Last Summer CSA, Week 18

As I look back over this farm season, I am reminded of how challenging it has been. There was not enough rain, then too much at once, then hail, then not enough rain again. It hasn’t been an easy year on the vegetables = not an easy year on the farmers.

Obviously, out there in the world there has been a huge amount of difficulty and unpredictability that has affected all of us. So much rubber seems to be meeting the road at once and it stinks. I practically have to hold my nose while listening to the news.

I think a lot of us have been thinking about food, how we get it, and how much of it we keep on hand at any one time during these past several months. Or any shopping and consuming really; I’ve learned about myself that I ran way more petty errands than I needed to in the “before times”.

For me, preparing food has been a nice diversion from other parts of life that feel more unsure, and more stressful. It’s been nice to sometimes, not always, have a meditative approach to cooking and baking to go along with the sometimes meditative aspects of farming. I’ve been lucky to be on both sides for a while now.

I hope that for you, getting your CSA share each week has been a positive point of structure and rhythm, even as normal rhythms get canceled, changed or postponed. We are glad you chose our CSA, and want to hear what you thought about it on the end of season survey! We’re always fine-tuning things to most closely match what has been working best for our members.

If you are also a member of our Winter Share, then we’ll “see” you in a few weeks. (A few weeks that is a blur of harvest activity around the farm!). If you just get our Summer Shares, we hope you have a good fall and winter, and look forward to connecting again in the spring.
Either way, we hope your dinner table continues to be a center for you in these un-centering times.

Thank you for participating with us in this crazy, messy, tasty thing we call life.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Brussels Sprouts – Carrots – Celery – Cilantro – Cucumber – Garlic – Greens Mix – Kale – Lettuce – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – French Fingerling Potatoes – Delicata Squash – Tomatoes

Roasted & Stuffed Squash

From No Crumbs Left

For the Squash:
Delicata squash
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil

For the Ground Sirloin Filling:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ½ – 3 cups sliced brown mushrooms
1 ½ pounds ground sirloin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
2 generous handfuls spinach, chopped (could use greens mix!)

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut the squash into 1” thick rounds.  
Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a large sheet pan, lined with parchment paper.  Cook until soft but not mushy, about 55 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While the squash is cooking, make the filling:
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds, stirring. Add the mushrooms and cook, covered for 3 minutes. Uncover and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the ground sirloin and cook over high heat, about 6 minutes (or until meat is no longer pink), breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon.  

Add the salt, pepper and cayenne. Then add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove the squash from the oven and place on plates. Top with the meat mixture and serve.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don’t fit in one layer, don’t fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]

Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

Summer CSA Week 17

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it!

I am thinking of the autumn colors, naturally. They are so lovely and so fleeting. Unlike the turn of season at the end of winter, which seems to drag on and on through slush and grime, autumn is so fast, and so crisp. It is the snap of an apple, hands on a cold steering wheel, wind in your face, yard work hastily finished. It’s clean and clear and cold and beautifully strips away the things of summer and gets us ready for a long tuck-in time.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

The CSA season usually feels like it goes so fast. One week left, and poof, there go 18 weeks. This year has felt a little slower in some ways (because this year has been 500 years long), but quick enough that I just realized I need to start using my frozen rhubarb and not wait for next April like I have some years. The time is now! Switch out those early summer/spring items to make way for frozen squash or soups or greens.

Like any new parent, I can say how much faster time goes with a baby. They say that the days are long and the years are short, but even the days seem so quick with him when I realize it’s already late afternoon and there’s still so much I “need” to do (like laundry, always) and there’s still so much he “should do” like hear big words or classical music or whatever. It’s nice to have him around to remind me of how much is worth exploring in just a few square feet of forest, or living room.

Having autumn, slow food, or little people to slow down for so we don’t over look the fleeting beauty and bounty of the world is such a blessing. I hope in the often craziness of life this week there are moments that spark your curiosity or rekindle your joy.

For the farm crew,

Karin

This carrot took the scenic route!

In your share this week:

Northeaster Green Beans – Beets – Broccoli – Red Cabbage – Carrots – Cucumber – Lettuce Mix – Onions – Parsley – Yellow Potatoes – Pumpkins – Sunshine Squash – Tomatoes

MISO ROASTED ROOT VEGGIE NOODLE BOWL
From The Leek and the Carrot

Serves 4-6
Takes 1 hour

1 1/2 pounds carrots, topped and peeled
1 1/2 pound beets, topped and peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white miso paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 cups roughly chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of shittakes and cremini)
8-10 ounces rice noodles (I love the Lotus Foods Millet & Brown Rice Ramen)
4-5 ounces lettuce mix
2-3 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup Almond Miso Dressing (see below)
2 tablespoons white or black sesame seeds, optional
Kimchi, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut beets in half and then cut each half into quarters. Cut carrots in half in the middle and then quarter each half lengthwise. Spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white miso paste and 1 tablespoon maple syrup until smooth. Brush carrots and beets with this mixture then roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss veggies and then roast 20 minutes longer.
  4. In a medium saucepan, mix together soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Add mushrooms and toss until they’re well-coated. Cook over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes. The mushrooms will first release a lot of liquid, then reduce down. Once fully cooked and soft, remove from the heat.
  5. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  6. Divide lettuce mix evenly into dinner bowls. Top with noodles and miso roasted veg. Spoon mushroom mixture (sauce and mushrooms) over noodles. Add 1/2 avocado to each bowl. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of Almond Miso dressing and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add kimchi to your preference.

Almond Miso Dressing
1/2 cup almonds
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon maple syrup

  1. In a food processor, process almonds until finely chopped (so it looks roughly like minced garlic). Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. You may have to scrape down edges a couple times.

Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup

2 pounds carrots
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
2 cups water
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired.
  2. To prepare your carrots, peel them and then cut them on the diagonal so each piece is about ½″ thick at the widest part (see photos).
  3. Place the carrots on the baking sheet. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Toss until the carrots are lightly coated in oil and seasonings. Arrange them in a single layer.
  4. Roast the carrots until they’re caramelized on the edges and easily pierced through by a fork, 25 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway.
  5. Once the carrots are almost done roasting, in a Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and turning translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and water, while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula.
  7. Add the roasted carrots to the pot when they are out of the oven. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, to give the flavors time to meld.
  8. Once the soup is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender, working in batches if necessary.
  9. Add the butter, lemon juice, and several twists of black pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary, to taste. Add another tablespoon of butter if you’d like more richness, or a little more lemon juice if it needs more zing. Blend again, and serve.
  10. This soup keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about four days, or for several months in the freezer.

Summer CSA Week 16

The summer -turned fall- CSA has just two weeks more after this one, and it will probably go out with a climax of color, just like the summer does. We have winter squash in out of the field now, and are harvesting a variety of potatoes to go along with all the usual summer/end of summer produce you’ve been seeing lately. I hope that you have been finding fresh and creative ways to use the vegetables each week. I say this knowing that for me, I tend to get in a rut of cooking (sometimes tasty ruts, but still, how many zucchini fritters can one family eat?) and am now thankful for a change of weather to remind me of other go-to foods I love to make.

When I was growing up, my mom used to make big batch meals, some for dinner, some to freeze, and more often than not, some to bring to someone who needed it. My sister and I loved smelling whatever was cooking all day, and were primed and ready for chili, or spaghetti or roast for dinner by the time it rolled around. The worst was when she said it was something she was making a day or two ahead of time -pure torture for growing kids to wait to eat whatever smelled so good!

Back when the farm still had chickens for meat, one had been injured somehow a couple weeks before we were set to harvest them all. Figuring she might not make it that long, and knowing that either way she was suffering, Janaki said I could have (read: eat) her if I wanted to do that on my free time. So after work, I pulled together all the stuff I’d need to kill, clean and pluck the chicken and got to work. It isn’t really so very much work if you know what you’re doing, but what I did learn that evening was cleaning up from killing one chicken is just about as much work as cleaning up from 200. A little blood, a lot of blood, either way everything has to get totally clean. Only there’s just one dead chicken, verses food for dozens of families. So, I decided that day I’d set a minimum of 5 chickens next time.

In the before times (as they are called now) the crew used to eat lunches all together in Janaki and Annie’s house (ever more becoming Truman and Ellis’ house!). Some years we’d have a rotation down of who would go in a bit early to start lunch, other years we’d all cook together as fast as we could in an hour. Often I’d find myself in there with a pot of rice and a pile of vegetables and 25 minutes to put something together for 5, 6 sometimes 8 people. I could lie here because who’s going to check… but the truth is that the kitchen sometimes looked like a tornado had struck by the time I was finishing up. Many a time someone (Patricia) would come in and start working around me in the kitchen, scraping cut ends of onions off into the compost and washing salad spinners and colanders. But the end result was usually half way decent, fresh whole-food for a hungry farm crew and a kitchen that went back to sorts.

If only my kitchen at home had a person walking around behind me making things cleaner. Right now, it has a little person walking around pulling towels out of the drawer, putting measuring spoons between the fridge and the wall and holding onto the back of my pants. Basically, he’s no help. To boot, I’ve realized the same lesson applies from the chickens: cooking using whole food for 8 people – same mess as cooking for 3. Is this just me? So, the down side of that is obvious, it is: wow, what a mess. The plus side: it really isn’t so much more work to make twice, or three times as much and put some away for later. If you have to wash a cutting board, counter, knife and pots anyway, why not just chop a little more? If you’re roasting something, is another couple of baking sheets such a burden?

If anything, I write this as a pep talk to myself to just go nuts cooking. We can all go wild in these next few weeks of bounty, like squirrels running around frantically for acorns.

For the farm crew,

Karin

In your share this week:
Northeaster Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Leeks – Onions – Red and Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Rutabagas – Acorn Squash -Tomatoes – Zucchini

Garbage Quiche

from The Leek and the Carrot

My two cents, and educated guess, is that quiche is usually very flexible, and as long as you don’t add something too watery (like tomatoes) without changing the amount of milk you add, you can put in just about anything you want as substitutions. Example, leeks instead of onions, or adding red pepper instead of mushrooms.

Makes 2 9-inch quiches
Serves 8 (hungry farmers)
Takes 1 hour, 20 minutes

2 partially baked pie crusts (see below) or 2 store-bought pie crusts
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or olive oil), divided
4 cups diced butternut squash
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
1 garlic bulb
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound shittake mushrooms, loosely chopped
3 kale leaves, stalks removed and roughly chopped
1 cup finely shredded parmesan
6 eggs
2 cups half & half or whole milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss diced butternut squash with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sage, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside once finished.
Cut the top off a garlic bulb. Drizzle with one tablespoon oil. Wrap in foil and add to the oven to roast until the squash is finished. Once cooked, remove from foil and squeeze cloves out of the peel. Gently chop and set aside.
Meanwhile, begin caramelizing onions. Combine last tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt and remaining pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until well softened. Add sugar and continue cooking for 10 minutes until lightly browned and just caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside.
Wipe the large skillet out with a paper towel (if necessary) and add remaining tablespoon of butter. Melt over medium low heat. Add mushrooms along with remaining teaspoon Kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until just wilted.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 and prepare your quiche! Add half of the cooked butternut squash, chopped softened garlic, caramelized onions and sauted mushrooms and greens to each partially cooked pie crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over each quiche.
In a large bowl, combine 6 eggs and cream or milk. Whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over each quiche so that all veggies are covered. Bake quiche for 35 minutes or until center is set. Enjoy warm today, tomorrow or all throughout the week!

Pie crust:
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and very cold
1/2 cup cold water

I love to make pie crust in my food processor. I think it is the simplest thing on Earth. If you don’t have a food processor, follow this recipe; same techniques but no food processor necessary.
Before I even begin making the crust, I cut the butter into pieces and stick it in a bowl in the freezer. Then I fill a one- or two-cup measuring cup with 1/2 cup cold water and stick that in the freezer too. The trick with pie dough is to work quickly so that the butter stays cold and in small uneven pieces. This is what creates a flaky crust. Chilling these ingredients right before you start helps with this.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse a few times until well combined. Add all the butter at once and pulse a few times until broken up but not at all incorporated. What you are looking for is pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout. Uniform size is not important. Add half the cold water to the mixture, turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the rest of the water. Continue running the food processor until the dough comes together into one mass (it will not be a ball, but will be smooth and even).
Remove dough from food processor using a rubber spatula and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
When ready to use, turn half the pie dough out onto a well-floured counter. Dust the top with flour and roll out until about 12 inches in diameter. Press into a 10-inch pie pan, line with foil and add pie weights (or dried beans). Bake at 425 degrees (with the butternut squash works well!) for 10 minutes.

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios

From the Smitten Kitchen

Chickpeas
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salad
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Dressing
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.

Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and pistachios and dig in.

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.

Potatoes make great toys… if they are used promptly afterwards for breakfast!

Summer CSA Week 15

There is no denying: fall is in the air. Mornings and evenings are cool, and dark. The first few red and yellow leaves are turning with the cold nights, and the ones that have fallen already have that spicy-autumn smell. I love that smell. I love fall arriving, and picking up a caramel apple, making soups again (after a too-hot for soup summer!) and maybe having a back-yard fire to two.

I also have some trepidation about this fall. As far as the farm goes, we have seen a lot of rain towards the end of the season many years in a row, and it leads to some nail biting when thinking of getting into the fields to harvest our main storage crops. We’re hoping for a drier fall this year, but it’s quite dry right now so we wouldn’t mind a little rain.
We are also hoping for a full and healthy crew. It is hard to not look ahead, as if through a fog, and worry about what will happen when, inevitably, people start coming down with colds or worse and are waiting for COVID tests back.

Looking ahead to fall is difficult this year, because of all the uncertainty. The cold will bring more distance between friends and family, and many of the things we look forward to about this time are not happening (like Friday football and Harvest Fest). I am resolute to find fun where I can, and to sit around with friends outside while I still can, too.

I hope your week, and first bit of fall, start off well as you are replenished with fresh veggies. Maybe you will turn them all into a healthy, hearty soup to warm you and yours up.

For the farm crew,

Karin

In your share this week:

Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Chard – Cucumbers – Dill – Onions – Red Peppers – Russet Potatoes – Daikon Radish – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Vegan Zucchini Fritters from The Crowded Kitchen

For the Lemon Cashew Cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and up to 4 (the longer the better)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white miso paste
  • You may need ¼ cup cashew soaking water or more, to blend

For the Zucchini Fritters:

  • 4 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plain gluten free regular or panko style bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt plus 1/2 tsp more to season mixture
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil for cooking

For the Lemon Cashew Cream:

  1. Drain the cashews, reserving soaking water in case you need it to blend the sauce. 
  2. Combine the cashes, garlic, all the lemon zest, juice from one lemon, salt, and miso in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding cashew soaking water one tablespoon at a time if necessary to achieve a creamy sauce.  

To make the fritters:

  1. Grate zucchini. Place in a mesh colander inside a bowl and toss well with 1 1/2 tsp of salt. Let sit for about 35 minutes. Be sure to toss and squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini 3-4 times while it is sitting. (The zucchini will release a lot of moisture!) After 35 minutes, transfer zucchini to a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much remaining moisture as possible.
  2. While the zucchini is sitting, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp of salt, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
  3. Add flax meal to a bowl with water, stir and let sit for 20 minutes. Stir once or twice.
  4. Add zucchini to a bowl with scallions and basil. Mix well, then add in all of the dry ingredients. Add flax + water mixture and mix well. Let mixture sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes so the flax egg has some time to bind the mixture together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if desired.  
  5. Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup so patties are the same size. Form into a ball in your hand and press flat, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cook for 4- 5 minutes on each side over medium heat, until golden brown and crispy.

Gluten-Free Pan Pizza from King Arthur Flour

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, for the pan
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Topping

  • 6 ounces mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/4 cups, loosely packed)*
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup tomato sauce or pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs for sprinkling on top after baking, optional*
  • Veggies from the Food Farm!!

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: Place the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended.
  2. Place the warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, yeast, and a scant 1 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.
  3. Add this mixture to the remaining dry ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. The mixture will be thick and sticky, but not elastic; it won’t feel like regular yeast dough. Note: You must use an electric mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn’t do a thorough enough job.
  4. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.
  5. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil into a cast-iron skillet that’s 10” to 11” diameter across the top, and about 9” across the bottom. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom with the oil. This heavy, dark pan will give you superb crust; but if you don’t have a cast-iron pan, use a 10” round cake pan, a 9” square pan, or other oven-safe, similar-sized, heavy-bottomed skillet.
  6. Scrape the dough from the bowl into the pan. Starting at the center of the dough and working outward toward the edges, use your wet fingers to press the dough to fill the bottom of the pan.
  7. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  8. While the dough is resting, place one rack at the bottom of the oven and one toward the top (about 4″ to 5″ from the top heating element). Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  9. When you’re ready to bake the pizza, scatter about three-quarters of the mozzarella (a scant 1 cup) evenly over the crust. Cover the entire crust right to the edge, so the cheese will become deep golden brown and crispy as the pizza bakes. Dollop small spoonfuls of the sauce over the cheese (putting the cheese on first will prevent the top of the crust from getting soggy under the sauce) then sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella.
  10. Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom and edges of the crust are golden brown (use a spatula to check the bottom). If the bottom is brown but the top still seems pale, transfer the pizza to the top rack and bake for 3 to 5 minutes longer. On the other hand, if the top seems fine but the bottom’s not browned to your liking, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for another 2 to 4 minutes. Home ovens can vary a lot, so use the visual cues and your own preferences to gauge when you’ve achieved the perfect bake. You’ll notice the pizza has shrunk away from the sides of the pan, and perhaps deflated a bit; that’s OK.
  11. Remove the pizza from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Carefully run a spatula between the edge of the pizza and side of the pan to prevent the cheese from sticking as it cools. If desired, sprinkle freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs over the hot pizza. Let the pizza cool briefly, and as soon as you feel comfortable doing so transfer it from the pan to a cooling rack or cutting surface. Serve pizza hot or warm.
  12. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a day or so; freeze for longer storage.

Summer CSA Week 14

The extra hurry-hurry of fall on the farm is starting now. We have had a new crew member join our ranks as we’ve had to fill holes in the schedule, and still there is not enough time in the day, most days. We are starting to harvest almost all the time now: keeping the root-cellar stocked for the CSA and our wholesale customers with carrots, beets, potatoes and cabbage. We hope you’ll enjoy the baby carrots in your share today–we had to begin harvesting the second planting before they have completely sized up, so you’ll be getting a bunch of snack sized ones this week and next. Zucchini and cucumbers have had a tough time this year and are starting to fade already, even though frost has not showed up yet. With more produce coming out of the field each week, we’re also working to keep up with pallet box washing, knowing that soon instead of needing one or two at a time, we’ll need 6, 12, 20 in a day.

I love this time of year on the farm. I love when it’s cooler, I love looking over beds and seeing them full of produce early afternoon, and empty by evening. I love getting into a rhythm of harvest-wash-store, repeat, almost every day. Sometimes it can feel like the harvesting takes up an awful lot of time, and couldn’t we just get something done if it weren’t for all these veggies… but then I remember that the harvest is the whole reason we do what we do. Harvest happens, so that your breakfast, lunch and dinner can happen.

Thank you for participating in our farming with us by providing purpose for our veggies! What a change in the bounty from early June to now- so much variety, and so many options of what to make, or store for later. We hope you enjoy the share, and find some (warm and cozy?) ways to enjoy the food.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:

Basil – Beets – Carrots – Cucumbers – Garlic – Greens Mix – Leeks – Onions – Red Pepper – Red Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Sheetpan Chicken with Cabbage and Leeks

From The Leek and the Carrot

Serves 6-8
Takes 1 hour

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil + more for drizzling
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha, optional
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6-8 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks
1 head cabbage
1 head garlic, separated and peeled
3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut int 1-inch thick slices

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine oils, soy sauce, vinegar and sriracha. Place chicken in a second bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and then pour 1/4 cup of the oil mixture over the chicken. Let it sit while you prep the veggies.
  3. Cut the cabbage in half through it’s core. Keep halving and slicing the whole head of cabbage until you wind up with lots and lots of wedges (all no thicker than 1-inch). Some pieces of cabbage will shred and fall apart as you cut the cabbage, but it will be fine. Add cabbage to first large bowl (the one with the remaining sauce not the chicken) along with peeled garlic cloves and sliced leeks. Toss to coat veggies with sauce and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken to large baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and nestle chicken with vegetables. It will feel like a lot and you’ll need to nestle the vegetables under the chicken a bit. That’s fine! Roast for 35-40 minutes longer until juices have reduced, veggies begin to caramelize and the skin on the chicken begins to crisp.
  5. Serve veggies and chicken together (atop mashed potatoes) with any residual sauce. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Potatoes Anna

From The Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup finely grated aged Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, or a larger amount coarsely ground
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick, ideally on a mandolin
8 cups loosely packed arugula
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white wine vinegar

Assemble the potatoes: Heat your oven to 375°F. Combine the cheese, potato starch or cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Taste a pinch; you want it to have a strong salty-peppery kick, because it’s going to be distributed all over the galette.

Pour 1 tablespoon butter or oil into the bottom of a 9-inch-diameter cast-iron or ovenproof skillet, and swirl it up the sides. Arrange the potatoes in overlapping concentric circles in a single layer at the bottom of the pan. (This will use approximately a quarter of your sliced potatoes.) Drizzle with 1 teaspoon butter or oil, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cheese-pepper mixture. You’ll need to repeat this three or four times to use up your potatoes (depending on their size). At the end, you should have about 1 tablespoon cheese-pepper mixture left over; reserve this. Drizzle any remaining melted butter over the top.

To bake: Lightly coat a piece of foil with nonstick spray and cover the skillet tightly with it. Put in heated oven for 35 minutes, at which point the potatoes will be almost tender. Use potholdered hands to press firmly on the foil to compact the potatoes a bit. Remove and reserve the foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, until lightly brown all over. Press again with the foil, remove, then briefly run under the broiler for an even golden-brown finish.

To finish and serve: While the galette bakes, toss the arugula with the olive oil and vinegar, keeping the dressing very light.

Once the galette is out of the oven, let it rest in the skillet for a few minutes before running a knife around to ensure that it is loose. Gently tip the skillet over your sink to drain any excess butter or oil. Invert it onto a plate or cutting board, then flip right side up. Cut the galette into wedges, then top with the dressed greens, and sprinkle with the reserved cheese-pepper mixture.

Do ahead: This galette can be made up to 3 days in advance. Rewarm at 350 degrees for 15 minutes with foil on top.

Summer CSA Week 13

I love the little chill in the air that we have in the morning and evening now. On the farm, we’ve put in our time with some very hot and humid days! -and it’s good for a break.
Ever since I can remember I have loved this time of year, mostly. Knowing school was starting back up wasn’t usually the best part, but even the settling back into routine ended up being good for me as a kid. And as an adult, I think I always started college semesters off feeling strong and hopeful and organized (even if it ended in panicked 3am paper editing  by mid-December).

This year it feels like the shift back to school for kids and adults, and all those that teach or work with/around them is clouded in a troubling unknown. Whether you have or know children in school (however it looks), or you work with or around students in some capacity, we wish you the best as you start this next school year.
I know so many people have wondered and dreamed about what it would be like to send a child to Kindergarten one day, or to pack up for college… none of us would have dreamed this up to add to the list of worries along the way.

I think we’re all pretty sick of so many aspects of life feeling harder, or sadder, or more complicated and divisive than normal (show of hands for who thought there was more than enough of that to begin with…). I hope that there are bright spots in the midst of all of it for you as well, whether it’s been family time, or new habits or getting outside more.

As we move forward as a country with so many returning to school, I hope that in your home (regardless of connection to a school, after all, we’re all connected in this) the dinner table, or maybe breakfast table, can be a place were connection is found, worries heard and validated, and wholesome sustenance consumed to see you through incredibly challenging days.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week: Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Sweet Onions, Parsley, Red and Hot Peppers, Red Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini


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Green Bean Salad

From The Leek and the Carrot

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half if large (about 4-5 cups)
1 head washed lettuce, thinly sliced
1 large shallot or onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt, for serving

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes then rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a towel.
  2. Toss together lettuce, beans, shallots and tomatoes in a large bowl (or four small bowls). Top with feta and walnuts.
  3. Whisk sherry vinegar with dried oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once combined, whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with a little extra flaky sea salt right before serving.

Parsley Pesto

2 cloves garlic

2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley

Course salt

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

2/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a food processor place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.

Summer CSA Week 12

When I first started farming, in Texas (in August…) I didn’t know what kale was. I thought sorghum sudangrass was corn. I had never heard of okra and didn’t know when to pick a cabbage.
Most of us all lived on the farm, and volunteers and interns all did the bulk of the work and farm chores in the morning, followed by lunch together. Afternoons were a time for informal classes for anyone on the farm or more chores and farm or office work for interns and devoted volunteers.

