CSA Week 13

In your share week 13:

Carrots
Beets
Zucchini or Cucumber
Onion or Romaine Lettuce
Kale
Cilantro
Tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Full shares only:

Eggplant
Radish
Salad Mix

The rain has arrived!  I wasn’t sure if I’d ever recover from last winter, but I have to say I’m loving the change in the weather.  Zack and I worked hard last week to get as much of the field cover cropped as possible, and this rain is just perfect timing to get it all up and growing.

Cover cropping is a key element of our organic practices.  We plant a mix of cereals (oats, triticale) and legumes (peas, vetch, fava beans, and crimson clover) to keep our field covered over the winter.  It’s essential here to prevent erosion and reduce nutrient leaching, but cover crops have lots of other benefits as well.  They fix nitrogen, reducing the need for added fertilizer.  They also add organic matter, which feeds our soil’s microbiology, feed pollinators, and create habitat for many beings that inhabit our fields.  They compete with weeds and keep our soil healthy!  I try to plant cover crop in as much of the field as possible by the end of September.  I was starting to worry that we weren’t going to get a good rain early enough to get it going, but with 3″ in the last 36 hours we’re off to a good start.  I’ve got a little over half the field cover cropped and ready for winter, and hopefully will get the rest of it done before the end of the month.

With all those preparations, plus a couple of crewmember absences, I didn’t get around to writing share notes last week.  I apologize, but I figured there was nothing you hadn’t had before and hopefully you figured it all out without me.  Those were the last of the beans, which came on fast and furious and are now basically finished.  We harvested nearly 800 pounds of beans in the last 6 weeks, double the amount we’ve ever had on the farm before!  They seemed to be particularly heavy setters this year, with just a couple of big picks per rotation.

With the rain, colder nights, and shorter days, we’ll be seeing the variety taper off.  Picks are getting smaller on all of the heat loving summer crops, and I expect that we’ll have just a couple more weeks of zucchini and cucumbers.  Our tomatoes should continue into the fall, though we will have fewer of them for you.  On the flip side, the cooler weather crops will get sweeter as it gets colder, so expect extra delicious carrots, kale, beets, and more going forward.  I gave you a break from basil this week, and by October it generally is unhappy and ready to be removed to make room for other things.  We’ve started to pull our potatoes for fall storage, and there’s already 500 pounds sitting in my garage with hundreds more waiting in the field to be harvested.  We’ll be offering bulk discounts on potatoes this fall, as they store very well into the winter.

This week’s share would be wonderful for a fall roast or some delicious enchiladas.  Full shares have more eggplant than we’ve been able to rustle up for you, which would be great roasted with carrots and beets (they cook faster so add them near the end!) or as a filling for enchiladas with zucchini and cilantro.  Mike and I had a quick tomato sauce pasta topped with grilled eggplant last week, which is an easy and delicious way to use it.  I slice it 1/4″ thick, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast it at 400 until it is soft and lightly browned.  For enchiladas, I’d probably cube it along with the zucchini, toss all with olive oil and salt, and roast them together to make a filling.  So many delicious ways to use eggplant…

The cilantro today is wonderfully flavorful and aromatic, but some of it may look different than you are used to because it is getting ready to flower.  I find that it is equally delicious when it’s flowering, but the stalk can get tough so I pick off the leaves and finer stems and discard the thick, round, central stalk.  We actually grow our own cilantro seed, which we mostly use for planting but sometimes use in cooking.  Cilantro seeds are commonly known as coriander.


Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Enchiladas

I love enchiladas, and I make a totally unorthodox vegetarian American version.  But they are satisfying and delicious and make great leftovers.  I like to use the Sweet Creek enchilada sauce available at Trillium if I’m too pressed for time to make my own, but there’s lots of options out there.

1 pound eggplant, diced into 1/4” pieces

1 pound zucchini, diced into 1/4” pieces

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/4 tsp salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

12 corn tortillas

12 oz. red enchilada sauce

1/2 cup grated cheese (queso oaxaca is best, or use cheddar or Monterey Jack)

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the eggplant, zucchini, and onion on a rimmed baking tray lined with parchment paper and toss with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Roast in an even layer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool. Lower oven to 375.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of an 11 x 17 baking pan. Place one tortilla in the pan, drop a couple spoonfuls of filling in the center, and fold it in half so that the fold is on the bottom of the pan (like a taco shell). Lay the next tortilla against the first to hold it in place and repeat.  Repeat with all of the remaining tortillas, squeezing the enchiladas in tight.  I usually fit 10 or 12 to a pan.  If there is remaining filling, I add it to the pan around the enchiladas.
  3. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until warmed through. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Top with cilantro.  Also great with diced avocado, pico de gallo, or fresh diced tomato.

Mrs. Kostyra’s Borscht

From Marthastewart.com.  Borscht is a classic use of beets and soup season is here!

  • 4 medium beets, scrubbed well
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 dried mushrooms (morels and porcini; about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Homemade Vegetable Stock
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice or citric acid, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on a piece of parchment paper — lined aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold up edges of foil and parchment to enclose beets. Place on a small baking sheet, and bake until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel, and coarsely grate; set aside.

  2. Soak mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms; set aside.

  3. In a medium stockpot, combine stock, beets, mushrooms, mushroom liquid, celery leaves, parsley, garlic, sugar, a large pinch of salt, and a large pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

  4. Add lemon juice or citric acid. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and flour, stirring until no lumps remain. Whisk in a ladleful of soup, then whisk the sour-cream mixture into the soup. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in dill just before serving.

CSA Week 12

In your share week 12:

Potatoes
Green Onion
Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
Green Beans
Zucchini
Kale
Salad Mix
Cherry Tomatoes and/or Tomatoes
Basil

Full Shares Only:

Cucumber

Notes coming soon…


Hummous

So this isn’t made with vegetables, but it sure is good with vegetables.  I make a lot of hummous.  I like it best made with white beans (cannellini or navy) instead of chickpeas.  You can vary the flavor by adding different herbs and spices.  I use an immersion blender to make mine, or you can use a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle.

3 c (or 2 cans) cooked white beans or chickpeas
1/4 c tahini
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c olive oil
1/3 bunch parsley (substitute other herbs or spices as available or desired)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Water to make the blades turn and get the right texture, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Optional: 1 jalapeno pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or large straight sided bowl if using an immersion blender.  Process until smooth, add salt or water if necessary.  Serve cold with a drizzle of olive oil and smoked paprika.


LEBANESE LAMB & CAULIFLOWER STEW

I adapted this from an Epicurious recipe.  It made for a rich and delicious stew with a great palate of flavors.  It was a little odd at first taste, but I found myself thinking about it and eagerly coming back for leftovers all week!

