Scenes from a Long Weekend-Part II: Garden Eats

In my last post, Dad, Eileen, Gary and I were in Saranac Lake getting our local food on… I managed to pick up a few goodies….

My new addiction...

My new addiction…

 

I have a weakness for goat cheese....

I have a weakness for goat cheese….

After bringing Farmer Ben a surprise coffee, I took Gary and my Dad for a long walk on a bike path by the lake. It was hot…and sticky.

I then rushed home to clean-up and make some more delicious eats….

Here is what I whipped up….

Avocado-Tomato Bruschetta

Bruschetta... under a mountain of parmesan

Bruschetta… under a mountain of parmesan

What you’ll need:

  • 1 baguette…preferably local
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
  • 2 large tomatoes (or 3-4 small-medium)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves (approximately)
  • 1 tbsp. or a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mince garlic.
  • Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic. Stir…cook garlic until it softens-do NOT let burn. This won’t take long. Pour garlic and oil into a metal mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Chop/dice tomatoes (this will be depend on how big you want your chunks to be–side note: chunks is not an appetizing word.) Add to mixing bowl with garlic and oil. 
  • Also, if you don’t want soupy bruschetta, drain some of the juices before adding to bowl.
  • Chop basil. (tip: stack some leaves on top of each other, roll them length-wise and slice into thin strips) Add to mixing bowl.
  • Add in remaining balsamic, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside
  • Slice baguette on the diagonal into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Place on baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  • Place in oven and let brown. Meanwhile, dice up your avocado and add to the bruschetta mixture–do NOT do this until ready to serve.
  • Remove toasted baguette from oven and top with bruschetta mixture.

If you’re feeling extra naughty, grate some parmesan over the top.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Garden Delight Pasta

wpid-2013-08-31_19-04-03_1.jpg

(Or…trying to use up all the veggies on your counter/in the fridge pasta)

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta (I used angel hair)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (or 1/2 a giant onion like I used…), diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped
  • 6 large kale leaves, sliced (I just ripped it up)
  • 2 large Swiss Chard Leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (about 1-2 tbsp.)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (or, if you have leftover bruschetta mix, that will work too!)
  • 3 oz. goat cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  • Heat water for pasta and cook according to package
  •                  While your water is boiling….
  • Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Add in onion, until it starts to soften.
  • Add in zucchini and eggplant, stirring occasionally, be careful not to let veggies stick/burn. Reduce heat to medium low. (This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your veggies/size of pan)
  • Add in Swiss chard and kale, cover and let wilt. Stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in cooked and drained pasta (it should be hot) and mix in remaining ingredients.

Remove from heat and Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Favorite seasonal meal? How do you use up all of your leftover veggies? Goat cheese in pasta, yes or no?

Stay Tuned for Scenes…Part 3!


Scenes from a Long Weekend-Part I

Coming off a long weekend is really hard. It’s Wednesday, but my body thinks that it’s Tuesday…and my brain just really wants it to be Friday again! Combine that with the food hangover from eating…everything… yikes! See the dilemma?

Anyway, Ben and I were super blessed this weekend as we had family visiting. My dad and his wife and their good friend Gary rolled into town on Friday night. I picked them up on Saturday morning and we took a leisurely drive to Saranac Lake, NY…about an hour away.

You see, there was this amazing local food festival going on in conjunction with the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Market. It was the Farm 2 Fork Festival. Click here for more info. Basically, it’s a celebration of local growers and producers…and lots of delicious food, demonstrations and workshops.

It was $10 for a ticket and you got to try a lot of good food, made by locals–right up my alley! Unfortunately it as a bit of a dreary day, but that didn’t stop us from getting our localvore on…

Anyway, here are some photos….

The menu

The menu

 

Dad and me.... in the drizzle...

Dad and me…. in the drizzle…

 

Plate 1...the first trip around... loved the quinoa!

Plate 1…the first trip around… loved the quinoa!

 

Dad, totally thrilled that I'm taking his picture....

Dad, totally thrilled that I’m taking his picture….

 

Plate 2: not as much as plate 1, but holy moly that ice cream was delicious!

Plate 2: not as much as plate 1, but holy moly that ice cream was delicious!

 

Speaking of ice cream....

Speaking of ice cream….

 

I loved this station...

I loved this station…

 

Fridge Pickle Bar

Fridge Pickle Bar

 

Kale and Carrots...

Kale and Carrots…

 

I love purple.

I love purple.

 

One farmer had such gorgeous flowers...I took 2341354132 photos.

