Apple Chips or Whatever

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These apple chips are just whatever. KIDDING. They are the most incredible, light, tasty nature snacks you will ever eat. You will stay up all night after a long day of work and a two hour lecture to crank out a huge batch of these chips – only to discover that when you go into the other room to get a pair of socks that A ate all your hard work. But it wasn’t hard work, really. You are just being dramatic. So you make another batch. He eats the whole thing. So you make another. He eats 20 chips, you eat five. You make another batch. He comes over to the tray and methodically stuffs every single chip into his mouth. He’s addicted. You are the enabler. But it’s fine. THESE ARE CHIPS MADE OUT OF APPLES.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (I’M SO EXCITED BY THESE MORSELS THAT I AM CAPS YELLING)
Apples
Parchment paper
Baking sheets
Mandolin slicer

1. Preheat the oven to 250. Slice the apples (very thinly) the mandolin. The thinner you slice them, the faster they will cook and the crispier they will be. I do not core the apples before slicing because I like my nature snacks real earthy.
2. Arrange the slices on the baking sheets (one layer, no overlaps).
3. Bake for about 40 minutes, and flip the slices halfway through. Bake time will depend on apple thickness.
4. Remove slices from the oven when edges curl and the apples turn a bit brown. Once they cool they will crisp up.
5. Hope to have leftovers for tomorrow, but then eat all of the chips instead.

Urban Farming

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I’ve been M.I.A. because:

a) I decided to enroll in Federal Income Tax.

b) The train was being held momentarily forever at the station.

c) I am an urban farmer.

d) All of the above.

The answer is D, for DUH!!!

So, yes, I am enrolled in Federal Income Tax. Do not ask me whether you should purchase federal or corporate bonds, or whether or not that free hotel room constituted a fringe benefit, because the lawyerly answer is “it depends” and because it involves math. The train is always being held at the station. And, I am an urban farmer.

Joke! So I am not actually an urban farmer. Let’s get serious. I do not grow produce on my roof (yet), but I do compost food scraps every weekend at the farmer’s market and I also grow lentil, alfalfa, red clover, radish, canola, and black mustard sprouts in jars on my windowsill. Oh, and you can too.

You will need:
1 bell jar
1 mesh screen for the bell jar OR old pantyhose stretched over the bell jar with a rubber band
2 tbs of organic seeds to sprout. I bought mine from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Use organic so that you do not poison yourself. You can also sprout most beans!
Filtered water

Let’s do this thing:
1. Place the seeds into the jar. Fill the jar with water until the seeds are covered. Let sit overnight.
2. Empty out the water and add new water to rinse the seeds. This time, drain the water. Place the jar near a window or another source of sunlight. You can angle the jar downward so that the excess water drips out.
3. Let the jar sit for 12 hours, at which time, change the water and drain the jar again.
4. Repeat for about 3-4 days or until the seeds begin to sprout. Take your sprouts out of the jar and transfer to a covered container. Keep in the fridge.
5. If you are confused, consult a the internet.

Enjoy your sprouts, weirdo.

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Big Green Hairy Balls

Actually, they are called gomphocarpus physocarpus.

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Roasted Tomatoes

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Long time no see! I’ve been spending most of my time depressed that I’m not actually a farmer (yet), and my motivation for posting is just eh. But last night, these roasted tomatoes were so good that it would be a shame not to share them. I ate four.

You will need:
As many tomatoes as you want
An oven-safe baking dish
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
A few extra whole cloves of peeled garlic for the bottom of the pan (optional)
1 handful fresh basil, ripped to shreds!
1 handful fresh parsley, ripped to shreds!
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
S&P to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange on the baking dish.
2. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper as well as the garlic, basil, and parsley. You can also add a few extra cloves of peeled garlic to the bottom of the pan if you’re into that.
3. Bake for 30 minutes. Then switch the oven to high broil for 15 to 20 minutes more. Eat.

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It’s My Birthday and I’ll Spend it All Day on an Organic Farm in the Catskills if I Want to

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Yesterday was my birthday (you know, the one I share with this lady named Julia Child, with whom I also share the same talents culinaires de grands) and I spent it sitting in the dirt on a farm with my phone turned off, because I am the boss of my body and I love vegetables. Another selfish, anti-social thing you could do is bake yourself a huge chocolate zucchini cake from zucchini that you harvested and then only share it with VIPs. This cake is muy interesante since the batter is thick with zucchini, yet when you bake it – it disappears.

Cake Ingredientseseses (I made half this recipe because there are not that many VIPs in my life):
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan (use a smaller pan, or even a loaf pan if you are making half the recipe).
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely before frosting (see below).

Frosting Ingredientseseses:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in cocoa and vanilla. Place confectioners sugar in a large bowl. Pour in cocoa mixture. Beat well (mixture will be thick). Beat in milk, a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.

