Thursday, June 30, 2011

CSA June 29 - People & Planet

What's in the box:
Sand Hill Lettuce, Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach, Golden Beets, Dinosaur Kale, Greenville Rhubarb, Romanesco Zucchini, Casey's Walla Walla Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Purple Glazer Garlic, and Flowers.

Folded Comb Hatches a Clutch
This weeks special gifts:  Eggs and Lemon Rosemary Cordial.

It's been a hectic week on the farm.  First of all we've had a farm inspection.  The first one ever from the Gubermint.  What an ordeal.  I am not only going to write a complete post on it, but I may never get over it.  If you really want to know, check back later.  I'm still to angry to compost a diatribe.  And believe me, there's lots of things I've had to compose and compost in my life.

Lemon Rosemary Cordial
I have branched into putting up some of my favorite summer drinks.  This one is not very sweet.  At home I fill frosty glasses full of ice, fill them half way with cordial and top them off with bubbly water and a slice of lemon.  Leo sometimes makes ice tea and uses this to top it off.  Finally, it makes a good mixer for adult drinks.  I think this one mixes at 1-1.  Leo of course says 2 parts water to 1 part cordial.  Have it your own way.

Greenville Rhubarb
This is the only week for rhubarb.  However, I have put in another dozen plants of various kinds hoping that we have more weeks of rhubarb in the future.  I also have made June in Jar and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam for the coming weeks.

Strawberries are here.  Send a pint sour cream, yogurt, or ? plastic tub with your name on the bottom of it in with your bags if you want them.  Please Please Please do not take your names off of the bags.  If you need to remove tag, put it in bottom of bag.  Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Costata Romanesco Zucchini
After growing summer squash for 20 years, we have finally found the zuke of my childhood, much better tasting; clearly better textured, nutty, and delicious, raw or cooked.  Forget inspid zukes!  This one is delicious grilled, in bread, in pancakes, in frittata.  I have not found a recipe that I have not preferred it in.  

Zuke, Sunflowers & Beans
Zuke Gratin
 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
 1  yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced
 2 zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick 
 2 teaspoons salt
 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1 T. all-purpose flour
 1/2 cup hot milk
 3/4 cup bread crumbs
 3/4 cup grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.
Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Zucchini Quick Pancakes
Grate a Zucchini and lightly salt it.  Let it sit on a napkin or paper towels till the moisture is absorbed.  Grate a 1/4 c. of hard cheese.  Mix the zucchini, cheese some pepper and a handful of Italian herbs.  Add them to your favorite pancake recipe.  (I thin my pancake recipe a little to make these).  Griddle them up and watch them fly.  This is a favorite camping recipe of ours.  It makes a lovely Saturday lunch.  If we're having these as a side dish, I add garlic.  Of course, even I don't eat garlic for breakfast!

Coming soon:  Corn and cukes.   Have a great week. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 22 - SCVWD - CSA

What's in the box?
Tomatoes, Corn, Summer Squash....Ha!  I had you there for a minute.   No, even though yesterday was the Summer Solstice, it's the last of the Spring vegetables.  So eat your peas while you may, for Father Time is a flying, and the peas that are here today, tomorrow will be dying.  Amish Peas,  Dinosaur kale, Swiss Chard, Fava Beans,  Italian Early Garlic, Walla Wall Onion, Flowers, Eggs, Portuguese Stuffing Cabbage and Rhubarb!  Finally.  And this week's special gift:  Organic Meyer Lemon Extract.

Yes, but all those vegetables are coming.  As soon as this heat wave breaks, I'll be digging up potatoes.  And boy have we been missing them.  I am tired of rice.  The first potatoes of the season will be Yukon Golds.  The reds will be later.  I think that all the purples drowned in the winter deluge.

Green Maters
I have seen green tomatoes, the first summer squash, the first pepper and the first cucumber.  No, none of them are ripe yet, but they are coming.  The first tomatoes will probably be Early Girls and Sungold Cherries.

This year we will have (barring anything I don't know about at this, fire, gopher, thieves, etc.)
Santa Clara Canner
African Queen
Herman's Special
Isis Candy
Cherokee Green
Indian Stripe
Neves Azorian Red
Aunt Getries Gold
Sarnowski Polish Plum
Black Cherry and Roman Stripe
Now that' a tomato line-up.  And here they are all lined up.  There's about 40 tomatoes in the field.  Yikes.   I have a new dehydrator this year.  Thank you Leo.  So, we are going to have dried tomatoes again.  Yeah!  As they roll out of the field and into your boxes/bags,  I'd really like to know which ones you really like.  This year's Early Girl is an OP tomato.  So if we like it, we'll keep it.  If we don't, well we'll keep trialing tomatoes till we find a tomato that you all love.  As always, every year we will try new tomatoes until we can figure out the top 10 for the farm.

