Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 5 -- Summer Squash

Roots Farm CSA Week 5: May 31 & June 3

This Week:
-Carrots: Napoli, Bolero, Nelson, Yaya
-Beets: Merlin
-Turnips: Hakurei or Scarlet Queen
-Radishes: Easter Egg
-Lettuce: Green Oakleaf, Green Star, New Red Fire
-Swiss Chard or Kale
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)
-Fresh Garlic!! California Early
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Yellow Zucchini, Green Zucchini, Magda
-Cucumbers! Marketmore, Sultan
-Basil or Dill

On the Farm . . .
Well, that storm that blew in last week brought us some much-needed rain, but it also wrecked some havoc on-farm here. One of our big new hoop houses is a sad sight to see -- all crooked-y and broken on one end where the footers pulled out of the ground, the boards splintered apart, the plastic ripped, and some of the 2½ inch steel piping bent and broke -- YIKES! We’ll be able to salvage most of it, but it’s more work to be done in a time of the year where there’s already plenty of work to be had. Most destructive 15 minutes we’ve had out here in a while. We also had some landscape fabric pull up off the beds and blow into the neighboring trellises and trees. And the lovely, long row of sweet potatoes out in the unfenced field lost both their fabric and their row cover, leaving them exposed to the deer who promptly ate about half of them. Our small hoop house also lost its plastic cover, which we’ll just remove for the rest of the summer. Change can be quick on the farm, and not always in the direction you were expecting.

Fresh Garlic
In better news, the garlic is getting ready and we’ve begun pulling it and processing it. Garlic can be used fresh, and we will give out some fresh for you, but to really store it for months, we have to cure it. Curing it entails setting it out somewhere with good airflow and letting it slowly dry. In the meantime, since your garlic is fresh, it will be really easy to peel, which is awesome, but you need to keep it in the refrigerator. Uncured garlic will go bad out on your counter and feed the fruit fly populations.

Bye Bye Lettuce
This is it -- the last week of lettuce for the summer. Enjoy your crispy lettuce now because it won’t appear again until September or October. We’ll try to keep arugula appearing for you as a salad green, but lettuce is a goner.

June Weekend Workday, Saturday June 11th
In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be hosting our June weekend workday, so mark your calendars and get ready! Saturday, June 11th, from 9am-noon! It’s garlic harvesting season and we’re up to our earlobes in garlic, which is great! So we really do need your help, and now’s the time you can give it. We’ll go out while it’s nice early in the morning and do some weeding and mulching and trellising and such, and then we’ll retire to the shade to process garlic for curing. We can sit in the shade by the fans and chat like regular old-timey folks--conversating while we get the job done. And it’s a mighty big job to be done--over 600 feet of garlic, which is over 3,000 heads! Then we can bounce on upstairs for a lovely farm-fresh BRUNCH!! Yay! Come join us!

Athens Tour de Farm
A whole passel of bikers came through and toured Roots Farm this past Monday as part of Athens’ annual Tour de Farm. The tour ran for 3 days and 2 nights and visited 10 different farms in the Athens and surrounding areas. They biked about 30 miles each day, enjoyed farm-fresh feasts each evening prepared by guest chefs, and camped out on the land. It’s a lovely way to get a closer look at local producers and a unique experience of enjoying locally grown goodness. If you missed out, sign up early next year as spaces fill quickly with eager cyclists, of which Athens has many.

In Your Basket
Enjoy the last of the lettuce coming through. My apologies if your lettuce heads are not perfectly formed--it seems the deer have gotten into the lower garden and have been having salad for supper most nights. I wondered why those heads looked so funny, then I looked closer and discovered they’d been munched. Pesky deer. And we’ll be featuring summer squash this week since it’s in strong now. I encourage you to savor it while it lasts--seems like our more recent planting are wanting to die even before they produce, and 2 out of 3 of the old ones that are producing now are dying off fast. We’ll keep planting them, but I’m not sure what the future holds in store for us--they may fail out. Or hey, it may turn out to be a really awesome late squash season this year--who knows? Get while the gettin’s good. And speaking of good, the carrots, beets, and cucumbers are flowing like water. Radishes and turnips are back, perhaps the last time for turnips. And the basil is just beginning. In fact, it’s prominently featured in one of our recipes this week . . .

