Three Zucchini Recipes from your Colorado Springs Neighbors

It’s a ZUCCHINI INFESTATION!

Ok, not really. Some readers noted that I complained about not growing any zucchini and two weeks later complained of a Zucchini Attack!

My own zucchini patch is having trouble attracting bugs to take care of the fertilization and I am too shy to do it myself. I didn’t get that much produce out of it.

However, even without a prolific zucchini patch of my own, we still have tons of zucchini in the kitchen from Ahavah Farm. I wrote about it in the last Hungry Chicken Homestead newsletter and several readers were kind enough to send me recipes to help us conquer this vegetable.

Zucchini Pizza (From Dani Coke)

Ingredients:

Zucchini
Pizza Sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings of your choice

Slice the zucchini and put on a baking sheet. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake (From Lois Pratt)

Lois is a local nutritional therapist with Healthy Determination and she graciously sent me an actual recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Cake! Here it is…

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup organic cocoa
1 cup grated zucchini
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and pour into a buttered 6X8 cake pan. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Zucchini Cobbler (Jessica at Frog on a Limb)

Not enough? I’ve got one more. I stopped in to visit with Jessica, co-owner of Frog on a Limb, in Monument and she suggested this zucchini cobbler recipe. Zucchini cobbler? I thought she was kidding, but it’s a real thing.

Let me know if you try any of these. We like our zucchini noodles with meat sauce here on the Homestead, but I think I could convince everyone to try something new.

Especially if it’s dessert!

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copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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CSA Vegetable Recipe:Turnip and Mustard Green Salad with Kohlrabi

“What am I going to make with these weird CSA vegetables?”, I thought to myself last week.

Weird CSA Vegetables like turnip greens

Turnips! Great! Turnip greens! What will I do with them?

We had gotten more turnips, which is just fine with me. I have a great recipe for pickled turnips. But I know turnip greens are edible and didn’t want to waste them. We had also gotten a bunch of spicy mustard greens that I don’t like when they are raw.

Another weird CSA Vegetable... kohlrabi

And let’s not forget the odd kohlrabi. What do we do with that??

Longtime readers know that I really only have one or two recipes that I just repeat with new vegetables. I had been thinking it was time to find something new and had a some new ingredients on hand, mainly sesame oil and soy sauce. I thought these might be good if I cooked the greens down and grated some root vegetables in it.

And that’s what I did. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

A bunch of turnip greens, washed and torn into pieces
A bunch of mustard greens, washed and torn into pieces
1 kohlrabi, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
1 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Mix the greens together in a bowl and wilt them. You can wilt them by putting them in a pot on the stove and stirring them up until they shrink down or you can do what I did.

It’s too hot in my kitchen to turn the stove on, so I put them in a glass bowl with a 1/4 cup of water and microwaved them until they wilted. Microwave on three-quarters power (7 on my microwave) for two minutes, stir, and then do it again. Repeat until the greens are wilted.

Squeeze the water out of the greens. You can just squeeze them with your hands or roll them in a towel.

Mix all of the vegetables together. Add the sesame seeds and the soy sauce and stir until the vegetables are coated. Add the sesame oil and stir again. You can add more soy sauce and sesame oil if needed.

Chill & serve.

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copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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Easy Fermented Pickled Zucchini Recipe

Is it time for pickled zucchini already? It’s only July.

I’ve gotten four zucchini in my farm share in the last two weeks. I don’t know how they accomplished this, though it probably has something to do with the monster-sized hoop houses. However they grew this vegetable, I needed a way to use it.

Zucchini pickles are surprisingly good.

Zucchini pickles are surprisingly good.

I have two go-to recipes for summer squash of all kinds.

  1. Spiralize and freeze for winter
  2. Ferment it

There is a good reason for this. Zucchini season is TOO HOT TO COOK!

This is Colorado Springs, the high desert, a place where it is 90 degrees during the day, but the overnight low is 59. We don’t have air conditioning because the big attic fan uses 1/3rd of the electricity by using the free cool air outside at midnight. Corporations build data centers here because the outdoor air is as dry as air conditioned air, just without the massive electric bill.

All you have to do to reap these savings is find a way not to melt into a puddle of sweaty misery between the hours of noon and 10PM. That makes it a long, long day if I turn on the stove and heat up the kitchen.

So what do we do? We preserve these vegetables by fermenting them.

