IMG_9963If I’m being honest, I know that it’s August if I’ve had ratatouille and a good cry. Most of my resilience is used up by August and I don’t have much in reserve. I’m ready for a season change. It’s time to harvest so many things – which I love – no one who cooks or preserves can say that they don’t love a good bounty. But at the same time – it’s hot, everything needs to be picked and pickled, plucked and preserved all at the same time, and you’re trying to make sure that you have enough of everything else still growing to get through till frost. Oh, and there’s usually irrigation pipe to move, hay to cut (do I want it to rain or not to rain?) and 2 or 3 years of your life and fields to plan and prep for cover crops. So I usually have a good cry and get it all done and then in February look at photos and think how beautiful it all is!

However – there are so many wonderful things that I love about this time of year – the peppers (the red ones are just coming on now), eggplant, melons and tomatoes! Hot days and cool nights. Lots of pasture for the animals. Starting to clean the slate by taking out crops that are done and tucking in cover crops to grow before the end of the sunlight – keeping roots in the soil so that all the microbes will be happy and help us produce beautiful veg next year. Also – so many events!!

FRESH FEST – This Thursday, Seed Confections in St Thomas (a one woman shop, really gorgeous and tasty chocolates and macarons) will be using our beets, sumac and raspberries in her offering for Fresh Fest, the local food event in St Thomas – get tickets ahead or at the door, and then sample from local food vendors (and the farms behind them!).

VEGAN FARM DINNER AT WILDFLOWERS – On Saturday, September 16th, Wildflowers Farm (just down the road on Fruit Ridge – the owners of the bee hives on our farm) will be having a plant-based dinner on their farm – $50 per ticket. I will be making the soup course, and Seth of La Houlette de Vie will be supplying bread. There will also be wine and live music!

ORCHARD HILL FARM DINNER – Our farm dinner will be on Saturday, September 23rd 5:30-8 – four courses and wine pairing by Quai du Vin for $75 per ticket. We will be featuring lots of vegetables from the farm and pastured duck from Three Ridges Farm. There are only a few tickets left, and I will be publishing a menu soon.

RECIPES – There’s a wealth of recipes in the archives of this blog, and most of them are well labelled, so if you search ‘zucchini’ you’ll come up with a bunch of recipes! Here are a few of the hits for this season:

Kale Chips
Ok – so it’s not very seasonal (there are so many other things to eat this time of year, anyway), but I heard someone talking about them last week and they’re so good!
Flavour Paste:
1 red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed.

1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste.

Blend until consistency of yogurt. Massage onto kale leaves that have had the stem removed and ripped into chip-sized pieces.  It should be covered like a light salad dressing.  Bake at 175 degrees for approx 3 hours, until crispy.

When cool, keep in an airtight container for up to a few days.

The paste recipe is easily doubled, and can keep in the fridge for a few days. It also freezes well. It is a great idea to double the batch and freeze the leftovers so that the next time you have kale, you have the paste easily available – just defrost and spread.

Panzanella (aka Bread Salad)

1 baguette, a dense artisan style loaf works best – Seth’s would be great

1/2 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, halved (seeded if necessary) and cut into bite sized pieces.

3 cups tomato, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped.

Whisk oil, vinegar, sugar salt and pepper together in a large salad bowl.

Add onion to dressing and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad. … it softens the bite of onion and adds a nice taste to the dressing.

Slice baguette lengthwise into quarters (you should have 4 long pieces), brush with oil an grill until toasted on all sides.  Remove, cool, cut into bite-sized chunks.

Add tomato, cucumber, basil and bread.  Toss and serve.

* can be served with grilled boneless skinless chicken breast that have marinated for about 2 hours  in …. 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 white wine, 2 Tbsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tsp mustard, 2 tsp sugar.

Baby Zucchini Pasta

This is a light, fragrant and very quickly made pasta dish using very firm baby zucchini, which hardly needs to be cooked at all.  The idea is to slice them as thinly as possible in an irregular fashion.  The big fat zucchini that are fluffy inside, won’t do for this recipe.

Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove finely chopped garlic

8-10 small very firm zucchini

juice of 1 lemon

1 good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

1 pound of pasta

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 1/2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated.

Put the olive oil and garlic into a thick bottomed pan and set over medium-high heat and fry for about 30 seconds without colouring, then add your baby zucchini and toss gently.  After about 2 minutes squeeze in the juice of the lemon, add the basil and cook a little longer.

Meanwhile cook the past in boiling salted water until al dente.  Toss it with the zucchini to mix the flavours, season to taste and add the Parmesan to round all the flavours together- you may need a little extra olive oil to loosen it.  Serve with some torn basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan on top.IMG_0002