Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fantastic Ferments

Sequatchie Cove snap peas and garlic scapes, Circle S broccoli, Crabtree kohlrabi and
 William's Island carrots 


Crabtree kohlrabi and fennel, William's Island carrots and napa, and Circle S cauliflower


Riverview Farm and William's Island cabbage, Anderson Bailey's sweet little salt bowl

Pressing and ready to ferment.  I just learned how to applique beets

Ready for some Link 41 brats!

William's Island beets

Crabtree cukes, Riverview garlic, William's Island dill, and oak leaves
from my yard for crispness


Wild harvested nettles from Sequatchie Cove, Alexzanna  lemon verbena, and
Sequatchie Cove Creamery  whey

And I'm not telling you how to make any of this, 'cause you gotta have this book.  

You can get it on Amazon or at his site or through Chelsea Green
Seriously, if you don't own it, GET IT NOW! It will change your life.
And your fridge will never smell the same 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reminder: Show what you know about local farms
                                 Farm Slideshow, photo contest (with prizes), and local-food potluck at GreenSpaces, Wednesday June 29, 6:30 PM
Get em while you can!


            Farm trip still to come:
Circle S Farm, Saturday June 25
Meet 8 AM in the Main Street Farmer's Market lot, some carpooling will be available
*Pocket Farm Tour, Thursday June 23rd has been cancelled*

   Ø Email photos of food, farms, animals and plants to
                                         Deadline is Monday, June 27th

Farms to visit on your own (please contact farmers before visiting. They welcome you but like to know you’re comin’-email and/or phone #s can be found below, either linked or listed):
o   Crabtree Farms any day but Sunday
o   Sequatchie Cove Farm any day but Sunday
o   Alexzanna Farm -(706)820-9042,
o   TiRoc Farms- any day but Saturday (423)802-6090,
o   William's Island Farm any day but Wednesday.  Unless you have your own canoe a little planning is necessary, but worth it.
o   Circle S Farm- any day
o   River Ridge Farms –any day but Saturday

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Join the Slow Food “Farmarazzi”

Recently a few states in the US tried to make taking photgraphs on farms illegal- all farms, good or bad.  The verdict is still out for some of those states.

Help us celebrate our right to know and show where our food comes from

v Visit the following participating farms from the Main Street Farmer’s Market on the listed days during the next three weeks. Take photos of plants, animals, and the farmers themselves (if they don’t run away first) and enjoy the beauty of our own local farms. Email your photos to

v   Meet on Wednesday June 29 at 6:30 for a pot-luck and   viewer-judged photo contest at GreenSpaces on Main Street.  Don’t forget to include locally grown or produced ingredients in your dish!

To see other Slow Fooder’s photos visit the national SF Facebook slideshow here
Ø To sign the petition protesting these laws click here

Farms to visit (please contact farmers before visiting-email and/or phone #s can be found below, either linked  or listed):
o   Crabtree Farms any day but Sunday
o   Sequatchie Cove Farm any day but Sunday
o   Alexzanna Farm -(706)820-9042,
o   TiRoc Farms- any day but Saturday (423)802-6090,
o   William's Island Farm any day but Wednesday.  Unless you have your own canoe a little planning is necessary, but worth it.
o   Circle S Farm- any day
o   River Ridge Farms –any day but Saturday

OR: Visit the following farms on the following dates for a “field trip” with Ann Keener.  Meet at the Main Street Farmers Market  parking lot, on William’s and Main. Some carpooling will be available; otherwise you will just be following the lead.  Bring lots of water, a hat, and a camera.
o   Sequatchie Cove Farm –Saturday June 11th, 9:00 AM
o   William’s Island Farm- Sunday June 12th , 9:00 AM
o   Crabtree Farms- Tuesday June 14th, 3:45 PM
o   Alexzanna Farm-Monday June 20th , 4:00 PM
o   Circle S Farm- Saturday June 25th ,8:00AM

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fast Food

I have been working a "real job" this past week making lots of Cumberland for Sequatchie Cove Creamery.   The master cheesemaker was on vacation so he left the cheesehouse in charge of his trusty (we hope) assistants.

Since the farm is on cenral time and is about 45 minutes outside of Chattanooga, I was getting home pretty late eastern time.  Most days I would get back at  7:30 hungry and ready for supper that wasn't ready for me.  So I've been cooking real fast food meals.  Now is the time of salads and greens.  I could eat them every day (and do) but it is nice to have some amount of variety in the way they are prepared.  A key with the salads is to prewash a whole lot of lettuce and make a big jar of dressing.  Those are the most time consuming parts.  And for some reason they are also some of my least favorite kitchen chores.  Especially washing lettuce.

Now, I know I'll go on and on about local food, but anyone who was attending Vandnana Shiva talk should know that maybe all local isn't the only way to go.  Sometimes you have to rely on your further-away neighbors to grow organic quinoa, lentils, or other grains and legumes.  An organic label is important since we can't waltz onto these people's farms like we can in TN and check out their growing practices.  Local grits are good and I eat my fair share of them but sometimes you need some brown rice too.  I try to have some protein (usually non-meat), some cooked veggies, some raw veggies, and some kind of carb.  Sometimes it's all mixed up in one big bowl.  I like that because there are less dishes to wash.

Five Super Fast and Also Nutritious Meals for Workin' Folk 

Quinoa and Lentils

for four people (or two with leftovers):
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup lentils (I like 'em all and have a large variety on hand.  I think I actually used mung beans for the photo)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • herbs, garlic scapes, carrots, kale or whatever you like, chopped
  • Salt to taste- chili powder is also nice too
Combine everything and bring to a boil.  Turn down and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or til the beans are soft  and the water is absorbed.  Put together a big green salad with lots of raw veggies.  Hakuri turnips are amazing, as are snap peas, carrots,  and thinly kale, collards, or chard.   Serve warm with relish, salsa, grated cheese, or just plain.  I made some delicious eggplant-tomato relish last year that tastes super yummy on this.