2 lbs lamb stew meat: I use the kebab meat from Walker Farms

1 large cauliflower, coarsely chopped

3/4 pound green beans (I used Romanos), coarsely chopped

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound of potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2 cup Tahini

1 tsp cinnamon

Salt to taste

Coarse ground pepper to taste

4 Tbs olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 375.  Toss the cauliflower and beans with 3 Tbsp of the oil and salt to taste, then spread on a baking sheat.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown the lamb pieces briefly on all sides, then remove to a plate. Using the same pan and oil, saute onions and garlic until soft and transluscent.  Add the potatoes, cinnamon, salt & pepper, and saute briefly.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 10-15 minutes, then add the lamb back to the pot.  Continue to simmer until potatoes are fork tender and lamb is just cooked through.  Add extra water or stock if pan gets too dry.

Mix the tahini and lemon juice in a bowl; the tahini will thicken and fluff up rapidly.  Stir into the stew along with the roasted vegetables.  Serve hot.

 

CSA Week 11

In your share week 11:

Carrots
Turnips or Radishes
Green Beans
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Romaine lettuce or Onion
Basil
Tomato and/or cherry tomato

Full shares only:
Beets
Fennel
Cilantro

 

Well, we made it to September and we are getting tired!  Harvests are still going strong, which is a good thing but means lots of work for me and the crew.  I keep looking around the farm for crops I can eliminate or put to bed, but I think it will be a few more weeks before we see the work load start to back off.  At least we seem to be past the enormous, 100-plus pound green bean harvests; we still have more coming but shouldn’t have to spend 8 hours picking anymore!  I’m finally recovered enough from last winter to be looking forward to some fall weather, or at least enough rain to get my cover crop germinated and growing.  I’ll be relieved once I have at least part of our field winterized.

 

Not much new today, except eggplant for some of you.  I will repeat what I wrote a couple weeks ago here, since eggplant is a mystery for many.  I love eggplant’s succulent texture.  I tend to like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj.  Ours are the long slender Japanese type, and I always eat the skin.  To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or chunks.  Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that.  Store eggplant in a bag in the fridge, though they’ll be all right on the counter for a day or two.

 

You have either a savory, yummy red onion or a beautiful head of romaine lettuce.  This is a new variety of romaine, and it seems to be bolting (flowering) more readily than our usual.  I will probably switch back next year, but in the meantime your lettuce might have a few flower buds starting at the center of the heart.  Lettuce flowers are fine to eat, though they do tend to be a bit bitter.  These romaine will still make a lovely salad, though, especially since we haven’t included any salad greens for a few weeks.  We’ve been too busy picking tomatoes and green beans and cucumbers and all those good summery things to focus so much on salad greens.  They are also a little less happy with all this heat, so haven’t been as abundant as they were earlier in the season.

 

Our cucumber harvests are finally picking up, largely because the lemon cucumbers are finally hitting full production.  If you aren’t familiar with lemon cukes, they are round and yellow and typically around baseball size.  They are called lemon because of looks, not flavor.  Their flavor is that of a sweet, delicious cucumber and they can be used interchangeably with the other green slicers we grow.  You can even pickle them, though I wouldn’t recommend canning them because they will become mushy.  Our lemon cukes are bigger than you usually see them, and this is because of the way we prune and trellis them.  Pruning the cukes makes them have better pollination and fruit quality, easier harvests, and higher yields overall.  I used to hate growing cucumbers, but since we switched to growing them this way I love them!  Pruning the cucumbers in the greenhouse is a job I’ll save for an evening by myself, a treat at the end of the day where I get to spend some quality time with these beautiful plants.  And you benefit by getting to eat the results!

 

I know we’ve been giving lots of basil, but it really is the most beautiful I’ve ever harvested right now.  And I used to harvest 600 pounds a week!  On Sunday, I used about 4 pounds to make and freeze lots of pesto.  It’s not too late to order bulk basil if you want to do the same!  We have lots, and it really couldn’t be any more perfect.  Soon, colder nights will slow it down and decrease the quality, but for now we’ve still got lots of heat and perfect basil.  Contact me if you want to order bulk basil: $15 per pound.

 


Caesar Salad

A classic that will be delicious with our fresh heads of romaine.  This version comes from Bon Apetit’s May 2013 issue.

 

6 anchovy fillets packed in oil

1 small garlic clove

2 large egg yolks*

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

3 cups torn 1″ pieces country bread

Leaves from 1 head romaine lettuce

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper



To make the dressing, chop together the anchovy, garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt. Use the side of a knife blade to mash into a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard. Adding drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, then 1/2 cup vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
Toss 3 cups torn 1″ pieces country bread with 3 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 375°F, tossing occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes.
Use your hands to gently toss the lettuce, croutons, and dressing, then top off with the shaved Parmesan.


Radish and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Mint

This is from The Complete Vegan Cookbook, by Susann Geipskoff-Hadler and Mindy Toomay. The original recipe calls for soy milk, but I would recommend coconut milk or else adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of water. A crisp and refreshing summer salad.  Also works great with turnips!  Serves 4.

 

Whisk together:

2 Tbsp coconut milk (or 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp water, or 2 Tbsp soy milk)

            1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

            1 Tbsp olive oil

            1 clove garlic, minced

            ½ tsp honey or agave syrup

            Salt and pepper

Combine in a bowl:

1 bunch radishes or turnips, thinly sliced

            1 ½ c thinly sliced cucumber

            1 medium tomato or 1 c cherry tomatoes, finely diced

Toss dressing with vegetables and

            ¼ c minced fresh mint (or basil)

Serve at room temperature.

CSA Week 10

In your share week 10:

Potatoes
Beets
Cauliflower and/or Broccoli
Green Beans
Zucchini
Cucumber
Kale
Basil
Dill or mint
Tomatoes

Just over halfway through the season, and this is a huge share!  We are at peak production on the farm, and your share reflects that.  We’ve gotten into huge picks of all the fruits, with our biggest pick yet on green beans last Friday (106 pounds!).  The zucchini have finally taken off and are making up for lost time, and the tomatoes are treating us to consistently large harvests of delicious juicy fruit.  Meanwhile, we’re still getting regular harvests from all our cool season favorites, and we’ve still got 2/3 of the potato patch to dig.

 

Today’s share is a lot of food, so if you can’t eat it all this week consider putting some up.  Tomatoes are easy to freeze, just put them in a ziploc bag and you’re done.  Green beans and kale can be blanched (briefly submerged in boiling water) and then frozen.  Zucchini, Cauliflower, and broccoli can all be frozen by roasting or grilling them part way first (or these can be blanched and frozen too).  Zucchini can also be grated and frozen to make zucchini bread in the winter, and basil can be ground in olive oil and frozen to add to soups, pastas, and more.  You can also try pickling many of today’s veggies, and we’ve included an extra bunch of herbs that could be used to flavor your favorite pickles (dilly beans, anyone?).

