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Parisienne carrots

Parisienne carrots

We needed something to do with all our little Parissiene market carrots. Huge flavor-tiny carrot!

Curried Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion diced
4-6 cups carrots unpeeled and roughly chopped 6-8 medium carrots or a whole bunch of little ones.
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken or turkey stock
2 tablespoons freshly chopped ginger root
1-2 tablespoons curry powder (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
3 tablespoons coconut peanut butter (earth balance is a good brand)
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one lime
1-2 tablespoons sweetener (sugar, agave, etc.) of choice to balance sweetness if the carrots are not very sweet.

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Sweat the onions on medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the ginger, curry powder and chili flakes cook while stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and sweetener to cover the carrots, reserve some stock to thin final soup if needed. Put a lid on the pot and simmer until the carrots are softened, about 20 or 30 minutes.
When carrots are soft, add the peanut butter and lime juice and carefully blend the soup in batches in a blender (use a towel to hold the lid down firmly) or use an immersion hand blender and puree until smooth. Adjust for seasoning and thin to desired thickness. If too thin continue to simmer and stir until soup has thickened and reduce.

Seed eggs

New experiment this month!
I wanted to know how we might be able to take things like poor germination rates and long germination times out of the gardening equation (Because these are the things that keep me up at night). Currently growers compensate for these issues by deploying a few well established techniques. Such as over seeding then thinning back to achieve a desirable distribution. Replacing empty spaces with well established 3″ potted herbs like parsley to fill the voids in a timely fashion. To pre-soaking the seeds in water to speed up germination times. To even inoculating seeds with micorrhiza spores to improve seed mortality rates. Or in some cases keeping an orderly and properly spaced planting bed strictly by hand planting only well established seedlings, which works for some things but not others. All these techniques work to shave a few days off the maturation rates or improve germination rate and efficiency of space.
Perhaps one way to take care of many of these issues is to deliver seeds that we know are viable and are at a much more advance stage of growth. Not just a soak but a sprout-like an embryo! Sort them for viability, inoculate with microrrhiza, and deliver to the ground 5-10 days ahead of schedule already equipped with its microbial team.
By encasing the seeds in clear organic microbial and plant polymers we can achieve all these goals like in the image. Automating the process with little bit of Raspberry Pi, engineering and some basic microbiology, we might have a cool way to take food production to the next level. I’m thinking not so much paper seed packs but plastic squeeze seed bottles! Teach those carrot and radish seeds whats up!

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Image I found from a grad school teacher’s website showing her kids how seed germinate.  The hard polymer bead called “Water Balz” (not designed for seeds obviously” eventually killed the seed but it was more for demonstration purposes.  That’s ok though plenty of other scientific publications provide a number of successful attempts at the basic idea of seed eggs.

 

The backyard chicken break down

The backyard chicken break down

 

In Tucson you can have up to 24 chickens on your property!  Here is a little summary of how that might look for your pocket book.

Pickled collard green ribs

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Pickled collard green ribs

Inspired by the pickled kale stems that we linked to earlier on FB we wanted to know if other kinds of stems could be further utilized as a tasty snack or re-purposed into other dishes. Turns out collard greens and other related brassicas make for a surprisingly tender and crunch snack with just a little vinegar, salt, bacteria, and time! Throw them in a hot dog bun or chop them up for a great relish for salads. This recipe is for the stems of two “bunches” of collards.

The hardware:

  • One quart size ball jar or other clean glass vessel with tight fitting lid.
  • The stems of two bunches of collard greens with the ends trimmed down to exactly 5 and 1/2 inches (that’s the internal height of a ball jar with head space).

The software:

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbs. pickling salt
  • ½ cup Mother Apple Cider Vinegar or other live culture vinegar
  • 4 chilies from the garden of your choice (we used our red and green chili  peppers Joe E. Parkers) prepare them by cutting two small slices in the top in bottom to let the brine in.
  • ¼ of a small onion sliced longitudinally (a few scallions could work too)
  • 1 garlic clove sliced thin
  • 1 sprig dill, crudely chopped (preferably with flowers) or ¼ tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp. mustard seed
  • ½ tsp. citric acid (optional)
  1. Pack the clean glass jar with collard stems, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and remaining herbs and spices.
  2. Make brine solution by bringing the 3 cups of water and 2 T pickling salt to a boil.
  3. Poor the vinegar in the jar with the veggies and then top with hot bring solution until the stems are covered leaving a ½ inch of room.
  4. Fasten lid and let cool a few minutes.
  5. Rotate the jar to distribute the solution and set on counter till completely cooled.
  6. Place in the fridge for a few days to a week before eating. They will keep for a couple weeks.

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Black bean brownies that are, gluten free, and require just one bowl and about 30 minutes to prepare!

  • 2 15 oz. cans (or ~4 cups) black beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 6 T extra virgin coconut oil, melted (or sub other oil of choice)
  • 1.5 cup cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 T orange liquer
  • 1 heaping cup fine raw sugar or granular sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Optional toppings: crush walnuts, pecans or pepitas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×13 pyrex baking dish
  3. Add the beans to the work bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times to a minute until beans begin to break down.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients except the sugar, walnuts or other toppings and puree – about 3 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth.
  5. Add the sugar and continue to puree for one more minute.  Batter should begin to thin and develop a sheen.
  6. If the batter appears too thick, add a Tbsp or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but not runny.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter into pan and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
  8. Optional: Sprinkle with topping(s).
  9. Bake for 26-36 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides..
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minute.
  11. Serve with a cup of muddy coffee.

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New garden project at the Food Conspiracy Coop! The Urban Micro Farm. One of the first coops that we know of to run an operate its own food production system. Worried about food miles, pathogens, nutrient content, water use, and rising food prices? Urban agriculture might be a more profitable business model then one might think!

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