Wednesday, October 26, 2011

September 26, 2011 SCVWD CSA

Last Box of the season. 
Peppers sweet & hot, Eggplant, Tomatoes,  Naked Seed Pumpkins #7, Little Greenseed pumpkins #8, herbs-oregano-thyme-parsley-sage-bay, dried beans, fennel, polenta corn and the end of the seasons special gifts: dried tomatoes, fruit or vege snacks,  pear, port, thyme conserve & red salsa & green salsa or pickles.

Scurvy Wenches and Privateers...Aye Mateys! We were boarded.  These Buccaneers found the treasure at the farm.  Strawberries!  Not many baskets were filled, but they did a fair amount of grazing, and then they picked beans and ate pumpkin bars.  Having made off with the booty, the pirates sailed off into the sunset leaving only us landlubbers.

Polenta Corn
For those of you who didn't read last week's blog about polenta corn.  Please freeze your ground corn for several weeks or refrigerate it for up to two weeks.  This is whole grain and it will spoil quickly unless treated with lots of love.

On the left is the two farm implements that we rely on to get you the corn, a sheller and a grinder.  Note the lack of gasoline engines, or electricity.  The grinding of corn is fueled by elbow grease, and mine is just about worn out for the week.  Good thing I had a little help from the pirates.

Remember the Naked Seed Pumpkin, the larger of the two is NOT edible.  Only the little seeds are delicious.  Please carve away and be scarey.  The Little Greenseed is edible and has naked seeds (or should).  If anyone gets one without naked seeds, let me know.  I'm keeping track.
My brother carved this awesome pumpkin

Okay, everyone turn in your boxes so I can put them away for next year.  And, thank you for a great season.  Seeds are pouring in from all over the globe.  I have greens from Canada, roots from France and Australia, turnips from New Zealand and of course many wonderful things from Italy.  I hope you all enjoy the dry beans.  When we start the season next year, there will be fresh, finely ground Southern corn meal suitable for biscuits and gravy, more dried beans, the Italian polenta corn, greens, popcorn and all kinds of great things.  So, if you are going to continue next year, please see Leo and leave him your deposit of $25.  Thank you and have a great holiday season.

Me, I'm in the kitchen madly sewing shark fins for Halloween.  Tomorrow, I'm planting leeks!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CSA October 20, 2011 People & Planet

So what's in the box?
Posole Corn, Polenta Corn,  Cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil, Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkins, green beans, red onion, pomegranates, dried tomatoes and this week's special gifts:  eggs, pumpkin butter, tomato sauce, bbq sauce and pear butter or conserve.

Please see the previous blog for using Posole Corn.

Using Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Crepes
3 T. Pumpkin Butter
2 C. Bisquick
2 C. Milk
2 Eggs

Stir it up.  I use a 1/2 Cup measuring cup.  Heat a crepe/saute pan with no stick spray, or wipe oil across the pan.  Scoop 1/2 cup batter into pan and with your other hand swirl the pan.  (if you like nuts, sprinkle a few on now).  When the edges begin to curl, use a spatula and flip the crepe.  Slather with butter, roll and put on a plate in a 200 degree oven.  Repeat until you’re out of crepes.

Pumpkin Whip Cream to go on your crepes:
1 C. Whip Cream whir for a minute in your food processor.
2 T. Sugar
2 T. Pumpkin Butter
Add and give it one more quick pulse.

Top Crepes with a dollop of pumpkin butter and a dollop of whip cream.

Curry Pumpkin Chicken

8 thighs of chicken
1 jar pumpkin Butter
2-4 t. Curry Powder
1 tomato peeled and chopped

Saute chicken until lightly brown, about 5 minutes per side.  Put in a 9x13 glass pan, or if you saute pan is oven proof, just drain the fat.  Whir the tomato, pumpkin butter and curry powder in your food processor and top the chicken and bake 30 minutes.  Serve with yogurt and peas. 

