Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 2

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7-5-17

Large shares: broccoli, chard, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, fresh garlic bunch, butterhead lettuce, greenleaf or romaine lettuce, scallions, cilantro

Small shares: broccoli, chard, carrots, fresh garlic bunch, greenleaf lettuce, scallions, cilantro

Dear CSA members,

We hope you all had a lovely 4th of July holiday. It was certainly nice for us to have the extra day to prepare for CSA this week! Mondays are our busiest harvest day and it was nice to spread out the workload a bit. Our Chehalis market was also cancelled this week which made things even mellower. The fireworks out here are not mellow though! I am slightly sleep deprived as we are very near the Chehalis tribe casino that does an rather loud and large fireworks show, that with the neighbors and it seemed to go on forever last night.

June and July are such busy months on the farm. We are still busy seeding and transplanting, our new crew members are still getting trained, CSA and markets start up and there are so many details to work out, there is so much weeding and irrigating to do, ground must be worked up for fall plantings and fertilized and amended, tomatoes need to be trellised and pruned, harvest needs to be done, the mowing never ends… You get the idea. With the long hours of day light we often find ourselves working 14 hours a day or more!

We look forward to a few weeks from now when things settle into a bit more manageable routine… But by then orders and harvest lists ramp up in a big way as we reach our peak in August and September. Our crew is doing awesome though and things have been relatively smooth for a transition year where we have quite a few new folks on the farm. So it should be no problem when we get to those weeks.

We have some pretty gorgeous broccoli this week. I am always happy when the early broccoli plantings work out nicely. Once you chop up the florets, I reccommend peeling the stems and chopping them too. I think they are the most delicious part of the broccoli.

Fairly soon we will be harvesting our garlic crop. This week we have bundles of freshly harvested garlic for you. Fresh garlic is not dried and cured like you may be used to buying at the store, but it is sought after by chefs for its milder flavor when raw. You can peel the cloves and use just like any garlic but I would reccommend storing in the refrigerator and using up sooner than later.

The rainbow colored green is Swiss chard. This member of the beet family is bred for its greens, not roots. It is tender, delicious and nutritious. Chard is high in vitamin C, A and B’s as well as iron, calcium and phosphorus. I reccomend it stirfried, steamed, or added to soups and stews. You can store chard in the crisper drawer for about 1 week. Finely chopped, the stems are good and add pretty color to a dish.

Cilantro is an herb that has been used in cuisine from Asia to the new world and has been cultivated for 3000 years or more. The seeds, known as coriander are also used as a spice. Apparently, coriander seeds have even been found in Egyptian tombs! Cilantro is great in salsas, dressings, to season beans, as topping for chili and burritos, or in Indian and Thai dishes. Store by placing the roots in a small jar of water and tenting a plastic bag on top, then place in the refrigerator. It will keep a long time like this.

Have a great week,

Asha

 

Honey roasted carrots: preheat oven to 425. Twist the tops of 16 carrots, leaving a 2 inch nub; wash and scrub the roots. Place the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsps olive oil. Roll the carrots back and forth to coat before placing them in the oven. Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp honey together in a small saucepan and keep warm. Shake the carrots occasionally as they roast. Remove from the oven when they are browned in spots and a sharp knife easily pierces them ( 15 to 20 minutes). Drizzle with honey butter over the carrots, roll them around to coat and place them back in the oven. Shake the baking sheet frequently and remove the carrots when their skin begins to caramelize and a knife easily slides through them, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Swiss Chard Quesadillas: Wash but do not dry 1 bunch of chard. Cut off the stems and slice them 1/4 inch thick; cut the leaves into 1/4 inch ribbons. Set aside. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup finely chopped scallion and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 3 min. Add the chard stems and cook, stirring often, until they are tender but retain a slight bite, 6 to 8 min. Add the leaves and cook, stirring, until they wilt and become quite tender, 3 to 5 min. For each quesadilla, spread 1 tbsp sour cream on a flour tortilla. Top with 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, 1/4 of the chard mixture, and 1/4 cup Cotija. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, and a dash of hot sauce. Squeeze lime juice over the top. Fold the tortilla in half to enclose the filling. Brush a large skillet with vegetabl oil and placeover medium heat. Place the quesadilla in the pan and cook, turning once, until the tortilla is golden on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.

Oriental Cilantro Slaw: Shred 1 medium cabbage (6 cups). Place the cabbge in a large serving bowl. Mix in 1 large shredded carrot, 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup thinnnly sliced scallions. In a jar combine, 3 tbsp canola oil, 3 to 4 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and finely chopped and sea salt to taste. Shake well to blend, pour dressing over the salad and toss well. Add more lime juice and tamari as needed.  Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped toasted and salted peanuts.