 

For many of you, these are the first beets.  Our beets don’t need peeling as the skins are very tender.  You can eat them raw, roasted, boiled, or grilled.  Beet greens are a real winner, too; they are extra nutritious with a fruity, earthy flavor.  I’m honestly not a huge beet fan, but I love the greens.  Cook them like kale or spinach, sauteed, steamed, or in soup.  Store beets in a bag in the fridge, if you won’t use them right away remove the tops and store them separately.

 

We are sad to bid farewell to one of our crewmembers this week as Helen heads back for her sophomore year at Western Washington University.  Helen has been a skilled harvester and has packed nearly all of your shares.  She’s been a lot of fun to work with and we’ve enjoyed her great attitude, calm presence, and keen observation here at the farm.  The crew won’t be the same without her.

 

Helen has classes to get to, so she’s leaving a little before our harvests actually taper off, but it’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks we’ll be starting to slow down.  As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, growth slows and some of the warm weather crops kick the bucket.  Our potatoes are dying back and soon we’ll be digging them all out to store for fall and winter use.  We’re already cutting back on watering and getting ready to cover crop the fields for winter, planting fall crops in the greenhouses, and finishing up our final sowings and plantings.  You always have to be 3 steps ahead in farming or you miss your chance!

 

This time of year, people start to ask me when the CSA ends.  Folks getting the summer only shares have their final pickup September 18 – 23.  The rest of you go into November, so you’re really only halfway through the season!  We still have lots more to harvest from our summer crops and lots of fall crops coming that we haven’t even harvested (pumpkins! Brussels sprouts!).  We still have Thanksgiving shares available if you want to secure some storage crops and delicious goodies for your holiday table, click here to sign up if you haven’t already.  I’ll be raising the price soon, but with all this harvesting I haven’t gotten around to it.  Last chance to get the early bird price!


Zucchini and Rosemary Soup

Recommended by member Anna Russo, she says this delicious soup is easy to make and is a great way to use up lots of zucchini. From the June 1995 issue of Bon Appetit.

 

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter


1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1 large onion, chopped


2 garlic cloves, sliced


2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth


1 potato, peeled, sliced


3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced



1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Croutons


Chopped green onions

 

Melt butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and rosemary. Add stock and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add sliced zucchini; simmer until tender about 15 minutes.

Working in batches, puree in blender (or use an immersion blender). Season with salt and pepper.

Cook cubed zucchini in saucepan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain. Rewarm soup over medium heat. Ladle into bowls. Top with zucchini and croutons. Sprinkle with green onions.


Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato Sauce and Roasted Broccoli Spears

This is a quick and filling meal. You can use a canned tomato sauce, or make a simple one like in the recipe below. This works best with the smaller side shoots of the broccoli, as they cook quickly and require no preparation. Serves 4.

 

For the sauce, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add:

4 cloves garlic, chopped (or use garlic scapes in season)

            1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

            Salt and black pepper

Sautee for a couple of minutes, then add:

            2 pounds coarsely chopped tomatoes

Stir to coat the tomatoes in the oil and garlic. Within a few minutes, the tomatoes should start to

release their juice. I also add a splash of red or white wine. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. Add ½ c chopped basil or parsley.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. If necessary, slice one bunch broccoli lengthwise into thin

spears, or use whole if already thin. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, using tongs to turn the spears once. They are done when the florets start to get crispy and the stems are tender.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. Add 1 pound spaghetti and cook until al dente. Toss with the sauce and top with broccoli spears and a sprinkle of parmesan.

 

CSA Week 9

In your share week 9:

Carrots
Green Beans
Onions
Fennel
Zucchini
Cucumber (Some sites only)
Tomato and/or Cherry Tomato
Basil

Full Shares Only:

Eggplant
Potatoes

 

This is an extra summery share, with, unusually, no greens.  All of our fruits are finally producing in quantity, and we’ve been getting huge picks of tomatoes, zucchini, and beans several times a week.  On that note, we are offering bulk basil and green beans that can be delivered with your CSA share or picked up at the market in the next couple of weeks.  Basil is $15 per pound with a 1 pound minimum order.  Green beans are $4 per pound for orders over 5 pounds ($4.50 lb if you want less).  If you want to freeze pesto or beans or make pickled beans, send me an email with how much you want and when/where you want to pick it up.  I’ll respond to confirm.

 

New today are onions and fennel.  While all of you are familiar with onions, you may not have seen them sold like this before.  Our onions have mostly failed to grow this year after a rough start in the cold wet spring.  We are cutting our losses and cleaning out the ones that just aren’t going to make bulbs, so that’s mostly what’s in your share today.  They may be small, but they are delicious and can be used in place of a bulb onion in any recipe.  The greens are delicious too, and I chop them up right along with the bulbs.  I’d say your bunch is equivalent to 2 medium onions if you are substituting.  You can also grill or roast them whole, with or without the tops.  Most folks have a standard yellow type onion, but some have little white cippolinis or red onions.  All are delicious!

 

Normally we include lots of onions in your share throughout the summer, but this year’s crop has been mostly a failure.  They are one of the first things to be sown and planted, as they are sensitive to day length and need as much time as possible to size up and cure properly.  This year, though, nearly all of our early plantings were weak or failed to grow completely.  Even though this spring’s challenging weather seems like a distant memory, farming is a long-term endeavor and we are still feeling the ramifications of all that rain and cold.

 

The other new item for everyone is fennel. Fennel has a refreshing, sweet anise flavor and can be used just about anywhere you’d use celery.  I think of it as an aromatic vegetable, and it’s a great addition to soups, stuffings, and braises or roasted with potatoes and other veggies.  It’s also lovely raw, especially shaved on a salad, added to coleslaw, or made into a salad with orange and cinnamon.  The best part is the white bulb at the bottom, the stalks have good flavor but can be tough.  The leaves add color and contrast to a salad, but don’t have a lot of flavor in themselves.   Keep it in the fridge in a bag.

 

Full shares have a gorgeous eggplant, one of my absolute favorite vegetables.  These were a surprise, as our eggplant were limping along for most of the summer.  We fertilized them a few weeks ago, and on a field walk last week I noticed that they had taken off and were covered in fruit!  I love eggplant’s succulent texture.  I tend to like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj.  Ours are the long slender Japanese type, and I always eat the skin.  To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or chunks.  Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that.  Store eggplant in a bag in the fridge, though they’ll be all right on the counter for a day or two.

 


Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pears, Fennel, and Walnuts

From The One Dish Vegetarian by Mia Robbins, this hearty salad can stand alone as a meal or be served as a side. I particularly like fennel raw, and it pairs very well with fruit as in this dish.

