Garlic scape obsession

Garlic scapes have arrived with Week 3 of the CSA–one of my all-time favorite produce items.  Many of us get really excited when the garlic scapes arrive.  There are a lot of ways to use garlic scapes, but this is my go-to recipe because it is so versatile.  You can add any number of herbs, nuts, cheeses, or other goodies (sun-dried tomatoes, anyone?) to the base pesto mix of garlic scapes, salt, and oil–you have limitless possibilies!  I also made a loaf of bread stuffed with the pesto and some Brie cheese–talk about a yummy taste bud experience:

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Today’s garlic scape pesto uses oregano, a touch of basil, parsley, green onions, and sunflower seeds.  Last year I showed you how to make 3 different garlic scape pestos, including sage and walnut, the Asian pesto, and another parsley variety.  I’ll post those recipes on my website soon–but there are other priorities right now, like harvesting buckets o’ strawberries, for example!  Yesterday I harvested about 3 pounds of strawberries from the garden, and there’s more to come later this week.

But the video will show you the basics until I get get around to posting those recipes!  Enjoy–and be on the lookout for vampires!

So many greens: how to preserve them

This early in the season, we get a lot of greens in the CSA shares: bok choy, chard, spinach, arugula, lettuce, kale…that’s what grows in Montana this time of year.  I’m not complaining, though.  After a long winter, the abundance of greens is most welcome.  That said, there are only so many days in a week.  So what to do if you can’t eat all of those greens before the next CSA share arrives?  Preserve them!  This video shows you how I prefer to freeze my greens and enjoy them well into the winter, long after the CSA is over.

 

 

CSA week 1: baby bok choy potstickers

The first CSA pick up was yesterday, and as promised, I created a video to demonstrate a way to cook up your shares.  I used 5 of the 7 items in our share (I was so hungry after I finished making the celeriac chips that I forgot to use the mixed greens –oops!).  Not a bad way to start of the season.  Enjoy your share and thanks for choosing to eat locally!  I’ll post the recipe later this week here.

Cabin cookin’

Last weekend I went chasing after Sandhill cranes–my girlfriend and I have done this for a second year in a row now and we have deemed it an annual event now.  We mounted our cameras on tripods and set off through the willows, looking for these beautiful birds.  We found some, but they are skittish creatures, so we were never able to get very close for good photos.  We scurried from shrub to shrub like ninjas, with our tripods and packs, and I’m sure it was quite a site to see.  This pair was hard to spot–we actually heard them give away their location.

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And even if we didn’t capture any award-winning crane photos, we had a great time anyway.  The scenery was spectacular!

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We stayed in a Forest Service cabin and I cooked dinner.  We had a grilled pork shoulder steak marinated in Osaka Sauce, rice noodles with Asian garlic scape pesto, and peach-huckleberry cobbler with cranberry whiskey and vanilla Greek yogurt.  This dinner did not disappoint!  I made a video of our cabin cooking adventure, and though it is very unstructured, it does capture the essence of our dinner party in the mountains pretty well, I think.  The recipe for the Asian garlic scape pesto is here.  We’ll make this pesto (in a more structured kitchen setting) when the garlic scapes arrive in the CSA shares next month!  So stay tuned!

 

Asparagus with carrot crepes

This recipe is delicious.  I’m just going to throw that out there right now.  It’s time consuming to make, but not difficult.  Crepes can be tricky, but you just need to make sure you cook them well on one side before you try to flip them.  Otherwise you’ll end up with a “beautiful mess” like the one featured near the end of the video.  If you have some asparagus just waiting to be used, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

 

 

 

Doggy birthday cake

MaeBelle is turning 12 this week!  To celebrate, today we made a birthday cake using sweet potatoes, applesauce, carrots, and peanut butter.  It was a hit!  If you want a printable version of the recipe, it’s here.  And of course, my goofy video showing how we made it today–it was an experiment in-the-making!

Weekend fun in the kitchen: mini blackberry lime cheesecakes

Wow, the weekend came and went so quickly!  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend cooking since it’s usually the only time during the busy week I can afford to devote a lot of time to cooking.  I made those blackberry lime cheesecakes again!  Y’know, the ones I made last weekend, on Earth Day with my solar oven.  I used my solar oven again, but the clouds had different plans for me this time.  Time also got away from me and it was just too late in the day to finish baking them so I had to finish baking them in the oven for 10 minutes.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all…

I made another video for this recipe (be sure to watch the bloopers at the end):

And if you want to print a copy of the recipe you can find it here: uf-blackberry lime cheesecakes.  Enjoy!

