14 Oct

Garden News – October 14, 2015

The gardens are really slowing down now, with the cooler nights and shorter days.  The leaves are falling and some of the trees are already bare while others are slow to let go of their fall clothes!  As I walk around the yard there is a crunch where there once was soft grass.  I guess it is time for one last mowing and then the raking that will go on for several more weeks.

That wind last Sunday did some damage here.  Three sections of my cedar fence went down.  The  4X4 cedar posts snapped off at the ground.  John Pugrud, my savior, will be coming to fix everything this week.  I don’t know what I would  do without him.  Thank you, John!  Some of the wire fence for the tomatoes also blew down.   The tomatoes are so heavy right now, but I am not going to worry, as I will be harvesting them all soon, depending on whether it freezes of not.

My friends Steven and Robin Earles are also bringing me lots of leaves and grass clippings that I will be spreading over my gardens getting them ready for bed.  Thank you Robin and Steve!  The garden and I love you!  I am also bringing in manure.  A light tilling will then be done and the garden will be ready for winter sleep.  Rest and rejuvenation are important….for me too!

This is the final pick up for the following subscribers.  Virginia Bryan, John Pugrud, Charis Cravens, Sonya Whiteley, Lindsey James, Paula Larsen, Vanessa McNeill, Merita Murdock, Kat Pakora, Alicia Pettys, Kerry Sandelin, Sue Tanner, Carol Wardell, Jordan Westerholm, Nancy Wilkin,  Mike Williams.

These remaining subscribers will pick up their last share on October 22nd.  Susan Baak, Jessie Browning, Annika Charter Williams, Steve Charter, David Duke, Pamela Gustafson, James Haney, Halcyon LaPoint, Paula & Tom Larsen, Vanessa McNeill, Nanette Kuhl.

I am not quite sure what the selection will be in your share this week, but for sure there will be  winter squash, eggplant, bell peppers, leaf lettuce, swiss chard, dry onions, broccoli side shoots, red cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers.  With a possible frost and even a freeze looming just around the corner, I will be trying to time the harvest getting the more tender veggies out of the garden first. It is really dry out there and things are still growing, so I had to water with city water this week  as the water in the canal is too low to pump anymore.  The county empties the canal on the 15th of October.

With the crisp fall temperatures, its time to start thinking about those meals that feed the body and spirit….I like to call them “Soul Foods”.

Creamy Winter Greens Gratin

Serves four as a side dish.

You can make this gratin with your choice of spinach, Swiss chard, kale, or broccoli raab. You’ll need to boil the greens first, following the instructions below. You can also substitute any hard cheese for the Parmigiano.

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2-1/2 oz. bacon (about 3 strips) or 1-1/2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
2 cups cooked winter greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale, or broccoli raab)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or a combination of Parmigiano and another hard cheese like Gruyère, Emmental, or aged Gouda

Prep and cook the greens:

To get the 2 cups of cooked greens you need for the gratin, be sure to start out with the amount of raw greens specified below.

Cut off and discard the tough stems (use a small, sharp paring knife and trim around the stem). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, submerge all the greens, and cook just until tender (see cooking times below). Drain well and then spread on a towel to absorb excess moisture. If the greens still seem very wet, squeeze them gently to remove excess liquid.

Spinach
Start with 1 lb. mature spinach, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped to yield about 7 cups tightly packed (or 12 oz.); cook for 30 seconds, just until wilted.

Broccoli raab
Start with a 1-lb. bunch broccoli raab, tough lower stems removed (almost half the bunch), as well as any discolored leaves, and the rest very roughly chopped to yield about 6 heaping cups; cook for 2 min.

Swiss chard
Start with 1-3/4 lb. chard, stems cut away and reserved for another use (slice, freeze, and add to your next vegetable soup) and leaves roughly chopped to yield about 9-1/2 cups (or 12 oz.); cook for 1 min.

Kale
Start with 1-1/4 pounds kale, tough stems trimmed away, leaves roughly chopped to yield 6 cups tightly packed; cook for 8 min.
Assemble and bake the gratin:

Heat the oven to 400°F. Have ready a shallow 4-cup ceramic gratin dish or casserole dish (any shape is fine as long as it’s shallow). Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter and toss it in a small bowl with the breadcrumbs and a pinch of kosher salt and a little ground pepper; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat (watch that it doesn’t boil over), immediately lower the heat, and simmer vigorously until the cream reduces to about 3/4 cup, 4 to 8 min. (Don’t over-reduce.) Take the pan off the heat and remove and discard the garlic cloves. Let the cream cool slightly, stirring occasionally to keep a skin from forming. Season with 1/4 tsp. of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon or pancetta over medium heat until crisped and browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels, and carefully pour off most of the excess fat in the skillet (but don’t wipe it clean). Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add the cooked greens, season with 1/4 tsp. salt if using bacon (omit the salt if using pancetta), and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 min. Transfer the greens to the gratin dish and spread them evenly.

