Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An easy dish for the grill - potatoes, garlic scapes, purple scallions & summer savory. Also some photos of our summer fun!

One very, very tired little girl enjoying the last moments of July 4th before bed.

One happy girl.

We had the most wonderful holiday weekend, with plenty of time outside enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather. Although, I must admit I got far too much sun on Monday when we took the kids swimming. Eek! My back is extremely burnt, not so much fun there, but besides that all I can think about are the wonderful blessing we were able to enjoy. Like having friends over Saturday evening, watching the kids play make believe games, running barefoot in the grass, lots of wonderful food and just overall some awesome family time. Weekends like this are a must in my mind. There was no stress to feeling like certain things had to be done. Other then having friends over on Saturday evening and then church on Sunday, our whole weekend was about playing-it-by-ear and enjoy what rolls our way.

Over the last week in a half, we've gone strawberry picking (and picked a whopping 20+ lbs), biking, swimming, had friends over for a nice evening of talking and watching kids play, lit fireworks on the driveway and all in all, eaten some pretty fabulous food, most of which was grilled on a new (but very, very used) grill our neighbor was giving away for free. I have to say that we are pretty stoked about the grill (Char-Griller with smoker) because we were looking at buying the exact same one new, which was around $200. The one we got from our neighbor was extremely dirty, as in you couldn't actually see through the cast iron grills because so much junk was cooked onto them.  After several days of cleaning and me getting filthy in the process, we have a very nice, very usable smoker/grill and all we had to do was wheel it from our neighbors house (right next store) to our place. Not too bad if I do say so myself! Now that we have a decent grill again I can get back to enjoying the many fantastic foods that taste best when they are cooked on an open flame!  
Two little kids memorized by the fireworks we did on our driveway.
One of the fun activities we did last week, actually we did it for my birthday, was strawberry picking. Have you ever tried visiting a pick-your-own farm? Honestly, it's a must, especially if you want to save money on fresh summer items like berries. At the pick-your own farm we went to (Apple Jacks in Delano, MN) the strawberries weren't sprayed and I think the price was around $1.85 a lb. An extra bonus was they were very friendly to kids (not all farms are). I washed and froze a bunch of our strawberries, made fruit roll-ups, dried some, pureed a bunch for smoothies and made 4 batches of strawberry ice cream. We've been enjoying the strawberries so much that I'm actually heading back out with the kids and a friend tomorrow to do it again!

My daughter trying to help pick strawberries.
I have a new Excalibur Food Deydrator coming in the mail, which was a gift from my mom. Yeah for moms!!! It should get here just in time for me to dry all of my next batches of fruit. My last dehydrator did a better job burning the food then drying it, hence the desire for a new one. One of my goals for this summer and the harvest season is to be able to preserve as much food as I can, preferably without the use of refrigeration or freezing. I'm not sure I'll get to quite as much as I want, because we are moving in Sept., which is right at peak season, but I'm gonna try my best. I'm hoping I can get a couple months of food preserved for the winter months, that way I don't have to rely on the co-op so heavily. I'll be sure to keep you all up to date on my progress there. This desire to preserve our summer bounty also comes from another desire of wanting to learn to live a little or a lot (trying to figure that part out still) off the grid.

Over the weekend, we made sure to use as much of the fresh produce from our CSA box from Driftless Organics as we could. Last week our CSA box was once again loaded with some wonderful vegetables and I am truly enjoying our attempts at figuring out new ways to use all the different foods that come. For instance, last night my husband made a simple, yet delicious, coleslaw, using 1 kohlrabi, 1 turnip, 3 carrots, apple cider, a bit of sugar, a touch of homemade mustard, homemade mayonnaise, sea salt and black pepper. The freshness of this coleslaw was awesome and the different vegetables were great together. I truly doubt we would have ever bought these ingredients at the store for a coleslaw, but because we had the kohlrabi and turnip in the box we wanted to find a new use for them.

CSA box week 3.
This potato dish was the same way. I actually made it Thursday evening right after my husband brought our CSA box home. It was very hot and I didn't have a real desire to turn on the stove, so instead we prepared all our food on the grill. This is more of a throw-it-together dish and not one you need to be overly precise with measurements and quantities. When it comes to cooking, I let my eyes and taste buds do the guiding. That can make it hard to share a recipe on a blog though. So, here I've given very basic measurements to give you a general idea of what to toss together. The garlic scapes, scallions and summery savory all came from this weeks CSA box, while the potatoes were a mix from the co-op and our CSA box from a couple weeks ago.

What You'll Need
serves 4-6 
2 lbs potatoes, I used a mixture of yellow and red potatoes, chopped into rough 1" chunks
3 garlic scapes, sliced into 1/4" pieces
5 purple scallions, sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 tbsp fresh summer savory, finely chopped
4 tbsp melted, unsalted butter
Celtic sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Getting Stared

1. Have your grill nice and hot and allow for about 30 minutes of cooking time. We cooked our vegetables first, set kept the covered for another 10 min. while we cooked our hamburgers. Always have your coals on one side of grill allowing for a cooking place for food that needs more indirect heat.

2. Well, it truly doesn't get easier than this. Grab a decent size cast iron skillet (12" is what I used) with lid or a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Toss in all your ingredients and top of with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix everything together to well distribute all the ingredients.

Potatoes have been cooking for about 10 minutes, just took lid of to give them a stir.
I love when my husband grills! 
3. Cover with lid (or make a pouch with the aluminum foil) and place on the grill on indirect heat. If there is a lid for the grill, close it. Check potatoes in about 10 minutes, giving them a good stirring to help make sure they all get well browned. Depending on the heat of your grill the potatoes will likely cook for another 10 - 20 minutes. During the time be sure to continue to check them every 5 minutes to make sure they don't burn and to give them a stir. Also, pull out a small piece of potato to taste test for doneness and seasoning. 

4. Once the potatoes are nicely browned on the outside and have a soft, but not fall apart consistency they are done. Enjoy immediately or keep covered and allow them to sit while you finishing grilling your main course. When we were ready to serve ours we did add a couple more pats of butter, but this isn't necessary.

Enjoy and have fun experimenting with your food!

The end product with a couple extra pats of butter.

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