The rains have come! And we are happy to report how lucky we have been in avoiding some highly damaging hail and tornados, and the subsequent worst flooding in 50 years for the area.. (yikes). Our hearts go out to those people affected by this series of storms.
We cannot tell you how happy we are to have gotten lots and lots of moisture this week though, as our fields were literally dust... and this weeks deluge really soaked in and started to replenish that soil reservoir that is so important. Over the weeks, we tried rain dances, chicken sacrifices, begging and pleading the sky for moisture.. all to no avail. But then I remembered one last trick I had up my sleeve, and sadly, it was a bit of a mean trick. I invited two of my best friends up to camp for the weekend. Now we have a long track record of every... single... time.. we try camping together, we get rained out. So I figured it would be worth a try. Well, half-way through the night, while they were trying to sleep in their tent, the heavens opened up. And they opened up wide for 5 long hours of pouring rain. I felt a little bad for my friends, but then I walked our pasture and was just so giddy to feel moist soil under my feet again, that any thoughts of guilt simply melted away.
Unfortunately, I kind of forgot we also have a tendency for bringing in the really, really bad storms when we try to camp. I don't know if many of you know of/remember a few years back, when Minneapolis was struck by a massive early summer storm, that knocked down 100 yr old trees all over south Minneapolis, and caused massive property damage. Tens of thousands were without power for up to a full week. Yep, that was one of our camping attempts. Next time, I think I will stick to rain dancing.
We had two strong systems move through during the day on Monday (one which brought 2.5" hail to the area just north of us), before the rain gods literally broke the sky open and dumped about 6" on the farm that night alone (bringing our 48 hr total to 8" of rain, more than twice the rainfall we had received over the previous 2 1/2 months!). While bearing the potential for devastation, our land, livestock and plants woke up the next day as if nothing had happened. So in the end, for us anyway, the storm system was pure benefit, adding more moisture to our trees, pastures, woodlands and most importantly, to the wetlands where the mosquitos all breed. (Okay, that last one was dripping with sarcasm.)
It's Chow Time... !
Before getting into the main show, I wanted to throw two tidbits your direction. First, one of our local CSA members (thanks Gayla!) passed along an amazing looking recipe she used recently with the parsley and italian basil we had in the share that week. It's a Mozarella Salad from the Food Network. Here's the link:
If it looks good, bookmark it! While we don't have parsley and italian basil this week, we will definitely have them again soon. And we will have the spring onion greens that could be substituted for the scallions, and with a little luck (otherwise known as heat), we will have our first tomatoes before too long. I will definitely make sure to re-post this recipe then.
Secondly, this week we are including Thai Basil in the CSA, which may be a new one for many of you. It is a lovely cinnamon-scented version of basil, definitely very aromatic. If you happen to be in the mood to try the Pad See Ew stir fry recipe from last week which used broccoli, thai basil is an excellent addition to add in the very last few seconds of the stir fry. Here is a link to last weeks newsblog:
So what to do with Cabbage?
Many people when they get a cabbage, tend to put the cabbage in the crisper, and there it sits until they find a spark of inspiration. Sometimes, this can take months! Well, let me tell you, fear not, for there are many ways to use this lovely vegetable.
One of my favorite things to do with cabbage is to make homemade sauerkraut! Now, if you are like me, most of my earlier memories of sauerkraut were of canned kraut my father would put all over his brats, and when I would try it, my face would pucker and blah instantly... so I thought sauerkraut was not a thing for me. But then I had some homemade sauerkraut, and it was like a new culinary door had opened. It was more like a salty, tangy, slightly crunchy version of coleslaw. And I fell in love with it! And it is amazingly easy to make with the method outlined in the following website, and once made, it can store for pretty long period of time.
If you decide to brave it, here are a couple quick thoughts on the recipe outlined above. First off, this weeks cabbage is almost a 5 pounder, so you could effectively double this recipe with one cabbage. Two, you don't have to use spice, just eliminate the jalapeno. (I usually spice it up even more, but I'm a heat lover!) And three, I have found I really enjoy adding some ginger to this recipe... yumm!
.and here is another great cabbage idea from our CSA member Gayla... Cabbage Steak!
I had never heard of such a thing, but it sounded amazing, and I absolutely must try it myself. And its so easy!
Pre-heat your over to about 450 deg. Slice the cabbage into 1" thick steak rounds. Spread olive oil, salt and pepper over both sides of the 'steak', put it on a baking sheet and bake it for about 30 minutes (or until you see the outside starting to caramelize). And just like that, you have a cabbage steak.