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August is just around the corner, and the craziness of summer harvest is nearly here.  For me, high summer means lots of work, and even more delicious food!

Today, I came home from the farmer's market with a double armload of local, organic, (free!) vegetables.  Some were new this season, like our Japanese eggplant and heirloom tomatoes. 

Inspired by these mid-summer gems, I decided to do a lil' fancy cooking and make gluten-free eggplant pasta!


 
 
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Drizzled over soft cheese = Divine
I love late spring so much.  Strawberries, rhubarb, preserving... oh my!

Okay, that was cheesy, but seriously - I'm a little ecstatic that it's finally time to start preserving.  We had surprise strawberries at the farm (120 pints of 'em), and I harvested rhubarb for the first time!

My first act of fruit-in-jar goodness?  You guessed it:

Strawberry rhubarb preserves.  It's a classic.  And I've never done it before!  It's more chunky than a jam, and positively oozes with delicious sauce.


 
 
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These pickled radishes are good.  I mean, I expected them to be good, but I didn't expect them to be this good!

Thanks to my weekly farm haul, I had a bunch of Easter Egg radishes in dire need of consumption. 
Raw radishes are too much for me to eat in bulk, so I decided to give pickled radishes a shot before they all withered into magenta-colored shrunken heads.

It was a great choice on my part, for sure.  Pickled radishes are the kind of salty snack I'm likely to go for in moments of boredom & salt munchies. 

Plus, they're so darn purty...


 
 
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Yesterday I brought home an armload of seasonal veggies, fresh from the farm.  I asked for suggestions for what to do with my braising mix and green garlic, but I got hungry waiting on y'all! 

So I went ahead and made a delicious, all-local breakfast!  Incidentally, it's Paleo and gluten-free, for those who are into that.


 
 
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It's hardly a secret - I love cheese.

My all-time favorite is extra sharp cheddar, but any cheese is worth my time!  After making yogurt last week, I had about a quart of milk left over.  So I made some cheese!

Farmer cheese, and its cousin paneer, is by far the simplest cheese to make - you don't need rennet, it doesn't need to age, and there are only two ingredients. 

Got milk?  Got vinegar?  Great - let's make cheese!


 
 
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I've wanted to make dandelion wine for, oh... six years now.  And guess what?  Today, I made dandelion wine!

Sure, it won't be drinkable for months, but I'm excited!  And since dandelions are blooming everywhere right about now, it's the perfect time to do some wild foraging and harvest your own bottle of wine.


 
 
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Quick and dirty recipe - homemade tempeh salad!  Delicious, nutritious, easy.  Like many lovely things in life.

When your immune system is struggling, protein and greens are the ultimate combination.  When your energy is low, quick meals are a godsend.  Ta-da!  Tempeh salad, at your service.

Now, you don't have to use homemade tempeh, but I highly, highly recommend it.  It's less expensive and more delicious.  Plus, how cool is it to ferment your own tempeh?!?  Way cool.


 
 
Oh, the humble dandelion.  Dandelions are so under-appreciated in our age of pristine grass lawns!  I'll save the lawn rant for another day - for now, let's appreciate the glory of this well-known 'weed'. 

Dandelions are edible and medicinal, and easy (so easy!) to find.  Their uses range from wine to salads to medicinal tonics, and they are perfect to harvest this time of year.
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One of spring's first blooms, down by our creek bed.

Spotlight on Dandelion

Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), gets its name from the French 'dent-de-lion' or 'lion's tooth', and is related to chicory and wild lettuce.  Dandelion leaves, flowers, and root are all edible, and are also useful to make herbal remedies, especially tonics for liver and your overall health.

 
 
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There's Bessie!
It's finally happened.  I caught the raw milk bug.  Yep... I'm into it.

Ask anyone who knows me - I can be stubborn.  Alternative health and food trends often leave me skeptical at all the hype.  It took me 3 years to start drinking kombucha, and another 4 months after that to even research its health benefits.  Now, I'm so 'into' it that I make my own kombucha.

So how did I become a raw milk convert? This morning I got an email from a local dairy owner, offering a (raw) milk share from her soon-to-be lactating cow, Bessie.  Shares are about $3.50/gallon, 50 cents more than the local organic milk I've been getting from the grocery store.  Usually the cost (and having to drive 30 miles pick the milk up) would be enough to tip the balance towards store-bought. 

But... I looked at the pros and cons between store-bought and farm share, and raw milk won out:


 
 
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Thick, creamy, a lil' tangy... yogurt cheese is incredibly versatile.  You can use it simply as a thickened 'Greek' yogurt, as labneh, as a spread for crackers & bagels, with fresh fruit, as a substitute for cream cheese, a base for sour cream dips, and even as whipped cream, cheese cake, & cake frosting (or so I hear).  Plus, it's probiotic!

Yogurt cheese is, undeniably, one of life's finer pleasures.  Personally, I like it with garlic, cracked black pepper, and sea salt.  I use this spiced yogurt cheese (yog-eese? chees-urt?) as a spread on crackers - delicious!

Best of all, yogurt cheese is extremely easy to make.  Let's give it a shot, shall we?


 

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