November Winter Share

farm to table (1)

Before writing this month’s newsletter, I reread the newsletter from April of last winter’s CSA. It was full of the very early signs of what turned out to be a rather late spring- and reminds me of where we’re headed, and the season that was between here and there that was full of growth and work and food. A lot happens between the first sighting of a red-winged black bird and the last, ever fluctuating V of geese.

Last Friday, after we had packed this first Winter Share, I stepped out of the root cellar to 20181112_161008the lovely snow, of course, and a V of geese who I perceived to be flying faster than usual, and using a rather more urgent tone to encourage each other to get the heck out of here! As a life long procrastinator, I had to laugh into the sky full of snow and geese and their plight ‘n’ flight.

Not us though. Here we are in the Northland, preparing to settle in for another winter.

I made my love for the month of November known last year in the newsletter, but for those who missed it, or for those new folks to the CSA (welcome!) I’ll recap: I love November.

I love the color palette the world offers us this time of year, before it is muddled and faded by the sun over winter. I love how everything looks with snow on the ground on my drive out to the farm, and how it brings out the lines and contours of the land around me. I love bare trees. Summer is wonderful, I enjoy the comfort of not needing to prepare to step outside. And I love the fall colors and the luminescence it brings to the woods in a finale of shed energy and life. But now the trees can rest after all that time spent gathering stores for winter.

After the big harvest push in September and October, things on the Farm start to feel that same way. A lot of planning, planting and care goes into making this bounty possible. Next week the summer crew will be done, and we’ll have time to rest and plan and do the winter basics. For example, drinking coffee while bagging carrots. Who am I kidding? Janaki, Dave and John do the planning.

Winter can be a difficult and sometimes an isolating time up in the North. I hope getting your share of vegetables each month can become a re-centering ritual of sorts as we go through the season.

If you had been a part of our Summer CSA, you’ll know that this looks and feels (and tastes!) quite different. It is not the same burst of color and variety of flavors as summer. I see the Winter CSA is a sort of reorienting to local, storeable staples. There is no end of ways to prepare these sorts of vegetables, because for hundreds of years these sorts of crops are what got people through winter. The simplicity of ingredients drives innovation. Unless you really do like boiled cabbage for months, then go wild with that and you might have the house to yourself for a while!

I hope you enjoy the refilling of your pantry this month, and have time and enjoyment of the slower cook times, warm kitchen spaces and dinners of whole food.

Thank you for choosing to partake with us in the winter stores.

For the Farm crew,

Karin


20181112_142809

November’s Share
Beets – Green Cabbage – Carrots –  Red and Yellow potatoes – Yellow Onions –
Butternut, Kabocha and Delicata squash


20181016_161030

Red Split Lentils With Cabbage

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/4 cups red split lentils, picked over, washed and drained
5 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into fine slices
1/2 pound cored and finely shredded cabbage
1 to 2 fresh, hot green chilies, finely sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium tomato, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger

Put the lentils and water into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that collects at the top. Add the turmeric and stir to mix. Cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar, turn heat down to low, and simmer gently for 1 1/4 hours. Stir a few times during the last 30 minutes.

When the lentils cook, heat the oil in a 8 to 9 inch frying pan over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 3 to 4 seconds. Now put in the garlic. As soon as the garlic pieces begin to brown, put in the onion, cabbage and green chilies. Stir and fry the cabbage mixture for about 10 minutes or until it begins to brown and turn slightly crisp. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Turn off the heat under the frying pan.

When the lentils have cooked for 1 1/4 hours, add the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, the tomato and ginger to the pot. Stir to mix. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture and any remaining oil in the frying pan. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.

Simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cabbage is heated through.


Breakfast Slab Pie

Serves 12 generously

Crust
3 3/4 (470 grams) cups all-purpose flour (feel free to replace up to half with whole-wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, very cold
3/4 cup very cold water

Filling20180817_154254
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
10 ounces spinach (baby, “grown-up,” or frozen)
1 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced
11 large eggs + 1 large egg white (you’ll use the yolk in a minute)
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

To finish
1 large egg yolk (leftover from filling)
1 teaspoon water

Make pie crust: Whisk together flour, and salt in the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. (You’ll want to chop your butter into small bits first, unless you’re using a very strong pastry blender in which case you can throw the sticks in whole, as I do.) Gently stir in the water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough roughly in half (it’s okay if one is slightly larger). Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days or slip plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months (longer if you trust your freezer more than I do). To defrost, leave in fridge for 1 day. [Still freaked out about making your own pie dough?

