Eating Local – Magic Bean, Beef and Basil Thai Stir fry

My girls love “magic beans” – the ones that start off as purple, pink or speckled, but turn green when they are cooked!  They think they are very smart beans because they let us know when they are ready to eat simply by changing colour – keeps us from eating too many soggy beans!  Our garden is pumping out more beans than we can keep up with up so we decided to add them to a family favourite – Beef and Basil Thai stir fry and it turned out to be better with the beans than we could have imagined.  I will admit that there are more non-local ingredients in this one because of the Thai ingredients in the sauce, but we still meet the 50% target!  This one will be back on our plates again soon for sure!

image

Here is our recipe (ish):

On medium high heat, in a large non-stick skillet we combined:

1 Tbsp fresh chopped garlic

1 Dried jalapeno, chopped fine

2 tbsps olive oil

1 medium onion

image

Once the onion was soft, we added:

1L fresh beans, snapped in half, ends removed

IMG_6445

4 Tbsp fish sauce

6 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp lemon grass paste

2 Tbsp water

image

Just before the magic beans had turned colour we added:

4 large steaks, grilled and sliced (if using fresh meat, cook after step 1 in garlic and chilis and set aside).  There are so many wonderful grass fed beef farmers in our province!!

image

Finally, once the beans were tender crisp and the steak was hot, we added 1 cup chopped fresh purple and green basil from our garden.

image

We served it with hot jasmine rice, but it could easily be enjoyed on it’s own to get that “Local” percentage of ingredients a bit higher!

image

Just typing this post made me want to make another batch!!

Advertisements

Picked and Planted – Sept 1st – 21st

These past weeks we picked:

September has been a lovely month in Nova Scotia.  It has been very warm, even hot on quite a few days – this weekend reached over 30 degrees. We have had some good rains and cooler nights but thankfully no frost or hurricanes. The garden has continued to thrive, allowing us to pick a great volume of vegetables for the freezer and the salsa production line!  I will admit that we have not been out picking as much as we could be with the start of school, sports and the end of vacation, but we are still not paying  for produce…though I will admit that I picked up come gorgeous butternut squash from a farmer’s driveway when we were in the Annapolis Valley blueberry picking, I simply couldn’t help myself – it is so fun putting coins in a jar and picking out fresh treasures with the farmer trusting you completely to pay for what you take!

Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and herbs have been the big hitters, but we have also picked a lot of kale, chard, zucchini, onions, leeks, celery and beets.  We also started picking eggplant and jalapeño peppers! Squash should be ready for harvesting by next week and the new fall crops of greens and radish will be close behind. Fingers crossed we will be hauling in freshness for at least another month!

Approx savings compared to local market: 264.24

Total since May 26th – $1382.70.46

Total weight picked this period: 72.45 pounds!!  That is more than my 8 year old – our minds are blown again!

Total to date: 305.04 pounds

This month we planted:

Fall greens – Bok Choy, Spinach, mixed salad greens and beet greens

Market turnip (30 days!!)

Cherry Belle radish – 4th planting of the season!

I covered the seedlings with frost blankets to keep the soil moist and to help fend off the birds and slugs. So far the battle with the slugs has been awful!

“Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.” ~ Unknown

Eating Local – Oh. My. Goodness. Leftover Roasted Potato, Bacon, Beer and Corn Chowder

Joining the 50% Local Club for September has been a great experience for us!  I have to admit that I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to stick to it – there are so many local options this time of year to pick from and with a  little digging through product, many ingredients can be found that I didn’t even know could be produced locally can be found.  I have even heard the kids lecturing each other about their choices when packing lunches, it is quite cute.

Last weekend, my hubby had a milestone birthday and we planned a big surprise party for him – including 40 cobs of fresh corn and 20 pounds of herb roasted potatoes along with a bazillion other dishes. And beer – a whole lot of Alexander Keith’s (except that we don’t drink beer…what to do with the leftovers?!)  Needless to say, there was a lot of corn, potatoes and beer leftover the next morning.  4 vacuum sealed bags of corn went into the freezer for the winter, and I decided to try to create a chowder of sorts by combining a few different recipes with what we had leftover and what I could find in the fridge or garden.  SUCCESS!!!  Oh. my. goodness.

