Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Pictures

We finally went to have some family photos taken for Ethan's 8-month "birthday" last Saturday.  We went to the Ellington Agricultural Center near our house to have them taken by Ashley of AshMill Photography.  The location was awesome -- so pretty and so many neat things to have pictures taken by or near and we had lots of fun meeting Ashley and trying to get Ethan to smile for the camera.  Check out the photos here...the link should be active for 3 months:  http://ashmillphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery/Wagener/G0000GXYifdA_fvs .

Oh, and I'll get Ethan's 8-month post with pictures uploaded soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CSA, Week 7

This week's CSA share included:
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cucumbers
  • swiss chard (silverbeet)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 ears corn
  • bunch of beets
  • bunch of red potatoes
  • bunch of carrots
  • 1 pint blueberries (fruitlover's share)
  • 1 pint blackberries (fruitlover's share)
And from the "free" box I picked up:
  • 1 eggplant
  • 3 green tomatoes
  • 1 kohlrabi
Here's how we used our veggies in the past week:

  • Coleslaw:  cabbage, spring onions
  • Pasta Primavera:  zucchini, summer squash, red onion, carrots, cherry tomatoes

  • Veggie Stir Fry:  Bok Choy, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, sugar peas, kohlrabi
  • Blackberry Cobbler:  blackberries
  • Bumbleberry Cobbler:  blackberries and blueberries
  • Refrigerator Pickles:  cucumbers
  • Green Bean Dinner:  green beans, onion, and CSA cubed ham

From our CSA box last week, we still have one small bunch of yukina savoy to cook.  From the DWI box, we still have lots and lots of squash, a couple zucchini, kale, chard, some blue potatoes, and 2 tomatoes.  Granted, we haven't eaten the coleslaw or marinated beets yet (they had to chill overnight and then we didn't eat them yesterday...meaning we'll try them tonight) but I think we did a pretty good job getting through most of the veggies and all of the fruit this week.  My goal for the upcoming week is to start freezing some of the greens to use in roasts and stews this winter, start freezing some of the squash/zucchini, and introduce Ethan to zucchini.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Kind of Blackberry Cobbler

A few days ago, I used a recipe from allrecipes.com for Blackberry Cobbler with some of the blackberries in our CSA.  This is a different style of cobbler from any I've ever made before but it is one of the highest rated recipes on the site so I decided to try it out.  I followed some suggestions in the reviews and cut the melted butter (that you leave in the bottom of the pan) in half and made my sugar syrup using 3/4 cup sugar and a cup of water.   I also used an overflowing pint of blackberries, which was more than the 2-cups the recipe called for.  The result was fabulous!  It was a perfect not-to-sweet and not too biscuit-y cobbler (that would be "scone-y" to folks in NZ). Anyway, the cobbler was so delicious that Cayne and I ate 2/3 of it the night I made it. I suppose we may be eating more fruits and veggies but we're not exactly eating more healthily...but at least we're enjoying it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our Garden is Growing

Our garden on June 10, 2011
The garden we planted a while back has really taken off.  Everything we planted is growing except for the tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and the heads of lettuce.  I think we should have bought tomato plants instead of trying to grow from seeds (but the day I went to Lowe's, they had their garden center gates closed and the plants were outside so I couldn't get to them and decided to try seeds instead).  But the potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and mesclun have really taken off!

DWI Box This Week

We have so many veggies, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all of these.  Here is a picture of everything in our DWI box this week...and yes, mom still has lots and lots of veggies left at her house to prepare!

We have 3 heads of cabbage, some chard, some kale, cauliflower, snap peas, yellow tomatoes, red tomatoes, and heaps of squash.  I hope Ethan starts liking his squash soon! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Click Clack

Ethan has learned to make a new noise:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

When I saw that we had some bumpy-looking cucumbers in our CSA box last week, I thought they looked like they would make perfect pickles.  Unfortunately, I had no idea how to make pickles and assumed that I would need to know how to can pickles in order to make them.  Well, I decided to see how difficult canning would be, because I knew that neither Cayne nor I are big fans of cucumbers and I didn't want the cute cukes to go to waste.  As I was reading a recipe on how to can pickles and seeing all the supplies I would need (which seemed like overkill, considering I only had 3 cucumbers!) I stumbled across a recipe for "refrigerator pickles".  The recipe I found was for "bread and butter pickles", not my favorite kind -- I like Dill Pickles.  I kept looking and finally found a recipe for refrigerator dill pickles that I knew I could modify to have less sugar and more dill in the pickle shape I wanted.  I wasn't convinced my first attempt at pickles would be good, but 4 days later when I tried my pickles I thought they were excellent...a perfect flavor and very crispy!  In fact, I've already pickled the 3 cucumbers I got yesterday in our CSA.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles 
1.5 cups distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
4 tsp kosher salt (or any non-iodized salt)
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
3/4 tsp dill seeds
2 cups hot water
1 clove crushed garlic
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
1 sprig fresh dill

