Foti Farm

Locally world famous since 2005

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fava Beans

It's harvest time for our front yard fava beans. Jenny and I were really happy with how this crop turned out. We had no idea what to expect when we planted these in November. The plant turned out to be very pretty, and hearty through the winter. Quite unlike any other bean we've ever grown. It's a very full, bushy plant with tall and thick stems. We collected three large bowls full of pods this morning.

I've never cooked with fava beans either. It isn't really a common ingredient. When you mention fava beans, most people can only think of the famous reference from "Silence of the Lambs", where Hannibal Lector describes eating human liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

I searched the internet and found this recipe for Favas Guisadas that looked pretty good. I tried it for dinner this evening, and it was very good. When I was first preparing it, I was afraid it might be a bit flavorless, but it actually surprised both Jenny and I. the beans were very tender and smooth, and quite flavorful. I did modify the recipe slightly. I added some white wine, and a bit of chicken stock instead of the suggested water.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jumping on the Breadwagon

Here on the Foti Farm, we don't usually buy into fads, but when we read about a new no-knead technique for baking bread, we decided to give it a shot. Originally published last November in the New York Times, this recipe seems to have captivated the collective imagination of the entire internet over the last few months. I'm happy to report that the recipe delivers on it's promises. Our first loaf had moist, chewy crumb with large air bubbles, and more importantly, a really nice crispy crust.

The ingredients are about as basic as it gets:

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

The preparation technique is really where the magic is. Read the article for all the details. The key points are to let time (18-24 hours) do the work instead of kneading, and use a heavy cast iron pot to cook the bread in. This, combined with the very wet dough creates steam, which results in that wonderful crust.

My only complaint with this recipe is that the resulting loaves aren't very big. Given the investment in time this bread requires, I'm considering making a double batch for two loaves next time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Here we go again

After months of no posts, and a change of URL, it doesn't seem likely that anybody will still be reading this blog. Not that it had many readers anyway. Oh well... that's not really why it's here.

A new year is upon us. Jenny and I have spent the last few weekends revamping the front yard garden. We replanted some of the fruit trees, yanked some others, rearranged the layout, installed a gravel path, rototilled and amended the soil. Whew! Makes me tired just typing it out. Everything is looking good, if a bit bare right now. I really feel like we're off to a good start this year. Seeds were ordered over the winter and started in the kitchen about 3 weeks ago. Most will be ready for transplanting to the garden soon. This is the first year most of our garden will be started from seed. We're planting several kinds of tomatos, poblano chiles, onions, strawberries, corn, eggplant, cucumbers, several varieties of beans (sorry no specifics, I don't have my list right now, and I can never remember). We're also trying some new stuff this year. Potatos mainly. Jenny located a source for hop rhyzomes, so we're gonna try to grow some. Maybe we'll be able to use them in our homebrew someday.

The backyard is still in a winterized mode, but we'll begin tackling that soon. I think I'm gonna devote at least one of the raised beds to cantelopes, or some other mellon. Not watermellon though. I've tried those for two years, and each time I get decent looking mellons, but just before they ripen, I find them split open, and filled with bugs.

Last year we shared the garden with the world through our participation in the Edible Estates project. It was a great experience, but both Jenny and I are happy to kind of reclaim the gardens for ourselves this year. Since it's springtime, a lot of magazine articles that were prepared month ago are now appearing. Fritz has a scan of one appearing in the newest issue of Dwell magazine, here. A short video for Food Network was taped in early January. It's a really good little piece. We had a lot of fun making it. The crew were very nice and interesting to meet. Since it was for the Food Network, we concentrated on the food angle, which was nice because most of the other stuff we've done has focused on other aspects of the project. The food is really what it's all about.

Speaking of which, we do have fresh garden grown produce right now. We have several nice heads of cabbage growing, which should be good for a St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage feast. We also have a decent crop of fava beans that are just about ready to harvest.

My goal this year is to always be planting. I spent far too much time last year worrying about weeds. Vegetables only last for a few months, so over time, bare spots are bigger problem in a highly visible garden like ours than weeds. Planting is more fun than weeding anyway.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Waking from our winter slumber

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

We got the holiday season started here on the farm with our annual Day of the Dead celebration. Jenny, the kids, and I built this 'oferenda' to honor our dead ancestors. I thought it turned out pretty neat.