Monday, September 30, 2013

Locavores CSA - Sepetember 30, 2013

Last CSA of the Season - What's in the box?
Just about done

Fresh ground Florianni Polenta Corn and Tohono O'Odham Flour corn, Scarlet Runner Beans, Grover Delaney Watermelons, and a couple of others, Sweet Dumpling Squash,  Mill Creek Onions, Garlic, Russet Potatoes, Golden Beets, Carrots, Apples, Tomatoes, Peppers, Limes and Lemons.

This week's special gift :  Dried Tomatoes and Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Sauce:
Home late?  This is one of those very easy meals.
1 C. Chicken Broth
2 Cups Chopped Cooked Chicken (or shrimp or just the veges).
1 Onion chopped
2 Cups Cheese (Jack, Cheddar or good Mexican Cheese)
Pumpkins and Squash
A handful of olives
A bit of cilantro

Take the ench sauce and mix it with 1 cup of Broth.  Take a spoonful of onions, chicken and cheese and roll it in a tortilla.  Leave both ends open.  I make enough of these to fill a 9x13" pan.  Pour the sauce over the top, sprinkle with the leftover cheese, olives, onions, cilantro and chicken.  Bake 350 degrees about 25 minutes.  Serve with sour cream.

Enchilada sauce can also be used as a short cut to making Chili Verde.  Add the sauce after the meat is cooked and simmer for a few minutes.

Finally, my box of apples came from Prevedelli in Watsonville!  I kept all the Gravensteins for sauce, but I did give each of you a bag of perfectly paired pie Apples.  The green ones are Mutsu and the Red/golds are Johnagolds.  These are beautiful organic apples.  And yummy too.

The onions I sent out this week, seemed a little soft, so use them up.

Freshly ground corn
Should be used within a week, or put in the freezer and used within a month.  Each of these bags has 2 cups of flour in it.

Florianni Corn before being ground into Polenta

Okay, so I don't make polenta like anyone else you know.  Nona says to boil the water and in a slow stream, add the polenta, whisking continually so that it doesn't lump, and stir continually for 25 minutes.   So, here's how I do it:

1 cup chicken broth
3 cups water
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 T. Butter
1 t. sea salt (try's yummy)

Put 3 cups of COLD water in a pot and whisk the polenta corn into it. Now, go do something else for 20 minutes.   Are you back?  Okay, turn the pot to medium and while continually stirring, add the chicken broth and salt.  Stir and stir about 20 minutes until it starts to spit at you.  Then stir in the cream, butter and cheese and stir for another minute or so.  You can serve it just like this, sprinkled with herbs and peppers.  Or you can put it in a buttered pan and let it form up.  You can bake it (20 minutes, 350 degrees.

You can grill it.  You can fry it.  You can put it in a salad, top it with sauce, plunk a grilled pork chop on to of it.  You can slice it, make a hole in it and fry and egg in it.  Polenta, a thousand ways to serve it.  A few weeks ago, I had it served to me mixed with honey and ricotta and piped into a fig.  As a child we often ate this soft for breakfast.  We called it mush.  On Thanksgiving we have it topped with cranberries.  Leo likes his grilled with a teriyaki steak on the side.  And when no one's looking I eat it with Ragu, while standing in the kitchen.  There's a hundred recipes for it on net.

I've been bringing in the pumpkins for pies and you will get these in your next box.  The next out of season box will be October 7.   After that, we'll have to see.

Hasn't it been a beautiful season?  Thank you each and every one.

Have a great week.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Locavores CSA - September 23, 2013

What's in the box: Melons - Many watermelons this week the pale ones are Grover Delaney, a few honeydews and some mystery Italian melons,  Sweet Corn, Eggplants, Peppers, Tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, Naked Ned Kelly squash, ornamental edible, onions and celeriac:

This week's special gift - Chicas and lots of special treats
Polenta Corn


The unsung prince of fall vegetables. Pare off its warty exterior and you'll uncover the royal vegetable within.

Virtually unknown in the US; however,  In Europe, however, celeriac is a historic favorite. The vegetable's most classic employment is in the cold French salad celerie remoulade, in which the root is peeled, grated, "cooked" in lemon juice to lose a bit of its rawness, then dressed with a mustardy mayonnaise.

When peeled, celery root's creamy white flesh resembles that of a turnip and tastes like a subtle blend of celery and parsley.  It can be cooked anyway that you cook a potato.

I like it in soup or  roasted with a pat of butter.

Celeriac Soup
First remove the tops of the celeriac, wash and chop them.  Add them to a quart of chicken broth with a couple of bay leaves
Florianni Red Flint Polenta Corn

3 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, green top removed, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly diced
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
½ cup white wine
1 celeriac, peeled, roughly diced
1 potato, peeled, roughly diced
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup 35% cream
pinch fresh nutmeg
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds for garnish
salt and pepper


1 T. butter, 2 T. olive oil
1 onion, coarsely diced
3 sprigs fresh thyme 
1/2 cup white wine
2 celeriac, peeled, coarsely diced (let these soak in vinegar water for a few minutes)
1 potato peeled, coarsely diced

4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch fresh nutmeg
Chopped cooked bacon as a garnish (or you could use any toasted seeds).

