Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26 and 28 CSA

Seed Mania

What's in the Box

Spaghetti Squash and Dumplings, Melons! Melons! Melons!, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peppers - sweet Friarellos this week, Okra Group 1, Cukes Group 2, and corn.

This week's Special gifts :  Group 1 - Eggs & Peach Jam
Group 2 - Peach Jam

On the farm

We're busy harvesting, saving seed, harvesting melons and squash, canning and replanting for fall.  Many of you have asked me how much longer do I think the season will go.  I think we will go until the 8th of November.  Of course this depends on rain and frost.  November 8th is the last possible day that I have planted for.

Since you will be getting all things Squash over the next several weeks, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you some of my favorite squash recipes.

Mini Pumpkin Coconut Puddings With Ginger Cream

Zack's painting
Makes 6 servings
For the pumpkin shells:
6 small pumpkins (about 8 ounces each) (Delicatas/dumplings or any ornamental edible).
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the pudding:
4 pounds sugar, pie or any of the squashes from the farm  seeded, de-pulped, peeled and cut into chunks 
2 cups sugar
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
For garnish:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1. To prepare the shells, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tops off the small pumpkins. Scoop out the pulp and seeds, scraping the inside of the shells clean with a spoon, and discard the pumpkin innards. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cardamom and rub this mixture generously over the inside surface of the pumpkins. Set the tops back on the pumpkins and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the interior flesh can be easily pierced with a fork.
2. To prepare the pudding, steam the pumpkin chunks until very tender, about 30 minutes. Add cooked pumpkin to the work bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. (Optional: For an extra-smooth pudding, run the pumpkin puree through a food mill, then return it to the food processor.) Add sugar, coconut milk, cream, cardamom and arrowroot, and process again until smooth. Return mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer mixture to a container and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 3 hours.
Feeling Squashy?
3. To serve, fill mini pumpkins with pudding. Combine heavy cream, sugar and ginger in a bowl and use a mixer to whip into soft peaks. Set a small dollop of whipped cream on each pumpkin, then sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Roast Stuffed Pumpkin With Gingery Tomato Sauce

Makes 8 to 12 servings
1 7- to 8-pound pumpkin, such as Jarrahdale
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, 2 minced plus 1 left whole
1 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 good pinch of saffron strands
Zest of 1 orange
Approximately 2 cups basmati rice, uncooked
Approximately 4 cups hot vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice the lid off the top of the pumpkin, and remove the seeds and fibrous flesh from the inside, keeping the top to put back on later.
2. In a large saucepan with a lid, fry the onion gently in the oil until softened, then add the 2 minced garlic cloves, the cranberries, spices and clementine zest. Stir in the rice, turning until it becomes glossy in the pan. Pour in the broth and let the pan come to a boil, then clamp on the lid and turn the heat down to the lowest it will possibly go. Cook for 15 minutes.
3. Cut the remaining clove of garlic in half and rub the inside of the pumpkin with the cut side of each half, then, using your fingers, smear some salt over the flesh inside as well. The rice stuffing will be quite damp and not very fluffy at this stage, but check it for seasoning - adding more spice, salt or pepper if wanted - and then spoon it into the garlic- and salt-rubbed pumpkin cavity and tamp down well.
4. Press the pumpkin lid back on top and squeeze it down as firmly as you can (it will sit a bit above the top). Stand the pumpkin on a double layer of aluminum foil, wrapping the foil 2 inches around the sides and scrunching it there, to keep the pumpkin out of direct contact with the water later. Place the stuffed, partially wrapped pumpkin in a roasting pan and pour in freshly boiled water to a depth of 1 inch. Cook the pumpkin for about 2 hours, by which time it should be tender when pierced.
5. Meanwhile, get on with the Gingery Tomato Sauce (at right). Take the pumpkin out of the roasting pan and let it sit for about 10 minutes before you slice it into segments like a cake.

Gingery Tomato Sauce

Makes 8 to 12 servings
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1-inch length fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups organic tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Put the onion, garlic, dried ginger, and fresh ginger into a processor and blitz to a pulp.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a deep, wide skillet, then add the onion-garlic mixture. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn't burn. Add the tomato sauce and water to the pan, and season with the sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, at a gentle simmer, then taste for seasoning before decanting into a warmed jug or gravy boat and taking to the table for people to pour over their slices of stuffed pumpkin.  (Gingery Tomato Sauce can be made from Farm Tomatoes, and if you add curry, peppers and herbs, it's quite lovely on chicken, lamb chops, and rice).

