Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Sunday, September 30, 2012

TURKS TURBAN SQUASH




This beautiful, flamboyant squash is not just for fall decorating, it is also good to eat.  Turk's Turban is one of my favorite winter squash.  It has a distinct "squashy", savory,  squash flavor.  Sometimes the sweetness of the other fall squash is a little over whelming and I especially enjoy the nutty, earthy taste of this unique squash.  It is just a little moister than some of the other fall squash, making it a great candidate for a hearty fall squash soup.


loading winter squash on the ole 53 ford


To prepare:  I usually just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake.  Sweeten with a little agave nectar or live dangerously and put real organic butter and brown sugar on it. 

                                                                              



TURK'S TURBAN STEW
Cut the top section off.   Place on a baking sheet. ( I place the top along side the squash bowl and bake it with the stew). Scoop out the seeds and fill the cavity 1/2 full with chicken broth, add browned hamburger or stew meat, chopped root crops, onions, salt and pepper, a little molasses, and seasoning.  Pour in additional broth until the cavity is full.   Bake until squash is tender, about 45 mins.   Add additional liquid half way through if needed.  To serve, set squash on table and scoop out spoonfuls of squash along with the stew.  For a thick hearty stew add a little flour as a thickener, or I also use mashed cooked black beans to thicken.

LESLIE (one of my regular Farmers Market customers) suggested filling the squash with your favorite chili recipe before baking.  Sounds delicious!

SQUASH SOUP:
Cut squash in half and remove seeds.  Bake cut side down in a 350 oven until soft.  Remove flesh from the shell and puree.  I add 1&1/2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth to every 3 to 4 cups of flesh (add more broth if you feel the consistency is too thick). Mix well and add 1 cup of heavy cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into a large stock pot and return to a slow simmer to heat through, about 20 minutes  (do not scorch).  In a separate skillet brown chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, celery and cubed carrots.  Saute until tender.  The vegetables can be added to the soup whole just before serving, or pureed and added to the stock pot.   Serve with a scoop of sour cream and chopped sage leaves.  I also have used cream cheese mixed with fresh cooked, crumbled bacon, and chopped fresh herbs of choice.  This is a hearty, filling, soup.  A suggestion is to use the hollow squash shell as the serving bowl.  Cut the top off the squash before baking to reserve the bottom portion as the bowl.(as stated in the above recipe)




                                                        Thanks for stopping by my blog.
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  What's your favorite recipe for turk's turban or other winter squash?  Share your recipe in the comment section.



 PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE A LARGE QUANTITY OF WINTER SQUASH.

I HAVE BUTTERNUT, BANANA, GREEN HUBBARD, TURKS TURBAN, SPAGHETTI, BLUE HUBBARD,AND BUTTERCUP

Do you have an abundant harvest of tomatoes?  I make these tomatoes and store in the freezer.  Use when you are making soup, sauces, spread over crusty bread. or anytime sun-dried tomatoes are needed.  These make great Christmas gifts for friends and neighbors.






Thursday, September 27, 2012

my thoughts about moving

I can sum up the process of moving in just one word.  I consider myself an expert on the subject, after all we have moved 28 times.........





  AARRRUUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHH !!!!!



This will be our last move --------not counting the move back to Nevada to finish out Glen's years to get retirement,  or our move to Colorado, Arizona, or New Mexico after that----cause I have always wanted to live there------ and then our final move back to the farm-------or maybe sell the farm and just live place to place in the airstream-------2 old gypsy, hippies-----painting, spinning, weaving, wood carving, flea marketing, selling antiques along the roadside--------o.k. time to quit daydreaming-----back to work, I've got to figure out which box my hair brush is in, I look hideous.






Friday, September 21, 2012

It could only happen to ME

So, as some of you all ready know that if something bad can happen, or if something can go wrong it does, and that if you drive by someone stranded along side the road it is probably me.  My life is a tragic comedy.  Really, I am not complaining, because it makes for good stories to tell and always gives us something to laugh about.

Well do I have a story to tell about trying to get to Roosevelt  on Thursday to help move. (we are moving because we got a 5 day notice that we needed to vacate the property because our landlord is going through bankruptcy and the rental is being foreclosed).  Yes, we did find a place to live.