Trying to beat the rain harvesting Cherokee White Flour Corn
Put the butter and olive oil in a pan.   Once the butter has melted, add the onion and thyme and stir until the onions are translucent. Add the wine and reduce the liquid by 2/3. Add the diced celeriac and potato, stir.  Drain the stock, and add the liquid to the pot and bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer Cook until the celeriac is tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

Carefully transfer the mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir in the cream.  Season the soup with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley or toasted seeds and serve.

Just about all done for the season
Corn Chicas
These are sweet corn that have been roasted on the BBQ, cut off the cob and then dried.  There's 2 cups in the bag.    So, to use them I put them on to soak overnight and then make my stew the next day.  You need to use twice as much water to soak them as you use corn.  So, 4 cups for the whole bag, 2 cups for 1 cup corn...etc.  Try them in a nice pork or chicken stew!

On the farm 

Cherokee White Flour Corn
We really had to scurry to get all the corn in before it started raining.  Nothing ruins dry corn like rain.   One year we rushed to get it out of the field, and it molded in the wheel barrow!  So we didn't take any chances with our beautiful crop this year.   Leo was looking at my wagon and started laughing...not near big enough to bring in all the corn with.   We got it all in and shucked and now it's hanging in the barn to dry. 

Many thanks to the Dar Jones (the magnificent) for all tomato and corn seeds this year.  Dar assures me that this will be the best flour corn we have ever et.

Will have to be patient and wait for it to finish drying.

For those of you who are on the every other week schedule, this is your last CSA of the season.  We've sure enjoyed your company.  Thanks for having us in your kitchen.

For those of you who are on the every week schedule, you have a few more boxes coming.

I think the polenta corn will be ready next week!  I've already got it off the cob and spending a week in the freezer to thwart any would be bugs that would try to get into the pantry.

Have a great week.  And a lovely winter for those of you who are finished.

3 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, green top removed, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly diced
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
½ cup white wine
1 celeriac, peeled, roughly diced
1 potato, peeled, roughly diced
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup 35% cream
pinch fresh nutmeg
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds for garnish
salt and pepper


Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013 - Last CSA - Mer Folk

What's in the box:
Melons - there were a lot of Ananas Melons this week, a few honeydews and some watermelons, Sweet Corn, Eggplants, Peppers, Tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, Naked Ned Kelly squash, onions and:

This week's special gift - Corn Flour, and lots of special treats

This is the second time I've tried to write a blog and Blogger has gone crazy.  I can't post any photos, so just bear with me.

Corn Flour vs. Corn Meal
There's a difference.  Corn Flour is for baking, Corn Meal is for boiling.  Corn Flour comes from Floury Corn and Corn Meal comes from Flint Corn.  At the farm we grow both.  We use the Corn Meal for Polenta.  In the sack there is 2 cups of Corn Flour.  I don't have a professional grinder, so the particles are still a bit larger than I could hope for.  To use this corn flour, try adding the liquid to it first and letting it sit for a bit before proceeding to your recipe.

Generally, Corn Flour can take the place of any cup of wheat flour in a recipe.  For example, I regularly make waffles, pancakes, or muffins with corn flour by simply substituting one cup of my corn flour for one cup of any other flour the recipe calls for.  Tonight for dinner we will have corn waffles with chili and sour cream on top.   When I make this recipe, I add the corn flour to the milk and set it aside for about 20 minutes while I organize the rest of dinner.  Once you've had corn waffles, you'll wonder why you haven't tried them before. 

Corn Flour makes great muffins and tamale pie!

Another Great Recipe for Eggplant

Eggplant stacks
Slice an eggplant and sprinkle both sides with salt and set on a paper towel for at least an hour.  Rinse and pat dry. 

Grease a baking pan with olive oil.  Put the eggplants on the sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

Put the eggplants in the oven at 450 and roast for 20-30 minutes until brown.  Don't turn them, but rotate the pan if you feel one edge is getting more brown than the other.

Now, take as many tomato slices as you had eggplant slices, make these at least 1/4 thick.  Put them on a baking pan greased with olive oil.  Sprinkle these with minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Roast these, without turning for 10-15 minutes.

Make as many slices of fresh mozzarella as you have eggplant slices.

Now make your stacks.  On each plate, arrange one slice of eggplant, one slice of cheese and top it with a tomato.  Serve warm.

I like to make these while I'm fussing about making the rest of dinner.

Ananas Melon
Ananas means pineapple in Italian and this netted melon has the aroma of pineapple.  If you were ever going to have melon and prosciutto, now's the time.  These melons are ripe today.  Eat them soon.  

Naked Ned Kelly Squash
Hey don't forget the seeds of these are almost naked, and very delicious too.  Give them a good rinse before roasting them.  These squash seeds can also be used as an oil.  After roasting, whir them in the food processor.  Leo loved these so much, you folks almost didn't get any.  The squash it self has a very nice flavor and a texture closer to potatoes that regular squash.  This squash should keep till Christmas.

Jars, Bags, Boxes and other Miscellany
As this is your last box/bag of the season, as you empty them please set aside jars for me.  Marisa has a box for me at the pool, and Leo has one in his office.  Canning season is far from over and I still hope to get enough jars back to make apple butter, which we will start the season with.

October is a fine  season in America, a wonderful time to begin anything at all.  I think the best remedy for any and all ailments is to take a road trip in October.    The beach, the mountains, the desert, it doesn't matter, they are all grand right now.  After a long season of farming, my feet itch and I can't wait to hit the road and go camping before the rain starts.  I could be cleaning seeds, but heck, that's the whole purpose of winter is to finish the season of procrastination by getting everything tucked in and put away in an orderly fashion.    Right about now, there is no surface in my house or barn that does not have seeds to clean stacked on it.  I'd take a photo, but I don't want to scare you!

