Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week Seventeen

It was a wet, wet morning today! Here's my dedicated and hardworking employee (also known as mom) harvesting and artfully bundling all your herbs in the pouring rain.

This week everyone has more bunches of wonderful tatsoi, carrots, a head of Chinese cabbage (called Blue), parsley, basil, dill, nasturtium, and a winter squash called Blue Ballet, which is a smaller variety of the traditional (and enormous) hubbard squash. There were also habaneros for those who asked for them.

Try this recipe for green jade soup - it involves some additional items but also uses your cabbage, tatsoi, and carrots: boil 3 cups vegetable stock and add about a cup thickly sliced carrots, 3/4 T grated ginger, a cup sliced leeks or onions, a cup sliced mushrooms, and 2 cups chopped Chinese cabbage. Lower the heat and simmer for about ten minutes until veggies are tender. Add all of your chopped tatsoi and, if you care to, 1 cake of cubed tofu. Cook for 5 minutes, add salt to taste (recipe from Moosewood Cookbook)

Hubbards can be used like any hard-skinned squash - roasted, pureed in soup, or made into a pie, which is what my mom did with these squash last year for Thanksgiving. CSA member Amy Kottler just picked up her share and gave me her idea for roasted hubbard squash that honestly made my mouth water. She slices the squash in half and roasts it in the oven with butter, brown sugar and salt (2 T brown sugar to 1 T kosher salt) so it has a caramelized, salty-sweet, kettle-corn kind of thing going on... everything about that sounds delightful to me. Thanks Amy!

Member Heather Mallak also shared a photo of what she called a "roasting pan of wonderfulness" made with her CV Farm peppers, potatoes, beets and tomatoes - it looks pretty fantastic.

When members came to the farm to pick up their shares today they all commented on a potted pepper plant that I have sitting out on the porch, a smaller version of this guy:

My dad's uncle, Gene Rockacy, who actually help my grandfather build this farm, starts tons of these lovely pepper plants from seed and sells them at local markets. They live inside all winter and not only to they look amazing, covered with peppers in shades of red, purple, yellow and orange, but the little suckers taste great - and they're spicy! If you'd like to have homegrown hot peppers all winter long (my mom has had her plant for years) let me know and you can purchase one from him. I have to find out an exact price but I'm pretty sure the small ones are about $4, and I can just pop it in your weekly share.

Uncle Gene and his daughter, Carol Jean, picking raspberries on the farm

Monday, September 21, 2009

week sixteen

It's like spring all over again! We have lots of greens, lettuces, arugula and spinach growing, along with snap peas, carrots, scallions, Brussels sprouts and etc. We're approaching the last month of our first year of CSA here at CV Farm, but there's still lots to look forward to.

This week everyone has tatsoi (full shares have two bunches), an assortment of peppers, habaneros (for those who wanted them), a bag of Blushed Butter lettuce, a winter squash called Green Buttercup, a small bunch of broccoli raab, and an edible bouquet of parsley, a variety of basils, and nasturtium.

For those of you unfamiliar with tatsoi it is (according to recipe czar, because I'm too lazy to explain it) "a dark green Asian salad green that has a spoon like shape, a pleasant and sweet aroma, and flavor like a mild mustard green, similar to bok choi. Tatsoi is generally eaten raw, but may be added to soups at the end of the cooking period. When tatsoi is mixed with other greens it enhances the flavor and nutritional value. Tatsoi may not be available in your regular grocery store. Specialty markets may carry it, or it can be grown from seeds, in warmer climates." I basically treat it like spinach - but don't expect a spinach flavor because it's a bit different.
Broccoli raab (rapini) is a new adventure for all of us! This is the first time I've grown it and the first time I've cooked with it. Let me know what you think.

The Green Buttercup squash can be treated like any winter squash.... roasted in the oven with herbs, butter and brown sugar, or chopped and sauteed with butter, sage and shallots. Friend, CSA member and once-weekly CV Farm slave Julie even made hers into a yummy pumpkin-esque pie.

some other recipes to try this week:
This is a simple recipe I use for stracciatella soup - fast and easy to prepare, and just pair it with a salad for a great fall meal. You can use your parsley, and substitute the tatsoi for spinach.