- From Nigella Christmas (Hyperion)

Pickled Pumpkin

Makes about 6 half-pint jars or 12 servings
4 pounds peeled and diced pumpkin
5 cups sugar
5 cups distilled white vinegar
5 black peppercorns
4 allspice berries
4 cinnamon sticks
15 whole cloves
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced thin
1. Place the pumpkin in a large, deep bowl. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, peppercorns, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Pour hot liquid over pumpkin. Cover and set aside 8 hours or overnight.
2. Strain liquid into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Strain, removing spices. Reserve. Transfer pumpkin back to saucepan and return to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, or until pumpkin is translucent and crisp. Cool completely. Transfer to sterile jars, adding back a few cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns and allspice berries to each jar for decoration.  This must be refrigerated!


Pumpkin Flan

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds Pumpkin (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
Water for boiling the Pumpkin
4 eggs
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Melt the sugar slowly and carefully in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Don't rush it. You want the sugar to caramelize, not burn.
Once the sugar has completely melted, pour into a flan mold or 8 inch glass pie plate. Set aside.
Place the cut up calabaza in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until the pumpkin is fork tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain the pumpkin in a colander. Then mash with a potato masher; or puree in a blender or food processor.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin and the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Pour the mix into the prepared glass mold. Don't worry if the sugar is hard. It will melt when the flan is cooked.
Place the glass dish inside a larger baking pan and fill the larger pan with boiling water until the water reaches halfway on the outside of the mold.
Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for 1 hour. The center should be set firm.  Be careful when removing from boiling water!
Allow to cool to room temperature. Flip upside down onto serving platter and serve.

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.  This is a regular here on the farm.

Cremini and Butternut Soup

1 Butternut Squash
4 c.  Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 onion chopped
1/2 lb. Cremini mushrooms
Olive oil, Thyme, Sage
3 Cloves Garlic
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. Half and Half
1/4 c. Romano Cheese
Cut squash in half lengthwise, and seed.   Bake cut down side on lightly oiled pan 1 hour 400 degrees.  When cool, peel, cube and process with 1 cup of broth in food processor. In a large soup pan, heat oil and saute onion and garlic.  Add chopped mushrooms and herbs, saute.  Stir in nutmeg, squash puree and remaining broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes.  Turn off heat, stir in 1/2 and 1/2 and sprinkle with cheese.  This is really my favorite soup.

Take care, see you all next week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 18 & 19, 2012 CSA

Melon Madness Begins

What's in the box:

Delicatas & Dumpling Squash, Cukes,  Various melons - marked,  Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers, Bell Peppers, Warning - small orange peppers are habaneros and will bite you.  Many types of eggplant,  tomatillos,  flowers,

The first group this week - Special Gift - Hot or Mild Salsa and Pumpkin Bars.

The second group this week also got eggs, okra, green beans and either pumpkin bars or pumpkin rolls.


Okay, I hope you have your spoons ready, SCVWD CSA there were watermelons and Melons from Russia and the Northern Wilds.  Now this is your CSA, get a melon you love?  or you think is a spitter?  Well you better tell me, or you may get it again.  Funny thing about melons, when I pick 2 they both may not be alike.  Huh?  How's that?  Come again?  Well, melons each like to be picked at their moment of perfection, so melon one might be great, melon two might be terrific and melon three just so-so.

Here's a case in point:  Royal Golden.  Love this, gets subtle shades of golden when it's ripe.  However, every melon I opened had a different Brix level.  Yep, I test the Brix of every melon I feed my family, and you don't get them unless I've tested them.

Why is that?  A couple of seasons back Leo and I opened a melon that tasted like Acetone.  No, really.

Leo was mortified and was worried that everyone got that melon.  Turns out it only went to one customer, whew!  That was a close one.  So now, no melon goes untested to you.  And of course, I record them so that we know what melons I think we should grow in the future.  Not everyone's taste is my taste.  Got a melon or tomato you love...don't let it get away.  Email me today!

So this week it's all about melons as it is every September, so besides just eating them straight, making them into salsa what can you do with melons?


There's melons smoothies (Any melon + yogurt or ice cream, lime, honey & ice).  Some folks even make these with added bananas and almond milk.

Then there's Melon Margaritas (melon, lime, tequila & ice).  Don't forget the salt.