Have a lovely season. 

September 9, 2013 - Locavores

Hey, where's the blog?  Sorry, there wasn't one for this week.  But there was a box. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 2014

What's in the Box
NZ Torpedo Onions,  Garlic of Italy,  Peppers - mostly mild, Eggplant, Tomatoes,  grapes,  there were a few cukes,  Spaghetti Squash,  eggs and melons!

This week's special gift is:  Elderberry Jam
And if you have a "box" you also received pickled green beans and fresh green beans and the last of the summer squash.

Now those were some heavy boxes.  Although the zinnias were beautiful this week, the boxes were too full to squeeze any in.

The continuing saga of the Mountain Lion in the Chicken Coop

Some of you have asked, so here's the scoop, I finally found a game warden to inform that I have a lion hunting chickens without a license on my farm.

He told me that he would come out and give me a license to hunt the lion.  Apparently if I lived in Monterey County, they would come out and trap the lion, but in Santa Clara County they just give
Hanna Barbera's Snagglepuss
you a license to shoot it.  Now,  thirty chickens are a lot to lose but not worth shooting a Mountain Lion over.

I mean in my head, it's Snagglepuss, straight from the Yogi Bear show.  A big pink Lion with a collar and cuffs, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" you can't expect me to shot a lion.  I mean, it's a lion! and they don't look so measly to me.  And remember, Major Minor never did shoot that lion.

So, I think I may just exit Stage Right and forget the whole thing.   In the meantime, the few remaining chickens that are left have been moved to the blue house for safety.

Of course, Leo, the resident Lion reminds me that even the blue house would not stand up to a determined Mountain Lion.  So it's my plan to stay in bed between midnight and six.  I wouldn't want to give the lion indigestion even.

Emeril's Herbed Spaghetti Squash

1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 1/4 pounds
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed soft herbs, such as basil, chives, chervil, parsley and sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife. Turn squash over and cover with foil again and continue to cook another 15 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Using a fork, gently pull the strands of squash away from the peel and place the squash strands into a mixing bowl.

Heat a skillet. Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
chicas coming to your home soon

Melon Salsa
  • 2 cups diced melon 
  • 1 diced cuke
  • 1 finely chopped red torpedo onion
  • 1 chopped yellow chili
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  
This was a Sunset recipe and we ate it all.  burp.
Coming next...corn! 
Have a great week.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Locavores CSA August 27, 2013

What's in the Box
NZ Torpedo Onions,  Garlic of Italy,  Peppers - mostly mild, Eggplant, Tomatoes, green beans, grapes,  Stripetti Spaghetti Squash,  and both watermelons and Italian Cantaloupe.
Spaghetti Squash playing hide and go seek

This week's special gift: dried tomatoes and Elderberry Jam.    Elderberry jam is very very good on saltines.  The salt and the seeds go together really well.  There were also eggs this week.

Today's Grapes are Thompson Seedless and Flame and it's a bumper crop this year. 

Melons are here, this week there were several watermelons and lots of Italian Cantaloupe.  If you have a PALE Green watermelon with NO stripes and you are able, please save the seed for me.  This is best done by spitting them on a piece of wax paper, parchment paper or a paper plate.  Thanks.  This is a rare watermelon called Grover Delaney.  When the seeds are dry, put them in an envelope and put them in your box.

Squash is coming
2 Ways to Cook Squash
Microwave :  Poke the squash all over with a fork.  Microwave on Full Power 5 to 10 minutes depending on size of squash.    Fork should easily pierce the peel and flesh if done.  If it doesn't continue to cook and try in 1 minute intervals.    Let it sit until cool enough to handle.  Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out he seeds,  and proceed with recipe.

Roast or Bake
Preheat oven to 350, Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds.  Oil or butter a baking dish.  Place the squash cut side down and bake until tender when pierced with a fork.  20 - 45 minutes depending on size.  With some squash I put a dab of butter in the middle and put my convection oven on roast and cook them cut side up!

Spaghetti Squash with Pepper Cream
1 Spaghetti Squash cooked and removed from shell.  String it out with a fork and put in a butter casserole dish. (2 Qt).

Take out a medium size frying pan and melt 3 T of butter in it and a splash of olive oil.  Add  several chopped and seeded peppers (hot, mild, bells, etc).  (I used 3 mild and 2 hot).  Add 1 chopped garlic and 1 chopped torpedo onion and cook for about 4 minutes until translucent but not brown.  Add 3 T. of flour to this mixture and stir until the flour is cooked and the fat is absorbed by the flour.  (About 3 minutes).  Now slowly add 3 C of half and half to the flour.  Add 1 and 1/2 C. Shredded Jack Cheese.
Cook for about 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Mix the sauce into the squash.  Sprinkle with a little more cheese.  Bake  375 for 30 minutes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

When I'm out of peppers, we have this with pepper jack.  Try adding nutmeg to the cheese sauce.  This is also good with Cheddar and other cheeses.

King George
George and the Mountain Lion
I have often waxed poetic about George the Rooster, a king amongst roosters.  This day is dedicated to George, I hope he went were all Great Roosters go to roost.  For the last several nights the hen house has been hit by a marauder.  Each night several hens and young roosters have gone missing.  After the first night we locked up the pen and couldn't figure out what in the heck was picking off our chickens.