Heat the water in the microwave and add the salt and sugar.  Stir until dissolved.  Add the vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dill seeds, garlic, and chopped fresh dill.  Cut the blossom end off the cucumber or both ends, if necessary, to make sure they will fit into your jar/container.  Cut into spears or into discs, whichever you prefer...I cut mine into spears.  Put the cucumbers into an airtight container that is not much bigger than the pickles.  I used a plastic take-out soup container.  Pour the vinegar/dill solution over the pickles, covering them completely.  Add a sprig of fresh dill to the container, cover tightly, and refrigerate.  Wait 2-3 days before eating.  Pickles will last 1 month in the refrigerator   

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CSA, Week 6

This week's CSA included:
  • 2 small kohlrabi
  • 1 red onion
  • baby carrots
  • 3 squash
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 3 zucchini
  • green beans
  • yukina savoy
  • blueberries
  • 2 quarts blackberries (in the fruitlovers share)
Ethan wants to try a blueberry!

Here's how we used (most of) last week's veggies:

  • Strawberry ice cream:  strawberries (and Hatch Dairy milk and cream)
  • Roast Chicken:  squash and CSA chicken
  • Chicken and squash casserole:  leftover roast chicken, squash, zucchini, carrots and onion
  • Refrigerator pickles:  cucumbers
  • lunch salad:  lettuce (from last week's DWI box), squash, and zucchini
  • Frozen Peas:  all the peas

We still have quite a bit left over from last week (green beans, bok choy, yukina savoy, beets, and some extra squash and onions (from the DWI box).  This is partly because our CSA box has been getting fuller each time we pick it up as summer gets into high gear so I really need to figure out a good way to store some of these veggies for later use.  I'm looking forward to using the peas I froze in casseroles and soups, for example.  This weekend is the freezing/canning class at the Williamson County Cooperative Extension, so I'm looking froward to seeing how that goes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Little Fish

Today was Ethan's first time in a swimming pool!  We went to Mackenzie's grandma's (Grammie's) house where they have a beautiful salt water pool.  Mackenzie and Aunt Ashley were already playing in the pool when we got there and Ethan joined right in.  He didn't splash as much as I expected but did kick a little bit after some encouragement and pretty  much just seem to be taking it all in.  He especially liked when I lifted him out of the water and then let him splash down, back into the water.  He enjoyed it so much that we stayed in the water until his little toes got wrinkled.  I think it is going to be a fun summer full of swimming!  Thanks to Ashley and Linda and Eddie for inviting us over...Ethan can't wait to come back to play!
Ashley can handle two babies in the pool!

Aunt Ashley and Mackenzie had fun swimming too!

Watch Ethan kicking and moving in this video:

Ethan fell fast asleep on the way home --
the sun and water really wore  him out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Mhmm...Not sure what to call this one

Tonight I made a skillet dish/soup using some of the sausage we got in our CSA and some veggies.  I thought the sausage might be like a Mexican chorizo since it was labeled as "Ground Pork Sausage...Hot" but it wasn't anything like Mexican chorizo.  It tasted good though, and I'm glad I tried this dish, considering I'm not a very big fan of sausage and I did not have high hopes for how it would taste while I was cooking it.  Cayne loved it and calls it perfect "man food".  I will admit that the sausage gave a good flavor and the kale was awesome-tasting in this dish.

Ground Sausage and Kale Skillet Dinner
1 lb hot ground pork sausage
2 large baking potatoes, sliced
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can chicken stock
2 bay leaves

Brown the sausage in a large skillet (like you would brown ground beef).  Add the onion, potatoes, and garlic and sautee until onions are tender.  I also added a little vegetable oil because there was not much fat in our CSA sausage.  Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, and con of tomatoes.  Once the liquid is hot and bubbly, add the kale (you might have to add in batches, so that it will wilt, making room for more in the pan).  Mix everything together, cover, and let simmer until the potatoes are tender.

