Fresh from the Garden Gazpacho!

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Tomatoes, cukes, and peppers are ripening – t’is the season for gazpacho . . .  and Long Wind Farm was having a sale on tomatoes!  There are lots of different recipes; some like it silky smooth, others like it chunky – I like to add side bowls of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and chives to this recipe so we can have it both ways!

 
Fresh from the Garden Gazpacho
Serves: 16 (I usually reduce this recipe to 1/3, using one cucumber, 1 pepper, etc)
Ingredients
  • 3 medium red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 12 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp plain bread crumbs
  • Home made croutons
  • 1 large french baguette (One could use different breads.)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt or to taste
 
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender (depending on the size of the jar, you may have to do it in several batches). Blend until smooth
  2. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of tomato and pepper skin and cucumber seeds. (I use a Foley food mill.)
  3. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.
  4. Serve with home made croutons, bowls of chopped cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, chives, etc
  5. Home made croutons
  6. Dice the baguette and place in a large bowl
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil in one single layer
  8. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Serve on top of the gazpacho.
  10. Enjoy! From May I have that recipe

- See more at: http://mayihavethatrecipe.com/2013/06/16/from-papis-garden-authentic-spanish-gazpacho-2/#sthash.8jXF1nKT.dpuf

 
Tip:  Gazpacho can be made with frozen tomatoes.  If you want gazpacho next 4th of July, freeze tomatoes now!
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Food Solutions New England

Food Solutions New England has prepared a vision for New England agriculture that would have us producing 50% of our food by 2060, with self-sufficiency in dairy production and near self sufficiency in vegetables . . and no one going hungry:

http://www.foodsolutionsne.org/sites/foodsolutionsne.org/files/media/LowResNEFV.pdf

Discussion of “Food Most Feasible for New England to Produce” interesting (p.19+)

“No one can predict the future but it is worth knowing that, if pressed, New England could probably produce two-thirds of its own food.”

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As Local As It Gets!

According to the National Gardening Association, when the crocuses are in flower, its time to plant the seeds of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, onion sets and seeds, peas, potatoes, radish, rutabaga, shallots, spinach, and turnip. Finally! Our home grown food is as LOCAL as it gets.

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Herbs-from-the-Garden Crackers


Today’s Valley News had Carol Egbert’s recipe for homemade crackers with a suggestion to try different herbs. I had dried sage, rosemary and thyme from the garden as well as dried hot peppers . . . why not give it a go?

Carol Egbert’s Saltine Crackers

2 cups all-purpose flour (Note: I used 1 cup Beidler Family Farm whole wheat flour and 1 cup King Arthur All-Purpose)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Note: the crackers were too salty for my taste – I’d use 1/4 tsp next time)

1⁄3 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil- it would be fun to try Cedar Circle sunflower oil when it is next available)

2⁄3 cup warm water

1 local egg white, beaten

additional kosher salt to finish crackers

Carol Wrote:”I use a whisk to blend together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt in a mixing bowl. I stir the vegetable oil and water into the flour mixture to make soft but not sticky dough.

I put one quarter of the dough onto a cookie sheet that has been lightly oiled and use a small rolling pin to roll the dough into a large square, paint on a thin glaze of beaten egg white with a pastry brush, sprinkle the dough with a small amount of kosher salt and finally, prick the dough with a fork to keep the crackers from rising. The crackers are ready to be baked for 10 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees. Cool and re-oil the baking sheet between batches.”

I divided the dough into 4 quarters and mixed in about a Tablespoon of crumbled dried herbs in each quarter.  My favorites were the rosemary and the sage. I’d go easy on the salt next time. It would be fun to make these crackers and serve them with gazpacho next summer . . or with homemade tomato soup today!

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Hartland Seed Library

On a freezing, snow-covered Saturday morning in early January, the Hartland Community Connections breakfast brought Hartland residents together to talk about seeds and the proposed Hartland Seed Library

The goal of the Seed Library, initiated by Hartland Library’s Director, Amy Wisehart, is to support and encourage seed saving efforts in the Hartland community. Vegetable seeds will be available to “check out” for the growing season. The first year will focus on open-pollinated lettuce, beans, peas, and tomatoes, all of which are relatively easy for beginning seed savers. Participants will save seed from some of the crops they grow to return to the library at the end of the season. The Library will offer educational support, including pamphlets, books and workshops, to help beginning seed savers.

There is a growing movement to re-localize and reclaim stewardship of seed production. Seed diversity is being lost as large seed companies have come to increasingly dominate and monopolize the seed market. The practice of seed saving encourages greater self-sufficiency and community resilience, and enables us to adapt to a changing climate and to localize our seeds for best results in our region. Hartland seed-saver Sylvia Davatz says it is empowering and addictive!

Response from breakfast attendees was enthusiastic with lots of questions and suggestions. Many asked for a workshop on building healthy soils. Both Brian Stoffolino (Oak Wood Farm, N. Hartland) and Jaxson Morgan, Hartland Community Connections Director) suggested a harvest potluck for sharing experiences, threshing seeds, and further building this community of seed savers. Sylvia welcomed those who are interested to attend a meeting of the Upper Valley Seed Savers on January 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm. at the Upper Valley Food Co-op in White River, VT. She also recommended “Seed to Seed” as a great resource for those interested in saving seeds.

What a wonderful way to build community, increase local resilience . . . and re-use all those outdated library card catalogs!

For info on established seed libraries see:
http://www.concordseedlendinglibrary.org/ (Concord, MA)
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/02/170846948/how-to-save-a-public-library-make-it-a-seed-bank (a Colorado Library)
http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/ Richmond, CA
http://www.library.pima.gov/seed-library/ Pima, Arizona

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Whole Wheat Butternut Squash Pancakes – Spicy and Delicious!

This morning was frosty with new-fallen snow . . . a perfect morning for the comfort of these delicious pancakes. . . which are my new all-time favorite pancakes!

Whole Wheat Butternut Squash Pancakes

serves 2-3

1/2 cup + 2 T Local whole wheat flour (I used Beidler Farm flour from the Leb Co-op)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 cup local milk

1 local egg

1 T melted local butter

1/3 cup roasted and mashed local butternut squash (or pumpkin)
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the egg, melted butter, milk and squash. Mix well. Add wet to dry and fold together, being careful not to over-mix the batter.

Let the batter rest five minutes.

Cook on a medium hot skillet and flip when the pancake has bubbles all over. Serve with warm local maple syrup and butter. What a great northern New England winter breakfast treat!

http://www.eatliverun.com/whole-wheat-butternut-squash-pancakes/

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PYO Blueberries!

Super Acres Blueberries Economies of scale make it hard for small farms to compete with large-scale farming. One way small farms can compete is by offering Pick-Your-Own opportunities whereby the customer provides the labor. Yesterday, a friend and I picked our own at Super Acres Blueberries in Lyme, NH. It was a beautiful day and the berries were bountiful. Young mothers with their children, grandparents and grandchildren, visitors from afar, folks with their dogs, all were picking and munching amongst more than a thousand unsprayed high-bush blueberries. The Super family encourages folks to bring picnics, and they provide lots of Adirondack chairs for resting and enjoying the scene. Instructions are simple: 1. Pick, 2. Weigh. 3. Pay. (The money goes in a slot so one needs to bring the right change or pay by check.) Buckets for picking are provided as are pint boxes for carrying blueberries home. $2.50/pound and delicious!

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