Saturday, June 30, 2012

Digging for gold….Yukon Golds that is.

My favorite thing to harvest from the garden is potatoes.  I get such a thrill out of sinking my hands down into the soil and feeling around for those nice round tubers. I can't imagine how crazy I look crawling around on my hands and knees up to my elbows in dirt. You'd think I was digging for buried treasures, and I am - Yukon golds and red potatoes!  We also got our first cucumber and a handful of aromatic basil today.  I love summertime!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Recipes: Veggie Soup and Garlic Scape Pesto

This was my first time growing garlic, so I was super excited when the plants took off!  I planted it in November and by spring it was knee-high.  Thank you to my friend Laura Shero who gave me the garlic cloves (saved from her garden), as well as tips on growing them.  

When the scapes started shooting out of the garlic, Laura told me to cut them.  I didn't even know what scapes were, but I did what she told me to.  As I cut these beautiful scapes, I noticed how wonderful they smelled.  I thought it would be a shame to waste them, so I did a little research and found out you can actually eat these amazing things!  I also discovered garlic scapes keep for weeks in your refrigerator.  

This photo doesn't actually show the full size of the scapes.  It's just a handful of the scapes after they had been chopped in half.  

The first batch of scapes I cooked was sauteed with a little bit of mushrooms I purchased from Berglorbeer Farma at our local farmers market.  They have the most delicious varieties of gourmet mushrooms and I can't get enough!  Sauteed garlic scapes & mushrooms are a delight.  
Sorry, we ate them before I could grab a photo.

Next I chopped garlic scapes and added them to a pot of veggie soup.  Here's a recipe for my veggie soup (for those of you who actually use recipes for soup).  Feel free to substitute any veggies you like.

Veggie Soup w/ Garlic Scapes
1 med. onion diced
1 c. chopped garlic scapes
1 c. chopped zucchini
1 c. chopped summer squash 
2 carrots, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of cabbage, finely chopped
1 c. spring peas
2 qts. of broth (veggie or chicken)
salt & pepper to taste
chopped fresh herbs
Saute firmer veggies in a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot, then add cabbage, peas and broth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 20-30 minuets.  Add chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and thyme).
So after making the scapes & mushrooms and the soup, I still had a pound of unused scapes left!  Did I mention Laura gave me 48 cloves of garlic to plant?  So today I made garlic scape pesto.  It was super easy and I can't wait to toss it with pasta for dinner tonight.  Here's the recipe:

Garlic Scape Pesto

1/2 pound of garlic scapes
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice from one lemon
1 c. shredded (or grated) parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Whiz the scapes and oil in a food processor until the big chunks are gone.  Add lemon juice and parmesan cheese, pulse until you get the consistency you like.  Season to taste.  Serve on pasta, pizza, grilled veggies (tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms)……be creative!

I still have 1/2 pound of scapes to use.  Any suggestions?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Natural Insect Repellent

Summer picnics, camping trips or just backyard fun can be hampered by those pesky mosquitos, gnats and other biting insects.  Commercial bug spray is loaded with nasty chemicals that you really should be trying to avoid, especially with children.  I've made a natural insect repellent that will keep the bugs away without the artificial chemicals. This insect repellent is made with witch hazel and natural essential oils, nothing else!  At just $6 per 8-ounce bottle the price is affordable.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Visit Sun and Moon Creations at the Juniata Farmers' Market!

I hope you will visit me at the new farmers' market on 4th St. in Juniata starting tomorrow and continuing every Thursday until the end of November from 3p to 6pm.  I will be along side some wonderful vendors there, including a man who sells gourmet mushrooms, another who sells gourmet cheeses, a lady with fresh cut flowers, and many with fresh produce and baked goods.  Support your local farmers and stop by tomorrow!  

 A note from the Juniata Farmers' Market:

We organized this farmers’ market for the following reasons:

·      To offer consumers high quality, farm fresh products at a convenient location
·      To strengthen ties between the urban and rural communities
·      To create a new source of income for area growers
·      To inform the community about healthy food and good nutrition

This market is a producer only market. That means the folks you are buying from either grew it, cooked, baked it, or made it. As producers, we are proud to be your farmer. We work hard to bring the freshest product to you. If you have any questions about our products, please ask. We love to talk about our farms and production. We also have ideas on how to cook the food you buy from us, so ask us about that too!

We want you to get the most out of your visit with us. Here are a few shopping tips for this market:
  • Take your time to enjoy the market! Farmers’ markets are a great gathering place for friends and families.
·       Go to the market early to get the best selection of produce.
  • If you do not know what an item is, feel free to ask the farmer!
  • Farmers are great sources of information about how to prepare different foods.
  • Bring change and small bills to make shopping fast and easy.
  • To keep your perishables fresh until you get home – bring a cooler.
  • Be eco-friendly, and bring your own bags.

We have “Farm-to-Food” and “Good Nutrition” workshops planned for this season. Stay tuned for more details on the workshops.