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Braised cabbage with bratwurst

The newsletter is running late today, so let’s make this week’s post a simple and hearty recipe – cabbage braised in beer with bratwurst.  As luck would have it, we have plenty of cabbages to go around.

Slice one large yellow onion into half-moons, satuee in about 3T of olive oil (or bacon grease, if you have some lying around) in a large pot.  Core and slice one medium (or half of one large) cabbage into 1-inch strips.  After onions have browned slightly, add cabbage to the onions and salt generously.  Cook cabbage over medium heat, periodically tossing to coat with oil.  When all cabbage is limp, add one bottle of good beer (I used Brooklyn lager, but I think any decent lager would do the trick), 1T spicy mustard, and one finely-chopped bunch of parsley.  Continue cooking on medium heat until the alcohol is cooked out of the lager.  Turn heat to low, and then nestle 4 bratwurst into the cabbage.  Cover and cook on low heat until cabbage in as tender as you like it and the brats are fully cooked.

Serve with roasted potatoes, a slice of toasted crusty bread, and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!!

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Fall comes slowly

It appears that we have at least a few more summer days in store before some fall weather finally arrives.  And I’m willing to bet there will be a few more summer-like days before fall decides to commit.  In any event, it sure looks like summer in the garden, and we are still hauling in loads of summer produce.  The summer squash refuse to quit, dutifully producing a respectable amount of fruit for each harvest.  Tomatoes are really coming into peak production, especially the beautiful crimson Cosmonaut Volkovs.  All tomatoes are still $3 / lb or $50 for 20 lbs.  There’s still time to do some canning!  Peppers and eggplants are doing great, too.  It’s only a matter of time before autumn arrives in earnest, so get your fill of this summer bounty while you can.

Check out Smitten Kitchen’s caponata recipe.  I haven’t made this one yet, but it looks like a great way to use a bunch of late summer vegetables.  We don’t have any basil, so use parsley instead.

Some fall favorites are making their way onto the harvest list, too.  New additions this week include Gilfeather rutabaga, kohl rabi, and red and green fall cabbages.  I’ll leave it at that, as there will be plenty of time in the coming months to wax poetic about the virtues of a good rutabaga.  And you know I will.  More than once.

Finally, don’t forget about Pastured Pork and Grass-fed Beef CSA shares.  Both are available in limited quanities, especially beef shares.  Get your deposit in now to make sure you can fill your freezer with Potter Hill/Short Creek pork and beef.

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Labor Day pickup, 11AM – 1PM

We’re switching things up a bit for Labor Day this year.  We’re doing an early pickup from 11AM – 1PM so you can grab some Potter Hill groceries and still have time to get things ready for the grill.  The veggie list is pared down to focus on salad fixings and grilling goods.  Ground beef and sausages will be available, of course – these are vacuum-packaged and frozen, and will thaw easily in time for an afternoon BBQ.

If that’s the case, then why is kale still on the list, you ask?  Kale salad!  The Red Russian kale is very tender and perfect for raw eating.  Just wash, trim out the thick stems, slice in 1/2″ – 1″ pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, your choice of vinegar (or lemon), feta cheese, toasted walnuts.  Dried cranberries?  Just a bit of fresh minced chili pepper?  Sure, what the hell, you are the master of your own destiny.

Some more ideas….

  • Burgers (duh) with nice thick slices of sweet Ailsa Craig onion.
  • Grilled sausages and Jimmy Nardellos peppers.  Cut the peppers in half, ditch the seeds, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and grill until just tender.
  • Salad.  Just salad.  I know, I’m so clever.  But if your friends have never had our heirloom lettuce, they’re in for a treat.  Dress with plenty of olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.  Throw in some sliced French Breakfast radishes if you’re feeling fancy.
  • Wallet feeling a bit thick (with cash, not receipts)?  Steak, then, for you and yours.  We have NY Strip steaks and tenderloin steaks.  The tenderloins didn’t make it on the website, but they’re in the freezer and can be yours for $30 / lb.
  • Grilled summer squash, an easy favorite.  Just toss with salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and grill until tender.
  • Green bean salad with herbs.  Blanch the beans, just a couple of minutes in boiling salted water.  Toss warm with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, fresh minced chili, fresh minced garlic, and plenty of fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.  Don’t be stingy with the herbs – it’s in the title, darn it!  Serve cold or at room temperature.
  • Salsa!  Chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh minced chili, lots of cilantro.  This makes a fresh salsa, which is very delicious and very soupy.  Sometimes I like to let it sit for a while and let the salt draw out the juices.  Strain the juice into a sauce pan, set aside the fresh veggies.  Cook down the salsa juice until it’s nice and thick, remove from heat, stir the concentrated juice and veggies back together.  Good stuff.
  • Tomato salad.  Really this is whatever you want it to be, as long as there’s fresh tomatoes involved.  Here’s mine.  Slice some sweet onion, put it in a bowl, add plenty of salt and balsamic.  Now really squish up the onion/salt/vinegar with you hand, mashing the onion and the vinegar all together.  Lay some thick-sliced tomatoes out on a platter.  Spread the onions out over the tomatoes, and pour on any leftover juice.  Grate some Parmesan on there (use the large shred side of a box grater), or maybe feta or sliced fresh mozzarella.  Chopped fresh cilantro on top, and then plenty of  olive oil over every thing.  Serve with good toasted bread for soaking up the oil and tomato juice.

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Spring

Kind of a gray and rainy day today, but even so… what a difference a week makes!

Last week, it really seemed like all hope was lost, but things are looking up.  After a number of beautiful bright sunny windy days, we’ve gone from soupy mud to just plain wet mud around the barn.  The grass is greening up, and looks like it’s just about ready to start actually growing.  The cows are intent on getting that first bite of green in their small piece of winter pasture, to the extent that they even ignored a fresh round bale for a little while yesterday.  The peepers are peeping, and there’s just a hint of a yellow haze on the forsythia.  We’re still probably a solid two weeks behind, depending what the weather brings…. but at least now it seems possible that we might get out and do some tillage before the end of April.

Grilled Bratwurst
The secret to good grilled brats is to simmer them in beer first.  Simmering helps to seal the casing so that you don’t lose all the delicious juices in the coals.

Bring a couple of cans of beer to a boil in a medium saucepan and then reduce to a simmer.  Be careful when heating up the beer – it will want to boil over, so pay attention.  Drop your brats in the beer and simmer gently for 5 – 7 minutes.  Remove brats from saucepan and finish on grill with indirect heat – this should only take a few minutes.  Serve with sauerkraut and grilled onions.  Do the onions first, they take awhile on the grill.