Our newsletter from July 5:
Dear CSA members,
I can’t get cool,
I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade.
I think I’ll take my shoes off
And sit around in the shade.
My back is sticky.
The sweat rolls down my chin.
I think I’ll take my clothes off
And sit around in my skin.
I’ve tried with ’lectric fans,
And pools and ice cream cones.
I think I’ll take my skin off
And sit around in my bones.
It’s still hot!
Yup, that about sums up our week. Except for the pools and the sitting around in the shade part. Instead we’ve been weeding and watering and wrangling irrigation equipment, which we are grateful to have since it seems like we may be headed into a bit of a dry spell. We are very much looking forward to the predicted cool down this weekend!
Plants are looking mostly good, as long as we can get the rest of the weeds out of them soon and keep the insect pests at bay. We’ve got sticky traps in the orchard for apple maggots, kaolin clay on the squash stems for vine borers, and I’m squishing every squash bug I can catch! I was happy to see an inch and a half long praying mantis prowling the salad mix bed this morning as I was checking out the lettuces. Mantises are voracious insect-eaters and so I love seeing them in the garden. The more they eat, the fewer bug pests I have to worry about.
Beets today! Some people love ‘em; some people hate ‘em. But almost everyone I know likes this recipe:
Beet Hummus (adapted from simplyrecipes.com)
Ingredients: 3-4 medium beets, roasted or steamed; 1 Tbsp ground cumin (to taste); 2 Tbsp tahini sesame seed paste; Salt (to taste); 2-4 Tbsp lemon juice (to taste); Freshly ground pepper (optional, to taste); 1 small clove garlic, chopped (or garlic scapes). Optional: Cooked chickpeas
Peel & coarsely chop cooked beets. Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust quantities of seasonings to your preferences. If you want to add more protein to your meal, blend in some chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans). I’ve tried it both ways and I prefer it with just the beets, but I know other people that like this better with the addition of the chickpeas. Garnish with scallions, parsley, cilantro, or mint!
Speaking of mint, the mint in your shares today is apple mint. It is taking over my perennial garden patch and crowding out other herbs and flowers, so I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s traditionally used to make mint jelly, but I’m not much of a jelly maker. This week I found this recipe on epicurious.com that calls for both mint and beets. I tried it last night and really liked it, so I thought I’d share some of the mint with you in case you wanted to try it too:
Roasted Beets with Cumin and Mint
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 3 medium beets, trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached; 1/3 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
Stir together lemon juice, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in oil and let stand while roasting beets. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Tightly wrap beets in a double layer of foil and roast on a baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool to warm in foil package, about 20 minutes. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges. Toss warm beets with dressing. Stir in mint just before serving. (Beets can be roasted and tossed with dressing 4 hours ahead, then kept, covered, at room temperature.)
I steamed my beets instead of roasting them, used balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice, and increased the cumin just a bit. I also didn’t feel like eating anything hot, so after I dressed the beets I put them in the refrigerator for about an hour to make this into a cold salad dish. Oh! I also sprinkled in a little feta cheese. Yum!
Yours in deliciousness, Amy & John