Saturday, October 8, 2011

Savory Harvest Galette

 Piled all over my counter, they just drew me into the kitchen thinking of delicious recipes they'll all be used in. Besides-- a combo of root vegetables slow roasting in the oven for an hour lends warmth, and great smells to my kitchen as well as go into a very satisfying dish. Perfect, for the chilly day that it was.

 Combined with some carmelized onions, herbs and seasonings and fresh goat cheese. The outcome? Well it was both, very colorful and so tasty! I can't wait now to try another. :) You can't go wrong, no matter what assortment of veggies you might decide to use. Enjoy!

Savory Harvest Galette

 The Pastry:

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup chilled and cubed butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water

2 TBLS milk - to wash top of dough before baking

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and 1 tsp sugar until well mixed. Add the butter using pulses until you no longer see chunks of butter in the dough. Use pulses to get everything to mix together correctly,and does a better job of breaking up the butter rather than letting the machine just run.

Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time while pulsing the dough until it is evenly distributed and it begins to look like play-dough. If you need to add a bit more water--add it only a teaspoon at a time. You don't want your dough to be too wet-- but it should hold together nicely.

Remove the dough from the food processor and knead for a few minutes until it begins to smooth out. Don't overwork the dough, you just want it to come together and smooth out a little bit, it should really only take a couple of minutes. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Roasting veggies:

6 medium beets, rinsed, unpeeled & quartered
4 purple top turnips, quartered
4 new red potatoes, quartered
6 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 delicata squash - unpeeled,quartered and cubed
1/2 butternut squash- peeled & cube
1/2 medium size kabocha squash, peeled & seeded
1 tsp fresh summer savory
1 TBLS fresh thyme
1 TBLS fresh oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt & ground pepper

In a large bowl toss all the vegetables with fresh herbs in olive oil. Be sure to coat them all well and turn out onto a large parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for an hour, until the veggies have just become tender. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool.
Carmelizing the Onions
3 medium sized yellow onions, peeled & thinly sliced
2 TBLS olive oil
2 TBLS unsalted butter
titch of sugar

In a large skillet stir oil and sliced onions together over a medium heat. Cover and cook slowly until very soft, about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, and add the butter and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown. I like to add a pinch of sugar at this point. Remove from heat and reserve.

Other Ingredients:

Add to the roasted vegetables and toss well:
**1/2 lb fresh chard leaves,chopped; stems removed (save for another day)
** 2 apples, peeled, cored & cubed
8 oz fresh goat cheese
4 oz grated fontina cheese
:) A mug of warm apple cider to sip as your savory galette bakes in the oven.

Assembling the tart:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a circle to about a twelve inch round. Don't worry if your edges aren't smooth or perfect--galettes aren't meant to be perfect, but rather rustic looking. Take a pastry scraper and transfer the dough round to a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Mix the cheeses together and spread onto center of pastry. Next, evenly distribute the roasted vegetables over the cheese, leaving a two inch border of pastry uncovered. Now top with the carmelized onions. Drizzle with just a bit of olive oil and season with sea salt & ground pepper. Free fanfold the edges of pastry over the mixture, pinching the dough as you go along to seal. Brush the crust with milk and bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. May be served warm or at room temperature. * Note.. I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups vegetable filling left over in this galette, so we used the leftovers in a breakfast omelet the next day. Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yesterdays Roots

In they came with an armful of pumpkins and Autumn mums in hand. Our children surprised us with a visit yesterday. Typically,  they only get up here to New England from their home state of Florida during mid-winter, so this made the visit even nicer for us. I had just come in from the garden with a basket of root crops with plans of making a savory harvest galette-- turnips, beets, butternut squash, acorn squash, and carrots.. an because I've become so impatient waiting 110 days for my sweet potatoes--I pulled a few of  those too! The deer had already beat me to my patch and clearly had nibbled on many of the sweet potato vines.. Some, were smaller than others--but extremely tasty. I will definitely plant more of these next year.