One farmer had such gorgeous flowers…I took 2341354132 photos. And I loved this kohlrabi!

 

Sprouts and spuds!

Sprouts and spuds!

 

Radishes...be still my beating heart!

Radishes…be still my beating heart!

 

I love all the color!

I love all the color!

 

a closer look....

a closer look….

 

More flowers...

More flowers…

 

 

 

Anyway, as you can see…I had a really good time strolling around the market, eating and hanging out with the family…but that’s not all that we did this weekend!  Stay tuned for more scenes….

 

How was your long weekend? Any big plans for September? What did you eat this weekend?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Squash Mystery Solved

Folks,

Mystery solved. We’ve got pumpkins… These are the first of many…although none of them really look alike. We also have what we think is a scallop squash and an albino pumpkin. Cross-breeding in action?

Sigh, I think we’re going to be making a lot of cookies and pie…

Three not-so-little-pumpkins

Three not-so-little-pumpkins

Happy Thursday!

What are you growing? Any mystery plants in your garden? Have any good pumpkin recipes to share?


Garden Variety

As promised, here is a Garden Update.

First: All of the rain we’ve gotten has made gardening a challenge. Simply put, we just had too much water!

The plus side of all the rain? We have ha so many greens!

wpid-IMG_20130710_193504.jpg

lettuce, Swiss chard, beet greens.

image

On repeat, Beets and greens, Swiss Chard, more lettuce (oak leaf, I think?)

The potatoes have also exploded… Farmer Ben got a little excited and dug up one of the plants… when the rest are ready, we’re going to have to clear out an entire closet to store them…. but there’s something about home-grown potatoes. So good.

image

These will be perfect in breakfast burritos.

Our scallions, chives and dill are taking over. We also had a ridiculous amount of cilantro, but we had to pull it and dry it because of all the water.

Chest High Dill... this has been pulled and is now drying.

Chest High Dill… this has been pulled and is now drying.

image

Some of my favorite things….

Our peppers and eggplant are only doing so-so…it’s going to be sheer luck if we get a big yield this year. But we have gotten a few jalapenos.

The tomatoes (my favorite) were off to a rough start but have since flourished. I can’t wait until they all ripen! We even got a couple of random plants that popped up. Score!

image

image

The corn, beans and squash are coming along.  Ben is a big fan of the three sisters method, as you can see. We planted a red corn (bloody butcher, I think) for drying and a later season bean.

image

Teamwork in Nature

The garlic seems to keep coming back, but we’re not sure how. It’s a survivor.

image

Garlic and Carrots…and more squash.

 

The chocolate mint won’t leave.

image

Chocolate mint jungle. There is no way to kill mint or to remove it from your garden once it’s been planted: In other news, this has all been pulled and is now being dried for tea.

Our sauce tomatoes (Paisanos) are doing the best out of all the plants. We’re going to be making a LOT of sauce in the next couple of weeks!

image

tomato jungle

Farmer Ben and I had a lot of winter squash this year and we put the seeds in our composter. Well, sometimes when you do that, you get mystery plants that take over half of the garden…

This squash plant?

First we thought it was zucchini, then we thought and 8-ball zucchini…then an acorn squash. Now we think it’s a pie pumpkin. Whatever it is, we are going to have a lot of them.

image

Can you guess what this is?

Our beets and greens did pretty well. The beets were small, but so tasty and we got a huge yield of beet greens (and to be honest, that’s my favorite part anyway).

image

Beets… and more squash.

Again, our beans seem to be doing pretty well, and they provided the perfect shaded area for our lettuce.

image

Bean Tee-Pee

We also had Swiss Chard come back this year. Not that we mind because we both love it.

image

A box of Chard

Here are some more photos of our mystery squash. Does anyone know what kind it is? Again, we are narrowing it down to pie pumpkins… but we could be wrong.

image

 

image

 

image

And last but not least, here is our potato jungle. I think potatoes are the my favorite item to harvest and it looks like we are going to have a lot of them.

image

So there you have it… Farmer Ben’s been working really hard, and although the garden isn’t exactly as we planned it out this year (random squash, Swiss chard and tomato plants, mint take-over), we are enjoying the fruits (err…veggies!) of our (mostly his) labor.

We’ve also been able to share with our friends and loved ones, which is an equally amazing feeling.

What are you growing this year? Did you have any mystery plants? What challenges are you dealing with in your garden?

Happy Friday!

 

 


Fresh Picked Plates-July

I love local food…especially when it’s coming straight out of the garden or from a farm down the road.