There were usually anywhere from 15 to 30 (but usually 20 something) mouths to feed at the group lunch time, and lunch prep was done on a rotating basis. I had never cooked for that many people before, and never been so “limited” by the ingredients at my disposal. We had our pick of anything the farm produced, other than meat. From the store, we had dried beans, other legumes, rice and quinoa (another new one me!). Oils, vinegars, spices. No cheese. No meat. Very few quick cans of anything, no convenience food. The quickest thing we had was eggs and toast. But if you did anything with store-bought bread for lunch, we’d run out quick and have none for breakfasts.

My first meals consisted of large, deep baking pans filled with onions, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and so, so much yellow summer squash. I’d season the veggies, bake them, and serve them over whatever grains or legumes I made up. Anyone on lunch duty was given the whole morning work time to make up enough food, and I quickly learned to chop fast out of necessity. I chopped whatever veggies were around, and while I did, I planned what I’d make with them.

Looking back I feel like I learned more about cooking by doing, and from watching and eating what other people prepared, in a few short months than I had up to that point. Sorry mom.
I guess most of what stood out was the newness of eating in-season so thoroughly. Obviously I didn’t keep the same menu through the year, as summer produce faded to winter greens and squashes and roots. The variety of dishes from all the same simple ingredients we were able to enjoy was amazing to me. If left to my own devices, I’d probably just make pizza, miso soup and hash-browns until I died. But because of cooking alongside other people I learned about so many tips, tricks, and ways to use vegetables and grains that made them interesting, new feeling and delicious: homemade dressings! massaged greens! more salt!

The best thing about food is sharing it with other people; either by prepping together, or by eating together. It’s hard now to see the next time I’d possibly cook for so many people again. We don’t even cook together on the farm these days, we just bring lunch and talk together about what we make at home. At least that’s something.

I hope you’re finding ways to stay inspired about cooking (or roasting, grilling, baking, frying…) throughout the season, even if you aren’t maybe sharing as many meals this summer as you might otherwise. Pass on what’s keeping you interested in using our in-season veggies! Maybe someone scrolling by will be inspired.

My tip: just start chopping veggies until inspiration hits.
And, especially when it comes to other people passing through the kitchen, a timely saute of onions and garlic in a pan always makes people hopeful for a delicious meal, even if you don’t know what it is yet!

For the farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Green Beans – Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Kale – Green Onions – Onions – Sweet Red Peppers – New Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


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Kale Pesto

From Taproot Magazine

2-4 garlic cloves (or, maybe 1 Food Farm garlic clove!)
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted nuts such as sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts
1/4 to 1 cup grated or chopped cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago or Romano
2 to 4 cups destemmed and roughly chopped kale
1/4 to 1 cup olive oil
Salt to taste (don’t forget the cheese adds a lot!)
Ground black pepper

Pulse garlic in food processor until well chopped. Add nuts and pulse until just chopped. Add cheese and blend until it is the consistency you want your pesto to be. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
In processor (no need to clean in between steps) combine kale, oil and salt and pepper and pulse until the kale is well chopped.
Add nut + cheese mixture back into food processor, and pulse briefly just to mix together. Add more oil, or salt, or pepper as needed. Use, store within 2 weeks or freeze.

 

Zucchini Bread

From the Smitten Kitchen

The best zucchini bread I have ever had, and I can’t get enough of it!

  • 2 cups grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs. Add flour and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices. Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. I wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

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Summer CSA Week 11

I had a newsletter-sized case of writers block as I started putting recipes and photos in for this week. I asked my husband what I should say, and he said “get the vegetables, eat them up, num num num” -at which I laughed, probably harder than it deserved.
Num num num has become something I say a lot to my baby. It’s one of those idiosyncrasies I have that, apparently, is a little annoying to hear dozens of time at dinner for the other adult present. So strange.
So now it’s something of a running gag at our house.

It’s good to find things to laugh about. I have been trying to make space (i.e., turn off the news) in my life for more laughter. Watch a funny show, check. Pretend to eat my baby’s legs (he loves this!), check.

The season is ramping up on the farm this time of year. We will start harvesting almost non-stop very soon. We’ve started with getting in the garlic, and next the onions. Between CSA harvests, wholesale harvests and the constant cucumber, zucchini and broccoli harvest there isn’t much time left for other projects. Every year I don’t really know how we get all the stuff done. It’s a marvel.

I love this time of year on the farm though. I love the variety and bounty. I love the new potatoes! I love the go-go-go feel. It can also be a little much at times, which is why I’ve been glad over the years that often there are people on the crew who keep things fun, or have funny anecdotes about weekend activities. It’s nice to have people to share inside jokes with, or running gags. Especially in the particularly stressful year we all find ourselves in.

I hope that some laughter finds its way into your week, and that you num  num num every veggie with joy!

For the farm crew,

Karin

PS Dave has us pick just the tops of the basil, so it should be good to go for a small batch of pesto!