I planted 10 more rhubarb bushes early this year. Actually, I think I planted 30 and ended up with 10.  I started them from seed, so it will be 2 more years before we can have rhubarb every week for the entire spring. As it is, this is the only rhubarb you will get for the season.  I have so many rhubarb recipes that I can hardly make up my mind what to make with my share, Pie? Jam? Cordial, Muffins....oh my the list is so long.  I think I'll make a cordial this year.  But, here's a recipe I think you'll all like.
Baby Rhubarb

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or candied ginger chopped very fine.
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.  Make it big enough to hang over the edges, so you can get the bars out.

2. Beat butter in medium bowl at medium speed 1 minute or until creamy. Beat in brown sugar 30 to 60 seconds or until well-blended. At low speed, beat in flour, oats and salt 30 to 60 seconds or until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the oat mixture; press remaining mixture into bottom of pan.

3. Wipe bowl clean. Add cream cheese; beat at medium speed 1 minute or until fluffy. Beat in sugar 1 minute or until creamy. At low speed, beat in sour cream 15 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and ginger.

4. Sprinkle rhubarb over crust; cover with batter. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup oat mixture; bake an additional 25 to 30minutes or until puffed and lightly browned, and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

5. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Remove from pan using foil; cut into bars.  (My sister sent this recipe to me from the Cooking Club of America).  Who knew?
Corn just beginning to Tassel

So many of you asked for this recipe last week that I decided to put it on the blog, so we all know where it is.  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, that was the bread in last week's boxes.

Lemon Nut Bread
1 c. sugar
1/3 melted butter
2 T. lemon extract
2 eggs
1/2 c. chopped pecans (or not)
grated rind of one lemon and the juice
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. milk

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together.  Cream the sugar, butter and lemon extract; add the eggs and beat well.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and beat just enough to blend.  Fold in grated rind and nuts.  Bake in well greased loaf pan 350 degrees 50-60 minutes.  Remove from oven.

On the stove mix the juice of the lemon you stole the peel from with 1/2 c. sugar.  Stir until sugar dissolves, but don't boil.   Prick the top with a fork to make more holes and cracks.  Drizzle over the top of the bread.  Do not cut for 24 hours.  Will last up to 3 months in the fridge....ha ha.  Sallie Rice contributed this recipe to the Sisters of the Holy Name Cookbook.  A real treasure of a cookbook which I found in a jumble sale in Los Gatos...when dinosaur kale still walked the earth.

Dinosaur Kale
Alright who went and named my favorite kale, (Cavolo Nero) Dinosaur Kale?  Was that someone trying to get their kids to eat kale?  There's some great kale recipes over here at this blog:

So FAR there have been no bronto sightings in the garden.    Next time you guys are going to get the Red Russian Kale, so that the other folks can play with the Lacinato, Cavolo Nero, Tuscan, Palm Tree, Dino Kale.  Thomas Jefferson grew Cavolo Nero at Monticello.  It's from the Campania region of Italy and is one of the traditional ingredients in minestrone.  It predates pizza.  No, really.
summer squash, beans & sunflowers

Some of you got strawberries this week.   Why didn't everyone get them?   No one has returned any of the containers I have previously packed them in.  I don't have anything left in the cupboard to pack strawberries in.  So, if you want berries in future weeks, send me something to pack them in.   Sour cream or cottage cheese containers are just the right size.  I know, I know, I could break down and buy those green plastic baskets to pack them in...but that just wouldn't be me.   So rummage your cupboard and send me those containers that you can't find the lid for.  Write your name on the bottom and then everyone will have berries.  I won't even bring up vases, but I'm down to the last 6.....

Have a nice week.  Stay cool.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011 CSA - People & Planet

Here kitty kitty
What's in the bag?
Fava Beans (last week for), lettuce, Red Russian Kale, Parsnips (last of the season), Amish yellow and green peas, Walla Walla onions, Georgian Fire Garlic, Stuffing Cabbage,  Eggs and this week's special gift:  Organic Meyer Lemon Extract.

Off Farm
Hiking in a local park, my brother snapped this photo of a wee beastie.  Yes, the kitten was strolling down the trail as well.  

It's that time of year, it gets hot, and no one wants to stand in front of the stove, so I end up making breakfast for dinner.  I'm very fond of breakfast.  I'd eat breakfast for lunch as well, but then who'd pick the veggies?  As a child I used to rise at 5:30 a.m. because that's when my father made breakfast:  Pancakes, sausage, orange juice, hash browns,  potato smashers, eggs of every kind,  fried spaghetti with egg on top,  banana/peanut butter/maple syrup toast, cream of wheat, French toast, oatmeal, bacon....and coffee...oh my.   If you slept in and had breakfast with mom, she'd give you a box of cold cereal.  My sister always slept in. 