For those of you who are new to my blog.  I have a small, beautiful, sustainable, farm in South-West Utah and when my husband got a job in North Eastern Utah as a Principal I relunctantly went along with the move, but he agreed not to sell the farm.   I commute back and forth ( about 500 miles one-way) spring through fall.  When school is out the kids come down full time and Glen comes for a few weeks when he can.  I continue to run a small CSA and participate in several farmer's markets.


  ANY-HOW BACK TO MY STORY:

 I scheduled a bus ticket  to get to Roosevelt because my transmission is going out on my vehicle and I definitely didn't want to be stranded along the freeway.  I had been hauling squash the past couple of days and was finishing up everything that needed to be done at the farm before I left.  I mowed the back lawn behind the trailer and proceeded to turn the waters on.  I run 5 sprinkler heads to carry the load from the well so it doesn't click off and on, it just runs.  Got all the waters going, hauled some more squash, and walked the 1/2 mile up to the house to get ready to go.

Quickly finishing packing and putting out feed for Eppie dog I began getting ready to go and the water quit.  We are on a different well at the house.  I went and checked the breakers, flipped the switch and nothing.  No water.  O.K.  I will be gone for a few days and it can be fixed when I get back.  As I came around the house I looked to the farm and couldn't see the water running there either so I walked down and sure enough the water wasn't working.  So I have 2 well pumps and neither one of them is working.  The power works in both houses, just not the water pumps.  Now what  do I do?  I have a bus to catch in an hour and a half.  Including my hour drive to town-----if my vehicle makes it--------.    I  can't leave if there isn't water and expect my good neighbors-----the awesome 4 country gals----who are doing chores for me, to haul water to the animals until we get it fixed.  It will take several days to pull the pump------guess I better just stay home cause I'm going to miss my bus before we get this figured out.

I assumed that for some reason it was something wrong with the power and I wasn't getting enough to run the wells.  I really didn't have a clue because it just didn't make sense.  It did not even enter my mind that 2 seperate well pumps about 1/2 mile apart would go out at exactly the same time.  (I should have known that if there was 1 in a kazillion chances it could happen, that it would happen to me).

In the meantime Glen had called the power company and they were sending out RUSS to the RESCUE.  He is the son of my cousin and came lick-ity split.  He diagnosed the pump at the house and got it running and then trouble shot the pump at the farm and found out what was wrong.  I called another cousin who has a pump and well drilling business and he would come right out  with the part and get it going.  Whew, no pumps to replace, there is ALWAYS a silver lining in my comical life.  And I have 4 minutes to spare, I think I can make my bus.

Called my daughter who I am picking up to drop me off at the bus, and will be  keeping my vehicle at her house in town while I am gone.   I  explained why I was running a little behind and she just started to LAUGH and said ,"Of course mom, that is your luck that not just one pump, but both would go out at the exact SAME time."


One of my favorite books when I was a kid was "Fortunately" by Remy Charlip.  Look it up on amazon books and see a preview of it.   Little did I know that it would be a metaphor for my life.  I am always so fortunate.  I am the luckiest person I know!!!!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blue Moon


While harvesting vegetables for market in the wee early hours (4:00 a,m,) during late August, I was accompanied by the beautiful BLUE MOON.  It's brilliant light shone down over the gardens casting an ethereal glow.  I hope I didn't step on the garden faeries as they hid out of sight under the protective squash leaves.  The night air is crisp and the smell of dew upon the vines waifs around my feet.  There's magic in the garden when the BLUE MOON is shinning.  August had 2 full moons.  A blue moon in today's language means the 2nd full moon in the same month.  This happens about every three years.

As I harvested early yesterday I was accompanied by the new moon and I couldn't see a thing.  Pitch black, at least I didn't worry about stepping on the faeries.  I"m sure they had sense enough not to be out wandering in the dark...........unlike myself...................

Friday, September 14, 2012

Radish Report/CSA delivery



















Busy week at the farm. The frost last Sunday night has sweetened the winter squash, turnips and killed all the tender vines.  I had an extra 2 week longer  season this fall.  If this is the result of global warming,  I"M  ALL FOR IT!!!!

