Cortido and Kraut (…and a lamb!)

This has been an exciting week on the homestead! We welcomed the first lamb ever to be born on our farm into the world on Tuesday! We named her Thorina, after the Norse God of Thunder. She was born during our first major thunderstorm of the season, which is very auspicious. Just look at this face…

…and here she is less than 48 hours later out on pasture with her mom, Inga.

How amazing she is! Such a strong little girl – loves exploring the farm. To read more about her, check out my homesteading blog, Got Goats? (…and sheep too!).

It has been a while since I wrote about fermented foods – a staple in our house. On a daily basis, we find ourselves enjoying delicious fermented foods made at home such as yogurt, dairy kefir, water kefir, kefir cream (like sour cream) historic raw milk cheeses, quark, ginger carrots, kombucha, lacto fermented pickles, traditional sauerkraut, cortido and various fermented condiments.

Why do we love fermented foods? Well for one they are extremely good for you – a way of getting high quality probiotics into your body without having to take a supplement and whole body health really starts in the gut. Having healthy gut flora keeps the bad bugs at bay and naturally boosts you immune system. Plus they taste extremely delicious and fermenting foods is a traditional food preservation method. To learn more about this method of preservation, please read my post: Lacto Fermentation Questions Answered.

During the summer months we have an abundance of vegetables. In addition to our own ( growing every year) kitchen garden (we are now up to 12 vegetable beds and soon to be adding 4 herb beds) we also join a local CSA. This ensures that we can eat our fill of delicious fresh vegetables all summer long and have enough to preserve a large majority for winter eating . My favorite preserved vegetables are sauerkraut and cortido, a Latin American cabbage and carrot ferment. I love sauerkraut all year long, but cortido feels like summer to me! Cortido is a great condiment to eat on tacos or to serve with your favorite grilled meats.

We should all be well into garden season now, at least in the Northern hemisphere (we are in one of the coldest gardening zones – zone 3, so if we got our tomatoes in the ground, most everyone else already is harvesting veggies!) and so these are some great recipes to keep on hand for when you or your local farmers get a bumper crop of cabbage and carrots! Both are very easy to make and are not time consuming and both are a delicious way to preserve your summer abundance for the leaner winter months while naturally boosting your immune system!

Sauerkraut (from Nourishing Traditions)

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 TBS caraway seeds
1 TBS sea salt
4 TBS whey (or if not available an additional TBS of salt)

METHOD: In a bowl mix cabbage with caraway seeds, salt and whey (If using). Pound with a wooden pounder or meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release the juices. Place in a quart sized wide mouth mason jar and press down firmly until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least one inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. Makes one quart. It may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age. *I have had some of my jars for over a year and they are still delicious!

Cortido (from Nourishing Traditions)

INGREDIENTS:
1 large cabbage, cored and shredded
1 cup carrots, grated
2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise and finely sliced
1 TBS dried oregano
¼-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBS sea salt
4 TBS whey (or an additional TBS of salt if not available)

METHOD: In a large bowl mix cabbage, carrots onions, oregano, red pepper flakes, sea salt and whey (If using). Pound with a wooden pounder or meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release the juices. Place in two quart sized wide mouth mason jars and press down firmly until juices come to the top of the vegetables in each jar. The top of the vegetables should be at least one inch below the top of the jars. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. Makes two quarts. It may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age.

Potato-Leek Fritters

 

This year I fell in love with leeks. I have cooked with them before, but not often. I know it might sound strange but leeks intimidated me. There are all these stories about how you have to clean them so well, etc. and I just didn’t think they were worth it. I know, go ahead…*gasp*

I have since learned the error of my ways. This year, our CSA grew leeks and so they were on offering every week and more plentiful than onions, so I started really using them a lot. I have come to adore their wonderful sweet flavor and they looks so beautiful in dishes – and cook much faster than onions.

