Harvest Monday October 15, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Our weather went from summer to winter in just a few days time. On October 5th we had a high temperature of 91°F, and a week later on the 12th the low dipped down to 35°F. I found a little bit of frost on the grass that morning, but it wasn’t enough to hurt the garden.

frost on the grass

frost on the grass

The cool temps will slow everything down though. Which is not a bad thing, as the cool weather crops have been suffering in the heat. I even have delayed planting lettuce because it has just been too hot for it, though the seedlings are ready to go. We got the first heads of broccoli this week from Artwork. It’s a broccolini type, and the real attraction will be the side shoots that follow. Artwork is consistently earlier in my garden than Apollo, though I like both of them. My wife cut up these first two heads and roasted them in a cast iron skillet.

Artwork broccoli

Artwork broccoli

With cold weather in the forecast, I brought in more of the winter squash that are maturing on the vines. Here’s a collection of the Turkeyneck squashes which shows how prolific they have been. They average from 8 to 10 pounds each. They are basically big butternuts, and I’m letting them cure and age before we start eating any of them. We’ve been eating the delicatas and acorn squash first since they are not good keepers.

Turkeyneck squashes

Turkeyneck squashes

The biggest of the Turkeyneck squashes weighed in at 13 pounds. That will make a lot of pumpkin pie! We will use it for savory dishes too, and I will be giving some of them away to folks who aren’t afraid of a big squash. New cat Ally photobombed me one morning while I was getting this pic of the squash straight from the garden. This was before it turned cold and I was still working in shorts.

me and the big Turkeyneck squash

me and the big Turkeyneck squash

I cut another of the Rancho Marques winter squash. This one weighed in at 9.5 pounds. I still have one more giant one on the vines that I’m going to let grow a bit longer since it was late to set. It’s a land race moschata type from Native Seeds/Search.

Rancho Marques winter squash

Rancho Marques winter squash

I also got a decent harvest of ripe peppers before the big chill came. There’s enough of the Malawi Piquante peppers to make a quart jar of pickled peppers.

Malawi Piquante peppers

Malawi Piquante peppers

The sweet peppers are still ripening, at least they were before it turned cold. I got a mixture of Orange Blaze, P.A.S.S., Sweetie Pie and Criolla di Cocina. I chopped these up and froze them, since we still had plenty of other sweet ones from earlier harvests. The green one fell off accidentally so I chopped it up too.

sweet peppers

sweet peppers

And I got more sweet paprika peppers from the Dulce Rojo and Hungarian Magyar plants. It has been a good year for peppers here, which is making up for a poor showing last year.

sweet paprika and jalapeno peppers

sweet paprika and jalapeno peppers

I smoked most of these, along with a few green jalapenos I found. I smoke them on a charcoal grill using indirect heat, so I only fill half of the grill so I can keep the peppers away from the fire. After smoking I dehydrated them.

peppers ready for smoking

peppers ready for smoking

Still in the pepper department, I got a couple of ripe Mad Hatter peppers. These baccatum peppers are a 2017 AAS Winner, and they have such a sweet and mild taste I’ve been eating a lot of them raw, much like you would an apple. The heat seems to be concentrated around the seeds, so if you avoid them you can avoid the heat. I want to try pickling a few of them too.

Mad Hatter peppers

Mad Hatter peppers

I finished digging the sweet potatoes last week. And I did it just in time before frosty weather got here too. 51 hills made a total of 118 pounds of tubers, which is way more than we can eat. I planted several test varieties, and next year I will reduce the plantings to around 30 hills. That should keep us well supplied. One new one I grew is an orange fleshed one called Ginseng, and it was the third best producer for me, behind Bonita and Murasaki which both have white flesh. It’s my first year growing Murasaki too, and it made a great showing. The real test will come when we get our first taste in a few weeks, after they’ve cured. I’ll wait until tasting time to do a full review of them.

Ginseng sweet potato

Ginseng sweet potato

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. There are no rules or regulations, and wonky veggies are always as welcome as the prize winners. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!

 


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Rye and Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

I love rye bread, and this is my go-to recipe when I want a rye bread for sandwiches. It’s my own creation and based on my Light Rye Sandwich Loaf which I adapted from a recipe at King Arthur Flour. I have tweaked my recipe over the last few years, increasing the amount of whole grains and making it dairy-free and vegan. It now has 33% rye flour and 33% whole wheat flour, which makes it a bit more nutritious than the original recipe. It still has molasses for color and flavor, but I replaced the butter with vegetable oil and got rid of the powdered milk.

