Posts Tagged ‘raspberries’

Week 12: August 10 – 17, Vacation

August 18, 2008

We spent last week on a lovely vacation in Lake Placid, in the Adirondacks.  I did my homework ahead of time, and found farmers market listings for New York State.

We brought a large cooler with us that contained, among other things, the corn salad and what was left of the Costa Rican slaw that I made in Week 11, along with chicory, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, red cabbage, green bell pepper, potatoes, and two tiny yellow squash, all left over from the previous week (or even earlier). We ate some of the salads for lunch on the Lake Champlain ferry.

Our first night in Lake Placid, my mother-in-law made the chicory, mushroom, and roasted pepper pasta dish from Greens, Glorious Greens and it was colorful and delicious. (Yes, we brought the cook book with us. If you’re looking for it, look under escarole, not chicory.) While she cooked that, I made a colorful if odd salad of lettuce, radishes, yellow squash, green pepper, the largest cucumber, and some knife-shredded red cabbage leaves. It was a lot of food, even for four adults.

We went to the Keene Farmers Market on Sunday.   The highlight was a local dog-and-owner square dance troupe.    The dog and its owner were a couple, and the dogs had to be very, very good at accepting “stay” commands from each of the owners in the square, while lots of other interesting activity was going on, both human and canine. 

We were at the market with my in-laws, who were with us for the entire weekend.  Between all of us, we bought a dozen ears of corn, two zuchini and two yellow squash large enough to make burger-size slices to grill without falling through the slats, one incredible tomato, one bunch of beautiful rainbow chard, two pints of raspberries, a quart of mixed plums and Saturn peaches, and a dozen free-range eggs.

Everything about a free-range egg is sturdier than in a conventional store-bought egg – the shell is harder, the yolk is brighter and stands taller in the pan, even the whites are better, although I can’t describe how.  It was $3 for the dozen and worth every penny!

We hadn’t intended to buy peaches, because we get those around home (Boston area) often enough. Plums were more interesting, and we couldn’t decide between the two varieties being sold. When we asked for a mixed quart, the farmer looked around for an empty quart container to fill for us. Not finding one, he picked up one that already had peaches in it. Instead of completely emptying it out before putting in plums, he left some peaches explaining that they’re very sought-after, costing half again as much closer to New York City. (He lives much closer to New York City than to Lake Placid, but comes up to the Adirondacks to fish, and pays for gas by selling at the farmers market.) They’re strange looking fruit, because the flesh makes a doughnut around the pit, with dimples on the top and bottom where the pit is shorter than the fruit. They were, in fact, tasty, but we liked the plums better.

We grilled the squash and zucchini, and ate leftovers all week. Leftover corn we cut off the cob and diluted the overly spicy corn salad that I’d made the week before. Leftover wine and mushrooms inspired a yummy chard side dish: we cooked the mushrooms in some olive oil until they started to release juices, then added minced garlic, then red wine. It all cooked together for a bit while the rest of supper heated. When everything else was nearly ready, coarsely chopped chard went in, and was pushed around until it all wilted. The mushrooms were purple from simmering in wine so long, but the colors of the chard stems still showed through.

We visited the Cornell Maple Research Station where we learned about the many ways they’ve found to increase yield and reduce energy needed. We bought a half gallon of dark (grade B) maple syrup while we were there.

We had picked 8 blackberries before going away. When we got home again, we harvested a relatively-whopping 19 blackberries. More had ripened and then gone past during the week, so we left those for the birds.

Week 9: July 20-26

July 25, 2008

We just ate an incredible, gourmet-looking dinner. We had a zucchini-polenta torte (or was it a casserole?) and a salad. The salad was arugula, cucumber, Gorgonzola (blue cheese), and black raspberries, with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  The torte was in 3 layers:  seasoned polenta, sliced zucchini, and cheddar cheese.  For the polenta layer, I simmered together 1 cup of fine cornmeal (sold as polenta), 1 quart of water, about a tablespoon each of cumin and minced garlic, about a teaspoon of salt, and maybe half a teaspoon of chili powder (I wasn’t measuring anything).  I arranged it in a 9×13 pan, and baked it at 350 for maybe 45 minutes.  The arranged circles of two large zucchini made it look very pretty.   The spiced polenta layer made it very tasty.  We accompanied the meal with another local agricultural product:  perry (hard pear cider) from a farm in northeastern Massachusetts. 

This week’s CSA drop-off left us with one bunch each of arugula and tatsoi,  two zucchini, two yellow summer squash, four smallish cucumbers, one head of cabbage, one pound of Kentucky Wonder beans, two pounds of green beans, and two pounds of potatoes.  We were also supposed to get one bunch of spring onions, but I gave those away to someone else at the pick-up. 