Cilantro Pesto: In a food processor or blender combine. 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, finely chopped, 2 large cloves roasted garlic, or 1 small clove raw garlic peeled and minced, 1 tsp mild chili powder, 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds, 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp sea salt.  Great served over beans and grains, bean and grain salads, this pesto is delicious brushed onto grilled corn on the cob or tossed with cooked corn kernels.
Coleslaw: julienne 4 cups green cabbage, grate 1 cup of carrots, add in 2 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger. Place in a large bowl and mix well. In a small bowl whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp stone ground mustard, 1 tsp minced fresh dill, 1 tsp celery seed, ¼ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp tamari. Combine all ingredients, toss well and enjoy.
Easy Roasted garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel outer skin off a head of garlic, leaving the cloves exposed in their wrappers. Chop the top off the garlic, leaving the cloves open at the top. Place the garlic head in the middle of a foil square and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in the foil. Roast for 40-45 min.  Remove from the oven and cool. The roasted garlic will be caramelized and soft.
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a blender or food processor, puree 6 cloves roasted garlic with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 tsp soy sauce. Add more garlic to taste. Chop up one large head of broccoli ( 4 cups) and drizzle with 3 tbsp of the garlic oil. Toss to coat in a bowl. Spread the broccoli onto a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with red pepper and salt to taste. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is fork tender and quite brown and crispy in spots. 15 to 18 min.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 10

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8-16-16

Large Shares: Lacinato kale, Romaine lettuce, slicing cucumbers, lemon cucumber, bell pepper, summer squash, carrots, Romano beans or green beans, yellow onion, red onion, cherry tomatoes, Penasco blue garlic, cilantro

Small Shares: carrots, golden beets, green cabbage, yellow onion, lemon cucumbers, kohlrabi, cilantro, green beans

 

Dear CSA members,

Week 10 and mid August! We are certainly in the peak of the summer season. With warm/hot temperatures forecast for some time to come we should indeed see a significant upswing in harvests in the near future. Everyone who ordered boxes of tomato seconds hang in there, they are coming! We may be adding quite a bit to the bulk order list including green beans and pickling cucumbers.

New this week is Romano Beans: Green Romano beans are broad and flattened in shape, averaging about five inches in length at maturity. The beans have a stringless seam that opens rather easily while still young. The pods cling loosely to a series of about six tiny lime green to white colored peas. The beans are crisp and fleshy in texture, extremely succulent, offering a subtlety sweet and grassy flavor. They are great both raw and cooked.

This week I wanted to share with you some thoughts on the benefits of organic agriculture, just to reiterate the reasons why we do what we do. As well as why you choose to spend your food dollars with us.

Soil. Soil building practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum tillage are central to organic practices. Organic practices encourage soil fauna and flora, improve soil formation and structure and create more stable systems. In turn, nutrient and energy cycling is increased and the retentive abilities of the soil for nutrients and water are enhanced, and soil erosion is reduced. If we treat our soil right our crops will show it by increased vigor, flavor and disease/pest resistance.

Water. In many agriculture areas, pollution of groundwater  with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of these is prohibited in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers (e.g. compost, animal manure, green manure) and through the use of greater biodiversity (in terms of species cultivated and permanent vegetation), The enhanced soil stucture and better nutrient retention and water infiltration of well managed organic systems  greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution.

Air and climate change. Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuel to be produced). Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil. Many management practices used by organic agriculture (e.g. minimum tillage, returning crop residues to the soil, the use of cover crops and rotations, and the greater integration of nitrogen-fixing legumes), increase the return of carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favoring carbon storage. A number of studies revealed that soil organic carbon contents under organic farming are considerably higher. The more organic carbon is retained in the soil, the higher the potential of agriculture to mitigate climate change.

Biodiversity. Organic farmers are both custodians and users of biodiversity at all levels. By utilizing traditional, heirloom and adapted seeds and breeds organic farmers choose varieties that have adapted resistance to diseases and climactic stress and therefore reqire less inputs to create a marketable crop. Organic farms also by and large maintain natural areas within and around their lanscapes, that combined with the absence of chemical inputs creates suitable habitats for birds, pollinating insects and other species that may benefit our crops. Many recent studies have concluded that organic farming produces more biodiversity than other farming systems.

Thank you and have a great week,

Asha

 

 

 

 

Oriental Cilantro Slaw: Shred 1 medium cabbage (6 cups). Place the cabbge in a large serving bowl. Mix in 1 large shredded carrot, 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup thinnnly sliced scallions. In a jar combine, 3 tbsp canola oil, 3 to 4 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and finely chopped and sea salt to taste. Shake well to blend, pour dressing over the salad and toss well. Add more lime juice and tamari as needed.  Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped toasted and salted peanuts.

Sesame ginger Romano Beans: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium high heat, heat 1 cup vegetable oil. Add 3 small shallots, thinly sliced, and fry, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 lb fresh romano (or green) beans (stem ends trimmed), with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger, and 1 tsp salt to coat. Roast beans until tender but still green, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer beans to a serving dish and toss with sesame seeds. Top with reserved shallots.

Cucumber Salad with Caramelized Onions and Herbs: slice onions into ¼ inch thick slices (enough to yield 1 cup) and toss to separate into rings. Have a slotted spoon and double layer of paper towels ready. Heat 2 cups vegetable oil to 275 in a small, deep heavy saucepan and drop in onion rings. Cook onions, stirring often, until they turn a uniform light brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. They’ll brown faster toward the end, so be careful. Lift onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tsp onion oil for vinaigrette; let cool. For the vinaigrette: whisk together 1 tbsp each champagne and rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tp salt, and ½ tsp pepper together in a bowl until salt and vinegar dissolve. Add reserved onion oil and 1 tbsp minced onion and whisk well to blend. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice. Slice several fresh cucumbers into ¼ inch thick slices with a knife. Toss cucumbers and 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, and 1 tbsp roughly chopped red or green shiso (optional). Arrange salad on a platter and top with finely diced mild cucumber pickles and fried onions.

