Friday, April 10, 2015

The Seasonal Plate
What to Eat in April

Eating in season saves money, provides optimal nutrition, and supports local farmers. In North America, find many of the vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood, below, in season, and in markets, for the month of April.

artichokes + arugula + asparagus + beets + bok choy + broccoli + broccoli rabe + brussels sprouts + cabbage + carrots + cauliflower + chard + chicory + collard greens + cress + dandelion greens + endive + fava beans + fennel + garlic + green garlic + most herbs + horseradish + kale + kohlrabi + leeks + lettuce + mizuna + mushrooms + mustard greens + nettles + onions + parsnips + pea shoots + radishes + rutabagas + scallions + spinach + sprouts + sunchokes + sweet potatoes (south) + turnips

Fruit and Nuts
avocado + cherimoya + citrus fruits (grapefruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, orange, citron, pomelo) + guava + strawberries 

Meat and Poultry
rabbit + lamb + pork + eggs  

Varies by season, location, and weather patterns
North America: sea bass + black drum + clams + crawfish + crab + halibut + mussels + oysters + shrimp + red snapper + redfish + spot prawn + red snapper + shark + flounder + shrimp + pompano  + trout + tuna  

Primarily year-round species include ahi tuna + atlantic, true, and ling cod + catfish + flounder + grouper + mahi mahi + rainbow trout + sole + (atlantic) salmon + swordfish

And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ten-Minute Meals
Honey-Glazed Ham Steaks on Balsamic Bitter Greens

Whether it's time or patience you find in short supply, Ten-Minute Meals will help put a seasonal, nutritious meal on the table in less time than it takes to navigate a rush hour drive-thru.

Honey-Glazed Ham on Balsamic Bitter Greens
Prepared for Texas Farmers' Markets, Market Chef Maggie Perkins

In a heavy skillet over medium high heat, add just enough cooking oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan, tilting pan to cover. Remove excess. Just as oil begins to shimmer, add ham steak. Heat until seared with edges slightly browned, then turn to sear opposite side. Drizzle honey over top of ham steak to coat thinly, reduce heat to medium, and allow honey to ‘melt’ over steak to coat. Turn, cook 1 minute, then turn again, to coat. Remove from heat and set aside.

To skillet over medium heat, add balsamic vinegar, scraping any remaining bits from ham into the vinegar, honey, and ham drippings. Add greens and dill, stirring until coated and slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Cover, and allow to cook until greens are fully wilted, stirring occasionally, approximately 3 minutes. Add salt and cracked red pepper, if using, to taste. Top greens with ham steak and cover, heating all together on low for 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Farmers Market Favorite
Egg Salad for Grown-Ups

Say a certain long-eared mythical creature has dropped by with a dozen or so colorful hard-boiled treasures dropped by over the weekend. The children in your family may have raced around a yard and unearthed the jewel-toned treats and exulted in their success for maybe an hour....then concentrated their attention to the treats that accompanied the hunt. A basketful of candy, wrapped in bright spring-colored attention-getting labels, too sweet for the more mature palates in the house. When I was a young mother the Easter Bunny, I might have been tempted to steal ask politely for a few jelly beans-- red ones, please, or Smartees-- green ones please, or seasonal pastel M&Ms with almonds-- pink ones, please, but it was really the more savory and satisfying that I preferred-- those REAL EGGS.

When I distracted the girls long enough to nab the booty  got my hands on asked politely for those golden yolked goodies, my first order of business was a bonafide adult egg salad. I'd fill it, not with that cloying sweet pickle relish, but as many fresh green herbs and crunchy vegetables I could get my hands on, and pile it high NOT on delicate and puff cloud white bread, but a dense, whole grain rye or seeded slice, maybe toasted if I had enough time before the theft was discovered the girls were contentedly reading the special book the Bunny chose yearly for each, studding the sandwich with additional veggies where they'd fit. I'd hide in a closet retire to a quiet corner and hunch greedily over my ill-gotten gains recharge with a languid lunch and a pitcher of mimosas cup of tea after the morning's festivities.

This was no ordinary egg salad sandwich. This was an adult egg salad for grown-ups.

Over the holiday weekend, I prepared this particular incarnation at the Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline, with slight variations the next day at the Texas Farmers' Market at Mueller. So well received were each versions that several vendors sold out of their particular ingredient, and there was a definite dent in the dill at both markets.