Even though the growing season has been slowed down with all the rain, we’ve been very blessed with loads of arugula, radishes, swiss chard, beets and beet greens, chives, scallions, cilantro and lettuce. We’ve also been picking up beans, carrots and other veggies, along with local meats, eggs and cheeses at the market or our co-op.

My favorites (potatoes, tomatoes and peppers) are coming along and I can’t wait… we’re also going to have a squash and bean surplus…perfect for the freezer!

Anyway, here is a peek at how we’ve been using up all of our greens lately (please forgive my less than stellar photography skills):

A simple salad

A simple salad with radishes, goat cheese and chicken.

Roasted beets that we've been putting in everything!

Roasted beets that we’ve been putting in everything!

I was on a butternut crust pizza kick a few weeks ago:

A squash pizza crust with chicken, scapes, local cheese and Ben's BBQ Sauce

A squash pizza crust with chicken, scapes, local cheese and Ben’s BBQ Sauce

A Squash Pizza with arugula, garlic scapes and olive oil.

A Squash Pizza with arugula, garlic scapes and olive oil.

But we always love our giant salads…

Another delicious salad with carrots, beets, beet greens, avocado

Another delicious salad with carrots, beets, beet greens, avocado

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

Beet greens and swiss chard topped with goat cheese.

Beet greens and swiss chard topped with goat cheese.

Cold soba noodle salad over greens (salad has green beans, green tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cilantro)

Cold soba noodle salad over greens (salad has green beans, green tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cilantro)

And we’ve had a few other tasty hot meals:

Lasagna rolls (ricotta made by me) and a big salad with chevre.

Lasagna rolls (ricotta made by me) and a big salad with chevre.

Local Pepper stuffed with barbecue pinto and adzuki beans, black rice, local cheddar and topped with chives.

Local Pepper stuffed with barbecue pinto and adzuki beans, black rice, local cheddar and topped with chives.

And here are some of my meals I’ve been packing for breakfast/lunch:

First potato(!) with eggs, local cheddar and chives and a big beet and green salad.

First potato(!) with eggs, local cheddar and chives and a big beet and green salad.

Beets, Swiss Chard, Beet greens, carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, grilled veggies, a local burger and pecans with a roasted garlic vinaigrette

Beets, Swiss Chard, Beet greens, carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, grilled veggies, a local burger and pecans with a roasted garlic vinaigrette

image

Swiss Chard rolls with rice, dill, garlic and lemon juice, big green/beet salad

image

Green pepper stuffed with rice, and local chicken sausage, eggs, onion, and eggplant

 

What about you? What’s your go-to summer meal? What’s been on your plate lately?


Happy Friday-Random Updates

Hi Friends!

I don’t know about you, but I am beat.

You may have noticed a few changes in appearance at this little blog. I’ve been playing around with the layout and I’d love your feedback!

As for weekend plans, I have a long run (as long as my feet cooperate), a baby shower and possible dinner with friends. At the very least, I have some much needed hubby-time penciled in and I cannot wait!

Other than that, I don’t have to much to report today, but I wanted to share this garden picture… mostly because I think it’s pretty neat.

Squash has taken over the garden!

I realize I haven’t been posting much about the garden this year, so to be continued!

Hubby's Hand over a squash leaf. It's taken over.

Hubby’s Hand over a squash leaf. It’s taken over.

 

Happy Weekend! Any big plans?

What are you growing this season?


Roasted Garlic and Arugula Pesto, Two Ways

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but up until last weekend, I had never oven-roasted garlic. My chef husband probably judged me for this. Luckily he was at work while I was playing in the kitchen so he missed the huge mess I made.

I can saute garlic like a champ, but now, after trying the roasted variety, I don’t know if my life will ever be the same.

Seriously. I may or may not have stood over my oven, shoveling an embarrassing amount of baguette into my mouth and burning my fingers as a result of not wanting to waste any of this delicious-ness that didn’t make it into the above mentioned pesto.  It happens.

Do you see all the delicious-ness in the pan?!

Do you see all the delicious-ness in the pan?!

If you’ve never roasted garlic, here is an excellent tutorial, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. It’s crazy easy and totally worth it.

I must note, that I only roasted my garlic for about 30 minutes, but I think it’s because my oven is possessed and chooses its own temperature… but that’s a different story… Moral of this story, use your best judgment for roasting times.

Anyway, onto the pesto.