Mimosas - Lime, Melon, ice & Sparkling Wine

Daiquiris-Lime, Melon, ice & Rum

All of these require some sort of blender to liquify the melon and chop the ice.  Some even call for sugar (fie).  But I noticed that all of these required limes.   Now why is it that melons are never in season when limes are?    Of course melon goes great with chicken, pork & shrimp.  So far, we have not been driven to grill it or soup it, but you all go on ahead without me.  I'll just sit here on the veranda dripping juice down my arms.
Top Row - Collective Farm Woman,  Bottom - Sakata Sweet

Tomatillo Sausage Soup

This is a slightly streamlined version of a traditional Mexican soup. The original is made with meatballs, but sausage makes the whole procedure so much quicker and easier, and is really just as good as long as you use a good quality sausage. If you can get a Mexican chorizo so much the better, but around here it's Italian sausage or Italian sausage.

As for the Jalapeños; you must use your judgement. Whether you use one, two or none will depend on 1.) how spicy your sausage is; 2.) how spicy you want your soup to be and 3.) how spicy the Jalapeños actually are. Most of the ones you get around here are actually not that hot, unfortunately. Still, it's a bit of gamble... you never know. We put in two and liked it, but that's us.  Or try one or all of the milder peppers I've given yo this week.

4 servings
45 minutes prep time
Carrot Seed
500 grams (1 pound; 12 to 14 medium) tomatillos
1 medium onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
2 small to medium Jalapeños (but to taste)
250 grams (1/2 pound; 2 medium) fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausages
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil (if needed)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed

4 cups chicken stock
up to 1/2 teaspoon salt (if needed)
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
1 large lime, quartered
extra cilantro for garnish

Remove the husks from the tomatillos, and rinse them, and cut them into quarters. Peel and slice the onion. Peel the garlic, and slice it. Remove the stems and seeds from the Jalapeños, and cut them in pieces.

Cut the sausage into smallish bite-sized pieces. Fry them up in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, using the oil if it is needed to keep them from sticking. (If they are fairly fatty and you don't need the oil, start them off with about a quarter cup of water in the pan to keep them from sticking.)
Winter Squash, fresh off the vine
Once the sausage pieces are nicely browned, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Drain off most of the fat if there is too much; the bottom of the pan should be well coated but not much more. Put the tomatillos, onion and Jalapeños into the pot and cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly browned and softened. Add the garlic and cumin seed, mix in well, and after a minute or so add the chicken stock. Add the salt, depending on how salty the chicken stock is. Half a teaspoon assumes unsalted stock.

Let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor with the 1/4 cup of cilantro until fairly smooth, then return it to the pot. Add the sausage and any juices thereof back into the soup, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Serve the soup sprinkled with extra cilantro, and pass a wedge of lime to be squeezed over it.
I stole this from "Seasonal Ontario Food",  from Ferdzy who's a darn fine cook and great gardener too.

If you're looking for a recipe for something I grow, chances are Ferdzy has it, so check her blog if I'm getting to slow posting recipes.


On the farm

Not only are we harvesting melons and squashes, but the seed crops are coming in fast and furious.  This week I've brought in carrot, millet, flax, sunflowers and beans! Do not expect millet or flax this year, there's finally enough to seed for next year, but you will see amaranth & beans!  Corn is on it's way too.

See you next week.  And happy autumn, the equinox is this weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 12 & 13, 2012 CSA

Melons and Squash, oh my!

What's in the box:

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin, Cukes,  Various melons - marked,  Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers, Bell Peppers, Many types of eggplant,  tomatillos, some okra, some eggs.

The first group this week - Special Gift - Tomatillo Salsa

First of all, let me say that if you were in the second group last week, the green squash was a Chioggia Squash and is great for pasta filling and pasta sauce and all types of Indian Food.

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin

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.
Winter Luxury #11

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.

Why does the Winter Luxury have Warts?   This is the sugar expressing itself through the rind.  Next month you should all receive naked seed pumpkins.  I recommend using these for your Halloween pumpkins and saving the Winter Luxury for pies, pumpkin butter and other sweet things.  This pumpkin should keep for at least 3 months if you store it somewhere cool.  One of my friends puts them behind the that would not be cool at our house.  Leo takes a dim view of produce taking up the living room.  It's bad enough that seeds have eaten the kitchen.

Melons from the Trial - Northern Sweet


There were so many different types of watermelons and regular melons that I gave up and just put labels on the melons themselves.  In addition to watermelons,  there are some  Cucumis melo)"

Sakata Sweet:   Introduced by Sakata’s Seeds of Yokohama. This type of Asian melon, or conomon, has been grown in China and Japan for thousands of years but has almost never appears in American markets. Golden, yellowish green, softball-sized fruits. Flesh is fun to eat, very sweet and crisp. 