CSA, Week 5

This week's CSA included:
  • carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 baby squash
  • 3 cucumbers
  • onion
  • Yukina Savoy
  • Bok Choy
  • green beans
  • English peas
  • beets
  • strawberries (in the fruitlovers share)
I'm a little bit glad we didn't get lettuce this time, because even though Doe Run Farm's lettuces taste great -- I still have to use up the lettuce from last week!  This looks like a fun box to try to use up, though!  Too bad the canning class hasn't happened yet or I would try to make pickles from those cucumbers (they are the bumpy, perfect-for-pickles type of cukes).

Also, the article on the Doe Run Farm CSA came out on Tuesday in the Williamson AM section of The Tennessean.  There was a short quote from me in it and a photo of me on the back page of the paper.  The photo didn't make it to the online version of the story, which is a same because it was a pretty nice photo of me getting my box of veggies and strawberries.  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Veggies... The Wades Didn't Want It (DWI) Box

My mom really wants to support local farmers so she joined 2 different CSAs this summer for 1/2 shares at each one:  Delvin Farms and Flying S Farms.  But, while she likes some of the veggies she gets in these shares, she doesn't like all of them.  Cayne told her that he would eat anything they didn't want so now we have a weekly addition to our CSA share-- her rejects!  So, she's calling those veggies The Wades Didn't Want It Box...our DWI Box.  This week we got romaine, kale, garlic scapes, baby squash, sugar peas, blonde peas, chard, and garlic in our DWI box.  This adds to my weekly challenge of cooking all these great vegetables...but I'm up for it!

We did pretty good this week using up ALL our veggies except the 2 bunches of romaine lettuce, 2 bunches of kale, and a garlic bulb.  Luckily, the greens still look great so if I use them in the next couple of days they'll still be good and the garlic will last for a while, I'm sure.   I can't believe we went the whole week without a single salad though!  Still, that's a lot of  left over lettuce...and we pick up our new CSA box tomorrow!  I've got to get cracking....or freezing!  Luckily, Delvin Farms is offering their shareholders a canning and freezing class so mom and I are signed up to take it on June 18th.

Here's how we used up all the veggies (and a little of our meat CSA) this week:
  • Chicken Curry Dinner:  cauliflower and swiss chard (aka:  silverbeet to you Kiwis)
  • Chicken and Veggie Casserole:  squash, carrots, spring onions, and broccoli
  • Pork Stir Fry:  pork (from the meat CSA), spring onions, bok choy, carrots, garlic scapes, garlic, sugar peas
  • Frozen Peas (to use later in the year):  Blonde peas 
  • Chicken Tikka Masala:  spring onions, squash, garlic scapes, English peas, red and yellow chard
  • Strawberry Tea Bread:  strawberries (we ate most of strawberries fresh though)

Ethan Pictures and Videos

I realize I haven't been putting up many photos of Ethan (and in all honesty, I know that food pictures aren't super exciting).  So, here are some recent pictures of Ethan looking his cutest!

Yay!  Clap, clap, clap!
I love my carrot "popsicles"!
Seriously?  You're my mommy?
What cha doing down there, daddy?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Bok Choy and Pork Stir Fry

Cayne, stir frying the veggies
Tonight we used meats and veggies from our 2 CSA farms to make a stir fry.  I prepared all the veggies and the stir fry sauce and Cayne did the cooking.  It tasted so good!  The Peaceful Pastures pork was super flavorful and the fresh veggies were superb, as usual.  Our stir fry included squash, carrots, garlic scapes, spring onions, bok choy, garlic, and some ground ginger.  I made up the stir fry sauce based on a recipe I found online and it was delicious.  It didn't look like the recipe made very much but it was so flavorful that it ended up being the perfect amount.  After cooking the meat and then the veggies, Cayne pushed everything to the side of the wok to heat and thicken the sauce before stirring it all together.  Then we served it over some rice.

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2.5 tbsp chicken broth
2.5 tbsp white wine
1 tsp sugar
4 tsp corn starch

Thickening up the stir fry sauce

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Broccoli Squash and Chicken Casserole

Tonight I decided to use up the broccoli, squash, and carrots from our CSA in a casserole.  I had found a basic recipe to follow online at Food.com but ended up changing it up quite a bit.  It tasted great...being a casserole I think you could put anything you wanted to in it though!