Sidenote:

I don’t know if you knew this or not, but it rained like crazy in Upstate NY last weekend…like 8 inches of rain in three days. Or, if you live near Whiteface Mountain, you got three feet of snow. In May. I’m not kidding. This made national news…

Yup, this is real life.

Yup, this is real life. Courtesy of ORDA/Whiteface and AP

Luckily, I missed the snowfall. And just got stuck with wind, rain and cold. And it was in this lovely weather that I ventured outside to pick arugula from the garden. Brilliant, I know.

Yup, worth it.

Yup, worth it.

But I had to… I had pesto on the brain. And it was totally worth it.

Roasted Garlic & Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 cups arugula (less if you want a less peppery pesto)
  • 2 good handfuls spinach
  • a few tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more or less depending on how wet you like your pesto)
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  • Rinse spinach and arugula and let dry.
  • Roast garlic (if necessary, see tutorial link above). Once garlic is cooled, gently squeeze cloves out of the skin (also in tutorial).
  • Put all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth.

The pesto will be perfectly delicious at this point. So you can serve over warm pasta with or without lots of parmesan cheese, spread on a baguette…or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Roasted Garlic and Arugula Pesto Version 2.0: Rollatini

Additional Ingredients:

  • Goat Cheese, about 4 oz.
  • 1 package lasagna noodles.
  • Diced tomatoes (Optional)
  • Mozzarella (Optional)

What to do:

  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package, drain and lay out on a cookie sheet to dry/cool.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375.
  • Prepare a large casserole dish by putting a thin layer or diced tomatoes or tomato sauce in the bottom, set aside.
  • Prepare pesto exactly the same way as above. Transfer to a medium-sized dish and mix in goat cheese. (If you don’t like lasagna noodles, you can just add the kicked up pesto to cooked pasta of your choice…or bread.)
Tangy, creamy goodness.

Tangy, creamy goodness.

  • Using a rubber spatula, spread pesto-goat cheese mixture along 2/3 of the lasagna noodles, as pictured below. If using diced tomatoes, sprinkle those on as well (be sure to drain so they don’t get soggy).
So colorful!

So colorful!

  • Roll noodles spread-side first.

2013-05-25_17-48-27_596

  • Place prepared noodles, open-end down, in prepared casserole dish.
  • Top with leftover diced tomatoes.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, covered.
  • Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until noodles are hot.
2013-05-25_19-19-14_949

Without cheese, delicious.

If using cheese, add at the same time as you top noodles with  diced tomatoes.

Follow same baking instructions. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbling.

With cheese. Delish.

With cheese. Delish.

Makes about 5 servings (2 rolls per serving).

Happy Thursday!


Life (mostly Food) Update In Photos…

Hi there!

I know… I have so much to catch up on in the blogging aspect of things. This weekend was Strides for James and it was so much fun! I’ll be doing a post that details a little bit of everything… but I honestly haven’t had a moment to sit and collect my thoughts. So, to keep you until then, it was awesome. Our first year was a success.

So, I’ve been taking a lot of random pictures on my phone lately. Mostly of food and some other things…but mostly food.

So here’s a look at what I’ve been eating and doing lately. 

I have a serious weakness for scallops…and margaritas.

Cinco de Mayo Seafood Paella...totally not local, but so good. I have a serious weakness for scallops...and margaritas.

Cinco de Mayo Seafood Paella…totally not local, but so good.

I’m seeing a food theme here…

I'm seeing a food theme here...crockpot Mexican chicken over rice with avocados, sour cream and NY Cheddar.. Yum.

Crock-pot Mexican chicken over rice with avocados, sour cream and NY Cheddar.. Yum.

This is what happens when you are planning a fun run and go to the grocery store at 6:00 am…you leave with two cases of free bananas and one discounted case.

This is what happens when you are planning a fun run and go to the grocery store at 6:00 am...you leave with two cases of free bananas and one discounted case. Winning!

Winning!

After the race…we had a lot of leftover bananas…so I’ve baking a ton of banana bread (gluten-free–recipes coming!) and making things like this (sorry the picture isn’t great)…

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake!

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake!

Speaking of baking banana bread, I was checking to see if one of the loaves was done…and stupidly burnt the tip of my finger, through a towel. Only me…

I’m also happy to report, after taking home about a half case of bananas, we are down to seven. Farmer Ben and I are a great team in the kitchen!

A mid-week run past a neighbor’s house… somehow we came home with two dozen eggs!

What?! It's warm enough to wear shorts?!

What?! It’s warm enough to wear shorts?! And we got free eggs?!

Another sunny day was spent out working in the garden (a week later, it went down to 28 at night… gah!)