So what do we do? We preserve these vegetables by fermenting them.

Fermenting zucchini is quick and easy, especially if you only do a few at a time. This particular recipe is a “half-sour” pickle recipe, which is done in a few days. Use a saltier brine if you want to make them last longer.

Fermented Pickled Zucchini

Ingredients

4 or maybe 5 fresh zucchini
Canning or Sea Salt
Filtered Water

Wash and chop the zucchini. You can cut them into any size or shape, just make sure they are all about the same size.

Put them in a jar or any glass container.

Mix up a brine of 4 cups of filtered water + 2 tablespoons of canning or sea salt. This is approximately a 3.5% salt solution. ** Do not use table salt. Table salt has other stuff in it that you don’t necessarily want in your pickles.

Pour the brine over the zucchini and weigh down the vegetables so they stay under the brine. I like to use a clean plastic sandwich bag filled with brine, but people use all kinds of things, from commercial weights meant for pickling in jars to clean rocks.

It’s safe to taste these pickles every day. Refrigerate them when you feel they are done. They should taste a little sour and a little salty.

Want to learn more about fermenting? Hold a Homesteading party where we make pickles with your friends!
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copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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A Beet Recipe and a Turnip Recipe for Your Spring Farm Share

Did you get beets in your CSA share this week? How about turnips?

Ahavah CSA Week 1

A CSA share in June includes lots and lots of greens.

Are you prepared with beet recipes?

I got beets and turnips in my Ahavah Farm share this past week. These vegetables are nutritious, but also mysterious.

What can we do with them, especially in the heat of June when wild horses couldn’t make us turn on the oven?

Beets can be prepared in a variety of ways.

  • Baked
  • Grated
  • Fermented

They are delicious baked and diced into a salad, particularly if it has goat chevre in it, but with the oven out of the question I decided to grate them into a carrot salad. They have a slightly sweet, earthy taste, which is tasty with the lighter carrots and some vinegar or lemon juice.

Beets are more versatile than you think!

Beets are more versatile than you think!

 

I regret to say I forgot to take a picture of this pretty salad before we devoured it.

Beet Carrot Salad

How many people does this serve? In my case it served four, but one member of the household would have eaten it all if I had allowed it. Another has an unreasonable prejudice against beets and barely touched it.

Ingredients:

5 small to medium beets
5 medium to large carrots
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (whole)

Grate the beets and the carrots. Mix them together.

Put the cumin seed in a skillet and toast on medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until you can smell them.

Mix the vinegar, oil and salt well. A whisk works well. You’re trying to create an emulsion, where the ingredients appear to be blended (even though oil and vinegar never really mix).

Mix the dressing and the cumin seed with the vegetables. You don’t have to use all of the dressing. Just mix to taste and store the rest.

Serve on top of a bed of local farm lettuce!

CFAM Turnips

Now, on to those turnips!

I’ve been trying to make a good pickled turnip for years, but had been making two mistakes.

  • They should be fermented, not pickled with vinegar
  • I was actually pickling watermelon radishes, which bear an uncanny visual resemblance to turnips

I think I’ve got these problems straightened out now. My fermented turnips taste like … well, pickled turnips.

Fermented Pickled Turnips

Ingredients:

a bunch of turnips
two small beets or one large one
canning salt
filtered water

Once you’ve confirmed that your turnips are really turnips, wash and peel them. Cut them into slices or sticks. The only requirement is that they are all about the same size.

Wash the beet(s) and cut into pieces. I never peel mine, but it won’t hurt if you do.

Put them all together in a jar large enough to leave at least an inch of headspace.

Make a 12.5% brine. That’s two tablespoons of salt for every two cups of water. You’ll need enough brine to cover the vegetables.

Weigh the vegetables down so they stay under the brine. I like to fill a clean plastic bag with water and set it on the vegetables. It molds to the shape of the jar and holds out the air. You can also wedge big pieces of vegetable into the jar at the top so they stay stuck and hold everything else down. I’ve even heard of people using clean stones, but you’ll have to scrub and boil them first.

Leave the vegetables at room temperature. 12.5% is a pretty strong brine and it may take up to two weeks for the turnips to pickle all the way through. It’s perfectly safe to taste them at any time. Just remember my fermentation rule: If it’s moldy, slimy or smells bad then throw it out.