Squash, Broccoli, and Chicken Casserole

1 cubed, cooked chicken breast
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 yellow squash, chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onions (I used spring onions)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 beaten egg
1 3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 tbsp melted butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 slices swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
fresh chives to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the melted butter, mayonnaise, egg, cream of mushroom soup, salt, pepper and shredded cheese (it's OK that it's not melted) together in a large bowl.  Add the vegetables and chicken.  Stir to mix.  Pour into a greased casserole dish (2 qt size) and top with the swiss cheese slices and then the bread crumbs (you can also melt some butter and mix with the breadcrumbs before baking for a crisper top).  Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle fresh chives on top.

BTW -- the Jones Mill Farm
Pain de Champagne tastes awesome!

First Visit to the Farmers Market

Today we left the house early (around 8:30) to check out the Franklin Farmers Market at The Factory.  It was a nice market...not exactly what we were used to in Dupont but it was lively.  The cool thing about this market is that it is partially under a pavilion cover, meaning there is shade -- a really great idea and it really helps keep things cooler!  Since we have our CSA veggies we didn't need to pick anything new up and we went to pick up our new meat CSA share (from Peaceful Pastures) so we also didn't need any meat.  Instead, we bought some fresh milk and strawberry gelato from Hatcher Family Dairy, some fresh eggs, and some cinnamon rolls and a loaf of French bread from Jone's Mill Bakery.

Our meat CSA looks like it will be delicious, too.  We only got the 1/2 share so we'll be picking up every other month (for a total of 3 pick ups).  This month we got:  2 whole chickens, 2 beef sirloin steaks, 2 NY strip steaks, 2 pounds of hot pork sausage, 4 pounds ground beef, 1 pound of cubed pork, and a huge beef roast.  All the meat is pastured/grass-fed so it should taste great and be super-healthy!  Only, now I wish we had purchased the full share.

Ethan had fun people-watching and promptly fell asleep as soon as we got back in the car!  Normally, we don't get out of the house until after his morning nap (meaning 10:30 is about the earliest we leave) but I think he liked this little change in routine.
Ethan is ready to go home!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Curry

Tonight I cooked some Trader Joe's Curry Chicken Tenders (delicious) and Roasted Curry Cauliflower.  I also used up the rest of the Swiss Chard from last week's CSA by cooking it in the same pan as the chicken to give it a little bit of curry flavor as well.  It worked really well to throw it in the pan after the chicken was finished, adding an interesting but subtle flavor.  Everything tasted so good and it was a really simple dinner to make...although to like it, you must like curry!  I'm really enjoying using our CSA veggies when cooking.  I also made some more Strawberry Tea Bread, although I couldn't find hazelnuts at Publix so I ended up using a mixture of leftover hazelnuts and walnuts that I toasted before grinding.  I think it will still make a great dessert!

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp curry (I used Penzey's Sweet Curry)
1 tsp salt
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

Mix oil, lemon juice, salt, and curry in a bowl big enough to hold all the cauliflower.  Add the cauliflower and coat the florets with the curry mixture.  Pour cauliflower into a large roasting pan in a single layer.  Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CSA, Week 4

Squash, Carrots, Strawberries, Spring Onions
This week's CSA box included:
  • Red Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Carrots
  • Spring Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • English Peas
  • Squash
  • Strawberries (in the Fruit Lovers portion)
Broccoli, Bok Choy, English Peas, Cauliflower

There was a reporter from Williamson A.M. (a section in the Tennessean newspaper) at our drop-off location today, so be on the look-out for an article on Doe Run Farm in the paper!

We got so many things, I couldn't fit everything into my Chico Produce Stand Bags! I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with all this food this week!  On Saturday, we pick up our first Meat CSA at the Franklin Farmer's Market, so we'll have more things to play around with trying to cook!

Here's how we used last week's veggies:

  • Dinner Salad:  Mizuna, Strawberries, English Peas, Radishes

  • Lunch Salad: Red Romaine, Swiss Chard, strawberries, English Peas, Chives (I also added carrots and cherries)

This beet/beet leaf/chard/onion/bacon
 side dish was delish with the chicken!

We still have a few leaves of Swiss Chard we will have to eat this week.  I'm really impressed with how the cotton/hemp Produce Stand Bag made for keeping lettuce fresh has kept the Chard looking delicious this whole week!