Some of my favorite dishes to use leeks in are the Buckwheat Noodles with Mushrooms and Sour Cream that I shared last time and basically anything with potatoes…these fritters being right up there. We grew a wonderful crop of 4 varities of heirloom potatoes this year, and I must admit they are the best potatoes I have ever eaten. So flavorful and wonderfully earthy. I now understand why the French call them pommes de terre or apples of the earth.

I should have posted this as a leftover holiday dish, but honestly these are so good, that they are worth making mashed potatoes for! We enjoy these alongside eggs for breakfast, or for dinner as a side dish. In fact, they could probably be perfectly satisfying as a main dish! Just make them!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of smashed potatoes (I like gold fleshed potatoes for this)
1 large egg, scrambled
½ cup of sliced leek rings
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of herbs de Provence
½ to ¾ cup of garbanzo bean flour – enough so that the patties are easy to form
Lard or butter for frying
Sour cream or hot sauce (or both!)to garnish

METHOD:

Heat up a cast iron skillet on low until nice and hot. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and shape into patties (will make about 8-10 depending on how big you make them). Place lard or butter in the pan and melt and fry patties on each side for a total of about 5-7 minutes per patty. I generally have the oven at 250 F and put the finished patties in the oven to stay warm. Serve with sour cream/hot sauce and enjoy!

Guest Post: Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad

 

Today I am truly excited to share with you a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers Rosa, from Rosa’s Yummy Yums. It is a unique and seasonal Potato Salad, a wonderful unconventional addition to your Thanksgiving table! I am a huge fan of potatoes and I adore this recipe. Just look at the beautiful photos.

If you are a food blogger, I am sure you know Rosa. Whenever I am visiting blogs, her comments are always within the first three. She happens to be a very talented lady and so I imagine she has super powers that allow her to be on all blogs at once spreading encouragement to bloggers throughout the blogosphere.  If you don’t already know Rosa and her aptly named blog, go on over there and check her out!

I have been following Rosa’s blog for many years now, since I became a food blogger, actually (her blog has been around a lot longer than mine). Her creative, vibrant and flavorful recipes have always kept me coming back for more and inspired me as a budding blogger. In fact her participation in the Daring Bakers and the beautiful things she made, prompted me to sign up and bake with them for a few years, too! Rosa is not afraid of flavor, spice or color in her dishes and there is always a side of pizazz to go with it! Clearly I admire her.

Besides kitchen creativity, Rosa is also well known for her amazing photography, not only of food, but also the countryside of Geneva, Switzerland where she lives. Besides food we share a love of all things Scandinavian, genealogy and nature. I would love to go visit her someday, and taste some of her amazing recipes, cooked by Rosa herself.  So here’s Rosa!


I have known the lovely Jenn Campus for quite a while now and have been visiting The Leftover Queen” since its launching in 2007. During all those years I have followed her adventures striving towards the goals of sustainability, preparing traditional foods and seasonal feasting, and have admired her courage when she moved to Northern Vermont in order to live out her dream and become self-sufficient (growing her own vegetables as well as raising her own animals).

So, the day Jenn asked me to write a guest post for her there was no way I was going to refuse her generous offer as I hold her ideas (ideals) in esteem, envy her countryside lifestyle and share similar visions with this captivating young lady who is extremely knowlegeable reagarding all things linked to Nature and homesteading. It is a real honor for me to be invited into her awesome space.

As she advocates healthy eating and enjoys creating culinary delights based on simplicity as well as everyday foods that can be traced locally and respect the earth’s cycles, I thought that it would be a brilliant idea to invent a potato salad which could be adapted according to what’s on the stalls of your regional farmers markets and savored as a fulfilling main course that can stand alone.

I have always been an immense fan of spuds and worshipped them because they are marvelously versatile, nourishing and delicious. There are so many varieties available and an astonishing number of amazing dishes can be made with them. Without a doubt, it is the king of vegetables.