In a saucepan, bring 4 c water to a boil. Add 2 c quinoa, turn the heat to low, and simmer until the grains become translucent, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine:

2 apples, cored, diced, and sprinkled with lemon juice

            2 ripe pears, cored, diced, and sprinkled with lemon juice

            1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced

            ½ c dried currants

            2 shallots, finely minced

In a separate bowl, whisk together:

½ c fresh orange juice

            3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

            1 Tbsp olive oil

            Zest of 1 orange

            Zest of 1 lemon

            Salt and pepper

Mix quinoa together with fruit mixture, then pour dressing over the top. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle with ½ toasted walnuts and serve.


Polenta “Pizza” With Cherry Tomatoes And Roasted Garlic

This was a favorite dish for group meals when I worked at Horton Road Organics. The polenta and/or toppings can be made ahead, and the whole thing is very filling. Here I suggest cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic, but any combination of toppings is excellent: sautéed kale, chanterelles, winter squash, pesto, broccoli, and anything else you can think of.

 

In a saucepan, bring 6 c water to a rolling boil. Add 1 ½ c dry polenta and ½ tsp salt. Whisk for a minute or two, until the polenta stays suspended when you stop whisking. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for a full hour, stirring occasionally. Mix in:

2 Tbsp olive oil

            ½ c grated cheese, such as parmesan or cheddar

Spread the polenta mixture in a lightly oiled 9 x 13 baking dish and let cool to room temperature. Polenta will become firm.

Meanwhile, place 1 or 2 heads worth of garlic cloves, unpeeled, in a cast iron or baking sheet. Bake in the oven or toaster oven at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cloves are soft. Allow to cool, then peel.

Halve or quarter 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, then spread these and the garlic over the polenta. Sprinkle with ½ c grated mozzarella cheese. Bake the casserole in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes, then remove and serve.

CSA Week 8

In your share week 8:

Carrots
Purple Viking Potatoes
Green Beans
Zucchini and/or Cucumbers
Baby Bibb Lettuce
Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes
Cilantro
Kale

Full shares only:

Baby Turnips

 

We finally have tomatoes!  We have over twice as many planted as last year, and overall the plants are looking fantastic.  But here at the coast, and especially this year, we really have to wait for them to ripen up and be delicious.  Monday’s pick was the largest we’ve ever done at the farm, over 100 pounds!  So where possible, we’re including extras for all of you who have been so patient.

 

We grow a mix of heirloom tomatoes and a few newer varieties bred for northern climes.  This year we have started to grow more determinate (or bush) varieties, since they are easier to care for and produce more reliably here at the coast.  Our cherry tomatoes are hybrid Sungolds, super sweet orange tomatoes that are unmatched in flavor!  We do our best to pick the tomatoes ripe to maximize their flavor, though we try to pick them so they’ll last at least a few days on the counter.  Don’t refrigerate your tomatoes!  They keep best in a bowl on the counter.  Several of today’s pick had cracks in them, so I’d recommend eating those first.

 

Our tomatoes are all great for fresh eating as well as adding to your favorite recipes.  We don’t have a lot of roma/sauce types, so they make an extra juicy salsa or sauce (it works anyway!).  I love to add them to beans, salads, pastas, and really everything I make.  I’m sure you’ve got a favorite way to use your tomatoes.

 

In other news, we picked over 300 pounds of green beans in 8 days!!  And there are still lots more coming… Everyone gets another fat bag today, try grilling them if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to use them up.  Pickling and canning green beans is another great way to take advantage of the summer bounty, I’ll include a recipe below.  If you want to do a big batch of pickled beans, we are offering a special bulk price of $4 per pound for orders over 5 pounds.  Email me if you want to order some extras for canning!

 

Other new items today include zucchini or cucumbers, depending if you have a full or half share.  These are also finally taking off, though it’s starting to look like we won’t have the abundant harvests we sometimes get.  Your cucumbers today are a standard American slicing type, good for snacking, cucumber salads, tabouleh, or whatever you like to do with them.  These can be pickled, though I don’t recommend canning them as they get soft.

 

Everyone also gets one of my personal favorite veggies, a head or two of baby bibb lettuce.  These make a wonderful salad: they are a perfect mix of sweet, crunchy, buttery, and just a bit bitter.  They are similar to a mini romaine, but a bit more buttery.  Yum!  Today’s potatoes are Purple Viking, a particularly striking variety.  Though purple outside, they are white on the inside and have a fluffier, more starchy texture than our other varieties.  They are the best baking potato that we grow, but they are also wonderful roasted, put in soup, or made into hash.


Pickled Green Beans

From Marthastewart.com, this is a simple recipe for refrigerator pickles, which last for months in the refrigerator.  Canned, they will store indefinitely in the cupboard.  I’ll include canning instructions from the Simple Bites blog by Shaina Olmanson at the end.

 

  •  3/4 pound trimmed green beans
  • 4 thinly sliced cloves garlic
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 dried red chiles

For refrigerator pickles:

Arrange green beans and garlic in clean glass jars. In a saucepan, bring vinegar, salt, peppercorns, sugar, and chiles to a boil. Carefully pour mixture into jars, secure lids, and let cool to room temperature.

For canned pickles:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Stir and boil until salt is dissolved. Keep warm over medium-low heat.
  2. Sterilize canning jars, lids and rings by boiling in a large pot of boiling water. Leave the lids and rings in the water, but remove the jars and pack tightly with green beans. Move quickly so the jars stay warm.
  3. Ladle the vinegar mix over the green beans until it comes within a 1/4″ of the lip.  If you run out of the vinegar mix, make a second batch.  Wipe down the rims, cover with a lid and lightly screw on the rings.
  4. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (15 minutes for above 6,000 feet altitude). Remove the jars to a clean, dry towel. Be sure none are touching. Allow to cool.
  5. The jars will pop and seal as they cool. Any unsealed jars can be refrigerated and used promptly.

Tempeh and Potato Hash

Adapted from The Complete Vegan Cookbook by Susan Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.  I made this for Sunday breakfast this week when we ran out of eggs, and it was delicious.  The original recipe calls for tofu, but I prefer tempeh, available at Trillium. 

6 oz tempeh, cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 1/2  Tbsp Canola oil
1 onion or 1 bunch green onions, diced
1 pound potatoes, finely diced

2 carrots, finely diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Toss the tempeh in a bowl with the sugar, paprika, 1/2 Tbsp of the canola oil, and 1/2 tsp of the soy sauce.  Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a large deep skillet and add the onion.  Saute until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes, then add the potatoes and carrots and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add 1/3 cup water to the pan, along with the oregano and soy sauce, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the liquid is almost completely absorbed.

Add the tomatoes, salt and tempeh.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the hash is lightly browned and crusty, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Serve immediately.

CSA Week 7

In your share week 7:

Carrots
Cauliflower (most shares)
Green Beans
Green Onion
Kale
Basil (Bulk for half shares)
Peas (most shares)
Cilantro (Half shares only)

Full shares only:

Cucumber or Zucchini
Salad mix
Beets

 

It’s August, harvests are on, and this is a big share!  The huge harvest of the week is green beans.  We started picking them last week and went from 7# last Monday to 80# today!  These are the most beautiful bean plants we’ve ever grown and they are loaded.  And these are just the first rotation…  You’ve all got a big bag of green beans today and there will be lots more coming in the next several weeks.