An odd meal for me to be thinking of preparing on an eighty degree day out there. It felt more like the forth of July---but it turned out just yummy! Til next thyme.. happy gardening.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lubee Alaham - Green Beans with Lamb

Green Beans with Lamb--Lubee Alaham

1 lb.seasoned ground lamb
2 TBLS olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. crushed dried basil
1 tsp. crushed dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb. fresh green beans or Italian pole beans--washed and trimmed
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1 cup roma tomatoes, or half a can tomato paste

In a skillet, brown meat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain any excess fat. Place meat in a bowl & set aside. Using the same skillet, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and slightly brown.. Return the meat to the skillet with the onions. Add salt, ground pepper, allspice, basil, and oregano.. Cover & cook 10 more minutes.

In a large pot, add the green beans. Stir in the tomatoes, and the tomato paste over the green beans and stir. Add the meat mixture to the green beans and bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, or more until beans are fork tender. Serve over rice pilaf, steamed bulgur or creamy polenta. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Winding down in the garden

   Jack Frost might soon be just around the corner, but I say, bring it on. Early Autumn is an amazingly abundant time of year, and we have no less variety in this season than we had at the height of summer. In the Fall, a whole new cast of characters take the stage. Leeks, celeriac, turnips and radishes, cabbages, potatoes, carrots and beets, sweet potatoes and squashes. Oh the marvelous winter squash!  There will be so many inspiring things to cook, most of which would be unpalatable during the warmer times just weeks ago. Soups, stews, roasts, gratins, purées....roasted vegetables and pies! Once you embrace the cool season, you don't even miss the tomatoes. Well, maybe just a little.

Our tomato yield this season has been just wonderful and if these warmer days continue like this week we will be harvesting up to the last blush of tomato can be picked. What will remain of the green tomatoes will go into piccalilli that I make annually.  This morning I picked 30 more pounds of roma tomatoes to roast and prepare sauce with.  We've put up forty quart jars of whole plums and roasted the rest.

The herbs are nearly all harvested and drying for winter dishes and tea, and as I was finishing up today in the garden I decided to sow some last minute bloomsdale spinach and more greens.  The hoop house is now cleared out from the seasons peppers and eggplant, so it was a good spot to plant my garlic for next Spring.
I hope your garden has been as bountiful as ours. Til next thyme...happy gardening.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

2 medium eggplants cut into chunks
2 summer squash, halved lengthwise and cut
2 pattypan squash, halved and quartered
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut
2 cousa squash, halved lengthwise and cut
2 sweet red peppers,halved, deseeded and chopped
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 shallots finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground lamb *optional
1 cup cooked jasmine rice
2 TBLS lemon rosemary olive oil
2 TBLS minced fresh parsley
½ tsp summer savory, minced
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
sea salt & ground pepper to taste
2 oz crumbed feta cheese
3 oz shredded fontina cheese
6 additional pattypan squash-washed & scooped out

Wash, pat dry and cut all the vegetables. No need to be fussy, as you will cut them all again once they've been roasted. Toss them all into a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over and toss very well, so that they all been coated in the olive. Place them onto your parchment lined sheet pans, sprinkle fresh herbs, seasonings and one last drizzle of olive oil. Try not to overlap the vegetables on your cooking sheet though, so that they will roast better this way. Roast in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 - 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and just crisping around the edges. Sprinkle a little white vinegar over the vegetables as soon as they come out of the oven and set aside to cool. Once the vegetables have cooled, dice them up into smaller, bite sized pieces.

As your vegetables are roasting, trim tops and with a spoon, scoop out pattypan pulp. Chop and reserve.

In a skillet saute the shallots, and ground lamb in a bit of olive oil. Add the chopped pattypan pulp last and cook for just a few minutes.

Add cheese mixture to the roasted vegetables, the jasmine rice and blend this with the lamb mixture and toss gently. Spoon mixture into reserved pattypan shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Place in an ungreased baking dish and pour water or vegetable stock into bottom of pan about 1/4 way up the side of the squash.
Cover and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned. I like to spritz fresh lemon juice over these pattypans before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Snippets from the garden

How many of you have too much squash in your garden?? LOL Zucchini, delicata, pattypans, summer, cousa..the list goes on and on here. Now, it's pepper time.. hot hot hot!  Love em all! And then the beans.. gads we have so many green beans this year.  After a touch of the Japanese bean beetle--I was surprised our yields would be so great.  I've been doing a lot of canning this season--pickling much, preparing many relishes and then of course there's the jams & jellies...  blueberry, raspberry, plum, and peach amaretto so far.

