Friday, June 30, 2006

Peace, love and lavender

The Peace Valley Lavender Farm is featured in this month's publication of Bucks County Town and Country Living magazine.

Sigh. I heart lavender. Occasionally Jase stops by the farm to pick up a lavender surprise for me. Sachets, honey, a little plant... Mmm, I can smell it now!

The article is great (Joan Schultz) and the photographs are absolutely stunning (Randl Bye) - go get your copy today! And, be sure to visit the farm because as stunning as the photos are, they're nothing compared to a real life visit. The bright purple awnings on the barn? To die for.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Munchie Lunchie

A hunger-inspiring email from Brookie:

my lunch...
Brooke E
Wed, Jun 28, 2006
at 12:00 PM

To: mikaela …, Sam …

Thought I’d share what I am having for lunch:

CSA Spring Mix

CSA Red/Green Head Lettuce

CSA Green onions

CSA Carrot

CSA beets


CSA Cucumber

Tossed in Newman’s Own light balsamic Vinagrette

Topped with toasted flax seed and soy nuts

And shrimpies, blackened with Spice smuggler blackening stuff. (the best blackening stuff ever)

Yummy Yummy Yummy

But I’m realizing now that I forgot the CSA radicchio and cabbage :) maybe for tonight.

Happy lunchtime!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rain, rain - we love you, but - go away!

I took a couple photos of inside the pick-up area of Blooming Glen this week. My favorite part is the Sharing Table. And the little notes Tricia and Tom write on the white board. This week, the message was, "7.25 inches of rain - think sunshine!"

I'd like to put some more photographs of the farm up here, but it's been raining tremendously here:

Rain update

Blooming Glen Farm
Wed, Jun 28, 2006
at 2:59 PM

Reply-To: Blooming Glen Farm

Hello everyone. We wanted to send an email to keep you all aware of what is happening at the farm. Last night's downpour brought us another 3.5 inches, bringing our total since Friday to 10.75 inches. As you can imagine, we are going to suffer some significant losses. It will be about a week before we see what the damages are, but initially things aren't looking good for our outdoor tomatoes and leeks, as well as the sweet peppers. Overall, lots of crops are drooping from way, way too much water and our head lettuce may have a few week gap until the next rotaion sizes up. Thankfully we have some tomatoes in a hoop house, but not nearly the quantities we had outside. Thank you all for your understanding as we do our best to bring you a great share each week.

Tricia and Tom

Our little pepper plants are drooping, too :o( Think sun, everyone!

CSA crop share 6

This week, we definitely got the cutest vegetables. Adorable little zucchini and marble-sized potatoes. Purple was another theme this week. There was radiccio, plum-shaded cabbage, red potatoes, beets, and we were surprised to see, vibrant purple scallions.

Brookie went with Avery and me this week. Right when we got there, it started to pour. Considering the seven inches of rain we'd received since Friday, this made for some interesting pick-your-own sugar snap peas :o)

This week:
two pints of sugar snap peas
two cucumbers
one bunch of scallions
head of red lettuce
one pound red potatoes
1/2 pound zucchini
bunch of carrots
handful of cilantro
handful of dill
bunch of basil
head of radiccio
head of cabbage
six beets
five fennel
1/2 pound of kale and/or swiss chard
3/4 pound of spring mix

Ok, I'll be honest. I totally let Avery and Brookie deal with the peas. Avery was already outside playing in the rain and Brookie had better foot gear, so I feel justified in my decision :o)

We're planning to go to the Indian Valley Farmer's Market this Saturday. I just read that our local bakery, Bakers on Broad (phone number is in the links section) has a table there, which is very cool! Also, I'm looking forward to seeing what Sunrise Sunflower Farm has to offer.

I heart the spring time!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Creating a monster

Last night, Jase decided to test out his newly acquired cooking skills.

We go to the newly-renovated Reliance Inn in Telford every Sunday. The owners are great, and we've gotten to know one of them, the head chef, Assou. We were sitting at the bar with friends, Jen and Doug, when Assou grabbed Jason and took him into the kitchen to whip up a "snack" of clams and mussels over linguine.

