CSA Box # 16 10-5-10
In this Weeks’ Box:
Arugula Carrots Green Beans
Radishes Potatoes Summer Squash
Broccoli Wild Garden Kale Czech Black Hot Pepper
Fennel Bell Peppers
This morning is cold! I recorded a low of 38 degrees here last night, and now I’m wrapped up in a warm wool sweater with a warm mug of coffee. My 5 year-old is off to kindergarten and I’m going to try to sneak this letter in before the 3 year-old wakes up. Better have another cup of coffee to induce speed-writing!
I think this week is best summed up by a quote from Barbara Kingsolver. “The growing is over, but the season of good eating lasts a lot longer.” Fall is truly upon us. Days are shortening, temperatures are dropping, and leaves are yellowing and falling from the trees. Its only a matter of time before we see a hard frost which will mean the end of the summer crops such as tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. But will bring sweetness to many of the fall delights like kale, cabbage, apples, and kohlrabi that can be harvested for many weeks to come.
This week many of the major fall chores around the farm were finished or are well underway. The dry beans are harvested and stored indoors awaiting threshing, potatoes are out of the ground and stored in the back room of the cooler, onions are up in the barn loft finishing their curing process, and the winter squashes and pumpkins are being hefted out of the fields and into the greenhouse to protect them from hard frosts and allow them time to cure and flavor up before you get to taste them! Joe has been logging many hours on the tractor tilling in spent crops and spreading cover-crops that will grow through the winter and protect our fields from erosion by flooding and pounding rains. Were also preparing a greenhouse to grow winter greens and other crops under and well as getting ready to plant next years’ garlic crop. These final chores will take place on my property about a mile from the Wobbly Cart main fields and already home of our main greenhouse.
It’s a busy time for everyone. But a necessary burst of activity to get everything ready for winter before frosts and rains begin in earnest…. And most of the crew leaves for a much needed break!
New veggies for you this week include the Czech Black hot pepper. These vigorous jalapeno-like peppers grow on the most beautiful black, purple and green plants with dark purple flowers. They set large amounts of black jalapeno sized peppers that eventually turn dark red when fully ripe. I find them to be mildly hot and slightly sweeter than a Jalapeno.
We’ve also brought back radishes, which you may remember from the spring, and bulb fennel. Fennel is a fabulous, bulbous, celery colored vegetable with long light green stalks and feathery fronds. It has a delicious crunch and delicate sweet licorice taste. It is delicious thinly sliced and drizzled with olive oil for a salad (see recipe page). The stalks are often too fibrous for raw eating but can be used to create a soup stock. Some folk use the fronds as garnish too… but the bulb is the real yummy part. Prepare for eating by trimming the base of the bulb and removing any blemished outer layers. Slice as you desire for salads ore braise them whole with olive oil in a 425 degree oven. Enjoy.
Until next week,
Recipe page # 16 10-5-10
Chinese-Style Stir-Fry of Kale, Onions, and Marinated Tofu:
In a small container combine 1 tbsp tamari, 11/2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger, and ¾ tsp ground star anise. Marinate ½ lb of firm tofu that has been cut into 1 -inch cubes in this mixture for 5 to 10 minutes or longer. Meanwhile, trim the leaves of one large bunch of kale from the stems. Chop the leaves coarsely. Set aside. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil. Saute 2 coarsely chopped onions, 2 large cloves of finely chopped garlic, and 1 large bell pepper, seeded and diced, for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the marinated tofu with its sauce, the kale and ¼ cup water. Watch for sputtering oil. Cover and cook over med-high heat, stirring every minute or two, until the kale is tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add more water if it starts to dry out. Season with additional soy sauce before serving, if desired. Serve over rice.
Orange and Fennel Salad with Walnuts:
Remove the stringy stalks from 2 bulbs of fennel and reserve for making vegetable stock if desired. Cut each of the bulbs in half and then thinly slice the halves to make half moons. Peel 2 large navel oranges and remove any white pith. With a serrated knife thinly slice the oranges. Remove and discard any pits. Arrange the greens from one bunch of arugula over a large platter. Set alternate layers of orange and fennel in an attractive pattern over the greens. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp of walnut or olive oil and 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and some good quality sea salt to taste. Garnish with 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts.
Summer Harvest Pasta Salad for a Crowd:
Cook 1 lb of your favorite pasta until tender but still chewy. Run under cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain thoroughly and set into a large serving bowl. Steam 11/2 lbs of summer squash until tender crisp, bout 3 to 5 minutes. (The squash will retain its flavor better if it is steamed whole). When it is cool enough to handle, halve the squash and cut in to ¼ inch slices. Toss the squash, 3 cups of cooked fresh corn kernels, 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 11/2 cups tightly packed minced fresh basil, ¼ cup minced fresh chives, 1 cup small mushrooms, and ½ cup pitted kalamata olives into the pasta. With a whisk and a bowl, or in a food processor, prepare a dressing of ½ cup fruity olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 small clove of mashed garlic, 1 Tbsp of Dijon mustard, and 1 tsp sea salt. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss well. Add 2 to 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice to perk up the flavors and serve at room temperature.
Cut 1 ½ lbs of broccoli into florets. Stems can be peeled and cut small as well. Steam the broccoli until tender-crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a strainer and refresh under cold water to stop the cooking process and retain greenness. Drain thoroughly. Transfer the broccoli to a large storage container. Combine 1 large clove of roasted garlic, mashed, ½ cup tightly packed minced fresh dill, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp cider vinegar or lemon juice and ¼ tsp sea salt as a marinade. Combine with the broccoli and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. For optimum taste bring to room temperature before serving.