Tomato, Red onion, and Purple Pepper Salad with Yogurt Dressing: Thinnly slice 1 medium red onion, place in a salad bowl, sprinkle on 2 tbsp fresh lime juice and 1 tsp salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes. Slice 1 hot chile into matchsticks and add to the onion, cut one medium purple bell pepper into ½ inch wide strips about 1 inch long and toss with the onions and chile. Just before serving add 2 to 3 tomatoes cut into ½ inch pieces and ¾ cup full fat yogurt and toss gently to mix. Taste for salt and adjust, if you wish, and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Green (or Romano) Beans on the Grill: put 1 lb of green beans on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fold and seal. You may need to fold two sheets together. (you can also use one sheet of foil to set the pouch on. This way if any liquid seeps out or it pulls apart it dosen’t leave a mess.) drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the beans. Add 2 – 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Toss beans with tongs until well coated. Add 1 to 2 tbsp water and fold aluminum foil together at the top and pinch the sides closed. Cook the green bean pouch on the grill until the beans are tender. (food.com)

Roasted Golden Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens: trim one bunch medium beets with tops to 1 inch. Wash and chop greens and stems. Scrub beets and wrap tightly in heavy duty foil. Roast in the 400 degree oven until tender, 50 minutes. Cool, peel and cut into wedges. Sauté greens, stems and 2 tsp minced garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat until tender, 6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, 2 tbsp each pistachios and goat cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. ( from Prevention magazine June 2012)

Lemon Ricotta Summer Squash Galette: thinly slice 2 medium zucchini ( about 2 ½ cups) and sprinkle lightly with salt. Transfer to a colander; drain for 15 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, on a large piece of lightly floured parchment, roll ½ of a 15oz package of refrigerated unbaked dough to a 12 inch circle. Transfer parchment and dough to a large baking sheet; set aside. For ricotta filling; in a medium bowl whisk together ¾ cup ricotta cheese, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Using a spatula spread the ricotta filling over dough, leaving a 1 ½ inch border. Top with squash rounds. Drizzle with more olive oil. Gently fold over pastry edges, pleating as necessary. In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water. Lightly brush pastry edges with egg mixture. Transfer galette to oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh dill weed, if desired. Serve warmor ar room temperature. Makes 6 servings.

Cilantro Pesto: In a food processor or blender combine. 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, finely chopped, 2 large cloves roasted garlic, or 1 small clove raw garlic peeled and minced, 1 tsp mild chili powder, 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds, 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp sea salt.  Great served over beans and grains, bean and grain salads, this pesto is delicious brushed onto grilled corn on the cob or tossed with cooked corn kernels.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 9

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8-9-16

Large shares: Italian plums, lemon cucumbers, snap peas, shell peas, red potatoes, Walla Walla onion, red onion, Italian parsley, gold beets, carrots, cabbage

Small shares: Italian plums, cucumber, new potatoes, red onion, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, Italian parsley, jalapeno pepper, summer squash

Dear CSA members,

Brr! It feels like September around the farm. The weather has been quite cloudy and cool. We have even had a significant ammount of rainfall for August! This is a little bit more normal as I’ve said before, but is actually starting to feel quite a bit cooler than normal.We are all quite amazed at the contrast from the previous two hot and dry summers. All our hot weather loving crops (tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant and sweet corn) that we have been so spoiled with in the last couple of years are certainly feeling the lack of sun and cold nights of late. All the plants are loaded with fruit, but it is taking a long time to ripen it! I think this is what the old timers around here would call a “cabbage year” – because cabbage loves cool steady temperatures!

The forecast looks pretty good with warm temps and sun ahead so hopefully we have plenty of time to ripen up those heat loving crops. This time of year there is so much to do around the farm, the harvests are heavy, the weeds are ever growing, the irrigation must be kept flowing day and night… We also feel the pressure of time, time enough to complete all that must be done as well as the count down to the first frosts of the season ( which around here has been known to happen as early as Septemper 15th) and when the summer crops begin to shut down with with shortening days. We will keep up our end of the bargain, never know what nature is going to do!

This week we have Italian plums from the uber abundant plum tree that resides near our barn. Each year this tree produces enormous crops of these delicious plums and we get to share them with you! Italian plums are dark purple plums with a slight powdery blush to them. Their flavor is slightly sweet and sour and is excellent for fresh eating, baking, drying and canning. We tried to harvest a range of ripenesses so you wouldn’t have to immediately use them up. They do ripen off the tree so you may have a couple of days on the lighter colored plums. We also have lemon cucumbers for the large share. These yellow round cucumbers are an heirloom variety with a thin yellow skin and a mild flavor (they do not actually taste like lemon though!). Store and use them as you would a regular cucumber.

Large shares received gold beets. These are just like red beets but have a milder and sweeter flavor. They have an earthy nuttiness to them somewhat like a walnut and sweetness reminiscent of apples or apricots. The color is a phenomenal gold. The greens on these looked really nice and would be great to cook with as well.

Large shares also recieved snap peas – these can be eaten whole with out having to shell out the peas and make a great snack or addition to salads.