Farthest North Melon Mix:  This was bred by Tim Peters, a Master Plant Breeder, who's left the world with some darn fine things.  This is an extra early melon,  I believe the first out of this group to be a cantaloupe type, as the melon slips from the vine.

The farm taking on it's Fall Skirts
There are still another 200 melons in the field, so I do believe that we will be having melons for several weeks yet.


Is here on the farm.  There's no getting around the Indian Summer, the dust, the drying up of everything and this weekend we will begin transplanting fall veges.  It will be nice to have greens besides NZ Spinach.  And if you didn't get NZ Spinach last week, I'm sorry, all the bags were forgotten in the fridge.  It was so hot when we were harvesting, we put them in the fridge and promptly forgot them.  So guess what we had for dinner all week?

Lots of little sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, new artichokes!  rutabags, turnips, beets, lettuce (yeah!), endive and more.

Only one group got Okra this week, the rest of you will get it next week.  Southern has some interesting Okra recipes.

Really, I use it to thicken Spaghetti Sauce and Leo is waiting to have it pickled.  But there are a number of slime free recipes out there if you haven't tried okra in awhile, check them out.

See you next week.  Sorry the blog was delayed.  I couldn't sign in, and I had to wait for Zack to fool around with my HTML code to figure it out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 5 & 6th CSA

Janosik - Italian Watermelon

What's in the box:

Long Island Dumplings and Butternut Squash, Cukes,  Watermelon White Wonder Watermelon or Janosik Watermelon, Tomatoes- Santa Ana, Dona, Thessaloniki, Cherokee Green, Saint Columbe and a host of cherries, Anaheim Peppers, Bell Peppers, Sweet Italian Frying Peppers - Friarellos, and yellow Hungarian Wax Peppers, Luscious Sweet Corn, eggplant, NZ Spinach and tomatillos.

The Mystery Tomato
Every year it happens, I plant something and I get something else.  Now this year is different, because David sent me these seeds and David who lives in Oklahoma and is an honest farmer would not lie about such a thing. David does not know what this tomato is.  It's certainly not what he thought he sent me.  This tomato starts out green, turns purple and then a brownish red color.  It does not have a name.  I think one of you should name it.

Mystery Tomato

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
Mystery Tomato

Santa Ana Tomato

This is not an heirloom tomato.  It is brand new.  It was bred by Tater Mater and I don't think you find this one in the stores.  It has a 7.5 brix which is pretty darn good for a tomato.  It certainly is striking.

Santa Ana Tomato




Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos Recipe

Shrimp can be cooked either shell on or shell off. Cooking with the shell on will result in better flavor, but can be fussy to eat, as you have to pick off the shells as you eat them. Shelling and deveining the shrimp before cooking can add a good 10 minutes to prep time, but the resulting dish is easier to eat. This is a one pan dish, going from stove-top to oven, so use an oven-proof pan.
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 1-2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb tomatillos, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup clam juice OR 1/4 cup water* or tequila
  • 1 lb shrimp, cleaned,
  • 1 cup Cotija queso seco cheese (can substitute feta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Black pepper
  • An oven-proof sauté pan or cast iron pan

Corn and Squash
Heat oil in the pan you will use for baking. Add the onions and jalapeños, cook for 5 minutes on medium high until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the tomatillos, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatillos are cooked through, but still hold their shape. Sprinkle salt over the tomatillos as they are cooking.
If using clam juice, add to pan, turn up the heat and reduce by half. If using water or tequila, just add the 1/4 cup of water without reducing.
Add the cheese and shrimp. Cook in a preheated 425°F oven for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven.  Right before serving, mix in the cilantro and sprinkle with lime juice and freshly ground black pepper.

I got this from Simply Recipes and promised the Feltonites that I would remember to post it to give you something else to do with tomatillos.  I never have clam juice so I usually use tequila. I also stick an oven mitt on the handle of the skillet after I take it out of the oven,  so that the cook who's been drinking the tequila does not try to pick up the pan.  This is really fast and yummy.

Tommy's Two-Melon Salsa

1.5 cups each diced (1/8 in cubes) seedless watermelon and cantaloupe (good use for less-than-ripe picked-it-too-soon cantaloupe)
2 Anaheim peppers
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon orange chipotle spice
Another new salsa recipe from one of our past CSA members. Hang onto this because we have only begun melon madness!

If you are in the People & Planet CSA - This week's special gift is Peach jam or salsa.  Watch for corn ear worm!  Cut the ends off the corn and dispose of the wee buggers.