Monday, April 8, 2013

Seeds of purple

I didn't order very many new seeds this spring. I ordered a ton last year, then life got away from me and not much got planted. So, this winter, after taking stock of the seeds I had, I decided those 26 varieties were quite enough.

Then, I read somewhere that kohlrabi is easy to grow, and my family loves it. I decided I really didn't have enough carrot seeds. I couldn't live without cherry tomatoes. Wouldn't the bean tee-pee I want look gorgeous with scarlet runner beans? And, as long as I'm ordering, I wouldn't mind trying a different type of kale.

I'm not sure exactly what led me to Hudson Valley Seed Library, but there's a few things I like about it. First, they are the most local source I know of to buy seeds. Secondly, since I'm a visual person, I love the art on their seed packs. And, most usefully, I've been finding a lot of helpful tips on their blog. So, that's where I decided to order this year's seeds. It didn't really matter to me that they only have 60 varieties of seeds compared to the hundreds other seed supplier have. I only needed five.

So, a few weeks ago, when I decided I couldn't live without five more types of seeds, I clicked them into my shopping cart. While doing so, I picked up on the library's membership. Not only would the membership save me a bit on my order, but it would also get me in on their community seed saving project. Yes!

As if a project to teach me about seed saving isn't cool enough, the community seed is the Purple Podded Pea. Did someone just say I could have PURPLE and PEAS in my garden on the SAME plant? Let's just say, I couldn't sign up fast enough.

Today, my seeds came. I can't wait to put them in some dirt! If my garden turns out half as beautiful and bountiful as I'm dreaming ... wait, dream garden is the next post ...Pru

Sunday, April 7, 2013

{Recipe} From a dream: Potato, Corn and Sausage Chowder

Sometimes while I lie in bed drifting off to sleep, I think about meals I might make the next day, or later in the week. I think about what ingredients I have on hand, and what I might need to buy. Frequently, this just leads to frustration, and may even keep me awake worrying.

On a good night, though, I come up with a great creation. Admittedly, my standards for "great creation" are pretty low. But, if I can come up with something that doesn't require a trip to the store and all three of us are willing to go for seconds, I think that's pretty great. That's what happened the other night.

I was thinking of the beefalo sausage I picked up at the farmers market last Saturday. I kind of wanted a soup, so I thought about what veggies I had and remembered the large amount of corn I froze in September. (Blanching corn, cutting the kernels from the cob and freezing the results has become a harvest-time ritual for me.) I also had a quart of corn cob stock left, and some Russet potatoes from KFF. 

OK, it was starting to come together. I just had to start with some sauteed onions, and decide on seasoning. By the time I needed to start dinner the next evening, I had a whole recipe in my head -- only there were still additions as I cooked. Here's the results:

Potato, corn and sausage chowder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds beefalo sausage (or whatever sausage suits you), either use bulk or cut links into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 small to medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 to 2 sweet red peppers (I pulled these from the freezer)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
  • 4 cups corn stock (I'm sure vegetable stock would work fine)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded

Brown the sausage, stirring occasionally, in a large skillet. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the sausage is cooking, heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add potatoes, peppers and seasoning and stir it all together. Add corn stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook about 15 minutes until potatoes are just getting tender. 

Add cooked sausage and milk, and adjust seasoning. Cook until the soup returns to a simmer. Stir in cheeses until melted and everything is heated through. 

Ladle into bowl and let cool slightly before serving to children.