Crumble the bacon or pancetta over the greens. Sprinkle on the cheese. Pour the seasoned cream over all, and top with the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake until the gratin is brown and bubbly, about 25 min. Let rest for 10 to 15 min. before serving.

For a change, serve these gratins individually. Just divide ingredients among four small gratin dishes and bake as directed above.

Emeril’s Favorite Cabbage

8 to 10 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 head green or white cabbage (about 3 1/2 pounds), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
Directions

Cook the bacon in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, until browned and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, salt, cayenne, black pepper, sugar, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir to mix well. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage just begins to wilt or soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the beer. Stir to mix.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves. Remove from the heat and serve warm.

Thai Squash Soup

Refreshing and earthy, this recipe puts a Thai twist on winter squash soup.

Serves: 4
Ingredients

  • 6 shallots, unpeeled
  • 1 can (13 1/2 ounces) light coconut milk
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro + 1 tablespoon chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions, green parts only
  • ground black pepper

Directions
1. Preheat the broiler. Spray a sheet of heavy foil with organic cooking spray and place the shallots on top. When the broiler is ready, broil the shallots, turning occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened and blackened. Remove from the broiler, let cool, then peel and halve them lengthwise.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the shallots, coconut milk, broth, squash, and the 1/w cup of cilantro. Cook just until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat, add the salt, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir in the fish sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
3. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of the minced scallion greens and the chopped cilantro and season with pepper to taste.
Recipe Tips
To make an edible soup bowl, cut a thin slice from the bottom of a small pumpkin or squash. Cut off the top and scoop out the insides, leaving at least 1/2″ of shell intact. The bowl may be cooked or served raw if it’s cooked, you can eat it when you’ve finished the soup!

***This is important!  Be sure and let me know if you are coming to pick up your share.  I know  it might be confusing with this last pick up because of the half shares.  It is confusing to me, too!  Just give me a call, or send an email to confirm that you are  coming, or if you have questions.

16 Sep

Garden News – September 16, 2015

We have had an exciting, busy week here in the gardens.  As I mentioned earlier, the garden is gaining interest from some of the local chefs, in particular the executive chef, Tim Freeman and sous chef, Tyler Ellis from “Ten” at The Northern Hotel.  Tyler comes here every week, walks through the veggie rows, tastes and thoroughly enjoys being here.  He takes product every week and I am so happy to be able to share the bounty with the restaurants customers.  They are featuring a special “100 mile farm to table” dinner there next Tuesday evening the 22nd.  All of the food will be local and I will be presenting during the event.

Things have slowed down a little with the cooler weather, but it is supposed to warm up again this weekend.  I have a plethora of small tomatoes that need to go, so if you are interested in them, I am selling them for $2 a pound.  I am going to roast allot of them myself and then freeze them to make soups and sauces this winter.  They don’t take up much room in the freezer and have such a great flavor, especially if you roast them with lots of olive oil and garlic. You can add some of your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil toward the end the the cooking cycle.

The beans are producing again!  So some of you  will be getting the snap beans and some the Romano, as there weren’t enough of one kind.  I have been creaming new potatoes with the Romano’s and they are so delicious, especially with a nice steak!  You can use the snap beans the same way.  Comfort food for a cool autumn night.

In your box will also be a nice head of cabbage, some beautiful new greens for braising (frilly red mustard, mizuna, red pac choi, lacinato kale and spinach), small white onions, broccoli side shoots, cucumbers, zucchini and heirloom tomatoes.

I don’t know about you, but I just love Asian Curries, any type, any  color.  My favorite, however is green curry.  This recipe is a mix between Indian and Thai Curry.  The broccoli side shoots would be perfect for this dish.  Feel free to add additional veggies and if you want more protein some chicken would be nice.

5 Ingredient Coconut Curry

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red, green or yellow curry paste
  • 2 small heads broccoli (and/or other veggies of choice)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • optional: minced garlic or onion, cut up chicken breast

Instructions

  1. Saute broccoli (and onion/garlic if you’re using it) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
  2. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools.

It feels like fall is here and soups are a great way to transition into the season.  Since you have that nice big head of cabbage, why not make a batch of this soup.  It freezes well, too.

