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.

 

17 Sep

2014 CSA – Week 14

What a difference a week makes!  From 27 degrees last Friday morning to this afternoon’s 90, the garden is in shock!  That’s a 63 degree difference!  Even after all of the hard work of covering the garden, we still received major frost damage here in the gardens.  The cucumbers are toast, as are all of the herbs.  The summer squash vines are struggling.  The tomatoe vines are fried, but the tomatoes are okay, so will leave them on to ripen.  The eggplant and peppers are recoving and we will still have cabbage for later.

We still are okay though, with a good selection for this weeks share, so I am thankful.  It could have been allot worse, if we had not covered things up.  I will know more tomorrow as I begin harvesting, but it looks like we will have tomatoes, scallions, green beans, zucchini, peppers, lettuce and either kale or chard.  I am giving you a break from the beets, but you will be getting them next week! I am including some beautiful nasturtium flowers for you to add to your fresh lettuce salad.  They are delicious and taste like capers!

The apple harvest at Boja farms is in full swing, so if you are wanting apples for winter eating and baking, let me know and I will get them from Bonnie for you.  Barb and I will be going to visit the farm on Saturday.  We’re helping harvest apples and will be pressing them for cider.  There is nothing better than fresh pressed cider!  I have a press here, and made allot of cider last year from my own apples.  My apple trees only produce every other year however, so next year I am looking forward to another bumper crop and that cider!

See you on Thursday!

I am including some recipes for using the beans and greens.  I hope you enjoy them.

Pasta with Green Beans and Tuna

For a burst of briny flavor, add 1 tablespoon chopped olives or capers to the tuna mixture.

Serves 1

Ingredients
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 3 ounces fusilli or other short pasta
• 2 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved
• 1 can (3 ounces) chunk light tuna, packed in water, drained
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon natural almonds, chopped and toasted
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
Directions
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions, adding green beans 1 minute before end of cooking. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tuna, oil, almonds, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and beans and add to tuna mixture. Stir to combine.

Mixed-Bean Salad

Ingredients
• 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, shallot, and mustard. Add green beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas; toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Rainbow Chard Slaw

1 large bunch chard (or kale), sliced into thin ribbons
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup scallions, chopped

Dressing

1/2 cup minced salad onion or yellow onion
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (we like Duke’s)

In a small bowl, whisk together the onion, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the mayo until mixture is emulsified. Place the greens, carrot and scallions in a large salad bowl, and drizzle with slightly more than half of the dressing.

This salad is best dressed 20 minutes before serving. It will hold up, refrigerated, for several hours, but is best eaten day of. To enjoy later, simply save the greens and dressing, and combine them as needed.

Simple Roast Tomato Soup

This has big tomato flavor with smoky notes and hints of fragrant herbs. It’s exactly what you want to be eating as the first leaves of fall flutter by.

4 large tomatoes, halved
1 yellow onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (I am partial to white peppercorns)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (make your own!)
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop the seeds out of the halved tomatoes with your finger. Tuck the garlic into the tomatoes, and lay them, and the onions, out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and turn everything to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 30 – 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are bubbly and the edges are brown.

Combine the broth, roasted tomatoes and onions in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the herbs. Puree with an immersion blender or regular blender so that you maintain some of the texture. Add the balsamic, check salt and acid levels, and serve with an herb garnish and a piece of toast slathered with goat cheese.

05 Sep

Late-Summer Minestrone

Here’s a great soup recipe to freeze!

Late Season Minestroni

Late-Summer Minestrone

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 young carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup celery, chopped thinly
2 small zucchini, green or yellow, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
2 ears fresh corn, shucked and cut off the cob
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock, plus 2 cups water
4 large, ripe tomatoes chopped (about 2 cups)
125 g. (1/4 regular package) whole-wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves, loosely packed plus more for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

1. Put 3 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, rosemary and zucchini. Cook, stirring, until vegetables soften somewhat, 5 minutes or so.

2. Add fresh corn and beans. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add stock, water and chopped tomatoes; bring to a boil, then lower heat so mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are quite soft and tomatoes broken up, about 10 minutes.

3. Add 1/2 cup basil and whole-wheat spaghetti. Cook another 5 to 7 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: ladle into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Tear a few basil leaves and drop them in. Serve with fresh Parmesan, if desired.