Other ingredients I very much idolize and venerate are tahini, peppers, nuts, paprika and mustard. They literally make my world turn and I cannot imagine my extraordinarily well-stocked pantry and fridge being devoid of them (of course, I buy bell peppers solely from July to October).

Good food and good eating aren’t a class thing – anyone can eat good food on any budget as long as they know how to cook.

Jamie Oliver

Thanks to my immense collection of condiments, herbs and spices (it is an addiction), my cuisine is intensely savory, makes good use of seasonings hailing from all over the world, is highly inventive, ecclectic and can be described as “fusion”, yet those are not the only aspects which characterizes it. Budget-friendliness is also an integral part of my style of cooking as I only have an acutely limited amount of resources I can spend on groceries every month. This forces me to juggle like crazy and find ways of getting more for less. It means that I never eat meat or fish more than once a week (generally lower cuts or bargain spicimens) and have to manage my larder intelligently.

Nonetheless, being restricted money-wise and following good existence habits doesn’t obligatorily mean that you have to eat like an austere monk on a strict diet, a New Age prophet living on love and fresh air nor restrain your kitchen activity and stop concocting exciting meals. Quite the contrary. It is indeed absolutely possible to count your pennies as well as satisfy your body and soul simultaneously with refined and tasty grub (please read my article “13 ways to eat on a budget and improve your health at the same time” that was published on The Rambling Epicure).


“I don’t know what folks are going to do,” she said “because they don’t know how to be poor.”

- Marilyn, http://culinate.com

I strongly believe that in this period of global financial crisis, more people should be concerned about learning how to survive hard times and to reduce their consumption costs by being more aware of what can be done in order not to throw their dollars/Euros/Francs out of the window, yet without compromising on the nutritional quality the of their dinners and on self-indulgence. Our ancestors were forced to find methods to get through dearth, so there we should maybe start learning from them as their teachings could prove useful in the future – the impacts this behavior has on our environment are either not negligible…

So, the harmoniously tasting (sweet, sour, salty & hot), quirky, colorful and elegant “Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad” I am presenting here today englobes all of those aspects. It provides cheap nourishment, incredible gustative pleasure and is well-balanced, especially if paired with proteins such as fish, meat or eggs.

Most potato salads contain mayonnaise and, although I have nothing against this practice (I am a big fan of the homemade version), I preferred to whip up a dressing with sesame paste which offers a similar creaminess than its calorific counterpart, but is a lot less fattening and adds a delightful nuttiness to the whole dish. Then, for more color, crunch and sweetness I incorporated a grated carrot, a handful pomegranate seeds and a thinly sliced red bell-pepper (see comments for more info), and for extra gusto and dimension I used plump walnuts, sweet German mustard (or “Weisswurstsenf“), pimentón, finely chopped leftover smoked ham and fresh coriander.

The result was electrifying and even my boyfriend who is not the biggest fan of potatoes in their boiled form was impressed by my invention and had seconds, and even thirds. As a matter of fact, the salad disappeared as fastly as it arrived on the table!

I  hope that you’ll be blown away by this “Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad“as much as we did and wish to thank all of Jenn’s readers for having taken a moment to read me as well as to express my gratitute to my kind host for inviting me on her platform…

~ Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland at “Rosa’s Yummy Yums”, November 2011.

Serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients For The “Salad”:
750g Small firm potatoes
1 Medium Carrot, coarsely grated
1 Red bell pepper, cubed (see comments)
1 Medium red onion, cut into thin rings
30-40g Smoked ham, finely chopped
50g Walnuts, coarsely chopped
A big handful (or to taste) pomegranate seeds
Fresh coriander, chopped, to taste
Ingredients For The “Dressing”:
3 Tbs Tahini
3 Tbs Milk
1 Tbs Water (or more if the dressing is too thick)
1 Tbs Malt vinegar
1 Tbs German sweet mustard (or French old-fashioned mustard)
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tsp Horseradish cream sauce
1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/3 Tsp Smoked paprika
1/4 Tsp Onion powder
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Directions For The “Dressing”:
1. Mix all the ingredients together, until you get a thickish mayonnaise-like sauce.
Directions For The “Salad”:
2. Cook the potatoes in water until tender. Drain them and let them cool until tepid, then cut them in two, lengthwise.
3. Delicately mix all the ingredients together and add the sauce.
4. Serve and decorate with a little extra coriander.

