If you love a bright green, garlicky and lemony pesto as much as I do, you don’t just sit around and wait for basil season. Pestos can be made of many different greens including kale, chard, collards, cilantro, parsley or a combination of any of the aforementioned. Young, tender collard leaves as found in the high tunnel last week during the deep freeze that covered the ground of East Tennessee outside were perfect for pesto.
Happy belated Chinese New Years which fell on February 19, 2015. The Year of the Goat. The goat represents introversion, creativity, shyness and being a perfectionist. These are all traits I highly identify with. In East Tennessee we have been bearing the full brunt of winter these past few weeks. Seeing as it was Chinese New Years and I was trapped in my house due to icy hills I made egg drop soup and these delicious dumplings.
What do you kids know about Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips? Nothing? That’s what I thought. It happens to have been my first REAL 16 year old job. It was located in the Food Court in the Galleria Mall in Buffalo, NY and it’s where my love affair with deep fried balls of corn meal began and ended, until now.
After 6 years of farming I have concluded that farming is all about excesses and failures. Lucky for us, that these excesses lead to year round abundance. I started a lot of traditional varieties of sauce tomatoes like Amish Paste and San Marzano but it was a bit too early and they did not make it out of the greenhouse this season. This is totally fine with me because a few years ago I started canning this heirloom variety of tomato called Garden Peach that falls in between a large tomato and a cherry tomato in size. The thick skin peels off easily after being blanched and I’ve enjoyed them for 2 winters now in soups, chillies, stews and braises.
Considering we harvested 50 lbs. of heirloom tomatoes last week and then I harvested 51 lbs. again just today, I think they are here to stay. Every day I find a new one bursting with color, ready to be picked. And the cherry tomatoes are popping off as well. Since I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes piling up in my refrigerator and heirlooms all over the counter, it was time for a fresh pasta sauce.
Farinata (also knows at Cecina in Italy and Socca in France) is an unleavened bread very simply made of chickpea flour and water. People have been eating Farinata WAY before everything that doesn’t contain wheat was dubbed holy and labeled “gluten-free”. And it is upon principle that I refuse to call this “gluten-free pizza” which it actually kinda is. Not eating wheat for every meal doesn’t have to have a label and a special diet and make you feel special. It’s the way a lot of people have been eating for many many centuries. It’s called moderation. I love a good wood-fired sourdough pizza crust bubbling away with little black bubbles all around the outside, but sometimes I like the deep dish feel and nutty flavor of farinata as a pizza crust.
This week, we are giving the CSA a break after 3 steady weeks of summer squash heavy in the baskets. It’ll be there as an optional grab in our walk-in, but not mandatory. Just to mix it up a bit, squash blossoms will make an appearance in the basket. Squash blossoms are so beautiful and delicate and unless you are growing squash or eating out, you probably rarely see them. They are so highly perishable that I can’t imagine any major retailer of food would ever be able to sell them and if they find a way, I wouldn’t trust it. Good, more for me.
“The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term “Dog Days” was used earlier by the Greeks.”
It’s happening. The “dog days” of summer are just around the corner in the southeast. Telltale signs include mandatory afternoon river breaks, sweaty nights and ripe tomatoes. Yes, those green ones are ripe. They are called “Green Doctors” and if you don’t grow them, you should. Not only do they get to confuse the heck outta everyone harvesting them, they are so super sweet it’s hard for me to not eat them all in the field.