This Weeks Box 10/19/2012

Wednesday evening played host to one of the most extraordinary sunsets of the year. It was one of those events of nature that pretty much forces you to stop what you are doing and just observe. So that is exactly what I did. I dropped my shovel and whatever I had in my hands and just copped a squat. I rest against the big granite rock, trying not to drool as I pretty much let the sunset have it’s way with me. 

I began to also notice a steady stream of honey bees flying by me. They raced past, one by one, right next to my head and on either side. I think they were coming from the lower orchards and on their way to their little bee condos on the mesa, below the garden. I noticed that after a few minutes, the frequency of each bee passing was getting less. And the darker it got, the faster they were going. I sitting in the middle of a freeway at the tail end of bee rush hour traffic. I didn’t get hit once though. Surely the first passing bee must have put out a sigalert warning of a retarded human stalled in the two middle lanes of traffic with no signs of moving soon.
 I realized that the bees weren’t the only ones in a hurry. Some dragonflies, grasshoppers and lizards were hurrying around and trying to get a last bit of groceries before retiring home too. Then they left as quick as they came. Some hummingbirds fought over one last sip of nectar from a stand of wild tobacco. A drift of quails hurried in and  fervently pecked for grain dangerously close to a freshly seeded carrot bed. Animal after animal, after insect after bird, until the most of the light was gone. The guard began to change. Bats replaced birds and then the crickets came out to announce the official end of business for the day creatures.

Here is the list…

large haas avocados
summer squash
large bunch of chard
tomatoes

mei quing choy
really small golden delicious apples from Julian
cucumbers
red lettuce
a few pomegranates
eggplant
lemons and limes
sapotes
green peppers and jalapenos

Mei Qing Choi
This is the new kid on the block this week! Technically this variety is called Mei Qing choi.  But Bok Choy and this are totally interchangeable in recipes, so don’t be thrown off by the exotic-sounding name. The flavor is quite similar (actually I’d have to do a blind taste test to see if I could even tell them apart); most of the difference is in appearance: bok choi has longer, whiter stems and dark green leaves mei qing choi has pale green stems and round or oval, only slightly darker green leaves . I got some comments about the baby bok choy last week having some dark marks on the inside leaves. This weeks Mei Qing Choi is looking good.

Chicken or Tuna Salad with “any kind of Choy” Recipe

diced or shredded cooked chicken
diced choi
diced bell pepper
  chopped walnuts or pecans
bleu cheese (a little bit, crumbled)
plumped dried cranberries (soak ‘em in boiling water a few min.)

a combo of walnut oil and flaxseed oil (or a plain canola if you don’t have either of these) ~ 2 tbsp.
orange zest/oil* – zest from ½ to a whole orange, depending on how big it is
dab of honey ~ ¼ to ½ tsp.
dab or Dijon mustard ~ ¼ to ½ tsp.
balsamic vinegar ~ 1 tbsp.
some mayonnaise ~ 1 ½ tbsp.
salt and pepper to taste
bed of lettuce for serving

Combine dressing ingredients. Toss chicken, choi, nuts, cheese and cranberries with dressing, then serve individually, on beds of lettuce or make into a sandwich!

*here’s a trick: before making the dressing, zest the orange over the cup you are going to make the dressing in. Point the orange/zester in such a way that the orange oil that sprays out when you do the zesting is captured by the cup along with the zest. Remove zest from cup, mince up, and return to cup; add oils and swirl to mix – the orange oil will then commingle with the other oils and enhance the overall flavor!

Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj) 
Baba Ghanouj from Simply Recipes
Zucchini Avocado Pomegranate Salsa Recipe  
IDEAS FOR CHARD
– Saute chard with garlic in olive oil.  Put a cover on the pan and allow chard to steam for about 5 minutes.  Add a squeeze of lemon  juice and , if desired, some hot pepper flakes before serving.
– Blanch the leaves and add to soup.  Try substituting chard for spinach or arugula in soup recipes.
– Make a gratin with the stems: Boil the stems until tender (about 30 minutes).  Put them in a gratin dish, add seasonings (such as a little garlic and parsley), top with a bechamel sauce and cook under broiler until golden brown.
– Blanch the whole leaves and stuff them with meat or vegetable fillings.
Food writer Fay Levy says that in Lebanon, chard leaves are wrapped around rice fillings, like grape leaves.

Fall Garden Festival

The Farm at Blue Sky Ranch is proud to support the Water Conservation Garden Fall Festival November 10, 2012!! plant sales, seminars, educational materials, arts and crafts. I look forward to seeing you all there! click on the link below for more information.
 

http://www.thegarden.org/2012_fall_garden_festival.html

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