Summer Squash
Our spotlight this week is on the summer squashes. We’ve got several varieties we’re growing this year--so far, you’ve seen the yellow and green zucchinis, the bi-colored yellow and green zephyr squash (which are my favorite), and the light green mid-eastern cousa-type magda squash (a close second favorite). We’ve got yellow crooknecks planted, patty pans, and trombicino squashes yet to come. Squash-fest! Summer squash is approximately 94% water, very low in calories, and a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. Eat ‘em up.

Storage: summer squash dehydrates quickly (it respires through its skin!) so keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Damaged or bruised squash will deteriorate very quickly. Usage: gosh, where to begin? I think summer squash is quite versatile and excellent in stir-fries, curries, salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, grilled, baked, roasted, boiled, and fried. It’s great filler for vegetarian lasagna and pasta sauces. You can even make desserts out of it like zucchini cake and break and cookies and mock apple cobbler. Have fun.
Squash & Zucchini Toast Appetizer
1 lb mixed summer squash, smaller size
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup onion (optional)
1 sourdough or French baguette
extra olive oil for toast

Grate summer squash over a bowl. Toss with sea salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse away the salt thoroughly and drain well in a colander. Shape the squash into tennis ball sized handfuls and squeeze out the excess water. Discard the water and return the squash to the bowl. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, basil, garlic, (and onion if you like raw onion). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to merge. Meanwhile, slice the baguette into ½-inch slices and fry in olive oil. Scoop out a large tablespoon of the squash mixture on the prepared toast. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings. Recipe by PLACE Raw (except for the toast), vegan goodness. Craig Page made this delightful dish at the Saturday Athens Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve made it three or four times since then. Yum!

Zucchini-Goat Cheese Pizza
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
8 oz prepared refrigerated pizza dough
3-4 oz goat cheese, thinly sliced or roughly chopped
1 zucchini, peeled into thin strips (use a vegetable peeler or mandolin)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into rings
6 oz of tomato paste (the small cans)
2 Tbsp finely minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp red wine or red wine vinegar

To make the pizza: preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush a large baking sheet or pizza pan with 1 Tbsp oil. Spread pizza dough in prepared pan. To make sauce: stir together all ingredients with a fork in a small bowl. Spread sauce on dough. Top with half the goat cheese. Spread zucchini strips over goat cheese, top with bell pepper rings, then remaining goat cheese. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Bake 10-15 minutes. Makes 1, 10-inch pizza. Note: for those of you who are vegan or just not into red sauce, try making this with homemade pesto sauce instead. Adapted from the June issue of Vegetarian Times Magazine.

Vegetable Fritters
2 medium white potatoes
2 large carrots
2 small zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
oil for cooking
Optional Yogurt-Dill sauce:
1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped
4 oz plain yogurt

Grate potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Place them in a colander and squeeze out the excess liquids. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion, flour, and garlic. Fold in eggs and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Coat a large skillet with oil and heat over medium heat. Spoon 2 Tbsp of fritter mixture for each patty into the pan and shape with the spoon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bottoms are crisp. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until browned on both sides. Serve immediately topped with Yogurt-Dill sauce (just stir the yogurt and the dill together). Makes 4 servings. Adapted from the June issue of Vegetarian Times Magazine.

Cinnamon Zucchini Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (opt)
Frosting (optional):
4 oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, softened
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Mix oil and eggs in another bowl until smooth; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini; stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in walnuts, if desired. Spread mixture in prepared pan; bake until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool thoroughly. To make frosting, beat cream cheese, butter milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Frost cake. Makes 12 or more servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook. I like to make muffins from this recipe--it makes about 16-18 muffins. And instead of frosting, I just mix a little extra cinnamon and sugar together and spoon it on top of the muffins before baking them -- it makes a nice, sweet crust on top (like Mom’s cinnamon toast . . . yummm).

MORE summer squash recipes are available here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 4 -- Kohlrabi

Roots Farm CSA Week 4: May 24 & 27

This Week:
-Purple Kohlrabi!
-Carrots: Napoli, Bolero, Nelson, Yaya
-Turnips: Hakurei or Scarlet Queen
-Beets: Chioggia or Merlin
-Lettuce: Red & Green Butterheads! Green Oakleaf
-Swiss Chard or Kale
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Yellow Zucchini, Green Zucchini, Magda
-Cucumbers! Marketmore
-Basil or Mint

On the Farm . . .
It’s a mixed review this week, some light, some dark. Here goes . . .

