Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Saturday, Feb 14th, 2015

Fun with Food X
 You now know the names of 90 different things to eat that you may not have known before.  
Have a Happy Valentine's Day, too.
82. Strawberries 
83. Blueberries
84.More Blueberries
85. Sweet Basil
86. Purple Opal Basil
87. Cilantro*
88. Dill
89. Lavender
90. Garden Sage

* Did you know that Cilantro and Coriander are the same plant?  In the U.S. when the plant is grown for its stems and leaves, it is called Cilantro. If it is grown for the seeds, it is called Coriander.  Also, there are varieties the produce more leaves than seeds and take longer to flower. Conversely, varieties grown for seed go to flower quicker and produce more seed. If you have had bad luck growing cilantro, you may want to make sure what the variety you are growing is mainly used for.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday, Feb 13th, 2015

Fun with Food IX. Good luck with this one, it is "berry" easy. Happy Friday 13th!  
You know where the answers are...
73. Campari tomatoes
74. Celery
75. Sweet Potatoes*
76. Wild Blackberries
77.  Blackberries
78.Red Raspberries
79. Golden Raspberries
80. Chandler Strawberries
81. EverSweet Strawberries

*Sweet potatoes, as a food crop, have been grown for over 5000 years and grow across the globe. Sweet Potatoes are not potatoes at all. They are members of the Morning Glory family. Athough the soft, orange sweet potato is often called a "yam" in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam (Dioscorea), which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To add to the confusion, a different crop plant, the oca, Oxalis tuberosa (a species of woodbind), is called a "yam" in many parts of Polynesia, including New Zealand. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" to also be labeled as "sweet potatoes"which are recognized as the state vegetable of North Carolina.    (NC is my home state and I grew acres of organic sweet potatoes on my farm there. ~Suzanne)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thursday, Feb 12, 2015

Fun with Food VIII  Tomatoes & Abe Lincoln's Birthday today. Answers under the pictures.
64. Black From Tula
65. Hillbilly
66. Marglobe
68. Moonglow
69. Plum
71. Black Cherry
72.Green Zebra

And in honor of Abe's birthday, here is a picture of the tomato named for him.

Wednesday Feb 11, 2015

Fun with Food VII  Do I even need to say it? Answers under the picture.
55. "Black" Zuchinni
56. Yellow Straightneck Squash
57. Kabocha Squash
58. "Porchini" Mushroom*
"Chicken" Mushroom*
60. "Oyster" Mushroom*
61. "Yukon Gold" Potatoes
62."Viking" Purple Potatoes
63. "Pontiac" Red Potatoes

*The mushrooms were identified for me by a friend...

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015

Fun with Food VI.  Red, Green, Go!  Answers under the pic.
46. Jalapeno Peppers
47. Cayenne Peppers
48. Shunkyo Radishes
49. Cherry Belle Radishes
50. Bloomsdale Spinach
51. Flat Leaf Spinach
Waltham Butternut Squash
Table Ace Acorn Squash
Spaghetti Squash

Monday, Feb 9, 2015

Fun with Food V  Are you learning anything yet?   This is a fun one! Answers underneath...
37. "Silver Queen" Okra
38. "Candy" Onions
39. Red Cipollini Onions
40. Scallions a/k/a Green or Spring Onions
41. SugarSnap Peas
42. Snow Peas
43.  "Sweet Carnival" Mini-Bell Peppers
44. Red Mini-Bell Peppers
45. Topepo Rosso Pepper

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday, Feb 8, 2015

Fun with Food IV.  This group is a lot easier than the last one.  Answers under the picture.
28. "Red Russian" Kale
29. Common Leeks
30. "Bronze Arrowhead" Lettuce
31. "Rossimo" Lettuce
32. Speckled Romaine
33.Green Butterhead
34."Yugoslavian Red" Lettuce
35. "Emerald Gem" Muskmelon
36. "Moon and Stars" Watermelon

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015

Fun with Food III. Can you name these?  They are getting harder. Answers below, of course. 
19. Silver Queen White Sweet Corn
20. Yellow Field Corn
21. Red and Yellow PopCorn
22. Japanese Cucumber "Tasty Green"
23."Homemade Pickles" Picking Cucumber
24. "Burpless" Cucumber
25. "Black Beauty" Eggplant
26. "Casper" Eggplant
27. "Vates Blue" Curly Kale

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Fun with Food, Part II  Answers at the bottom.
10. Calabrese Broccoli
11. Romanseco Cauliflower
12. Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts
13. Marner Laggerot Red Cabbage
14. Cosmic Purple Carrots
15. Jaune d'Doubs Carrots
16. St. Valery Carrots
17. "Cheddar" Cauliflower
18. "Purple of Sicily" Cauliflower

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Feb 5, 2015

Fun with Food.    Can you name the varieties in the picture below?  Answers below.
1. Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
2. Golden Wax Beans
3. Red Swan Snap Beans
4. True Red Cranberry Bean
5. King Green Snap Beans
6. Hidatsa Shield Bean
7. Christmas Lima Beans
8. Red Ace Beets
9. Detroit Golden Beets

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Southern Style Greens

    I mentioned in another post that I love greens, prepped southern style, which contrary to what most people think does not necessarily involve ham, bacon or any other meat.  I merely prepare them for cooking by taking out any big tough stems and cutting them into slivers.  Steam them until they are tender.  Drain any liquid off and pat them dry. They should be pretty wilted at this point.