PIckled Turnip Recipe

It’s nearly impossible to get a good picture of them, but they’re delicious anyway.

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copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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Recipe: Making salad from edible weeds in Colorado

Dear Reader, I am not telling you to eat the edible weeds in your Colorado backyard. You’ll need an expert to do that and I’m not an edible plant expert. I’m just telling you what I did with the edible weeds in MY Colorado backyard.

mallow

What do we eat around here in the early spring, before the garden plants come up and the CSA share starts?

Weeds. We like the weeds because they come up on their own way before anything else starts to grow.

I had Earth’s Green Gifts plant a clean garden of plants that grow by the roadside about three years ago and it’s flourishing. These “clean weeds” were started from plants the EGG naturalist gathered very carefully. You can’t just eat the weeds along the side of the road because you don’t know what they’ve been sprayed with, but here on the Homestead we have plants grown specifically for lunch.

This popular catnip plant shot up next to some volunteer impatiens.

This popular catnip plant shot up next to some volunteer impatiens.

Some of the plants are popular with the humans and some with the cats.

We dry the catnip at the end of the season and spread it on a towel for a treat on snowy days.

We dry the catnip at the end of the season and spread it on a towel for a treat on snowy days.

We didn’t really start eating these edible weeds (except the catnip) until this year when, in a desperate bid for fresh vegetables, I harvested some dock.

Curly dock became the new ingredient of choice.

Curly dock became the new ingredient of choice.

Curly dock grows all over the place and a little research turned up the useful tip that the newest leaves taste pretty good. I harvested a few to bulk up a salad of spring kale from Ahavah Farm and we ate the following recipe for dinner!

Kale and Dock Salad

Salad

4 cups loosely packed kale, washed
1 cup loosely packed young dock leaves, washed
1/2 cup homemade chevre

Dressing

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup olive oil

Mix the greens together. Mix lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt thoroughly. Add olive oil to the dressing and mix well. Add dressing to taste. You probably won’t need it all, so save it for another time. Scatter bits of the chevre on the salad and serve.

Minestrone Soup in the Crock Pot

I went to the grocery store this morning to buy dry kidney beans for a batch of minestrone soup.

They don’t carry dry kidney beans.  Can you believe it?

We complain like crazy about the price of food, but it seems to me the real culprit is that nobody cooks anymore.  I set out to make a pot of soup for the same price as the $3, single serving can of minestrone soup I bought one night when I was in a hurry.  Let’s see what happened.

IMG_2307

Ingredients:

1 cup dry kidney beans ($.25)
1 cup orzo ($.33)
5 carrots ($2)
1 onion ($.60)
2 potatoes ($.60)
1 big clove of garlic (free from my garden)
1 quart of canned tomatoes (Home canned, $.50)
1 bay leaf (free from my garden)
1 teaspoon basil ($.10)
1 teaspoon oregano ($.10)
1 tablespoon olive oil ($.36)
1 teaspoon salt (already in my kitchen)

1. Rinse & soak the dried kidney beans overnight. You may have to go to a specialty store, like Mountain Mama Natural Foods​ here in Colorado Springs, to get them.

2. Optional: Drain the beans and sprout them for two days. This step is optional, but makes them easier to digest. Just rinse them out twice a day and leave them to digest themselves a little.  They are done when you see little tails on some of the beans.

3.  Put the beans, tomatoes, diced carrots, diced onion, diced potato and diced garlic in the crockpot with the bay leaf and a teaspoon of salt. Add about a quart of water.  Cook this on high for 8 hours or until the beans are soft. (Note: If you want really soft beans and live at altitude, try pressure cooking them first).

4.  Add the orzo, olive oil, basil and oregano when you get home. Remove the bay leaf. Cook for another 30 minutes.

5.  Serve.  The recipe makes about five hearty servings.

The total cost of the entire pot?  $3.04.  Now, granted, I spent a little less because I had some of the ingredients around and this doesn’t take into account the cost of my labor, gardening supplies or energy to can; but even if you bought a can of tomatoes and some garlic, it’s still a lot cheaper than $15 to feed five people ($30 if they’re really hungry!).

By the way, I made this recipe by finding the ingredients listed on the back of the soup can.  It also listed peas and celery, but some members of the Homestead household have allergies (and some don’t like celery).