Heat oven oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottom of 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.

Prepare filling: Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 7 to 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Drain.

Wash spinach but no need to dry it. Place wet spinach in hot skillet and cook until it just wilts. Drain in a colander, pressing or squeezing out as much liquid as possible. You should have about 1 cup of spinach one wilted and squeezed. If spinach leaves were large, you might want to roughly chop the squeezed-out piles of spinach before adding it to the filling.

Assemble pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of your dough halves (the larger one, if you have two different sizes) into an 18-by-13-inch rectangle. This can be kind of a pain because it is so large. Do your best to work quickly, keeping the dough as cold as possible and using enough flour that it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and gently drape some of the overhang in so that the dough fills out the inner edges and corners. Some pastry will still hang over the sides of the pan; trim this to 3/4-inch overhang.

Layer vegetables, including scallions, evenly over bottom pie crust. Sprinkle cheese on top. If using the fillings that I did, beat 11 whole eggs and 1 egg white lightly and pour over vegetables. If you’ve used other fillings, you might find that you need more or fewer eggs to mostly fill (I did not want to fill the crust to the top with eggs, as it would have been more difficult to bake without filling) the bottom crust; if you’re nervous, just beat a few eggs at a time and pour them in until your filling reaches the desired level. Sprinkle with salt and many grinds of black pepper.

Roll the second of your dough halves (the smaller one, if they were different sizes) into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle. Drape over filling and fold the bottom crust’s overhang over the edges sealing them together. Cut only a couple tiny slits in the lid to act as vents — too many or too big, and the filling will want to leak out before the eggs set. Beat remaining egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water and brush over lid.

Bake pie: Until crust is golden and filling is set, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool a bit before cutting into squares.

Do ahead: I haven’t frozen this pie, but suspect that it will freeze well already baked. Or, you could make the pie doughs up to one month in advance (storing them in the freezer), four days in advance (to store in the fridge) and roll them out when you’re ready to bake the pie. Baked slab pie will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Squares can be reheated as needed. Vegetables can be prepped (spinach wilted, potato par-boiled) and stored in the fridge for 2 days before using.

Final Summer CSA, Week 18

I went to my cousin’s wedding this past weekend. It was cold (outdoor ceremony) but lovely, and the dinner and dancing warmed everyone up after. This wedding had been on the calendar for a long time. My cousin’s now wife knew where, when, and what she wanted for her wedding and after almost 2 years of planning and waiting it finally happened. I think the family was ready for a party.

My time on Friday and a part of Saturday was spent doing all the things that young women seem to do before weddings. It takes a lot of time, but since it’s rare, it’s fun. Also, if weddings were a sport, I really think I’d get a medal for most improved. Farming has soaked into me and buried in the skin under my fingernails. It took time for that to
happen, and it takes time to soak it out (or cover it up).

My cousin and his wife take the cake on the planning and waiting though. Spending 20 minutes painting one’s nails isn’t really that much of a time commitment.

A couple of weeks ago we picked the outside tomatoes for the last time before a frost. As I img_20181005_112702067loaded a full bucket into the trailer I reminisced to Sam about when these very tomato plants were so little and we gingerly rearranged them in the greenhouse and tiptoed between them. And now they’re done – just like that. I think the same sort of thing when I harvest broccoli or cauliflower. All sorts of time got spent seeding and tending to tiny little plants, and then after some time, I chop their tops off. It’s why we grew them and waited.

Here it is the last Summer Share harvest. And, what’s this? Brussels Sprouts! They are slow growing and slow picking and so worth it as a fun last surprise of sorts in your share. Like getting to the bottom of an ice cream cone to find it’s filled with an inch of chocolate.

Lunches out at the farm are starting to take on a different feel as someone will take additional time to prepare and start to cook the root crops we grow. Gone are the days of a quick tomato mayonnaise sandwich, and here are the days of trying to leave the oven door shut, willing the potatoes beets and carrots to roast faster. If you were in the Winter CSA last year you might remember me going on (and on) about how many hash-browns I was eating. Even they, with shredded potatoes, take a while to cook just right. And don’t even think about rushing them! It just takes the time it takes.

