Vegan, Nut-Free Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes are something I look forward to every year, and because we plant over 500 garlic bulbs every fall, we harvest over 500 scapes every Spring! So besides chopping them up and adding them to almost veggie dish, soup and frittata I can, I make this pesto and store it up for colder months when I miss these flavors the most.

I guess you can say scapes are healthy...they contain protein, vitamin C and calcium and sine they are harvested from the same plant, they offer the same health benefits as the ultimate superfood garlic which prevents heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer. So yeah, you can say its kinda healthy. 

This pesto recipe is super garlicky and spicy, nut free and vegan without compromising any of the taste. Enjoy it with veggies, pasta, crackers or with fresh bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb of garlic scapes (about 12-15)
  • Olive oil - lots of it
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • handfuls of basil and thai basil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Himalayan salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Break the scapes at the base if they haven't been trimmed and chop up the rest into small, about 1/4" pieces.
  2. Remove basil leaves from the stems and give them a light chop.
  3. Throw the scapes, basil, hemp seeds, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and healthy pour of olive oil into the blender or food processor and start blending.
  4. Season with a few pinches of salt, scrape down the sides and blend again. 
  5. Add a few more splashes of vinegar if it needs more acid and feel free to add splashes of water or more olive oil if it gets to thick.
  6. Toss over fresh pasta, julienned vegetables or spread on crackers and cook with eggs!
  7. Enjoy!

Chickens! Their food, their eggs, their story.

the girls enjoying suet.

Why did we get chickens? Besides delivering the highest quality eggs possible (more on that later), they eat our pesky aphids, fertilize the soil and are very entertaining for guests. 

Really, ever since we got our chickens, we've become a bit obsessed with them.

In the summer and fall they were eating everything from kale to figs in our garden, but now that the ground is frozen and covered with snow, we need to give them a bit more. We'll give them some of the usual wheatberries and organic feed but throw in some sprouted black eye peas and homemade suet and that's some gourmet din!

homemade suet and sprouted black eye peas with some chopped celery.

What is suet? Suet is a high energy formulation of animal fat and other ingredients for insect eating birds. It serves as a quick source of heat and energy for birds, who's metabolisms are set on fast forward, giving our chickens enough nutrients to produce delicious eggs for us! (Recipe below)

Why is knowing this important?

What our chickens eat in turn effects what we eat. Eating eggs that are pasture fed and free range pose for much healthier and nutrient dense eggs as well. The only way you can really get these REAL EGGS is to pick up some chickens of your own (!) or buy them from a local farm (us)! You can try to get organic eggs at the supermarket but sadly that only guarantees they aren't raised with antibiotics in their organic feed. They also cannot be caged but the regulation around 'free range' in the US is sad (only 2sq ft per chicken).

Eating pasture raised eggs will give you these added benefits:

  • 1 ⁄ 3 less cholesterol
  • 1 ⁄4 less saturated fat
  • 2 ⁄3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene
  • 4 to 6 times more vitamin D

You will notice larger golden and sometimes orange yolks and often the eggs  may contain a red spec (or blood spot) in the egg white. Eggs that have a blood spot may or may not be fertilized but either way these are completely OK to eat, won't taste any different and will not hatch into a chick! WE collect our eggs daily to prevent this from happening. Our hens are happy with their 2 roosters around and a happy hen lays a healthy egg!

Suet for Chickens

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups melted tallow, lard, or meat drippings
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (in the shell)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, chopped apples, etc)
  • 1 cup whole grains (scratch mix, whole wheat, or millet)

Instructions

  1. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan (or any similar sized pan) with parchment paper or foil. Mix the seeds, fruit, and grains together, and place in the pan.
  2. Cover the dry ingredients completely with the liquid fat. You may need to mash everything around with a fork to make sure there are no air bubbles.
  3. Allow the cake to harden completely. You can speed up this process by sticking it in the refrigerator for a while.
  4. Remove it from the pan by lifting up on the liner to pop it out. You can cut it into several pieces, or feed the whole thing at once by either tossing it in a feed pan.

recipe adapted from The Prairie Homestead

Coconut Squash Curry

This was our first year growing Cucuzza squash, and let's just say, they really like it here.

