Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sweet Corn Snob

I am a sweet corn snob.  My non farm friends just don't get it.  I refuse to eat corn more than 4 hours out of the field.  The sugars start to covert to starch within a few hours and it simply is just not as good. I'm also lucky that I have an endless supply (as long as the raccoons and the puppy stay out of it).

If you can't eat it all or have to much it is really easy to freeze.  Simply shuck the corn taking special care to remove all the silks.  Bring a large pot to a boil and boil the ears for four minutes.  Remove from the water and immediately plunge into ice cold water to stop the cooking.  Slice the kernels from the ears and place in freezer bags.

Sun Pickles

My friend Lori shared her Sun Pickles last summer.  They were so good that I doubt I will ever process another jar of pickles in a hot water bath EVER AGAIN!

6 1/2 cups water
3 1/4 cups white vinegar
dill, garlic and jalapeno pepper slices
2/3 cup canning salt
Rye bread

Mix water, vinegar and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Pack cucumbers sliced the way you like them, dill, two cloves of garlic per quart jar, and one head of dill per quart jar.  Fill with vinegar mixture.  Top with a slice of rye bread.  Seal jars and place in the sun for three days.  Refrigerate after bringing inside./

You can vary the spices any way you like.  I LOVE the jalapeno peppers.  They give the cukes a great bite.

Italian Garden Salad

My mother-in-law shared this recipe with me last summer and I fell in love. It's a great way to use almost everything in your basket.

8 oz. Uncooked spaghetti
1 cup cut fresh green beans

6 T canola oil
3 T sugar
2 T white wine or balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t salt
1 t dried parsley flakes*
1 t dried basil*
½ t dried oregano
¼ t onion powder

2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 med. Green bell pepper, julienned
4 oz. Colby-Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
1 med. Zucchini sliced
1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 small red onion, halved, sliced

Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, adding green beans during the last four minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Add the chicken, pepper, Colby-Monterrey Jack cheese, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and onion.

Drain spaghetti and beans; rinse in cold water. Add to the other ingredients and toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

*Substitute fresh for dry herbs using a one to three ratio. For every teaspoon of dried herbs, use 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs.

This Week's Basket: 7/26/2010

This week's basket may include:

- Potatoes: Red and Yukon Gold
- Onions: Red, Sweet and Yellow
- Kohlrabi
- Beans: Green and Yellow
- Baby Carrots: The first!
- Peppers: Green and Jalapeno
- Cucumbers
- Zucchini
- Herbs: Basil, Oregano and Parsley
- Swiss Chard
- Beets: The first!

- Sweet Corn
- Garlic, Dill, Jalapeno Sun Pickles: These need to be refridgerated; Discard the rye bread on top upon opening
- Jam

Friday, July 16, 2010

10 Reasons Why I Love Michigan

10.  Cherries - The sweet were delicious this year and I brought home eight pounds of sour to make jam.

9.    Camping - I grew up doing it and I love showing my kids that they can have fun without the creature comforts they are so used to.

8.   St. Joseph - My college roommate introduced me to this amazing beach town that isn't close but isn't too far away.  Silver Beach is great for kids.  They just added a carousel and a play fountain across from one of the best pizza places EVER.

7.   Oval Beach - The kids and I discovered this beach in Sagatuck last year.  It has great sand, a concession stand and showers.

6.   Wineries - We love visiting the Michigan wineries, sampling and bringing home a bottle or ten.  For some reason, wine is so much better when you know where it came from and have a story to go with it.  Some of our favorite: Tabor Hill, Karma Vista, Lemon Creek, and 45.

5.   Winery Dogs - We visited two of the wineries with the kids this trip.  (I know, mom of the year.)  They had the opportunity to sample some great cherry, peach, raspberry and grape juice and meet three winery dogs.  They were a great distraction while the parents were hard at work deciding which varieties would be coming home.

4.  Family - I have a whole bunch of second cousins living on the Leelanau Peninsula.  Up until last year, I hadn't seen them since I was a teenager.  It was so nice to meet them as adults, catch up with them this year and watch our kids play together, just like we did when we were little.

3.  Fishtown - I spent way too many summer vacation wandering around Fishtown trying to decide where to spend my money.  It is a bunch of shops located on piers along the channel that connects Lake Leelanau to Lake Michigan.  Fishtown is home to the Carlson Fish.  Before leaving for home this trip, I was asked to get smoked whitefish for my husband who couldn't join us this year.

2.  North Bar Lake - I was introduced to this Lake this year.  It is a really, really deep, sandy lake in the middle of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes fed by a very shallow, sandy channel from Lake Michigan.  The kids played in the lake and the channel for two afternoons.  What was even better was the Lake Michigan beach.  The water was crystal clear, the bottom was sandy, and the sand bar wasn't too far out.  It is my new favorite place in the Leelanau Peninsula.

1.  The final reason I love Michigan - I get to watch my kids jump in the waves, hunt for petosky stones, roast marshmallows, hike in the woods, climb the dunes, and enjoy summer; just like I did when I was a kid.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beans, Beans, and More Beans

When we left for vacation last week the yellow wax beans were just starting to mature and the green beans were just starting to flower.  When we returned Sunday afternoon, the plants were loaded!  I spent an hour picking a bushel basket full of green and yellow beans yesterday.  This week's CSA baskets will have enough to eat and to freeze for the winter.  Here are directions on how to freeze beans: Daves Garden.