Easy Garlic Snap Peas

Before we know it the microfarm will have snap peas available! These flavorful snap peas, courtesy the wicked noodle blog, are super simple to make, and make for a great snack or lunch. Just a word of caution, the garlic flavor is pretty strong. Both mincing and sautéing garlic release its oils for full flavor. If you would prefer a milder garlic taste, then you can slice the garlic (this releases less oils) or simply halve the amount of garlic the recipe calls for. You can even make these with just the salt and pepper.

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Ingredients

Makes 3 cups

  • 1 1/2 tbs. canola oil
  • 3 cups sugar snap peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the snap peas. If the oil starts popping uncontrollably at this point it’s ok to turn the heat down to medium. Lil Jon once asked, “Turn down for what?” The answer is turn down for hot oil exploding into your eyes. Toss the peas in the oil for three or four minutes. The peas should still be a vibrant green. Add the minced garlic and stir for another minute. Add the salt and pepper then serve immediately.

Pro-tip: The original recipe called for 2 tbs. oil but I found this made the peas a little too greasy. If that’s the texture you like then use 2 tbs.

Pro-tip: Keep an eye on the garlic! I don’t know how many times I have burnt garlic while sautéing a dish. There is a fine line between browned and burnt here, and burnt garlic taste bitter and nasty. Using a really high heat will not cook the peas any faster, it will only burn your garlic.

Pro-tip: If you’d like a little more texture add some sesame seeds along with the salt and pepper.

Plant Biography: Swiss Chard

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Basic Info

  • Scientific NameBeta vulgaris
  • Taste: Subtly bitter and salty
  • Varieties: White, red, and multicolored stalks
  • Relatives: Spinach, beets
  • Fun fact: Swiss chard actually originated in the Mediterranean region-not Switzerland! A Swiss botanist gave this plant its name  in the 1800s.
  • Health benefits: Fights illness and disease, regulates blood sugar, reduces blood pressure, and promotes eye, hair, and brain health.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 cup (36 g) % Daily Value
Calories  7  
Total Fat     0g 0%
Cholesterol   0mg 0%
Sodium     77mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates   1g 0%
Dietary Fiber   1g 2%
Sugars     0g
Protein     1g
Vitamin A     2202 IU 44%
Vitamin C     10.8 mg 18%
Vitamin E     0.7 mg 3%
Vitamin K     299 mcg 374%
Calcium     18.4 mg 2%
Iron     0.6 mg 4%
Magnesium     29.2 mg 7%
Manganese     0.1 mg 7%
Potassium     136 mg 4%
Zinc     0.1 mg 1%

Now I challenge you to incorporate this super food into at least one meal this next week! You’re tempted to eat it after seeing all those antioxidants, right? Here are some ideas how:

Berry Greens Smoothie

Potatoes in Garlicky Chard Broth

Mac and Cheese with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

Fettuccine  with Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Weekly Farm Update

Hi Farm Friends,

I hope everyone made the most of the beautiful weather this past week! I know it’s been a long one for a lot of us, so this week’s post will be short and sweet.

Thursday the farm’s first broccoli head was ready to harvest

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Ooh, so fresh

We also found a nasty aphid infestation on one of the plants (see below). For those of you who don’t know what aphids are, they are pests that suck out the sap from the phloem of plants. With punctured phloem vessels, the plant dies, and sometimes the aphids transmit viruses to the plant. They are bad news. But they are preyed on by lady bugs, and luckily we’ve spotted many of those around the farm.

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Aphids are ew

Lady bugs: destroyers of pests

Lady bugs: Destroyers of pests

Saturday’s awesome bunch of volunteers produced really good vibes at the farm. That morning was dedicated to cleaning up the farm, pulling (so many) weeds, beginning the tire plant beds, and finally shoveling the last of the compost hill that obstructed the front gate.

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One last announcement. The lovely Development Director, Stephanie, recently announced the Sustainable Food Center will be offering a Citizen Gardener class over spring break, as well as at other dates throughout the semester. This will be a great way to learn more about organic and sustainable gardening in the Texas Hill Country, and you can bet you will see some of us there. For more information on the program, check out the SFC website.

Have a fantastic week, everyone, we hope to see you soon!

The Best Hot Sauce Ever

Maybe I’m biased, but this family recipe of mine is hands down the best hot sauce I’ve had. It’s my go-to potluck dish and my friends rave about it every time I bring it. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. It goes well with chips, of course, but it’s also great on a variety of things, like eggs. Get creative with it. It’s incredibly easy to make and can last up to a week in the fridge.

