Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31, 2011 CSA - SCVWD

What's in the Box:
Melons, Cucumbers, Butternut Squash, Potatoes, Leeks,  Green Beans and Tomatillos, peppers (the sweet ones are long and twisted Jimmy Nardello a great frying pepper).  The little red/purple ones are mildly hot Black Hungarians, and the little yellow Bulgarian Carrot is HOT & Tomatoes.  This week I have separated out Kosovo for you to try.  This wonderful variety came from a former U.N. worker in Kosovo, who passed it down to Carolyn Male. Huge, deep pink heart-shaped fruit has a sweet rich flavor and is very meaty while still being juicy.  Tomatoes can grow up to 1 pound.  Please let me know what you think.

This week's special gift:  eggs & hick bbq sauce  (Hick as in Hickory/not hiccups).

Café Azul Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa
1 bag of tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  (I bbq mine before whirring)

1 Bulgarian and one Black Hungarian chili, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and halved
2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 firm-ripe avocado (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced

1/2 cup minced onion

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice

1. In a blender or food processor, whirl tomatillos, chilies, garlic, and cilantro until coarsely puréed. Pour into a bowl.
2. Stir in olive oil, avocado, and onion. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
  (The original recipe for this is on the July 2010 blog).  

It's no secret that I love all things pumpkin and squash.  My favorites are the Butternuts, Winter Luxury, and Kakai-seed pumpkin.  Over the next several weeks, you will be receiving lots of various squashes.  These store well, and you can collect them on your table for a display and eat them when you have enough for your family.  

Pumpkin Bars
    •    4 eggs
    •    1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
    •    1 cup vegetable oil
    •    15-ounce can pumpkin
    •    2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    •    2 teaspoons baking powder
    •    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I add 1/2 t. mace or nutmeg)
    •    1 teaspoon salt
    •    1 teaspoon baking soda

(I add a cup of nuts or pumpkin seeds)
    •    8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
    •    1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
    •    2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    •    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.  I never make the icing, because they're usually half gone before the cream cheese is softened.

Fall Garden
The work has begun as we transition seasons.  Above Broccoli, Cauliflower, onions, leeks, radicchio.

This weekend we will start planting peas, chard and oh so much more.  Have a great week.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25 - CSA People & Planet

What's in the Box:
Melons, Cucumbers, Sweet Dumpling Squash, Potatoes, Leeks, Amaryllis Belladona, Basil, Green Beans and Tomatillos, lemon, pepper & Tomatoes.

This week's special gift:  eggs & pickle relish

Cantaloupes, Honeydews, San Juan Canary, wow, there's melons everywhere.  We've been feasting on them regularly.  This is what it sounds like at our house, "slurp, gee what's that one?  Hey, try this one.  No this one's better! Slurp."  So enjoy yourself, with lots of napkins.  This heat is taking down lots of produce.  We've a few more weeks of cukes and melons and then Fall begins.  I know, it doesn't seem like fall, but stand still and sniff the wind.  It's coming.  The trees know before I do.  Their skirts look dusty and tired, they start to long for a nice winter rest.  The melon vines have just gone yellow and the squash are following their lead.  Wait, wait, I say,  it's not time yet.  But melons and time wait for no woman and keep their own clock.

Coming Soon:
Dry beans, Grapes, pumpkins, squash, peppers...well anything we can get that the pigs didn't eat!, eggplant and the beginning of fall greens. 

Canning Season begins
And now it's time to make spaghetti sauce, salsa, grape jam, more strawberry jam and gee where are all those jars?  Round 'em up, send them on in.  Rawhide!

Yes they are here...Finally.  Lots of them.  Today I sent home some Herman's Specials.  What do you think?  Farmertakesawife thinks that this is a pretty darn good tomato.  Shall we keep it for future years?  Please send me your comments.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 24 CSA - SCVWD

What's in the Box:
Watermelons, Cantaloupes, Cucumbers, Delicata Squash, Potatoes, Leeks, Amaryllis Belladona, Basil, Green Beans and Tomatoes.

And those boxes are heavy!

or Summer Pasta
2 cups fresh basil leaves cut into ¼ inch strips
5 oz Parmesan cheese, cut into tiny squares
¾ cup pine nuts (pignoli), lightly toasted*
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 leeks sauteed in olive oil
A handful of green beans snapped and sauteed in olive oil
1/2 cup best quality olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-pound linguine
Cherry tomato halves or tomato wedges
Parmesan  Cheese for serving

Combine the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, sauteed leeks, greenbeans and garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the olive oil over all. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 3 hours.

Cook the linguine in boiling salted water until tender but still firm. Drain and toss immediately with the sauce. Place on a large serving platter and arrange the tomatoes around the edge. (I toss the tomatoes with the sauce. I have also marinated, cherry or chopped, tomatoes in the sauce and liked the outcome.)
*Toast pine nuts in a skillet over very low heat, shaking the pan frequently, until evenly golden, about 2 minutes.