Comments:
I used small Charlotte potatoes, but you can also use waxy potatoes such as Désirée, Nicola, Bintje or Kipfler that are perfect for making salad.
I made this recipe when bell peppers were still in season. As they are now out of season, I recommend you to replace them by either 1 1/3 cup fresh muscade pumpkin cut into small cubes or thin matchsticks, raw betroot cut into thin matchsticks or finely shredded Brussel sprouts.
If you wish, you can substitute the walnuts with any nut of your choice.

Serving suggestions:
Serve alone as main course or accompanied with smoked fish (salmon or mackerel), rollmops, small shrimps, cold meat or hardboiled eggs.


Emma’s Vanilla Beet Cake (Gluten-Free)

 

You know how Red Velvet cakes have been all the rage these past few years? That bold red color certainly makes a statement and looks so inviting. When I realized it was only vanilla cake dyed with red food dye, it totally lost its luster for me. A cake filled with artificial dyes that can be harmful to some people just doesn’t get me all that excited, to tell you the truth, no matter how cute it is. In fact, now, every time I see a recipe for Red Velvet Cake, I get a little angry, now it makes me SEE red! So imagine how intrigued I was when I heard about this cake from a fellow CSA member. A red colored cake that was made with natural ingredients, and gives you the nutritional benefit of the beautiful beets as opposed to filling your body with a large dose of chemicals in every bite.

This is a beautiful, unique and delicious cake recipe that was created by one of our fabulous CSA farmers, Emma. Emma and Ben planted a wonderful CSA for us, their members, this year. Even though we grew our own garden, it wasn’t big enough to allow for extra to preserve and we all know how much I love preserving! This was their first year doing a CSA and they did a perfect job! If you are a local, please check out Hatch Brook Gardens for next year – this young and very talented couple would appreciate your support!

You can see Emma’s Original Recipe here, but I had to modify it a bit to make it gluten free. It is a wonderfully moist cake that I think would lend itself beautifully to a nice cream cheese frosting. You don’t taste the beets in it, if anything; the beets add an extra wonderful earthy sweetness. If you really want to wow your guests this holiday season, this cake will do it! :)

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cake:

2 C beet puree – I roasted the beets at 400 for about 40 minutes and then pureed, roasting brings out the natural sugars in the beets.
1 ½ C GF oat flour
1 C coconut flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups pure maple syrup
½ C melted butter or coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¼ tsp. cinnamon

For the Glaze:
¼ c melted butter
¼ c melted coconut oil
¼ c maple syrup
Maple confectioner’s sugar to dust

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix all the cake ingredients together in one bowl. Emma suggests you use your “batter intuition” if it looks loose, add more flour and baking powder to match. Then pour into a prepared cake pan (I used a traditional round). Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool a little bit. I didn’t and so my frosting just kind of sunk into the cake, which wasn’t too terrible of a thing to happen! :)

For the frosting, Emma mixes together 1/2 cup of butter, maple, and confectioners’ sugar and applies it when the cake is still warm so it melts in to a glaze. I liked the addition of a bit of coconut oil as well and I used maple confectioners’ sugar.
I think it would be wonderful to double the recipe and make a layer cake with cream cheese- maple frosting. At least that is what I am doing next! :)

Enjoy!

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (or Bowls)with Kefir Cream

 

I love the combination of black beans and sweet potatoes, it has been a staple combination in my kitchen for a long time, as illustrated by a post I wrote 4 years ago! A blast from the past: Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans and a Food Philosophy! Fun to see that my food philosophy has remained the same since way back then, too.

