Fried Clam Epicenter of Massachusetts August 27, 2008
International Kitchen Garden Day August 20, 2008
What? Join a subversive element by hanging out in your local kitchen garden.
When? Sunday, Aug 24.
Why? Because it’s good for your body and soul, the planet, and your community.
Who? Kitchen Gardeners International and gardeners worldwide like you, or your neighbor.
What? Celebrations of home, community, and other public gardens. Plant/harvest/taste/cook/teach/learn.
If you are so unfortunate as to not have access to a kitchen garden, post your location, and perhaps someone else will offer to host.
Groundcherry regrets she will be spending her weekend garden time away from the Boston metro area and cannot throw a garden party. Raindate: Kitchen Garden Day 2009.
Really want to join the movement?
The Chile Harvest August 19, 2008
The chile peppers are growing quickly in our garden. I watched no egrets pluck one small purple pepper off the stalk and eat it. “How is it?” I asked. “It’s a nice slow burn,” he said, as sweat started forming on his forehead.
We have found peppers easy to grow and beautiful on the vine. No egrets started them as seedlings and now they are ouside in pots. The longer you wait before harvesting them (or eating them straight from the vine), the hotter they get. Slicing up peppers is fun, but don’t touch anything until you wash your hands. The chile oil, called capsaicin, burns. Should you get chile oil on your face or on other sensitive areas, use rubbing alcohol to dull the burn. Aloe vera and yogurt are two other soothers.
Here are some tasty things to do with your harvest or CSA stash.
Heirloom Pico de Gallo
Take an assortment of heirloom tomatoes (Non-heirloom tomatoes work well too, just make sure they are local, otherwise you risk pale pink tomatoes with the consistency of celery.) and dice very finely. Chop up an onion (I prefer a red onion for this, no egrets prefers Vidalia onions) and as many of your home-grown peppers as you can stand. Add a clove or three of garlic. Put them in a bowl with a handful of cilantro. Douse liberally in lime juice.* Add a good dollop of olive oil. At this point I usually add cumin, paprika, and a little chili powder for a diversity of spiciness and leave it at that. You could also add salt and pepper.
*Lime note: I am not a true localvore, I just have localvore tendencies. To make this entirely local, you could use a local vinegar instead of lime. Green tomatoes can also add sourness.
(I adapted this from a recipe I found on Seasonal Chef)
Dice a bunch of peaches and a small cucumber. Add a bunch of cilantro, lime juice, 2 Tablespoons of apricot preserves, and as many home-grown peppers as you can stand. Sweet and spicy. No egrets says it’s all the rage these days.
No Egret’s Pad Thai Sauce
Saute 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and one Tablespoon of whole coriander in olive oil. Add your chile pepper of choice (sliced and seeded, if you want it milder, keep the seeds if you want it spicy). After the garlic gets all sizzly and light brown around the edges, deglaze the pan with 1/8 cup of rice wine vinegar. Add 1/8 cup of fish sauce and 1/8 cup of soy sauce. Add most of a jar of all natural peanut butter. Mix it all together and until the peanut butter becomes saucy.
Serve over one-and-a-half pounds of rice noodles. Add some combination of shrimp, tofu, chicken, julienned red peppers, bean sprouts, cilantro, crushed peanuts, cucumbers, and limes. It tastes good plain, too.
What are you drinking? August 13, 2008
I can’t stand coffee. Not even coffee ice cream. The smell, on an empty stomach, makes me almost nauseous. But there are all you addicts out there, and responsible coffee drinkers have a lot of issues to consider. Goldlentil recently asked whether buying her coffee from a local roaster was better than from her standard fair trade, organic, shade grown brand. First, kudos to goldlentil for buying lovely shade-grown (great for biodiversity), fair trade (back to the pay-your-farmers theme), and organic (generally environmentally beneficial) coffee. All you crazed caffeine junkies who aren’t up to her standard, work on adding in a couple of those adjectives [Ed note: shade grown, fair trade, and organic is easy to find in places like Trader Joe’s] and then you can get down to the debate on local roasting. There are three major issues to consider with “local” coffee: 1. There (mostly) must be middlemen. 2. Community self-sufficiency. 3. Coffee is inherently a luxury.
Defend Zucchini! August 7, 2008
Although zucchini has been bad-mouthed in the past, possibly even here, I do love it. Here are some other people who love it too. But I still feel that it is my duty to warn you that Friday is Sneak Some Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Night. Here are some more details about this important holiday.
Should you find an unexpected gift on your porch tomorrow morning, here is Cara’s yummy Zucchini Pasta recipe.
Peel the skin off the zucchini and discard. With the vegetable peeler, peel the flesh into long strips. Discard the hard center. Place the strips in a bowl and toss with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes so the zucchini absorbs the salt, which seems to bring out its flavor.
Meanwhile, cook up a pot of orecchiette pasta (it’s ear-shaped; orecchiette means “ear” in Italian).
Saute some minced garlic in olive oil for 30–60 seconds and then add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Combine pasta and zucchini mixture, top with a lot of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino. I think I may have added fresh parsley, too, at the end.
-goldlentil (and cara)
Mexican Chocolate Beet Cupcakes August 4, 2008
Claims have been made that there is a faint scent of beet in these,
but only the truly paranoid would notice!
½ c butter, softened
2/3 c sugar (if you need your cupcakes to be shockingly sweet, use ¾ c sugar)
1 T molasses
1 large egg
4–5 small to medium beets
1 c whole wheat flour
½ c baking cocoa
2 t baking soda (NOT baking powder)
¼ t cayenne pepper (for more than a hint of a bite, add 3/8 t cayenne pepper)
½ t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t ginger
generous handful of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Trim the leaves, stems and roots off the beets. Eat the beet greens
with dinner. Halve, or quarter (if they are larger than 2″ in
diameter) the beets. Boil for 25 minutes, or until tender. Cool.
Peel, by squishing and agitating the beets between your fingers until
the skin slips off. If the skin doesn’t slip off easily, they need to
be cooked longer. Puree until very smooth. Wearing art clothes,
black, a lab coat, or just your underwear is strongly recommended
while working with beets. An apron may not provide sufficient
coverage. Do NOT wear your favorite shirt. Under any condition.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter 12 muffin tins. In a small mixing
bowl, mix the cocoa, flour, soda, and spices. Be sure to take a deep
whiff over the bottle of cloves. If they don’t carry you away to a
land of exotic and luxurious daydreams, you may need a new bottle
(more than 5 years old?). In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter
and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the molasses.
Beat in the beets. The mixture will look disgusting, and almost
curdled, but beat it a little harder and then move on to the next
step. Add in the flour mixture gradually. Stir in the chocolate
chips. Spoon into the muffin tins. The mixture may only make 11,
depending on precisely how large your beets were and whether you added
the chocolate chips. If so, fill the remaining muffin cup with water.
Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bribe someone else into doing the
shocking number of dishes you created.
To prettify them (aka to impress your book club, knitting group, PTA,
or Kiwanis club), dust with powdered sugar. Frosting is overkill.
Just… don’t go there. Icing (ginger? rum? lime?) could be acceptable,
but has not been tested.