010

Cabbage and Squash

July 10, 2010

This week, we got a whole mess of squash in our CSA basket. I love squash, James and Maggie love squash, but my husband? The man who will eat lightly breaded cow testicles? He plain old can't handle squash.

But this time around, he's been trying really, really hard.

On Thursday night, I made this:

It's nothing super special--just pasta with sauce from a jar, sliced up squash, and some fresh basil torn and tossed on top (okay, I guess that last part is pretty special). It was really easy to make--all I did was slice the squash super thin and put in the sauce to cook.

And guess what? My husband successfully swallowed two paper thin squash slices! Next thing you know, he'll be pooping in the potty! Yay!

Yesterday afternoon, I made cole slaw for lunch, and as far as cole slaw goes, this batch was particularly awesome--totally not the stuff you push off the side of your plate when you go out to eat at Friendly's:

It was really, really easy. Just toss all of this stuff in a bowl:

1 or 2 heads of chopped CSA cabbage
7 or 8 chopped CSA carrots
3 diced CSA green onions
1 bunch of CSA radhises sliced super thin
1 jar of store bought cole slaw dressing (becase I'm a cheater)
and a few sprinkles of poppy seeds

Happy eating!

Jul 8, 2010

Week 5: Where's My Ho? Here I Am!

July 8, 2010

It's week 5, and I'm thrilled to say that this week's CSA basket was practically vomiting up color. Sure, it was still packed tight with kale--two kinds no less--but we've moved beyond the leafy greens for the most part and into the the world of squash.

Today while I was picking up my basket, I met a fellow CSAer named Susan. Does she or does she not look like she could be the spokes model for CSAs all over the world?

That's right, she does. It's gotta be the skirt. Here's the way I see it:

Long Skirt = Organic Vegetable Lover
Knee Length Skirt = Mormon Party Goer
Mini Skirt = Natural Light Drinker

It's all very scientific.

Anyhoo, Susan isn't just any old CSA member, she's also a member of the Cold Stream Herbal CSA. For $100 extra, you get a whole mess of herbs, flowers, and homemade handicrafts.

This week, Cold Stream members got a plate of lemon balm cookies with cream cheese frosting, a tea ball, a bunch of lavender, and a ginormous load of lemon balm:

They also get all kinds of tips and directions on how to use the herbs medicinally. For example, did you know that lemon balm is fantastic for treating oral and genital herpes?

Susan told me that.

I was like, "That's great information. Let me actually just write it down on this post it note here. You know, for my mom. And my sister. But not for me....STOP STARING AT ME!"

Moving on...

This is the inside of the greenhouse at Long Meadow Farm:

As far as I can tell, they're growing plants.

This is Farmer Anna. She was toiling in the fields, so we stopped to say hi. I quickly realized that we were holding her up, so I was like, "Get back to work and grow my food, woman!" It almost feels like I have my very own lawn boy. Man, I'm loving the power!

As the kids and I were walking back to the car, Anna was like, "Where's my tool?!"

And I was all, "What?!"

And she said, "Where's my ho?!"

So I said, "I'm right here! Where's my b!tch?!"

She meant garden ho, which is fine, because I was definitely talking about a female dog.

Moving on again....

I turned around on our drive home and saw this:

It was never meant to be a cup holder, those holes in your car are actually engineered for summer squash.

And finally, a look at this week's haul:

Rainbow carrots--almost as cool as Skittles. Almost.

And the final count looks like this:

2 zucchini
4 mysterious light green squash
2 yellow summer squash
3 squatty shaped yellow squash
2 bags of rainbow carrots
2 bunches of kale
2 heads of cabbage
2 bunches of beets
3 little heads of lettuce

We had hot pockets for dinner.

Kidding, kidding...

Jul 7, 2010

Edible Kale

July 7, 2010

I've said it once and I'll say it again--if you love on 'em the right way, beets can be really good. For example:

Deez beets (kind of like 'Deez Nuts'...but kind of not) are steamed and topped with red wine vinegar, slivered almonds and feta cheese. Sounds fancy because it is--just like me.

And now we can move on to the true excitement for the day--I finally found a really good way to make kale.

Well, Maggie doesn't think so:

Okay fine, neither does James:

But I thought it was good, and so did my husband. And seriously, can I get a food stylist up in this joint?

This recipe was inspired by Rachael Ray (whose show I may or may not, on occasion, leave work early to catch), and her insanely fantastical recipe for Parsley Pesto Breadcrumb Spaghetti. I call it Kale with Sauteed Breadcrumbs, and it goes like this:

1 gigantic bunch of CSA kale
Olive Oil
1/2 of a medium onion
1 cup of Italian style breadcrumbs

I think that's all.

Cover the bottom of a really big skillet with olive oil and warm it up over medium heat.
Meanwhile, chop up the onion.
When the oil is warm, toss in the onion.
Toss in the breadcrumbs. They'll soak up the oil and turn crunchy and golden and delicious.
Rip the kale into teeny pieces and put it in the pan, tossing it with the breadcrumbs and adding olive oil as needed.


Kale you can actually eat.