Now we’re at the end of the CSA season, and I hope that the bounty of fresh food has been a good thing for you and your household. Thank you for taking the time to use our vegetables. Every meal you make with this produce is throwing a small wrench in the machine of instant gratification and convenience. I know it takes time, and that sometimes you feel bad because you didn’t use it all or that in cooking something new it didn’t turn out. But I believe it’s worth the time, and worth the effort: meal after meal, season after season.

I don’t like the expression “good things come to those who wait”. That expression only make sense to tell to children. However, I do hope that whatever you have waited for or invested your time in this season that you have found it to be fruitful. If you find yourself still waiting and still trying for something, I hope you continue to have determination and strength.

Thank you for partaking in the season’s bounty with us.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts (some smallish, but still good!)20181008_151431
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Yellow onions
  • Peppers
  • Russets
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach (will need to be washed)
  • Kabocha squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips

Kale BLT Salad

  • ½ preserved lemon, chopped
  • ⅓ cup crème fraîche
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces slab bacon, sliced ¾ inch thick
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Preparation:
  • Process preserved lemon, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a food processor until smooth; season dressing with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high and cook bacon, turning halfway through, until brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels and let cool slightly. Slice crosswise to yield 12 pieces.

  • Toss kale and dressing in a large bowl until coated; let sit 5 minutes.

  • Add tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Divide salad among plates and top each with 3 pieces of bacon.

  • Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.


Summer CSA Week 17

Summer is on her way out, leaving with a kiss on the sumac at the edge of a field. In this area the end of summer feels like a too-quickly-over visit with a good friend -and winter can feel like a bleak and monotonous norm. But summer has a round-trip ticket, and personally, I love winter. I think everyone enjoys the in-between: this final display of sweet smelling surrender from leaves that have been drinking in the summer light like a milkshake through a straw.

This time of year is the time for apple cider, and jumping in leaf piles and harvest parties. It is also the time of year for acquaintances to ask me questions like, “I suppose you must be just about done with things out at the farm?” I have gotten this question every year I’ve worked out here -and every year I explain how many (so many) storage crops we grow and how tall the stacks of pallet boxes get stacked in the cooler and root cellar.

We are standing at the edge of the season, and there is so much work to be done in just a few short weeks. I do love the Summer CSA harvest, and the people it brings out to the farm. But I’ve gotten so that I also enjoy the 3-4 week long carousel ride made up of trailers full of produce and washer equipment and, well those two things I guess.

I hope you all enjoy these last tastes of summer, and some of fall. I know I will -and I’ll be eating a lot of leeks too.

For the farm crew,

Karin

P.S. If you signed up to get pumpkins, they will be at your site, enjoy!

P.P.S. Return your share boxes -thanks!


In your share today:20181001_134602

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Greens Mix
  • Green Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Greens mix
  • Leeks
  • Yellow Onions
  • Green peppers
  • French Fingerling potatoes
  • Sunshine and Delicata Squash
  • Tomatoes

 

Leek toasts with blue cheese

(This toast idea seems great, but I’m mostly including this recipe as a way to make use of a lot of leeks at once -try it on or in all your meals this week.)

  • 1 1/2 pounds leeks (about 3 big leeks), lengthwise and white and pale green parts sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 generous cups of slices)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing toasts
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 medium-sized or 12 baguette-sized 1/2-inch slices of bread of your choice (I used a light sourdough)
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (a soft or crumbly goat cheese would also work)
  • Few drops of lemon juice (optional)

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leeks and use your hands to pump them up and down in the water a bit, separating the rings and letting the dirt and grit fall to the bottom. Transfer to a dish or plate for a minute; no need to dry them.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium. Once hot, add butter and olive oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add the leek slices, still wet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook leeks for 25 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.

While leeks cook, brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Run under broiler until lightly toasted. You may either spread the cheese you’re using on now, while the toasts are hot, or sprinkle it on at the end. Divide leeks among toasts. Sprinkle with cheese, if you haven’t spread it underneath. Add a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. Eat at once or gently rewarm a bit later.