Have a great week,

Asha

 

Shaved Summer Squash with Pecorino Romano: In a large bowl whisk together 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline, shave a large summer squash into paper thin ribbons, about 1/16 of an inch thick, to yield 3 to 4 cups. Toss the squash ribbons with the dressing and marinate at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shave 2 ounces of Pecorino Romano into thin strips with a vegetable peeler to yield ¾ of a cup. Add to the squash and toss gently. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice if desired. Garnish with thinly sliced basil and freshly ground black pepper.

Tabbouleh: Place ½ cup bulgur in a large bowl. Pour in 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice over the bulgur. Set aside for 10 minutes. Combine 3 medium tomatoes, cubed, 1 ½ cups finely chopped Italian parsley, 6 to 8 mint leaves, finely chopped, 2 scallions finely chopped, ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup cold water. Set aside for 2 hours or until the bulgur has softened to your preference. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or olive oil as desired. Serve at room temperature. Keeps refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw: combine the zest and juice of one lime, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, 1/3 cup canola oil, 2 hot chilies (stemmed and seeded), 1 plump garlic clove, chopped, ½ cup packed cilantro leaves in a food processor and process until well combined. Mix 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage, 1 cup shredded carrots, ½ cup thinly sliced red onion, and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

Cucumbers Wedges with Chile and Lime: Wash 2 8 to 10 inch cucumbers and slice off the ends. Halve each crosswise and then slice each half lengthwise to make wedges. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Halve a lime and discard any seeds. Squeeze lime juice over the cucumber wedges and toss gently to coat, dust with salt and a spicy flavorful chile powder such as Chimayo. Serve immediately.

Marinated plums over pound cake: mix sliced plums with equal splashes of pomegranate molasses and brandy and a sprinkle of sugar. Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Spoon onto grilled or toasted pound cake. Top with whipped cream and sliced almonds. From August 2015 issue of Sunset magazine

Fleur’s Summer Plum Cake: Preheat the oven to 350. Blend 2 eggs, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¼ lb sweet butter, softened, 1 tsp vanilla in a medium sized bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add 1 cup flour and 1 tsp baking powder and stir by hand until just combined. Transfer the batter to a greased square baking pan. Place 20 plums that have been split in half and pitted into the batter on their sides, sleeping close together in rows (our plums are kind of big, so I would recommend slicing into smaller pieces). Combine ¼ cup sugar and ½ to 1 tbsp cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the batter and plums. Bake for 40 minutes. Do not over bake. Serve warm with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #5

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7-12-16

Large shares: Carrots, Shell peas, Purplette onions, Green cabbage, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Fresh garlic, Eggplant, French Lavender

Small shares: Carrots, Snow or Shell peas, Purplette onions, Green cabbage, Kohlrabi, Lettuce 

Dear CSA members,

Well, its a little bit cool and cloudy around here! It has been a sharp contrast to last summers intense heat and drought. I’m ok with it, it kind of feels back to normal, and it is much easier to do manual labor when it is 60 -70 degrees than when it is 90 – 100. Normally,  this kind of weather usually leaves us after the 4th of July but this year it seems to be sticking around. But hey, this weater is great for cabbage, and we have some ginormous cabbages this week!

 

We completed the epic garlic harvest this week and hauled it all to our big barn to dry. We have all the varieties laid out with fans blowing on them to circulate the air and allow the heads to cure for storage.

Despite the cool damp weather I have caught sight of some ripening in the tomato patch and we have a first round of adorable little eggplants ready for the large shares this week! We will also almost definetly have new potatoes next week, who hoo!

We finally have peas for you! The first two plantings this year sustained heavy damage at seeding time from a pest called the “seedcorn maggot”. So there has been some delay in getting them to you but we are into the third planting now and things are looking good. I think we are on the produce upswing at this point and making the harvest lists will get lot more fun and exciting because we will have alot more variety to choose from.

Shell peas are the large, long, thick pods. You break these open to reveal the tiny little peas inside ( the pods are not edible). Shell them out with your thumb into a bowl. 1 lb will get you about 1 cup of fresh peas. They are excellent just lightly steamed with a sea salt and butter. Overcooking may turn them to mush! The small shares will receive either ½ lb of snow peas or a lb of shell peas, we came up a bit short in the harvest .The snow peas are the large flat pods. Snow peas are excellent for stir- fries and salads, you just snap off the stem end and pull the string to prepare. Farm fresh peas are one of the great benefits of buying local and farm direct, these are specialty items that you just can’t find outside of CSA or Farmers Markets.

 

This time of year we are also completing our last rounds of seeding and transplanting for the fall crops such as cabbages, rutabaga, broccoli, chicory, fall carrots. Once we are done with planting we can fully turn our attention to cultivating, harvesting and selling produce.

Have a great week,

Asha

 

 

Joie de vivre Lavender Infused Carrot Ginger Soup: Soak ½ cup lavender in ½ c. warm water for 15 minutes. Strain well, discard flowers and place water in a blender. Add 3 1/2 cups fresh carrot juice, ½ c macadamia nuts, ¼ cup avocado, mashed, 2 tbsp fresh ginger, juiced, 2 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add ½ tsp fresh dill, a pinch cayenne pepper, sea salt to taste, and black pepper ground to taste. Garnish with grated carrots, beets, zucchini, jicama or radishes. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Coleslaw: julienne 4 cups green cabbage, grate 1 cup of carrots, add in 2 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger. Place in a large bowl and mix well. In a small bowl whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp stone ground mustard, 1 tsp minced fresh dill, 1 tsp celery seed, ¼ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp tamari. Combine all ingredients, toss well and enjoy.

