Farm To Table

June 11, 2010

With only a a little more than a week left to go before the Summer Solstice, it feels so nice to spend every morning out in the garden weeding, watching and harvesting the first of the veggies to be appearing.

This summer I wanted to spend some real time with the boys exploring the process of how our food goes from the farm to the table. Jacob is attending a week long day camp beginning on the Solstice that has the children working on every aspect an organic farm, and culminates with them preparing a meal for their families and friends with everything that they have harvested, milked, etc.

Since the boys and I spend so much time cooking every day, I thought that it would be fun to bring the farm to table experience to our own kitchen now. We worked together to plant the foods that we felt that we all would like to eat, and the boys are coming up with one dish that includes something in our garden for every meal. It is fun to see them decide how they can use what we grow.

I love talking food and sharing family favorite recipes. Being a family who has so many food restrictions, there is something special about sharing the things that we have found that we enjoy, and the ways that the foods that we eat are helping to create family traditions that I hope get passed on for many generations to come.

Since Summer weekends are made for enjoying good food, friends and family, Fridays seem like the perfect day to share some recipes that we are enjoying using fruits and vegetables from our garden, the farmer’s market, and the local CSA. So, today begins a new series here, Farm To Table. I will post recipes that we have enjoyed in the week, and ways that we are learning to become a little bit more self-sufficient using that small amount of land that we have to grow and eat from.

If nothing else, at least it will produce a great collection of recipes for me to look back on.


Watermelon, Feta, Mint and Arugula Salad

Arugula is coming up heavy this year, and it is one of my favorite greens to enjoy in salads, with fish, and even in smoothies. When I was about 16, my Aunt Missy introduced me to the incredible combination of watermelon and feta cheese, and it has been a staple of my summer meals ever since. Last night, the boys pulled some arugula and Kentucky Colonel mint from the garden, and we sliced up watermelon and chunks of feta, and topped it with homemade poppy seed dressing to enjoy a light summer salad.

While berries are not something that we here in Colorado can find in abundance in our gardens or farmers markets (I did plant a raspberry and blackberry bush in my backyard, fingers crossed, and the strawberry plants seem to be producing some small fruit this year), when the berry season arrives we still take full advantage of it.

We had some extra mint that the boys grabbed yesterday for our salad, and sliced berries in the fridge, so we took our favorite shortbread recipe, and some mascarpone and honey, and whipped up dessert.

Gluten Free Berry and Shortbread Tart

One recipe for gluten free shortbread
3 cups of sliced, fresh berries
mascarpone
3 tbsp honey
fresh mint

Prepare the shortbread dough, but do not refrigerate. Press the dough into the bottom of an 8″ spring form pan, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely.

Allow the mascarpone to come to room temperature, and soften. Combine with the honey. Finely chop one leaf of mint, and fold into the mascarpone. Spread on top of the shortbread, and top with fresh berries. Place a sprig of mint on top and enjoy!

Winters are so long here, and it feels amazing to have our hands in the dirt, and our veggies in the kitchen. I want to find ways to grow as many of our vegetables as we can, and to savor every moment of this growing season.

So tell me, what are you growing this season?

Thank you to everyone for your well wishes on my hand. I have kept it pretty stable for the past week, and now I am learning how to do everything I love with nine fingers.

I will be back here on Sunday for Sunday Serenity, (how have I been away from that for so long?) and a litte yin yoga.

See you then

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

agambroult June 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

excited for this series! Berries and mint is a heavenly combination. Watermelon and feta? sounds spectacular!

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eliz~ so wabi sabi June 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

The berry tart looks really heavenly. So sorry to hear about your hand, Heather. I hope it heals quickly without the need for surgery. blessings~ elizabeth

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Andrea June 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Yummy! Can't wait to try that salad. We had TONS of arugala last year…not sure if we're growing any at all this year (my husband does most of the gardening). So far we've had radishes and radish greens and lots of spinach and herbs from our gardens.

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Ariana June 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Sounds delicious! Would you be willing to share your recipe for homemade poppy seed dressing? There is a bottled type I love, but it would be awesome to make it myself.

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samthehamsmom June 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm

WOW, that tart looks amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YUM!!!!!!!! I am not growing any veggies, or fruits, but I am trying to get some Glads to grow. Hopefully they will come up. I am also hoping to mooch off of Jules and Frans amazing garden goodies. Great pictures Heather, as always!

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perches June 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Yummmmmmm for berry tarts! Yours looks amazing and so easy. Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

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Its_Lily June 11, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Heather – I experienced the watermelon, Feta, mint salad a little while ago during one of our Friends Who Cook nights when the menu was Greek food. Isn't it amazing? I never would have thought to combine those ingredients, but you get that yummy salty sweet mix. I'll try it with the Arugula next. That adds a bit of spice to it right?