Pureed Winter Squash Soup With Ginger

  • 1 tablespoon canola or rice bran oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 pounds peeled winter squash
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 6 ½ cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
  •  cup rice
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ginger juice (made by grating a teaspoon of fresh ginger, wrapping in cheesecloth and squeezing the cheesecloth)
  •  Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ lime
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons plain yogurt

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the winter squash, garlic and minced ginger and cook, stirring, until the mixture smells fragrant, about 1 minute

Add the water or stock, the rice and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the squash is very tender

Using a hand blender, or in batches in a regular blender, purée the soup. If using a regular blender, cover the top with a towel pulled down tight, rather than airtight with the lid. Return to the pot and heat through. Stir in the ginger juice, taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, thin out with a little more water or stock

Ladle the soup into bowls and add a tablespoon of yogurt (more to taste), then slowly swirl the yogurt into the soup with a spoon. Squeeze a few drops of lime juice onto each serving and sprinkle with whisper of nutmeg

Summer CSA Week 16

Karin’s out of town for a well-deserved getaway before the fall push begins, so you’re stuck with a just-the-facts newsletter this week. First, I just want to reiterate that if you want extra pumpkins so your kids don’t have to share, please order them here. We’ll be delivering them next week. If you’d like to visit the farm and pick them out yourself, let me know!

The green beans in your share look a lot different than you’re used to. We grew these a few years ago, but germination has been very poor the past two years. We’re glad to have them back because they are tender, delicious, and grow on a trellis in the greenhouse for easy picking!

The potatoes this week are a purple fingerling variety called Magic Molly. Their deep purple color does not fade when cooked. They’re great diced and fried, mashed, or in potato salad, but they’ll turn soup a purple-ish brown.

The crew hustled last week to harvest all of the winter squash for the year. We have quite a few ground squirrels on the sandy ground across the road, and they have begun to start eating the squash in earnest, so it was good to get it in before any more damage could be done. The squash is pretty good now, but it continues to get more moist and flavorful until its peak, which generally lasts from mid-October through New Year’s. It keeps well on the kitchen counter for several weeks.

For the farm crew,

Janaki


In your share this week:

20180817_1510331

  • Northeaster Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Dill
  • Yellow onions
  • Parsley
  • Green peppers
  • Purple potatoes
  • Rutabaga
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes

Greek Style Oven Roasted Rutabaga

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 smallish rutabagas (about 750g | 1.75lb total)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. Peel the rutabagas and cut them into roughly 2″ chunks; place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to a separate bowl and mix vigorously with a whisk until well combined.
  4. Pour that sauce over the rutabagas and toss with a spoon until all the pieces are evenly coated.
  5. Spread the rutabaga in a single layer across a broiler pan, making sure there is plenty of room between the pieces of rutabaga to allow air to circulate freely.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, lower the heat to 375°F and continue baking, stirring 2 or 3 times during the process, until the rutabaga is fork tender and starts to caramelize around the edges, about 25 minutes.
  7. Once the rutabaga has reached the desired color and doneness, remove it from the oven and immediately hit it with a light sprinkle of salt. Let it cool for a few minutes and then serve, garnished with fresh herbs and a dribble of extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.

Roasted Delicata Squash With Turmeric

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 delicata squash, about 14 oz each, washed and dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly spray 2 large nonstick baking sheets with oil.
  2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice the seeded halves into 1/4-inch thick slices (half circles) and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil, salt, turmeric, garlic powder and black pepper, tossing toss well to coat. Lay flat on the prepared baking sheets and bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and top with fresh cilantro and eat right away.

 

Summer CSA Week 15

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 20180917_115003known 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,

Karin

 


In your share this week:

  • Yellow beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers20180917_135124
  • Cilantro
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Sweet peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Yellow onions
  • Yellow potatoes
  • Greens mix
  • Cut lettuce mix
  • Zucchini

Leeks in Vinaigrette

  • 4 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, tough outer layer removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 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.

     

Long-Cooked Vegetables

Ingredients

  •  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

VEGETABLE VARIATIONS

  • 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

Preperation

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

Summer CSA Week 14

There are little things I forget about how the season goes this time of year. I enjoy the changes of season, and I am happy that autumn is coming. And even though I’ve had a fair number of seasons now, there are still things I forget and am glad to be reminded of, like looking back at old photos from happy times, or smelling something that matches a memory perfectly.

Three weeks ago, I don’t know that I could have remembered if asters bloom purple to begin with and then fade to white, or start white and get darker as they age. Now, I remember, and I see: most of them start off purple. It seems like it wasn’t so very long ago the sun came in to wake me up and now I roll over in bed until I see a hint of a glow in the east. I’ll get up before her, but I like to see that she’ll join me before too long. I forgot that happened so soon, and it is taking adjusting to.

On my drives to and from the farm I’ve been reminded that this is the time of year that deer start to turn from their red summer coats to their grey-brown winter coat. There are some of each color roaming in the fields in Wrenshall, trying to put on more weight.

It is the season of plenty. This past weekend the Food Farm had a booth at the Lake img_20180906_171636466Superior Sustainable Farming Harvest Fest down at Bay Front. Harvesting and preparing to go was added work for the crew the Friday before, and they did a great job. It was all worth it to hear the compliments about how the food looked, and to see people get excited about well grown, local food.

It was fun to meet a few members at the Harvest Fest. Out of the scores of people that get our summer share I know only a handful of you -and any face I can put with a name is a treat.

That’s what I like about doing the Harvest Fest- it colors in a fuller picture of what the work of farming is all about. Hearing what people are planning for dinner, or talking to them about what the purple peppers are like or letting them know to wait a while before eating their winter squash (yes, it’s coming!) makes the work feel whole somehow.

It’s dawning on me that in some way, except for what I snack on throughout the day (which is a lot) or take home for myself (also a lot) it’s as if I forget I’m working with food. Real food – so real I almost want to capitalize it. All the energy we (mostly the soil and sun) spend to make this food- you get that energy. You take it and turn it into other work like organizing, caring for children or parents or yourself, hiking, preserving, crafting … anything you do. That’s why we do the work on the farm, and I’m glad to have a reason to be reminded of it.

For the farm crew,

Karin

20180817_151033.jpg


In your share this week:

  • Yellow Beans20180910_134854
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Greens mix
  • Red onions
  • Green pepers
  • Jalapenos
  • Russet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Roasted Root Vegetables

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Place the beet, carrot, onion, potatoes, garlic, and garbanzo beans into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through baking. Remove the baking dish from the oven, and stir in the wine. Return to the oven, and bake until the wine has mostly evaporated and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more. Stir in the beet greens, allowing them to wilt from the heat of the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used a smidge less)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional, I skipped them)
2 tablespoons golden raisins (optional, ditto)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots (from about a 3/4 pound bundle whole carrots)
3 tablespoons butter, for griddle

Cream cheese topping
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dash of ground cinnamon

Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 200°F. This will keep the pancakes warmed as they’re fried in batches.

To make the pancakes: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and, if using, nuts and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Stir carrot mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until just Incorporated. Let rest for five minutes while you make the cream cheese topping.

To make the cream cheese topping: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and lump-free. Whisk in powdered sugar, two tablespoons milk, vanilla and cinnamon. If you’d like the mixture thinner, add the remaining tablespoon of milk (I did not).

Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet or griddle pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into the hot pan per pancake (to me, this seemed like too little but after experimenting with larger pancakes, I advise you to listen to Joy; It’s a wiggly batter and much easier to and cook in small puddles), flipping once, until pancakes are golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer finished pancakes to a serving dish or tray in the oven, to keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter as needed.

Serve warm with cream cheese topping.

Summer CSA Week 13

Before I could start writing the newsletter this week, I had to put my kitchen into some semblance of order. I had canned a few beans (and, funny how canning a few makes just as much of a mess as canning a lot of them. Lesson learned.) That was Saturday evening and then I rushed off to many weekend activities – leaving my counter and table full of pots and cutting boards. I have a fairly small kitchen, and it doesn’t take much for there to hardly be room for the cook. Now it’s cleanish, and there’s room to put my laptop down on the table. More importantly, there’s room for my thoughts to roam about without tipping over the dishes in the drying rack.

