Archive for June, 2012

Kohlrabi Salad

I never used to know what to do with Kohlrabi. I’ve tried it baked, grilled, and boiled. Blah. Although I suppose it’s ok roasted with a bunch of other root vegetables, its currently 97F outside and there is no way I’m turning on the oven. Then I discovered it raw in this salad combination. It reminds of the seedless part of a cucumber: Mild, refreshing and crunchy. It’s also quite easy to make as it only requires a quick toss.  The vinaigrette is a keeper for a variety of salads… green, pasta, potato.

Kohlrabi Salad (serves 4)

  • 1 large bulb kohlrabi, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups greens
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tbsp Vinaigrette (see below)

Vinaigrette

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1″ piece fresh ginger, minced
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c olive or grapeseed oil

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Grilled Garlic Scapes

I think I’ve discovered a use for nearly every part of the garlic plant. The bulb is the part everyone knows how to use, the greens go into pesto, and the scapes are terrific on the grill or lightly sautéed and added to omelets or quiches.

Planted in the fall, our garlic continues on its merry maturation cycle.  It recently sent up the flowering part of the plant or scape, which we chop off so that the plant can put its energy towards that delicious bulb.  Toss with a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil.

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A little grill flame and ta-da!  One guest described them as garlicky green beans.

 

Chickens Are Mean

It’s been nearly a week since our new chicks came home and were lovingly adopted by our broody Silkie. It poured rain for most of the week and she and the trio spent their time in the coop. As the weather improved, they spent more of their time outside. That’s when the problems began. This Silkie has always been at the very bottom of the pecking order. I’ve red stories of new mommy hens going to heroic and insane lengths to protect their brood, but unfortunately she couldn’t stand against the venom of fellow bantam. If this little Brahma wasn’t my child’s favorite, she’d be soup by now. But even if we had BokBok stew (yes, my child named her), that’s not to say another bully wouldn’t do the same thing to the new family.

What to do? I supervised some flock together time, but it was tragic to see the feathers flying and panicked quartet running about. I scolded BokBok and tossed her out of the run and coop area, but she was relentless. This was chick endangerment and could easily result in the death of a little one so I separated the family in a makeshift brooder currently residing in the garage. At least they are still happily getting along.

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I really should have a predator-proof isolation coop. It would have been useful during the bloody chicken scare and for future cases when chickens need to be separated. I’m also trying to keep my expenses down, so the DIY weekend project is to construct a chicken tractor made from recycled pallets. I guess I better start taking them apart…

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Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush or My Foraging Adventure

Once upon a time, there was a grand old mulberry tree. Then a parking lot rolled over its roots and it nearly died. But that mulberry would not give up. It sent up suckers and continues to bear fruit to this day for all those lucky enough to know it’s edible.

To identify a mulberry tree, look for three distinct leave shapes.

During their fruiting season, they will have berries in all stages of ripeness along their branches.

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When the berries are ripe, they will turn a dark (you won’t believe this) mulberry color and will nearly fly off the branches when touched.

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Enjoy!

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CSA & Farmers’ Market: CSA #3

Ok, you get the point:  You can eat local and on a budget.  So enough of seeing my weekly meal plans after this post.  Besides, half the time I need to revise them as life happens, appetites vary, and sales change.

Surprise CSA Box:

  •   1 bunch Parsley
  •    1 head Red Boston Lettuce 
  •    1 head  Red Oak Leaf Lettuce 
  •    3 pieces mixed Beets
  •    2 heads Green Romaine
  •   3 heads Baby Bok Choy
  •    4 oz Sugar Snap Peas
  •    5 pieces Garlic Scapes
  •   1 Greenhouse Seedless Cuke 

Farmer’s Market Purchases:  Strawberries, fresh pasta, bread, mushrooms, whole chicken

Within Budget:  Yes

Bibliopharm’s Weekly CSA & Farmers’ Market Meal Plan

Saturday
Breakfast:  toast, blueberries
Lunch:  Strawberry Festival
Dinner:  Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup), grilled fresh sardines

Sunday
Breakfast:  Toast, blueberries
Afternoon Dinner:  Beer Can Chicken, roast potatoes and beets, grilled romaine, cake with strawberries

Monday
Breakfast:  omelet with sautéed garlic scapes, beet greens, and feta cheese
Lunch: PBJ, Snap Peas
Dinner:  Salad with leftover chicken

Tuesday
Breakfast:  toast, homemade yogurt, strawberries
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich, Snap Peas
Dinner:  Kofte (Turkish Lamb Meatballs), bulgar, salad

Wednesday
Breakfast:  cereal, fruit, yogurt
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner: Grilled sausage pinwheel, rice, salad

Thursday
Breakfast:  Eggs and toast, strawberries
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner:  Tofu stir fry with boy choy, rice

Friday
Breakfast:  Cottage cheese, crackers, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner:  Pasta al Carbonara, salad

Chick Adoption Day 3: First Day Out

Our #1 Mommy has successfully adopted our 3 incubator chicks. After two days of rain, the sun came out and so did the little family. Concerned about how the other chickens would react, I made sure everyone had plenty of free-range time and I also added shrub-like branches from our orchard pruning to give the new family more cover. They love it!

The trio still spend most of the time underneath warm mommy with only an occasionally downy head popping out to look around.

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As the day warms up, the trio venture out sometimes to investigate.  If only you could hear the family “talking” to each other!

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Thermodynamic Bacon or How to Thaw Meat Fast

Woke up this morning with hungry husband home from work. What to do for my carnivorous companion? Mmm. Bacon.

But, the bacon was in unusable frozen block form! If I had planned ahead, I would have stored it in the refrigerator last night, but alas. Yet with the powers of thermodynamic convection (Good Eats S3E4), I was able to safely and quickly defrost the package.  And don’t your dare just leave it out on the counter!  Nope.  Don’t even think about it.  Food poisoning potential goes waaay up at counter temperatures and time.

Alton Brown’s Defrosting Plan:

1. Obtain frozen stuff in need of a quick defrost. Uncured bacon without added nitrates or nitrites… mmm bacon gets even better!

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2. Cold (60F) water in sink. Check.  Barely dripping faucet. Check.  Frozen block o’ bacon transform! In mere minutes it was ready for the skillet. Obviously if you’re planning on defrosting a large block o’ turkey, give yourself a bit more time.  Size, shape, and density matters.

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3. Bacon goes in a skillet set to medium heat or oven at 400F for about 12-15 minutes. With either method, cook until crispy.

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Ps. Wife suggests keeping husband busy making pancakes or he might eat all the bacon before it makes it to the breakfast table.

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