Everything except the olive oil, salt and pepper in this recipe came from the garden or a local source!

image

image

Here is our recipe (ish)

8 strips of bacon (Martock Glen) – cooked, cut and set aside. I drained most of the drippings but left a little in the pot.

image

3 tbsp Tatamagouche butter

1 onion

4 leek scapes

3 cloves garlic

These 3 were sautéed together until the onions were almost soft in the butter and bacon drippings in the pot.

3 cups chopped carrots – added after the onions were almost done with the following herbs…

1 tbsp fresh thyme

½ tsp fresh rosemary

3 fresh sage leaves

3 sprigs of fresh dill

2 bottles Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale – Yup, I poured it right over the veggies and herbs, turned the heat to medium low and let it all simmer until the carrots were almost done – about 15 minutes.

image

Then we added:

5 cups Leftover local Oven Roasted Potatoes (Spuds, Olive oil (okay, this wasn’t local…), garlic, thyme, basil, chives, oregano, crushed red chilis, salt and pepper – roasted at 425 degrees for roughly an hour)

5 cups leftover local Corn on the Cob, niblets stripped and separated.

image image

Once it was all warm and the flavours were nicely blending – about another 15 minutes on medium low, we added:

5 cups of Farmer’s half and half (enough to cover the veggies)

Salt and Pepper

image

Once hot, but not boiling, we added:

Fox Hill smoked Gouda, parsley and chives to garnish

image

We also made a batch of cheddar rosemary biscuits – and then we gobbled it up until our bellies hurt.  It was even better the next day for lunch!

Picked and Planted – 6 July to 14 July

This week we picked:

Sugar Snap and Oregon Giant Snow peas – over 6 litres of them!!

image

Baby Beets and Market Express Turnip

Red and Spanish Onion

Early broccoli (it started to bolt before the heads got big so we ate it anyways!)

Garlic Scapes

Rhubarb

Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce

Herbs – Chives, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Basil, Mint

image

We picked the last of the Strawberries and Haskaps (single tear…they will be missed!)

We also tried some edible flowers – the Lavender is wonderful as a tea, the nasturtium was not a taste I enjoyed and I am still not sure about Calundula petals…..

Approx savings compared to local market: $98.35 (Total $435.25 since 26 May)

Total weight picked this week: 15.11 pounds (Total since 26 May – 79.42 pounds, which is more than my wee girl weighs!)

This week we planted:

A few extra Marketmore 76 cucumbers to fill some gaps

Replanted Laurentian Turnip for the fall because the pheasants ate all of the seedlings….

From our garden to yours, have a great week!

image

“It might take a year, it might take a day, but what is meant to be will always find it’s way” ~Unknown

Picked and Planted June 24th – July 5th

This week (plus a bit) we picked:

Over 2 and a half pounds of Haskap Berries – a few were still on the tart side – we couldn’t wait! Plus many, many samples – I don’t think my wee girl is going to let us pick any decent amount to bake with this year (although I did manage to get a batch of haskap lemon drop scones and a haskap shortcake made!) These sell for a minimum of $15.00 per pound – they win the prize for most lucrative pick of the week.

Strawberries – so delicious!! I am more than dreaming of shortcake…we have been getting our fill! Unfortunately, so have the squirrels…

image

Sugar Sprint Snap peas and Oregon Giant Snow peas are here – so delicious right off the vine.

image

Chocolate, berry and mojito mints, lemon balm and lavender have been supplying me and my two busy bees with herbal teas and a good reason to sit still and enjoy a few minutes on the patio watching the birds.

 

We continue to pick all the greens, turnips, radishes and herbs from last week that our bellies could hold!!

Approx savings compared to local market: $103.18!!!

Total weight picked this week: 10.81 pounds

This week we planted:

Succession planting of Mouse Melons aka cucamelons – it was too wet and they did not germinate…

Marketmore 76 and Burpless string cucumbers – second planting

Watermelon seedlings – unsure of type – they called to us at the market!

Royal Burgundy beans, second planting

Beets – Chioggia, Taunus, Early Wonder and Detroit Red Supreme, second planting

Napoli and Sweetness II Carrots, second planting

Laurentian Turnip (winter storage variety of Rutabaga)

Cherry Belle radish, second planting – it has been so cold and wet that they do alright!

Sugar Sprint peas, second planting

Genovese Basil and Cilantro around the peppers and tomatoes

image

Maybe some tomatoes in our future?!

