We returned home from New Hampshire today, having spent most of last week there for Seth's brother's wedding. The farm did not seem to notice that we were gone; it was well cared for by the crew. While we had a lovely time visiting family, it is always comforting to be home. As we were driving down Spring Hill Road, Teddy was very excited to see cows again; his happiness echoing what we also felt.
The calves are escaping under the electric fence, which is not unusual. However, they are becoming more brazen in their actions and harder to deter. The ground is so dry it is difficult to keep the fence hot. Now that they have tasted freedom it is hard to convince them to obey. We will keep working in it though.
We harvested the first dry beans last week. It is not the abundant crop that we had hoped but we are continuing to learn about production and harvesting as we struggle; I have faith we will succeed one day. The onions have started to senesce, the potatoes have almost all died back, and some of the winter squash is ready to harvest. It is hard to believe the time has come.
This week's pick list:
- Zucchini and summer squash
- Hot peppers
- Basil. dill, cilantro, and parsley
- Pesto basil
- Pick your own cherry tomatoes and tomatillos (located in the flower field)
The New York Times featured smashed cucumbers salads this past week as being all the rage in the city. I was fascinated to learn of the technique as I have always struggled with cucumbers in salad. They never seem to blend well with other flavors. It seems that smashing them might by the answer! The technique that the recipes call for is a little complicated. While I am sure that letting the cucumbers marinate in salt and sugar and drain helps, I will probably try eliminating that step to see how important it is. Simply smashing the cucumber and using them immediately may be fine for me. Here is a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/19/dining/cucumber-salad-recipes-smashed.html?ref=dining
Smashed Cucumbers with Cumin Tahini, adapted
About 2 pounds cucumbers (8 to 10 mini cucumbers, 4 medium-size or 2 large greenhouse)
Raw or granulated sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
⅓ cup well-stirred tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil, more for cucumbers
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons sambal oelek or sriracha
Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
On a work surface, place a piece of cucumber (or several) cut side down. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will break down and the seeds will separate. Repeat until the whole piece is smashed. Break or slice diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.
Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Place a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15 to 30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.
Make the dressing: combine lime juice and garlic and macerate for 10 minutes. Add tahini and 2 tablespoons warm water and whisk well. Check the texture; you want a smooth, creamy liquid. If necessary, add more warm water and whisk more. Add olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cumin and the oregano. Taste for salt and adjust the seasonings.
Make the chile vinegar, if desired: Place sambal in a bowl and slowly drizzle in white vinegar, stirring to loosen. Taste often and stop adding vinegar when mixture is tart and spicy, but not enough to make your eyes water.
When ready to serve, shake cucumbers well to drain off any remaining liquid and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss. Add half the dressing, toss and taste. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well coated but not drowned.
Serve immediately. For each serving, scoop a large spoonful of cucumbers into a bowl, spoon a little chile vinegar around the edges and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro.