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.....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 7, 2012 SCVWD CSA

What's in the bag?
Texas Gourdseed White Corn Meal,  Dried Beans-either Violet's Every Colored Butter Beans or French Filets, Vivid Choy, Misticanza - Radicchio and lettuce mix with lots of fun things, Broccoli Rabe, Scarlet Ohno Turnip Greens, or Purple Ball Turnips,  Citrus - Blood Oranges or Dancy Tangerines, Cabbage either purple for braising or Green for stuffing!, Purple Passion Asparagus, and some Swiss Chard.

This week's special gifts:   Pumpkin Bars and the last of 2011 Canning projects.  We have been going through BBQ Sauce like crazy with these sunny days.  So, I saved some for you folks and a few other things I know you love.

Well, we've had some beautiful days, and then March decided to kick up her lion side, and the roof of the barn is the worse for wear.  Leo is up putting a band-aid on it as we speak.  Do you ever notice that no house or barn falls apart when the spouse is in, but just let him go to work or vacation and the whole place jumps into Dorothy's hand basket and tries to sail it self off to OZ.

Speaking of Wizards, Scarecrows and Tin Woodsmen,   I have been running up and down the yellow brick road looking for great seeds for the upcoming season.  I've found some old friends, and some crazy odd things.

On farm experiments this year:
Italian Dry Beans, Year 2
Watermelon, Searching for Goldilocks, or Just Right
Other Melons, Searching for storage melons that you can keep all the way till Christmas!
Carrots, Can we please find carrots that are of a decent size with great flavor? We want to eat them, juice them, dry them and freeze them!

Corn - Still hunting the perfect Polenta Corn.  This year - Cascade Maple Gold!
Tomatoes - The ongoing search for everyone's favorite 10 tomatoes. 
Onions - Is there a perfect red storage onion?
Garlic - Can we grow true garlic seed?  TGS has no diseases and is not a clone. 
Okay, there's also some top top secret things growing that we have never tried before...but I can't tell you, because then it wouldn't be a secret.  Shhh, more later!
Lettuce - Is there such a thing as a lettuce that will grow in San Martin in the summer?  And just to show that there's no place like home...spaghetti squash is coming back and many of your regular favorites!

Cabbage and Noodles
This takes about an hour, so it's a great weekend recipe.
1 C. thinly sliced onions
1/4 C. butter
1 1/2 T. Paprika
4 C. Shredded Cabbage (about 1 pound)
2 t. salt
12 oz wide egg noodles
Fresh Ground Pepper
dollop of sour cream

In a pot with a tight lid, cook the onions in the butter on medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes.  Add the paprika and saute for a few seconds more.  Stir in the cabbage, add the salt and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Put the lid on, and turn it on VERY low heat and cook for another 45 minutes, stirring until the cabbage is soft and brown but NOT burnt!  At about the 35 minute point, cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente.  Drain and toss well with the cabbage. Plate up, sprinkle with pepper and serve each with a dollop of sour cream.  Another lovely Eastern European dish that's great as a whole meal, or a side dish.

Orecchiette with Butter or Filet Beans
1 large bunch of broccoli or broccoli rabe with stems and lots of leaves.
1 T. Olive Oil
2 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups cooked butter of filet beans (see below)
1 C. chopped tomatoes (if you have any sun dried left, use them here, you'll only need 1/4 c.)
1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Cut all the broccoli into 1 inch lengths (yes, stems leaves and all).
In a large frying pan, warm the oil, saute the broccoli and garlic for about 7 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is bright green.  Add the red pepper flakes and beans, lower the heat and keep warm while the pasta coooks.

When the pasta is cooked, add the sauteed bean mixture, the tomatoes and cheese.  Serve!

BEANS beautiful Beans
So, as usual, soak them over night, rinse, drain and put them in a pot to boil,  NEVER add salt.  Never cook in a crook pot.  Put a lid on and let them simmer till done.  About an hour or so.  I do this the night before.  Add your salt and seasoning at then end  of the cooking cycle and let them soak it up.

Stuffing Cabbage?  See June 2011 for help!  Yummy, guess what we're having for supper?

Have a great week.

People & Planet CSA - Monday, February 27, 2012

What was in that bag?
As our computer crashed, I'm doing this a little behind the time.

Citrus, either Dancy Tangerines or Moro Blood Oranges.   The Tangerines are a little dry this year, due to lack of rain, and Blood Oranges are always very tart, but they're pretty good this year.  Here on the farm I use the blood oranges to make salad dressing, or mix them with apple juice. Vivid Choy, Scarlet Ohno Revial (Turnip Greens), Purple Passion Asparagus, Daffodils, Misticanza - lettuce, endive, escarole, and radicchio, broccoli, Texas Gourdseed White Corn Meal, Eggs, Walnuts, Cabbage and this week's special gift: jam or apple butter.

Blood Orange Salad Dressing
1/2 c. olive oil
The juice of one Blood Orange
1/2 t. salt
2-3 t. Oil of Paicines Cider or Dijon Mustard
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 c. ketchup
1 t. garlic powder
2 T. mild vinegar
1 T. sugar

Mix, shake it up and serve.  This is Leo's Favorite.  We used to call it Red Russian, but we are now more politically correct.

That last little rain really helped water things up.  This is the driest year since the 1800's!  That's saying a lot.

Apple Braised Cabbage
2 T. butter
2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 large tart apple, peeled, cored, finely diced
1/2 head of  red cabbage, coarsely chopped or shredded, about 8 cups
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Splash of Sake or White wine
Splash of Rice Vinegar
1/4 c. of Apple Juice
salt, to taste
In a large skillet, or Dutch oven, heat butter & olive oil over low heat; add onion and apple; sauté for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until soft. Add cabbage, pepper, and vinegar; Juice and Splash of Sake/wine; toss to blend well.  When the liquid is gone, it’s done.  The cabbage should be tender crisp.  Don’t burn it!   Add salt to taste.
Serves 2.

We use the same recipe to make turnip greens!  We've been putting red pears in the turnip greens and using a splash of cider vinegar instead of the rice vinegar.  

Texas Gourdseed White Corn Meal 
I have been doing a lot of baking with this and I finally got a Zack 2-Thumbs up on a cornbread recipe.   This is from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics Cookbook.  This is freshly ground, so freeze it or use it up in 2 weeks. 

Corn Bread Muffins
1 C. Cornmeal (one jar)
1 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1/4 olive oil, or melted butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. honey
1 C. plain yogurt or buttermilk

Preheat the over to 400 degrees.  Grease your muffin cups.  Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until just blended.  Do NOT over mix (or you'll end up with muffins with giant holes in them).  Spoon the batter into muffin cups.  Bake for 20-23 minutes until golden brown.

Well, if there's any leftovers, crumble them up, mix them with butter and herbs and stuff a squash with them.  I know, there weren't any at my house either.

So there you have it.  My computer is back, my photos are still MIA, so I had a great deal of trouble getting this up.  Regular boxes will start up again in April.  I'll give you a head's up, when I think we are back in session.  Have a great week.