This past weekend I went down to the Cities to burn my shoulders, catch some live music on a stick and get deep-fried cheese curds for breakfast. I was at the State Fair, of course. One of the highlights for me were the dahlias on display in the Horticulture building. Both of the plant/flower rooms were full of them this year -and it was extraordinary. I couldn’t stop exclaiming out loud at how wonderful they were. There were small ones like little pom-poms and others the size of dinner plates. There were totally spherical ones and ones that looked like pinwheels in a Dr. Seuss book. They are so beautiful -and also so organized in their appearance that they make me think of outer-space, or math or the spiral part at the top of cauliflower.

This time of year the way we harvest starts to change. I suppose I’ve said that in past newsletters. I’m reminding myself more than you all. With the changing harvest, and more and more produce coming down into the root cellar, staying organized is crucial. Even though this is my fourth season I still need reminding of where we put things so they stay out of the way (but not too out of the way), and it takes me adjusting how I think about wheeling pallet boxes into the cooler. The crew is catching on to our little tricks for how to keep things straight during harvest days and wholesale delivery days. We use certain bins for this or that, and certain stickers for other thises and thats. Getting and staying organized takes a certain amount of energy and work, but it is so very worth it. At the end of the day, the time we spend talking about how to do things better with our time or space is more than made up for by how the system can flow.

The fact that anything gets, or stays organized on this farm while I’m working here is because in the 30 years of farming that Jane, John, Dave and Janaki have done (and countless other crew members and volunteers) they have all set systems in place that work well for us. We make little changes from season to season, and big changes (like adding a root cellar, and then expanding it) – and we all get a say in what we think makes sense.


In your share this week:

  • Yellow beans
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Green mix
  • Sweet onion
  • Green bell peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Red Potatoes
  • Daikon radish
  • Juliet tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Cucumber and daikon radish relish

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 8 ounces daikon (Japanese white radish), peeled, cut into 2x 1/4-inch sticks
  • 2/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

RECIPE PREPARATION

  • Toss cucumbers with sea salt in colander. Place colander over bowl and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse cucumbers. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Place radish sticks in medium bowl. Cover with water. Soak 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Stir vinegar and next 3 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add cucumbers and radish; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.


Indian-spiced cauliflower soup

    • 2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
    • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
    • 1 medium potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and chopped
    • 2 teaspoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
    • 1 fresh hot green chili, chopped (more or less to taste)
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne (to taste)
    • About 3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets (from about 1/2 a large 2.75-pound head)
    • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste (we wanted more)
TO FINISH (ALL OPTIONAL)
  • A couple spoonfuls heavy cream or dollops of yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cooked basmati or other long-grain white rice
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges
  • Toasted pita or naan wedges

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

2 cups of green beans
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 ½ tablespoons of sugar
2 cloves of garlic OR 3 tablespoons of minced garlic scapes
1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
½ of a medium onion, sliced thinly
2 sprigs of fresh dill
½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
¼ to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want them) – you
can also add a whole dried chili if you have one.


You don’t need any canning supplies for this project. You don’t even need special
jars. I reused a jar from store-bought sauerkraut for mine. Use whatever you have
on hand, as long as it’s glass and has a lid. 

 

Make your brine. This is the longest part of this process (and it only takes a few minutes!) so do this first. Add your water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic (which you’ve minced) to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn it off and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.

Trim the beans. You want them all to fit in your jar with about an inch at the top
so the brine covers them completely. You can trim both ends, or just the stem end. I think the pointy blossom end of beans are pretty, so I leave them. It’s up to you.

Blanch the beans. Bring a saucepan of water to a full boil, then dump the beans in
and boil them for thirty seconds. Drain them, and quickly add them to a bowl of
iced water to shock them and stop the cooking process. You want your beans to be
brightly colored and still crisp.

Drain the beans and set them aside. Add your onions, dill, red pepper flakes,
and peppercorns to your jars.

Now add your beans to the jars. They look prettiest standing upright, but don’t
worry about being perfect. The easiest way is to lay the jar on its side, or hold it
horizontally, and place the beans inside.


Go ahead and pour your brine in once it has reached room temperature. Fill
the jar to 1/2 inch below the top of the jar, and put the lid on. Place the jar of dilly
beans in the fridge, and let them sit for at least two days before eating them.


They’ll keep for up to six months in the fridge, but I’ll bet you foldable money that
you won’t have them around nearly that long!