Herbs and Bugs

This is going to be a totally random post. Just a heads up.

Everything we’ve been eating lately, and I know I’ve said this before, but is right from the backyard farm/garden. All of the produce is so incredibly healthy and fresh—not just healthy like good for you, but the colors of it are so vibrant and bold… It’s all due to the living soil and Daniel’s biodynamic practices.

Something we’ve really been using a ton of in everything we make are the fresh herbs. Herbs are something that many people grow as their first go at gardening. And I can see why! They grow like crazy and don’t require tons of maintenance. And you can put them to use on so many different meals!

To begin, Oregano. Oregano, as you’ve probably used a million times dried in pasta sauces and the like, is best to me on italian like cooking. It is a dry herb, even when fresh, and it kinda just crumbles into whatever you’re using it on.

Next is basil. Not much needs to be said here. It’s first of all so beautiful- it grows symmetrically. Eventually that little top grows up and up and a flower forms. Part of Carrie and my job is to “top” the basil so that this stops happening. “Top” means yank off the top so that more leaves form.

Basil is used to make pestos, pairs great with tomatoes, can be torn or cut into salads, and so many other uses, obviously. It’s sweet and just is so versatile!

Next up, sage. I love how sage looks. It’s furry and has a muted color. And it grows very compacted-like. Best uses? Well, tomato based sauces (again), good in soups, and on pastas.

Mmmm… rosemary. This I would consider the least used to most used for me. I feel like I put rosemary on everything I eat here. It’s amazing on potatoes, with any vegetable, and pairs great with basil and thyme together. Its smell is so seductive I just am lured in whenever I’m around the plant!

Last is thyme. As I said I think it goes well with rosemary- especially on potatoes. It also pairs nicely with lemon. And is great with tomatoes and other vegetables as well.

Onward- Daniel has a walnut tree, and the walnuts fall late October. It produces so many nuts that they still have plenty leftover from last year. Quince and I sit and crack them sometimes if we have extra time.

Very technically of course, using only the right tool for the job…

A 5 lb weight on a 20 lb weight. Sure, why not!?

After getting back from our cold Yosemite trip, I was craving chili. I of course went picking out back and made a delicious, spicy pot!

I then carved out some squash…

Roasted those for about an hour…

And then filled them and topped them!

…And that has been my lunch all week! Finally all out šŸ˜¦ But ready for a new lunch at this point Ā šŸ˜‰

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

  • 3 squash, halved and seeded.
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small eggplant, roughly cubed
  • 1 large zucchini, roughly cubed
  • 1 medium yellow squash, roughly cubed
  • 10 large tomatoes, roughly cubed
  • …Okay any vegetable you want or have on hand…peppers…whatever! Make all vegetables about same size though, that’s my only tip!
  • 1 can beans- black, kidney, chickpeas whatever you have!
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions: Start with your squash. Preheat oven to 400 and grab your biggest, sharpest knife. First, cut a tiny bit off the bottom of your squash, or the end you’ll be laying it down on. This will allow it to sit flat on the baking sheet and not rock back and forth. Next slice the squash in half. Seed it. Depending on the type of squash you have (I used a butternut, an acorn, and a delicata), you may need to cut it differently. Coat each with a tiny bit of olive oil and let bake for about an hour. Meanwhile, add maybe 2 Tbs of olive oil to big pot (dutch oven would work very nicely!) Add garlic and onion, mix around until fragrant. Add tomato paste. Let cook for about 3 minutes. Add all vegetables. Bring up to boil. Add your spices. At this point your vegetables will start letting out some liquid, especially the tomatoes. Let it all simmer and cook down and cook together, allowing flavors to meld. Chili is one of those things where the longer it simmers the better. Add your beans as a last, since they’re canned and cooked. Taste and make sure it’s flavored right!

Also, don’t you dare let your squash seeds go to waste! Separate them from the “guts” of the squash and roast them, lightly salted, for about 10 minutes at 350. Check on them though- don’t let them burn! This can happen quickly, like any other nuts and seeds.

I topped mine with avocado, plain yogurt, quinoa, cheese, and hot sauce. And pumpkin seeds. YUM!

They taste like pumpkin seeds, but a bit sweeter! Yum! But like many of my recipes, be creative and use mine as a template only!

Okay so here are some beautiful flowers for you to look at šŸ™‚

And here is how Carrie eats her grapes…

And this is my new best friend, a praying mantis…

And here is our biggest enemy, a tomato horn worm. Or 2. They eat tomato plants and get HUGE in size. Carrie has a good eye for spotting them. Thank god. ‘Cause it’s death to any insect to messes with our tomato plants grrrrrrrrrrr (insert mad face)!

In biodynamics, we hand pluck these suckers and kill them ourselves. No poisonous chemicals used at all. When you use chemicals, you end up killing not only bad guys but good guys as well, like this cute lil’ frog…

I’m understanding more and more than we’re all connected here, and we all have things to offer each other. Not just humans to humans, but insects to soil, soil to insects, insects to humans, humans to insects…It truly is a circle of life. There is no need for, or really, room for pesticides and chemicals on this earth. Nature can do the job for us just fine! Daniel is going to post pretty soon, and he will really go into this concept of interconnectedness.. So get excited ;).

Lastly here are some pretty figs…

We are now head over heals in love with the figs that have slightly dried on the trees. More concentrated flavor, and a texture that I like better than the fresh!

We’ve almost picked the fig trees dry, as well as the asian pears and plums. Very sad. But at least we’re selling everything locally! Abbodanza farm is even on a local menu here at a DELICIOUS restaurant called Taste. Cool, right!?

Internet is pretty slow, so I haven’t been posting as much. It’s a mental hassle just thinking about it sometimes. But I wanted to leave you with a challenge: Okay so I know organic food is more expensive usually, but just for 1 week, 1 week, buy organic produce. Just do it. Or at least buy an organic apple and a non organic apple. Just taste the difference. Also think about who you’re supporting when you buy your produce. Wouldn’t you rather support ethical, sustainable practices and smaller farms? You will most likely be saving yourself money in the long run too, because you won’t get sick as often and need to buy expensive medicine. So please please please, from a small organic farm’s perspective, from someone who does all the work by hand and doesn’t rely on chemicals for short cuts, just try for one week organic produce and see what you think! Maybe it won’t affect your budget as much as you think. Please? Thank you in advance!

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3 Responses to Herbs and Bugs

  1. todd says:

    Herbs are great and I agree with all your comments. I use them all the time. I put the basil Carrie grew this summer in everything, like cereal and milk, beer and coffee. But I am not crazy about bugs. So I am not sure if Herbs AND Bugs should be in the same blog title.

    Just my random thoughts.

    • jamela224 says:

      Haha Carrie and I were just laughing at this comment- Your comments are great- and yes herbs are very great, and bugs aren’t so bad either!

      Herbs in cereal in milk mayyy just be pushin’ it…

  2. Pingback: Surfing and Reflections on Balance | jamelafamela

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