The moral of the story is this: A little time, a little know-how and the ingredients on the back of the can go a long way…

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2015

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A Recipe: Corn and Tomato Salad

Is raw corn supposed to be edible?  I have no idea, but when corn shows up in the CSA share, that’s how I eat it.  I like it raw.  It’s crunchy and sweet and I don’t burn my fingers.

These pretty vegetables came in my Arkansas Valley Organic Growers (AVOG) box last week.

They're delicious AND they make a nice picture.

They’re delicious AND they make a nice picture.

I’d like to tell you something about corn.  Notice how in the picture one end is cut off of each ear.  That’s because organic corn gets something called earworm pretty often.  It’s also referred to as tipworm.  These are moths and the little worms you sometimes find are moths-to-be.  They eat the tip of the corn and turn it into mush.  I remember my mother searching through corn in the grocery store to check for this and discarding any ear that had bugs.  Since then, better pesticides have made it possible to sell corn without earworm, but if you’re reading this blog then you’re probably not a big fan of poisonous chemicals on your food.

Beki from AVOG says, “The worm in your corn is your organic certification”.  That’s exactly right!

The earworms won’t hurt you and frankly, I view them as a free chicken treat.  Just cut off the mushy end, wash your corn and it’s like the bugs were never there.

Anyway, on with our recipe!  My CSA box also came with some sorrel.  I forgot to take a picture and the sorrel is gone now, but I can describe it.  It’s a long leaf that tastes like lemon.  Sorrel is one of my favorites.  You can grow it easily in your backyard too.

I took these three ingredients and made up the following recipe!

Ingredients:

2 ears of corn, husked, tipworm damage removed and washed
10 small tomatoes or one big one, washed and cored
a handful of sorrel leaves, washed and stems removed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and the sorrel into strips.  Cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife.  You can do this by standing it on its cut end and cutting down in rows.  Watch your fingers!

Mix all ingredients together with as much or as little salt as you like.  You can add pepper too, if you like that sort of thing (can you tell I don’t like pepper?).

Serve and eat!  No burnt fingers!

Colorado Springs Local Farm Hungry Chicken Homestead Corn and Tomato Salad

 

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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Recipe: Gluten Free Plum “Clafouti” Cake

It’s really nothing like the cherry clafouti recipe I found on the Martha Stewart Seasonal Cooking website.

But, like so many things, it gave me ideas.

But, like so many things, it gave me ideas.

I’ve got a whole lot of plums in my refrigerator right now.  Maybe you have the same problem.  I ordered an Austin Family Farms Fruit Share this year and even though I gorge myself on fruit every day, I still have more in the refrigerator.

Ok, yes … I’ve had worse problems.  But still, I don’t want to waste the fruit and I went looking for recipes.

A “clafouti” is a kind of French custard pie.  The custard is poured over cherries and baked.  I liked this idea for two reasons:

  1. I could put my surplus fruit in it.
  2. I could use a lot of eggs.  I had 26 at last count and the chickens are out there making more right now.

The only problem was I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making custard.  Luckily, I remembered a really good gluten free pumpkin muffin recipe from Mark Sisson’s book, the Primal Blueprint Cookbook and thought I could try using the same base.

Want to know what I came up with?  Here it is, but remember, you can modify it as you see fit.  As always, I made this recipe up!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs
10 plums

Chop up five plums.  Squish them around with your fingers into a kind of lumpy puree and then measure out half a cup, making up any shortage with the juice.  (You can puree them with a loud machine if you want.  I just don’t like loud noises or extra dishes).

Mix the coconut flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together in a big bowl.  Mix the coconut oil, maple syrup and eggs in a separate bowl.  Then mix them together.

(Honestly, I’m too lazy to use two bowls.  I mixed the liquid ingredients right in with the dry ingredients and it worked fine).

Mix well and pour the batter into a parchment paper lined pan.  A 9 inch pie pan would work.

Slice the rest of the plums and lay them on top of the batter.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until the batter in the middle is just set.  If you let it get solid in the middle, the outer edges will get dry and burn.  I don’t know how long that takes because I cooked mine on the grill, with one burner at medium and the other side on low.  The cake baked on the low side for about 40 minutes while I weeded the garden.

Cool and serve.

 

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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Kale Salad with Nutritional Yeast

I’m suddenly addicted to kale salad.  It’s the nutritional yeast’s fault.  This has happened before with recipes made with nutritional yeast.