Your basket will be overflowing this week :

TOMATOES
TOMATILIAS
 PEPPERS
 BROCCOLI
 CELERY
 BEETS
 ZUCCHINI
 PATTY PAN
 YELLOW  (take all the summer squash you want this is THE LAST WEEK)
 STRING BEANS
 CUCUMBERS
 ONIONS
 CABBAGE
 CHARD
 NEW POTATOES
 TURNIPS
 ACORN SQUASH
TURKS TURBAN
 SPAGHETTI SQUASH
 CHOICE OF GREENS
FRUIT SHARE:  APPLES

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I ate 10 tomatoes---REALLY






I just can't help myself.  When the produce is producing I am harvesting.  Not in a jar or in the freezer........nope everything goes directly in my mouth.  I am happiest eating warm tomatoes right off the vine, crunching on dragon tongue beans,  filling my pockets full of carrots to munch on during the day.   Let's have corn for breakfast, corn for lunch and you guessed it corn for dinner.  And when the Armenian cucumbers are on........ it's, how did you know, cukes for breakfast, cukes for lunch, and cukes for supper.  Not just slices mind you, but the whole dang thing.  I haven't been to the grocery store in ages.  I don't even own a cosco card.  Nope, just good food grown right here on the farm.  Milk from my beautiful goats, quick set home-made cheese, and yogurt,  eggs from my spoiled chickens, and veges from the garden.  This has got to be paradise.

Been making oven dried tomatoes the last few days.  I always like to eat them with home-made asiago cheese bread grilled on a hot skillet with olive oil so the cheese is melty.  Made me a couple of loaves the other day and without the boys here I have eaten more than my usual lucky to get even one slice.    Put me a couple of the oven dried tomatoes on my plate just warm from the oven and before you know it half the pan had disappeared
Make your own oven dried tomatoes to use in pasta, on crusty country bread, blended up for a spaghetti sauce that is unbelievable ,or just eat them right out of the oven.

Find a recipe here for making "sun-dried tomatoes"  in your kitchen oven.

OVEN DRIED TOMATOES

 
CUT SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZE TOMATOES IN HALF
USE TOMATOES OF A SIMILAR SIZE
 SO THE DRYING TIME WILL NOT VARY

 
SCOOP OUT THE CORE AND SEEDS
POUR OLIVE OIL TO COAT THE
 BOTTOM OF A LARGE BAKING SHEET
PLACE TOMATOES SKIN SIDE DOWN AND SPRINKLE WITH
GROUND SEA SALT AND DRIED HERBS OF CHOICE
I USE ITALIAN
 
BAKE IN A LOW OVEN 250 DEGREES UNTIL QUITE  DRY
REMOVE FROM OVEN AND SLIP SKIN OFF
TURN THE TOMATO OVER AND SEASON OTHER SIDE
 
 
skins removed, turned and seasoned and put back into the oven to dry
 
CONTINUE DRYING UNTIL THE TOMATO
 IS AT THE DESIRED CONSISTENCY
(note you can leave the skins on also
sometimes I get to busy and the tomatoes have dried
quite small so I don't bother to remove them)

with skins
 
CHOP 1 CLOVE OF GARLIC FOR EACH 1/2 PINT CONTAINER
ADD FRESH GARLIC AND COVER TOMATOES WITH OLIVE OIL
 
STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR UP TO
 2 WEEKS
        CAN BE FROZEN FOR LONGER
TERM STORAGE
 
USE THE OIL IN YOUR COOKING AS THE TOMATOES ARE EATEN

 
I HAVE PACKAGED IN THE INEXPENSIVE DISPOSABLE CONTAINERS
THESE MAKE WONDERFUL HOSTESS GIFTS

 
 
THIS IS A QUICK EASY METHOD TO HAVE THE....... ALMOST
SUN DRIED TOMATOES......... WITHOUT ALL THE TIME INVOLVED
THEY ARE DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

LOCK YOUR DOORS






WAYYYYYYYYYYYY TO MUCH SQUASH 


I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to my CSA members.  You have been inundated with bags and bags of squash.  And I was concerned about the full acre of squash I lost to the critters-----what was I complaining about?

This year we grew green bennings tint, yellow sunburst, pear, white bush scallop, yellow gold rush zucchini, black zucchini, yellow eight ball, green eight ball, costata romanesco,  round d' nice, regular ole green zucchini, crookneck, and the straight neck early prolific yellow squash. Winter squash, yet to come will include buttercup, hubbards, spaghetti, turks turban and acorn.

 There are entire cookbooks dedicated to the cucurbit  that invades our homes every summer. LOCK YOUR DOORS!
 My grandmother gave me a favorite zucchini cookbook of hers years ago that I treasure.  It's pages are yellowed with time.  It's corners are rounded.  Old, dried, grated zucchini is stuck to several of my favorite recipe pages.