When we used to live in Saint Augustine, Florida, we had a Saturday morning tradition. We would go to the farmers market and load up on veggies, fruits and other supplies for the week, and on our way out, we would get two black bean and sweet potato burritos to go. Then we would stop at the beach on the way home and enjoy our breakfast listening to the waves crash, a great way to start the weekend off, right.

It has been a while since we had black bean and sweet potato burritos, and so we decided one night to make them. I always have a variety of presoaked, partially cooked beans in jars in my freezer. This makes cooking beans for a dish very convenient, plus cheaper and tastier than beans from a can. I also have gotten into the habit of partially cooking some sweet and white potatoes in bulk as well, so they cook up fast when needed.

So I basically just combined these two elements I already had. I finished cooking the beans in homemade chicken stock. Then I transferred them to my cast iron skillet where I sautéed them in coconut oil, added spices like cumin, coriander, hot pepper and basil, then mashed them. While I was cooking these, I cut up the sweet potatoes into chunks and drizzled them with olive oil. Then I roasted them in a 425 F oven for about 15 minutes.

To assemble the burritos, I placed some of the smashed beans on a brown rice tortilla, added the sweet potatoes, some grated cheddar cheese, hot sauce and my favorite salsa, then topped it with kefir cream before rolling them up to eat. You can also add jalapenos, guac, or anything else you like in your burritos. If you are grain-free, which I am this month (maybe longer), you can just make a bowl of all these yummy ingredients and skip the tortilla!

The kefir cream was an accident. I was straining it one morning, and had to run outside for some reason or other. When I came back in, the kefir had separated from the whey (the whey was in the bowl under the strainer) leaving a luscious cream in the strainer. So I tasted it, and it was just like sour cream – absolutely delicious! If you don’t brew dairy kefir at home, you can just use a good quality sour cream, or delicious quark .

This is really a quick meal to whip up especially if you have the ingredients on hand already and partially cooked. This is why I always encourage people to take part of their weekend, like I do, to spend an hour or two in the kitchen getting prepped for the week. It saves a lot of time and hassle later in the week and ensures that you have time to feed your family delicious and healthy meals all week long, when life is a lot more hectic, with very little effort.

INGREDIENTS:

@ 1 cup of black beans

@ 2 small sweet potatoes

Optional: brown rice tortillas, salsa, guacamole, kefir cream, sour cream, quark, hot sauce, jalapenos, shredded cheese, etc.

Everything is to taste! Use what you have on hand! How easy is that?!

This served 2 adults 2 burritos – and there was a little bit of leftovers that we used for breakfast the next morning and served with eggs.

Un-Processed: Is It More Expensive To Eat Organic and Local?

I don’t go to the grocery store very often anymore. I am lucky to have a variety of year-round farmers markets, local farm stores and independently locally owned markets that sell locally made food available to me. Generally going to the grocery store means that I am really really pressed for time, or desperately need something I can’t get at these stores like paper products. To save on gas, I might pick up some organic staples while I am there and make due for the week with what I have in the pantry and freezer. But I know that not everyone has this variety of Local Love available. So I wanted to talk about how the average person living pretty much anywhere, can eat organic and local and SAVE money.

Many months ago I had such an experience. We were actually still in Florida. I had just stocked up on frozen organic berries for smoothies and some organic meat ( which was on sale) and I was getting all my dairy to make cheese, yogurt and kefir for the week (not a farmers market week). The woman in front of me had her cart, which was not as full as mine, with frozen dinners, boxed lasagna, bags of frozen meals – where you add your own meat, soda and a few organic veggies (she was trying)– enough food for maybe a week of meals. I made sure to take note of her total just for curiosity’s sake. When my cart was rung up, my bill was only $2 more than hers. I had loads of fruits and veggies, grassfed beef, organic meats, frozen organic berries, eggs, dairy and pantry staples – things I would be using over the next several weeks. This really amazed me, because I have been told so often that eating the way we do, is too expensive for the average Joe or Joan. So much so, that I was actually starting to believe it.

