How do you use your cucumbers?

on Sunday, July 31, 2011

Brett likes them peeled (no skins on his cucumber!), sliced into sticks and then eats them plain or maybe with blue cheese dressing to dip.

I like them sliced thin, along with thinly sliced onion (red onion in the picture, but color doesn't really matter to me), and put in a container with a lid that has a good seal. Then I sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, pepper and maybe sugar, and then pour in roughly equal parts of vegetable oil, cider vinegar and water. Seal, shake, and let sit for a little while. I like them best when chilled. For two small or one medium cucumber I use a small to medium onion, and roughly a quarter cup of each of the liquid ingredients. This is to taste, so if you like it more puckery, go heavier on the vinegar.

I find if I use too much oil (compared to the vinegar and water), it can seem a little too oily, especially when cold!

Oh, and I've been known to include some snips of dill if I have it, but I don't usually have it around.

And another great way to eat cucumbers? Slices of pumpernickle, spread with cream cheese, topped with thin slices of cuke, and sprinkled with a little dill (dry or fresh). Soooo good! I've even done this on pumpernickle cut with a bat-shaped cookie cutter for Halloween parties. The near-black bread is great!
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Vampires beware!

Your shares this week will include two smaller heads of garlic.... In previous weeks I think you've each gotten just one head, but it was usually a bit bigger. Now that all the garlic has been harvested (dug up) , cured (set out to dry), had the stalks trimmed off (easier to include in share/store), and had most of the dirt knocked off, I have a better feel for which heads are going to last longer and which are a bit questionable.

Since there are always plenty that a bug got into, or got knicked while being dug up, or have some soft/bad cloves in them, we want to make sure those heads are used up first. So this week each of your shares have two smaller heads of garlic... One that is a bit more picture perfect and should store longer, and the other is a bit iffy... It's the one you'll want to pick over, check the individual cloves, and use it up sooner. Trust me... You'll know if any of the cloves have gone bad... Peeeeuw! ;-)
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Kissy kissy

on Saturday, July 30, 2011

Of the original 7 bunnies there are now only two in the nest. There was a third but it took off into the cabbages, and I thought I found it but about caught a big frog instead. That sucker hopped at least 18" into the air, landing in the pepper bed after I followed it out of the cabbage bed.
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on Sunday, July 24, 2011

The rain has NOT been kind to these tomatoes... The plants are starting to die from the ground up. But as you can see, there's plenty of fruit on the vine. I think we'll be ok, plus these aren't the only tomato plants, and the others are faring much better... Fingers crossed!
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Good morning sunshine

Hmmy, as a "farmer" I'm supposed to ensure this nest of baby bunnies is never a threat to my crops. What should I do??
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Suddenly by surprise!

on Friday, July 1, 2011

The funny thing about some veggie plants is they can be farther along than you realized... even when you stare at them every day! I swear that big one wasn't there earlier this afternoon!
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Are you as happy to see this cucumber as it is to see you?
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We know there are more moles in here somewhere!
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Remember last year's eggplants?

Those of you who were members last year probably remember how we were getting almost overwhelmed with eggplants, especially that long, narrow Japanese varieties. There were weeks where I was picking 75+ fruit!

So far this season the plants themselves haven't really started to take off yet. Because of the cooler spring, they didn't get set out into the ground as early as last year, and they're always slow to take off. Still, I'm pretty confident they'll be settled in soon enough and hopefully start to take off faster than the flea beetles can eat through their leaves.

We had a number of questions on how people prepare the tender-skinned, long, skinny eggplants last year. My usual methods were to either just simmer them with most of the other veggies coming out of the garden in a really chunky, flavorful sauce to serve over pasta (or even eat as a stew), or I'd grill them before adding them to recipes.

Near the end of the season, as everyone was burning out on the eggplant, I actually did an experiment where I washed, cubed, and dehydrated a bunch of the fruits in my dehydrator (along with sweet peppers, hot peppers and squash). (I have the Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator if anyone's curious, and it's great for preserving veggies and herbs from the garden, making dog treats, making apple rings from apple picking in the orchards in the fall, making fruit leather and more!)

I think the dehydrated eggplants have been my favorite - in fact, just this past week I added some dehydrated eggplants to a pot of boiling water at the same time as seashell pasta, and when the pasta was done I drained the whole pot and added the pasta and rehydrated eggplant to a bowl with tomato, cucumber, lemon juice, parsley, mint, olive oil, salt and pepper - it was sort of a twist on tabbouleh (which is what I was really hungry for, but was out of bulgar wheat, and decided, hey, if I was changing it up anyhow, let's add the eggplant!). Turned out GREAT!

Here's a web video showing something else you can make with eggplant - Japanese Eggplant Ratatouille. Looks gooooood!

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