You might have seen how to take care of a few from our Italian Cucuzza Soup recipe, but we still needed to cook up about ....mmm...20 more. I made about 6 batches of this curry and froze it for the winter. It is creamy, warming and totally delicious. Serve it up with some jasmine rice or chapatis for a great meal. 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cucuzza squash ( skinned, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes)
  • 1-2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 TBSP Turmeric powder
  • 1 TBSP Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • coconut oil
  • 1 thai chili or serrano pepper
  • handful of thai basil
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Himalayan salt

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 TBSP of coconut oil in a large pan with mustard and cumin seeds. Heat until the seeds stop popping (you may want to cover the pan while the sputtering happens).
  2. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes till they brown. Throw in the turmeric and cumin ( I usually am pretty liberal with my seasonings here so season to taste). 
  3. Add the squash and tomatoes and chopped up spicy pepper. Throw in a few pinches of salt.
  4. Saute for a few minutes then add the whole can of coconut milk. You can use light coconut milk but I find the whole coconut milk to be so much better. 
  5. Stir, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Chop up the thai basil and add.
  7. Taste and add more seasonings as needed.
  8. Freeze in quart containers or eat up!

Homemade Tabasco Sauce

SOME LIKE IT HOT! We sure do.

And if there is one thing we can grow REALLY REALLY WELL, it's our hot peppers. So what does one do with bushels upon bushels of tabasco peppers? Make sauce!

Hot sauce contains Capsaicin which is actually good for your digestive health as it helps stimulate blood flow and speeds up the metabolism. It's also known to make you happier as it releases endorphins and sustains your good mood. Overall, a pretty good food!

Warning: This sauce is SUPER LEGIT SPICY. Unlike the habenero hot sauce from the past, this is to be dabbed onto food, not poured (unless you enjoy torturing yourself and have a stomach made of iron). Also please wear something to cover your face while cooking as it will make you cough and burn if you inhale the smoke. You have been warned!

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb of tabasco peppers
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 2 tsp of salt

Instructions

  • Puree the peppers in a food processor.
  • Move to a pot and add peppers with the vinegar and salt.
  • Cook to a boil for 5 minutes then remove from the flame and let cool.
  • Put through a fine strainer and allow the juices to seep through.
  • Bottle up and refrigerate!

Italian Cucuzza Squash Soup!

It's squash season! As you might have seen from some weekend instagram posts, we are clearly having an abundant late summer which is great for everyone. Squash is loaded with vitamin C & A, magnesium, full of antioxidants, beta-carotene and contains 2,400mg of lutein for eye health. So if you are in need of some of any of the above in your life, hit us up and we will be happy to supply :)

So I can't take credit for the recipe below. It was given to me by an Italian friend who initially asked me if we ever grew Cucuzza squash. I love trying new crops out and this one looked like it was going to be fun so we staked and planted an entire row. They pretty much took over everything for 6 ft on either side, plowing into our fava beans and white eggplants. Squash can be dominating like that, but at least these guys are fun to discover at nearly 2.5 ft long. This squash is a bit starchier than a typical summer squash and has a fairly sweet and tender texture. Best of all, you can certainly make a couple of meals from just one.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cucuzza squash (about 2 ft) peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bulb of garlic (or less if you aren't such a garlic lover)
  • handful of herbs - parsley, basil, fennel
  • 3 cups of veggie stock
  • 1 thai chili or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup of faro or short pasta
  • coconut oil or oil of your choice
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop up the garlic and onions and sautee them with some coconut oil. Chop up the tomatoes and add them to the mix. Cook for a few minutes then add the cut up squash and chopped hot pepper. My cucuzza squash was HUGE so i just used the neck of the squash which was plenty.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes then add the veggie stock and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or so. 
  3. Throw in 1/2 cup of faro or pasta and add another cup of water, stir and cover back up for 10 minutes. 
  4. The soup will look stew-like so add some more water of you want some more broth.
  5. Eat to your health!