Naked Seed Pumpkins
fresh tomato cake
1 cup Dark brown sugar
½ cup Shortening
2 Eggs
3 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ cup Chopped nuts  or seeds
½ cup Chopped dates
½ cup raisins
Baked in the thirties, tomato soup cakes were all the rage and they too,were a mystery, because of course the cake did not taste of soup. But how much nicer to make your tomato cake with ripe tomatoes. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs. Add sifted dry ingredients,mixing well. Stir in tomatoes, nuts, dates, and raisins. Put into greased and floured 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 35 minutes, or until cake tests done. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Origin: Hearth and Home Companion

Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme Recipe
2 lbs green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 T.chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Steam the beans for 5 minutes and proceed directly to the skillet.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in half of the fresh thyme (1 T.), the Dijon mustard and garlic salt into the butter. Add the beans to the skillet and toss until heated through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and the remaining 1 T. of thyme.

Frittata di Porri
Italian frittata is always cooked whole, served sliced like a pizza, and not folded over. Leek frittata is my favorite quick fix oner. Delicate yet assertive, it can be great as a stand-alone TV dinner or Sunday Brunch.

4 eggs, beaten
2 large leeks
1 tbsp milk
1/2 bouillon cube  (I use Better than Bouillon - 1/2 t.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Pepper to taste and a bit of grated cheese on top.

Soak the leeks in plenty cold water and baking soda to remove any traces of dirt. Rinse well and towel dry. Thinly slice and toss into a skillet with the oil and 1/2 bullion cube over low heat. Cover and simmer, adding a shotglass of water should they dry too much during cooking. Leeks should maintain a handsome blonde hue, browning causes horrid bitter taste.

In a large mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk and a dash of salt. Pour mixture in leek skillet and reduce heat. Frittata needs to cook covered and over very low heat. Check doneness by lifting the edge with a fork. If this phase is accomplished well, there will be no need to perform any stunt flipping acts. Otherwise carefully use a lid and firm hand to tip over and slide uncooked side back into the skillet.

This dish begs to be consumed steaming hot,  accompanied by a tall frozen cold beer and the freedom to belch aloud.

Have a good week.

August 17, 2011 CSA SCVWD

What's in the box?
Potatoes, Cipollini onions (last of), lemons, flowers, cucumbers, melons, corn, and green beans.

This week's special gift:   Pickle Relish and Eggs

Grain Amaranth
Okay, does grain amaranth count as flowers?  It does this week.  I was hoping these wouldn't bloom till fall because of their great colors, but I guess fall is closer than it seems.

Besides the melons, squashes are starting to come on,  I guess maybe by the end of August, you'll start getting them in your boxes.  Lots of variety here.

A mix of melons are coming on madly.  Cantaloupes, honeydews, and Valencias.  The watermelons will be here by next week.  As long as we keep the 2 leggeds out.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

People & Planet CSA August 11 and the Martins

What's in the box?
Tomatoes, zukes, cukes, cabbage or carrots, melons,  Cippollini onions, potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, tomatillos & plums.  The bags were so full, I couldn't stuff another thing in there.

This week's special gift:  dill pickles

This week is a melange of Italian cantaloupe.  This seed was sent to me from some folks in Long Island.  Hope you enjoy it.  Coming soon watermelon and honeydew, oh yes, we have melons.

Where are the eggs?  The chickens are beginning to molt, so egg production will be off for a few weeks.  I jazzing up a new pasture for them, hopefully this will put them back on track.  Always in August they get a little peckish.


Fall Farming
I've begun planting the seeds for Fall, please if any of you are planning on not continuing, let me know now.  Above, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, leeks, lettuce, endive, escarole, raddichio, and more.

What else is coming?
Leeks, in the next box, basil, lettuce, carrots and more.

What's not coming?
Peppers, eggplant, corn, rice.  These are all crops that have take serious hit by the rampaging wild boars.  Since they are not fenced off from the garden, all they can do is get in trouble in the fruit trees.  We will have small amounts of peppers and eggplants later. 
Basil, almost ready to pick.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SCVWD August 9 - CSA

What's in the box?
Beautiful Eggplants
All those tomatoes that we've been waiting for, zukes, cukes, some gorgeous eggplants, a few melons or strawberries, carrots, Cippollini onions (hey the smitten kitchen dot com has a great recipe for roasted tomatoes and onions ), potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, tomatillos & herbs.


This week's special gift:  Bread & Butter Pickles.  These are ready now, please refrigerate after opening.  Eggs only for those folks who didn't get them last week, or I somehow shorted on eggs on a previous week, you know who you are, so okay here you go.  Eggs.  