Each ingredient in this salad was sourced directly from the market vendor, and no other ingredients "from the outside" made the cut. Completely market-driven, to my delight this vegetable-packed, healthy and sophisticated egg salad was a smash success with market-goers, who scurried off with the recipe in their heads and these ingredients in their totes:

 One dozen OrganicareFarms eggs, hard boiled

1 jar Stellar Gourmet Pecan Alioli*

1 bunch thin asparagus spears, stems finely sliced (Hairston Creek Farm
1 bunch young carrots, peeled and sliced thinly, with carrot top greens chopped and large stems removed (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)

1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped finely (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)

Optional salt, additional olive oil, if needed (Texas Hill Country Olive Company)

In a large mixing bowl, grate boiled eggs with a large-holed grater.  Fold in remaining ingredients. If too dry, add just enough olive oil to bind ingredients together. Serve on a slice of hearty, whole grain bread, perhaps toasted, dressed with additional seasonal vegetables of your choice tucked under a generous sunny mound of salad.

At the Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller, I substituted Stellar Gourmet’s wildly popular Poblano Ranch Dressing for their pecan alioli*, which they sold out of the previous day to eager samplers, and nutritional powerhouse dandelion greens, chopped finely, from JBG Organic in place of the asparagus that was swept up by eager sandwich makers on Saturday.

* Alioli is similar to the more familiar aioli in flavor, but traditionally contains no egg, thus making it suitable for vegans. If you aren't a local, or simply prefer to start from scratch, a great beginning is this aioli, made in home. 

Find tips for boiling eggs, including not boiling the boiled eggs, at the following links: 

Alton Brown: Baked Eggs (video)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Pleasure in the Pathless Woods
Purgatory Creek Natural Area, San Marcos

©2015 Maggie C Perkins
Purgatory Creek Natural Area
San Marcos, Texas

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
   There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
   There is society where none intrudes,
   By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
   I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
   From these our interviews, in which I steal
   From all I may be, or have been before,
   To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal,,,

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
George Gordon Byron, 1788 - 1824

©2015 Maggie C Perkins
©2015 Maggie C Perkins
©2015 Maggie C Perkins
©2015 Maggie C Perkins

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NEW! In the Garden: ALL YEAR LONG
Also, I'm not tech-savvy. But I AM determined.


There's something NEW on Notes from Maggie's Farm!

After years of sharing monthly gardening to-do lists, and hearing how helpful you readers found this regular Tips for Tuesday feature, I've been scouring my brain for ways to make that information easier to access. I mean what if you want, say, to plan ahead? What if you wanted to know what you'd be planting in September? Or what grubby work you could be put off until your brother visited? There's value in that kind of intel!

So I came up with an idea. An idea that wasn't quite as easy to configure as I'd imagined.

You might know what I mean.

Have you ever, say, imagined the perfect sofa, down to the last detail, then gone in search of it to find it NOWHERE?  And then every couch you saw that WAS available didn't live up to what you'd imagined? Or perhaps it was the perfect holiday dress. With pearl buttons, and a velvet collar, and three quarter length sleeves, just below the knee, figure skimming, but not too tight-- and in aubergine. That ever happen to you? I do it all the time.

That very same process of imagining something you're perfectly certain you can pull together? Well that's what this nightmare little project became for me. I was absolutely certain that I, equipped with exactly one semester of rudimentary coding, could pull this out of thin air and onto the site.


I posted the query on Help forums, and member pages, and coding groups, and to all of my nerdiest, tech-savvy contacts.

CRICKETS.  That's what I heard in reply. Nada. Nothing. Silence.

Oh I could spend a little cash to have it done. But I wanted it for FREE. I wanted to DO IT MYSELF. I always do.

So I stayed up all night and DID THE THING. With a little help from the hundredth or so item from a search query-- HOW TO LOSE SLEEP blah blah blah SLIDESHOW WITH LINKS, I found Photosnack. And JUST as I began downloading my images, they shut that baby down for "site maintenance". Seriously.

But I was determined. So I played solitaire surfed the internet cried into my tea whined to my dog waited patiently until the site returned, and proceeded to pull this baby together.

What we have here, friends, is a SLIDESHOW WITH LINKS. Just click on the month, and it will take you RIGHT TO THE MONTHLY GUIDE. How cool is that? (I know, I know-- you see these kinds of things all over the internet. THEY HAVE PROFESSIONALS DO THAT STUFF. I am not a professional.)

I stuck it right over there ======>

On the sidebar. Okay, scroll up a little. THERE. There it is. You can see it below, too. Anytime you're curious. No more fruitless searching. It's done. Check out April. That's what's going on this month.

Now, I had PLANNED to take a few hours and spiff up the posts. I mean all of the information is current, but some of the posts suffer from a bit of early blogging amateurism. But that plan was made about 15 hours ago. I'll get around to it. Later.

I'm going to bed now. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...