 

We grow 2 types, a French filet variety called Maxibel (these are long, round, and slender) and a Romano type (these are large and flat and often called Italian green beans).  The Maxibels are more sweet and tender and are especially good raw, while the Romanos have a wonderful, robust beany flavor that holds up well to grilling and cooking.  You can use both in just about any recipe calling for green beans.  I love to grill beans whole, especially the Romanos.  Toss them in olive oil and cook them over medium low heat for a few minutes a side: yum!  You can also eat them raw, slice them into salads, steam them with butter, use them in stir fries, pickle them, or whatever you like.  We are careful in our picking, so all the beans you get from me should be at prime eating stage without lots of starchiness or bitterness.

 

We also have another beautiful head of cauliflower as we wrap up the harvest on the first planting.  We’ve harvested over 300 pounds of cauliflower in the past week, which is definitely a record for the farm.  We have lots more plantings out there, but none of them are looking to be quite so perfect and abundant as this one has been.  We may not have quite enough for everybody, so folks later in the week may get a cauliflower alternative.  The same goes for peas, we had a good pick today but I’m not certain I’ll have them for everybody and may swap them for something else later in the week.

 

Full shares get the first beets today.  Beets have been a perpetually challenging crop for us, and we get lots of beautiful ones but also not so much.  We now have 3 rotations that are sized up enough to pick from, and we can start to include them for you!  Our beets don’t need peeling as the skins are very tender.  You can eat them raw, roasted, boiled, or grilled.  Beet greens are a real winner, too; they are extra nutritious with a fruity, earthy flavor.  I’m honestly not a huge beet fan, but I love the greens.  Cook them like kale or spinach, sauteed, steamed, or in soup.  Store beets in a bag in the fridge, if you won’t use them right away remove the tops and store them separately.

 

We finally have zucchini for full shares.  We have beautiful plants out there but we haven’t gotten much to harvest.  We’re seeing a lot of blossom end rot, indicative of a lack of calcium, which can be caused by a lot of factors.  I tried a calcium foliar feed (leaf spray) last week that didn’t seem to do the trick, and then read that they more readily take up calcium through the roots.  So I bought a bottle of Bimart brand Tums and one of our crewmembers “planted” the tablets under the drip line.  Today we have a beautiful harvest of perfect zucchini!  I don’t know if they responded to the Tums treatment that quickly, or if it was a delayed response to the foliar feed, or if they just liked last week’s heat and finally took off, but something worked and I’m hoping we’ll get into more abundant summer zucchini harvests from now on.

 

One of the challenges of farming is that there are so many factors affecting your plants, and it’s difficult to diagnose what is causing a problem.  Many of those factors are outside your control, and it isn’t easy to set up and monitor a controlled experiment in the midst of the harvest season.  There’s always a delay between treatments and results, and often, by the time you figure out what’s wrong, it’s too late to fix it.  For example, we were having trouble with poor germination in our carrot seed this spring.  I thought it might be watering, then thought it might be cold wet soils.  And carrot seed takes at least 10 days to germinate that early in the season, so it was several weeks before I finally diagnosed the problem and adjusted my sowing density to accommodate the poor germination.  We just started to harvest the first well germinated bed on Friday, 6 months after I seeded the first carrots of the year.


Haricots Verts, Corn, and Carrot Salad

From The New York Times Cooking.  The beans today are mostly haricots verts, or French filet, type, though we pick them a little larger than is traditional because it makes them soooo much easier to harvest.  We don’t grow corn, but it is in season now and you can get it at any of the local farmers markets!

 

½ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced fresh chives
 Black pepper, as needed
1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
2 ⅔ cups cooked fresh corn kernels (from about 4 corn cobs)
½ pound carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (2 cups)

In a small bowl, whisk together salt, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk in oil until incorporated. Whisk in chives and pepper.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in haricots verts and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, cool and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, toss together haricots verts, corn and carrot. Toss in dressing and season with salt and pepper.


Pan Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Peas

From David Tanis at The New York Times CookingHe says: This dish is inspired by a trip to Curry Hill, a neighborhood in New York dotted with stores selling saris, Indian restaurants, Pakistani cafes and hole-in-the-wall spice shops. When I got home from my shopping spree, a cauliflower was screaming for Indian spices, garlic and ginger. Better still, I knew I could knock together a pan-roasted meal in about 20 minutes.

Featured in: A Cumin, Ginger And Sweet Pea Kind Of Day.

3 tablespoons ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
1 small cauliflower about 1 1/2 pounds, cored, in 1/2-inch slices
 Salt
 pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 to 3 kaffir lime leaves, optional
1 inch long piece of ginger, peeled and slivered or finely grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, finely chopped, or to taste
1 pound fresh English peas, shucked about 1 cup or frozen peas, or 1/2 pound snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 to 3 scallions, slivered
 Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
 Lime wedges, for serving

Heat a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ghee or oil, and when it is hot, add the cauliflower. Stir until the cauliflower begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the cauliflower is half-cooked, about 5 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary to keep it from browning too quickly.
Add the cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves, if using. When they begin to sizzle, add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Stir well and add the peas, along with a sprinkle of salt. Cover to let the peas steam until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the slivered scallions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

CSA Week 6

In your share week 6:

Baby Turnips
Cauliflower
Broccoli or Peas
New Potatoes: Austrian Crescent Fingerlings
Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Basil

Half Shares only:

Radishes

Full Shares only:

Cilantro
Green Onions
Kohlrabi
Bulk basil

August is here and shares are getting big!  We have our first cauliflower today, another of my favorites.  Some of today’s cauliflower has a purplish tint from exposure to the sun, which doesn’t affect the flavor.  I love our cauliflower, especially roasted (cut into florets, tossed in olive oil and salt, and roasted at 400 until it’s soft with crispy edges).  It’s also great raw, made into soup, or steamed and used in salad.  As cauliflower cooks, different flavor profiles emerge.  Raw cauliflower has more of the sulfurous cabbagey flavor, but as it cooks those compounds denature and other, nuttier flavors appear.  So if you (or someone in your family) don’t like cauliflower, you might try roasting it: it’s actually a very different flavor.  Mike never used to like it until he tried it roasted, and now he loves it!

 

Today’s new potatoes are fingerlings.  They have a similar taste and texture to last week’s carolas, and can be used interchangeably.  Many people like fingerlings because their shape makes them easy to prep for cooking, as well as for their buttery flavor.  They are wonderful roasted, boiled, or smashed.  Remember that these new potatoes should be kept in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

We have more heads of baby bok choy for everyone today.  They have been growing well and have nice juicy stems and green leaves, but you’ll notice a lot of bug damage on them.  We have a few crops that are getting nibbled pretty hard, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting their health and flavor, so I’m still including them in the share.  We’ve dunked the bok choy in cold water, which is a pretty effective way to remove any remaining bugs.  If you’re concerned, you may want to give them another rinse.