So load up on this prolific vegetable and make something good!
It freezes so easily, just grate, let drain in a colander and put in freezer bags.  You can have zucchini bread, pancakes, or muffins all winter long!



                                  Here are just a few of my favorite ways to prepare zucchini.

Note about brown rice:  Here's a suggestion of mine that saves me time.  Buy a 1 lb bag of brown rice.  Add a pkg. of wild rice mix to it. Cook up a big batch and just have it refrigerated ready to pull out and use, try adding a can of black beans to the cooked rice.

ZUCCHINI PANCAKES:
grate zucchini, add 1/2 ratio bread crumbs to zucchini, add enough eggs to form a moist dough.  Fry on a hot griddle.

BREADED ZUCCHINI:  Mix equal parts flour, cornmeal and bread crumbs in a large bowl.  Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds and dip in egg.  Coat with crumbs and fry on a griddle with real butter.  For a healthier version try this.  Cut into 1/2 inch rounds brush with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with mixture (recipe below) and bake 10 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Turn rounds over applying oil and mixture.  Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
MIXTURE:  1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup sesame seeds 1 tsp. chili powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  mix and put in a shaker bottle.  Refrigerator left over seasoning.
You might also try a sprinkling of dry powder ranch dip mix instead.

ZUCCHINI ROUNDS:  slice a  zucchini into 1/2 inch slices.  Do not cook.  Spread cream cheese that you have added garlic salt and Italian Seasoning to on each slice.  Add cooked and crumbled bacon over top.  Makes a great appetizer or side dish.

STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS:  Pick your blossoms early in the morning.  Only pick the male blossoms leaving the female blossoms so you will have a crop.  Watch for bees in the blossoms.  Place blossoms in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you are ready to use.  Make a simple batter of equal parts flour and cornmeal.  Add a pinch of baking soda.  pour in enough water to make a medium batter.  Stuff blossoms with herbed goat cheese.  Carefully twist the petals together at the end of the flower.  Coat with batter and deep fry until golden brown.  These are delicious!


STUFFED ZUCCHINI
Cut zucchini in half length-wise.  Scoop out seeds (discard if to large) and pulp (reserve), leaving about  1/4 to 1/2 inch of flesh.  Place in a large skillet, cut side down.  Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.  Simmer, covered for 6-10 minutes. Or bake on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile cut pulp and add other desired ingredients. Cook ingredients if necessary (meat or rice) before stuffing.  Add ingredients to zucchini and bake for 20-30 minutes.

  VARIATIONS YOU MAY LIKE TO TRY: 

SAUSAGE AND EGG:  for a delicious breakfast prepare the stuffed zucchini the previous night and pop in the oven for 30 minutes or microwave until heated through.
While squash is steaming chop pulp and saute with the sausage, when fully cooked add beaten eggs (use 2 eggs for each 1/2 squash) and cook until the eggs are just set.  Add chopped pimentos or sun dried tomatoes.  Scoop mixture into zucchini shells and bake 20 minutes.

RICE:  Saute the pulp with your favorite meat and vegetables, or just vegetables, and add pre-cooked  brown or wild rice, mix in thickened vegetable or chicken broth, season to taste.  Add mixture to shells and bake 30 minutes.

BULGAR:  Mix the chopped pulp, 1/2 cup reconstituted bulgar, 1/2 cup  chopped day old wheat bread for each 1/2 large zucchini. 1/4 cup each for a small one. Season to taste.
Sprinkle cheese over-top and bake 20 minutes.  This is quite dry so serve with a good homemade gravy , add chopped, cooked bacon  and sun-dried tomatoes.

MUSHROOM AND SPINACH:   1 cup minced onions, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp olive oil, 3 cups chopped portabella mushrooms, caps and stems, 1 tsp dill, 2 tsp soy sauce and zucchini pulp.  Saute until onions and zucchini are tender.  While ingredients are sauteing, steam spinach until wilted.  Add to the onion and mushrooms.  Stir in 1 cup pre cooked brown rice.  Place in zucchini shells and arrange in a deep baking dish.  Pour 1 cup of tomato juice in the bottom of the baking dish and grate cheese over top.  Continue baking 30 minutes.