This event has stayed with me all these months, and so when Andrew from Eating Rules asked me to guest post for his October: Un-Processed challenge (you can still take the challenge!!!), I enlisted the help of friend, fellow blogger and grocery store resister, Melissa from Alosha’s Kitchen to write a post about how eating locally and organic has reduced the cost of our food bills over a year by about 30-35%!!!

If you want to see how we did it, I suggest popping over to Andrews blog and reading all about it!

Learn how to  have fun in the kitchen and support your local community, while feeding your family healthy and nutritious meals that taste WAY better than pre-packaged fodder, for less than the cost of eating every meal out, or takeout, or from the frozen food section! Try it yourself and see what happens! There are several recipes in the post to help get you started! Enjoy and Have FUN!

Canard aux Olives, Preserved Plum Tart and an Ode to Applecheek Farm

This year we joined a CSA – a meat CSA. Most people are familiar with vegetable CSAs but this was the first time I had heard of a meat CSA. We are very fortunate here in our little piece of heaven called Vermont, to have many amazing diversified farms, including one in our town, Applecheek Farm. For us, Applecheek is not just a place to get raw milk, free-range chicken eggs, delicious grassfed beef, or pastured pork. It is also a community hub. Since we have moved here we have been to numerous “Localvore Dinners” catered by and served at the farm, a pig roast, as well as several farm tours.

Applecheek has become a destination for our out of town guests that come to visit us and want to see and experience a real farm, where many animals co-exist together, grazing on green grass, as opposed to a feedlot where there are thousands of one type of animal grazing in, well, their own excrement.

(My step-daughter Gwen having fun with chickens, Jenn at the Welcome sign, Rocio w/ pigs and llamas, a real tractor, Jenn with a goat and the happiest cows you will ever meet).

At Applecheek people can get up close and personal with happy cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys guinea fowl as well as non-food animals like emus, llamas, draft horses and retired pet goats. It is also a place where the local community gathers to eat good food, learn about sustainable farms and spend time with each other.

Rocio and John who have recently taken over the farm operations from John’s parents John and Judy, and Jason and Sarah, who run the catering operation and the Localvore dinners became the first friends we made when we moved here. They have helped us immensely by providing tips for where to get various things locally and of course where the good eats are. We all share a love for good, nutrient dense foods as well as home-brewing, lacto-fermentation and food preservation.

Here is the Applecheek Farm philosophy:

“We strive to produce food that encompasses dignity for our animals, stimulates local economy, provides optimal nutrition for our customers and restores the ecological capital within our soils. Our priorities here on the farm begin with the soil and the nutrients that develop within our land and ultimately passed on to those who eat our food. From our perspective, this is a grass farm that converts grasses into meat, milk and eggs. While many people refer to our farm as a sustainable farm, we feel it is simply not enough to sustain. We are committed to a restorative approach to farming our land and animals in an effort to increase the quality of our soils.”

A dream come true. It is the kind of farm that all of us dream we had in our town after watching Food Inc. or reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Our dream was realized when we moved to this part of Vermont, and we are grateful for it daily, as inevitably some food item from Applecheek graces our table at least during one of our daily meals, be it fried eggs and sausages for breakfast, a delicious burger, or in this case a whole roasted duck.

I am getting really familiar with duck in this household since joining the CSA, which invariably make the fire department really familiar with us because no matter what, I cannot stop myself from frying potatoes in the fat from the duck – which always makes the house a smoky mess, and sets off our alarm! But look at this beautiful dish – it is totally worth it!