“One cannot think, love, sleep well if one has not dined well.” ~ Virginia Wolf

Picked and Planted – 14 – 23 June

This week we picked:

Bok Choi, Kale and Swiss Chard

Market Express Turnip (and the greens) and Radishes

Oregano, Sage, Chives and Italian Parsley

Dinosaur and Ragged Jack Kale

1 Strawberry and 12 Haskap berries!

This week many of the cooler greens have begun to bolt – we still eat them, but it is a sign that our diet will be changing from a lot of lettuce and spinach to more early summer root veggies, kale and chard and hopefully peas very soon!! We will leave a few of them to flower and collect some seed for the fall, but most of them will head to the compost once the remaining leaves are removed.  This week also saw the end of the radish harvest.  I am a bit sad, I really like to snack on radishes and hummus (as does my summer waistline!!)  The kids, however, are quite happy to move on, though they are both sad that there will be no more fresh pesto until the garlic scapes are ready in a few weeks. The powerhouse veggie this week was the bok choi, which was priced at $3.99 for a package of 4 baby heads – we picked 16 tonight for stir fry!!

image

The only new players in the garden this week were one little strawberry and a handful of haskap berries, also known as honeyberries – these were an experiment 2 years ago and have done amazingly well around our deck.  We purchased them direct from LaHave Natural Farms Haskap Orchard as plugs and all 9 are now 2 feet tall and producing their wonderful early berry!

image image

Approx savings compared to local market: $56.57 (Running total – $233.72)

Total weight picked this week: 6.86 lbs (Running total – 46.81 lbs)

This week we planted :

The garden is almost all planted!  This week I reseeded a few bare spots where carrots and beans failed to germinate with all of this rain and we planted the rest of my wee girl’s perennials that she had grown from seed or spent her birthday money on at plant sales (did I ever mention how much I love that kid?!)

I can only imagine how much the cost would have been for all of her flowers that she grew, but in fairness and honesty, I would never, ever, ever have bought 136 coleus or 86 rudbeckia from a greenhouse!!  Thankfully she has given away the majority of them as gifts to everyone from her teacher, to Niki Jabbour when we were invited to be on her radio show, The Garden Show on News 95.7 (was that ever fun – we were the 11am segment on June 7th!!) and to everyone who has come to our porch in the past few weeks!!

image

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon!” – Doug Larsen

Picked and Planted – June 9th -15th

This week we picked:

image image

This week the garden did not produce any new items from last week, but it was very productive!!  We had a lot of sun which led to some of the cool, early greens to start to bolt a bit.  We had planted slower veggies with the early greens (carrots and broccoli) so as we cleaned out some of the bolters, the other veggies will now have more space to grow.  The added bonus of planting quick greens with slower veggies is that it helps me space out the broccoli properly instead of planting way too many seeds at once and really boosts our “bang for our buck”!

This week’s list included:

Market Express Turnip and greens ( I could not find these at any local markets, the price per pound is compared to white turnip)

Radish (5.2 pounds!!) – We froze 1 litre of radish leaf pesto for the winter

Spinach, Arugula, Spicy Mesclun, Buttercrunch lettuce, Kale and Romaine lettuce (the money crop this week!!) Needless to say we have had to eat a lot of salad and smoothies!)

Chives, Green Onion, Cilantro

Bok Choy

Rhubarb

Approx savings compared to local market: $82.39!!

Total weight picked this week: 15.31 pounds

This week we planted :

image

In the weird and wonderful row…

Tomatillos (you need two..), Asian eggplant, Berlotto Firetongue and Tanya’s Pink Pod beans

In the new raised beds along the back:

Medicinal bed: Comfrey, echinacea, Chamomile, Monarch Milkweed (for our butterfly friends)

In the Herb bed: Italian and Curly Parsley, Curry Plant, Fern and Bouquet Dill, Purple Sage, Summer Savoury, Russian Tarragon, Cilantro

Organic Sugar Small Pumpkin (and some seedlings that we picked up the market without a tag – they were calling to us!), Spaghetti squash, pole beans and Sunflowers

White onion sets, Luscious Bi-colour Corn

In the main beds:

Purple and Green Runner beans

EZ Gold, Burgundy and Labrador Bush beans

Repeat greens

Basil and cilantro underplanted around the tomatoes

Flowers:

Strawflowers, Calendulas, Zinnia, Marigolds, Nasturtiums (all started indoors from seed)

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” ~Dorothy Day