Sunset hike to use my new camera

Last night I thought the sunset might shape up to be something spectacular, so I grabbed my camera, tripod, and MaeBelle and we took a quick jaunt up the trail just above our house to watch the sun set over Helena.  I love that we live so close to the trails.  This particular trail is just a block and a half from our house.  It took us about 15 minutes to get to our spot to set up the camera and wait for the sun to set over Mount Helena.  MaeBelle was happy to be out hiking.

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Although I haven’t taken much time to mess around with the manual settings on my camera (I just need to find some time to read the manual), I did play around with some of the scene settings like sunset, close up flower shots, and the like. I know I’ll get a lot more out of my camera when I can find the time to experiment manually with the camera.

I love the view of Helena from this little point–you can see the cathedral and the Sleeping Giant in the background watching over Helena.

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Although the sunset colors weren’t as spectacular as I’d hoped, there were some nice cloud formations over the Scratchgravel Hills.

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One feature I was anxious to try on my new Nikon D5600 is the time-lapse movie feature.  This is one setting I did read about in the manual, about 20 minutes before I left for our hike.  It’s a cool setting!  The camera takes a series of photos every few seconds and it stitches them together into a movie, so I don’t have to do the work on my computer.  This is a new feature to the Nikon D5000 series, and I like it.  Check out my 10 minute time lapse (condensed to 4 seconds) taking a photo every 5 seconds.  You can see a jet contrail that looks an awful lot like a shooting star, and halfway through there is a train headlight that appears near the middle of the shot.  Nifty!  This feature will get lots of use by me.

First Cooking Video! How to make Asian coleslaw

Ok, so it wasn’t the hazelnut carrot cake, but this was a good first video.  It’s not polished, but it’s something to work from.  I’ll decide what I like, what I don’t like–and hopefully I’ll get some feedback on what viewers like and don’t like–and I’ll begin to refine my presentation over the next few weeks.  There’s a reason I did this first one well in advance of the first week of the CSA!

If you don’t have access to Osaka sauce, you can use another Asian marinade sauce as a substitute.  Or, you can purchase the Osaka Sauce directly from Mustard Seed, along with several other sauces (and I highly recommend the Asian Oil & Vinegar and the Teriyaki Sauces–both are delish!).  I also noticed they have two new sauces–we will definitely be trying those out with the CSA shares this year!

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful evening after the rain we got today, big fluffy clouds in the sky–I’m going to grab my camera, hit the trails, and see if I can capture a beautiful sunset!

Thanks for reading and watching!

~Sara

Exciting things in Urban Farmgal’s future!

I’m getting a new camera!

Why is this news, you might wonder?  Well, I’m getting a digital SLR camera so I can get my photography on–in the garden, in the kitchen, and in the great outdoors.  And…more importantly, I’m gearing up to make some cooking videos this summer using my weekly CSA shares.  All too often our members ask questions like “What is this vegetable?  How do you use it/cook with it/ eat it?”

URBAN FARMGAL TO THE RESCUE!! (That is meant to be a little cheeky.)

And a video blog will soon be born.  It’s like I’m pregnant with this idea and will be giving birth to the real deal later this spring–and I’m soooooo excited!  I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now, but I’ve been putting off purchasing a camera as long as I possibly could.  I just couldn’t justify the expense and the indulgence of a brand new fancy-schmancy camera until now.  Now I have an outlet for some creative endeavors (i.e., cooking vids) that will result from this new purchase.  The time seemed right and I’ve been researching the ever living crap out of digital SLR cameras.  The technology is mind-boggling to a gal who last used a camera with interchangeable lenses in the 1990s. (Does that make me sound old? *Sigh*   So be it.)

So be on the lookout for my little videos later this spring.  I’ll probably try out a few before the CSA begins so I can get a little practice under my belt and tidy up some of the little details that I probably won’t consider until in front of the camera.  One of those practice videos just might be this carrot cake I made for my stepdaughter’s birthday this week:

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In case you are wondering, those are hazelnuts topping the cream cheese frosting.  I didn’t have any pecans or walnuts, which is what I normally use in carrot cake.  So I made the substitution and had this revelation: this might be the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten in my life.  And I’ve eaten a lot of carrot cake.

Also, earlier this week I sold my first knitted bag!  I’m so excited.  This is the first bag I knit specifically to sell through Urban Farmgal and I sold it to someone at the gym.  She had commented on it while I was knitting it, and every time I saw her she mentioned the bag.  This week we finally made the sale!  I am currently in process of knitting a hat for another gym member.   Usually this time of year I begin to slow down in the knitting department because I’m spending more time in the garden–I’m not sure that’s going to happen this year.  I might even end up teaching some knitting classes this summer.

For now, the focus is the garden and securing a camera and lavalier mic for making food videos!  And making another carrot cake this weekend.  That tops my to-do list.