Broccoli raab is fairly versatile, but here's a simple recipe I tried for broccoli raab saute: heat 2 tspns olive oil over med heat, add 2 medium cloves of garlic sliced very thin and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or some of your hot peppers), stir for about two minutes (don't let the garlic burn). Add broccoli raab (you can chop into large pieces or cook it as-is... the closer to the top of the stem you are the less bitter the flavor) and cook for about 4 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper (recipe from The Washington Post). And here's a tip I found online - Much of the bitterness can be removed by blanching it (cooking it briefly in boiling water) first. Try bringing a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add broccoli rabe and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until bright green and crisp-tender.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

week fifteen

Brussels sprouts, just doing their thing

spring redux - blushed butter lettuce & carrots

This week everyone received potatoes, shallots, acorn squash, kale (sigh - I know), a bundle of herbs (parsley, dill, variety of basils), a bouquet of flowers (sunflowers, zinnia, amaranth), and raspberries. Full shares also received a pint of cherry tomatoes, and if you indicated to me that you wanted them, some habaneros (if you'd like to get habaneros in your share just let me know).

Last night I stumbled upon two great recipes for the kale and potatoes and made a surprisingly fast and amazing dinner. These might involve some ingredients not everyone has laying around, but I think they're worth it. For the rosemary-chile mashed potatoes combine 1 cup of olive oil, 3 rosemary springs, and and finely chopped and seeded habanero (wear gloves!!) in a small saucepan over high heat. When the sprigs begin to spit and bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove oil from heat, strain into a glass jar, let sit for 30 minutes. Cook and mash the potatoes (about 2 lbs for this recipe). Add 1/4 cup of the oil to 3/4 cup milk, a tablespoon of chopped rosemary and salt to taste. Mix, add to mashed potatoes. You can save the leftover chile oil for future use - I used some of it in the kale dish. (Recipe from Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen)
You could also roast or mash the potatoes and finish them with shallots (finely chopped and sauteed in butter) and a handful of chopped parsley and dill with a bit of coarse salt.

Gingered greens and tofu was also wildly tasty. Slice 2 blocks of tofu into 1-inch pieces and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Make a marinade of 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup dry sherry, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 3 tblspns brown sugar. Pour the marinade over the tofu and broil for 7-8 minutes or until the tofu browns, then turn with a spatula and brown the other side. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok on high heat (I used the chile oil) and add 2 tblspns grated ginger and 6 (ish) cups coarsely shredded kale. Stir until greens wilt. Add 3 tblspns lime juice, 2 tblspns chopped cilantro, and a few more splashes of the chile oil. Drizzle with honey and toss with the broiled tofu and marinade. (Recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook)

Look at all these lovely pumpkins! We started harvesting them and are storing them in the root cellar for a few weeks - expect them early to mid October.

And this is why we've started harvesting them a little early...

a rat bastard ground hog is living somewhere in the garden (we think) and has done this to about half a dozen of our pumpkins. Vengeance will be mine.

Have a great week!

CSA member Rachel Kottler and her niece Aisha after picking raspberries this Sunday

Sunday, September 6, 2009

week fourteen

This week everyone received Salsa In A Bag! In your CSA tote is everything you need to make an amazing batch of farm fresh salsa: tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, onions, and a heap of herbs - cilantro, parsley and basil.
My mom is generously sharing her recipe... this is the salsa I've been eating all my life and everyone who has tried it thinks it's the best. Obviously, adjust the mounts to what you have or how much you want to make.

Marjean's Salsa:
4 C tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped* (she uses 2 1/2 cups red tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups green tomatoes)
3 C peppers - seeded & chopped (she uses 2 cups sweet and 1 cup hot, adjust according to your heat preference)
1 C chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tblsp sugar/honey
1/3 C cilantro
1/4 C parsley
1/4 C basil
1/2 C tomato paste
1 C cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Jar or can and process (for instructions and suggestion on canning, email me)

*note for tomato prep: drop tomatoes in boiling water for about 15 seconds or until skins split, run under cold water, then peel. Cut out stem, slice in half crosswise and squeeze gently to remove seeds and juice.