Quick update from the garden

Well look who flew the coop… too bad I missed the last stages before becoming a butterfly. Ah well, we have been enjoying the Monarchs fluttering around us for the past couple weeks on the farm and wish them well in their migration south. David Attenborough says that those who return will the the grandchildren of those who leave.

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Blight and some reflections about our big garden:

We’ve had a hard go with blight for the first time this year. It seems to have completely devastated our tomatoes and actually I think I noticed it today on my potatoes. Being an Irish descendant (and citizen) I found myself this week reading about the history of blight in Ireland and the Great Famine of the mid 1800s. It is hard to imagine that at that time, the poor farmers (the Irish Catholics) lived on potatoes as it was the only crop that they could grow in quantities enough to sustain them on their small plots. Men could eat 60 potatoes a day, women 40, and children 25. With blight destroying their potato crop (and the poor reaction from England), Ireland lost 25% of its population to starvation and emigration.

It had me thinking how incredibly lucky we are to have such a selection of locally grown fresh food each week in the CSA. Melons and exotic Mexican tomatillos… we’re neither living nor depending on just potatoes to sustain us. I also recall a story from my grandmother’s sister’s visit from Riga, during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. The only thing she wished to bring back to Riga was fruit for her children. These stories are not from so long ago… and being raised by new immigrants to Canada who lived such different lives before coming here, I feel constantly reminded at how fortunate we are to live amongst such bountifulness! Speaking of bountifulness….

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This week’s share of the harvest:
1 quart Tomatillos (check out last week’s recipe for Salsa Verde)
~2lbs of Potatoes
1 bunch Kale
1 bag Beets
1 Melon
1 pint Beans (choose green, yellow or mixed)
1 Eggplant
1 Zucchini

How to use this weeks share:

A couple years back I was visiting my Bulgarian cousin in Quebec City and she prepared this yummy eggplant dip for us to have with bread, crackers and wine. Similar to Baba Ghanoush… and you can use it as a dip for other veggies (i.e. carrots) or spread it on a sandwich.

Aroa’s Bulgarian Kiopoolu
1 eggplant
1 tomato, sliced
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
tsp. sugar
chopped parsley

Slice your eggplant into 2 halves. Bake open face down on a cookie sheet at 350F until soft and then let it cool to handle. Scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Add the sliced tomato, garlic, salt, a little bit of olive oil, and the tsp. of sugar. Blend. Add some chopped parsley before serving.

Beets and Goat’s Milk Cheese
from our Danish cookbook, “den kaerlige koekken” = “our loving kitchen”, which claims that beets and goat’s milk cheese are a match made in heaven. It IS excellent!

4 small beets
100g goat’s milk cheese
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sage

Cook the beets until tender, about 30-40 minutes (maybe less depending on the size). Slip the skins off and cut into fairly thin slices – about 3-4 slices per beet. Layer the slices with goat’s milk cheese so you make little stacks: beet, cheese, beet, cheese, beet. Stick a toothpick in each stack and place on an oven proof dish in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Combine the dressing of oil, vinegar and sage and drizzle over the beets before serving.

Love fresh earthy beets...

Love fresh earthy beets…

Kale and Potato Soup

1 large bunch kale (chopped)
Steam and set aside.

1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
Melt butter in soup pot. Add onion and saute until golden. Add garlic and saute another minute.

2 large potatoes – or a few small (diced)
2 cups hot water or broth
Add, bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove half the cooked potatoes. Puree the rest with the cooking liquid and return to soup pot. Return reserved potatoes and steamed kale to soup pot.

3 cups water or broth
salt & pepper to taste
Add along with milk or cream if desired. Heat gently and serve.

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