Fry The Pepper
You may have noticed that all of the peppers we've sent you home with so far are called "frying peppers".
But what does that mean, anyway?
The main difference between a frying pepper and the more traditional bell pepper is that the frying pepper tends to have a thinner wall, are typically smaller in size, and tend to look more like a spicy counterpart, such as an Anaheim pepper.
But don't be fooled, this pepper is of the sweet kind, and not at all spicy.
So what is one to do with frying peppers anyway?
Due to their thinner walls, some believe that cooking these types of peppers renders them to be sweeter.
In fact, it is said that these were developed for this very reason.
This is why we always suggest to cook with them - it's how they were bred to be eaten!
In a pinch for time? Stir-fry these with snap beans, summer squash, and scallions added at the last minute and eat with an orange juice + soy sauce dressing with quinoa.
Or why not make a double-recipe of fajitas with them for an easy lunch the next day?
And with 196% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C, it is sure to put an extra pep in your step.
Onions, garlic, leeks, and other Alliums have a distinct set of flavours and odours that pairs wonderfully with many dishes from around the globe.
While onions have to be the most widely used of the alliums, I find that garlic is the most precious, as it adds a high culinary value to any dish.
It also has a solid reputation for being an important arsenal in an apothecary toolkit. Garlic supplements are a hot item at any health food store.
And while there haven't been conclusive research done on the effectiveness of garlic in modern medicine, Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, and Native Americans commonly used garlic in their medicine.
From hummus to roasted potatoes, some of my favourite dishes feature a respectable dose of garlic.
Want to make garlic into an even more delectable ingredient? Roast it!
To do this, simply cut off the top of the bulb, cook in the oven or BBQ until caramelized, and squeeze out into any number of dishes.
Roasted garlic mashed potatoes are a must, but as the Dinner Mom suggests, you can also:
A Most Dill-Icious Herb
So it goes without saying that dill is great with vinegar, salt, and pickling cucumbers.
There is something about the slightly lemony and sweet flavour of this umbel that pairs incredibly well with brine.
But fresh dill can be so much more than a pickle ingredient.
Like most herbs, dill was first retained by humans for its medicinal properties. Its extract was used to treat wounded soldiers, and we've since discovered that it has certain antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Dill also has other health properties, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and minerals such as iron, zinc and potassium.
While using dill to quick-pickle is a sure hit, you can omit the waiting and extra steps altogether and simply pair the dill with fresh cucumbers in a delicious summer salad.
If you've ever had borsht you'll know that beets and the dill are in perfect harmony with each other, which is why they make a fantastic side-dish even without being in cooked or in liquid form.
And since we are sending you with more snap beans this week, here is a recipe that keeps it simple with lemon, dill, EVOO and snap beans.
Nothing but fantastic flavours that are sure to dill-iver (sorry, I can't help but to be corny-chon sometimes).
Jack knew that beans are magical. But beanstalk aside, beans, dried or fresh are part of a wonderful food group called legumes.
These legumes are able to provide much of our dietary needs, holding properties of both vegetables and starches.
This newly minted superfood provides everything from protein, to fiber, to a whole host of nutrients including antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals.
It can even be a wonderful source of silicon, an element that is only starting to be recognized as an important way to maintain healthy connective tissue and bones.
The best way to retain all of the nutrients in green beans is through quick-blanching.
Essentially, blanching requires that you plunge the snap bean into salted, boiling water, for about 30 seconds, and plunge it into really cold water right away. You then remove the beans from the cold water and let them drain on a tea towel.
One of my favourite ways to eat quick-blanched green snap beans is in a simple salad.
Simply toss the blanched beans with a bit of salt and pepper, your favourite tangy dressing, and some lightly toasted nuts.
This is exactly what I've bean dreaming about while watching these little delights grow during the last two months.
Stuff the veg
The other day I was sifting through my collection of cookbooks, trying desperately to find something that flipped the everyday meal.
Maddie was to go stay with grand-maman and grand-papa for a night, and I wanted to make something special that came together in mere minutes, after a heavy workday in the field.
My eureka moment came from one of my favourite cookbooks, Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest.
Her timeless recipes always seem to appeal to my palate. There is something so 1980s California about them that is incredibly refreshing.
No crazy ingredients, always healthy, and always interesting.
Stuffed cucumber boat was the inspiration, and what I had on hand was vegan dill "havarti" from Kind Food Choice Co., fellow vendors at the North Bay Farmers' Market on Saturday.
It really couldn't be any simpler. You take a cucumber, scrape out the seeds (throw them in your smoothie, it's delish) and mash in your creamy deliciousness of choice.
But why stop at cucumbers? Tomatoes are great stuffed, as are patty pans (photo above), zucchinis, peppers and even lettuce leaves.
Don't have vegan cheese on hand? Guacamole is another great option.