We have recently seen coyotes, but coyotes don't normally jump a 5 foot fence and climb into a chicken house.  Leo also dispatched 3 possums in the barn.  They normally pick of the very young, but these are not wee chicks anymore.

Young Lion
George always puts up a fight for his hens and Saturday night there was one helluva commotion in the hen house.  Beth heard it and went out with a pen light.  There crouching vertically on the wall was a juvenile MOUNTAIN LION!  This is a photo my brother snapped with his cell phone awhile back, just above us at Henry Coe.   Cat attacks have occurred before in our area, so careful out there on the trails.

Alas for George and his flock, only 3 chickens survived, so there will be no more eggs this season.
One of these is a new hen from this year, and one is older than I am (well in chicken years).  Thankfully we still have the traveling chicken road show, four hens and George's son, Charles Stewart (Chuck Stew) to carry on George's excellent genetics.  May he be as competent a rooster as George was. 

Apparently, the Mountain Lion busted in through the wire near the roof to develop his own access to our hens.  We'll move the last 3 hens in with the Traveling Chicken Road Show.
Hopefully they will be safe in here. 

So long George, you were the best rooster I have ever met.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mer Folk CSA August 21, 2013

What's in the Box
Cream Gold Onions,  Zukes, cukes, Crooked Joes, Melons!  Peppers - all mild EXCEPT - Aji Amarillo (small and yellow and HOT), Eggplant, Tomatoes,  green beans, and grapes.  (If you got a box you also got okra).

This week's special gift:  BBQ Sauce, just in time for Labor Day Weekend.  So drag out that Q, and grill up some zukes.

Today's Grapes are Pearlette and Flame and it's a bumper crop this year.  Zack is in the barn de-stemming the Concords so that I can juice them after delivery today.  Juicing is the first step to jamming.

Melons are here, this week there were several watermelons and lots of Italian Cantaloupe.

Coming Soon
Squash season is roaring in on us, there will be another corn harvest, there's lots more peppers, tomatillos, and eggplant.


Several kinds of eggplant went out, traditional Black Beauty is dark and very purple, Rosa Bianca is round and light purple, Listada de Gandia is long and violet and white, and then my classic Asian is very slender.  I think that eggplant smells wonderful.  It smells purple to me.  I love the flowers, they are my favorite vegetable flower, and they have a lot of competition form some real beauties.

Rosa Bianca in the front and on the left of the bowl, and the Black Beauty in the center of the bowl.  This year the eggplants are huge!  However, the gopher has eaten over 3/4 of the bushes, so next year I'm going to have to cage them.  We won't have eggplant for as many weeks.

Okay heads up chili wimps, this is the hot one.  Last night I made Chicken Gumbo, and it was mighty good.  I used one of these peppers in it and it was just about perfect.  They are not orange yet, I'll save some to turn orange, but I love them at the yellow stage too.

Chicken Gumbo
Okay, so I'm not from the south, so if you are, don't shout at me.  First I dredged a few thighs in 1/4 c. of flour with paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder and fried them in olive oil until they were browned and then I set them aside on a plate.  In this pan I tossed a chopped onion and a couple of garlic cloves and sauteed them until they were translucent.

In a small skillet I dumped what was left of dredging the chicken into a warm pan.  When the flour turns golden brown, I added it to the onion/garlic skillet and stirred it all up.  Now you have roux.

To this whole mess, I added 2 cups of chicken broth, one chopped pepper, a couple of potatoes cubed,
In the mint with the bees
one sweet potato, a couple of carrots, a parsnip, a stalk of celery, some thyme and a bay leaf, stirred the whole thing up.  I let it come to a boil, put the chicken on top and put a lid on it and simmered for 30 minutes.  Then I added a couple of chopped okra and put the lid on it and let it simmer for 30 minutes.  I served it on top of black japonica rice.  There were no leftovers.  Next time, I make a bigger pot!  I think you could have made the whole thing with just veges.  Emeril has a recipe for Gumbo with Sausages.  I love that only 2 pans and a chopping board were implicated in this recipe, vs. my normal of every pan in the house is used and several bowls.

Of course this leads to Leo's favorite joke: 

Cherokee Flour Corn
Holly sat talking with Joe. Their conversation drifted to cooking. 'I got a cook book once', said Holly, 'but I could never do anything with it.' 

'Too much fancy cooking in it, eh?' asked Joe. 'You said it. Every one of the recipes began the same way - 'Take a clean pan..."  (yuck, yuck, yuck).

So tonight's dinner special is stuffed bell peppers.  Now that you have your box you can probably guess why! My stars are the bells coming on!  Luckily the other 30 I picked today, I will slice for the dehydrator, because I have to make BAM.

Every year I dry onions, peppers, parsnips, carrots and herbs and then put them through the food processor.  This all goes into a jar that we fondly call BAM.  I put it soups, stews and sauces and sometimes even bread.

Eggplant flowers

Have a great week, I'll send out September's schedule, as soon as I get back from delivering. 
And make sure to take time to smell the eggplants.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Locavores CSA, August 12, 2013

What's in the box?
Mill Creek Red Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan,  Zukes and cukes, - last of, Naked Ned Kelly Squash, Peppers - all mild EXCEPT - Aji Amarillo (small and yellow and HOT), Eggplant, Potatoes,  Tomatillos, green beans, grapes, some parsnips, some beets, and tomatoes.