Report on Pig Damage
Tall Posole corn safe from pigs
We will not have rice this year.  Phooey!  Also, this will be the last sweet corn until late September.   Posole corn still coming!  Double Phooey!  There are very very few hot peppers or eggplants.  The bells are still coming along.  Now you see what happens when the State of California refused to deal with the feral pig population at Henry Coe.  The pig population is exploding and they are coming down to tow.  Seriously, this girl is the size of a couch.  A larger leather love seat.  At a huge expense, we have electrically fenced the garden. But the damage is done and I can't undo it.  I lost a huge section of Rare Italian Bush Beans as well.  So, buy corn and peppers.

They're here.  What a weird year.  Tomatoes and melons in the same week.  Okay, so if it's Wednesday, you received Collective Farm Woman Melons.  In the basket these look green.  Put them on the counter for a couple of days and they will turn bright yellow.  Sit down with a spoon and eat them.  More melons in weeks to come.

Bean Trial
Well,  on the bean front everyone should be happy, there's beautiful Beurre de Roquencourt (yellow French filets) Ilanz, pale yellow Romanos, and green French filets.  The beans in the Italian Heirloom trial are just beginning to make beans.  On the edge of each row of beans are gorgeous runner beans.  We'll have these in our dried bean soup mix.  I've been drying carrots, onions, and squash for this mix already.  These beans have 2 hummingbirds living with them.  They are better guests than the finches which are eating the sunflower seeds faster than I can pick them.

Yes, I'm just starting to harvest delicatas and dumplings, you'll start getting these at the end of August.  The bigger squash will be awhile. 

Happy Pollinators

Fall is around the corner.  School starts in a few weeks, summer's almost gone.  Who's responsible for that?

I've begun starting the fall vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, greens, finocchio and more.  Seeds are coming in from all over.  The latest from New Zealand and waiting for a new batch of all things French and delicious from Quebec.  Any of you who don't want to continue through the fall, now is the time to let me know.  Have a great week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tomorrow's Tomatoes Today

Fresh from the field
Tomatoes Tomatoes Tomatoes

Top Tray: Early Girls, PSR 37's and one lowly Santa Clara Canner.  This is the tomato that helped launch Del Monte Cannery in San Jose, of course that was before most of your time.  I was just a wee bairn when all the ladies would walk up the streets at 6 am, their hair tied in kerchiefs to work in the cannery.  The whistle would blow and back home they'd come.  Most of you won't get this tomato, this is for canning up spaghetti sauce.

Bottom Tray:
In the top left corner and bottom right corner, Indian Stripe.  The 3 red diagonals off the top left are Herman's Specials and in the middle of the tray,  sort of pinkish and heart shaped, Kosovo.

As you receive tomatoes, please let me know any that you love, any that you don't think are worth our time.  Remember only you can prevent the planting of yucky tomatoes.  

There's lots of jam out there,  you've been a quiet bunch out there.  Come on, don't be afraid to hurt my feelings, if there's something that's a spitter, I need to know.  Out with it.  Forget what your mother told you about ...if you can't say something nice...
I might make it again next year if I don't know!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, CSA

What's in the Box
Green Beans -  Strangenbohn Ilanz or Beurre de Rocquencourt,   Tomatoes - Sungolds and Early Girls,   Sweet Corn, Paris Market Carrots,  Cukes, Onions - Red Torpedo or Mill Creek, Cabbage - San Michele,  Dark Red Norland Potatoes,  Tomatillos & Plums and flowers.

This week's special gifts:  Mustard from our friends at I Love Olive Oil in Paicines,  Eggs and Farm House Mop Sauce.

Mop Sauce
No, it did not come from the bottom of the mop.  But it is a nice sauce to mop over the top of your BBQ'd items.  Try it to jazz up a Boca Burger, or enliven those Barbecued Zukes.

Beurre de Rocquencourt and French Filets
Beurre de Rocquencourt
The aristocrat of wax beans, Beurre de Rocquencourt has a delectable buttery taste. When freshly picked from the garden and lightly poached, these beans have no equals. Furthermore, the dry beans are excellent for making soup or refried beans. Unlike many newer wax bean varieties, the pods stay crisp when cooked.

Wax beans were introduced into France about 1840 under the name Haricot dAlger, because they were presumed to have come from Algeria. From this one pole variety the French developed many better selections, some pole and some dwarf or bush. Rocquencourt is a descendant of that old Algerian strain and a once-popular 19th-century American bush bean called German Dwarf Black Wax, and the two are likely related.

The variety takes its name from Rocquen-court, a town near Ver-sailles. In the 19th and early 20th centuries Rocquencourt was famous for its fine vegetables, so the name carried the connotation of high quality. The bean evolved locally through selection and became fully recognized as a commercial variety in the 1930s.  We'll be having more of these this season and in years to come.

Farming is hard work
Yesterday the pigs hit the farm again.  This is damage to your September Sweet Corn and some of the Polenta Corn.  I'm doing everything I can to save it.  So, I'm off to work.

Have a good week.  Eat your veges!