August on the farm is kind of boring. We can’t spend much time out there because it’s dangerously hot. So when we go, I quickly water the garden, squish bugs, maybe do some laundry, and then get back to the air conditioning as fast as I can.
In lieu of farm posts and photos, I think I’ll type up some of my favorite recipes. Here’s my favorite marinara recipe. It’s nearly essential to make this in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef (grass-fed tastes best)
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 15 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes – do not drain
spices to taste: salt (about 1.5tsp), dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes
Optional: 1/2 cup red wine
Heat the oil in your cast iron pan over medium-high heat for about three minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and saute until done. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes (with juices) spices, and wine. The amount of each spice is entirely up to you, but don’t skimp on the salt.
Simmer on low until the water and wine has reduced to about 1/4 of the original volume. Serve over any noodle of your choice, or zucchini noodles, with plenty of Parmesan and crusty bread.
There is a problem in our fifth wheel. I can’t stop making cucumber pickles. I found pickling cucumbers at a nearby farm and thought what the heck, I’ll try to make some refrigerator pickles. That was five quarts of pickles ago. I made a quart of kosher dill pickles and they disappeared in two days. Then another quart. Then a quart of bread and butter. Then two more quarts of dill.
Yesterday I found gallons of organic whole milk marked down for $1.89 so I definitely bought two with the intention of making Greek yogurt out of one. Well when you make Greek yogurt you strain out much of the whey, and I’d recently been introduced to the concept of home lacto-fermentation, which uses that leftover whey to ferment. It apparently creates delicious, probiotic-full fermented vegetables.
I felt called to make another quart of kosher dills. And I still have enough cucumbers in the fridge to make another quart of pickles sooooo…can’t let them go to waste right?!
I didn’t follow one recipe exactly to make the lacto-fermented pickles. I combined my favorite parts of the refrigerator dill recipe with this easy recipe. And I’d better write that down so if they turn out well I can make them again.
2 tbsp freeze dried dill
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp mustard seed
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Put the above in a one quart jar, then fill with slices of pickling cucumbers, leaving 1″ of room at the top. Then mix together
1 cup water
4 tbsp whey
1 tbsp non-iodized sea salt
Pour over the pickles, then add water to cover the pickles. Apparently you need 1″ of room at the top of the jar; I’m not sure why. But I left the room at the top of the jar.
Now it sits on the counter for three days and then I can taste it and see if it worked!