Thursday, October 23, 2008

Newsletter week#21

More photos coming soon!

Red Springs Family Farm
October 23, 2008, Week #21

This week:
Lettuce Kohlrabi Baby Bok Choi
Tomatoes Peppers Garlic
Arugula Parsley Green Onion
Radishes Green Onions Mizuna
Sorrel Butternuts A Few Snow Peas
A sprig of Sage

The trip to Canada was great. Lulah traveled well (and we learned a lot about traveling with a toddler), and it was great to see family and friends. The leaves were in full color, a truly magnificent display. In our dream planning of the trip, we thought we might visit farms up there to see how things grow up north, but it turned out that visiting with the folks we knew and keeping Lulah well slept was enough to do.

It’s great to go away, then come home. An inch of rain fell and the gardens are in full swing – it’s really beautiful out here. Cover crops have sprouted and the cabbages are heading up. We picked the last of the ripe and green tomatoes and cleared them from the garden. This should really be the last of the sweet peppers, as well, though there will be another flush of hot peppers for those of you who love the heat. The crops to come are largely GREEN!

Those of you who were with us for the Spring will recognize the kohlrabi and mizuna. Mizuna is the feather leaves with white spines – a mildly peppery crisp green in the herb bag – nice in salads, and fine stir fried as well. Kohlrabi bulbs are Autumn’s cucumbers. Unfortunately, they’re not as prolific, but crisp and cool and versatile. Peel the green outer flesh off, then slice julienne, or grate the white bulb onto salad. Or do something like this:

Simple Sauteed Kohlrabi
2 medium kohlrabi bulbs, grated 1 tsp salt
¼ cup butter or light oil 1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme, chives, or sage

1. Mix the kohlrabi and salt in a colander and let stand for 30 minutes to drain.
2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
3. Stir in the kohlrabi. Reduce ht heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Increase the heat to medium, uncover the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Let stand for a couple minutes to let the flavors develop.

That one came from Farmer John’s Real Dirt on Vegetables, as did this piece of information on the history of choi:

Choi has been grown in China since the fifth century, and from there is was introduced throughout Asia. Obscure in Europe, choi later became a more commonly used vegetable when seeds arrived in the late eighteenth century. Chinese immigrants who moved to Australia during the Gold Rush brought oriental vegetables with them. When the rush for gold lost its luster, Chinese would-be gold miners became market gardeners growing choi and other leafy greens. Today choi can be found growing on all continents except Antarctica.

These Baby Bok Choi are just so pretty! They would be great just chopped, steamed, and topped with toasted sesame oil, butter, salt, or vinaigrette. The leaves from your radishes this week would also accompany them well in a stir fry. The snow peas would be nice in there as well, if you can resist eating them raw!

The sage is included this week to accompany the butternut squashes – they are good partners.

There are so many interesting things to be done with butternut squashes. And yet, they need very little treatment to be enjoyed. They are naturally sweet, and easy to bake and enjoy with butter and nothing else. They can be curried, made sweet, or savory. I think they make better pumpkin pie than most pumpkins these days – your Thanksgiving guests will never know the difference. However, since we still have time before Thanksgiving – you might try this WOW pizza recipe from Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables:

Butternut Squash Pizza
1 butternut squash ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
Olive oil ¼ cup grated gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper 12 springs of parsley
2 cloves of garlic 20 sage leaves
½ lemon pizza dough for one pizza

Preheat an oven to 400.
Slice off the top of the squash ½ inch under the stem, and slice just enough of the bottom to remove the flower stem; be careful not to cut into the seed cavity. Split the squash in half crosswise just above the bulge. Stand each half end up and carefully cut away all the skin. Cut each portion in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed and fiber from the lower half. Cut the quarters into ¼ inch slices. The upper portions will yield half moon slices, and the lower sections elongated C shapes.
Brush the slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange them in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-60 minutes, checking from time to time (roasting time varies according to moisture content and density of the squash). It is done when lightly browned and tender to touch.
Meanwhile, peel and chop fine the garlic and add to about ¼ cup olive oil. When the squash slices are done, remove from the oven. If you’ve got one, put a pizza stone in the oven and boost the heat to 450 to 500. (Do not put a regular pizza sheet in a hot oven!)
Roll out a circle of pizza dough, brush with the olive oil and garlic, and sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella and Gruyere. Arrange the slices of cooked squash over the cheese. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese melted.
While the pizza is baking, chop the parsley leaves. Fry the sage leaves briefly in hot olive oil, then drain them on an absorbent towel. When the pizza is done, garnish with sage leaves, chopped parsley, and a squeeze of lemon.
This is a very rich pizza, and is best served in small portions, as an appetizer.

For next week, sweet potatoes, and green tomato pie!

Thanks for sharing our harvest.

Your gardeners,
Paul, Coree, and Lulah

“Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.”

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