Lavender and Honey Roasted Chicken: In a non-reactive bowl combine; 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, 1 tsp fresh lavender, ½ cup honey, 1 ½ tsp fresh marjoram, 1 minced garlic clove. 1 minced shallot, ¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar and stir thoroughly. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Season a whole roasting chicken with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Baste the chicken with the lavender honey mixture every 5 minutes or so for an additional 30 minutes or until completely cooked. The bird is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. Do not overcook. Once finished you can brush additional marinade over the flesh and skin. (from food.com)

Fresh Pea Salad: Combine ¾ cup fresh shell peas (shelled), ½ cup diced carrots, ¼ cup diced red bell pepper, ¼ finely chopped fresh cilantro, 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp flax oil (you could also use extra-virgin olive oil) and ½ tsp sea salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Peas with Prosciutto and Onions: heat in a large skillet over medium heat: 3 tbsp olive oil, add and brown slightly 1 cup thinly sliced purplette onion,  Add 3 tbsp water, cover and cook over low heat until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in: 2 cups fresh shell peas, shelled, 4 oz prosciutto or ham, finely diced, 1 to 2 tsp water. Cover and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Ratatouille Provencal: Heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat; ¼ cup olive oil. Add and cook, stirring, until golden and just tender, 10 to 12 minutes: 1 medium Eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks, and 1 lb zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks. Remove the vegetables to a plate and reduce the heat to medium high. Add and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly softened: 2 tbsp olive oil and 1-½ cups sliced onions. Add a cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender but not browned, 8 to 12 minutes: 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks, 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add: 1 ½ cups peeled, seeded, chopped fresh tomatoes, or one 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained. 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook until everything is tender, about 20 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in ¼ cup chopped fresh basil and chopped pitted black olives if desired. From the Joy of Cooking.

Pickled Cabbage: Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Core a cabbage and chop into large pieces, you will need about 4 cups. Add the cabbage to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, then drain in a colander. Let cool to room temperature. When cool enough to handle squeeze leaves to soften them and release some water. Meanwhile, combine3/4 cup vinegar, ½ cup sugar, and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, and pour into a bowl to cool. When cool, add the cabbage and toss to coat well. Pour all of this into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for 2 days, turning the jar occasionally to coat all the leaves with the brine. Serve cold.

Smoky Eggplant Raita: Heat your grill t o 450 to 550 degrees with an area left clear or turned off for indirect heat. Peirce 1 lb of eggplant in several places with a knife. Grill Eggplant over indirect heat, covered, until very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to touch. Meanwhile, toast about ½ tsp of cumin in a small dry frying pan over med. Heat until fragrant and beginning to darken, 2 to 3 minutes. Pound fine with a motar and pestle. Warm 1 tbsp olive oil in pan over medium heat. Saute ¼ large onion for 3 minutes. Add 1 lg minced garlic clove and continue to sauté until both are softened, about 2 min more. Let cool slightly. Slit the eggplant lengthwise and scrape flesh from the skin. Chop flesh coarsely and set aside. Combine 1 cup whole milk yogurt, the onion mixture, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, ¼ tsp sugar. Add eggplant and stir gently. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and cayenne pepper. Garnish with a little more cilantro. From the September 2010 issue of Sunset

 

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week #18

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10-13-15

Day in Autumn

by Ranier Maria Rilke

After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time 

to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials 

and in the pastures let the rough winds fly. 

As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness. 

Direct on them two days of warmer light

to hale them golden toward their term, and harry 

the last few drops of sweetness through the wine. 

Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter; 

who lives alone will live indefinitely so, 

waking up to read a little, draft long letters, 

and, along the city’s venues, 

fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.

Large shares: Delicata squash, red fingerling potatoes, yellow onions, Korean red garlic, mizuna, rapini, eggplant, watermelon radishes, cherry tomatoes, butterhead lettuce, rosemary

Small shares: Delicata squash, red fingerling potatoes, cabbage, vitamin green, yellow onion, Korean red garlic, sweet pepper, green beans, rosemary

Dear CSA members,

We have, at long last, arrived at our 18th and last delivery for the summer CSA. It has been an amazing journey from the delicate lettuces and strawberries of early summer to the heavy cabbages and winter squash of this last box. It all seems to have gone by so fast, and yet mid June seems so long ago at the same time. We, as a farm crew, are all ready for a bit of respite. But we will also be sad to see the season end, as many of our long time crew members will be moving on to bigger and better after this season.

This, being our 11th season as a small organic farm, in some ways blends together with the many seasons we have behind us. A few things stand out in my mind however.  It was the hottest, driest spring/summer that I can ever remember. In years past, we have always worried that we could get enough warm, sunny dry weather for our heat loving crops to mature. In fact too much water has always been a bit of a problem around here (big floods of 2007 ring a bell?) This year we had the opposite, with crop failures/yield reductions due to the hot dry conditions. Beans dropped blossoms during the hottest part of the summer, tomatoes experienced sunburn, sections of the potato and winter squash didn’t get the water they needed and had a smaller yield or in the case of the potatoes that did get water, grew so fast they developed hollow centers. Overall though, these crops as well as most of the fall greens and root crops experienced a nice comeback once we got that big rainstorm in late August and things cooled down a bit.

Second: we have some serious disease challenges that weren’t around when we started farming in this area 15 years ago. We have experienced an upswing in major diseases such as downy mildew in the onions, leaf rust fungus in the garlic, and clubroot in the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.). We trialed some new onions varieties with the help of High Mowing Seeds that are possibly disease resistant and are working on solutions for the club root as well as other pests such as flea and cucumber beetles that are continuous challenges for us. One thing that I know will be a positive for us is leasing 5 new acres for next year! Good crop rotation/fallow cycles are of the utmost importance when it comes to pests and diseases, as well as fertility management of our soil.

Third; thanks to you, our CSA had its most sucessful year ever! Our membership increased to the largest yet, and we had a higher percentage of folks pay in full, which really helps out our finances in the early season. We also had a higher percentage of returning members than ever, which is always a great feeling. Despite the challenges of the hot, dry season, and Joseph breaking his ankle, we were still able to deliver 18 weeks of gorgeous produce, with the large share receiving 15% more than they paid for in produce.

We are certainly appreciative of the support you have given us by becoming members of our CSA, and hope that you have been satistifed with your experience and the produce that you have received. We will be continuing on for four more weeks with our fall CSA option if you are interested in joining us and haven’t already done so. The majority of the crops that we produce in the fall can be stored for several weeks if not longer, so it is a great way to stock up on local produce for the winter months.

Wobbly Cart will also continue to be at the Olympia Farmers Market  through October Thursday through Sunday. November and December Saturday and Sundays. We offer 15% off for all our CSA customers at the market stand so come on down and see us this fall and winter!

I also thought I would go over a couple of crops that may be unfamiliar to you:

Mizuna is a Japanese green that has a mild earthy, peppery taste. It is very tender and makes excellent salads and stir-fries. It will keep for 3 to 4 days loosely wrapped in plastic and stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Delicata Squash: These are, in my humble opinion, the best winter squash there is. Delicata have excellent sweet flavor, tender skins, and a very manageable size that make them easy to transport and process. Kept cool and dry, these squash will keep for several weeks and possibly months. Their flavor will improve over time if you can hold off from eating them tonight!

Vitamin green: this asian green is similar to bok choy but more delicate in texture. I noticed that this batch is extra tender and likely to get slightly bruised. I would attribute this to the warm growing conditons we have been having this October. That said, you should probably use these up very soon! Vitamin green is also very sweet and delicious so that shouldn’t be a problem. They are great sautéed, or eaten fresh.

Rapini is essentially the Italian equivalent to turnip greens. Used extensively in Italian and Chinese cooking, it is not as popular in the United States but is gaining popularity. The stems are generally uniform in size (hence cook evenly) and need not be peeled. Clean it as you would other greens, removing the bottom portion of the stems which appear tough (sometimes the stems are tougher than other times depending on the age of the rapini). They stems can be removed up to where the leaves begin, and sautéed before adding the leaves to the pan. This vegetable is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.  To maintain crispness, refrigerate, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or wrap for up to 3 days.

Thank you all and we hope to see you in the Fall CSA as well as in the 2016 Summer CSA!

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

 

Delicata squash with rosemary, sage and cider glaze: Peel 2 medium delicata squash, cut lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise again, and then into 1 1/2 inch slices. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a large heavy skillet over low heat, add in 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage, 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary and cook 3 to 5 minutes, just until the butter begins to brown. Do not brown the herbs. Add the squash to the skillet, then add 1 1 /2 cups fresh apple cider, 1 cup water, 2 tsp sherry vinegar, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced and the squash is tender about 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad: Slice 1 small sweet onion into thin rounds, slice 1 large watermelon radish into thin rounds, Add 1/3 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp pepper, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Toss well. Place in fridge to chill overnight. Serve!

Rapini and garlic: Chop 3 cloves garlic. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet add the garlic and then the bunch of rapini that has the bottom of the stems removed and then been chopped. Turn the greens to wilt them and coat with the oil. Add 1 cup chicken broth, cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve.

Watermelon Radish Chips with Cumin Salt: Peel 4 to 6 Watermelon Radishes and thinly slice. If you have a mandolin, this is ideal for getting the most uniformly thin slices. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a small pot. When hot, toss a handful of radish, making sure you don’t crowd the pot. Fry for about 8 t 10 minutes until really brown. You’ll be tempted to take them out earlier, but you need them to crisp up. They do take longer than potato chips. Continue until done. Season each batch separately and set aside. To make cumin salt – add one tsp salt and ½ tsp cumin and mix in a small bowl, season the radish chip with this. Makes a great appetizer. (From janespice.com.)

Delicata Squash Rings: Preheat oven to 375. Take a whole delicata squash and slice it across sideways. This will make ring shapes out of it. Scoop the seeds out of the middles of your squash rings. Lightly oil a large cast iron skillet with olive oil. Lay the rings out in a single layer across the skillet. Place in the hot oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Then flip the rings with a spatula. Bake the other side until both sides are lightly browned and the squash is tender. Remove from oven and serve.

Mustard Greens turnovers (could use rapini, vitamin green, or mizuna here): prehat oven to 400. place 1 lb mustard greens (stems removed) in a colander, rinse with cool water, and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped onion and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 1 garlic clove, minced, and cook 1 minute more, add the chopped greens and cook unitl they wilt and are tender, about 5 minutes. transfer the green back to the colander and press to extract any extra liquid. place them in a large mixing bowl and stir in 5 oil-cured black olives that have been chopped, 8 slow-roasted tomato halves that have been finely chopped, and 1/4 cup feta cheese. You should have about 1 1/2 cups filling.

