Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 12

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8-30-16

Large shares: carrots, red potatoes, red onions, summer squash, Italian parsley, beets, cauliflower, tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic

Small shares: carrots, red onion, summer squash, Italian parsley, cauliflower, 1/2 pint sungolds and 1 heirloom tomato, or 1 pint heirloom tomatoes, arugula

Dear CSA members,

The final week of August already! As I have iterated in the last couple of weeks  – the bounty of the harvest season is here. We are starting to have mature sweet and hot peppers as well as more quantities of eggplant and tomatoes. We eagerly await the arrival of sweet corn and watermelons in the next couple of weeks to come. We are a little later on those crops this year as there were early on  problems with mice eating the seeds as well as cooler overall temperatures.

Fruit trees around the farm are loaded with apples, pears, grapes and plums in an amazing way that I can’t say I have seen before. Trying to imagine attempting to process it all makes my head spin!  It seems every year I wait non-chalantly until the excitement to preserve sets in, and then I cant seem to stop myself! Interestingly, my canning and preserving fervor seems to set in just as my kids head back to school and I have a little more free space in my brain.

Fall is certianly in the air and we have gorgeous cauliflower and broccoli again. Last year we had very little of either of these crops with the excessive hot and dry conditions so we are glad to have them back in abundance.

Eggplant: In Italian it is known as “Melanzana”, which originates from it’s Latin name which translates to “Apple of Madness”. Whoa! This terminology is believed to have originated with the poisonous nature of some members of the nightshade family – which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. I assure you none of what is in your box is poisonous however! Eggplant and and like have been eaten around the world for hundreds if not thousands of years. Believed to have first been cultivated and eaten in India or China, with written accounts of it dating to the 5th century,  Eggplant didn’t make it to Europe until the 1500’s and wasn’t recognized as an edible food until the 1600’s.

Store Eggplant at room temperature and use up as soon as possible. Salting and then draining the cubed, sliced or halved fruit will help it to absorb less oil in cooking. According to the Joy of Cooking Eggplant goes well with lamb, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, cheese, cream sauces, oregano, marjoram, soy sauce and garlic.

Hopefully, small shares will get sweet pepper and eggplant next week!

Have a great week,

Asha

 

Red Curry with Eggplant and Sweet Peppers:

2 cans unsweetened Coconut Milk

2 to 3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste (see recipe below)

1 lb Eggplant (cut into bite sized pieces)

12 lime leaves

2 Cups vegetable stock

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp soy sauce

1 ½ tsp salt

1 lb firm tofu cut into chunks

1 sweet bell pepper cut into 2 inch strips

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Shake the coconut milk can well. Spoon out 1/3 cup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and releases its sweet fragrance, about 3 minutes.

Add the curry paste and cook for about 3 more minutes, mashing, scraping and stirring often to soften the paste and combine it with the coconut milk. Add the eggplant and stir gently to coat it with the curry paste. Add the remaining coconut milk, half the lime leaves, the vegetable stock, sugar, soy sauce, and salt and stir well. Bring to an active boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, just until the eggplant is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the tofu, the sweet peppers, the remaining lime leaves to the curry and stir gently. Let the curry return to the boil and then remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the cilantro leaves, and serve hot or warm over rice.

 

Home-made Red Curry Paste:

20 Ring of Fire chilies

1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

10 white or black pepper corns

3 stalks lemongrass

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup coarsely chopped shallots

2 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic

1 tbsp coarsely chopped, peeled fresh ginger

1 tsp grated lime zest

1 tsp salt

Stem the chilies and shake out and discard a lot of the seeds. Break into large pieces. In a small skillet over medium heat, dry fry the coriander sees, until they darken a shade or two, shaking the pan often, 2 to 3 minutes. Tip out into a saucer. Toast the cumin seeds in the same way, until they darkens and release their rich aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the saucer along with the peppercorns and then grind the spices to a fine powder in a mini-processor or a mortar and pestle. Set aside. To prepare the lemongrass, trim away and discard any root section below the bulb base, cut away the top portion, leaving a stalk about 6 inches long, including the base. Finely chop the stalk. Combine the chilies with the lemongrass and the toasted spices and the remaining ingredients in a blender. Grind everything to a smooth puree’, stopping often to scrape down the sides and adding a few tbsp of water as needed. Makes one cup.

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

Roasted Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Break 1 2 lb head of cauliflower into bite sized peices. Toss the cauliflower with 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 chopped cloves of garlic, and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2 tsp kosher salt and 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves and toss again. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Quick Pickled Beets: Combine 4 medium beets, scrubbed, trimmed, halved, and cut into ¼ inch slices. 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced. ¾ cup apple juice or water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, and a pinch of sea salt in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid into place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat by running cold water over the cooker in your sink. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. To serve, lift the beets out of the liquid with a slotted spoon. Serve warm or chilled. (from Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass).

Lemony pasta with cherry tomatoes: in a large bowl, whisk together the zest and juice of one large lemon, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp sea salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in ¼ cup finely chopped basil leaves, ¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, and 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes, and set aside. Cook 1 lb penne pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and immediately place the pasta in the bowl on top of the tomato mixture. Let sit for 1 minute to soften the tomatoes, then toss until well combined. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
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.
Arugula, Beet and Avocado Salad with Goat Cheese: Preheat oven to 375. In a small baking dish rub 1½ lbs medium beets all over with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the beets are tender. Uncover the dish and let the beets cool slightly. Peel the beets and cut them into 1-inch wedges. Meanwhile, spread ¼ cup pine nuts in a small baking dish and bake for about 7 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely. For the dressing: with a sharp paring knife peel 1 whole lemon, removing all the bitter white pith. Cut in between the membranes to release the sections; cut the sections into small pieces. In a small bowl, whisk the ½ tsp lemon zest and juice of the lemon with 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon pieces. In a large bowl toss 2 Hass avocados, cut into 1-inch pieces, and 4 cups lightly packed baby arugula. Toss with half of the lemon dressing and season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates. In the same bowl, toss the beets with remaining dressing. Spoon the beets over the salad, top with the toasted pine nuts and 4 oz shaved semi-firm aged goat cheese and serve.

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.