East Sac Edible


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From Garden To Table: Bowl of Croutons and a side of Kale Caesar Salad

DSC_0702Right now I don’t have much to harvest in my garden other than kale. As my garden is in transition, I have to settle putting kale into everything which I don’t mind one bit. A couple of weekends ago we spent a beautiful day out in Point Reyes with some friends and picked up some Mt. Tam cheese, bread, olives and a kale salad from Cowgirl Creamery for a picnic. The kale salad was delicious, packed with cheesy goodness and I decided to recreate it for my lunch today.

My motto is that salad is basically an excuse to eat croutons. An all kale salad can be hard to pull off so dressing and extras are a must… and croutons are those extras…

DSC_0695I harvested about 100 grams of kale, which I thought looked like a pretty big bounty for one personal salad but I always forgot that the kale really reduces in size when you massage it with oil and lemon juice (an absolute must for a good kale salad). After washing the kale (aphids are always hiding in the folds), I cut out the ribs and chopped it up a bit. I put a drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice over the kale and gave it a good massage for a few minutes. Recently I have been having all kale salads in restaurants around Sacramento and it horrifies me that they don’t massage the kale! Eating a bowl of unmassaged kale is really hard to handle… not even croutons can help. DSC_0696

DSC_0706For the dressing, I whirled 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of full-fat greek yogurt, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, the juice of half a lemon, a dab of mustard, a squirt of red wine vinegar, a shake of salt and a few grinds of pepper in my food processor. I added about a tablespoon of olive oil while whirling. I put the dressing into a jar and put it in the fridge. This made about a jam jar of dressing so I envision many more meals of Caesar salad in my future.DSC_0697

Croutons were made with day old bread on low heat with a drizzle of olive oil and shake of salt.

So in my defense, I had two little toddlers eyeing my salad and I knew I was going to have to share so I made double croutons… but my bowl of salad really was more of a bowl of croutons with a side of kale. I added a few shaves of parmesan to the top.

DSC_0701 DSC_0703Did I mention I like croutons?

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September 2014 Harvest Tally

Happy October! October is one of my favorite months. Since October is here I can add up how much I harvested in September.

DSC_2916My total poundage for September (2014) is 53.70 pounds.

My total poundage September (2013) was 78.4 pounds.

So far I have harvested 283 pounds of food off of my property in 2014. This number is definitely not going to get me to my 500 pound goal but I am not going to stop trying. I still have lots to harvest and I love being able to go into my garden 10 minutes before dinner, grab a bunch of veggies and cook a healthy meal. Also our 6 fruit trees have not produced much of anything the past two years (this is their second year in the ground) so I think next year if the fruit trees kick in a bit it will be very easy to get to my 500 pound goal.

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Lemon flower

Lemon flower

One of my most impressive harvests has been kale. I pick kale almost every other day and add it to almost any meal (stir fry, miso soup, pizza, salads, pastas etc). I started being able to harvest kale in March and it has been a steady supply ever since. Kale is great because it only gets better with the cold weather so it almost is a year round crop here for me. This year I have harvested 14 pounds of kale which I guess doesn’t sound like a lot but every harvest I only grab a handful of leaves so each 45 gram harvest really adds up over time. Also kale doesn’t weigh that much! It is really nice to have a dependable crop since a lot of my other crops have not been as dependable this year.

This year I have planted 3 very different varieties of kale: Red Russian, Lacinato and Blue Dwarf (left to right).DSC_2924

 

Hope everyone is enjoying the weather!


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Seed Saving: Lacinato Kale Part 2

I went into the garden this evening to do a few things here and there… add a bucket of compost in some of the beds here… train up my cucumber on the trellis over there. Sometimes there are things in the garden that you just keep putting off. You really should get to it but you just can’t get around to it. Well awhile ago I posted about saving my Lacinato Kale seed but the thing is I only did a little seed saving and I left the monster plant with thousands of seeds in the garden. The other day when I was in the garden I noticed small seeds all over my path so I knew I needed to tackle the rest of this task. Well today was the day and after an hour in the garden the monster is gone! DSC_1658 DSC_1660

First I started by pulling up the plant. Then I cut smaller branches off so it would fit into a 5 gallon bucket. In the bucket I scrunched up the seed pods with my hands, releasing the seeds into the bottom of the bucket. I took the bigger pieces of seed pods and put those into the compost. Then I grabbed a small pan and my compost sifter. DSC_1661

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The first pass through the compost sifter really helped separate the bigger remnants of the seed pods but the holes in the compost sifter were still too large. I passed the seeds through the compost sifter one more time before using a mesh with smaller holes. I then folded my mesh in half to make even smaller holes for the seeds to pass. I hope I can make some screens in the future to help me with the winnowing process! DSC_1665 DSC_1667 DSC_1668 DSC_1669

Almost all the bigger pieces were sifted out of the seeds. The rest of the debris I separated by a combination of blowing, using a fan and gravity to separate the seeds and chaff. We don’t have electric fan which would have made this job much easier so we used the low tech method. DSC_1671 DSC_1672

I wasn’t able to get all of the debris away from the seeds but it still was pretty good. Look at how many seeds I saved! That is a half pint jam jar almost full of seeds! I have so many that I will have to give a lot away! DSC_1677 DSC_1680