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Almost-Set-Your-Apartment-On-Fire Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

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SUMMER TOMATO TIME. It’s more exciting than Chanukah, 50% off socks, and seeing Jake Gyllenhaal wandering the streets of Tribeca. Fact- this soup is labor intensive – roasting peppers, peeling tomatoes, pureeing – and you might have better things to do with you life, like stalk JG or bragging on Facebook that you saw JG. Fact- making this soup is a better use of your time and your summer tomatoes.

Stuff you’ll need (oh, this recipe makes a lot, I usually make half the recipe, which is more than enough for two people) :
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 red bell peppers
4 large tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped (directions below)
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
pinch of white sugar
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sour cream or greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
brown paper grocery bag
olive oil

1. Peel the tomatoes: cut an X on the bottom skin of the tomatoes. Drop into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. The peel should come off easily and then you can go ahead and seed the tomatoes as well.
2. Roast the peppers: massage olive oil all over the peppers. Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Turn the oven on broil. Broil the peppers until they are blackened, turn them every 10 minutes. Don’t forget to place a rolled up dish towel in the top of the oven door to help prop it open (this is so the peppers roast from the top heat, and do not heat from all sides). If you have a small apartment, be prepared for the smoke alarm to go off every time you open the door to turn the peppers. It should take at least 30 minutes for the peppers to cook.
3. Place the peppers in the brown bag, crumple at the top, and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop the peppers. Set aside one of the chopped peppers.
4. Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in tomato, bell peppers (except the reserved chopped pepper), thyme, paprika, and sugar. Cook this mixture over medium-low heat until all the tomato juices have evaporated, about 30 minutes.
5. Stir in stock, salt and pepper to taste, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.
6. Strain soup, placing the solids in a food processor or blender, and reserving the broth in a large bowl. Place solids in food processor or blender, and process until fairly smooth. Add puree back into broth.
7. Melt butter in the original pot/dutch oven and stir in the flour (skip this part if you have self control). Stirring slowly, add the broth/vegetable mixture. Add reserved chopped pepper and bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.
8. Ladle into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of sour cream or greek yogurt to each bowl, or not.

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Worms and Dirt Dirt and Worms

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Been dealing with a lot of worms and dirt lately. Some bugs on the farm are considered muy malo, but worms are the best. You are probably familiar with this dessert, as it is served at many a summer camp and school lunch room. Nevertheless, you should make it, after a long day farming or investment banking or whatever – it’s quick and chocolatey and sugary and delicious.

You will need:
1 box chocolate pudding
Milk (see pudding box for amount)
Oreos or a similar cookie, smashed
Gummy worms

1. Make the pudding according to the directions.
2. Layer pudding + smashed oreos in cups.
3. Top with a gummy worm or two.
4. Eat, duh.

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Beet Burgers

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Okay, so the picture is a little blurry, but who cares! We have an emergency! Beets will NOT STOP ARRIVING in my CSA, so I needed to think of yet another way to get rid of cook them. I thought I was off the hook with the roasting and pickling, but I was wrong. Luckily, beet burgers are hearty, healthy, and have the appearance of meat, which is weird, but who cares!

To make six burgers, you will need:
1 cup cooked, cooled brown rice
1 cup cooked brown or green lentils (or canned chickpeas, or black beans)
1 cup shredded beets (use the food processor or grate by hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs
olive oil or vegetable oil

1. Using the food processor’s metal blade attachment pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look like ground meat.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients. Mix with your hands or a spoon if you’re afraid of beet juice. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Drizzle enough olive oil into a cast iron pan to cover its bottom (ha ha). Use a cast iron pan if you have one, it will make the burgers crispier than a non-stick one.
4. Turn the stove to medium. When the oil heats up, add a few burgers to the pan. Cook each side for 5 minutes. The burgers should be brown, not burnt, and heated through.

Maidenhair Fern

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During a trip to the city on farm shabbos (Monday), I discovered that my once delicate maidenhair fern is now too dry to revive.

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Skillet Sunday

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Skillet Sunday in the Catskills means farm eggs, tomatoes, and potatoes, and reading the entire New York Times (minus the sports and car sections). Skillet Sundays is a tradition that A and I started back in November, you see, and these traditional Sundays traditionally involve A waking up early and cooking copious amounts of fried eggs and experimenting with various potato preparations. Then I eat. The eggs I got this week from the farm have especially yellow, tasty yolks (happy chickens lay happy eggs). A cut the fingerlings I harvested into coins and sautéed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and onions from the inside of a onion roll purchased from one of the many Kosher bakeries up here. Not only was that move resourceful since chopping onions at 7:30 a.m. is not ideal, but it allowed a few poppy seeds to fall into the potatoes as well.

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