 

And that reminds me of a common question: are these vegetables washed?  We rinse many of the veggies that you get, including all the roots and greens, with clean, potable water and store them cold.  Several vegetables don’t get rinsed at all, including all the fruits and all the cole crops (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc).  However, we don’t have a certified facility, and our wash area is covered but is open to the outdoors.  We are very conscientious of food safety, following good practices for hand washing and avoiding contamination.  We never spray our crops with herbicides or insecticides.  We eat most of the veggies without an additional rinse, but we don’t sell them as “washed” and you may want to rinse them at home.

Full shares have the only other new item (coming soon to half shares!): cilantro.  Our cilantro has been slow to get going, but we have several nice patches coming on and will hopefully be including it frequently in the shares.  I use the stems and leaves of the plant, and will be including the flowering stalks later, which are also perfectly good to use.  Add cilantro to raw dishes or at the end of cooking to preserve its aromatic flavor.  Store it in a bag in the fridge.

 

Full shares this week get a full pound of basil, great for making pesto to eat or freeze (half shares coming soon).  When I freeze pesto, I just make my usual recipe and freeze it in small plastic containers.  Many people omit the nuts or cheese and add them after thawing, or some people just grind the basil up in oil and freeze it that way for greater versatility.  Lots of people will freeze the pesto in ice cube trays or muffin tins, then bag it for smaller portion sizes.  Or I’ve seen people spread out a piece of wax paper, dab dollops of pesto in a row, and then roll it up like sausage links.  See last week’s blog post for my favorite pesto recipe!  If you don’t plan to use your basil right away, remember to store it in a bag at room temperature, not in the fridge.  That should give you a week or so to get to it, though it’s best at its freshest.


Grilled Broccoli

This grilled broccoli is dressed simply in tamari, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It results in crisp-tender florets that are beautifully sweet and salty beneath the smoke.  Copied from The New York Times Cooking, and featured in: Fette Sau’s Joe Carroll Writes ‘Feeding The Fire,’ A Worthy Barbecue Primer

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 head broccoli, approximately 2 pounds, cored and cut into 1-inch florets

Kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Flaky sea salt (optional)

  1. Build a fire in your grill, leaving about 1/3 of grill free of coals, or set a gas grill to high.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the tamari or soy sauce with the vinegar. Add the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Add the broccoli and toss to coat. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
  3. Place a grill basket on the grill and add the broccoli to it. Grill, tossing frequently, until the florets are crisp at the edges and tender within, with just a little bit of bite to them, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. If you don’t have a grill basket, lay the florets out on the grill in a single level and use tongs to turn them often. More work, same result.
  4. Transfer the cooked broccoli to a platter, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and, if using, a pinch or two of flaky sea salt.

Venetian Cauliflower

From David Tanis at The New York Times.  Give commonplace cauliflower an upgrade and it becomes holiday fare. Take a classic Venetian approach by using a mixture of sweet spices. Caramelized onions, saffron and cinnamon build the fragrant foundation, along with fennel and coriander seeds. Currants, golden raisins and pine nuts add complexity.

Featured in: Winter Vegetables For Spring Holidays

  • 1 cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • Pinch of saffron, crumbled
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 

  1. Cut cauliflower in half from top to bottom, then remove the core. With a paring knife, cut into very small florets of equal size. Blanch florets in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cool in cold water and drain.
  2. Put olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add saffron, cinnamon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and red pepper. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Add lemon zest, currants, raisins and cauliflower florets. Toss with wooden spoons to distribute. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

CSA Week 5

In your share week 5:

Carrot
New Potatoes: Carola
Broccoli
Kale
Salad
Basil

Full Shares Only:

Radish
Cabbage

 

Potatoes are here!  These first potatoes of the year are so special.  They are still growing, which means they are extra creamy, the skins are almost nonexistent, and they are actually very high in protein and low in starch.  They are also a bit undersized, which means we get lower yields when we pull them this young, but they are worth it.  Our potatoes are one of my favorite crops, and unlike any other potatoes I’ve had.  They are incredibly flavorful and this week’s carolas have a lovely, creamy texture and buttery flavor that can’t be beat.  You can use them just like other potatoes, but expect them to be less starchy.  I love them roasted, or carolas make great mashed potatoes.  Or add them to soup, or make a potato salad with fresh basil.  But however you use them, make sure you can taste them because they are so delicious.

 

Note that new potatoes have very thin skins and should be stored in the fridge in a bag.  Later in the season, we’ll have your more standard cured potatoes that can be stored at room temp, but for now they do much better cold.

 

Basil is really taking off now, and we’ve got tons more to come.  To partially make up for the delayed start on this year’s CSA, I’m planning to give bulk basil to all of you over the next couple of weeks.  Basil can be frozen in pesto or crushed up with olive oil and frozen that way.  It’s wonderful to have throughout the winter for pastas, soups, dips, and more.  You can also dry it.  I’ll provide my favorite pesto recipe below, and you may want to consider stocking up on the other ingredients if you want to freeze some pesto.

 

In addition to the pound or so you’ll be getting with your share, we’ll be offering bulk basil to purchase throughout the month of August.  I’ll have more details next week, but email me if you are interested.

 

The broccoli is one of the first new crops to hit its stride, and we have lots for everyone today!  Our second rotation of the big hybrid heads is on, and some of you have giant ones in your share.  Cauliflower is not far behind, and we’ve started to pull the first few heads out of the field.  Several other summer crops, like zucchini, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes, are trickling in but aren’t producing enough to get them to you yet.  August is when the farm hits full production, so we’ll have more variety soon.

 

Full shares get a small head of green or red cabbage today.  The green ones are an heirloom variety called Jersey Wakefield, which is very tender and sweet.  The red heads are dense and crispy and very tasty.  Both will make great coleslaw or salad, or can be braised or stir-fried.  These spring cabbages cook quickly!

 

We just planted our fall cabbage on Monday, along with the final rotations of several other brassicas.  It always seems surprising that we are planting the final fall and winter crops just as we’re beginning to harvest the summer ones, but if we wait any longer they just won’t produce!  Farming is a long term project: the broccoli you’re eating today was started back in April, and that’s not counting the time spent before that ordering seed, making sowing mix, preparing beds, and more.  We put a lot of work, time, and money into these crops before we know if they will even produce, which can be stressful but also keeps things interesting.  And this is the time of year we get to see what pays off.