Tomato cages are serious business

Tomato cages are serious business

And this last piece… just made me chuckle.

saw this on Facebook...

saw this on Facebook…

Happy Wednesday!

What have you been up to lately? 

Eaten anything exciting?! 


Getting Crafty-Upcycled Seed Packet Favors

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a good friend’s bridal shower.

The best part? I got to get crafty and make the favors.

Now, if you know me, you know that I am not the most DIY talented person…but this favor was something that ANYONE can do.

I did a quick Google search and found these little beauties.

Again, so easy, even I was able to do it…with some help from my amazing friends Vanessa and Tina. Thanks, Ladies!

image

Piles of seed packets….

Here’s what I came up with to go along with the seed packets.

image

I know, super corny.

These were actually pretty fun to make and did not break the bank. A great idea for upcycling.

The best part? We get to use all of the leftover cardboard cylinders for starting seeds. Win!

What did I use?

  • Cardboard tubes from Paper Towel/TP Rolls (Free from friends!)
  • Ribbon
  • Cardstock
  • Fun Purple Paper
  • Staples
  • Glue Tape
  • Scissors
  • Seeds (Free from Farmer Ben)
  • A few different stamps and purple ink
  • A purple marker for marking packets by type

wpid-2013-03-30_10-57-12_196

 

After you have all of your pieces, just tie them together with a pretty ribbon.

And enjoy!

wpid-2013-03-30_10-58-08_942.jpg


An Explanation…and Other Stuff

Alright, the “worst blogger ever” award goes to…Me.  I have no excuse for my long absence other than…well, I’ve just had a lot going on. And…I haven’t really been moved to write much of anything lately.

An example? I spent the better part of last weekend with one of the worst stomach bugs I’ve ever had. Six pounds in a weekend–NOT the best way to lose weight! Ugh! Obviously an over-share….sorry.

While we’re on this unpleasant topic, thank you to Farmer Ben for being the best hubs. Period.

Anyway, besides being sick….again (seriously, I have been sick more in the last four months than I have in the last four years!), life has been a bit crazy. The routine I’ve desperately tried to (re) establish is still eluding me… but it’s getting closer.

Winter has definitely gotten the best of me, but I am working my way out of this little funk I’ve been in as best I can. It’s been a slow process.

For whatever reason, this time of year is always a bit of a struggle and even though there are things I know that I should be doing, sometimes it’s just easier to put on my favorite pair of sweatpants, curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and lose myself in a good book instead of facing the real world…which is exactly what I’ve been doing most days the last few weeks, instead of…almost anything else.

Honestly, I’ve felt like a zombie for the last couple of months… and I’ve been dragging my feet and being stubborn about some things I need to do.

I’ve got some stuff, for lack of a better word, I need to work out and some decisions to make in regard to goals I’ve set for myself. Luckily I have Farmer Ben here to help me out and give me a push when I start procrastinating.

In other news…

This weekend I attended an event called “Food from the Farm.” It was basically a big information expo: Lots of local farmers, wineries, cheese-makers, orchards and the like in  one room, tasty food made with local products and tons of other great info. Obviously, I loved it!

I didn’t take any pictures because that would have been a great idea… but I got a lot of great information on CSA options from area farms and got to meet and catch up with some amazing people from the area.

As you probably know, the hubs and I grow a ton of veggies in the summer, so we don’t really need to buy vegetables in those months… or even in the winter for that matter. (I did pick up some information on vegetable CSA shares for friends, and if you live in the Plattsburgh area and are interested, I can pass it along to you as well.)

But, we are dying to get a meat CSA.

We very rarely buy mass-produced meat, we’d rather get our meat from a local and known source…

So, we’ve discussed it and decided the best solution would be to get a CSA share. We could also go the “buy a half cow” route, but that’s an awful lot of meat for two people.  There are also options to buy an egg and dairy share. Dream come true. Seriously!

Surprisingly, there are quite a few options in our area,  from a traditional CSA to more of a “Farm Bucks” program (the amount you pay gives you a credit to the farm, you select what you’ll need for the week and the total is deducted off of your balance.) Again, if you are in the Plattsburgh area and are interested in meat CSAs, I can send you information.

Let’s be real, I’m just happy that we have options and that this local food thing is FINALLY catching on up here. Thank you, Lord!

Anyway, we’ve got some options!

 

Here is a sneak peak at dinner lately:

image

Spinach soup a la Joy the Baker

image

Homemade stuffed shells and sauce

Happy Monday!