Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pickled Pink

Been a busy bee the past couple of weeks.

We picked strawberries at Stokes Berry Farm last week and I put up two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam. I'm trying to reign in the canning bug that caused me to can WAY too much jam last year. I think I may do a batch of peach later this summer, but that absolutely must be ALL that I do.

This past weekend at the Hyde Park Farmer's Market I could not believe the beautiful plump beets that Eaton Farm had at their stand - I don't know if I've ever seen beets so nice. In hot pursuit of my ever-loving beet obsession, I snatched up five bundles and canned a batch of pickled beets yesterday. Hopefully five pints will last us for a year...

The heat, rain, and humidity has made the garden go ape lately. I'm not sure how I'm going to keep these tomatoes in check - I guess that's what a gardener craves, though, right?

Compare in less than a month:

25 May

21 June

The kale is looking so purty, the pepper plants are blooming, but the peas are about finished for the year. Believe it or not, I actually gleaned a nice little amount of peas from three or four plants; if only I had more room to plant a whole row.

Last week I harvested some gorgeous lettuce mix and then planted the summer cucurbit crop - cucumber, zucchini, yellow crooknecks, and acorn squash. My vigilant watch for cucumber beetles starts NOW. I will not abide another summer of spoiled cucumbers.

And rounding out the pack are lovely whimsical herbs. I just made up a batch of ranch dressing for lunch using Greek yogurt, cider vinegar, s&p, and chopped dill, parsley, thyme, and oregano. Who needs Hidden Valley anyways?

I have plans for several play days in the near future - another trip to Stokes for black raspberries, an order in at Rousters for fresh Michigan tart cherries, and another naughty foray at Greenfield Plant Farm.

Ahh, summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Weekend of Cakes

We have eaten more than our fair share of cake this weekend.

As it was Father's Day, I baked dessert for my father in-law as well as my Dad. Saturday night I wanted to use up some of the wonderful rhubarb that my aunt had given me, so I took a risk and made a
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake. Never made one before, never even knew you could make such a thing, but what fruit doesn't taste good smothered in gooey crunchy brown sugar and topped on a springy cake with a little orange zest zip?

Not the most beautiful baby, but oh, she was quite tangy and tasty...

While my father in-law is a fan of fruit desserts, my Dad is a fan of the classic white cake with white frosting. When my brother and I were kids we used to love ripping open a box of Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines rainbow chip cake mix with Dad and cooking up a little treat. Still in the search for a white cake recipe that I love (white, mind you, not yellow), I stumbled upon a beaut thanks to King Arthur Flour...they have some of the best baking recipes out there (just not good for your waistline). I ended up making a layer cake out of their Tender White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and crowning it with some ruby red raspberries.

This recipe is no joke, the cake really was tender and moist (and if you know me, you know how much I HATE using that word). Vanilla and almond extract make it quite the classic old-fashioned layer cake treat.

So now that my blood sugar is all out of whack from this tasty feasting, I'm thinking that today will be the perfect day to start eating a bunch of salads using all of our lovely CSA produce.

Detox, anyone...?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chick'n Tacos

Up until now, whenever we've been in the mood for Mexican finger food, I've always made either hard shell tacos or soft flour burritos. Recently the hubs requested soft tacos using corn tortillas, so last night I whipped up a little magic...

Take Quorn chick'n tenders, saute with zucchini and purple onion, season with cumin, coriander, chili powder, and a pinch or oregano. Then cook up a batch of fluffy rice using some home-canned tomato juice. Whiz up a batch of fresh salsa with tomatoes, onions, garlic, red bell pepper, and jalapeno, mash up an avocado or two with a splash of lemon juice, and grate some pepper jack cheese. Finally, cradle everything in a La Tortilla Factory corn and green chile tortilla.

You will thank yourself...and you won't even miss the meat.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen...we have peas...

...and a bloomin' tomato...

...and some sassy rhubarb (take 2 please?)