I got this recipe by being in the right place at the right time.  I was chatting with Arlene of Blue Skies Organic Vegetables when a paramedic came by.  Nothing was wrong with anyone, he just wanted to buy some kale.

“I make it into a salad by massaging nutritional yeast and some other ingredients into it,” he said.

This gave me ideas.  I came home, picked some kale out of the garden and gave it a try, landing on the recipe below.  If you have little kids, get them to wash their hands because they are going to like this…

Colorado Springs Local Farm AVOG Kale

Ingredients:

(Remember, I made this up and you can change the proportions.  Add more or less of anything you like.)

a bunch of kale
a tablespoon of olive oil
a tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Get those little kids to mix everything with their hands, squishing the kale as they go.  That softens the kale and helps the rest of the ingredients get into the curls (if it’s curly kale).  Make sure everything is evenly mixed and serve!

Colorado Springs Local Farm Hungry Chicken Homestead kale salad nutritional yeast

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© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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Hungry Chicken Homestead Recipe: Slaw in a Jar

Picture this:  It’s Thursday.  You’ve gone on a buying spree at the farmers’ market on Wednesday and the refrigerator is full of fresh, locally grown vegetables.  Suddenly, you remember that you pick up your CSA share on Friday and more vegetables will be coming into the house!  Oh no!  What will we do to make room?

I don't know what you would do, but I would make up a recipe.

I don’t know what you would do, but I would make up a recipe.

This very scenario occurred last week on the Homestead and I had to make up a recipe fast.  It had to be something I would eat, that wouldn’t take up much room in the refrigerator and that used the following:

  • a kohlrabi
  • a bunch of small beets
  • a bunch carrots
  • two small cabbages
  • Optionally, it could be something that is good topped with Colorado goat feta.
I had some garlic infused olive oil and some garlic scapes handy too.

I had some garlic infused olive oil and some garlic scapes handy too.

In my panic, I remembered to be inspired by the Flying Carrot.  They had made a lovely slaw to go with their quinoa patties the week I interviewed them.

I pulled out a funny little machine called a Spiralizer.

I pulled out a funny little machine called a Spiralizer.

There is a story behind this Spiralizer thing.  My mother sent it to me back in December.  She has one and has been enjoying making vegetable noodles with it.  Every week, we had this conversation:

Mom:  “Did you use the Spiralizer?”

Me:  “Not yet.  Wait until summer.”

Sure enough, the conversation changed as soon as zucchini season began.

Me:  “That Spiralizer thing is great!  I made six pounds of zucchini noodles this week and froze them!”

Mom: “Why do you have so much zucchini?”

Why DO I have so much zucchini?  That’s a topic for another post.

I spiralized all the crunchy vegetables.  These beets are raw and unpeeled.  Who knew we can eat raw beets?

I spiralized all the crunchy vegetables. These beets are raw and unpeeled. Who knew we can eat raw beets?

Once the vegetables were in pieces, I chopped up two garlic scapes and added them to the mix.

Now ... how would I pickle it?

Now … how would I pickle it?

I mulled over the best way to make the slaw tart and soften the vegetables.  Do you remember the fermented pickle recipe?  It’s water, vinegar and salt.  The proportions are important when you’re fermenting vegetables since you need the salt and vinegar to suppress bacterial growth until the fermentation is far enough along to handle it.  I didn’t ferment this slaw, but the basic principle applied.  I could put water, vinegar and salt into a jar, along with the vegetables.  The salt draws more water out of the vegetables and allows the flavors to seep in.

A day later, the slaw tasted tart and the flavors had melded nicely.

A day later, the flavors had melded nicely.

Slaw in a Jar

(Note:  Remember, I’ve made this recipe up.  You can use more or less of anything or add vegetables and spices.  There is nothing sacred about my cooking.)

1 medium kohlrabi
4 medium carrots
5 medium beets
2 garlic scapes
2 cups shredded cabbage

Shred, chop or spiral cut the vegetables into small pieces.  Mix together.  Stuff into two quart jars or one half gallon jar.

Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar,  1 tablespoon of salt and 1.5 cups of water.  Stir until the salt is dissolved and pour it over the vegetables.  It should come to about the halfway point in the jars.  Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and shake it gently every few hours.  The vegetables will relax a little as it marinates and the water they release will bring the liquid up higher.

Mix in a little garlic infused olive oil and serve with goat feta!

***

© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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