Belgian Carrots

8 carrots, sliced
1/3 cup cream
2 TBSP butter
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Boil carrots in water for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain water. Reduce heat to low and add remaining ingredients. Serve when heated through.

Bean and Barley Stew

Bean and Barley Stew

1 cup kidney beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups barley, cooked
28 ounces tomato juice
1 1/2 cups broth
1 cup carrots, grated
1 cup celery, sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder

Requires preparation! Soak and cook kidney beans (or use canned). Cook barley (can be done in your rice cooker). Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat to boiling. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Around the Homestead – Chamomile

The last of the fields has been planted at the farm!

Back home, I’ve started my every-other-day harvest of chamomile. I’ve got some in the dehydrator right now with lemon balm. The most eager of the tomatoes are flowering and potatoes have been hilled. I’ve managed to keep up with weeds so far this season, even with a lot of rain limiting my time outside. And I’ve been able to bring the first of the cut flowers to work to perty up my cube. Things are going well there…I’ve been given a work-from-home-day every week and I got a bonus for a rush project I helped on. It was actually just enough to cover my next waterpark vacation 😀

I’ve even been doing a good job with the diet, hoping to see some more pounds drop…I’ve been stalled for a while. This was last weeks healthy/lazy version of general tsos chicken and beef enchiladas. This week, I’m cooking at night though. I picked up steaks from that grassfed farm I interviewed at last year, got my share of veggies from the farm, and will have asparagus and the first of the baby lettuces from my own garden for dinners this week.

Black Bean Enchiladas

1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups black beans, soaked and cooked (or a 16 oz can)
1 cup corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 1/2 cups Monterey jack, shredded and divided
2 cups salsa
12 six-inch flour tortillas

In a bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Add about 1/3 cup filling to each tortilla, roll up tightly, and place in large casserole dish. When done pour salsa over enchiladas. Cover and cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and cook an additional 10 minutes.

I served topped with piima cream (or use sour cream) and accompanied with Soaked Brown Basmati Rice.  Makes 6 servings of two enchiladas.

Around the Homestead – Extremes

I read that in the last 5 weeks we went from a historic blizzard to setting our highest May temp on record at 91 today…so it’s been a pretty exciting start to the season. It made it to a humid 89 yesterday for my shift at the farm, making field work pretty exhausting. That may not sound so bad, but consider that it was in the 40s and I was wearing a fleece to work on Tuesday morning. I picked peas, lettuce, and spinach for myself and a customer then stayed a couple extra hours to help my farmer get 1,000 sweet potato slips in the ground.

While we drank iced tea to cool off, she also went over the math for how much the supplies and labor for the field we planted cost and how much she hoped to harvest and sell all those sweet potatoes for. I really appreciate how open she is with the business side of things, even knowing I hope to be the competition 3 or so years from now. That’s when my current budget has me paying off my house and having a good savings set aside, which should give me a downpayment and hopefully an initial investment in a hoophouse and tractor. I’m pretty optimistic about that, since I’ve already made my savings goal for this year and am hoping to keep the momentum going and double it. It may be wise to give it another year. Without a mortgage to pay the savings will pile up a lot faster…we’ll see.

In my own yard, things are going real well. All of my little seeds are sprouting. I ended up with nearly an extra bed’s worth of space because I did a lot better job planting out front and didn’t space out my tomatoes with rows of marigolds this year. So I got bonus crops…sweet corn, acorn squash, chard, and 3 types of cut flowers went in there to finish off this years plantings. Apples got bagged this weekend, and I’m waiting to see what my neighbors make of my baggie tree.

Since I haven’t done anything food wise in a while, here’s a before and after of a super simple, super yummy meal. Salad turnips from the farm, backyard asparagus, and steak from my grassfed butcher.

Checking in after 3 weeks

My workershare shifts at the farm have been going well. During the last 3 weeks I’ve done lots of weeding, fertilized the garlic, cleaned the packing shed, pulled out the spent radishes, and let the farm puppy out for romps. I’ve been staying an extra hour or two each week. I enjoy the work and the quiet and the warmth of the hoophouses. Yesterday I turned on the audio book I’d been listening to and just stayed until it was finished.

My farmer also showed me where her library was so I could borrow what I want. I returned A Small Farm in Maine this week and am starting on Teaming with Nutrients. The photo is of enjoying time reading in my new little berry garden.

Things are going well in my own garden. Now that I know my macro-nutrients look good, I’ve started thinking about micro-nutrients and soil. Rather than turning everything in this spring I just ran my diamond hoe through the beds, once as soon as the soil thawed and again right before I planted in hopes of disrupting weeds. And I added extra amendments this year. My next soil test will be a pricier one that’ll give me more info so I can tell how I’m doing there. Seedlings are popping up all over the place now. The bush cherry and peach tree are done blossoming. Apples and blueberries are at their peak looking beautiful. And I just finished re-doing my strawberry bed. It’s always been super weedy and I had trouble combating it because the 3 tier garden was too wide to easily weed. So I moved down to a smaller single tier, sifted out grass roots, fertilized, and replanted everything.

Indoors, my lemon tree has a good dozen little lemons on it and the bay laurel is still going strong. I’m usually terrible with indoor plants so I’m pretty happy. I also jumped on an amazon daily deal for an oyster mushroom kit. I had enough points to cover it so it’s a free experiment for me. They are busy brewing right now and I think they’ll be ready this week so I made sure I had eggs and goat cheese on hand for some yummy omelettes. And I’m thinking some on steak or in a soup depending on how much I get.

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 lb asparagus, chopped in 1 inch lengths
1/4 cup cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Saute onions in butter until tender. Add garlic and cook one minute. Mix in rice until well coated. Add 1/2 cup broth and stir until absorbed. Mix in asparagus. Continue mixing in broth 1/2 cup at a time until absorbed, taking approximately 30 minutes. Stir in cream, cheese, and basil before serving.

Amish Rhubarb Pudding

Amish Rhubarb Pudding

1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP butter
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter. Stir in the buttermilk just until blended. Pour into bottom of pan and sprinkle with rhubarb and sugar. Dot with butter and sprinkle with nutmeg. Pour boiling water over dish and bake 45 minutes until rhubarb is tender. Will be set on top and saucy on the bottom. Serve hot or cold.

5 Ingredient Soup

This is a soup I make almost entirely from my canning pantry, with some fresh refried beans.

2 cups/15 oz can refried beans
1 pint/15 oz can broth
1 pint/15 oz can corn
1 pint/15 oz can black beans
1 pint/15 oz can diced tomatoes (original recipe calls for rotel)

Mix refried beans and broth until combined. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20+ minutes.