Notes from the Farm
I skipped town and went backpacking for three days, harvested like crazy for a day and skipped town again to visit a friend on the Rocky Mountain front. I have no idea what went on last week, but here’s what Leon says: ” I’m glad you’re back.”
It’s a bear to run the farm by oneself, even for a few days, but we always encourage each other to take a sanity vacation each summer.
While I was gone Leon: baled hay, picked apricots, forgot to put marjoram in all of your CSA boxes, took care of animals, probably drank some beer, and kept irrigation going. Also a sow had seven piglets (no help from Leon), January the milk cow decided she had enough of being milked, and Nali the couch dog went on vacation and vigorously swam in four different rivers within 24 hours. Exhausted, she is once again holding down the couch.
This Week’s CSA
Swiss chard, zucchini (of course), walla onions, strawberries, red potatoes, lemon balm, red and golden beets.
I had an obsession with eating crookneck squash last year. Saute an onion and a crookneck, add two scrambled eggs, add salt and pepper and any herbs on hand and voila, breakfast. Crookneck stores best in the fridge and tends to get a little wilty if not in a container or plastic bag.
These blushing beauties are from a friend’s tree in Stevensville. They use organic methods on their property, so no worries about pesticides, insecticides or weird fertilizers. They have so many apricots they are sharing the abundance. We hope you enjoy them as much as we are.
Lemon basil is a hybrid between ocimum basilicum and ocimum americanum . This herb is grown primarily in northeast Africa and south Asia. The things one learns from the internet. No one buys lemon basil in Hamilton, Montana; sadly it is snubbed for the traditional large-leaf-Italian basil. What is great about the CSA people is that you are not afraid to try something unusual! Lemon basil is commonly used in Lao, Arabic, Indonesian, and Thai cuisine. This fragrant herb is best used within a few days. It is generally added at the very, very last-minute to dishes as it loses flavor when cooked. Below are some recipes to get you rolling.
Childhood slave labor has paid off once again! Rye picked these from our hoop-houses where the plants are taking over. These beautiful edible flowers have a little zip and can be added as a garnish to make any dish beautiful. Plus they are fun to eat.
Lemon Basil Potatoes
16 baby new potatoes, halved
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped fresh lemon basil leaves
Place the potatoes, chicken stock, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Add the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the basil. Toss well and garnish with the remaining chopped basil.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, 2008
Lemon Basil Pesto
- 2 Cups Lemon Basil
- 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
- 1 Cup Pecorino Ramano – finely shredded
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 – 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Shred cheese and pick leaves off the basil stems, measure and add to a food processor or blender along with walnuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt.
Puree until desired texture.
Old Fashioned Lemonade
Lemon Basil Syrup
• 1 cup water
• 2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup lemon basil leaves, loosely packed
• 1/2 of one lemon
1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan; add sugar, lemon basil leaves and lemon (without squeezing it) to the water and stir.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down and allow the mixture to remain at a simmering boil for about 5 minutes. Cool the mixture to room temperature.
3. Strain the basil leaves, and discard the lemon. You can refrigerate the lemon basil sugar-water in an airtight container.
Old Fashioned Lemonade
• 1 lemon
• 12-ounce glass filled with ice
• 1 tablespoon Lemon Basil Syrup (Use this according to your sweetness preference.)
1. Squeeze lemon juice from one fresh lemon into a glass filled with ice. Add some lemon basil syrup according to your preference to how sweet you like your lemonade,then fill glass with filtered water.
2. Put another glass on top of the glass and shake the mixture well.
3. Garnish with lemon and lemon basil.