August 16th, 2013

Greetings from a chilly desk in the barn!  What a wonderful feeling.  A welcome change as we seed carrots, beets, turnips and some winter radishes.  Our first frost date is October 27.  Working back from that, we determine how late we can plant what.  The possibilities for fall are endless!  I just ordered some more kohlrabi seed.  We pulled a bunch of winter squash out of the ground this week and you should be seeing those at the market and in the boxes in a few weeks.

On Wednesday, we put white plastic down, dug in the sides really well and mulched the paths in preparation for planting.  It was confirmed that our volunteer Liz is a mulching pro, she out mulched Ann and I put together!  Yesterday morning we transplanted kale, collards and cauliflower into block 8.  We've got more on the way and soon will be putting out our head lettuces in - yes!  it comes around again.  Cooler weather = greens are on their way to accompany the eggplant, okra, and peppers.

Unfortunately where 3 weeks ago I was writing all about tomatoes, we are predominately down to cherry tomatoes.  We harvested the last of the regular season tomatoes this week.  We should have a couple more weeks more of cherry tomatoes.  Our late season tomatoes are coming along slowly but surely, but are missing the nice green canopy that protects the fruit.  We will be foliar spraying some liquid fish on there later today to help encourage some green growth - the product smells exactly as you would expect.

On a better smelling note, the tuberoses are in season right now!  This is one of my favorites and the only flower we grew this year.  Asked earlier this week if it was edible, the answer is yes!  All of this time I'd just been smelling them, when they can also be added to vegetable soup.  Their oils also used to fragrance the Aztec's chocolate.  From Margaret Robert's Edible and Medicinal Flowers,  "A single flower added to a cup for green tea immediately imparts its rich oils and fragrance and this calms and settles a wildly beating, anxious heart.  Taken as an after dinner tea, it will ease digestion and make even the most stressful day dissolve into restful calm."

Have a great weekend,
Natalie and the Sugar Creek Crew

Tuberose Vegetable Soup again from Margaret Roberts' Edible and Medicinal Flowers
this is a adapted form the old Chinese recipe.  it is light and refreshing, perfect as a starter to be followed by a rich meal.
serves 6

2 T olive oil
2 c finely chipped onions
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
2 cups chopped green peppers
4 cups diced celery stalks
2 liters chicken stock
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 T pure soy sauce with no added msg
3 T fresh lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup tuberose flowers lightly sliced

Fry the onions in the olive oil,  add the mushrooms and brown lightly:  add the green peppers and celery and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add all the other ingredients and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.  Serve hot in bowls with a fresh tuberose flower floating on top.  Dust with nutmeg.  

Provencal Summer Squash and Potato Gratin from the food network

This dish is based on a traditional Provencal dish called a tian, the perfect baked dish for showcasing summer vegetables. Try swapping rosemary for thyme or oregano, or adding thinly sliced summer eggplant to the mix.

Cooking spray
1 medium yellow summer squash (about 8 ounces)
1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces)
1 small Yukon gold potato, about 4 ounces, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1/4 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Manchego cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly mist a shallow 2-quart baking or gratin dish with cooking spray.

Thinly slice the squash, zucchini, potato, and onion 1/4-inch thick with a mandolin or by hand. Shingle the vegetables in the prepared baking dish in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the rosemary leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove the foil; sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes more. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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