ZUCCHINI MEATLOAF:  prepare your favorite meatloaf, adding the zucchini pulp.  DO NOT PRE-COOK the zucchini.  Form small long meatloaves and place in the zucchini.  Place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with dry bread crumbs and place foil or a lid over pan.  Cook 45 -60 minutes depending on the size of the zucchini. Remove lid the last 10 minutes to allow browning.


Add chopped zucchini to your favorite salmon roll or meat loaf recipe.


GRILLED ZUCCHINI:  the 8 ball zucchini are purposely left to grow to a large size.  Slice thick, marinate in Italian dressing and grill.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN COCONUT ZUCCHINI:  Serves 4
At market Angela told me about using coconut milk with the squash and how delicious it was.  I found this recipe in the MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK.

4 to 5 cups cubed zucchini
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp coconut oil
2 chopped scallions
2 tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tbs each chopped fresh basil and mint
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk
In a skillet, saute the zucchini, garlic, and turmeric in the coconut oil for 5 minutes. Stir constantly.  Add scallions, lime juice, basil, mint, and coconut milk.  Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until the zucchini is tender.  Stir occasionally add a splash of water if necessary to keep from sticking.  Add salt to taste.  The turmeric turns the zucchini a lovely yellow.

Try canning the zucchini, make relish, pickles, ect.

Above are just a few recipes.  I'll post more during the winter when I am using the grated, frozen zucchini.  Only a few more deliveries of summer squash!  HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

LOOK AROUND



Today instead of seeing all the weeds that needed to be pulled.  The hay that needed to be hauled, the lettuce that needed to be planted.  The lawn that needed to be mowed and the rental that needed to be cleaned.  I looked for the reasons I enjoy my little farm.  I stopped and observed the beauty around me.  ENJOY, and take a minute today to stop and see the beauty around YOU.













 
 
 



 
 
 




 
 
 
 










Tuesday, September 4, 2012

PEACHES

I can't grow peaches. 
 
 With an extremely short growing season, fruit trees are not grown here on the farm.   This past week I was in Roosevelt and drove down the hill and up the street to Neola and harvested peaches, prunes, and apples. 
 
We promptly ate most of the peaches.......
eating them on the way home,
 peach juice running down our chins,
unpeeled (she doesn't spray),
putting them in a pretty porcelain bowl,
 sprinkling with organic sugar,
 and covering with REAL CREAM.
 
We will harvest more and preserve them over the next few weeks
 

an original rendering of peaches and cream--there is REAL CREAM in the pitcher


                                  Here are several ways to enjoy the peach harvest all year long:

FREEZING:  wash peaches, if organic I leave the skin on.  Cut in half, remove the pit and then cut each half in thirds.  Drop cut slices into a bowl of cold water that you have added vinegar or citric acid to.  This prevents the peach from browning.  Let soak 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove peaches, add a little sugar and place in freezer bags and freeze.  Use in smoothies or just thaw and eat....with real cream of course!

DRYING:  Follow the instructions above.  After soaking in vinegar place on drying rack and dry to a leathery consistency.  I am fortunate to have a large 4 foot tall home-made food dehydrator, but if you do not have one try this:  Place peaches on a large window screen and put it in your car.  Allow the moisture to drip of the peaches before placing them in the car to avoid sticky syrup dripping on your seats.  I dry veges this way also.
We also use our glass covered cold frames.  Placing the window screens on bricks, with the back raised to a higher angle to take advantage of the sun's rays.

FRUIT LEATHER:  Wash and peel  ( I leave the skin on).  Sweeten if desired.  Puree in a food processor.  Making sure there are no lumps.  Pour into a plastic wrap lined baking sheet.  Place in a low temp oven and leave the door ajar.  Or line the racks of your food dehydrator with plastic wrap.  I have had the plastic melt using a small store bought dehydrator so I am leery of suggesting to use a purchased food dryer.  Once again I suggest the back window in the car, just check it often.  Or even a sunny south facing window works well.  Do not let the leather get too dry and brittle, it needs to be pliable.  Roll up removing the plastic as you roll and then roll in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container.  Check for signs of mold after a few days.-------just an interesting fact------years ago before all our modern conveniences, fruit was pulverized in a rock basin used to grind corn and grain and then spread out on a large leather hide to dry.

CANNING/JAMS:  follow the usda recommendations for canning and preserving.  Guideline booklets can be purchased at your local extension office or at the hardware store that carries canning supplies.