I’ll keep the message short this week. I’ll be out of town for a few days coming up, and next week you’ll have a special guest newsletter writer. If Mary Oliver returns my calls…
I am going out of state to meet up with friends who I farmed with years ago in Texas. We’re all scattered to the four winds now, but we try to get together every year and a half or so.
These are the people who told me what kale was, and how to tell when cabbage was ready. We spent a lot of time making food, talking about food, mourning lives we took and then consumed.
There is just something about farming that creates a level of intimacy and of being known that I have never had in any other job. I love the work on this farm, and I think what Jane, John, Dave and Janaki have done out here is amazing. The creativity and the forward thinking is impressive to me, and I am awed to be a part of cultivating so much food for my community. But beyond my own enjoyment of the work and desire for local farming to flourish in the area, I enjoy the people. That’s why I keep coming back.
Right now my mind is a bit filled up with the idea of carrot harvest and leek harvest (oh my goodness, so time consuming but so worth it) and also filled with a to do list before I leave town for a week. But in the midst of days, weeks and years of to-do lists there has been a remarkable fostering of relationships made all the better for sitting around a table filled with steaming bowls of our hard work and cooperation.
For the crew,
In your share this week:
- Yellow beans
- Sweet peppers
- Yellow onions
- Yellow potatoes
- Greens mix
- Cut lettuce mix
Leeks in Vinaigrette
4 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, tough outer layer removed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
½ garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim root end of leeks (leave as intact as possible so they don’t break apart while cooking) and cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until meltingly tender (a paring knife should go all the way through with no resistance), 15–20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool.
Whisk shallot, garlic, vinegar, Dijon and whole grain mustards, thyme, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil and 1 Tbsp. water; season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Halve leeks lengthwise and arrange on a platter, cut side up; drizzle with vinaigrette and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
DO AHEAD: Leeks can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 anchovy fillets, optional
- 2 pounds Romano beans, green beans, wax beans or filet beans
- 2 tablespoons water
- 20 large basil leaves, divided
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- ½ of 1 lemon
- Ricotta salata, pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving, optional
- 2 ¾ pounds broccoli (about 3 large heads or 6 smaller ones).
- 2 pounds summer squash (about 6 medium zucchini), trimmed and cut into 1-inch long pieces on a bias.
- 2 pounds cauliflower or broccoli romanesco (about 1 large head or 2 smaller heads). Trim the florets into 1 1/2-inch pieces, and cut any remaining stem into ½-inch thick slices. Use the leaves too.
- 2 ¼ pounds fennel (about 5 medium bulbs), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
- 2 ½ pounds red or orange bell peppers(about 6 peppers), seeded, stemmed and sliced into ½-inch wide pieces. Or, preferably, 2 1/4 pounds red Italian frying peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved lengthwise.
- 2 pounds celery (about 2 bunches), trimmed and cut into 4-inch long pieces
- Set a large Dutch oven or similar pot over low heat. Add oil, garlic, pepper flakes, shallot and anchovies (if using), and stir to combine. Gently cook mixture, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and shallot are just very lightly sizzling, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown.
- Add beans and water. Roughly tear 10 of the basil leaves into the pot. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, and stir to combine. Cover the pot, and reduce heat to as low as possible.
- Cook beans until the steam has caused them to wilt, about 45 minutes. Stir, and continue to cook 1 hour and 15 minutes more, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Treat the shallot as a bellwether — if you hear it starting to sizzle or see it beginning to brown, scrape the bottom of the pan and add a teaspoon of water to deglaze, if necessary. The garlic cloves will completely break down and coat the beans as they cook.
- After 2 hours, remove the lid, and increase the heat to medium-high. Let any remaining water evaporate, and lightly brown the beans, stirring regularly, about 10 minutes. Roughly tear in the remaining basil. Taste, and adjust salt, as needed.
- Transfer the beans to a serving dish, and finish with a squeeze of lemon and a grating of ricotta salata, pecorino Romano or Parmesan, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.