Being in the hot, happening kitchen, seems to have lit a fire (har har) under Jason because at 10:30 last night, he decided to whip up some chicken, Assou-style. That would be, in white wine, banana peppers and olive oil. That would be, creating fire in the pan. That would be, splashing wine and olive oil all over the range.

That would be... Delicious! Jason's rating was "very good, but a bit spicy. Maybe because the banana peppers were so fresh." Mikaela has no opinion, as she is a veggiesaraus.

(Side note: That would also be, one clear and one fuzzy photograph for you. Doubleyou Tee Eff?! Ugh.)

The peppers are from our garden, and the chicken (Eberly Farms in Stevens, near Lancaster) and olive oil are from our natural foods co-op.

Monday, June 26, 2006

What's for dinner?

Leftovers. And a fresh veggie side :o)

I heated up the zucchini casserole thingie and steamed a Blooming Glen selection of carrots, chopped kale and chopped basil. I sliced the carrots, covered and steamed them for about 10 minutes, stirred in the kale and basil, steamed a couple more minutes, mashed it all together and topped with kosher salt (from The Spice Man in Leesport, picked up at Mayfair).

In related news, our camera sucks. In taking pictures specifically for this and our JAM*home blog, we've realized that the only time we've been able to capture a crisp photograph, is outside. This particular photograph was the best of six. Six! And still, it's so bad that I'm debating the removal of it from the post. I mean, the green and red of the zucchini portion is totally missing, as is the contrast of orange and greens from the carrot side. It's just sad, really :o(

I've switched modes from auto focus to manual focus. I've turned the flash on, I've turned the flash off. I've used the macro feature, I've not used the macro feature. I've done all of these things in various combinations.

I've read the manual, people. The entire manual.

Sigh. Are we destined to endure blurry indoor photos forever? Maybe I'm missing something?

Sunday, June 25, 2006


You can't get any more local than home, right? We finally picked the monster zucchini out of the garden yesterday. I think we let it get so big just to see what would happen. Of course nothing happened... It just got about as big as Avery's arm.

I ended up making a casserole thingie with the zucchini:
  • First, I sauted some fresh-pressed garlic and spring onions* in organic olive oil** for a few minutes.
  • Then, I added some organic crushed tomatoes**, salt, pepper, oregano**, fresh basil* and let it simmer for about ten minutes.
  • While the mixture was simmering, I sliced the zucchini into 1/4" discs. I had originally planned to make something like this, but there were, like, a gazillion slices by the time I was done cutting, so I had to improvise :o)
  • I spooned the tomato mixture into a large, rectangle casserole dish and sunk a layer of zucchini into it, then another layer on top of that. I covered the dish and baked it at 375 for about 20 minutes.
  • While the casserole was baking, I added about a cup of bread crumbs, a cup of romano/parmesan/mozzarella soy cheese blend** and some fresh chopped basil* to a bowl and stirred them together.
  • After about 20 minutes, I uncovered the caserole and added the crummy, cheesey mixture and baked it about 10 more minutes. Once that was done, I sprinkled some cheese on top and broiled it for a couple minutes to melt.
* from Blooming Glen
** from Neshaminy Valley

Jason and I were on our way to a play at The Montgomery Theater by the time it was done, so we had to wait until we got home to try it. We had some as soon as we got home - it was deee-lish! We often share new recipes with our neighbors, Bob and Sue, so we brought over a dish over for their rating. They gave it a "deee-lish," as well :o)

Yay for our first homegrown meal!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Number Five is Alive!

Fifth CSA pick-up and I'm beginning to fear my joy on these days. I mean, I know that these amazing harvests aren't going to continue 52 weeks out of the year, but already... We're addicted.

Our friend Kelly and I were discussing our luck in living in an area so rich with farm land and CSA opportunities. She and her boyfriend Justin joined the CSA at Pennypacker Farm this year, and we share a Tuesday pick-up day. This week, she got raspberries! No raspberries for us (yet!), but that's okay, as our share certainly left us feeling nothing but fulfilled.

