Monday, September 29, 2008

Newsletter week#18

Red Springs Family Farm
September 25, 2008, Week #18

This week:
Lettuce Kale Apples
Tomatoes Peppers – all shapes and sizes
Basil Arugula Parsley
Sorrel Garlic Nasturtiums

Leaves are twinkling and falling in the sun outside the window, layering the road and slowing the creek water over the rocks.

Good news has come from some of our share-holders – the Kincaid’s second child, daughter Quinn Rose Kincaid arrived Wednesday September 17 at 12:52 a.m. And, Randy and Jenny’s new little girl, Harper Moon, was born September 23. Two babies! We’re so happy for all of them and send special welcomes to little Quinn and Harper!

Eat these flowers tonight. Nasturtium do not keep well. They are a beautiful and peppery garnish to salads or whatevers. Just a seasonal treat.

Who can tell the difference between the Autumn tomatoes and the summer ones? The late tomatoes are the giants in the bunch – some of them striking pineapple variety – yellow with red streaks emanating from the blossom end. We wish there were more, but their placement has created a lesson in companion planting. I’d always heard not to put nightshades too close to corn, as they could share pests, but this is the first year I’ve found corn ear worms in the hearts of ripe tomatoes. Oh well. Our small farm has these limitations. There’s still enough tomatoes to be enjoyed, and sometimes, the worm leaves enough of the pineapple tomatoes to still make it worth eating. We hope you will enjoy these precious late garden jewels.

Time to remember greens. So good!!!

Here’s some information from our friends up at Angelic Organics:

Kale comes in blue-green, reddish green, and red varieties and may have flat or curly leaves. All varieties of kale have jagged-edged leaves and thick stems. Kale has a mild cabbage flavor and aroma when cooked. A longer cooking time I usually best, as it tends to bring out the natural sweetness of these greens. Kale is such a hearty vegetable that a little longer cooking shouldn’t result in a mushy texture. Complementary flavors for kale are caraway, dill, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, nutmeg, allspice, and coriander.

Just prior to use, swish leaves in a large basil of lukewarm water. After any grit has settled to the bottom, lift the leaves out carefully. If the sink is full of dirt or your leaf sampled tastes gritty, the greens probably need to be rinsed again.

How you prepare green for cooking can make or break a dish. It’s fine to leave the stems on small greens, but many green, kale included, have thick stems that cook more slowly than the leaves. To remove them, fold each leaf in half and slice out the stem. De-stem several leaves, then stack them up and slice them diagonally into 1-inch-wide ribbons. If you want to use the stems in your dish, slice them ¼ inch thick and begin cooking them before you add the greens.

Here are a couple of good uses for your kale….

Kale and Walnut Pesto (a contemporary spin on the classic dish)
This makes 1 cup.
¼ cup chopped walnuts 1 Tbsp. + ½ tsp. salt, divided
½ lb kale, coarsely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Freshly grated black pepper to taste

1. Toast the walnuts in a dry pan until they start to brown and become fragrant (careful, they burn quickly). Transfer immediately to a dish to cool.

2. Bring two quarter of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt, then add the kale. Cook until tender, no more than 10 minutes. Drain

3. Put the garlic, walnuts, and kale in a blender or food processor; pulse until well-combined. With the processor still running, poor in the olive oil in a steady, smooth, pencil-thin stream.

4. When everything is thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan, remaining salt, and pepper. Serve hot.

Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Garlicky White Beans from Mediterranean Grains and Greens
Serves 2-3 as a side dish (I would immediately double this recipe)
12 small to medium leaves of kale 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, + more for garnish
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced thick ½ cup cooking liquor from the beans
1 ½ cups cooked white beans 3 cloves garlic cooked in beans
Salt Freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove the center rib from each leaf and if the leaves are long, tear each into 4-5 inch lengths. Wash and pat dry. In a 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil, gradually add the leaves, and cook, stirring, until they wilt and sizzle in the hot oil, 2 minutes. Reduce the heat. Add the sliced garlic, cover and cook the leaves until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the bean broth by the tablespoon as needed, to keep the leaves from drying out.

2. Push the leaves to one side of the skillet; add the beans, salt, pepper, cooked garlic halves, and enough bean liquor to keep the dish juicy; cover; and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Obviously, this recipe assumes that you cook your beans from the dry state. If you don’t I recommend that you try it. They are so good. Soak 1 cup (or more) overnight, drain, then cook with bunches of raw garlic, and a spice bag that may contain: sprigs of thyme, slices of carrot, celery, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, etc. Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce to simmer and let it go for several hours until the beans are completely tender. Salt towards the end of the cooking. Keep the bean liquor and garlic; discard the spice bag.

We hope you enjoy the greens, and everything else as well!

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week.

Your gardeners,
The Entwistles

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