The farm has been abuzz with activity lately, full of busy bees and other insects, nesting birds, and people. We hosted the summer meeting of the Biodynamic Association of Northern California, www.bdanc.org. A diverse group of farmers, gardeners, and supporters, came together to share food, ideas, and stories. We celebrated the solstice around a fire with music, ridiculous jokes, and plenty of laughter. It was delightful to see old friends and to meet other folks interested in farming.
Two summer camps have also visited the farm, exploring the fields, harvesting in the herb garden, and enjoying the open space. From all of these visitors, we have received many compliments and gifts of appreciation for sharing the farm. These blessings lift our spirits and remind us to temper our self-criticism. We are grateful to everyone who comes to the farm as they help to enliven it and us.
The long days and nights mean less sleep for us and rapid growth for all the crops. The chickens wait to go into the coop until dark and are anxious to be let out once it is light. We choose to open and close them every morning and night. We mostly enjoy it, but lately us sleepyheads are struggling to stay awake while we wait for them to go to bed.
This year in the flower garden we planted clover pathways in every other bed. We mowed them later than we hoped so they are not as soft as desired and may not regrow but you are welcome to walk on them. The flowers are all starting to bloom and are anxious to be picked!
This week's pick list:
- Summer squash
- Green onions
- Shelling peas
- Garlic scapes
- Escarole and frisee
- Basil, dill, parsley, and cilantro
Japanese Vegetable Pancakes, adapted from smittenkitchen.com
1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds) which will be easiest on a mandoline if you have one
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
5 lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Canola, safflower or peanut oil for frying
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (note: this is not vegetarian)
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine or sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Make the pancakes: Toss cabbage, carrot, kale, scallions and salt together in a large bowl. Toss mixture with flour so it coats all of the vegetables. Stir in the eggs. Heat a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and heat that too.
To make a large pancake, add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture to the skillet, pressing it out into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch pancake. Gently press the pancake down flat. Cook until the edges beging to brown, about 3 minutes. 30 seconds to 1 minute later, flip the pancake with a large spatula. (If this is terrifying, you can first slide the pancake onto a plate, and, using potholders, reverse it back into the hot skillet.) Cook on the other side until the edges brown, and then again up to a minute more (you can peek to make sure the color is right underneath).
To make small pancakes, you can use tongs but I seriously find using my fingers and grabbing little piles, letting a little batter drip back into the bowl, and depositing them in piles on the skillet easier, to form 3 to 4 pancakes. Press down gently with a spatula to they flatten slightly, but no need to spread them much. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the edges brown. Flip the pancakes and cook them again until brown underneath.
Regardless of pancake size, you can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.
If desired, make okonomiyaki sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.
Serve pancakes with sauce and any of the other fixings listed above, from Japanese mayo to scallions and toasted sesame seeds.