Sunday, August 30, 2009
The bean that has 100 names, the one I call October Cranberry Bean (harvested in August ...go figure), has been arriving in profusion in my garden. It is a beauty.
I decided to pair it up with some local lamb shanks from the Allen Farm for a special OLS meal this week. ALL of the non meat ingredients, except the Morning Glory celery, and (of course) the olive oil, came from my garden.The thing I like about this recipe is that it can be done inside the outdoor grill, so you do not have to melt your house on a hot August afternoon. But be advised: It takes a minimum of 3 and a half hours to slow roast these shanks, so start early in the day.
I take my inspiration from Chef John at Foodwishes.com. He has become the new voice in my kitchen. Here are the lamb shanks:
And to finish it off, Chef John suggests a white bean ragout in which I substituted the cranberry beans.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
That was Saturday. Today the compost thermometer registered 140 degrees. When it starts to cool, I will turn the pile into an empty bin and watch it heat up again.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Feel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,
think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.
And carrots, mud clinging to the root,
gold mined from the earth's tight purse.
And asparagus, that push their heads up,
rise to meet the returning sun,
and zucchini, green torpedoes
lurking in the Sargasso depths
of their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.
And peppers, thick walls of cool jade, a green hush.
Secret caves. Sanctuary.
And beets, the dark blood of the earth.
And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf, butter-
crunch, black-seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.
Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.
And spinach, the dark green
of northern forests, savoyed, ruffled,
hidden folds and clefts.
And basil, sweet basil, nuzzled
by fumbling bees drunk on the sun.
And cucumbers, crisp, cool white ice
in the heart of August, month of fire.
And peas in their delicate slippers,
little green boats, a string of beads,
And sunflowers, nodding at night,
then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.
All over the garden, the whisper of leaves
passing secrets and gossip, making assignations.
All of the vegetables bask in the sun,
languorous as lizards.
Quick, before the frost puts out
its green light, praise these vegetables,
praise what comes from the dirt.
"Vegetable Love" by Barbara Crooker, from Radiance. © Word Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Deciding on the garlic.
And when everyone was ready, I lined them up on the stairs for the "class picture."
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Oh and check out their blog !!!! HERE
A few words about local ingredients here. My chicken stock was made from the bones and necks I had been saving from my pastured poultry. I wish I had thought ahead and bought the bacon from a local provider. My butter was Kate's Homemade Butter from Old Orchard Beach, and the flour was King Arthur's from VT. As for the vegetables, I want to commend Morning Glory for growing celery. Local celery in New England is NOT a pretty sight. I have never had the courage to grow it, but I seldom cook without it. It is a petro intense luxury to be able to reach for the uniform bag of celery in the produce section. But I WILL for the rest of the season, try to buy mine locally. Local tomatoes and local corn FAR outshine their imported cousins this time of year, but local onions, and celery never look quite as good ... I plan to buy them anyway ...
Roasted Corn Chowder
6 ears corn, kernels sliced from the cob
1 TBSP olive oil
sea salt pinch
8 slices good quality bacon finely diced
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, 1/2 inch dice
2 medium onions, medium dice
4 stalks celery, medium diced
2 medium leeks, white part only, medium dice
1 red bell pepper
4 TBSP butter
6 TBSP flour
1/2 cup sherry
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 TBSP fresh thyme
1 TBSP fresh parsley
I preheated the outdoor gas grill to 400 to keep the heat OUT of the house. Toss the corn in olive oil, salt and pepper and layer on a sheet pan ( I used parchment paper) and roast for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Move the corn around half way through baking. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed 5-7 quart Dutch oven saute the bacon until crisp and golden. Remove with a spoon, pour off the grease except a small amount on the bottom for flavoring. Add all the vegetables (except the corn) and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add butter and when melted stir in flour and cook for 3 minutes constantly stirring. Add sherry and stir.
Add the stock and bring to a slow boil. Boil slowly for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the roasted corn, heavy cream and final herbs. Reheat but DO NOT BOIL. S & P to taste. Serves 8-10
Friday, August 14, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The beginnings of a summer harvest
The other success is the Brussels Sprouts. Back in March they had gotten very leggy and I had given them up as hopeless, but on a hunch I dumped two of the leggy ones in the ground and they thrived in the ground during a two week absence. When I returned I put the remaining sprouts, by then draped across the seed trays like La Grande Odalisque, deep into the ground and they too are doing very well.
My country is this dirt
that gathers under my fingernails
when I am in the garden.
The quiet bacteria and fungi,
all the little insects and bugs
are my compatriots. They are
idealistic, always working together
for the common good.
I kneel on the earth
and pledge my allegiance
to all the dirt of the world,
to all of that soil which grows
flowers and food
for the just and unjust alike.
The soil does not care
what we think about or who we love.
It knows our true substance,
of what we are really made.
I stand my ground on this ground,
this ground which will
recruit us all
to its side.
"Patriotism" by Ellie Schoenfeld, from The Dark Honey. © Clover Valley Press, 2009. Published with permission. (buy now)