Thursday, May 29, 2008

herding without a crook and spring dinner

In an effort to eat more locally we have been trying to plan meals around what is in season. This was our first "post vegan" attempt at making pizza. The cooks illustrated crust did not work out. I'm sure this was our fault because they test their recipes at least 100 times. The toppings were balsamic, caramelized onions, roasted asparagus, diced tomatoes and goat cheese (garlic & chive chevre) from port madison farms. You can't go wrong with these ingredients together.

Good Reasons to Buy Local Food -
Buying local produce not only gives you fresh, nutritious food, but also enhances your community in these ways:
- Keeps small farmers in business and supports the local economy.
-Preserves farmland and open space in your area.
- Conserves natural resources—less fuel used in transportation and packaging.
-Preserves the environment with responsible use of water, fewer farm chemicals, and less air pollution. (WSU extension)

To make our salad more exciting I tossed in chive flowers from our garden...pungent but good.

The best part of our dinner was sauteed pea vines with chives and butter. We needed to thin out our pea plants and I have heard that you can eat the vines, so I gave it a try. They pretty much taste like any other leafy green vegetable with a little sweet pea-like flavor...very good. And of course its always fun when you can grow your own food!

I found some information about Pea Shoot/Vines from WSU extension....
Pea shoots are the choice leaves and tendrils of pea plants. Shoots are typically harvested from snow pea vines, although they can be from any type of garden pea. Pea shoots can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.

To cook, place damp pea shoots in an empty saucepan over medium heat. The water clinging to the damp shoots is enough to steam them. Cover and heat just until wilted.

Look for pea shoots at your local farmers’ market in spring, early summer and fall. Their season is rather short, as peas do not grow well when daytime temperatures are above 65° F.

Pea shoots are considered a “green.” Green leafy vegetables are typically nutrient-dense. This means that for very few calories you get large amounts of vitamins and minerals. For just 10 calories and no fat, take a look at the nutrients in 2 cups of raw pea shoots.

Pea shoots are harvested from the growing point of the plants and should be young and tender. Choose shoots that include the top pair of small leaves (the tip), delicate tendrils attached to the young stem, and maybe a few larger leaves or even blossoms.

Pea shoots are packed full of carotenes—strong antioxidants that protect cells from damage and help prevent certain diseases.

Pea shoots may also contain valuable phytochemicals. Certain pea plants have these natural disease fighters, but it is not known whether garden peas contain them. The phytochemicals found in other types of pea plants include lignins, a flavonoid called quercetin, and caffeic acid. Researchers believe these substances help prevent cancer in different ways and have other beneficial health effects.

Try this flavorful way to wilt pea shoots:
Flash-Cooked Greens with Garlic

1-1/4 lb. pea shoots or other greens, rinsed
1 teaspoon canola or olive oil
8 to 10 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2-1/2 tablespoons rice wine, sake or water
¼ teaspoon salt, if desired

Heat oil in a wok or skillet. Add pea shoots and garlic; toss lightly about 20 seconds, then add rice wine and salt. Toss over high heat 1 minute or less, just until wilted. Lift out of pan, leaving the liquid. Serve. (From A Spoonful of Ginger: Irresistible, Health-Giving Recipes from Asian Kitchens by Nina Simonds, Knopf, 1999.)

Light and flavorful, this pea-vine salad is heaven-sent.
Pea Vine Salad
1 pound pea vines, rinsed
¼ pound snow peas, trimmed
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon hot-chili oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds*
Wilt the pea vines; drain on paper towels. Fluff and separate the leaves as much as possible.
Cut the snow peas on the diagonal into thirds. Place in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water and pat dry.
Whisk together liquids and sugar. Toss the pea vines with half of the dressing and half of the sesame seeds. Arrange on a serving dish. Toss the snow peas with the remaining dressing and sesame seeds. Arrange on top of pea vines. Serves 4. (Adapted from a Seattle Times recipe, June 24, 1998.)
*To toast sesame seeds, heat a dry skillet. Add sesame seeds, shaking gently until they begin to turn golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.

source :

I love this field covered in yellow flowers near Diane's farm

Last night I learned how to direct Indigo with my arms. I felt goofy waving my arms all over the place, but I couldn't believe how well it worked. She responded really well and slowed down when I waved my arms above my head (I guess it makes me look intimidating). She was feeling really confident though and going in to nip the sheep and have fun chasing them around.

Indigo has a square turn instead of cutting in, which according to Diane is something that many dogs need to learn how to do. This is good news because it makes my life a lot easier for training

We are going to do our first day of self-herding in the round pen on Tuesday morning. I'm going to have Tess (Diane's very well trained dog) get some sheep in the round pen and work with Indigo for a awhile. We'll see how I do by myself.

without crook

with crook

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