Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Heavenly Rhubarb Lemonade

Rhubarb lemonade was a huge hit with Team Rain from Salmon Bay Elementary!

Team Rain loved the rhubarb lemonade so much they nicknamed it "Rhub-ade". One team member remarked, "It wasn't rubade, it was heaven".  We agree!!

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that can be harvested in the spring and into the summer.
Just eat the stems, which are delicious in pies, cobblers and even lemonade! DON'T eat the leaves because they are poisonous. 

Rhubarb Lemonade
Combine in a saucepan:
2 to 4 cups chopped rhubarb stems (more rhubarb will make it more tart and colorful)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 cup water
Bring ingredients to a boil and let it simmer over medium-low heat for about ten minutes until the rhubarb is soft. 
Set it aside and let it cool.

Meanwhile, cut 6 to 8 lemons in half and juice them with a reamer.  You should try to get about 3/4 cup lemon juice.

Fill a pitcher with about 8 cups of water and ice.  Pour the rhubarb mixture into a sieve and use a wooden spoon to press out as much of the rhubarb liquid as possible into the water.  You'll be left with the lemon peel and some rhubarb goo in the sieve, which you can eat (the kids thought it was delicious) or compost.

Pour the lemon juice into the sieve above the pitcher to remove the seeds and press gently to get the juice from the pulp.  Stir well and give it a taste.  Does it need more juice?  More water?  More sugar (I doubt it!)?

Serve with a fresh mint leaf if you wish - Mmmmm!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Soil to Snack: Corn Biscuits

Warm May sunshine welcomed Team Forest, from Silver Ridge Elementary, into the IslandWood garden. Our Soil to Snack project was to make Corn Biscuits.  But not just any corn biscuits.  No, these were going to be truly Farm to Table, Slow Food biscuits.

What does Farm to Table and Slow Food mean?  For starters it means delicious, wholesome food, and I think Team Forest would agree as they devoured the biscuits!

We started with fresh local corn from Emily's farmer friends Aaron and Dana.  They farm Around the Table Farm in Poulsbo, WA using organic farming methods, companion planting and crop rotation.


Not only was this corn grown with much love and care, but the soil it was planted in was tilled by two giant horses that belong to another local farmer, Betsy, from Laughing Crow Farm.  

Animal powered Farming!  Draft horses and sisters Abby and Red of Laughing Crow Farm

Beautifully colored corn, about to become corn flour!

Making the biscuits was a fun but slow process.  First the students took the corn kernels off the corn.

Olivia helping one of the students turn the mill wheel.
Next we used a grain mill to grind the corn into flour
The corn flour still has some of the beautiful colors
Jen helping the kids make the biscuit dough

We took the corn flour over to the cob oven in the garden, and started making biscuits.  The recipe calls for buttermilk, so instead of buying buttermilk, the kids made buttermilk!  All you need to make buttermilk is a carton of cream and lots of people willing to shake it.We put the buttermilk into a glass jar and took turns shaking it while we walked around the garden, and in no time we had both fresh butter and buttermilk.
The buttermilk was incorporated into the corn flour batter and the butter we saved for later...
The kids rolled out the biscuit dough--some in funny shapes!
And we put the trays into the cob oven and baked them using heat from a wood fire.

Nice hot coals to bake delicious biscuits

When the biscuits were golden colored and ready to eat, we took the butter we had saved from the buttermilk process and added some honey to it to make delicious honey-butter...Yum!

Fresh, local ingredients, grown and harvested with care, became the tastiest biscuits.  It was truly a delicious, Slow Food, Farm to Table day in the garden.

Here is the recipe:

Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits (makes 8 biscuits)
1 1/3 Cup flour
2/3 Cup polenta style cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter diced
3/4 Cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl whisk flour, cornmeal, baking power, baking soda, sugar and salt.

Rub 2 Tablespoons butter into flour mixture with fingertips until incorporated.  Work remaining butter in until pea size.  Gently stir in buttermilk.

Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thickness, cut into desired shapes and bake for about 15 minutes.