Add homemade pita and hummus, and you have a refreshing, yet filling, easy supper option for the summer days.
Yes, this means you get to jump in the water one last time, supper will come together in no time.
You are welcome here
A few years ago Ryan and I made a sort of venn diagram during a particularly invigorating strategic planning session for our farm.
Instead of spreading our energies in all directions, we wanted to hone in on what we wanted the farm to look like in 5 years.
At the very heart of the diagram were the words "A place to share".
But we didn't yet own the land, and didn't feel comfortable hosting people in someone elses' home.
During our move to the farm earlier this summer, I came across that same diagram, and it resonated with me more than ever.
Not long after, CSA clients Monique and Daniel came to pick up some plants. While here they asked if they could come help on the farm the following weekend.
It didn't take much thought, as I recall that either Ryan or myself blurted out a pretty immediate and resounding "yes"!
After a few volunteer visits from Monique and Daniel, we thought that it was time to extend this idea to our CSA membership at large.
Part of a greater knowledge of where food comes from, we see the value of inviting our shareholders to come see what a day (or half day) at the farm looks like and take an active part in the work.
Are you interested in volunteering on our farm? Email us with availabilities and we can go from there!
Let it snow... peas!
No, I'm not even close to craving winter yet, but I do love a tasty abundance of snow peas!
Like snap peas, snow peas fall under the mangetout category, which is French for eat the whole darn thing.
So don't go shelling any of our peas this year, as we only grow snow and snap peas, and their pods are just as delectable as the tiny pea inside.
Now, most folks just eat peas as is, which is what I assume happens when the container empties itself, as if by magic, on the way back from picking up the CSA share.
As a fellow raw food lover, no judgement here. After all, it is a great way to keep all the healthy attributes intact.
Snow and snap peas are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium and folic acid, making them a very healthy snack option.
But these lovely little members of the legume family are also great as part of a meal.
I just love this recipe from the Kitchn, not only because it comes together in just a few minutes, but also because it only has a few ingredients, most of which I have in my pantry at any given time.
Now that's what I call easy peas.
Surprised to see strawberries? So are we!
Strawberries are very hard to grow on a large-scale using practices that respect the ecosystem.
After all, we aren't the only ones after their delicious taste. Birds, bugs, snails, slugs, and all forms of mammals are drawn to their sweet smell.
Because of this, it's no wonder that they've once again topped the list of the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.
While certain pesticides are approved for use in organic agriculture in Canada, we run our farm without any such pesticides.
If a crop can't be grown without sprays, we aren't interested in growing them. Instead, we try to time our crops to avoid pest pressure, and use exclusion netting and greenhouse space to its fullest.
In 2012 we planted 1,500 bed feet of strawberries and got 3 measly fruits. But we are stubborn, and felt that with our increase in organic matter in the soil, and increased knowledge, we might be able to pull it off.
As some of you saw last week, we were successful in growing them on a larger scale this time! And while we had only a small amount to divy up amongst you folks (we will only be able to give a half pint per CSA shareholder this year), we hope you will enjoy them.
For those in North Bay who didn't get any last week, please know that you are set to receive them this week :)
And as far as a recipe goes, call me a purist, but I think that such a small amount of such special strawberries should be enjoyed as is, outdoors, with your feet up, and a gentle summer breeze.
Carrots are good for my eyes?!
Old wives' tales have something to them, after all.
According to research, while carrots can't turn back time on eye problems, it can, with the help of Vitamin A, help keep the eyes healthy to avoid future degeneration.
They've also been studied to lower cholesterol, reduce the incidence of cancer, stop memory loss, prevent diabetes, and bolster your bone health.
This weeks' carrots hail from the greenhouse, comfortably nestled by the ever-growing trellised cucumber lines.
While greenhouse carrots aren't typical because they take the place of more lucrative greenhouse crops, we are happy with our decision to have them early!
You probably don't need much help deciding what to do with this weeks' carrots, but with this heat, I would recommend grilling them, or turning them into delicious popsicles.
Anything to keep the oven off, am I right?
Vegetables are great for our health. From Arugula to Zucchini, they each have a list of essential nutrients to keep our bodies active.
But none is as revered as the brassica commonly known as kale. And it's no wonder.
According to a Huffington Post article, Kale has more calcium in one cup than milk, more vitamin C than an orange, and 133% of a person's daily requirement of Vitamin A.
And as if that wasn't enough, it can even help reduce inflammation, an ailment affecting so many of us nowadays.
The other fantastic thing about kale is that with a little culinary magic, it can be downright delicious and enjoyed by those young and old.
First off, do you know the easy way to de-stem your kale? It honestly cuts down my kale prep time by half.
Secondly, We've all heard of kale chips by now (am I right?) but kale is so much more versatile!
Here are a few recipe ideas that you might enjoy: