Tomatillos: Raw tomatillos are sour, sweet and bitter. They make a an excellent green salsa (salsa verde), which is how I've primarily eaten them in the past. This past week we've been putting them in almost every cooked dish and the taste they add is amazing! A really simple thing you can do with them is chop them and saute them up with onions and peppers (hot or bell), and serve as a topping to meat such as burgers, chicken, steak, or veggie burgers or portabella mushrooms. We've been making a lot of sautes that involve onions, pattipan or zucchini, tomatillos and peppers and having that for lunch with rice and beans. Our Wwoofer cooked up and awesome chili with adzuki beans, tomatillo, onion, and peppers, spiced with coriander, all spice, chili powder, cinnamon, worschestire sauce, and salt.
Peppers: A bit of hot pepper can really bring out good flavors in a dish without making it too spicy if you use a small enough amount. We've been picking all our peppers green and small to encourage the plants to grow. After this picking we're going to let the pepper fruits grow and ripen out reds, yellows, and browns. I tried to keep the spicy peppers separate from the non spicy ones in the box. The long thin ones are Green Cayenne and are the most hot. Use only 1/3 of one in a dish and discard the seeds if you are sensitive to heat. The Green Chimayo is the fatter pepper grouped with the cayenne. This is a New Mexican Chili and has a bit of heat but it doesn't last long. It would pair well with tomatillos in a cooked dish. Then there are small Green Bells. Lastly, some boxes also got a dark green poblano-type. These have a very faint heat to them. I imagine its not noticeable when in a dish, its barely noticeable raw.
Do not put your pepper seeds in the soup stock bag unless you want really spicy soup. Haha, I know this from experience.
The garden is looking really nice. We've had a WWOOFER staying with us for the past few weeks and he's really helped us get so much done. In the foreground we have our first Milpa or three sisters experiment planted. We have three types of corn in there, one a rainbow sweet corn, one a rainbow popcorn, and one a rainbow flour corn. The squash is mostly butternut and Styrian Hulless, a pumpkin with hull-less pumpkin seeds that are very delicious. The beans are cranberry beans and fort portal jade beans, a dried bean that is green. We've especially enjoying watching this part of the garden grow.
What is Holy Basil and what can I do with it?
Holy basil, also known as Tulsi, is a great herb. Holy basil is a basil, and in India where it is native, it grows into huge perennial shrubs. Here we grow it as an annual, as it does not survive frost. It is a gentle yet powerful herb that is safe for everyone and helps the body process stress and return to equilibrium. People find it uplifting and grounding. It is also soothing to the digestion especially after eating too big of a meal, like at a holiday party of barbecue.
Holy Basil makes an awesome tea, served hot or cold. You can make the tea with fresh herb or you can dry the herb and enjoy the tea later on. Put a sprig or two in a tea pot or jar and pour hot water on it. Steep for 5 minutes or longer, and enjoy. You can not over-steep this herb. It can steep for hours and the flavor will only become more dark.
Also, Lasagna!! Holy Basil in Lasagna is Amazing!!! It can go in any Italian dish you would add basil to, but I think it is particularly tasty with the ricotta cheese that tends to end up in lasagna. I usually make vegetarian lasagna, with lots of summer squash/zucchini in it. The Beet Leaves would also be really tasty in said lasagna.
Holy basil also goes well with beets! Wash beets, peel if desired, chop into cubes. Steam with a bit of apple cider vinegar in the water, until tender. Put into a bowl. Finely chop the holy basil, and add to beets with some oilve oil and salt. Add feta cheese if desired. Serve as a side dish on its own, or as a topping on arugula salad. Add balsamic vinegar if more sour is needed.
Making the most of your box
Don't forget to eat your beet greens! They taste very similar to Swiss Chard. For prolonged storage, remove beet greens immediately and store the beets and the greens seperately in the refrigerator.
Box#7 July 15th & July 19th
The truth is we've been eating a lot of veggies raw or in some sort of salad, or very lightly steamed in a bit of water with butter and salt.
In light of that, I'll share with you the yummy salad dressing I made today.
I didn't measure any of this and I encourage you to approximate too.
1/4 cup sesame oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons tamari/soy sauce, 2 tablespoons tahini, lions mane mushroom powder, and finely chopped garlic. Stir well or shake and serve. Lions mane mushroom powder is definitely optional but it adds a savory mushroom flavor and is very nourishing to the nervous system. We keep it on our spice rack and add it to many dishes for its healing properties.
Remember that carrot tops make good soup stock! :)
Box 6 July 8th and July 12th
Pardon the lateness here, we've had a lot going on from family visits to FINALLY getting all the Garlic out of the ground!! On Sunday we had a few friends over and we dug up all thirteen rows of garlic. Now its happily curing in the barn.
What about those carrot tops??
They add a great flavor to soup stock!! Also small amounts can be chopped and sauteed. After writing about fermenting, I'm feeling inspired to try fermenting some, I'll keep you posted if it turns out well.