Rye and Whole Sandwich Loaf

Rye and Whole Sandwich Loaf

The addition of more whole wheat flour makes for a sturdy bread that stands up well to a variety of toppings. We often use it here for meatless reuben sandwiches, and I also like to use it to make a spicier version I call a kim-cheese sandwich (kimchi and cheddar cheese). We spread the slices with a little butter or ghee, assemble the sandwich, and toast it in a skillet until golden brown. It also makes a good base for tuna salad or BBQ.

grilled kimcheese (kimchi and cheese) sandwich

grilled kimcheese (kimchi and cheese) sandwich

Rye flour can be notoriously sticky to work with, but I use the dough cycle of my bread machine to do the work of kneading and the first rise. Then I form the dough into a rectangle and proof in a greased 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan. The dough typically takes 60 to 90 minutes to rise, depending on the room temperature, and is ready for the oven when it has risen 1″ over the rim of the loaf pan.

dough rising

dough rising

Be sure and let the dough rise high enough before baking to avoid the bread splitting when it expands in the oven. And let the finished bread cool thoroughly before slicing. It slices even better the next day. I freeze any leftovers, and I try and always have some of this bread in the freezer since we use it so often.

NOTE: The recipe calls for using an 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan, which produces a loaf that is about as tall as it is wide. Use a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan to get a loaf that is wider than it is tall, and when proofing allow the dough to rise to the top of the pan before baking.


Rye and Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
A Happy Acres Original

4 oz unbleached flour
4 oz whole wheat flour
4 oz rye flour
1 tbsp Vital wheat gluten
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
8.25 oz water

1. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add liquids to bread machine first, followed by dry mixture. Use dough cycle. If dough seems too wet or too dry, add a bit of water or flour accordingly as dough is processing. It should form into a ball while kneading, and clean the sides of the bread machine.

2. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine and punch down to remove any air bubbles.

3. Shape dough to fit a greased 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan. Cover and let rise for 60-90 minutes, until dough has risen 1″ over the rim of the pan.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake loaf for 30-35 minutes, until instant read thermometer inserted into center of loaf reads 190°F. Bread may be covered in foil near the end if getting too brown.

5. Remove bread from oven, let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan and let cool thoroughly before slicing.

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 137 calories, 24 calories from fat, 2.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 294.3mg sodium, 162.4mg potassium, 24.6g carbohydrates, 3.2g fiber, 2g sugar, 4.2g protein, 17.4mg calcium, <1g saturated fat.

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Harvest Monday October 8, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Last week was a busy one here. My wife and I volunteered a couple of days for a local organization, flipping burgers to help with their fundraising efforts at the Evansville Fall Festival. I am guessing we cooked well over 1000 burgers between us, and none were consumed by us during the process either! In between all that, I spent much of my time digging sweet potatoes. It looks like it wasn’t quite as good a year as 2017, but I am still pleased with the results. I’ve dug 43 hills so far, and brought in 101 pounds of sweet potatoes. I have a few hills remaining I hope to dig this week. I plan to do a full review of them when they’re all in.

freshly dug sweet potatoes

freshly dug sweet potatoes

Before I dug the roots, I harvested a tubtrug full of the leaves.  There’s almost two pounds of them before I cleaned them up and got them ready for cooking.

sweet potato leaves

sweet potato leaves

I stripped them from the vines, and did a quick stir fry on them with a little added garlic and ginger. They have a mild taste and great texture, sweeter than spinach and with less of the ‘bite’. They were tender but not mushy, and I like how they hold their shape. They cook in just a few minutes too.

sweet potato leaves stripped from vines

sweet potato leaves stripped from vines

I also pulled a few radishes to go in a stir fry. This is a mini daikon called Mini Mak I’m growing for the first time. It’s a handy size, and these two were perfect. I have the bigger Alpine sizing up now too, and I plan to use some of them in kimchi.

Mini Mak radishes

Mini Mak radishes

Speaking of kimchi, the Korean peppers are still coming on. In the below photo we have Korean Hot on the left and Winner on the right, with a lone Ethiopian Brown Berbere pepper in the middle.

Korean peppers

Korean peppers

There’s still quite a few sweet peppers ripening, including the bull’s horn types Carmen and Escamillo. I also got a few of their cousins Cornito Rosso and Cornito Giallo. I roasted them a couple of times in a cast iron skillet, and that is my new favorite way to cook them. They have much the same flavor as when I grill them, but with less chance to burn them up like can happen on the grill. They’ve also been starring in salads and frittatas.

Escamillo and Carmen peppers

Escamillo and Carmen peppers

I got enough of the NuMex types Anaheim and Biggie Chile to roast them on the grill. After they cool I chop them up and freeze for use later. They are so much more flavorful than the canned green chiles, which I haven’t bought in years since I started making my own.

