Of late, we have had a couple of cheerful little helpers on the farm. Whether it is our 2-yr-old son Roman carefully squatting next to cabbage plants with his little pint-size jar full of water and attempting to water the brassicas with a hearty “yep!” when asked to do so (and promptly watering everything but the actual plant J) or our 4-year-old Enoch zealously dunking beets in the water to clean them for “’Scribers” (while at the same time, keeping an ever-watchful eye out for the ever-present threat of evil dragons – you should be thankful to him that none of the latter have ended up in your bags – dragons, that is J), farm life is full of adventure in the most unlikely places…
The rain has been consistent enough of late to be helpful, and the heat has helped to get the summer vegetables moving along. (It is our hope that tomatoes will find their way into your bags within a couple of weeks.) The garlic has all been harvested and the onions will be soon as well. Hopefully, the majority of transplanting will be finished this week. Then only weekly lettuces will be left to transplant, as well as direct-seeding spinach and a few other cool-weather crops. There is still a lot of weeding to be done this year, so if you haven’t had a chance to get outside and pull weeds, stop on by the farm. (You can even bring the kids and turn it into a homeschooling lesson.)
BASIL – What to do with BASIL? Our Top 5 Ways to Use Basil in the Lambrecht Household (at least, as polled today) are 1) Snipped finely on homemade pizza with fresh tomatoes, good mozzarella, and drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper; 2) Made into herb butter (and then placed on beets or potatoes, etc.); 3) Pureed into pesto (and eaten on noodles or toast with parmesan) ; 4) Chopped finely and mixed with minced garlic, salt and pepper, and melted butter (or olive oil) and drizzled over noodles; 5) Pureed into a basil cheesecake (recipe was a couple newsletters ago), and drizzled with a raspberry sauce for an elegant dessert. DON’T REFRIGERATE BASIL (simply place in a cup with water and leave it on your counter).
GARLIC will last quite awhile just leaving it out on your countertop. To use, pull a clove off the bulb, peel the papery-skin off it, and chop finely (or use a garlic mincer) to mince it into recipes. It can be used in pretty much any savory dish – raw (for incredible health benefits) or sautéed for extra flavor.
The white-ball-with-the-green-tubular-frondy-sticks-poking-out-of-it-that-smells-like-black-licorice is FENNEL. The bulb can be separated from the stalks and the fronds can be cut off the stalks – use each part of the FENNEL in a different recipe. Look for more suggestions and recipes in last week’s newsletter, or see below for another idea.
If you choose to cook the PURPLE BEANS, they do lose their coloring when exposed to heat.
SPRING ONIONS and SCALLIONS can be used interchangeably (and can also be used in place of onions). The tops of the SPRING ONIONS can also be used like SCALLIONS.