Besides that, I am always trying a new recipe with the duck, this time, I decided to make something simple, a classic French dish – roasted duck with olives, or Canard aux Olives. I pretty much followed this recipe, except that I used white wine instead of broth, added some lemons (also stuffed the bird with lemon wedges), skipped the vermouth and used all green olives. I also cooked it in a 350 F oven, instead of on the stove top. I served them with those delicious duck fat fried potatoes. The result was an incredibly good roasted duck that was unanimously declared to be the best duck I have prepared to date. The bones and leftover meat I used to make a delicious stock and soup. Nothing went to waste.

For dessert I made individual preserved plum tarts. I made a crust using almond flour and butter, vaguely fashioned after this recipe pressed it into my individual baking dishes, and baked for about 20 minutes at 350F. Then I placed some of my plum preserved in brandy-vanilla-cardamom syrup and topped with fresh maple whipped cream.

Now since Applecheek really is a special place, I don’t expect that all of you, my dear readers have access to such a farm. But I am sure that you do have farms in your area where you can buy free-range, organic eggs, or humanely raised meat, or if you are lucky raw milk. So support them, learn from them, ask questions and help to make the food on your table a little bit better for you and your family. The more we support these farms, the more farms like this will be available to us! To find farms in your area, check out LocalHarvest.

Roasted Veggie and Edible Flower Salad

We started our garden about a month late – our moving date was not well timed with the Farmer’s Almanac this year. So now, we are harvesting veggies that everyone else in our area harvested 4-6 weeks ago. In some ways it makes us feel really behind in our gardening, but in another way it is actually good – having a second harvest! The first time around we bought these goodies from the farmer’s market – second time around from our garden!

Less than two weeks ago we got our biggest harvest yet – 5 beets, 10 carrots, fresh herbs and lots of beautiful edible flowers – nasturtium and borage.

FLOWER POWER!

Nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible and have a wonderful peppery flavor. Even the seeds can be pickled – they apparently taste like capers. The flowers are high in vitamin C, and have been used to treat colds. It can also be used topically for bacterial and fungal infections because of its mustard-oil content.

Borage flowers are perhaps one of the only truly found in nature blue foods, beyond blueberries. They have a very sweet taste. The flowers are also rich in minerals, most notably potassium. Medicinally the leaves are often used as support to the adrenal glands and for inflammation. Probably the most well-known use for borage is borage oil. Borage oil is very high in gamma-linolenic acid, GLA. GLA is an essential fatty acid, omega-6 oil. Borage oil supplements are most beneficial for arthritis and chronic dry skin, such as eczema.

We really planted both of these flowers in accordance with companion planting – plants that keep bugs and disease, as well as other garden pests away from the plants you are growing for food. So these plants have a dual purpose. Plus they are very pretty as an edible garnish. My stepdaughter Gwen had never had an edible flower until we served this salad for dinner recently. At first she didn’t want to try them, but after some coaxing, she did, and she really liked them!

I love roasting beets for salads, and pairing them with goat cheese. There is something so good , and not to mention aesthetically beautiful about the combination of goat cheese and beets. So I decided to roast the whole lot, and arrange them on top of fresh greens from the garden, also. As we have been harvesting plenty of those for months now.

This is a perfect dinner salad on a hot summer night, when your family is looking for something light. This would also be a wonderful first course to a summer harvest dinner. It is colorful, delicious and healthy on so many levels!

INGREDIENTS:

5 small beets, cut in half
10 baby carrots
2 TBS fresh rosemary
1 TBS fresh thyme
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
5 cups fresh greens – arugala, red leaf and green leaf lettuces, nasturtium leaves
olive oil to toss the greens in
salt & pepper to season greens
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
nasturtium flowers, as garnish
borage flowers, as garnish

METHOD:

Stir the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs until well coated. Roast in a preheated 400 F oven for about 45 minutes, turning once halfway through.

In the same bowl, add mustard and maple, dump the roasted veggies in and stir to coat. Then toss the greens with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Crumble the goat cheese on top, arrange the roasted veggies and the edible flowers. Serves 4 as a main dish.