Monday, January 9, 2017

Harvest Monday - January 9, 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday. I'm stepping in for Dave of Our Happy Acres as the temporary host of Harvest Monday for the month of January while he takes a much deserved holiday from the task of hosting every week. Harvest Monday is where we celebrate all things harvest related. This is the place to share your latest harvests and what you've been doing with them. If you would like to link up you will find Mr. Linky at the end of this post.

All week long I've been hearing warnings about the Atmospheric River that is zeroing in on California's central coast. It's supposed to inundate us with rain like we haven't seen in 10 years but so far it been less than overwhelming in my neck of the woods, the bulk of the rain seems to be falling to the north of here. Although, as I sit here on Sunday afternoon working on this post it seems like the river has finally wended its way here, it's pouring. What we have been experiencing here for the last couple of days is high winds. The wind had me out in the garden on more than one occasion to secure plants and covers that were being tossed about. Still, the weather has not stopped me from harvesting what the garden has to offer and there is actually something new in the harvest basket!

Gangbusters Spinach

Merlo Nero Spinach
The spinach that I sowed back on November 10 and put into the garden on November 22 is big enough to start harvesting. I'm growing 2 varieties and both are new for me. I combined both of them in a Greek Cornmeal Pie From Epirus, my version of the recipe at least, I made a number of ingredient substitutions but the form of the dish was the same. Basically you mix some cornmeal with olive oil, yogurt, and water and spread half of that in the bottom of a baking dish, top it with a mixture of wilted greens, onion, herbs, and feta, then spread the remaining cornmeal mixture on top and bake it. I ground some of the Puhwem corn from this year's corn harvest for the cornmeal. And I also used some I'itoi onion greens and some fennel tops from a volunteer red fennel plant. Dave loved it even though I overbaked it a bit.

I'itoi Onion Greens and Red Fennel Tops

Gustus Brussels Sprouts
The Brussels sprouts harvests continue. About half of that bunch above got roasted in a cast iron skillet and then combined with some leftover cubes of roasted Buttercup squash. Dave challenged me to find something NEW to do with the sprouts, not that he hasn't been enjoying what I've been doing with them, but I have pretty much stuck with variations on either iron skillet roasting or shredding and sauteeing. So I went to my Eat Your Books recipe index and browsed through the recipes that featured Brussels Sprouts and found inspiration from a couple of recipes for shredded Brussels sprouts salads. I made a rather simple salad with raw shredded sprouts, grated Parmesan, toasted slivered almonds, extra virgin olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. It was a hit and I will definitely be making it or a variation again. You can find my recipe for the salad on my recipe blog HERE.

Pink Plume Celery
The celery plants are producing big main stalks very slowly in the short cold days of winter, but the plants have made a lot of side shoots with thin stalks. Those thin stalks are just as tasty as the fat stalks so I've started to cut those. Perhaps the plants will put more energy into producing the fat main stalks if I trim the skinny ones away? I've been using the celery in soups and salads on a regular basis.

Purple Sun and Rotild Carrots
More carrots. Also for salad and soups and some snacking with hummus.

Tronchuda Beira Cabbage, Gladiator Parsnips, Rotild Carrots

And the last 2 Rotild carrots, a few Gladiator parsnips, and Tronchuda Beira cabbage leaves for a Sunday Evening Soup for which I also cooked up some Black Coco beans from last year.

There's still tomatoes that are ripening on the kitchen counter but more are going into the compost now than into the harvest basket, but those that were fit to eat last week were pretty tasty.

Here's the details of the harvests for the past week:

Gustus Brussels sprouts - 1.7 lb.
Tronchuda Beira cabbage/kale - 14.8 oz.
Bolero carrots - 4.2 oz.
Purple Sun carrots - 3.1 oz.
Rotild carrots - 9.5 oz.
Pink Plume celery - 11.6 oz.
Dazzling Blue kale - 8.7 oz.
Gladiator parsnip - 7.1 oz.
Gangbusters spinach - 8.5 oz.
Merlo Nero spinach - 7.8 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 7.7 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 3.8 oz.
Piccolo Dattero tomatoes - 4.2 oz.

Total harvests for the past week - 7.4 lb.
YTD 2017 - 7.4 lb.

Update Monday morning. About that Atmospheric River I mentioned above.