 


Mike’s Pesto a la Alice Waters

Mike and I love the book The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. She recommends making pesto in a mortar and pestle, which sent Mike on a year-long mission to find one big enough to use for a large batch. When he didn’t have any success, I spent a day searching all over Portland to get him one for Christmas. I finally succeeded in my quest at the Fubonn Asian Shopping Center, and Alice was right: pesto made in this way is to die for. But it is also excellent (and easier) made in the food processor. This is Mike’s adaptation of Alice Waters’ recipe. Makes about 2 cups.

 

Pick the leaves from:

            1 bunch basil, to yield about 2 loosely packed cups

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind to a paste:

1 garlic clove, peeled

            Salt

Add and continue to grind:

½ c walnuts or pinenuts, lightly toasted

Add:

            ¼ c grated parmesan cheese.

Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and put them in the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded nut mixture to the mortar and pound the two mixtures together. Continue pounding as you gradually pour in:

            ½ c olive oil


New Potato Salad with Vinaigrette

This is a different kind of potato salad than the standard, mayo-dressed one. I like to make a large bowl of this and eat it throughout the week. (serves 4 to 6)

Chop into large pieces:

            2 pounds potatoes

Place in a saucepan full of cold water, add 1 Tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft but just al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, chop and mix together in a large bowl:

½ bunch green onions

            ½ pound snap peas

            ½ pound broccoli

To make the dressing, whisk together in a small bowl:

¼ tsp salt

            2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (wine or apple cider vinegar will work as well)

Slowly whisk in:

            6 Tbsp olive oil

Add the potatoes and dressing to the vegetables and pour. Add 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, or more if using parsley or basil. You can add grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese as well. Mix together and let sit at least ½ hour before serving.

CSA Week 4

In your share week 4:

Baby Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Green Onions (Some shares only?)
Basil
Peas and/or Broccoli
Baby Turnips and/or Radishes

Full Shares Only:

Kale
Carrots

We’re finally starting to see some new crops!  We had our first big picks of peas and broccoli on Monday, with lots more to come.  Everyone gets one or the other, and full shares get both.  We have both kinds of broccoli today.  You might see the Arcadia, a hybrid broccoli similar to what you see in the store (but oh so much fresher and better), with larger, tighter heads and smaller beads.  The other type is Piracicaba, with loose heads, large beads, and tender succulent stems.  In my opinion, broccoli is up there with corn and tomatoes in that farm fresh is vastly better than store bought.  Use it as soon as possible to enjoy it to it’s fullest!  Both types can be used in the same recipes: for the Piracicaba use the entire bunch, stems and all.  You can use the stems of Arcadia but sometimes the outside is fibrous and needs to be peeled.

 

Some shares have the first green onions of the year.  Ours are fresh and extra flavorful, and these are little tender morsels.  Last year’s members will remember that we were swimming in green onions the entire season.  We’ve got some nice rotations coming up, but I don’t expect quite the abundance we saw then!  Green onions are wonderful raw or cooked, and I use the whole bunch (white parts and green parts).  They keep well in a bag in the fridge.

At first I was disappointed that our pea seed has lots of snow pea off types (instead of the snap peas we usually grow), but after eating a few and seeing how sweet they are I think we’re all going to be happy.  For this week at least, we’ve mixed the two together, and they can be used interchangeably for snacking or cooking.  My crew and I agreed that they’re equally delicious and we couldn’t help eating the odd one as we picked!

We’ve got another rotation of baby bok choy ready for you, with bigger heads that weren’t subjected to 100 degree heat just before heading up.  These would be wonderful on the grill, whole, halved, or separated into individual leaves.  We have enough basil for everyone, and there’s another whole rotation just sizing up that we haven’t started cutting!  Hopefully we’ll be able to offer bulk basil in August for freezing pesto, I’ll have more info in a couple of weeks.  And since it’s summer, did you know that basil is anti-inflammatory and good for bug bites?  I crush up a leaf and rub it on itchy mosquito bites for a bit of relief.

It won’t affect your CSA, but we want to let you know that starting next week we will have a farm stand at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lincoln City on Tuesdays from 11 to 1 in the courtyard at the cafeteria.  We won’t be offering CSA pickup at the hospital, but we will have lots of great veggies for sale to hospital staff and anyone else who’d like to come.  Help us spread the word!


Basil Fried Rice with Radishes (or Baby Turnips)

I know you have lots of radishes, and so do I!  They’re not my favorite vegetable, but I made this for our work party potluck this weekend and really enjoyed them.  You could use turnips in this recipe in addition to or instead of the radishes.

3 c cooked brown rice
2 bunches radishes or turnips
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp Tamari (or to taste)
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 bunch basil
Salt and Chili Flakes to taste

Separate radishes/turnips from their tops.  Chop tops coarsely.  Slice radishes/turnips into thin rounds or half moons if roots are large.  Pick basil leaves from the stems and chop coarsely.

Put 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and a large pinch of salt.  Saute, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.  Add radish tops and half the green onions.  Cook and stir about 3 more minutes, then add a splash of the tamari.  Stir and let simmer for about 30 seconds.

Add rice, remaining oil and tamari, and salt to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, 6 to 8 more minutes.  Add basil, chili flakes, and salt to taste.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

CSA Week 3

In your share week 3:

Carrots
Baby Turnips or Radishes
Salad Mix

Half Shares Only:

Basil
Napa Cabbage or Kale or Komatsuna

Full Shares Only:

Kohlrabi
Radish
Broccoli or Snow Peas
Kale

The weather is warming up and the plants are growing, but it will still be another week or two before we have lots of new crops.  Half shares get their first basil this week: remember that it keeps best in a plastic bag on the counter!  The basil is looking beautiful and soon we’ll have lots more, but for now there’s just enough for some.  To use basil, pinch off the leaves from the stems and add them to salads, pastas, curries, and more.  Add basil leaves at the end of cooking, just before eating, to preserve their complex flavor.

Many of you are getting the first baby turnips (we’ll try to get them to everyone, but they’re just now sizing up).  Returning members will remember these, but if you haven’t yet tried baby turnips, you’re in for a treat.  These are a whole different animal than your grandma’s turnips: they are sweet and creamy and the greens are some of my favorites.  I like the roots best raw, either sliced into a salad, eaten plain, or dipped in hummus. You can also roast, grill, or saute the roots, but I’d at least try them raw before cooking them! I typically do a light steam or saute with the greens, and they are especially good finished with a splash of white wine.  They are also good in a salad, or used as a bed for a hot steak or piece of fish.  Pretty much anything you would do with spinach will work with these lovelies.

We are just getting into our first main season broccoli and the first of our peas.  Peas are a good indicator of how much cooler we are at the coast than the Willamette Valley: our peas typically come on in mid-July, while folks with gardens in Portland are finishing their peas by now!  We grow snap peas (the kind you eat pod and all), but this year the seed was mixed up by the breeder and we’re ending up with mostly snow peas.  These are the flat podded type commonly used in stir fries and salads, so you’ll be mostly getting those this summer.  We have a few pints for full shares this week and it looks like lots more to come.