This weeks special gift - yet another kind of relish and dried tomatoes.


Also the first melons and a few okra came out of the field and into your boxes.   A few of you even got flowers.

Naked Ned Kelly Squash

This was bred by my good friend Ray of Australia.  Ned Kelly is a folk hero in Oz.  Go ahead look him up.  This has one TOUGH shell, so be careful cutting it.  Tastes lovely with a texture like sweet potatoes and the green seeds inside are Nearly Naked.  They are lovely roasted.  Put them in a dry frying pan, salt them and let them brown, stirring every now and them.  Don't let them burn.  I'm pretty sure Ray named this squash after Ned, because the skin is like armor.    We had ours roasted with nutmeg, salt and butter.  It was soo good that I'm going to eat another.  But this time, I have to save the seeds.  Those of you who are new this year, probably don't know that Leo Loves Naked Pumpkin Seeds.  The non-naked ones are like chewing pine cones.

I will come back and finish this post.  I just wanted to get it up before someone stuck one of those yellow Aji Amarillo's in their mouth.

More later.

Okay, I'm back  Tomatoes are coming in like gangbusters, so just as I'm out of cukes to make more pickles with, it's sauce season.  This year in the tomato genre I'm also going to try a new bruschetta recipe and of course salsa.  

Now that the grapes are here, I'm sure jelly is just around the corner.  This year I want to make a pepper jelly.  I've identified just the right pepper. 

Huancaína (wan-kay-eena) sauce/ Spicy Cheese Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 yellow aji amarillo chile peppers 
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 cups white farmer's cheese (queso freso)
  • 4 saltine crackers
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Remove seeds from yellow chile peppers and chop into 1 inch pieces.  Wear gloves and do not stick your finger in your eye! 
  2. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile peppers (okay, one chili is for wimps, I'm a wimp) in the oil until onion is softened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Place onion/chile mixture in a food processor or blender. Add evaporated milk and blend.
  4. Add cheese and crackers and blend until smooth. Sauce should be fairly thick. Thicken sauce with more saltines or thin sauce with milk if necessary.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
In South America they serve this on potatoes.  But I think this has nachos written all over it.  Bring on the guacamole.

Last week when we were at the library, Leo and I always cruise the new non-fiction stuff, and they had some cool new cookbooks.  I am always looking for new recipes and they had a pretty interesting Polish Cookbook and I brought home 2 new jam/jelly/syrup books AND a Jewish cookbook, as well as a dozen other interesting specimens.  I highly recommend the Field Guide to Radiation...very informative.

Anyway The New Jewish Table by the Gray's of Equinox Restaurant is really fun and last night I found a recipe for a lighter version of Ratatouille.  I'm a fiend for eggplant.  So since I have the same box you do, I basically used almost all of it last night to make this:

Quick Summer Squash Ratatouille

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 c. olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut into medium dice
2 garlic cloves
1 small eggplant (okay so the eggplant wasn't very small), peeled and cubed (1 inch)
1 Zuke, cubed (1 inch)
1 Yellow Squash, cubed (1 inch)
1 bell pepper cored and chopped (I used one green and one mini-red)
2 C. V-8 Juice (I used 1 cup of leftover spaghetti sauce with 1 cup vege broth)
1 T. Fresh Thyme (chopped)
2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 c. grated Gruyere...I didn't have any so I used 1 c. of grated parmesan cheese
garlic bread or garlic toast

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet I used a cast iron, you need a lid! Over medium heat stir in the onions  and garlic, cook 2 minutes until shiny.  Stir in the eggplant, cook for 3 minuets.  Stir in the squashes and peppers and tomatoes and cook 3-5 minutes till they are softened.  Add the juice and thyme, bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.  Spoon over baked garlic bread or garlic toast, sprinkle with cheese and put it under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes till it's lightly browned.

Now, I was also out of bread, yes the baker did not show up to work this week, she was off canning.  So, I added 2 chopped potatoes just before bringing the whole thing to a simmer.  I topped it with cheese and served it as a side dish.  I think this would also be a great main dish if you added cooked Italian Sausages to it.  Actually the baker was fooling around with peach upside down cake, and Polish Cherry Cake. 

And now I'm going to go make a mini pizza and spoon ratatouille on top for lunch.  Yeah, Eggplant, it's what's for dinner.

Dinner and a movie?  $2.99 to rent at Amazon.  Have a nice week.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mer Folk CSA August 7, 2013

What's in the box?
Mill Creek Red Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan,  Zukes and cukes,  NZ Spinach, Butternut Squash, Bell Peppers,  Chili's, Eggplant, Potatoes,  Tomatillos and green beans.

And this week everyone got relish and dried tomatoes as your special gift. 


The toms are really coming on and you should be getting many more in the weeks to come.  I took some photos of them so you could try to pick out which was that tomato that you just loved.  This week, I picked Crazy Horse, distinctive in it's green shoulders, Picardy is a nice size reddish orange tomato and Dr. Carolyn's pink - the pink tomato in your box.

I also picked some Lieven's Teardrop.  My friend Lieven of Belgium.  Yes, he's the breeder that also bred our leeks.  I named this tomato, as Lieven sent me a package of his recent crosses and this was part of the cross, but there were really 3 kinds of tomatoes.  I have been selecting this one for 2 years now, and it is really one of my favorites.  I named it because of it's shape.  At the time I did not know that Lieven was having a year of great sorrow.  I hope this tomato helps to lighten his burden. 

Crazy Horse is from PKS Heirlooms and my correspondent, Dean Slater.  All of the rest of the tomatoes this year, are from our Alabama Friend, Dar Jones.  And a very fine fellow he is as well.  He and son grow hundreds of tomato transplants a year and he saves enough time to chat with me about better plants, better varieties, peanuts and sweet potatoes.

Sioux Cosmo is a recent cross by our farmer friend in New York,  Tim.  A lovely little saladette, slightly pink and yummy.

Of the tomatoes I planted this year, there were only 3 that won't make it to your table.  Campbell's 54 which I was really hoping for (a canning tomato) was eaten by Madame Gopher and her brood.  Confusticate the rodents.  There was a yummy tasting yellow tomato called KBX a giant beefsteak thing which failed to meet my appearance minimums.  (okay some ugliness is allowed, but really...this is too much).

And finally we had to cull Grappiolo d’ Inverno  as it was infected with some sort of blight.  A shame really, as it was a storage tomato.

The storage tomato that I am most impressed with, straight from Mt. Vesuvius, via Dar of course is Piennolo  de Vesuvio.

If I had to go live on an island, this is the tomato I would take with me.

Even without volcanic soil, this is one bella tomato!  And yes we take our tomatoes very seriously here at Foothill Farm.  And no, you probably won't see any of these this year.  I need to do a seed increase so that I can plant many more of them next year.  And those numbers on the cards?  That's sweetness measured in brix.  Peinnolo is more sugar than tomato!  Enjoy your week.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013 Locavores CSA

Bachelor's buttons & Sunflowers
What's in the box?
Yukon Gold Potatoes, Creamgold Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan,  Zukes and cukes, Sweet Corn - Sugar Buns.    Eat the corn FIRST!  First of the tomatoes,  NZ Spinach, Beets,  Bell Peppers,  and Tomatillos.

If you got a box, you also got green beans.

And for those of you who have been with me for more than one year,  a special gift - Elderberry Syrup.

And this week everyone got relish,  so I highly recommend something easy for dinner that you can slather with relish and serve corn with.
Oh yes, there is more corn

Why do I always say eat the corn first?  Well, once it's picked the sugar starts converting to starch.  If you let it sit in the fridge for a week, you might as well make corn chowder out of it. 

1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 c. stock
3 potatoes, diced
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, saute onion, and  pepper in butter until onion is translucent. Add potatoes and stock;  cover & simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Add milk and corn simmer another 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with your favor herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Melons are coming

Remember after removing the husk to wash thoroughly.  Lots of saponin on outside of them.  They are lovely to wash your hands in.  Rinse until you don't get any bubbles left.  We use them like tomatoes, in salads - pastas - with meat.  We are very fond of Chili Verde, and tomatillo enchiladas.

Last year I got to taste tomatillos, onions and lime juice on grilled chicken and it was yummy! And this is everyone's favorite recipe:

Café Azul Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa
1/3 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered

1/4 pound fresh jalapeño chilies, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and halved

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 firm-ripe avocado (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced

1/2 cup minced onion

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice


1. In a blender or food processor, whirl tomatillos, chilies, garlic, and cilantro until coarsely puréed. Pour into a bowl.
2. Stir in olive oil, avocado, and onion. Add lime juice and salt to taste. 

So, get chips on the way home.

I've been testing the grapes regularly, and I think that we'll have them in a few weeks.  Well August is just around the corner...scarey no?  Time to plant again.  Leo and I just got those spuds out of the field on Sunday evening and I love Yukon Golds.  Yes I'm a potato girl from way back.  No, this isn't me, but wasn't she a dish.  Now I gotta go listen to "All that meat and No Potatoes."  Fats Waller!  Have a great week.  Look at those beautiful spuds!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mer Folk CSA 7/24/2013

Now that's an onion.  Mill Creek Onions!  Bigger than softballs!
What's in the box?
Purple Majesty Potatoes, Rossa Lunga di Firenze Torpedo Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan,  Zukes and cukes, Sweet Corn - White Out.    Eat the corn FIRST!  First of the tomatoes,   (More on these later) NZ Spinach, Beets, First of the Bell Peppers, and either French Filet Beans or Tomatillos.

If you got a box - you got tomatillos and Green Beans

Living Food
And this week by special request, we have LIVE cucumbers.  Yes, fermented Deli Dills, just like Grandma used to make.  These MUST be refrigerated.  They are at their best now and for a month or so.  They are alive and will continue to ferment.  So they can be lively when opening the lid.  Let me know what you think.

And one more special gift:

If you have been with our CSA for longer than this season, you also received Elderberry Syrup.

Black elderberry has been used medicinally for hundreds of years for  treating the flu, alleviating allergies, and boosting overall respiratory health.  That said, we put ours on pancakes, because who does not love pancakes on Sunday?   Leo of course did give us all elderberry last year when the cold season started.  It's the year of the elderberry and everyone will get elderberry jam sometime in the coming weeks.    And for the record, Elderberry Jam is fantastic on Saltines!

Thanks to those of you who have sent me jars.  I'm out again.  All 10 cases of jars are full, so scope around and send me your empties, raid the attic for jars you don't use.  Keep me in mind if you see a box of pints or half pints at a garage sale.

In the field
On Sunday, Leo and I harvested storage onions, both Mill Creek and Cream Gold.  Cream Gold is a
favorite onion in NZ, and can really store a long time.  We'll have one more round of torpedo onions, before any of these go out.  The giant onions shown above, will not be going out, I'm cutting them and putting them in the dehydrator for fall.

Squash and melons are coming right along, no thanks to squash bugs.  I don't think we'll have many more zukes after this week.  They are taking out a vine a week.  Somewhere I know an 8 year old is thanking me.  It's still a long ways away from hot peppers and eggplant (and salsa), but the bells are just starting to trickle in.

Planting for fall, yes it's time to start new seeds.  I'm really ticked off at the gopher who ate ALL of the Swiss Chard, so I'm going to plant more.  This Saturday I'll start more seeds to trays for the fall season.  

This year, we have Dar Jones of Alabama to thank for tomatoes.  This week we have the first of the Picardy and Lynnwood.  Dar recommended all kinds of tomatoes to me and I planted 19 kinds.  As more start to come in, I'll take some photos so you can figure out which ones you like (and let me know!)  Thank you Dar!  If you got a bag, you got Sungold Cherry Tomatoes.

Have a great week.  Eat pickles.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Locavores CSA - July 15, 2013

Acur Cucumber
What's in the box?
Purple Majesty Potatoes, Rossa Lunga di Firenze Torpedo Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan,  Zukes and cukes, Sweet Corn - Mystique.    Don't let it linger too long in the fridge.  First of the tomatillos,  Paris Carrots, NZ Spinach, Beets and French Filet Green Beans. 

If you got a box - Flowers, Sungold Cherry Tomatoes and Strawberries.

Living Food
And this week by special request, we have LIVE cucumbers.  Yes, fermented Deli Dills, just like Grandma used to make.  These MUST be refrigerated.  They are at their best now and for a month or so.  They are alive and will continue to ferment.  So they can be lively when opening the lid. 
Romanesco Zukes

(If by chance you did not get a jar, you will get one soon).

On the Farm
Tomatoes will be here soon.  There will be another batch of corn.  Can you believe it's already middle of July?  My how time flies.  I keep hoping to run into the apple vendor, but so far, no sign of him at the farmer's market.  Every year I get organic apples from Watsonville to make the apple butter, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

There's so much to do still, that I'm just going to say,  have a nice week.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dill Pickles
What's in the box?
Purple Majesty Potatoes, Rossa Lunga di Firenze Torpedo Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan,  Zukes - the pale one is Romanesco and the 2 tone one is Jade Numbat, the curly one is Trombone,  the white one is Bianco de Sicilia, Sweet Corn - Mystique.  (I hope you've already eaten it!)  Don't let it linger too long in the fridge.

Also, French Filet Green Beans, eggs, cucumbers - Armenian Acur Cukes, White wonder, Carosella - fuzzy,  Delicatesse  2 tone green, and lemon - little round, Butter Lettuce  and if you got a box -  Sungold Cherry Tomatoes.

This week's special gift is dill pickles. Okay, don't open them till August!  They need to cure

ickle me pickle me tickle me too.
Pickle Mania
It's been a piclish sort of week.  I've made relish, b&b pickles, zippy zuke relish, and I have a batch of half cinnamon moons on.  I know, sounds odd, but really I hope they'll be great.  I've been making pickles since I was just a spud.  My dad and mom were really pickle lovers and I spent hours as a teenager learning to can.   I still have and use my dad's quart jars.

But this jar on the left is my first departure from my standard canned dills.  These will be full fermented deli style kosher dills.  Leo and I are experimenting with fermented food.  For those of you who haven't spent much time with these, they are loaded with pro-biotics that help your gut flora.  I dunno about you, but my doctor has a thing about nuking my stomach with anti-biotics.  So, we'll see how these go.  They should be salty and sour if done correctly.

Remember when you get these (a few weeks from now), they MUST go in the fridge.  Eat them within a month.  These have required a major investment in time and equipment.  I had to get the Fido jars at Sur La Table and then the evil gophers ate all my dill, so Leo and I went all over hunting dill.  Finally found it in a field and paid the farmer to pick us a batch.  Whew!  It took all of us to make this happen.  Beth picked cukes, Zack washed them, Leo packed them and I cut salted and spiced them. 

Now, back to the farm, I have corn to pick!

Have a great week.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Locavores CSA 6/24/2013

What's in the box?
Zukes and Cukes Oh My!

Purple Majesty Potatoes, Rossa Lunga di Firenze Torpedo Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan, Paris Market Carrots, Beets,  Zukes - the pale one is Romanesco and the 2 tone one is Jade Numbat, the curly one is Trombone, Portuguese Leaf Stuffing Cabbage, Marche de Genevieve Green Beans, basil, NZ Spinach.  If you have a box, you got eggs.  IF you have something that looks like a fuzzy cuke in your box, it's a rare Italian cucumber.