Noodles with Beans and Greens

I fall back on this one often.  The beans are a new addition since I happened to have leftover beans from the night before.  They were actually frozen fresh beans from last summer so they took about 20 minutes to cook themselves.  Beans take some thinking ahead to make.  If you soak and cook a huge batch of them and then freeze them in portions you can always have some on hand.  Just like canned beans but cheaper and yummier.
  • 2 bundles soba noodles
  • 1 bunch kale or collards 
  • 1 cup cooked beans
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • drizzle of sorghum
  • a touch of hot water
  • whatever else grabs your fancy
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and toss in the noodles.  Cook til just tender- about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, lightly steam the greens.  Toss noodles with beans, greens and everything else.  Serve with steamed asparagus if you can still find some.  I topped mine with a little Sequatchie Coppinger.  And don't forget the big green salad.

Cheese Grits and Lentils

for the lentils:
  • 1 1/2 cup lentils (red, green, black, yellow...)
  • a few carrots, diced
  • 1 hakuri turnip, diced
  • 1 bunch greens, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 t turmeric
  • dash of asafoetida
  • 1/2 t mustard seeds
  • 1 T minced ginger
Saute the ginger and mustard seeds til fragrant in a pot with a touch of oil.  Throw everything else in the pot and bring to a boil.  Turn to a simmer and cook til lentils are soft- about 20 minutes.  In the meantime be working on ....

the grits:
  • 1 cup heirloom stone-ground grits
  • 1/2 cup Sequatchie Cove Creamery's cheese (they're both good)
  • 4 cups water
  • handful chopped herbs- cilantro is awesome if you can still find some that's not bolted
Bring water to a boil.  Stir the grits in quickly, whisking all the while. Turn down to a simmer.  Cook, stirring every now and then, for about 15-20 minutes or until thickly bubbling.  Add the cheese and herbs and taste for salt.  You may or may not need some,  depending on your taste and how salty the cheese was.  Don't burn your tongue!  I always forget how hot grits get and burn my tongue almost every time I taste them for salt.  And then I can't taste a durn thing.

Serve warm with the lentils (they can be either room temp, cool, or warm) and a big green salad.

Grits and Mushrooms with Greens and Things

Noticing a trend?

Turnip and mustard greens do better when they are cooked longer with a little bit of sorghum, vinegar, and some Link 41 bacon.  So don't be scared of the William's Island farmers when they beg you to take their turnip greens.  Buy them up and cook 'em like your granny used to- for as long as you can take it.

Cook the grits as above.  Chicken or beef broth are delicious instead of water and you don't always have to use cheese.  I like to cook sliced oyster or shiitake mushrooms in a skillet with a tiny amount of oil until they are shriveled and dry.  They have an amazing flavor and a delicious and chewy texture.  

Serve with a big green salad or bowls of fresh veggies.

Focaccia with Greens and Andouilli

This one does take a little preparing ahead but it can be the day before.  Any kind of sausage will do so if the Link 41 doesn't have this one, just try another.  I call this focaccia because it is less involved than pizza, but really it's a hybrid.   There's no tomato sauce and no cheese.  Just throw whatever you like on it, but sparingly.  All greens are good but tend to dry out.  I used arugula here which is, of course, delicious.  If you use thicker greens wilt them a bit before adding them.  The extra moisture will help.

for the dough:
  • 2 cups all purpose or whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 1/2 ish cups Sonrisa (if you still have some) whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 t yeast
  • 2 t salt
If using active, but not instant, yeast let it sit in 1/3 cup warmish water about 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the water and start adding the flours and salt.  When the dough is too stiff to stir, but still soft, turn out onto a floured surface and knead as long as you can stand- 20 minutes is nice but hard work.  You don't have to knead much if you don't want to- the longer you knead the chewier and more developed your crust will be but we aren't being master bakers here.  Add flour as needed but don't overdo it.  The dough should be a little moist but not tacky.  The longer you knead the less flour you think you need- it's like a big complicated riddle that has a lot to do with gluten.  

Put in a greased bowl, turn once to coat in oil, cover it, and stick it in the fridge til the next day.  

The next day, take it out and roll it out to fit a baking sheet.  Let it sit about 15 minutes while you chop and prepare the toppings allow the oven to preheat to 400 degrees.  If you use sausage just throw it on raw.  Focaccia is usually cooked with a certain amount of oil on top but you don't need it if you're adding the sausage.  Dimple the dough with your fingertips, add your toppings, and cook for about 20-25 minutes.  Serve with a big green salad.

Big Green Salad Dressing

Salad dressing is super easy and there is absolutely no reason anyone should ever buy it.  If you want variety add a teeny bit of very finely minced garlic or more mustard and honey.  Or use a different vinegar or substitute lemon juice for vinegar.  My friend Candice adds mints to her green salads, which you should try even if you think you don't like mint.  It is very refreshing.  The formula for salad dressing is: 1 part acid (lemon or vinegar) to 3 parts oil (I always use olive but you don't have to I s'pose).  I add a little bit of local honey for sweetness and a touch of mustard for taste and as an emulsifier.  So....if you were to make a large batch of dressing the recipe would look something like this:
  • 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice, or combination
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 T prepared mustard of your choice
  • a drizzle of honey (I don't like to measure honey as it is far too messy)
Shake it all up and drizzle very sparingly on the salad.  A little goes a long way and we want to taste the wonderful freshness of our local greens and veggies!  Store in the fridge.  If the oil solidifies just let it sit at room temp while you prepare the rest of supper.