Thursday, 27 July 2017

Visit to Dan Jason's Farm

The Farm Team recently went on a field trip to Salt Spring Island, where we visited Dan Jason's beautiful and inspiring farm.  Dan has been a mentor to us, and our main source of seeds on the Commons.  We visited the different fields he has planted, the pond, his seed barn, and little seed shop.  He also very generously gave us a number of drying screens for us to use in our own seed collection and drying.  We were particularly impressed by the large number of crops he has planted, and have offered to come back to do a workbee with him.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chocolate Moose Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

This week's muffin recipe comes from the Chocolate Moose Cafe in Ely, Minnesota, where I loved to go when I was visiting a friend's cabin there many years ago.  The Commons blueberries are not quite ready; these muffins were made from blueberries I bought at the Sunday Silva Bay Market from a vendor from Duncan.

Chocolate Moose Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup of blueberries

1.  Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, and blend in the buttermilk and vanilla.
2. Fold in the sieved dry ingredients, and then gently fold in the blueberries.
3. Spoon into muffin tins.
4. Bake at 350'F for 25 minutes (20 minutes if using convection oven).

Yield: 2 dozen muffins

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Herb-Zucchini Cheese Loaf

Here is July's recipe made with zucchini and fresh herbs.

3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (or less)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
handful of herbs (I used 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary and chives - use your favourites or experiment with basil, dill, tarragon, oregano, summer savory...)
2 large eggs
4 tbsp. melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. and grease 2 loaf pans (or one 9" x 5", or round cake pan).
2.  Sieve dry ingredients.
3.  Whisk together eggs, buttermilk and butter.
4.  Add zucchini, cheese and herbs to flour mixture and toss to coat with flour.
5.  Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring just until moistened.  Do not overmix.  Mixture will not be smooth.
6.  Bake 55-60 minutes.  Let cool 5-10 minutes in pan before unmolding.
7.  Garnish loaf with herbs before serving.

Pop-up cafe at the mid-week market...

Working in the beautiful gardens on the Commons alongside the many dedicated and hard-working volunteers is always enjoyable. We are well into the growing season and are harvesting asparagus, raspberries, kale, broad beans, and zucchini with the blueberries almost ripe.  The strawberry season is over for this year.

I have been experimenting with lavender wreaths, and have started to harvest calendula which I plan on making available as tea or possibly tinctures.

A few weeks ago Sharon and I decided to launch a pop-up cafe at the mid-week market, offering baked goods using ingredients from our kitchen garden whenever possible and also using recipes from the Commons Cookbook.  So far we have made cheese herb muffins, lavender cupcakes, scones, herb zucchini loaf, and coffee cake, which all sold out quite quickly.

So I will be posting some of our recipes.  This week's recipe is Herb-Cheese Zucchini Loaf.

Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

I f you visit the little field, you will see a big clump of sunchokes.   More commonly known as Jerusalem artichokes, they are not related ...