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Shivayamama June 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Lily, I LOVE this salad. The salt of the feta just sends it over the top. This was my first time trying it with mint, but I figured that I had enjoyed many a watermelon and mint salad, so it couldn't hurt :). The arugula does add that peppery bite, with out getting in the way like so many lettuces do. Let me know what you think.
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Julie June 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I'm also looking forward to the rest of this series. And what a wonderful thing to share with your children!

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natalie t June 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

That tart looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing it with us. Have a lovely, summery weekend:)

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Anna June 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

That day camp sounds amazing. I can't wait to hear how it turns out. I love gardening with my children, but they are less inclined to help with cooking. We have a few kinds of lettuce coming up now, then we're growing broccoli, beets, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, butternut squash, summer squash, watermelon and a few kinds of herbs. I can't wait for our raspberries and we're contemplating adding a bed for strawberries. Can you tell I like to garden?

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Nicola @ Which Name? June 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm

We were just having a discussion of a similar topic here!
Lucky Jacob on his day camp!
And someone just sent me a link to a similar salad! Yum.
Here is the post where I blogged about my garden: http://whichname.blogspot.com/2010/03/past-week-p
Arugula is always abundant in our yard. I have new seedling coming in now and am going to have Lala help me pop the pods on the ones that have gone to seed so we can seed collect for the next planting. Here is a really good arugula pesto recipe: http://whichname.blogspot.com/2009/12/edible-and-
(it is the same post that had the scrumptious toffee that caused Jacob so many sugar problems. I will always think of that when I make it now and I am thinking to make some for Lala's teachers!)
Nicola

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Shivayamama June 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Hi Ariana.

I have a poppy seed dressing from Briann's that I LOVE as well, but it isn't GF, so I had to try and make my own.

I have two recipes that I love for homemade poppy seed dressing

One is from the Pioneer Woman, and can be found here http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/… />
and then here is another recipe that I enjoy making a lot as well

Ingredients

* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon mustard powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup cider vinegar
* 1 onion, grated, juice reserved
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For a creamy version, I add about 3 tablespoons of mayo to the dressings. It makes it thicker and a little bit nicer for salads that contain fruit.

Enjoy!
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heirloomseasons June 12, 2010 at 3:37 am

I'm so excited for the the garden beauty and recipe goodness! We always have lots of greens growing, kale, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens. Grateful for our abundance of chives and super tall tree onions. Garlic we planted last fall. Some tomatoes from friends farm to transplant soon, just starting zucchini, excited about the beets. Excited about eating so much freshly grown food! Happy gardening to you!

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AdirondackMama June 12, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I love that tart…I need to make THAT tart.

YUM.

XO, Jules

PS, the garden looks awesome. You are leaps and bounds ahead of us.

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Audra June 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm

What a fun new series! We have beets growing that should be ready soon. Mostly we have weeds growing profusely in our little garden. If only this 37 week along belly would let me bend over I could get those pesky weeds! Hope your finger is feeling better.

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Paige June 13, 2010 at 3:12 am

Hmmm…I love watermelon and feta, but have never thought of putting them together in a salad. I 'll have to try it! Happy weekend to you and your's.

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becky nielsen June 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

YUMMEE! Never thought about that combo, either, but have some watermelon in the fridge right now. And will get the feta.

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clarice June 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I think it is soo important for children to go through the whole process of what it takes for them to enjoy, let’s say, a slice of bread. To grow the wheat, harvest it, grind it, make the dough and bake it. They will never look at bread the same again. There is now a connection and appreciation for what it took to make that slice of bread. I think we all need this kind of connection in what we eat. I know this is how I raised my girls and what I write about.

Sadly we were all pretty sick this spring, so I do not have a lot planted and the extra beds not built. But we have lots of herbs, lettuce, garlic, kale and some beets. Hopefully I will get a fall garden in. Clarice

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brooke June 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm

those recipes look wonderful! I will have to try them! Watermelon and feta? Hmmm… when I can eat cheese again, I will definitely give it a try! (Kellen is not liking dairy yet!) Love this series and well, all of your stuff! Thanks!

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Lisa Q June 14, 2010 at 9:12 pm

so glad your hand is recovering so well….keep taking care of yourself. Everything looks wonderful. I'll have to try tthe watermelon and feta salad, looks perfect for summer!

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kerry June 15, 2010 at 3:10 am

Oh I love this! I'm looking forward to the recipes! Sarah Jane (Minnesota:Madre) and I have just started up a little summer cooking blog featuring recipes that showcase our CSA produce. We're rolling it out later this week with a fun giveaway! We don't get arugula though so I will have to search it out at the Farmers' Market. I MUST make that salad!

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molly June 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I love the idea of feta, watermelon, mint and arugula, all co-mingling. I see this salad in our future…

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mindy bell July 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm

that looks so wonderful! I LOVE berry time!

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