We've been busy off the farm, too! Kriss headed into Madison early Thursday morning to cook some of those terrific greens on WKOW Channel 27's Wake Up Wisconsin show, then took a much-appreciated ride on Madison's gorgeous bike trails before heading into the WORT studio to be interviewed by
Molly Stentz with fellow Soil Sister Lisa Kivirist. Their segment will air sometime next week on the In Our Backyard Show. The farmers were promoting the upcoming Soil Sisters Tour in and around Green County July 31 through Aug 2, but also discussed the current opportunities and barriers for women in sustainable agriculture. It was a lively discourse and should make for an interesting show - we'll let you know when it airs and send out a link to the archived recording. The Wake Up Wisconsin piece is up here at the Channel 27 website.
You've got an uber-fragrant box this week with the bounty of herbs that are ready in the gardens right now. It'll be tough to use them all before they get wilty, and really, that's OK. Herbs are fine to use when wilty! Use them fresh, dry them on the counter spread on paper towels, or blitz in a food processor and freeze. But definitely experiment with these fresh flavors while you can. Here's what else is in the box:
Elderberry Flowers- Foraged treat! We love to forage in the nearby fields and forest for our members when we can. This very fleeting seasonal treat is not something we'd recommend health-wise, except that it'll increase the thankfulness you feel for woodland edges. There are two basic ways we use these - fried into battered fritters, and soaked in vodka for a year to make your own St. Germain elderflower liqueur. I just strained the elderflowers out of my St. Germain a few weeks ago and added it to some rhubarb simple syrup for an amazing cordial I offer to my bed and breakfast guests for a midnight snack with dark chocolate truffles. Slightly bitter and herbal, perfectly cleansing for bedtime! You'll find recipes for both fritters and cordial on this gorgeous website, LazySundayCooking.
Cilantro- So terrific with scallions in a salsa. Since we don't have tomatoes and peppers yet, we've been enjoying salsas made with the variety of in-season fruits that have been appearing at the co-ops and groceries. Try mango or peach this week.
Basil - Smaller bags of basil this week - the rains have really beat the leaves up. Rinse the bagged leaves right before you are going to use them. Very tender. Best stored on the door of your fridge where it's not too cold. Don't forget to consider basil as an ingredient in your summer cocktails. Booze and basil really suit each other. Check out our ideas on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page under CSA Box Recipes and The Farmhouse Bar page.
Circle M Summer Salad Mix - This bodacious batch of big-leaved lettuce varieties is loaded with edible flowers to make you smile as you eat. Look for peppery orange nasturtium flowers (and lily-pad leaves), star-shaped white chickweed blossoms and confetti made from calendula, cornflower and marigolds.
Arugula - First picking of our second planting of arugula. This is a taste we just can't get enough of here on the farm. We enjoy this Italian green as a salad, dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice, cooked with grains, and crisped on top of grilled pizza.
Dill - First picking! We always aim to have dill come with cucumbers - but it usually doesn't. The dill grows so fast and furious as it bolts to seed that the cucumbers can't keep up. We should have cukes in the box next box. Save the dill in your fridge in a ball jar with an inch of water, or enjoy on eggs now! Our next chevre recipe will be flavored with dill.
Zucchini - Yay! The first taste of summer, for sure! We missed a few out there under the leaves, so we used the big guys to make some moist and delicious Chocolate Zucchini muffins for this weekend's bed and breakfast guests and for market. Check out our recipe here.
Swiss Chard - Young leaves are so pretty and so soft and sweet. I just LOVE them - we will rarely pick big leaves of greens for you. We like little! This week they are going in my Morning Glory Muffins for the Argyle Farmers Market - I'm planning a white corn muffin with red chard stems and blue black caps. Try these raw ribboned into salad and please do eat the stems. Very tasty chopped into scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Herb Bouquet: Flowering Oregano and Summer Savory - We've said this already but WE LOVE FRESH HERBS here at Circle M. Having a bounty of fresh herbs to choose from transforms our summer cooking and baking. The best way to have these at hand is to pop them in a Ball jar filled with an inch of water and store in the fridge. The oregano - with pretty purple flowers - is great this time of year used on top of pizza cooked on the grill.
Mint Bouquet: Chocolate Mint and Lemon Balm - Our suggestions - stuff this whole bouquet into a half-gallon Ball jar or a pitcher and pour boiling water over it. Drizzle about 1/4 cup honey in there, stir and mash, and leave to sit for a day on the counter. When you strain liquid off, you'll have a gorgeous, lightly pink tea that is barely sweet and amazingly refreshing chilled. Our bed and breakfast guests have been raving about it all weekend, and we've been sucking it down, too!
Kale Bouquets - Beautiful, lush, delicious and remarkably nutritious. Do you have enough ways to use up your kale? If not, please do check out the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page for ideas. OR watch Farmer Kriss make her Sunshine Skillet Saute with kale on the Wake Up Wisconsin show on Channel 27/ABC. That's right, I'm being taped for a segment on Thursday, July 9. I've been asked to do a "Veggie Main Dish" so I'm going with kale! I'm in a series with many of my "Soil Sisters" - women farmers who are doing a cool tour of their farms on the weekend of July 31 through Aug 2. See all the info here.
Mini Napa Cabbage - We grew this tiny variety of Napa Cabbage because it seemed a reasonable size to fit into our CSA boxes. The bonus is that they taste amazing and the little middle leaves work great as boats for dips! And we've been serving them to our bed and breakfast guests torn into their breakfast salads, sprinkled with edible flowers. So crunchy, so fresh!
Snap and Snow Peas - Hooray! Both sweet treats at the same time. We rarely get two boxes with snap peas - they tend to peter out in the heat, but the vines have been happy with these cool nights. And now the snows are coming on! Zip the side strings off the side before you munch or cook. And I'd eat the fat snaps raw, maybe dipped in a yogurt sauce or our goat cheese. And cut into pieces and cook the flatter, lumpy snows in an Asian-flavored dish. Amazing with a little sesame oil! Though it seems a shame to cook these, they get even sweeter when lightly sauteed!
Scallions - These, along with the dill, make our walk-in cooler smell amazing! Enjoy all the way up the stalk - Chinese-style! No need to throw anything in the compost but the roots.
Rhubarb - More! Experiment with a different dessert this week, or cook down with a little honey and chia seeds for a wonderful healthy jam. We've had rhubarb every day for the past month and I am still not sick of it. I cooked some down with vinegar and honey to make a concentrated glaze for the ham I served at our Saturday field-to-table dinner. Then I cooked the leftovers with onions and kale for a wonderful lunch bowl of greens.
Garlic - This isn't cured but it has bulbed up, so use just like regular garlic but store in the fridge.
Herbs To Plant: Thyme - We use thyme in everything - all year long! But it is slow growing and we won't always be able to harvest enough to get in the boxes. So here's your very own plant. Put it in a six- or eight-inch pot and leave it in the sun near your kitchen where you can get it quick.
Gifts from the Goats: Tarragon Goat Chevre - We sold out of this at the Argyle Farmers Market last week, and customers kept coming and asking for more. So we thought we'd better makes some more and get it to you. There will be a few for the market, as well, so if you want more - come and see us Saturday morning in Blanchardville from 8 to noon. Enjoy! Dip those snap and snow peas in here for a great treat.