Pumpkin Chili
2 c. peeled and chopped tomatoes
1 can of red kidney beans or your own cooked beans

1 jar of pumpkin butter
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
1 c. of cooked barley, or bulgar

1 chopped chili

1 T. chili powder

1 garlic minced

1 t.  ground cumin

1 t. of salt
Drain and rinse the beans. Put all ingredients in a large pan. Simmer for 35 minutes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread
1 ½ cups water, warm (110F), divided
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup milk, warm (110F)
¾ cup pumpkin butter
1 tbsp salt
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 tbsp butter, melted
5-6 cups flour

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the water, 1 tbsp active dry yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Add remaining water, milk, pumpkin puree, salt, oats and 2 cups of flour. Mix thoroughly, then add thre remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to feel slightly firm but spongy to the touch. This can be done in an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, before placing it in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 hours.
Turn risen dough gently out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in two and gently shape into two round or slightly oblong loaves. Place on an oatmeal dusted baking sheet and, covered with a clean towel, let rise for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
Slash the top and sides of the loaves and bake for 35-40 minutes at 375, until loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Another Pumpkin Soup
4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 minced garlic

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 jar pumpkin butter
3 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)

1 cups of milk

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down.

Pumpkin Pie using pumpkin butter
    •    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    •    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    •    1/2 teaspoon salt
    •    2 large eggs
    •    1 jar pumpkin butter
    •    12 oz can of evaporated milk
    •    1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Mix together and pour into pie shell.  Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin should be baked whole, pierced for a few tiny vent holes, stem trimmed, at 350*F until it "slumps" and softens after an hour or so.  Take a large spoon and simply scoop the pumpkin out like ice cream. The flesh peels away from the desiccated rind without a shudder and leaves it flat. Puree the flesh in a blender. A 5-pound pumpkin yields approximately 2 1/2 pounds or 4 cups of pulp, enough for two pies. 
4 eggs, 4 cups cooked pumpkin puree 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, Goodly dash of vanilla, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 cups heavy cream, 1/4 cup dark rum or  bourbon, to taste Two nine-inch unbaked pie shells.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin, the sugars and the vanilla, and mix well. Add the spices and the salt, and blend. Add the cream and the rum or bourbon, and blend well. Pour into the two unbaked pie shells.
Bake for about one hour or until a silver knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve, cold or at room temperature, with sweetened whipped cream.

Polenta Corn & Grits
What's the difference between Polenta and Grits?  Well Polenta is grits with an attitude and a glass of wine.

4 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarse stone-ground white cornmeal 
2 T. Butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring water to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan. Add cornmeal in a slow stream, whisking until incorporated. Simmer, stirring occasionally with a long-handled whisk or wooden spoon, until liquid is absorbed and polenta is thick and soft, about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, cream, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Top with sauteed mushrooms, or any sauce that you would serve on top of pasta or rice.  Polenta can be poured into a butter mold and refrigerated.  To use slice and heat and top with sauce.  It makes a great side dish.

Can be made the same way, use cheddar cheese and serve it for breakfast with maple syrup.

What else can I use polenta corn for?  Any recipe that requires the corn to be boiled or mixed with boiling water.  We've had tamale pie and johnny cake's this week.  What if I want to make cornbread?  Heat the liquid and pour the cornmeal into it, stir and let sit awhile and proceed with your recipe.

Dried Beans
Must be soaked overnight before cooking.     Use 3 times as much water as beans, put them in a bowl and cover with cold water.  In the morning, rinse them, cover with water again and bring to a boil.  Never add seasonings until after the beans are cooked.  Reduce heat and simmer until done, about an hour and 20 minutes.  In the last 20 minutes add all of your spices, salt, tomatoes, etc. 

Never cook beans in a crock pot unless you've brought them to a boil for at least 10 minutes.  Without this step, the toxin in beans (especially kidney beans) can make you ill, go ahead and google Phytohaemagglutnin.

What are we doing?
On the farm, as you can see the Italian Polenta Corn is still on the stalk and we'll finally pick it this Friday.  That means we'll start the spring season with it and the beautiful Southern Gourdseed corn that makes terrific cornbread.  As I hand grind all of this corn, it takes me a while to get through it all.  Neither of these corns are dry enough to grind yet.

