Archive for August, 2009

Leek and Purple Spud-nik Soup

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Lest you think I jest, take a look at the purple pommes de terre next to the skinny leeks below:

The garden leeks aren’t as fat as I would like yet but they are usable and the potatoes are definitely ready. It’s time for leek and potato soup.

With all the hype about “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell these days (I did read the book) I have to recall that my first attempt at this soup back in the 70’s came from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, Volume I, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. I later added Volume II to my collection along with numerous other diverse cookbooks over the years. I have to admit I did NOT make every recipe in the book(s).

After almost 40 years of playing in the kitchen, reading cookbooks and any food-related articles I could get my hands on my cooking and personal recipes have evolved.

Try this variation:

1 big bunch of leeks – white & light green parts chopped 1 onion chopped 4 – 6 cups potatoes chopped 1-2 T. olive oil or butter or combination 8 cups water, veggie broth or chicken broth Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté leeks & onion until soft and slightly browned. Add potatoes and broth and simmer about 45 minutes to let the flavors develop. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Here’s what it looks like before the broth is added. Note these are purple fleshed potatoes which happen to be what Noel harvested.

Sometimes we eat it as is. Sometimes we puree it and add milk or cream. Of course, Julia prefers that you use a food mill instead of a blender!

Small Fairs – Lots of Gardeners

Monday, August 17th, 2009

We continue to do a lot of trade shows, trying get our tools known by the gardening public. We’ve found that small shows can be more attractive than large ones, especially if the ratio of hands-on gardeners to the overall attendance is good. Big shows attended by the general populace are not for us. County fairs, street fairs, and music festivals are now on our “do not even think about it” list.

We do well at energy shows that that have an overall sustainable living slant and at small, food-oriented shows where products produced by small growers (usually organic) are featured. What we are finding is that gardeners attend these shows and if there are gardeners present, we can sell CobraHeads.

Last weekend we did the Illinois Renewable Energy Association Fair in Oregon, Illinois.

Here is Judy doing a demonstration. This was the 8th IREA and our second. It is patterned after the very large Midwest Renewable Energy Association show in Wisconsin which we also do. The show draws about 7,000 people over two days.

The Minnesota Garlic Festival, now in Hutchinson, Minnesota had its fourth show this weekend. It was our second. Pictured is Joel Girardin, a long time garlic grower at his booth.

Here are Judy and her sister Diana eating garlic ice cream. It’s actually pretty good! So are the garlic chocolate chip cookies and all the garlic-laced food sold at “The Great Scape Café”. The one day garlic show draws just over 2,000 people, and for such a small show, we sell enough product to make it worth our while. Again, its because so many of the people attending are gardeners.

Rasberry Obsttorte – or Potluckin’ with Maryann

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Last night we were invited to a potluck. I don’t usually bring desserts because I rarely make them at home – and I’m not one that can live on just desserts. Besides, who has time to bake?

But how could I not do something with the raspberries that we’re lucky enough to have (even if I do have to don a mosquito net over my head to pick them)? Two quarts don’t go very far at a gathering but I happened to remember the little used Maryann pan that I purchased over twenty years ago when we first moved to the Madison, Wisconsin area. I decided to go for it and hoped that the dessert would turn out.

Obsttorte is a German cake that is made with a pre-baked base then topped with fresh or canned fruit very similar to a fruit tart. The recipe I have makes a crepe-like sponge cake. After working ‘very hard’ to get the baked cake out of the pan in one piece I drizzled the indents of the dished top with Grand Marnier and raspberry Grand Marnier glaze then placed the raspberries in circles (no guarantees on the concentric part) and drizzled the rest of the glaze on top. With a little vanilla yogurt we’re good to go. Delightful!