One of our favorite things is parsnip hash browns.  These are very simple.  Wash and peel the parsnips and using your peeler keep making the parsnips in to strips.  Saute them in olive oil and butter.  They are sweeter than potatoes and a nice change.  They cook very fast.

Spaghettini and Greens Frittata
6 eggs
a splash of milk
1 heaping cup of cooked chopped greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard) or any combo thereof
2-3 T of Oregano (or Holly's Italian Dried Herb mix if you have any left)
1/2 onion chopped
olive oil & butter
Stuffing Cabbage
2-3 cups of leftover spaghetti or rice or noodles
Add a little olive oil and butter to a frying pan and saute the onions.  Meanwhile beat the eggs and milk.
Add the greens, eggs and cheese to the pan.  Cover the pan and cook until set over a medium/low heat.  We top this with salsa, but it just as nice with simple salt and pepper.

More Stuffed Cabbage
Last night I wilted these cabbage leaves in the microwave (3 at a time for one minute).  Then in an oiled glass pan, I laid them out and put a blop of rice, a blop of pepper jack, and a blop of burger/sauteed onion.  Then I rolled them up,  stem in, opposite side over, and two ends folded over.  I put one cup of chicken broth on top and baked at 350 for 30 minutes.   We've also tried them stuffed with leftover risotto and baked in vegetable broth.

They were so good, tonight we are going to try them rice, feta, left over lamb and a dab of fava bean cream.

If you haven't tried the fava bean cream...well, I've already used it to stir fry into Swiss chard, with a small splash of half and half (after the chard is cooked);  mixed with mayo to make a salad dressing; mixed with balsamic vinegar to cook kale.  I threw 2 fresh cloves of garlic into my fava bean cream as there were no scapes left.   I should have only used one.  Fire! Fire!  Wow.  Anyway, Leo's been in garlic heaven.  Unless you are one of those, I urge discretion with those George Fire Garlic.  At this rate, I'm going to have to make another batch of cream, unless we eat our share as edamame tonight.

Lemon Extract - Can be used in any baking recipe that calls for lemon extract.  What?  You don't bake?  Okay, take one bottle of lemon extract, mix with a jigger of vodka or gin, pour over ice and add seltzer water and go swing in a hammock.  

Please, please save the bottles!  And if any of you take echinacea, valerian or any other tinctures that use those little brown bottles, I'd be happy to recycle/reuse them!  Yes, I take blue bottles too.  I have a strawberry extract brewing.  

Olive Oil 
The Oil of Paicines folks just won the gold at the 2011 Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. Have a great week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CSA June 8, 2011 - SCVWD

Walla Walla-Casey's Onions
What's in the box?
Lettuce, Fava Beans, Golden Beets, Radishes, Tuscan Kale, Peas, Casey's Onions, Eggs and Early Italian Garlic.

And this weeks special gift:  Baked Goods - Lemon Bread, Lemon Nut Bread, Regular Bread or Strawberry Cupcakes. 

  • Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability - just not as much.
  • Kale's risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. 
  • Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
  • My vitamin K...Korn on the Kob
  • Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale's flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Vegetable gardens in Scotland are called Kaleyards.
Kale has vitamin K.

Bacon & Kale 
    •    6 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and then finely chopped (you can use vegetarian bacon, but please add oil to the pan, as the vegetarian bacon does not exude fat.)
    •    1 small onion, finely chopped
    •    3 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
    •    2 bay leaves
    •    1 pound kale, stems and ribs removed, chopped fine
    •    2 to 3 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
    •    1 to 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
    •    freshly ground black pepper
    •    1 chile, crushed (optional)
 In a 4- to 5-qt. pan over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bacon leaving 5 tbsp. fat in pan; discard the rest.  Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onion is pale golden, 5 minutes. Toss in kale; cook, stirring, until wilted. Add 1 cup water, half the bacon, 2 tbsp. each soy sauce and vinegar, the pepper, and chile. Simmer, covered, adding water if pan gets dry, until kale is very tender, 60 minutes. Add soy and vinegar to taste.  Serve sprinkled with remaining bacon.

Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (a world of great recipes)

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
 or a clove of garlic and a T. of finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon sugar

1 sack of lettuce
A few radishes, diced

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally
Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved. Toss lettuce, radishes, and celery with dressing.

A word about chickens or How our chickens get their names. 
Not every chicken has a name, only the ones that stand out.  For example, there's Falcon, a young chicken who thinks it should roost on top of the 12' hen house.