And since we’ve been giving you lots of radishes (it’s the only thing we’re really swimming in right now), here’s a couple more suggestions of how to use them.  You can grill them, by themselves or with baby turnips.  You could add them to the turnip recipe below, or use them and the greens to make a soup, along with chicken or veggie broth, onion, and fresh herbs.  You could make a quick pickle and eat them with tacos, slice them up and add them to fresh sushi rolls, or make a big stir fry with everything else in your share.  Remember, if you don’t like radish heat, it mellows when cooked!

We’ve had a couple of CSA mix-ups in the first 2 weeks.  I’d like to remind you that if you have somebody else pick up your share, make sure they know what color bag to take and that they check off your name.  Remember: you are responsible for making sure your share is picked up.  If your substitute picks up the wrong size share, it leads to confusion for the next member who comes to get theirs.  Thanks!


Honey-kissed Baby Turnips & Greens

From Live Earth Farm’s CSA.  Serves 2.

1 bunch turnips with greens

1 tsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

½ tsp honey

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Cut turnips into half-inch slices.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, melt butter and add olive oil. When butter starts bubbling, add turnips and stir/shake pan to coat and distribute oil/butter. Let cook over medium heat, stirring and turning periodically, until turnips begin to soften and lightly brown, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle moderately with sea salt, then add honey, stirring constantly to distribute–it will melt quickly.

Toss in the greens along with their clinging water. Continue to stir and cook until greens have wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and several grindings of black pepper, stir and serve!

This dish keeps its green color even if it isn’t served right away or is reheated. Dishes with greens that use acid ingredients (like lemon or vinegar) turn an olive color after a short while.


Salad Dressings: Simple Vinaigrette and Lemon Maple

I give these recipes every year, but considering how much salad you’ll be getting, I think they’re worth throwing out there again. The vinaigrette takes about 2 minutes and comes to us from Alice Waters, the other is one of my favorites. These are basic staples in our kitchen.

Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together:

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (I often use apple cider vinegar)
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Stir to dissolve the salt, taste, and adjust if needed. Gradually beat in with a fork or small whisk:

3 to 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Taste as you go and stop when it tastes right.

Optional: add garlic and/or diced shallot to the vinegar, or fresh herbs to the finished dressing. Or beat in a little mustard before adding the oil.

Lemon Maple:

Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp salt
¼ c olive oil
1 ½ tsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs

Whisk together lemon juice and salt. Add olive oil and whisk until well combined. Whisk in maple syrup. Stir in herbs.

CSA Week 2

In your share week 2:

Carrot
Radish
Kohlrabi
Salad Mix
Kale
Herbs (Half shares)

Full Shares Only:

Basil
Napa Cabbage

 

This week’s share is pretty similar to last week’s; it will still be another week or two before we have much more variety to offer you.

Today we have the first kohlrabi, which I know is new to many.  (Returning members, we are growing a lot less this year, but it’s one of the earliest veggies to be ready).  I love kohlrabi, and I usually slice it raw and eat it sprinkled with salt, dipped in hummus, or wrapped in a sushi roll.  It needs to be peeled and the tough bottom part cut off, the fleshy part of the bulb is the part you want.  These are a little smaller than we usually harvest them, so they are very tender.  Kohlrabi has a sweet flavor like a broccoli stem, and it’s crunchy and juicy.  If you don’t want to snack on it, you can include it in a stir fry, grill or roast it with olive oil and salt, or pickle it.

 

You can also use kohlrabi greens, they will be closer in texture to cabbage and benefit from slower cooking methods like braising.  Remember you can eat your radish greens, they could be stewed in with kohlrabi greens, or I more often throw them in a stir fry or cook them with rice.  I don’t like them raw so much because of their prickly texture.

 

There’s still not enough basil for everyone, but half shares get a bunch of herbs in their share today.  You might have chocolate mint, sage, chives, or thyme.  Sage, chives, and thyme are all good to add early in cooking, while mint should be added to a dish after cooking.  You can pick the leaves off the stems from all, though I often don’t bother with thyme because it’s too much work.  Just chop it up finely, and it’s okay to eat the flowers!  You can also use the herbs to make herbed butter or olive oil, or add the mint to lemonade or a cocktail.  Store your herbs in a bag in the fridge (except basil: keep basil at room temperature).

 

Full shares have a head of flowering napa cabbage today.  We stopped growing napa (or Chinese) cabbage in the spring because it bolts (flowers) so easily, but I thought I’d give it a try.  Then it hit 100 degrees a couple of weeks ago, and most of the heads sent up shoots immediately.  However, they are still good to eat.  The flowering stalks may be tough, you can try a bite of one or test it by seeing if it snaps easily.  The leaves, though, are tender and tasty and can be eaten whole (the white rib is my favorite part).  Napa cabbage is mild and crunchy, and makes a great salad or stir fry.

 

We had kale last week, but another note about cooking kale.  You can indeed eat the stems, but they usually take a little longer to cook than the leaves.  Ideally when cooking them, I throw the stems in a few minutes early, but often I don’t bother.  Occasionally I remove the ribs if I’m in a hurry on cooking time or want just the leafy texture.


Radish, Kohlrabi, and Carrot Salad

Another contribution from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. This is an easy salad she says is ubiquitous in Korea. She recommends serving with refried beans or just plain rice. Serves 4.

 

In a bowl, mix together:

1 large kohlrabi, the bottom discarded and julienned

            3 carrots, julienned

            Roots from 1 bunch radish, julienned

            1 tsp salt

Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain and put the vegetables in a clean bowl. Add:

2 tsp soy sauce

            1 ½ to 2 tsp white vinegar

            ½ tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne (or to taste)

            1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

            2 tsp sesame oil

Toss and taste, adjusting salt and other seasonings as needed.


Sesame Carrots on a Bed of Napa Cabbage

From Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen. This is a great recipe with our new spring carrots and a fresh head of napa cabbage. The dish is in 2 layers, and Katzen recommends cooking the two layers side by side so they are ready together.

Heat a wok or large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add:

2 tsp sesame oil

            3 c baby carrots, cut into matchsticks

            ½ tsp salt

Saute for about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add:

            2 Tbsp rice vinegar

Cover again, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in:

2 Tbsp honey

            2 Tsp tahini

            1 large clove garlic, minced

Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender and starting to brown (about 5 to 8 more minutes).

At the same time, heat a second wok or skillet over medium heat. Add:

1 tsp vegetable oil

            3 c chopped onion

            ½ tsp salt

Stir fry for 10 minutes, then add 6 c napa cabbage, chopped. Keep the heat high and stir fry about 8 more minutes, until the cabbage wilts but is still a little crunchy. Transfer to a serving platter and cover with the carrots. Serve hot, warm, or at room temp.