Unfold 2 sheets frozen puff pastry that has been defrosted onto a lighty floured surface. depending on pastry size, cut each sheet into four 4 inch squares. Divide the filling amongst 8 pastry squares, leaving a 1 inch border. Fold each square into a triangle, enclosing the filling, and seal the pastry by firmly pressing fork tines along the open edges. Use a sharp knife to make 2 1/2 inch long vents in the top of each turnover. Place the turnovers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush their tops with beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 16

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10-6-15

 

Large shares: spaghetti squash, leeks, chard, yellow finn potatoes, bulk carrots, green beans, lettuce, Italian parsley, garlic, hot peppers, Liberty apples, green cabbage 

Small shares: spaghetti squash, leek, chard, yellow finn potatoes, bulk carrots, kohlrabi or green beans, Italian parsley

 

Fall Song

 

Another year gone, leaving everywhere

its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

The uneaten fruits crumbling damply

in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island

of this summer, this Now, that is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering

in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries-roots and sealed seeds

and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure

painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing

to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever

in these momentary pastures

 

-Mary Oliver

 

Dear CSA members,

Absolutely gorgeous, if a bit unseasonably warm, fall week on the farm. Beautiful fall colors of reds and golds in all the decidious trees and shrubs in our surrounding country side right now. I love the contrast of the clear blue skies with the golden leaves fluttering down into the roads and fields.

It has been a fun week in the kitchen for me as well. I canned another round of tomato sauce (just cant resist those slightly blemished tomatoes that keep piling up around the barn), salsa, apple butter, and some escabeche too. My family hopes to press cider within the week as well. We make both hard and sweet cider for our winter indulgence. I love stocking up the pantry this time of year as we all know the clock is ticking on alot of this produce!

Our backs are sure feeling the ache of week 17 of CSA deliveries. We have started selling our winter squash and are moving bulk quantities of carrots, onions and potatoes day in and day out. The crew also had a record breaking kale and chard harvest on Monday, many hundreds of bunches. It was quite a long day so I want to give them a shout out for all their long hours and hard work this season.  It is amazing to think we have come through 17 weeks of deliveries already, and seen the season and the food change from the light greens filled boxes of spring all the way to these heavy boxes of winter squash, cabbages and bulk carrots. All this made possible through many many hours of hands on planting, tending, and harvesting. Once the summer CSA ends, there will be a slight down tick in the work load, so relief is in sight for all of us hard working folks. Though, within the next two weeks we will be planting next years garlic crop and having a gigantic potato harvest in which we bring in several tons of potatoes!

Speaking of bulk carrots, we had soo many in the cooler we just had to share the love. My kids like the little ones in their lunch boxes, but they are generally great all around and will keep for quite awhile in your fridge for cooking, juicing etc. You will also receive this week:

Spaghetti Squash: this large yellow football shaped squash is an excellent grain free substitute for pasta. It is very low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. Halve it and bake or steam it until tender. Then use a fork to tease out the long strands of flesh that can be used just like pasta. The squash itself will keep for many weeks if kept cool and dry. Here is a great article covering all aspects of Spaghetti squash from the food blog Quick Easy Cook.  https://www.quickeasycook.com/spaghetti-squash/

and

Leeks: this long and lovely member of the Allium family (onions, garlic and the like) is one of our star winter performers. They will stay alive through most winters here as long as the temperature dosen’t go below 10 degrees or so. They are much prized by chefs for their mild and tender flavor. To use them, first slice the whole thing vertically. Then fan out the many layers under running water to remove any trapped sediments. Slice off the tougher deep green tops, and use the white and light green parts in your recipes. Leeks will also keep for many weeks in your fridge crisper drawer. By peeling away outer layers, you can remove any discolored parts if you do decide to keep them for an extended time.

 

 

Have a great week,

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

 

 

Potato Leek Soup: Melt 3 tbsp butter in a soup pot over low heat. Add and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned about 20 minutes 2 large leeks, chopped. Stir in 1 1/4 lbs peeled and thinnly sliced yellow finn potatoes. Add 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer until the potatoes are soft about 30 minutes. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Shallots, Parmesan and Herbs: halve a med/large spaghetti squash and scoop out the seeds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash halves face down on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash flesh is tender. In a large sauce pan melt 1 ½ tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 2 diced shallots and 2 diced garlic cloves. Cook until softened. Stir in 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, and ¾ tsp chopped fresh rosemary and cook until fragrant about 1 minute. Add in 6 cups spaghetti squash that has been scooped from the rind and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley and 2 tbsp grated parmesan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6.

 

Spaghetti Squash with Feta and Sautéed Vegetables: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place a spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking pan. Bake for 30 min or until the squash is tender when pierced by a knife. Set aside to cool until it can be handled. Meanwhile heat 2 tbsp oil, add 1 chopped onion and sauté until tender. Add 1 minced clove of garlic and sauté for 2 min more. Add 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes, and cook only until the tomatoes are warm. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the spaghetti squash and place it in a large bowl. Toss with the sautéed vegetables, ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, ½ cup sliced black or kalamata olives, and 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil. Serve warm.