Tatsoi is new this year, and looks like dark green arugula, but Greens, Glorious Greens says it’s flat cabbage and good for stir-fries, which is probably what we’ll do with it.  The zucchini and summer squash would be good grilled and in sandwiches (or just plain), but we’ll probably just sautee them and tossed with pasta. 

A couple of salads have made use of last week’s lettuce, this week’s arugula, a couple of cucumbers, and (as mentioned above) all the black raspberries we hadn’t simply eaten already.  Beets would have gone very well, but to get the right texture they have to be boiled and cooled before slicing into salads, so we didn’t put beets in. 

The weather finally broke.  We had a couple of cool days this week.  Finally, I did some blanching and freezing:  the pound of Kentucky Wonder beans and a pound and a half of slender little carrots, yellow and orange mixed.  The beans blanch and shock for about 3 minutes, and the carrots get 5 minutes.  I had intended to do the two pounds of green beans, too, but ran out of time.

What’s still in our fridge?  Some beets and carrots, all four pounds of potatoes that we’ve gotten so far, the bunch of dill I bought to make potato salad with, one kohlrabi, two zucchini, two summer squash, three cucumbers, one head of cabbage, one bunch of tatsoi, and two pounds of green beans.  I wonder what else we can freeze.

Week 8: July 13-20 (Part II)

July 20, 2008

This was a 3-farmers-market week.  In addition to buying apples and zucchini early in the week, I bought dill (intended for potato salad) at the mid-week market and tomatoes and lettuce at the end-of-week market.  The lettuce is just for salads, because it’s so hot and we have so many good things to put on top of lettuce in salad.  The tomatoes were for a family reunion picnic, and were sliced and put on sandwiches. 

The family picnic took care of some of our vegetable glut.  We made cole slaw, using the shredder attachment for our stand mixer.  We used the slicing blade for the cabbage and the shredding blade for the carrots, mostly orange and some yellow for color.  Because of the heat, I didn’t use the normal mayonnaise-laden dressing.  Instead, I made an Asian dressing of rice vinegar, canola oil (sesame oil gives too heavy a flavor), tamari soy sauce, grated ginger (I buy it jarred), and lots of sesame seeds (cheapest at an Indian grocery).

Also for the picnic, we made a big batch of tabbouleh (using 3 cups of bulghur wheat), and put in the entire bunch of parsley, three cucumbers, three orange carrots, and three yellow carrots.  The carrots are on the small side, the kind you buy at the farmers market not the kind you buy at the grocery store. 

We finally did some freezing.  It’s been very hot, so standing over boiling water to blanch vegetables is thoroughly unappealing.  We boiled about two pounds of beetroots.  The larger ones are good for grilling.  The smaller ones are good for freezing.  It works out very nicely.  We boiled the beets for half an hour, but probably should have given them only 25 minutes.  After boiling, many of the skins came off easily, but if they didn’t come off I didn’t worry about it.  Skinning beets involves pushing at the skin, trying to slide it sideways over the inside part.  We sliced a few of the beets for putting on salads (cold).  The rest we cut into wedges and froze. 

We also froze some zucchini and green beansPutting Food By says that only small zucchini freeze well.  Of our six zucchini, I judged that three were small enough to freeze.  We cut them into thick slices, blanched them for three minutes, shocked them for three minutes, and put them in our freezer.  The green beans were also three minutes to blanch and three minutes to shock.  I cut them to lengths somewhere between one and two inches.  Unfortunately, sitting on the top shelf of our refrigerator for nearly a week caused many of the beans to freeze and become weirdly translucent and have to go straight to compost. 

In other food news, we tried kohlrabi finally.  I knife-peeled one of them, and cut it into sticks maybe half an inch on a side.  It’s delightfully crunchy.  It reminds me of the inside of broccoli stems, which isn’t surprising, because kohlrabi is also a stem. 

Finally, the inventory:  The non-roots still to be used are one bunch of dill, one bunch of lettuce, three large zucchini, one cucumber, and one kohlrabi.  The roots still to be used are lots of carrots, some beets (mostly chioggia), and two pounds of potatoes.  The fruits still to be used are most of two pints of black raspberries.

I forgot to mention the raspberries.  We went berry picking today with friends, and brought back two pints of purple raspberries and two pints of black raspberries.  Well, that’s how many there were before we started the car ride home.  There were fewer when we arrived.  The purple raspberries I tried to turn into conserve.  I hope the boiled berry-sugar soup will firm up.  After a night in the refrigerator it will move into the freezer, in one-cup containers, to be moved to the refrigerator as needed during the year.