To the right is Dumb Cluck and her baby rooster, Little Pecker.  Now Dumb Cluck got her name because after she hatched her one egg, she jumped out of the box (previously I had to lift her off the nest every morning and evening).  Well the little guy couldn't back up the ramp and into the box.  So Leo was trying to teach him how to use the ramp, when this bird became unhinged and began to cluck alarmingly at Leo.  I came around the corner and heard Leo say, "Listen you Dumb Cluck, I'm trying to help, or shall I leave the Little Pecker out here to get eaten?"

Folded Comb content on her nest
Aerin, this hen is still with a rooster, but not with one that can make the eggs fertile.  She's a good hen, she's laying finally a few eggs for you.

We've been short on eggs for the last few weeks, because several hens all decided to go broody at once.  Leo broke it up, and so we have Folded Comb on a nest.

Her sister, Good Mother Chicken has returned to Georgie's Girls with her 4 new henlings.  And there's a queue waiting for empty brood houses.  I'll only let 2 at at time brood.  They take careful watching over, so they don't forget to get off the nest.

In a few weeks, Dumb Cluck will return with her roosterling to the second flock and then a new hen will take up the broody box.  Little Pecker has to get big enough to not be able to squeeze through the fence.  He's still small enough for the cats to be very interested in him.
You can't change the past, 
but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future

This is the main flock, under the capable direction of Salman Rushdie.  He's the big guy with the white tail.  He's taken one too many rushes at me.  So eventually Little Pecker will take his place.  There's no room on this farm for anyone who bullies the farmer's wife.  He and Leo had words one evening.  Right after Salman put his spurs in my leg.

Salman will go visit Lalo at the Feed Store.  I will trade him for a nice sack of oyster shells when the time comes...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

CSA June 2, 2011 - People and Planet

What's in the Bag?
Me picking greens
Prepare for Greens!  Mixed Lettuce, Red Russian or Kurly Kale, Swiss Chard, Cavola Cabbage, Peas, Casey's Walla Walla Onion, Garlic Scapes, Lemons, Cylindra Beets, Artichokes - last of  (darn I forgot the radishes), Flowers, eggs, and this week's special gift:  Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate.

Casey's Onions.  Our neighbor brought us over some onion plants, and Casey planted them for me.  They are sweet Walla Walla Onions.  We'll have them for a few weeks.  The garlic season has just begun.  This week I have sent garlic scapes with the fava beans.  Which of course leads me to a recipe.

Fava Bean Cream
Leo tilling more beds for beans and corn
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over a high heat. Dump in the shelled fava beans and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans in cold water. (You can refrigerate the beans for 24 hours before continuing if you like.) Remove the skins: pinch a half moon of skin off one end of the bean with your finger and squeeze the flesh out the opening.  Roughly chop the garlic scapes.  Into a food processor add the fava beans, the juice of one lemon,  a cup of warm stock (vege, chicken, or beef) and a handful of pine nuts.

Whir until you end up with a paste.  This will last about 5 months in the freezer or a week in the fridge.  Try it over pasta, rice, fish,  or stirred into a soup.

Sauteed Kale
1 sack of WASHED Kale
3 T. Olive Oil
1/2 c. stock.
2 T. Vinegar (I use rice)
2 cloves of garlic (or chopped garlic scapes)
Salt and Pepper.
Heat the olive oil and cook the garlic till soft but not brown..  Raise the heat to high and add the stock and kale.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until the liquid evaporates, season with salt and pepper and add vinegar.

                                           Cavalo Cabbage
tomato blossom
This is a specialty Portuguese Leaf Cabbage.  It's uses for stuffing.  Basically, steam the leaves, stuff them with filling, roll them up like a burrito, put them in a buttered baking dish, top with stock, cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.  I like them stuffed with sauteed onion, leftover cooked rice, hamburger/or soy taco and cheese.  I use beef broth on top.  I drizzle the pan juice over the top and serve with sour cream.  Because, everything is better with cream.

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

This is canned Mara des Bois Strawberries, Meyer Lemons and sugar.  To use, pour the contents of the jar into a pitcher and add 4 jars of water and stir.  Serve over ice with a lemon or strawberry wedge.  This also makes a very nice adult drink, mixed with vodka or gin.  Think summer BBQ.  Leo likes his diluted 1-6.  You can also use it as a margarita base.

About the weather
Well, all I can say is it's been about 15 years since we've had lettuce in June.  Usually by now, we are throwing Zucchini into the windows of passing cars.  Today I spotted the first zuke blossom.  We are gearing up for an inch of rain here.  So I'm off to plant more beans, corn, sunflowers, and lots of herbs.  Coming soon, potatoes.  It's been a long wait, as you recall the first potatoes of the year flooded and rotted, so we have had no early potatoes.  These are looking good, and I'll take a peek after the rain to see if we can pinch a row of little red creamers.  Next box June 16.