Cabbage Soup: In a medium stock pot over medium low heat, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 2 leeks, chopped, 2 medium onions, diced, 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic. Stir in and bring to a boil 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock. 2 cups water, 2 large carrots sliced, and 2 small potatoes peeled and diced. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are mostly cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in; 4 cups shredded green cabbage. simmer until the cabbage is wilted, about 15 minutes, adding a little water to cover if necessary. Stir in: 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled blue cheese.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #16

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Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #16

9/30/14

Large share: mixed red and gold beets, yellow finn potato, Czech black hot pepper, shallots, arugula, green cabbage, spaghetti squash, 1 pint cherry tomato, green leaf lettuce, garlic, rosemary

 Small share: mixed red and gold beets, fingerling potato, Czech black hot pepper, shallot, green beans, eggplant, spaghetti squash, garlic, rosemary

 

Dear CSA members,

Here we are at week 16. It’s amazing how the week’s fly by and suddenly the summer CSA is drawing to a close. I suppose it is the life of a vegetable farmer to have the summer blow by in a whirlwind of bountiful produce. It’s like go go go until the summer crops give out. Our fields are looking just like that after last week’s cold rains virtually shut down the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil and what is left of the pickling cucumbers. The high tunnel is still holding out with an abundance of red and cherry tomatoes as well as beautiful peppers and eggplant.

This week you will receive a bit of what is left of summery vegetables, as well as our first taste of winter squash and shallots. The eggplants are from the last of the field planting and do have some relatively minor blemishes. We were careful to limit it to those with only cosmetic flaws, and wanted to be sure the small share got eggplant one more time before the summer CSA is over.

Spaghetti Squash: this large yellow football shaped squash is an excellent grain free substitute for pasta. It is very low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. Halve it and bake or steam it until tender. Then use a fork to tease out the long strands of flesh that can be used just like pasta. The squash itself will keep for many weeks if kept cool and dry.

Shallots: Shallots are like onions and garlic, but their flavor is richer, sweeter, and more potent. They add great depth of flavor to sauces, soups, sautes and stews. Shallots can be used interchangeably with onions in a quantity about half that of onion.

Rosemary: This fragrant evergreen herb is used for seasoning a wide variety of dishes, particularly those of Mediterranean or Italian origin. Rosemary is excellent for seasoning stuffings, sauces, and compliments roast meats such as chicken and lamb. for cooking you will want to remove the leaves from the woody stems before chopping. If not used right away you can allow your rosemary to dry and use it for seasoning later by just leaving it out in a dry place.

Czech black pepper: this pepper is an heirloom from Czechoslovakia. it is very similar to a jalapeño in heat, but quite a bit sweeter. store in the fridge until ready to use.

I hope you enjoy this week’s box. Also, as we are winding down the summer share please remember to send in final payments and also to return any and all CSA totes to the drop sites.

 

Thank you,

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

 

 Blueberry, Beet, and Basil Summer Salad: cook about 4 cups halved gold and red beets in lightly salted boiling water 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool. Remove skins, cut into wedges. Finely shred the peel of one lemon; juice lemon. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the beets, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1 cup arugula, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 medium fennel bulb (trimmed, cored, and cut into wedges), 1 medium red onion sliced, and reserved lemon juice. For dressing: in a small bowl stir together 1 6oz carton plain greek yogurt, lemon peel, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, and 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper. Whisk in 1 tbsp olive oil. Serve dressing with the salad. Makes 6 servings.

 

Arugula Walnut Pesto: place in a food processor 3 to 4 cups fresh arugula, ½ cup walnuts, toasted, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, ½ cu olive oil. Process until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt.

 

Caramelized Shallots: Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium low. Thinly slice 6 to 8 oz of shallots and saute them in the oil for about 2 min. add 1 tsp salt and saute for 5 min more, or until soft. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent them from browning too quickly. Add 1 tsp sherry or apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp sherry or white wine, 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sautee for another 20 min, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to prevent sticking and burning, about a tsp at a time. Remove sprigs of thyme before serving.

 

French Shallot Soup: Prepare 2 batches caramelized shallots and/or onions (see above). Melt 2 tsp unsalted butter over med-low heat in a deep pan or dutch oven. Add the caramelized shallots and stir to warm through. Add 1-quart beef stock, at room temperature and 1 cup red or white wine. Simmer at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes. Near the end of cooking preheat the oven broiler. Divide the soup into 4 oven-proof bowls, and stir in 1 to 2 tsp cognac into each bowl. Gently float a thick slice of day old baguette in each and top with 4 oz slices of Gruyere cheese. Broil until golden and bubbly about 3 to 5 minutes.

 

Rosemary Roasted Potaoes: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter 1 ½ lbs potatoes and place in a bowl with 1/8 cup olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¾ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper, and 2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary. Mix to coat the potatoes. Dump into a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for at least one hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula to promote even browning. Remove from oven and serve.

 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Shallots, Parmesan and Herbs: halve a med/large spaghetti squash and scoop out the seeds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash halves face down on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash flesh is tender. In a large sauce pan melt 1 ½ tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 2 diced shallots and 2 diced garlic cloves. Cook until softened. Stir in 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, and ¾ tsp chopped fresh rosemary and cook until fragrant about 1 minute. Add in 6 cups spaghetti squash that has been scooped from the rind and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley and 2 tbsp grated parmesan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6.