Sweet & Sour Beef-Cabbage Soup

This wholesome sweet-and-sour soup combines beef, caraway seeds, sweet paprika and cabbage—ingredients that star in a number of German dishes. It is particularly nice served with crusty rye bread. For an even heartier soup, add diced cooked potatoes along with the cabbage.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean (90% or leaner) ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups  bell pepper and diced onion mix
  • 1 medium Golden Delicious or other sweet-tart cooking apple, unpeeled, diced
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, preferably Hungarian sweet
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped Savoy, or green cabbage
  • 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef, caraway seeds and thyme and cook, stirring and breaking up the beef with a spoon, until it is mostly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in pepper-onion mix and apple; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, honey and paprika and adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in cabbage and cook just until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with vinegar to taste, salt and pepper.

I would like to make sure that you are all receiving the newsletter and hope you are finding it enjoyable and useful.  I have heard from several of you that you really like the recipes, but really haven’t heard anything from the majority of you.  So give me some kind of an idea if I am on the right track.  It does take a certain amount of time to organize my  thoughts in order to write the newsletter and it is important to me that it is serving a purpose.

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

 

11 Sep

2014 CSA – Week 13 – Is Winter upon us?

Boy!  What a week this has been.  Barb and I have been working from sun up till sun down harvesting and then covering as much of the garden as possible.  I can’t believe that I already had to wear my insulated jeans and rain gear!  Oh!  I also put the flannel sheets back on the bed!

Our first experience of an ununsual season started with the hail storm in early May, and now we have frost/freeze/snow slated for this evening.  I must say that it is quite disturbing to have worked so hard producing a beautiful garden and wonderful food, only to have it not come to fruition.  We are doing all we can to insure that this first taste of winter will not prove too damaging.  Hopefully it will be short lived and we can then return to a beautiful fall.  Let’s all hold this thought!

Bonnie Martinell from Bridger is continuing her harvest of apples.  If you want to order for next weeks pick up, let me know.

She will still have:

Liberty and Honey Crisp   $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box

New this week will be harvesting Sweet Sixteen and Harralson, which is a large crisp apple with a slight pear taste.  They will both sell for $2.50 per pound for 5 to 10 lbs or $2.25/lb for a 35lb box

The apples that were ordered last week are here and available for pick up.  If you are writing a check, please make it payable to Boja Farms.

I only have 4 dozen regular sized eggs this week and Marlene brough me 3 dozen smaller pullet eggs which sell for $1.50.

This weeks share includes savoy cabbage (they were so huge that I cut them in half), green beans, eggplant, 3 varieties of peppers (bell, Anjo/Poblano and jalapeno), beets, Parisienne carrots, cucumbers, red and yellow onions and tomatoes.

I hope you enjoy some of these fall time recipes and take advantage of some of the veggies that are in this weeks share.

See you soon!

Cabbage and Pear Slaw
Serves: 4

Ingredients
• 1 cup chopped pears
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons apple cider
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded German Dumpling Soup
• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Directions
Give the reserved pears a rough chop.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, cider, sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pear, cabbage, onion, and parsley. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cabbage and Potato Bake

Serves: 6

Ingredients
• 1 cabbage, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
• 2 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 1/2 pounds
• 12 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 2 cups yellow onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned, low-sodium chicken broth

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Rinse the cabbage under cold running water and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the hard core. Cut the cabbage quarters into halves and place, rounded side down, in a roasting pan.

Cut the potatoes in half crosswise and peel. Cut the peeled potato halves into quarters, and arrange in the roasting pan, alternating with the cabbage pieces.

Fry the bacon in a heavy medium skillet for 7 minutes. Add the sliced onions, salt, and black pepper to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Evenly distribute the bacon mixture and pan drippings over the vegetables, then pour the chicken stock on top.

Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving. Serve the vegetables with the bacon and broth spooned over them.

Chunky Guacamole with Hot Peppers
Serves: 16
Prep: 35min

Ingredients
• 6 avocados, roughly chopped
• 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
• 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 cup chopped cilantro (from 1 bunch)
• 1 serrano or jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped – more if you like it hotter
• Juice from 4 small lemons or limes (about 1/2 cup) I prefer limes!

Directions
Put avocados, tomatoes, onion, salt, cilantro, pepper, and lemon juice in large bowl. Stir gently until well combined.
Serving Suggestions
Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer or on top of steak.

Chicken, Green Bean, and Cucumber Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh parsley and basil
• 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
• 4 ounces green beans
• 1 Basic Poached Chicken, breast half, cooled and torn
• 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
• 2 teaspoons chopped toasted almonds
• Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lemon juice, parsley, basil, and capers. Boil green beans, trimmed, in salted water until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water; drain and add to bowl along with poached chicken, cucumber, and chopped toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

 

01 Aug

Cabbage and Pear Slaw

4 servings

Ingredients
• 1 cup chopped pears
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons apple cider
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Directions

Give the pears a rough chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, cider, sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pear, cabbage, onion, and parsley. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper