After a busy week of planting, our fields are nearly full and our greenhouse is about empty! Lettuce, melons, tomatoes, basil, and flowers are all in the ground now. It’s nice to see that movement, to clear out all the trays of seedlings and see little splashes of color dotting every field. I’m extremely excited for all our summer crops. Spring crops are great, but there’s something about summer veggies, their heartiness and bright colors, being surrounded by variety and abundance, that is just the epitome of farming to me. It’s a busy time of year, but one full of life and growth. Leafy greens give way to bright orange carrots and yellow summer squash, hefty heads of cabbage and cucumbers, and flourishing rows of herbs. New germination is occurring everywhere, the beginnings of beans and corn and okra. The pepper and tomato plants are growing and will work their magic in a few short weeks. Hard work, long hours, but beautiful veggies at the end of the day on our table and yours.
This week’s recipes:
1. Cabbage and Noodles–This is a dish a friend of mine first made for me, and I was instantly a fan! Now I make it all the time. Boil noodles–spiral egg noodles or fettuccine noodles work great, or go all out and make your own pasta (recipe follows)! Slice up a head of cabbage in long skinny strips and sauté in butter over medium heat until cabbage is tender and slightly transparent. Add in about 1/4 cup sugar (yes, sugar–you won’t regret it!) and a little salt and pepper to taste. Drain noodles and toss them in the skillet with the cabbage. That’s it! So simple, but so delicious.
Mix together equal parts semolina flour and all-purpose flour, a touch of salt, and just enough hot water to form a stiff dough (to make a fair amount of noodles for the above dish, I’d use about 1 c each semolina and all-purpose flour and about 1/2 c hot water). Knead dough–it will be crumbly at first but will come together as you knead–until smooth. Cover and let rest 30 min or so, then slice off about 1/4 of the dough at a time and shape into desired pastas. I like to make strozzapreti, which involves rolling out the dough, cutting it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 3-4 inches long, and twisting it into a spiral. Place pasta on floured surface or cooling rack until ready to cook. Definitely worth the extra time! Store-bought pasta just doesn’t compare after making your own.
2. Dill Hummus–Use food processor or immersion blender to blend together 2 c cooked or canned chickpeas, 1 clove garlic, juice of 1 lemon, 2 T tahini, 3 T olive oil, 3 T water (or reserved liquid from can or from cooking the chickpeas), 1/2 tsp salt, and a few sprigs of fresh dill. A little bit of dill can impart a lot of flavor, so start light and you can always add more to taste.
3. Kid-Friendly Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole–
I love broccoli, and I love it even more with cheese, so this is a favorite dish of mine. Cook a cup or two of rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. Meanwhile blanch or steam broccoli and set aside. Make cheese sauce by starting with a roux of equal parts butter and flour. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add in milk, whisking so that the mixture becomes smooth and thick. Add in shredded cheese (I like to use cheddar or co-jack) and salt to taste. Pepper, garlic, and onion are great flavor additions, or add in any other spices you might prefer. Stir together broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce and pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 about 30 min or until bubbly and golden. If you feel like upping the deliciousness factor even more, add a crumb topping and some parmesan during the last 5 or 10 min of baking.