Anaheim and Biggie Chile peppers

Anaheim and Biggie Chile peppers

I got a big bucket of Kaleidoscope peppers too. They are supposed to be mildly hot, but this year they have almost no heat to them. These baccatum peppers have a sweet fruity taste, and I am going to pickle this batch. The pickled peppers find their way onto pizza and salads, and I also use them to make a red pepper aioli.

Kaleidoscope peppers

Kaleidoscope peppers

And I got about a pound of ripe Aji Angelo peppers. I have them fermenting, and I plan to turn them into a mild Sriracha sauce. I added a few of the Kaleidoscope to make it even milder. Aji Angelo is one of my favorite hot peppers, and the mild heat and fruity taste make it a versatile choice in the kitchen. I got my seeds originally from Michelle (From Seed To Table), and it is hard to find commercially. I’m saving fresh seed this year, and should have some available later in the year for sharing.

Aji Angelo peppers

Aji Angelo peppers

I’m growing two baccatum peppers for the first time this year, Bert the Chilli and Aji Pena. After getting a taste of both, I have to say they are a bit too hot for my tastes. I am pretty happy with the four mild baccatums I grow already, Aji Angelo, Aji Golden, Kaleidoscope and Malawi Piquante.

Bert the Chilli and Aji Pena

Bert the Chilli and Aji Pena

I cut two more winter squash from the two varieties that are left growing. It’s the first one from Rancho Marques, a landrace type from Mexico, and it weighed 14 pounds. This variety makes fruit of all different sizes and shapes, and a second vine has a squash that is long and thick in shape. Behind it is another Turkeyneck squash, which weighed 12 pounds.

Rancho Marques and Turkeyneck squash

Rancho Marques and Turkeyneck squash

The pole beans gave us another pound of NT Half Runners. This small planting has given us over 10 pounds of beans so far, and my wife and I have truly been enjoying them as often as possible. I’ve also put up quite a few in the freezer, where we can enjoy them this winter. It’s been a great year for beans, after a slow start with germination issues due to waterlogged soil.

NT Half Runner beans

NT Half Runner beans

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. There are no rules or regulations, and wonky veggies are always as welcome as the prize winners. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!


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Harvest Monday October 1, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s October, and I’m so ready to start a new month. September was rainy and hot, and we got over 8 inches of rain combined with above average temperatures. We had 13 days with temps above 90°F, which is a lot warmer than average. The beans and peppers seemed to love it though, and I am getting ample supplies of both. I didn’t photograph all the beans, but I got over 5 pounds of them last week. We have been eating them often and putting the rest in the freezer. The NT Half Runner has been amazingly productive, and I got 2 pounds of them alone last week. The pods are big and fat and stay tender even when the seeds inside start to get big.

NT Half Runner beans

NT Half Runner beans

I’m getting both sweet and hot peppers, and I’m dehydrating many of them. Minero is a hybrid Guajillo type that I’ve grown for several years now, and it makes a tasty and mildly hot chile powder.

Minero peppers

Minero peppers

I’m also growing several o/p Guajillo peppers, and my favorite of the lot is one I got from Dustbowl Seed a couple of years ago. They have apparently ceased operations, so this year I was anxious to save seeds from this strain so I could keep growing them. I isolated one of the plants and covered it with netting, and I have saved seeds from it. Hopefully I can keep this one going next year and it will be true to type..

Dustbowl Seed Guajillo peppers

Dustbowl Seed Guajillo peppers

Dulce Rojo is an o/p paprika peppers I’ve been growing for several years, and it is one of my most productive paprika peppers, along with Hungarian Magyar. It dries to a deep red color and has a sweet taste.

Dulce Rojo peppers

Dulce Rojo peppers

I have quite a few paprika peppers dried already, so I decided to smoke this batch. I almost burned my last batch of smoked peppers, so this time I watched them carefully and they did much better. I build the charcoal fire on one side of the grill, and put the peppers on the other side to help keep them away from the heat. I use the smoked paprika often as a table condiment, where it adds a lot of flavor and aroma. After smoking the peppers were off to the dehydrator, which I have out on the front porch.

Dulce Rojo peppers ready for smoking

Dulce Rojo peppers ready for smoking

I’ve also been busy drying hot peppers for gochugaru flakes, which I use to make kimchi. I’m trialing several types of Korean peppers this year, and growing them all in containers. One is aptly named Kimchi (from Sherwood’s Seeds), and while it was a bit later to produce than the others the plant is absolutely loaded with fruit.

Kimchi pepper plant

Kimchi pepper plant

The peppers themselves are hot but not too hot, and have a deep red color when dried. They should do quite well for making kimchi.

Kimchi peppers

Kimchi peppers

I’m getting all the bull’s horn type peppers we can eat. This year the Cornito Rosso and Cornito Giallo have been more productive than their larger cousins Carmen and Escamillo. They’re all good though, and one of our staples for using fresh.