The screen shot below shows a composite radar image for the precipitation over the weekend. The scale on the map shows precipitation going from a trace represented by light blue progressing through the color range through white at 10 inches, the red blobs on the map show where the rain was most concentrated. That red blob at the bottom is Big Sur, the red blob in the center is the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the red blobs on the right are the Sierra foothills. I happen to live to the north of (above) the Big Sur blob in that area that goes to green which is why the rain seemed less than overwhelming to me, we're in the rain shadow of the Santa Lucia range. The AR dumped big time around here but not on me! I haven't learned much yet about local consequences, but so far I know that local rivers did have some minor flooding but nothing devastating. We're getting something of a break in the rain today, just showers are predicted, but more rain is due tomorrow. And King Tides...

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  1. First off, I'm glad you've gotten off lightly so far with rivers of rain. Do you have wild fennel growing on the hillside? It's my belief that that is what would be used in Greece rather than the dill that seems so ubiquitous in cookbooks for Americans. Dill is very difficult to grow here in our mediterranean climate. Ha! I do want to show off my harvest-in-the-making this week, so am linking. My favorite sprouts recipe is with pine nuts here:
    It's fussier about the garlic than I would do it. (Have I mentioned this before and forgotten?)

    1. I realized this morning when I looked at the storm total radar image that I'm in a relatively dry spot so I got off easy. I put a screen shot of that image on my post this morning.

      The fennel plants are volunteers of bulbing fennel that is growing around the veggie garden. I don't have any of the common wild fennel that doesn't form bulbs, nor does any of the bulbing fennel volunteer outside the garden, the deer make sure of that. It's interesting that you say that dill is difficult in our climate, I never realized that it doesn't like it here, but that makes sense now since I can't seem to get it to grow. Now I have to go check out your favorite sprouts recipe!

  2. there are so many varieties that you grow in the US that I have never heard of but we also grow Gladiator parsnips and are also harvesting them at present.

    I hope that the worst of the weather continues to miss you.

  3. That spinach is lovely! I suppose that one is truly growing like Gangbusters too. I wondered if rain was coming your way from the 'pineapple express'. The high winds are truly a bummer in the garden though. I do hope you all get some beneficial rain out of this system, enough to recharge the system a bit.

    1. I don't think this one is a 'pineapple express' event. Those are ARs and get their name because they come from Hawaii, but this AR is coming from a different direction. The winds are the worst part of this kind of weather, at least for me. This system has dumped a lot of snow in the Sierra Nevada, which is what we need, it will fill up a lot of reservoirs when it melts.

  4. Ooh that really is nice spinach.
    It's an interesting radar image, glad the worst of it is missing you. I think that strong winds have really increased here over the last few years, I'm trying to set up wind breaks using woven willow, as my plot is quite exposed on one side (prevailing wind direction too, bah).
    I got a secondhand cast iron skillet for my birthday and have been looking into the best way to get rid of the rust before use.....a molasses bath left for a few days seems like a good option (and avoids scrubbing). do you do anything in particular to keep yours in good condition? Making sure they're dried properly seems essential.

    1. I have found cast iron to be pretty easy to maintain after it has been well seasoned (which is another topic all by itself). I make sure to clean it as soon as possible with just a bit of dish soap and a gentle scrubbing to remove just the food residue and then yes, VERY IMPORTANT, dry it immediately and heat it until it is very hot, smoking a bit, and rub it with a paper towel lightly dipped in vegetable oil, a very thin film will do, then let it cool off and it's ready to put away.

    2. Thanks for the tips....I've got some molasses now so will try to get rid of the rust first before seasoning....yes, so many different ways of doing it!

  5. Your carrots look absolutely perfect! I was also interested in that you use a cast iron skillet, and can see now why mine goes rusty in between uses so thank you for the tips. The Greek Pie sounded interesting and I was wondering if it would work with chickpea flour rather than cornmeal, or wuld it be too claggy perhaps?

    1. The chickpea flour sounds interesting, but I'm not sure that it would make a dough like the cornmeal does, so the dish might end up more like a pancake. I'm not sure. It sounds like it's worth some experimentation though. A while back I made a shredded vegetable socca, basically veggie pancakes made with chickpea flour - the recipe came from the NY Times. So perhaps the Greek Pie filling could be used to make a similar pancake.


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