This week, we started planting onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage for next season.  Next well plant leeks, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, and some other interesting roots.

So you all come back now.  Sign up with Mike and we'll see you next year.  Have a great winter.  I'm going to wash the windows and banish cobwebs.  (Well, right after Halloween!)  Thanks for being with us.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 2011 CSA - SCVWD

Second to the last box of the season.  The last CSA box will be October 26.  

So what's in the box?
Posole Corn, Cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil, some squash, green beans and tomatillos.

Leo pointed out to me that not every kitchen is stocked with Cal Lime, so I have prepared it for you.  It is in the small bag in the bag of the beautiful Morado Corn.  (Purple!)  I use Mrs. Wages which is in the pickling section at Nob Hill.

This week's special gifts:  Bread, Dilly Green Beans & Eggs


    1.    1 pint organic field corn
    2.    1 tbls Lime/Cal
    3.    2 quarts water
    1.    Rinse corn and remove any chaff.  Drain through a colander.
    2.    In a non-reactive pot, mix water and lime over high heat until lime is dissolved.
    3.    Add the corn and bring to a boil for 30 minutes.
    4.    Remove pot from heat, cover, and let soak overnight.
    5.    The next day, drain the corn through a colander and rinse.  If making hominy for posole, remove hulls at this time. The hulls are the little brown tips which can be rubbed or picked off.  This is not absolutely necessary, it just makes the corn bloom more.
    6.    Place corn in a bowl and cover with water.  Allow to soak for 5 - 10 minutes moving the corn kernels with your fingers and then rinse again.  Repeat this process one more time.  This will ensure all traces of lime are washed away.
    7.    Drain the corn through a colander and your done.  Homemade nixtamal!
Once your nixtamal is completed you can now use the corn in your posole recipe or you can grind it to make homemade tortillas or tamales. 

Homemade Posole

Prepared Corn
1 1/2 onions, white or red, peeled and halved
4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled
15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed and 1 tomato skin removed and chopped
2 ancho chiles chopped
1 jalapeno chile chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper

Place posole in a saucepan with fresh water to cover generously.
Add 1/2 onion, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer until the corn kernels are tender, 2 to 3 hours; many will split open. Season with salt and add all the rest of the vegetables and broth  simmer for another 1/2 hour.  Add the oregano and cilantro at the very end.
So, if you’re going to add cooked pork or chicken, add it in the last 1/2 hour.  If using raw pork shoulder or chicken thighs, add it with the corn and let it simmer together during the 3 hour simmer. 
Do not add salt till the last hour of cooking or the corn will not cook.  Posole freezes brilliantly.  It's great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can serve it with tortillas.  I have been known to sneak beans and rice into it when no one is looking.

Now you all have a good week.  I'm out shucking corn and shelling beans.  Maybe in 2 weeks we'll have polenta.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CSA October 5, 2011 - People and Planet

What's in the box?
Delicata/dumpling or ornamental edible squash, sweet corn - with ear worms), tomatoes, potatoes, onions or leeks, eggplant, peppers (both hot and sweet),  Romano beans, basil, apples or pears and basil.

This week's special gifts:
Pear Butter

Fall is always a season of sadness for me, I can see the summer crops coming to an end and the new fall crops are several weeks or months from being ready, depending on the weather.

Luckily, I got the tomatoes picked just before it started raining.  These rains spoiled this weeks strawberries, and the hail did not do anything good.  I believe we have one more week in October and then I will have to say goodbye to all of your till next year.

I will still deliver you dried corn flour and polenta when it comes back from the mill.  But for now the corn is still drying down. 

For me, this has been one of the hardest seasons I have had.  The pig damage cost all of us dearly.  My season was reduced by half.  The loss of some key crops due to their damage and the sudden weather changes has kept me running in a race that I knew I couldn't win.  I hope for a better year next year.

Please, if you are going to sign up again for next year, see Mike and leave your deposit so that I know how many families to plant for.

Well, I'm cold and wet and muddy.  I'm going to hop in the shower.  See you in a couple of weeks.