    In a big skillet (mine is cast iron, the best!) put about 3 tablespoons of butter (you can use coconut or olive oil if you are vegetarian but you won't get the exact same result) and a sprinkle of salt (salt to taste, of course) and a sprinkle of sugar.  Sugar will take away some of the bitterness of the greens but don't overdo it.  Let the butter melt and start to bubble a bit and toss in the greens. Stir until well seasoned and then lower heat to simmer and let the greens cook until they start to caramelize just a bit.  (You can adjust those three ingredients to your own taste but too much of a good thing won't end well. )  At this point, I add just about a teaspoon of vinegar and toss one last time.  I use vinegar that I steep with garlic cloves or hot peppers, but plain apple cider vinegar will do.

    Almost any green can be cooked this way. Mustards will lose a lot of their pungency when you cook them this way, kales lose their bitterness. You can mix almost any type of greens to cook this way and they will be delicious.  

    Greens that have grown larger (think big kale or collards) can be cooked this way, too but they need to be boiled, not steamed and you lose some of the nutrition that way.  If you do have larger leaves to use, try this method to prep them.  Cut out the big stems and veins, stack 3-4 leaves at a time and roll up like a big cigar. Take a sharp knife and slice on diagonally, so that you create thin ribbons of the leaves. This cutting method makes them cook a little quicker.

    Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015

    We have amazing kale and other greens at the farm right now and I took some home with me the other day.  I love my southern style greens and I am so glad that I have a source for fresh ones right now. The kale has "wintered over" and it is as sweet and tender as kale gets.  The Lacinato, Peacock and Red Russian have been in the field since last fall. Kales are cole crops and so they thrive in cooler weather. In warmer weather, they become tough and bitter, especially if they are allowed to become "overgrown". 
    I do love my brassicas and for those of you who don't know what  brassicas are, here is your "foodie" lesson for today:

    Brassica (/ˈbræsɨkə/) is a genus of plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). The members of the genus are informally known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plant. Crops from this genus are sometimes called cole crops—derived from the Latin caulis, denoting the stem or stalk of a plant.
    Members of brassica commonly used for food include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards and some seeds. The genus is known for its important agricultural and horticultural crops and includes a number of weeds, both of wild taxa and escapees from cultivation. It counts over 30 wild species and hybrids plus numerous cultivars and hybrids of cultivated origin. Most are seasonal plants (annuals or biennials), but some are small shrubs. Brassica plants have been the subject of much scientific interest for their agricultural importance. Six particular species (B. carinataB. junceaB. oleraceaB. napusB. nigra and B. rapa) evolved by the combining of chromosomes from three earlier species, as described by the Triangle of U theory.

    The genus is native in the wild in western Europe, the Mediterranean and temperate regions of Asia and many wild species grow as weeds, especially in North America,South America, and Australia.
    A dislike for cabbage or broccoli can result from the fact that these plants contain a compound similar to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), which is bitter or tasteless to some people depending on their 'taste buds'.
    (There is a real reason some people don't like this veggie group. I am not one of those people, except that I do not like kale at any stage but young.)

    Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of vegetables.The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are similar genetically.

    Almost all parts of some species or other have been developed for food, including the root (rutabagaturnips), stems (kohlrabi), leaves (cabbagecollard greens), flowers (cauliflowerbroccoli), buds (Brussels sproutscabbage), and seeds (many, including mustard seed, and oil-producing rapeseed). Some forms with white or purple foliage or flower heads are also sometimes grown for ornament.
    Brassica vegetables are highly regarded for their nutritional value. They provide high amounts of vitamin C and soluble fiberand contain multiple nutrients with potent anticancer properties: 3,3'-diindolylmethanesulforaphane and selenium. Boiling reduces the level of anticancer compounds, but steamingmicrowaving, and stir frying do not result in significant loss.  Steaming the vegetable for three to four minutes is recommended to maximize sulforaphane.
    Brassica vegetables are rich in indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells in vitro and appears to block the growth of cancer cells in vitro. They are also a good source of carotenoids, with broccoli having especially high levels. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that 3,3'-diindolylmethane inBrassica vegetables is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer activity; however, it also is an antiandrogen but known to be anti-androgenic only in hormone sensitive prostate cancer cells. These vegetables also contain goitrogens, some of which suppress thyroid function. Goitrogens can induce hypothyroidism and goiter in the absence of normal iodine intake.