Cornito Rosso and Cornito Giallo peppers

Cornito Rosso and Cornito Giallo peppers

The Astia zucchini I planted in a grow bag back in August has paid off with at least one squash so far. In the below photo it’s hanging out with Orange Blaze and Sweetie Pie peppers. Some of the zucchini and peppers wound up in a frittata I cooked up yesterday for lunch.

zucchini and peppers

zucchini and peppers

And speaking of squash, I cut two more giant Turkeyneck neck pumpkins. They each weighed eight pounds, and there are at least five more on the vines that look like they have time to mature before first frost. These were sweet and tasty last year, and I am looking forward to getting another taste of them when they have cured a bit.

Turkeyneck squash

Turkeyneck squash

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. There are no rules or regulations, and wonky veggies are always as welcome as the prize winners. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!


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Fermented Curtido (Salvadoran Cabbage Slaw)

Regular readers should know I am a fan of all sorts of fermented things. Many of them feature cabbage as a main ingredient, like sauerkraut or kimchi. The last couple of years I’ve become quite fond of a mixed kraut called Curtido. It’s tart and flavorful, and goes well with a lot of dishes. Not all Curtido recipes call for fermenting, and some use vinegar instead to give the tart flavor.  So today I want to share my version and how I make it. I think fermenting gives it a flavor that really can’t be duplicated by vinegar, and it also adds probiotic bacteria that are good for your gut.

Fermented Curtido

Fermented Curtido

Curtido is a dish from El Salvador that I think of as fermented slaw. It has cabbage, carrots and onions like many slaws do, but it has the added zing of a hot pepper (or two). And it is usually seasoned with oregano. Some recipes also call for ground cumin, but I tried it in one batch and I thought it overpowered the other flavors. You can use any hot pepper in the recipe, and both green and red ones work well. Or you can even omit the hot pepper for a non-spicy version. I’ve even made a batch using diced sweet pepper, and it was tasty and colorful too.

making curtido

making curtido

As with sauerkraut, you can make this in a crock or in a jar. I generally use jars for my fermented veggies, since they are inexpensive and easy to find. I like wide mouth jars because I find it’s easier to get the veggies in and the finished product out. The quantities for this recipe are sized to fill a quart jar, though they can easily be scaled up or down for another size.

cutting the cabbage

cutting the cabbage

You can vary the proportion of ingredients if you like, using more carrots and onions and less cabbage. It takes a bit less than 2 pounds (or 900 grams) of veggies to fill a quart jar and leave a little headspace. The space is needed because the mixture will bubble up and expand the first few days as the fermentation gets going. I usually sit the jar on a small plate to catch any liquid that might come out of the jar during that period. One of the outer cabbage leaves makes a good ‘topper’ to cover the mix and help keep it submerged under the brine. I don’t use special airlocks, but I do like plastic lids since the metal ones corrode quickly with the acidic conditions of the fermented food and can be difficult to remove.

jar of curtido

jar of curtido

The Curtido makes a great side dish for many meals. In El Salvador it is traditionally served with pupusas,  a thick corn tortilla with a savory filling. At Happy Acres, I often serve it with tacos or enchiladas. The crunchy, tart and mildly spicy curtido complement a variety of cuisines, and even makes a tasty and healthy sandwich topping.

For more information on lacto-fermentating vegetables, I can recommend a couple of books I use for reference on the subject. One is Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer. The other book is Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey. Both address the basics of fermenting vegetables at home, and also have a lot of useful recipes, many of which I have tried. Both will help to make sure your fermentation projects are successful, as well as to give you ideas.

Fermented Curtido Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
(adapted from several recipes)

1 3/4 lbs cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, sliced or grated
1/4 cup onion chopped
1 clove garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 heaping tbsp sea salt (about 18 grams)

1. Combine cabbage, carrot, onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper and oregano in large non-reactive bowl.

2. Add salt and mix thoroughly; cover and let stand for 45 minutes.

3. Pack mixture into quart jar, pressing down with hands or a wooden spoon to eliminate any air pockets. You should see some brine at the top, covering the veggies.

4. Top with one of the outer cabbage leaves, or with a glass pickle weight.

5. Cover jar with lid.

6. Let stand at room temperature for 7-14 days. Contents should begin bubbling after a few days as fermenting begins, then settle down after a few more days.

7. Start tasting after 5 or 6 days. When the curtido is pleasantly tart, refrigerate the jar. The curtido will keep for a year after refrigeration.

Servings: 8 (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 32 calories, 1 calories from fat, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 730.1mg sodium, 292mg potassium, 7.4g carbohydrates, 2.8g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 1.6g protein, 54.9mg calcium, <1g saturated fat.

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