Last weekend we celebrated Papa Bird’s birthday with a fun family day at Suzie’s Farm. They held their annual “Strawberry Jam” last Saturday and we all had so much fun, picking strawberries and eating yummy food. Little Bird loved apple picking as a tot and felt right at home with the plants and chickens.
We started off picking organic strawberries. Every plant was filled with the most perfectly beautiful, sweet and flavorful berries. (At home, Little Bird tends to pick all of our strawberries while they are still green and small.) I did get some temporary hives from stinging nettles, but they went away.
Next I sampled strawberry chutney, drank a strawberry and basil kombucha, and made green strawberry pickles with Austin from the San Diego Fermenter’s Club. Little Bird loves them. They are mild, slightly crunchy and have a hint of strawberry flavor. You can find the recipe for Green Strawberry Pickles here.
green strawberry pickles
After all that hard work, I was ready for a grass fed burger made with strawberry jam, and a beet and quinoa salad from Green Truck. The cold and windy weather discouraged our plans for eating ice cream from our friends’ Calexico Creamery, but we took home a pint of (what else?) Fresa and a pint of Mexican Cocoa. Little Bird and I hid out from the wind in a teepee and she gathered twigs and sticks to build a play fire.
Check back tomorrow and I will share the best recipe for strawberry jam! It has hardly any sugar in it and no pectin. The only other ingredient is a lemon…
–> Update: Strawberry Jam now posted HERE.
Posted in Family Adventures, Food, Green Parenting, Healthy Recipes, How To, Our Family, Parenting, Preserving and Canning, Recipes for the Whole Family, Recipes from the Garden, Recipes to Make with the Kids, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Homesteading
Tagged easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, farm to table, vegan, vegetarian
With the fall equinox, the season finally seems to be turning in Southern California. It seems as though the rest of the country has moved past apples and onto pumpkin, but we are still picking tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. (Complaining of SoCal problems sounds like humble bragging.) I’m sharing my favorite fig and feta salad as a farewell to summer. Our tree’s fruit are in their last stages and our mint barely survived the last heat wave. I had wanted to first post my feta recipe, but at this stage of my pregnancy, I don’t have the time or focus for a long cheesemaking post, like this one on chèvre.
Little Bird thoroughly enjoyed figs straight from the tree this summer. There is something lovely about eating them slightly warm from the sun. Here she is showing one of her best buddies where to find the ripe ones:
As I wrote the recipe (below), I felt a little silly typing out the ingredient list. With only the four ingredients in the title, it seemed a little pointless. This combination is so flavorful and balanced, it doesn’t even need salt and pepper!
Fig and Feta Salad with Mint and Balsamic Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
Gently rinse figs. Cut off stems and then cut in half. Arrange in a shallow bowl or plate. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and chopped, fresh mint. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction. Gently mix and serve.
Posted in Food, Healthy Recipes, Home Dairy, Recipes for the Whole Family, Recipes from the Garden, Recipes to Make with the Kids, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged appetizers, cheese making, easy entertaining, easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, meals for the whole family, naturally gluten free, Urban Homesteading, vegetarian, victory gardens
I finally got around to processing our extra tomatoes this weekend. Out of 5 pounds of heirlooms and Roma’s, I made tomato sauce with garlic, based on Alice Water’s recipe. But my absolute favorite alchemy is what happens to cherry tomatoes when they are slow roasted in the oven. If you like the taste of sun-dried tomatoes, but could do without the leathery texture, then you will love these oven roasted cherry tomatoes. And you will be surprised how easy they are!
I love having the taste of summer throughout the year, and nothing speaks to the sunshine and vitamins of summer as well as these easy tomatoes. Try using them in place of sun-dried tomatoes in recipes, such as this Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto.
Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
- Cherry, Grape or small Roma Tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Rinse tomatoes and cut in half. Spread, cut side up, on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle, lightly with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Roast in a 225°F oven for 2-3 hours or until somewhat dried, but still a little juicy. Let cool.
Enjoy as is or pack into a clean jar, cover with more olive oil, and can or freeze. If freezing, leave a little space at the top. Tip: as awesome as garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs are with tomatoes, DO NOT put them in your jars. They contain moisture and will make it mold more quickly.
Click on any picture in the gallery below to expand and see the steps.
Posted in Food, Healthy Recipes, Preserving and Canning, Recipes from the Garden, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, farm to table, heirloom tomatoes, homesteading, naturally gluten free, naturally paleo, Urban Homesteading, vegan, vegetarian, victory gardens
I love summer. I love having extra daylight in the evening. Best of all, our garden is at it’s peak. I often slack on grocery shopping. Driving home from work, I will approach panic and then realize, between the garden and the chickens, I can pull together a simple, easy dinner recipe without having to stop and buy any extra ingredients.
The other night was a classic example. Our refrigerator was extremely bare. But I had recently made fresh goat cheese, our chickens are laying eggs, and we had giant zucchinis, cherry tomatoes, a spaghetti squash, garlic and plenty of herbs all from the garden.
As soon as I got home from work, I threw the spaghetti squash whole into the toaster oven. (The regular oven works fine, but the smaller squash fit in the toaster oven, which saves energy and keeps the kitchen from getting as hot.) After about 45 minutes at 350°, it was soft. I cut it in half, pulled out the flesh, discarding the seeds and shredded it with a fork. Click here for the pesto recipe. This time I experimented by throwing in an avocado from a friend’s tree. It made it extra creamy.
Next up was a frittata. I sautéed the zucchini and garlic in some ghee a friend made, had Little Bird stir, stir the eggs, and then mixed in tomatoes and thyme. After baking, we topped it with our fresh chèvre rolled in truffle salt. For the full frittata recipe, click here.
Victory Gardens for the win!
Posted in Backyard Chickens, Food, Healthy Recipes, Home Dairy, Recipes for the Whole Family, Recipes from the Garden, Recipes to Make with the Kids, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged Backyard Chickens, easy dinner, easy farm to table, easy recipes, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, eggs, farm to table, homesteading, meals for the whole family, naturally gluten free, naturally paleo, Urban Homesteading, vegetarian, victory gardens
We have been celebrating the beginning of tomato season with plenty of caprese salads made with fresh mozzarella and basil. On a whim, I upgraded to an awesome burrata cheese last weekend. Burrata is similar to fresh mozzarella, but extra soft with a creamy center. The cheesemonger recommended pairing it with a firmer fleshed heirloom tomato to have more contrast in texture. Our mint is growing crazy, so I wanted to try something a little new and combined the burrata with mint and some of the amazing summer fruit that is so good right now. I used pluots, but any stone fruit would be good. We all loved this refreshing and creamy treat, and may not go back to traditional capreses! (This would probably be good with grilled peaches or apricots, too.)
Burrata, Pluot and Mint Appetizer Recipe
- 1 fresh Burrata or (fresh mozzarella)
- 2 ripe but firm pluots or other stone fruit
- 1/2 handful of fresh mint
- good olive oil
- good balsamic vinegar (I used a pomegranate infused balsamic)
- salt and pepper
For easier cutting, keep burrata in the refrigerator until the last minute and use a sharp knife. Slice the pluots into thick slices and layer on a serving dish with the burrata. Sprinkle the fresh mint and salt and pepper over the cheese and fruit. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and serve with good bread.
Posted in Entertaining, Food, Healthy Recipes, Recipes from the Garden, Seasonal Recipes
Tagged appetizers, easy appetizers, easy entertaining, easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, farm to table, seasonal appetizers, vegetarian, vegetarian appetizers