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Ingredients:

(Makes 4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (get at the farm!)
  • 1-2 jalepeños, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes*

How to:

Place all the ingredients in a blender, leaving the tomatoes for last. Be sure to use all the tomato juice in the can too. Blend until everything is well incorporated. The texture should be somewhere between chunky and liquid-y. Pour and serve or keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

  • *Pro-tip: Do not use an Italian brand of tomatoes or anything with added spices. Plain Jane tomatoes are the way to go here. In fact, I’ve found the cheapest cans yield the best flavors. This is crucial because tomatoes are the base of the recipe.
  • Pro-tip: Use 1 jalepeño if you prefer mild, 2 jalepeños if you like a little spice (maybe even throw in a serano pepper), or use  1 jalepeño and one habanero for a strong and flavorful heat.
  • Pro-tip: Can’t eat all that salsa? This recipe can easily be cut in half.

Weekly Farm Update

Love was clearly in the Austin air this past week: S.O.’s prepping for Valentine’s, fabulous Galentine’s festivities, roses and chocolate everywhere, the fickle weather gods blessing us with sunshine all week, and tons of gorgeous chard ready to be harvested. This week was so all-around beautiful that even the farm’s wildlife was in good enough spirits to let me get closer than usual. What majestic creatures.

A male guinea serenades his lovers

A male guinea serenades his lovers

A flock of female guinea celebrate Galentine's day

A flock of female guinea celebrate Galentine’s day

Thursday at the farm we worked on the last of the plant beds, fertilized our crops (shout out to our new fertilizing team leader, Richard Camacho), and harvested yummy chard and herbs. I can’t wait for more to grow as this spring goes on. Check back soon for ideas on how to use these delicious herbs.

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Saturday marked the final push to completion for our soil remediation project. We are proud to announce that we are FINISHED! All of our beds (8 beds at 50 feet each) deconstructed, remediated with materials from Geo Growers (Magic Mulch Thunder Garden soil mix, compost, and turkey manure), re-tilled, and re-built. The project commenced in mid-October and has required the efforts of many hard-working volunteers. We’re excited to work towards a fully planted farm again :)

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Our Irrigation System

After about two weeks of our irrigation system being out of commission, it was exciting to arrive on site to see the system completely repaired. Thank you to the Irrigation Department in UT’s Landscaping services for helping us get everything back up and running!

After the workday, some of the Microfarm staff had an exciting meeting with certified permaculturist Max Silvers at Thunderbird Coffee. We met with him to discuss giving the xeric garden up front a facelift. Don’t wanna give too much away, but we’re excited to be incorporating a variety of medicinal and edible plants! Stay tuned for updates!

Food for thought this week:

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Berry Greens Smoothie

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This berry smoothie is the perfect way to cool down in this (crazy) warm February weather. It’s also a great way to get multiple fruit and vegetable servings in one sitting. For those who are picky eaters (including myself), the best part is you can’t even taste the chard! You get all of the health benefits and self-fulfillment knowing you got a serving of greens in, with none of the weird tastes that fruit-veggie combo smoothies sometimes have. Whip this up in five minutes and enjoy.

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Ingredients

Makes 1 large smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup chard
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

How to:

Cut the banana into chunks then place all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until blended.

  • Pro tip: If you like thick, milkshake-like smoothies, use frozen fruit
  • Pro tip: To make sure the chard blends well tear it into pieces and place at the bottom of the blender so the blades have direct access to it

Weekly Farm Update

Hi, friends!

Like the school semester, the microfarm is in full swing now. But unlike school, the microfarm is a place of stress-free productivity.

Thursday was an exciting work day because we had our first harvest of the semester! The chard, dinosaur kale, cilantro, sage, and rosemary were growing strong. The farm stand also had its grand opening for the semester. If you would like some of this organic, fresh (and I mean we-just-picked-it-from-the-ground-fresh) produce be sure to come check us out on Thursdays.

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Also spicing things up on Thursday was the first snap pea sighting, yay!

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Look how cute and perfect it is.

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Broccoli Head

Saturday was such a productive day at the farm, thanks to the Texas Infinities for bringing almost 40 volunteers. They were such an incredible help with tilling, shoveling, and straightening up the farm. Also on Saturday the teepee trellis for the snap peas was completed and a broccoli head was sighted.

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Come out this Thursday if you’d like to be a part of the excitement!