Raves: I like to rave about what’s awesome on the farm, and believe me, there are lots of awesome things--my favorites currently being the weeded and landscape fabric-ed and mulched areas of our Northeastern fields that just look picture perfect now and the lovely array of leafy greens and lettuces in our newest cultivated area. I’m also excited to announce that we just re-opened the CSA for the summer and took on a few more members because it looks like we’re going to have a good season. And we sold all those memberships in a matter of HOURS! Yay! It’s late May and things are looking pretty good.

Challenges: Mixed in with that experience, though, are the challenging aspects of farming. Things to deal with. The squash bugs are back. I’m not surprised--they always appear sometime along the summer--but they are getting pretty heavy in our oldest plantings of summer squash, and it always makes me sad to see the big, beautiful plants go down to insect pressure and age. Sigh. Squash bugs; they smell like amaretto when you smash them and they multiply worse than cockroaches. And the corn. We had to till in all six rows of corn last week. All of them. Gone. We had poor germination again this year, the second year running, and I’m beginning to suspect that it’s because we use untreated seed (most corn seed is treated with a pink fungicide to keep the seeds from rotting in cool, damp soil) and planted too early when the soil wasn’t warm enough yet. Next year, I’ll plant two weeks later. This year, we finally made the call to give up on that planting and start all over again. I planted again today, over a month later than the first sowing. That’ll give us corn in late July if things go as planned. But as Becky would say, “That’s farming for you--things go wrong.” So true. Things go right and things go wrong. No corn for the 4th of July; hopefully we’ll have it before and during August.

Coming Soon!
Garlic! We’re growing 11 varieties in 2011. Who knew there were so many varieties of garlic? There are. And our earliest maturing ones are beginning to be ready to pull. We’ll hand out some uncured garlic when it comes in and we’ll cure the rest. Soon, the garage will be FULL of garlic, fans blowing, plants drying, smelling like a gourmet kitchen. We’ve got over 600 feet of it, which is quite a LOT of garlic to process, so it’s kind of a daunting prospect. We managed it last year, though, so I have hope. The processing begins this week. Fresh garlic will grace your baskets next week. Yippee!

In Your Basket
Looks like we’ve seen the last of the strawberries for this season. They were so early this year! Time to bid them adieu. In their departing wake, a whole new wave of summer veggies is arriving. The summer squash have jumped onto the scene with a harvest today that quadruples what we had last week--over 150 lbs! We’ll try not to overwhelm you too much, but the squash portion of the share is healthy this week as we celebrate its abundance. Cucumbers are also arriving, crunchy and delicious. Carrots and beets are continuing. Lettuce is slowing down a bit. And kohlrabi is making its first appearance. Kohlrabi? Kohlrabi.

What an odd vegetable. It’s not a root, not a fruit, not a leaf . . . it’s a swollen stem of all things. This purple, globe-shaped, sparsely leaf-ed veggie is a brassica, close relative to the cabbage and turnip (which is what the name means in German: cabbage-turnip) and has a similar flavor. It’s mild and crunchy and the greens are good for eating, too. Here are some ideas . . . Storage: if you plan to use it soon, keep the whole thing wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If it’s going to be a week or two, separate the leaves and stems from the bulb and keep those in a plastic bag to use within the week. The bulbs can be kept for up to two weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Usage: kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked. When young, they don’t need to be peeled--as they get older, the skin will become tougher and need to be removed. You can grate them or slice them raw into salads, “kohl-slaws,” and onto raw veggie plates to eat with dips or as snacks. Cooked, they can be baked, steamed, boiled, added to stews or stir fries, or substituted in recipes for carrots, potatoes or turnips. They can also be pickled! We made refrigerator pickles out of some last year and they were amazing. The greens can be cooked and eaten as kale would be. Have fun!

Simple Sauteed Kohlrabi
2 medium kohlrabi bulbs, grated
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter or light oil
1 medium onion, diced (~1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (~1/2 tsp)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme, chives, or sage

Mix the kohlrabi and salt in a colander and let stand for 30 minutes to drain. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Stir in the kohlrabi. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, uncover the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Let stand for a couple of minutes. Makes 2 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook. Enjoy!