This week's special gift:  assorted jams  -

Remember to cut 1/4 off the ends of the cukes to keep from eating the "bitter end".  The bitter compound is likely to be more concentrated in the stem end than in the blossom end of the cucumber. It is also more prevalent in the peel and in the light green area just beneath the peel – and less likely to be found in the deeper interior of the fruit.  Remember to rinse your knife after peeling.  Over the years we have trialed cukes to try and never plant any of the really bitter ones.  And oh my heck have we tried some bitter ones.  The white cukes this week are White Wonders.  Burpee introduced this now classic cucumber in 1893, after receiving it from a customer in western New York State.  I picked a huge amount of these this week, and will get to pickles, shortly.  We have a real shortage of dill this year,  the gophers decided that they would harvest 90% of the dill.  So, looks like bread and butter pickles, here we come.  The fuzzy Italian cuke is a Carosella.  Really cute no?  There's also some Kaiser Alexander cukes out there and of course there's some Delikatesse, one of my favorites (white and green). 

Refrigerator pickles are really fun to make.  If you start to get too many cukes in your bag or box, here's how to tame them.

Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles

Makes 3 pints 2 or 3 big cucumbers
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar (3/4 teaspoons total)
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar (3 teaspoons total)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (1 1/2 teaspoons total)

Wash and slice the cucumbers.
In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.

Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don't want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight. Pour the brine into the jar, leaving approximately ½ inch head space.  Stick a knife in the jar on the edge to dislodge bubbles.
Apply lids and let jars cool. When they've returned to room temperature, place jars in refrigerator. Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating.

How fun is that.

Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)

Serves 2 to 4 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoos pepper flakes 
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2-3 T. of chopped red onion
2  cucumbers, sliced 1/8-inch thick
Combine all ingredients except cucumbers in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
Add cucumber slices and toss to coat (wear gloves and use your hands, or use tongs).
Serve room temperature or chilled.

Thank you!
Making Kimchi
No, I haven't made it yet.  I started my tutorial on home fermenting with Sauerkraut.  There is just so much healthful pro-biotics in fermented veges that now we are hooked.  Today one of our fabulous members brought me a Korean onggi.  This is like the German vessel for making kraut, except very cool in a beautiful aesthetic Asian sense.  (The German vessel is gorgeous too, but it's BIG and expensive.)  Where as the beautiful onggi I received is just right for my counter top!   I can't wait to get started.  Oh, but wait, I have to finish making BBQ sauce and canning peaches.  Well, I'm not doing anything between midnight and six, so Kimchi here I come. 

Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles. In the first stage, the cabbage is soaked in a salty brine that kills off harmful bacteria.

In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria (the good guys!) convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them that wonderful, tangy flavor. (If you want to learn more about fermentation, I highly recommend The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.)  Otherwise, if you want to try some, drop me a note and I'll give you a wee jar in your box/bag.

Also, I want to thank those of you who've even been sending extra jars my way!  Hooray!

Have a great week!  See you the week after the 4th.  Remember, no veges the week of the 4th!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CSA June 19, 2013 Mer Folk

What's in the box?
French Filet Beans

Purple Majesty Potatoes, Rossa Lunga di Firenze Torpedo Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan, Paris Market Carrots, Zukes - the pale one is Romanesco and the 2 tone one is Jade Numbat, Harris Model Parsnips, Portuguese Leaf Stuffing Cabbage, Marche de Genevieve Green Beans and Epazote. If you have a box, you got eggs and NZ Spinach and Korean Mint.  If you have a bag, you got artichokes.  Epazote smells like diesel, but when dried or cooked is much more like oregano.  I have simply tied them for easy drying.

This week's special gift:  Strawberry Balsamic Jam (I barely pried this away from Leo).

This jam is not only great on toast, but it also makes a great salad dressing:

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
1 T of Jam
1 T of Balsamic Vinegar
1 t. of mustard
1 T of olive oil

Mix and slather.  The jar won't last long.  We used up one in a week on just salad.

From a distance, you can't see the weeds
Baked Purple Smashers
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound purple new potatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, smashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup half and half
1 cup  shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Coat the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.

Boil potatoes, garlic and a hefty pinch of salt.   Cook until a fork is easily inserted, but the potatoes still hold their form, about 20 minutes. Strain in a colander and place back over the empty pot, allowing the remaining heat to evaporate some of the moisture from the potatoes and garlic, just a few minutes. Mash the contents of the pot well, and then add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the heavy cream. Mash until  chunky.  Then stir in 1 cup pepper jack cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Stir together the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, 2 tablespoons jack cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the potatoes. Bake in the oven  on 375 until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Corn coming soon,  Rocky is hunting gopher

In the fields
Sweet corn will be ready in about a week.  There's lots of cukes coming, and after a week or so of giving you all zukes, I'll make some relish.  I know we've been out of it for a month and sandwiches are just not the same without relish.

Jade Numbat
This is an interesting South and East breeding program.  To bring this Zuke right along, Ray of Oz and Tim of NY have been each working on this.  Because their winters are opposite, Ray and Tim have been able to work on this continually, where as if either of them had been working on it alone, it would have taken 3 years to get this far!

Portuguese Stuffing Cabbage
Many of you know that this is my favorite cabbage.  Wash the leaves, remove the large mid ribs and lightly steam them.    I stuff them with pepper jack, cooked rice and cooked burger and roll them up like a burrito.  I then bake them in a beef broth for 45 minutes at 350.  These are so delicious that I won't let Leo take them for lunch, because I want them!  I have had them at other destinations stuffed with rice, grapes and feta and cooked in a vege broth.  I have even had them stuffed with pasta and cheese and cooked in tomato sauce.

Have a great week.