                                   The edamame are coming along.. I can't wait to steam these up.

And I couldn't wait on the red fingerlings.. just had to pick a few for dinner the other night. I can't believe how well they've grown. Besides being so gorgeous--they were just scrumptious tasting too!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles

3 lbs Kirby cukes (known as pickling cucumbers)
1 lb yellow onions. thinly sliced
1/4 cup kosher salt - don't use regular salt or your pickles will look cloudy and not so perdy
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 TBLS mustard seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp celery seed
1 tsp pickling spice
1 inch cinnamon stick ( to be removed at the end of the cook
6-8 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice
6 whole cloves. plus a pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp tumeric

Clean the cukes and cut off the ends. Slice them into 1/8th - 1/4 inch slices and place in a large bowl. Slice the onions and also add to the bowl sprinkling pickling salt over all. Toss this mixture up well. Now cover the mix with a clean towel--really. just set the towel on top of all the cukes and onions. Then cover the towel with ice cubes so the whole towel is covered. Put the bowl in your refrigerator for several hours.. (at least four.. overnight even better). Take the bowl out and throw away the ice. Rinse off your cukes and onions and drain the water. Do this a second time now to remove any excess salt.

Now--if you intend to keep your jars of pickles on a shelf. or give them away at Christmas. you'll need to process the jars appropriately. If you're bringing them to a picnic this weekend. move on to the next paragraph now. Clean your jars and lids with soap and water. then. while your cooking the pickles. pour boiling water over the lids in a separate bowl. Most people consider the dishwasher to be enough sterilization for jars. so go ahead and just set the jars aside. ready to fill. If you insist on actual sterilization (I happen to do this with everything I put in a jar). place the jars in boiling water in a big stock pot for 10 minutes. Then. take them out just before you put the pickles in them so they are still hot.

Grab a six quart pot and bring the vinegars, sugar and all the spices to a gentle boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cukes and onions and bring this to a boil again. You'll want to stir frequently. When the mixture starts to boil again, use a slotted spoon to pack just the cukes and onions into your clean jars. Pack them up to an inch from the top of the jars. Then use a ladle to pour the vinegar syrup over the cukes and into the jars, up to half an inch from the tops. Wipe all the rims of the jars clean with a damp paper towel, then take your lids out of the hot water to cover your jars. If you're not keeping these on a shelf, go ahead and let them cool, then put all the jars in the fridge. Viola.. done! I hope you took a minute to get a taste before you sealed your jars!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What's at stake--pole beans

  My  Romano green beans have sprouted, and they are looking for my support–something I’ve come to expect in a good pole bean, and gardening along the ocean can have it's pitfalls, namely high winds.   After trying all kinds of structures and contraptions–trellises, teepees, stakes, sticks, I've decided to stick with my tried and true teepee. With just a little adjusting of two 15 inch rods to anchor it into the ground--this expandable teepee isn't going to budge. And best of all, at the end of the growing season it simply collapses for easy storeage. Made of bamboo, this will be the eighth year of use for us.  We've grown peas as well on this teepee and it never seems to fail us.How do you stake your beans?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden snippets

I've been trying to keep up with the season, but Mother Nature hasn't been too accommodating.  There is just so much to do in the garden in the spring. I have spent a few mornings this week - soaking up the sun and working hard...before those inevitable showers move in on us. Farmers market opened on Saturday--a great opener!  Seeing all my regular customers and  farmer buds was grand.  I came home with trays of new veggies, herbs and perennials for the garden. I just love the bartering system.  My friend Luke gave me a flat of Italian kale and edible golden gem marigolds, that went right into the ground asap as I arrived home. 

Spinach harvest: I picked my first yesterday. I couldn't believe how sweet it is! Only part of my harvest made it home. It is so sweet to nibble on! The rest was steamed  with a lemon thyme sauce.

New Composter: I moved last year's pile out to the other side of my garden  to make room to expand my new composter and added a strawberry bed. I will divide and spread out the crowns I have, and add a few more. I'm attempting to get three plantings in, to hopefully stretch the berry season.

Potatoes: I planted two varieties on Saturday. My reds and Yukons that were planted two weeks ago have finally made an appearance.  .