Kohlrabi “Hashbrown” Cakes with Yogurt Mint Sauce
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt or more to taste
4 kohlrabi bulbs
1/4 cup chopped green garlic (or green onions and 1 clove minced garlic)
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp dried bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste
oil cooking spray

Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and chill at least 30 minutes before serving. (I think the sauce would also be good with grated cucumber in it, like a tzatziki sauce, but do what you will.) Meanwhile, peel and shred the kohlrabi. Transfer to a mixing bowl by fistfuls, squeezing out excess moisture as you go--this is ESSENTIAL. Combine kohlrabi with green garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; stir until blended. Heat a large skillet and spray it generously with cooking spray. Drop mixture by large spoonfuls into the hot pan and fry the cakes in batches until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with yogurt mint sauce. Makes 4-6 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Kohlrabi & Carrot Slaw
1 lb kohlrabi (~4 medium bulbs), peeled & grated
2 medium-large carrots, grated
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, chopped (~1/2 cup)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 large clove garlic, minced (~3/4 tsp)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Toss the kohlrabi, carrots, bell pepper, onion, thyme, and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk the sour cream, oil, vinegar, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Makes 4-6 servings. From Farmer John's Cookbook.

Whipped Kohlrabi & Potatoes
1 lb baking or russet potatoes (4 potatoes)
2 lbs kohlrabi (~8 medium bulbs)
3-4 Tbsp butter
¼- ½ cup milk or cream, depending on how rich and creamy you like it
½ tsp salt plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes and kohlrabi separately (use two pots if needed) until tender, 20-35 minutes depending on size. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the liquid from either vegetable. Peel the potatoes and kohlrabi. Mash them together in a large bowl. (Larger, more mature kohlrabi should be run though a food mill to remove fibers.) Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of the milk or cream. Heat until almost simmering and remove from heat. Pour the butter mixture over the potato mixture. Add ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste and beat until fully combined and smooth. Add another ¼ cup of milk or cream for more rich creaminess, if desired. If you want a smoother texture, slowly stir in the reserved cooking water until it reaches the desired consistency. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 3 -- Carrots

Roots Farm CSA Week 3: May 17 & 20

This Week:
-Sweet Charlie & Chandler Strawberries
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)

-Swiss Chard or Kale
-Hakurei Turnips
-Napoli Carrots!
-Chioggia Beets
-Lettuce -- Red & Green Butterheads!
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Yellow Zucchini
-Garlic Scapes

On the Farm . . .
We had a great workday last weekend--several folks came out and we transplanted almost 500 feet of sweet potatoes! And we reclaimed a whole garden’s worth of isles and rows from the weeds! Wow! Thanks so much for coming out and helping--this farmer is breathing a lot easier this week because of it. Mark your calendars for our next work weekend -- Saturday, June 11. There will be more to do and we’d love to have you out to help us!

In the Field . . .
The garlic is almost ready! We’re growing 11 varieties for 2011 and some of them are beginning to bulb up and dry out, which is just what we’re looking for. Soon, we’ll have a garage full of garlic curing--vampire beware! Also coming soon are cucumbers--the first of which we’ve begun to taste test for you from the hoop houses. There are green tomatoes on the vine, beans climbing up the trellis, squashes coming on, okra and watermelons sprouting, and pepper plants over a foot tall. It’s a great time on the farm--still in the midst of spring veggies with the overlap of summer veggies coming on. Delicious!

In Your Baskets . . .
Welcome carrots! Finally the carrots are here, and they’re beautiful. Yay, and it’s just the beginning--we’ve got over 300 feet of them and there are at least 30 carrots in a foot out there--you do the math--wow. Enjoy the turnips while they last, as well as the lettuce. Both are cool-season crops and not likely to last much past the end of May. This is the last week for cilantro, which is also a cool-season crop, and dill will also be ending soon. The onions continue and arugula is back this week, delicate and delicious. On the beet scene, the chioggia beets are coming out with their vibrant bright pink-ish roots and lightly green greens. These lovely beets are beautiful both inside and out, characterized by a white-and-red bulls-eye pattern when you slice them open cross-ways. They loose that pattern in cooking, so admire it while they’re raw. And garlic scapes are out. What is a garlic scape? It’s the flowering head of a hard-neck (one of the two main kinds of garlic--hard and soft neck) garlic plant. Not only does garlic form bulbs, but hard-neck garlic also forms seed heads called scapes. We pull them off to help divert the energy back in bulb production and give them to you as delicious delicacies. Restaurants love these things. Slice them up and saute them in the pan with whatever you’re making to add a delicate garlicky flavor. Or blend them up with salt and oil in the blender and make a quick garlic paste to enjoy on toast or in your dishes for the week (keep this preparation refrigerated in a jar for a week, tops). Garlic scapes are tasty and often curled in a whimsical sort of way. Take part in some culinary whimsy--enjoy the truly seasonal treat of garlic scapes.

