Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 15, 2012 - People and Planet CSA

Texas Gourdseed on the Right
What's in the bag?
Texas Gourdseed White Corn Meal,  Dried Beans,  Misticanza - Radicchio and lettuce mix with lots of fun things,  Scarlet Ohno Turnips, Kale,  Dancy Tangerines and a Blood Orange, Cabbage either purple San Michele or Green Couve de Portugal, Purple Passion Asparagus, Chives, and eggs.

This week's special gift:  Cider Mustard from Oil of Paicines  and cookies!

Purple Passion Asparagus 
Originally found by accident growing in a tiny, isolated village near the southern Alps, nearly 9 years went into perfecting this all-purple variety. Its spears are larger and more tender than green asparagus.  Purple asparagus originated from a region around Albenga, Italy. This "cultivar" is known as Violetto d/Albenga. Without any of the strings that can make green asparagus tough, the whole spear can be cooked without wasting the butt. But what’s really different about Purple Passion is its taste. It has so much more natural sugar it’s often snapped off and eaten raw. And when it’s cooked — ahh! Its sweetness gives it a mild, nutty flavor.

Jo from the sister CSA has found that if you roast the asparagus in the oven, it keeps it's purple color when cooked.  Leo and I are going to grill some this weekend and see if it stays purple

Asparagus Salad
Blood Orange Salad Dressing (see Feb 27)

Clockwise: Welsh onions, chives, Sylvetta

Make the Salad:
3 large eggs
1 bunch asparagus
3-4 slices of bacon
Sack of Salad Greens

Put the eggs in a pot with water to cover and a teaspoon of salt, and bring them to a boil. Boil them for one minute, then turn off the water and leave them in it, covered, for 10 minutes. Rinse them in cold water and peel them.

Wash and trim the asparagus and boil or steam it for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Rinse it well in cold water to prevent it cooking any further, and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Wash and drain the lettuce, and clean and slice the mushrooms if using.

Arrange the asparagus, mushrooms and sliced eggs over the salad greens.

Chop the bacon and sauté it until crisp. Blot it on paper towel, and sprinkle it over the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.  Those of you who are vegetarians, Morning Star works great in this recipe. 

George Jones, "son of George" with his own new flock. 
For more asparagus recipes and actually many great recipes check out my friend Ferdzy's Blog:

Zaletti Cookies  (I had these once as a kid and never forgot them)
About 50 cookies
3/4 cup (90g) dried currants, or finely chopped sour cherries or raisins

2 tablespoons (20g) flour
5 1/2 ounces (155g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (120g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (210g) flour

1 cup (140g) polenta, regular or coarse
 (You can use your cornmeal for this recipe)
2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Toss the dried fruit and the 2 tablespoons (20g) of flour together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about one minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, beating until incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups (210g) flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the beaten butter mixture until incorporated, than stir in the dried fruit.
5. Form the dough into a rectangle 4- by 7-inches (10 by 18 cm), wrap in plastic, and chill the dough for about an hour, or until it’s firm enough to handle.
6. Divide the dough in two, lengthwise, and roll each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a smooth cylinder 7-inches (18cm) long. Wrap the cylinders and freeze until ready to bake.
(If you prefer to bake the cookies right away, pinch of pieces of dough about the size of a small unshelled walnut, and roll into balls. Place them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet and press them down gently with your hands to flatten them partially.)
7. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325ºF. (170 ºC)
8. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
9. Slice the cookies into 1/4-inch (.75cm) slices and place them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheets. (The dough is easier to slice when frozen, but if it’s too firm or crumbles when you cut it, let it sit out on the counter until it reaches a good consistency.)
10. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until the cookies are very light brown on top. Remove the oven and let cool completely.   I stole this recipe from David Lebovitz who's living the Sweet Life In Paris...while eating Italian Cookies!

What's going on

Tomatoes are planted for Summer, as well as peppers and eggplants and more artichokes.  Also in the sprout house are more onions, lettuce, herbs, more rhubarb, spinach, TPS and some surprises.  TPS?  True Potato Seed.  Not seed from tubers, but some new and original potatoes from itty bitty seed. 

Waiting for more rhubarb is like waiting for the asparagus, as you all know, it's been worth it.  The rhubarb we planted last year is up and gorgeous, so we're planting more.  There will be rhubarb in a few months, but only one bunch per family, by next year we should have 2 bunches per family and then rhubarb for at least a month forever and ever and ever, or until at least that long.

Also, we've started new grapes, so in the long haul, we'll have more grapes, for more grape products.  We've also conscripted apples and pears.  We'll be waiting for those for a few years, so until then Prevedelli of Watsonville will continue to supply our needs of  organic apples and pears for canning and fresh.

In the Ground
Snap Peas, Snow Peas,  Carrots, Potatoes, Onions, Lupini Beans, Leeks, Swiss Chard, Kale, Beets, Parsnips, Celeriac, more broccoli, more cabbage and more cauliflower.

More to Plant
Still more lettuce, carrots...greens - Alexanders,  radishes...soup peas.  Oh my, there are so many seeds to be started in the next 30 days!

At Headstart Nursery
Tuberous Chervil and Capers.  Yes, there are even some plants that Leo and I don't fool around with.  But Headstart does some wonderful organic starts and we'll send out anything that's takes too long or too much space.  Leo assures me that he has plans for a new green house for me, a new corn mill AND some surprises.  (Oh boy!  can't wait).

Have a great week.  Enjoy the lovely weather.  P.S.  I'm a grandma!  George's Daughter is hatching chicks.  Also, the farm is doing a benefit for Town Cats of Morgan Hill.  Buy seeds, save cats, bees and birds.....

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