Salt hay mulch: On Monday I turned over 4 raised beds and spread salt hay in my paths, and around the cabbage. Those nasty slugs don't care for the rough shards of straw, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed this will help. .as last year they were becoming addicted to Sam Adams beer.  Salt hay is an amazing garden mulch with no weed seeds and lasts forever. I love this stuff, even with harvesting my own--it's free!

Peas and favas: I planted peas three weeks ago and favas this weekend. The peas are up 2 inches now.  I'm going to hold off another ten days before planting the scarlet runners--need to have this chilly rain move out before I'll set them in the ground.

Sowing: I planted my cukes and squash an into the cold frame they went. They'll be up in no time and  I decided to move my tomatoes into the hoop house to see how they fare.  The peppers that were transplanted last week are enjoying their warm new home.  Now only if we could get two straight days of sunshine, they will be happy campers. Til next thyme..happy gardening.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chick Pea Salad

Chick Pea Salad

2 c. cooked chick-peas
3 roma tomatoes, diced
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 c. diced pepper
¼ red onion, diced
3 TBLS.extra virgin olive oil
1 TBLS. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. Oregano

Combine the chick peas, tomatoes, scallion, red onions and peppers in a bowl. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano and lemon zest in a measuring cup. Blend well together and pour the dressing over the chick pea mixture, tossing gently. Cover and chill for a few hours before serving over a bed of fresh garden greens.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring update

April is when things just start to happen in the garden, even though some wintry weather can still muddle up your gardening plans.  You can't help but begin to notice the lilac buds swelling and the birds singing.  I think it's old Mother Nature's way of letting us know that winter is just about over.  Now I can really get excited about the trays of seedlings that have taken over just about every sill in my house.  At least it's this way around here. 

I'm a month behind schedule getting these hands in the dirt but these old fingers will go just so far into still frozen earth, so I've had to bide my time this month.  Instead we rebuilt and added more raised beds in the interim.  We've hauled so much llama, chicken and cow manure-- You know you just gotta make hay when the sun shines, even if the ground is still a bit frozen.

Around the fifteen I was finally able to get my fork into the ground and just went to town.   So far the chards, kale, turnips, red and yellow onions and beets have been sown. The chives have been split and transplanted and already I'm finding the buds forming.

The rhubarb patch is finally crowning and coming alive, and the grapevines, raspberries have been trimmed back.  I'm adding four new varieties of grapes to the garden this year. I can't wait to see how they do.

   I was able to get my peas in around the sixth of this month and they are happily popping out of the ground now.  I took a gamble and planted two rows of red potatoes.

               What a sweet surprise to shovel off all that snow from the cold frame to find this!

Salad greens that I sowed last October--lush and healthy..I just love that first salad of the season.  Let the real gardening begin now! Today I'll be sowing carrots, more potatoes and finally the cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts will go in. Til next thyme.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter thoughts

 Winter being the longest season here, at least for me, it's time for rest.  Many of the other seasonal chores have been put to bed under a blanket of snow..lots and lots of snow.

The seed catalogs are quite the gayest blizzard afforded during this cheerless month of January.  Since about half of every catalog is given to annuals, is it any wonder that these visionary Edens are a true delight of three-foot larkspur, glowing snapdragons, fragrant mignonette... and culinary herbs, Rosemary and Thymes.. and vegetables--so many delicious varieties of tomatoes, squash, peppers and every other perennial flower we've ever wished to grow to perfection?

We can sketch some tentative plans on paper, make out seed lists... and think green!  Then, about the first of February, my growing season begins in the grow room, with about as many flats of herb seedlings you can imagine--setting, all in rows over heated benches.  And here they will remain until mid March, when they can safely be moved out into the greenhouse for hardening off before their final stages of growth  into the garden in late May here in Maine.

Last season a friend send me here, where I was able to design my garden plot.  It was a fun project, and it gave me a good resource guide, (because I can no longer depend on this old memory) as I put to paper my plan for this years garden.  You might want to give it a try--it surely beats shoveling snow ;-)

                                                                 Garden Plot 2010


The days are getting a little longer--the sun is getting a little brighter when we see it and my seeds are beginning to arrive!!
Spring is just around the corner, or so I keep telling myself, about 53 more days or sow. ;-) Think warm thoughts, and dream of luscious fresh vegetables fresh from the vine. Til next thyme..