The spotlight this week is our carrots. I wish I knew exactly which variety you’re getting this week, but all I can do is make a good guess since I didn’t make good notes while we planted them. They’re either Napoli, Nelson, Yaya, or Bolero . . . I’m guessing Napoli, but you’re welcome to decide for yourself. Carrots are in the umbeliferae family along with other veggies like cilantro, fennel, caraway, dill, and the flower Queen Anne’s lace. Poison Hemlock is also in the carrot family, so beware eating wild carrots if you’re not sure on your identification skills. The carrot originated in middle Asia and early varieties were purple and pale yellow. The first orange carrot did not appear until the 1600’s in the Netherlands. That orange color is indicative of beta carotene, which these carrots are high in. Carrots also pack a lot of vitamin A, calcium, potassium, fiber, and trace minerals. Enjoy!

Storage: remove the tops (which you can also eat like parsley or cook into soups and such if you’re into using everything you can) and store the roots in a plastic bag for 2-4 weeks. Preparation: I don’t know if you really need any tips on carrot usage. A ubiquitous veggie in the USA, carrots can be utilized in everything from soups to salads to stir fries, roasts, grills, sandwiches, sauces, souffles, cakes, muffins, and more. Eat them raw, eat them cooked, enjoy! Below are some carrot-y ideas for you, more of which are available here.

Spiced Carrot Salad
2 cups diagonally sliced/julienned carrots
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (~1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
11/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar (or honey, maple syrup)
1/3 cup olive oil
lemon slices

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots; boil until barely tender and still brightly colored, 1-2 minutes. Drain the carrots and immediately run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Drain well. Transfer the carrots to a large salad bowl. Add the parsley, cilantro, and mint; toss to combine. Mix the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar. Slowly pour in the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is thick and no longer separates. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Let the salad come to room temperature before serving. Top each serving with a lemon slice. This recipe also goes well with some slivered dried prunes, a handful of currants, or chopped black olives. Enjoy! Makes 4-6 servings. (from Farmer John’s Cookbook)

Baked Beet & Carrot Burgers
butter for greasing the baking sheet
½ cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups peeled, grated beets (1-2 medium beets)
2 cups grated carrots (about 4 carrots)
½ cup minced onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (about ½ tsp)
⅛- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter. Place a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the toasted seeds to a dish to cool. Return the skillet to the heat. Add the sunflower seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately transfer them tot he dish with the sesame seeds. Combine the beets, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Stir in the toasted sunflower and sesame seeds, eggs, rice, Cheddar cheese, oil, flour, parsley, soy sauce or tamari, and garlic (your hands work best here). Add cayenne and mix until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 patties and arrange them in rows on the baking sheet. Bake the patties until brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Unless they are very large and thick, it should not be necessary to turn them. Serve alone or on buns. Makes 12 patties. If you like veggie burgers, you’ll love this recipe. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Carrot Souffle
1½ lb carrots, cooked and drained
3 large eggs
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1½ cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 1½-quart casserole dish. In food processor or blender, blend all ingredients well. Spoon into dish. Bake 1 hour until lightly browned. Be careful not to over-brown the bottom—you may need to bake at 325 degrees. Makes 6-8 servings. From my Grandma Everlovin’s Kitchen. Don’t be fooled by the vegetable content into thinking this is a side dish – it is definitely in the category of desserts. So sweet and delicious, you’ll definitely want to go back for seconds!

Carrot Muffins
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups firmly packed grated carrots
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 16 regular-size muffin cups. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the carrots, maple syrup, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. The batter will be stiff; an ice-cream scoop does a great job of distributing it. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes, until they have risen and a knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes. To make the topping mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, one at a time dip the tops into the melted butter , then into the sugar and cinnamon mixture, covering the tops completely. Let cool before serving. Makes 16 servings. From Serving Up the Harvest.