Saturday, December 18, 2010

We Can't Forget These Little Helpers . . .

. . .getting the mice, rats and scaring the rabbits off.  Such sweet kitties.

Cooking With A Solar Oven

With all this sun we have in Arizona it's not hard to harvest the sun and cook with it.  A few years ago Michael and I invested in a Solar Oven and I've had success roasting chicken and beef, baking bread and making cookies in it.

Every chicken and beef came out moist.  Sun cooking maintains all the natural juices which you can use to make stock/broth for soups.

In all honesty, it's been awhile since I've used my sun oven and just writing this blog post makes me feel a bit guilty - I have no excuse.

The benefits are incredible - just think about harvesting the sun and its natural energies let alone lower your gas/electric bill.  Double dipping is what I call it.

Let's see . . . what should I cook in the sun oven?

Below is a little video I did awhile back . . .

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's Happening At The Farm Today

That desert rain was wonderful yesterday and it gave Michael and I bit of down time catch up time.  Yesterday we researched ideas for putting together a green house that could accommodate all the starts I've seeded.  As Michael can attest to, I sorta can get ahead of myself. I start planting things and then forget how we're going to water it.

Or, like the starts - with all this wonderful weather I thought it'd be just as wonderful to start some starts - heirloom tomatoes (can you tell I'm anxious for them?), basil, dill, and peppers . . .and now we need a green house type of thingy to house them through another few months. Oh, well.

Today, Michael finished the last of the two gates around The French Garden. Looks nice if I say so myself.  I'm working on an area that I noticed quite a few gourmet lettuces popping up - in spots and in pathways we didn't seed them.  So, I'm in the process of expanding that area to accommodate the lettuces and I have seeded some lovage, mammoth sunflowers, garlic chives, nasturtium and for fun I tossed in a few Italian Pole Bean seeds next to the sunflowers (even though it's not quite the season for them).

. . . and, that's what's happening today! Hope you have a great weekend and that you plan to come to the farm this Tuesday.'s our market day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chef Gwen Interviews The Simple Farm Farmers

For awhile, I've followed Chef Gwen via twitter and periodically I lurk around her blog Pen and Fork.  Well, yesterday I received a message from her saying that she wanted to come and interview us and do a blog post about the farm. Seriously? How cool is that!

Chef Gwen's photo.

So, Gwen popped in around 4:30 on Tuesday and I am sure I talked her ear off as she followed me around.  You can read the scoop, news and nibbles here.  And, while you're reading all about us and more - do leave a nice comment for Gwen and snoop around her blog - it's amazing!

French Sorrel Soup - A Classic French Dish

I am crazy about French Sorrel. It's a wonderful herb with a lemony-taste and I love to watch the different reactions when I offer a little sampling from one of the several French Sorrel plants around our farm. 
Sorrel is a perennial herb that has been used in France in an assortment of dishes for years. I think it's a "must have" in the garden.
Here's a recipe to try (quoted directly from here) but there are lots of different variations, give it a try and let me know how you like it!
Sorrel "melts" down into a sauce after a few minutes of cooking, be sure to start with two or more bunches from your local farmers market.
Wash the leaves, and de-rib them if they are large to elimate any stringiness. This is easy to do -- simply hold a leaf, folded lengthwise, in one hand and pull of the stem and center rib with the other.
The recipe below is adapted from the classic French sorrel soup found in cookbooks by the likes of Julia Child and Patricia Wells. The more cream and potato you add, the milder the sorrel taste will be. 
This soup is also excellent cold, with some plain yogurt swirled into it.
 Sorrel Soup
2 bunches (about a pound) fresh sorrel
6 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound potatoes, cubed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
1. Wash the sorrel and de-rib the leaves if necessary. Put it in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sorrel has melted into a purée and nearly all of its liquid has evaporated.
2. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over low heat until the potatoes are cooked through — about fifteen minutes. If you prefer a creamy rather than a chunky soup, put the soup into a blender or food processor and then return to the saucepan.
3. Combine the eggs and crème fraiche in a warmed serving bowl. Mix until well blended. Add a ladle of the potato and sorrel mixture and blend well. Pour in remaining potato and sorrel mixture and serve immediately. Makes six to eight servings.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A New Farm Market Go-Er Picks Her Own Herbs

Can you name these herbs?

A new face showed up at the farm this morning with her little guy. After giving them a little tour and offering a sampling of our gourmet herbs she took one of our silver plates, a pair of scissors and headed to a few herb garden spots to snip her own fresh herbs.  Now, how cool is that?