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In your share this week:

Basil – Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Garlic – Head Lettuce – Onions – Green Bell Peppers – Hot Wax Peppers – New Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini

 

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Carrot and White Bean Burgers

From the Smitten Kitchen

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 3 shallots, or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed grated carrot (from 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Two 15-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Burger accompaniments, as you like

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a large bowl, then return the pan to the heat.Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, followed by the shallot or onion. Cook until softened and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and carrots and stir frequently until the carrots are soft and a bit blistered, another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, scraping up all the browned bits until the pan is dry. Remove from heat and add the bowl with the toasted panko. Add beans and use a wooden spoon or spatula to very coarsely mash the mixture until a bit pasty and the mixture coheres in places—there should still be plenty of beans intact. Add pepper, and more salt if needed, to aste. Stir in the egg. Shape into 6 patties (I used a 1/2 cup measure as a scoop) for the size burger you see here; 4 patties for really large burgers (to warn, I found this size a little unwieldy), or 8 to 10 for slider-size.

To cook the veggie burgers, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and carefully cook until browned and slightly firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes per side. It may be necessary to cook in batches. Serve hot or at room temperature, with whatever you like on or with veggie burgers.

 

Charred Green Beans with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

From The Leek and the Carrot

2 pounds green beans
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
1 jalapeno, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
Pinch sugar
Kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, cook your green beans for 5 minutes then drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. While you wait for the water to boil, you can do a few other things. First toast almonds (either in the oven or on the stove). Then in a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons vinegar with jalapeno, garlic, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.
  3. In another small bowl, combine yogurt, tahini, water, remaining vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Once your beans have been blanched and cooled, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it glistens. Toss the blanched green beans in there and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium high heat, stirring every minute or two until most sides of the green beans are a little charred (about 10 minutes).
  5. Serve by spreading yogurt mixture over a shallow bowl and topping with green beans. Sprinkle with quick pickled jalapenos and almonds before enjoying. Season with flaky sea salt (or more Kosher salt) and more freshly ground pepper before serving.

Summer CSA Week 10

A couple of weeks ago we walked through some fields – with newly sprouted cover crop – to pull out some of the towering (compared to the baby cover crop!) pig weed and lambs quarter. Looking across the fields they looked much better after, though when we were in there we could see plenty more weeds that we may get to at some point. Maybe.

Soon Janaki will be doing trip after trip with the old dump truck full of manure from a local cattle farm. The manure gets turned and composted and turned again and composted some more (a few cycles of that over weeks) and then can get used on fields next year to add rich nutrition to the soil.

Next year, crops will be moved around to avoid being planted in the same places as this year. That way we can avoid disease, pests (hopefully), and the plants can go into fields that have had time, cover crop, and nutrition added back in. Our healthy soil and extra work to maintain it keeps our vegetables healthy, and the farm healthy for years to come.

Janaki has some of the rotating stuff down to a science (I mean spreadsheets), but much of it is still an art. He knows what fields may have low spots that will be wet in spring, and can’t be used for early crops. He knows which ones have heavier, and richer soil that might be good to go to plant into, and which ones might need some organic fertilizer added in. He has a rotation of cover crops that works well for us down to a science too. Bare fields can equal sad soil, and having crops that add organic matter, or elusive nitrogen naturally back into the soil is a must for organic agriculture.

It’s a cycle of wholeness. And it leads to some pretty good whole food.

I wish I could say that everything I eat or otherwise consume follows this same pattern, or puts back what it takes out from the planet. I can’t say that; though I hope to keep moving that direction.
More and more, it is so challenging to me when I think of what things cost on the shelf not always being reflective of how much they really cost from an environmental (yes, that includes humans too!) perspective.

The truth is the cost on the shelf for organic food, or organic clothing (or non-toxic baby mattresses as I’ve found out) is an insurmountable barrier for many people, both here and around the world. I don’t want to minimize that. It’s a real problem.

Conventional agriculture is also a problem. Perhaps many of you have our CSA share because you already know this and are bothered by mono-cropping, pesticide use, loss of top soil and the list of negativity goes on.

Might I add another to the list.

Ammonium nitrate.
The elusive nitrogen that all crops (corn needs a lot, for example) require. Ammonium nitrate is one of the fertilizers that gets used around the world, in staggering quantities, in the production of all kinds of non-organic crops.

And it’s a bomb.
I feel like I should say it “can be” a bomb. It’s very often used for agriculture, but it’s also also used in war. And, I’m sure many of you remember exactly where you were on April 19th, 1995.

And in Beirut… does it matter now what the original purpose of it’s manufacture or intended destination was? Does it matter that it *could have been* fertilizer if it becomes a bomb in the middle of a city anyway?

I was living and farming in Waco, Texas when a fertilizer plant 25 minutes north, in the town of West, exploded. At the time it happened, I was video chatting with friends at a cafe, and it was only after the call ended that I realized that I had been half-hearing sirens the entire time through my head phones. When I went inside to return my cup (and to see if anyone knew what was going on), the TVs were all on, and everyone was silent or on phones trying to call friends or family.
You’d be forgiven for not remembering, it was two days after the Boston Marathon bombing.

I had no idea that that plant was up there, and if I would have known I had no idea at the time what ammonium nitrate was. I am sure many (most?) people in Beirut or in the whole of Lebanon didn’t know that tons of the stuff was being, almost randomly, disastrously, stupidly stored at their port.

