July 21, 2009 Box #5
As I set up the irrigation line, I brushed past the tall flowering heads of dill, which reminds me that it is that amazing time of year for pickling. In the past pickling and canning seemed like a mysterious art form I was afraid to attempt. Now, I realize that the ritual of pickling and summer canning is not only easy, but also makes the winter months feel like I am transported back into the delicious bounty of summer. On many winter fishing trips with numb fingers in the rain, I crack open a jar of dilly beans or pickles to bite into when the steelhead aren’t. Pickles have become the highlight of many trips and picnics.
We have canning quantities available for beets, cucumbers, and green beans.
Beets: small $1.80/ lb, med $1.90/lb, large $1.20/lb Cucumbers: mini $2.10/ lb, small $1.90/lb, med $1.70/lb, bread & butter $1.50/lb Green beans: $2.20/ lb
We also have bulk quantities of basil available for pesto making. Basil $14.00/ lb and $8.00/ ½ lb
Place orders by calling the farm: 360-273-7597.
In this week’s box you will find:
Carrots, Garlic, Bronze Arrow Lettuce, Zucchini, Fennel, Snow Peas, Shell peas, Lilies, Swiss Chard, Kohlrabi, Basil, Scallions
Last summer I discovered the wonders of fennel. It offers a unique, refreshing, light taste that is so delicious. I like to slice the bulb thinly and roast it with sliced beets and then use the greens in a salad (especially amazing with apples and chevre.) You may also choose to use the bulb in a soup or sauce. The basil is sensitive. It doesn’t like to be stored in cold places, such as the refrigerator. Instead leave out the bag on the counter, with it open so that it may breathe. If it does get cold the leaves will turn black however, it is still usable. The zucchini is the first of the season you may find one of the following: the more familiar straight variety of green zucchini, the stripped and ribbed Italian variety called Costata Romanesco, or a round Italian heirloom called Tondo Scuro Di Piacenza. Enjoy the lilies! They are a gift from Simply Life Farm with whom we share our walk-in cooler. They have been farming in the valley for the past 20 years, which means they hold the secret to tricks of the trade. My favorite is the work day dash to the river and back to work in 15 min! The variety of lilies is called Royal Highness. Because of the all the sunny weather we’ve been having the lilies all began to bloom at once. If you are ever in the Olympia area Thursday- Sunday, Diana runs Simply Life Farm and has an amazing stand of fresh and dried flowers as well as hand crafted soaps.
This past week at the farm we began our fall planting. We tilled in the last available section of field and quickly filled it with long rows of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kraut cabbage. Soon we will be planting arugula, kale, Asian greens, radishes and more lettuce. Now is a perfect time to plant your fall garden.
We are real excited to announce that we have just begun planning Wobbly Cart’s first ever farm party for all of our CSA members. Mark your calendars for Saturday September 5th! We’ll fill you in with more details in the weeks to come.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please give us call.
Wobbly Cart Recipe Sheet
Braised Fennel with Sweet Onions and Gruyere:
(Sure to turn just about anyone into a fennel lover!)
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
-Grease a 9×12 inch baking dish.
– Cut 2 bulbs of fennel into wedges and steam for 7 to 10 minutes.
-Arrange the steamed fennel in the baking dish, along with 1 to 2 chopped sweet onions.
-Sprinkle with 4 cloves finely chopped garlic and dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil.
-Season with salt and pepper and add ¼ cup of wine, stock or water. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
-Remove cover, baste and add ½ cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese and some finely chopped basil.
-Then bake uncovered until fennel is completely tender and nicely browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Summer Squash, Baby Purple Onion, and Fresh Herb Fritters:
-Grate about ½ lb summer squash, Lightly salt it and set aside in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.
-Meanwhile, mix together 2 beaten eggs, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, a handful of chopped basil, 2 Tbsp of finely chopped fresh dill, and 1 cup dry breadcrumbs.
-Squeeze out any excess water from the squash and then stir it into the batter along with 1 bunch of finely chopped baby purple onions (greens and all). Season with salt and pepper.
-Film 2 large skillets with olive oil. When hot, drop in the batter (¼ cup makes a fritter about 31/2 inches across) and cook over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom. Turn and cook the second side.
-Serve these piping hot with a dollop of pesto.
Pesto: (Good quality olive oil and cheese greatly improves the flavor of your pesto!)
-Add to the bowl of your food processor or blender, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3-5 cloves of fresh garlic, a handful of pine nuts or walnuts, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Blend well.
-Then add 2 cups fresh basil, and blend until smooth and creamy. You should have about 1 cup of finished pesto.
Italian Rice Salad:
-Cook 1 cup long grain rice, then set aside to cool for at least 1 hour.
-Chop one fennel bulb into tiny pieces, and saute with 3 to 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic in some olive oil. Saute for 4 minutes.
-Slice the stems off of 1 bunch of red chard.
-Dice the stems into small pieces and then add to the pan.
-Then lay the chard leaves on top of each in a stack, roll them up and slice into thin ribbons. Chop the chard ribbons into small pieces and add to the saute pan.
-Cook until just the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes more, then remove from heat.
-Put the rice into a large serving bowl and then incorporate the vegetable mixture.
-Grate 4 carrots and chop up 1 sweet onion or ½ a bunch of chopped baby purple onions. Add them to the rice and gently fold in.
For the dressing: Mix together ¼ cup good mayonnaise with 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill, 1 tsp Marsala wine (or maybe sherry?) and the juice of one fresh lemon. Pour over the rice mixture.
-Toss lightly and garnish with a sprinkle of finely chopped basil and a few Tbsp of chopped green olives.
-Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving.
-Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and serve on top of a bed of greens.
Walnut oil Vinaigrette:
(This dressing is great with fresh lettuce, or on steamed veggies)
-Combine 1 ½ Tbsp sherry or tarragon vinegar with 1 finely chopped garlic clove and ¼ tsp salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.
-Stir in 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, and then whisk in 6 Tbsp walnut oil. Mix until dressing is thick and smooth.