This week:
three cucumbers
three zucchini
head of red lettuce
head of green lettuce
bunch of spring onions
bunch of basil
four fennel
one kohlrabi
handful of cillantro
handful of dill
3/4 pound of kale and/or swiss chard
1/2 pound of spring greens
1/2 pound of broccoli
bunch of carrots
six beets

Yeah, I passed on the swiss chard this time around. I've not given up on it, mind you. I'm just taking a break. And besides, we've got it in our garden :o)

Other notes of this week: This is the first pick-up I've done on my own. Usually, AveryCain is my co-pilot; Jason is at work and school on pick-up days, but he did join me last Tuesday. Um, does anyone else have off for Flag Day? I didn't think so :-P Anyway... I think the zucchini are the cutest veggie to date, these outside photographs are the best so far, I'm really glad the kale is still coming, we've begun rooting some of the basil so that we can plant it (there's just so much of it!) and we are going to make excellent use of From Asparagus to Zucchini.

And finally, a kohlrabi update: Tonight, I made a stir fry of the bok choy, kohlrabi, spring onions and some millet that I got from out natural foods co-op. I think it was a wee bit salty, but otherwise yummm!

Maybe raspberries next week? Who knows - half the fun is the surprise!

PS: You remember, "Number Five is alive!" right?

Fourth CSA Pick Up

I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but... I think we have too much produce.

Thank goodness the seester and pops are home. Our little family of three just can't handle this whole share for ourselves. Well, I should say, this little family of three with no freezing or canning knowledge can handle it. By the end of the summer however, I'd say that we will have some of those skills :o)

This week:
green lettuce
red lettuce
spring mix
sugar snap peas
snow peas

Beets + kohlrabi = beautiful :o) Other things we're thinking: Our love for beets is ever-growing, we may be tiring of turnips (not that we don't love them, we're just running out of ideas) and we're finally ready to try the kohlrabi.

After receiving inquiries regarding the preparation of the lesser-know veggies, our fabulous CSA "directors" (Tricia and Tom) have reccomended, and offered to order for interested members, the book From Asparagus to Zucchini. Certainly, we'll find some awesome kohlrabi direction in there :o)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Milk and Eggs

Now, all we need is bread!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago, how our Bolton's pick up and Blooming Glen pick up have been working perfectly together. After we pick up our share from Blooming Glen, we stop by Bolton's to switch out our milk bottles (Penn View Farms in Perkasie) and grab a carton of organic local eggs (Alderfer's Farm in Harleysville). Bolton's is actually a free range turkey farm, but they have a little market that carries other staples like milk, eggs, jellies, trail mixes, etc. Tuesday is beginning to be our favorite feel-good-by-acting-locally day of the week!

And actually, I bet we could work in a stop at Bakers on Broad to pick up some fresh, yummy bread. Hmmm... Food for thought :o)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Third CSA Pick Up

We've got a big responsibility this week: Jason, Avery Cain and I have the entire CSA share for ourselves. Daddy-O and Brookie are at Fan Fair, which means no groceries for them!

bunch of basil
two kohlrabi
bok choy
swiss chard
spring onions
red radish
beans - sugar snap and/or snap
green head lettuce
spring mix

Oh boy. That's a lot of veggie love!

I made a radish salad with the radishes (the ones pictured here and the white radishes I had in the fridge), cucumber and toasted almonds. I dressed it with a mix of apple cider vinegar and olive oil with a few pinches of organic raw sugar. I had plans to make an orange and radish salad (recipe courtesy of dad), but didn't have all the ingredients on hand. I just couldn't justify going to the market and purchasing *more* produce. My neighbor, Peggy, suggested the simple one above, which turned out great :o)

And the rest? Lots of yummy green salads, a new love for fresh beets, steamed broccoli lovin' for AveryCain, using basil on everything and yet another failed attempt at cooking with swiss chard.


Oh swiss chard, why do I keep coming back to you? You're just so pretty (see? to the left?). I can't help but keep falling, tripping, stumbling into the illusion that I can make you taste good. I even planted you in my own garden this year! You make me vain, swiss chard, you make me vain and I'm afraid I've not given up on your temptations yet. People like this aren't helping, either.

Well, other than the swiss chard spell under which I've fallen once again, It's been great this week. But we're glad Brookie and Pops will be back to share next week!