I think as humans we just can’t keep up with how dangerous our world is. How much danger we add to it. We won’t be able to control storms, or drought, or volcanoes (though our actions surly add to the devastation they cause). But what we can and do add in the way of poisons, bombs… it’s overwhelming.

I wish this could be a swords to plowshares kind of post… but the materials we’re talking about aren’t nearly as simple as hammering metal into a different shape. If only that was the task we were undertaking. Again, so what if it’s destined to be fertilizer if it blows up anyway?

By partaking in the food from your CSA share each week you’re taking steps (and power!) away from the machine that seems to roll along in our world and hurt so much in it’s path. You’re taking steps (and giving power!) to safer, cleaner alternatives. It’s hard to feel like we have much power in the face of such destruction, or in the face of such wide-spread unsustainability, but the power we do have we can wield. Even by wielding your fork.

For the farm crew,

Karin

 

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In your share this week: Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill, Lettuce Mix, Green Onions, Parsley, Green Peppers, New Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini


 

Many of you long-time members will remember the porch at 427 N. 16th Avenue East. The Benson’s have been members since the beginning–before the beginning, actually. Their porch served as a pickup site from 1994 until this year because they were anticipating the sale of their home. It is officially on the market this week, and I promised a number of people that I would pass along the listing once it was up. Since I don’t remember who that was, I’m sending it along to everyone in the hopes that this special place might stay in the Food Farm family: https://s.paragonrels.com/goto/2_IPp

 

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It doesn’t hurt that weeds can be so beautiful.

 

Refrigerator Pickled Green Beans

Can double or triple.

  • 5 ounces green beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 small dried chile
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Before you trim the green beans, arrange them vertically in a 1-pint jar to see how many will fit. Pack them in as tightly as you can—once you add the hot liquid, they will shrink just a bit, so feel free to really cram them in.

  3. Remove the beans from the jar and trim them to fit, leaving at least 1/2 inch of head-space. Pack the trimmed beans back into the jar.

  4. Peel the garlic and cut it into quarters. Stuff the garlic pieces into the jar with the green beans.

  5. Add the coriander seeds, dried chile, peppercorns, and the bay leaf into the jar around the beans.

  6. Put the vinegar, wine, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes (the sugar and salt should be completely dissolved).

  7. Pour the hot mixture over the beans. The liquid should completely cover all of the beans. Screw on the lid and let the jar sit until it’s cooled to room temperature.

  8. Once the jar is cool, refrigerate the bean pickles for at least 2 days or up to 6 months before eating.

 

Herby Potato and Green Bean Salad

From Taproot Magazine

1 1/2 lb potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb green beans
6-8 radishes
1/4 medium onion
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
3-5 green onions (to taste)

Dressing:

1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey’
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil or steam potatoes. Boil or steam beans. If boiling, add plenty of salt to water. Chill beans after cooking in ice water. Salt after steaming/rinsing.

Fold the chopped herbs and radishes, beans, and potatoes once cooled.

Lightly toast mustard seeds on medium low heat in a pan, stirring to avoid burning. Crush seeds in mortar with a pestle. Shake all dressing ingredients together in a jar.

Gently mix dressing into salad, taste for salt. Serve a bit warm, or out of the fridge up to 4 days later.

 

 

 

 

Summer CSA Week 9

I was blathering on to my one-year-old over breakfast this morning, trying to describe the taste of the cucumber sticks he was eating. I seem to be driven by this need to cram as many adjectives into his first years as humanly possible. I think perhaps it will backfire someday, but I’m not sure how.

Anyway, the cucumber.
I was informing my son, that though I prefer most fruits (especially) and vegetables (generally) at room temperature, cucumbers are one I love right out of the fridge.
Cool, as they are generally thought of, they taste like the feeling of walking through the woods and noticing that there must be running water near by because of the coolness in the air. Maybe even such a small spring it’d be hard to pin-point, but the feeling in the air is still there.
He also got a short lesson in evaporation over breakfast, and I’m sure he understands it quite well now.

When my sister and I were kids, she was the reader. She always had her nose in a book, and read very, very fast. Like, the sixth Harry Potter book in a day kind of fast. But I’d watch her sometimes skipping whole pages at a time. She said it was “just” description, and she didn’t have the patience for that. I’m sure Tolkien was rolling in his grave.

I hope this week you can find ways to notice how things taste and feel and sound and smell and to be present in the here and now. Plenty of times (and reasonably) the here and now can be stressful, or boring. But even so, there can be a lot that’s worth pausing for and noticing.

We’d be lucky if you thought our veggies this week were some of those things!

For the farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Lettuce Mix – Green Onions – Green Peppers – Kale – Jalapeno Pepper – Tomatoes – Zucchini


 

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

From The Smitten Kitchen

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

 

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Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 medium jalapeño ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 8 small or 4 large), chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)
  1. In a medium serving bowl, combine the chopped onion, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Let it marinate for about 5 minutes while you chop the tomatoes and cilantro.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste, and add more salt if the flavors don’t quite sing.
  3. For the best flavor, let the mixture marinate for 15 minutes or several hours in the refrigerator. Serve as a dip, or with a slotted spoon or large serving fork to avoid transferring too much watery tomato juice with your pico. Pico de gallo keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.