Wednesday, August 11, 2010

week 12

Red Springs Family Farm
August 12, 2010 week 12

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Potatoes Okra
Summer Squash
Cucumber or Eggplant Melons by choice
Herb bag: Basil Parsley Tulsi Thyme

Ah, another scorching week in August. This side of Macon County did not receive the torrential downpour we saw in Cookeville last Thursday, so we’re ready for another RAIN. Lulah is an excellent rain-dancer, when she’s focused. Anyone else with talents in that direction is welcome to send their foot-stomping this way.

The sweet corn is slightly shy of its peak. Next week will be the corn extravaganza! The upper garden is carrying on as well as it can. Eggplants are swelling, but have indicated a need for rain. Peppers and melons seem oblivious to everyone else’s suffering in the heat. They just keep rolling. Halona and Amish cantaloupes are in a blooming frenzy, and preparing to ripen another round of succulent fruit. The watermelons are struggling with pressure from the butternuts, the morning glories, and the raccoons, but they keep blooming too, so with luck we will have at least a trickle of melons coming. Though it seems early, acorn squashes are almost ready for harvest. Amazing how just when summer seems completely overwhelming, we are reminded of the reality of Autumn’s eminence.

We’ve laid drip tape in the lower garden to help the greens along. Often just laying out the drip tape helps summon a rain. The greens are out there, waiting for a drenching. Okra and summer squashes are thriving, and their beautiful flowers attract a beautiful diversity of insect life. This is just about the worst cucumber year we can remember. We’re grateful that they are still coming. Green beans are trying, but seem to be having some trouble with making fruit in the heat. We can’t win them all.

September’s cheese selection is Cheddar (either mild or aged) for $9/lb ($5 for ½ lb) and Asiago for $10/lb ($5 for ½ lb). The Asiago is not quite as hard a grating cheese as Parmesan, but still great for pesto-making. Please tell us what you want by next week (August 19). We will bring the cheese to the market September 2nd. If you are interested in a larger quantity of cheese, we can order 2 or 5 lb blocks of these varieties at a slight discount. Inquire if you’re interested.

To continue the food preservation notes from last week:
Says Lynne Rosetto Kasper of ‘The Splendid Table’: “Right now is the time to freeze fresh herbs for winter while they are cheap and prime. Just wash them well, drain well, strip leaves into heavy-duty plastic bags, press out all the air and seal. Rosemary and thyme can be frozen right on their branches. To use, don't defrost, just break off what you need.”

And some handy-to-know potato equivalents:
1 lb potatoes yields: 2 cups French fries, 3 cups sliced, 2 cups mashed or 2 ½ cups diced.

Potatoes were one of Coree’s most tolerable early pregnancy foods, so the next recipe, with a few modifications, is dear to her senses.

Cheesy Potato Spoon Bread (from Vegetarian Times)
4 cups mashed potatoes 1 cup all purpose flour 2 Tbsp butter or substitute
½ tsp onion powder Salt to taste ½ tsp ground pepper
4 large eggs, beaten ¼ cup minced fresh parsley (optional)
6 oz Pepper Jack cheese (Chipotle Colby?) 10 oz softened cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425. Butter a 2 qt. Soufflé dish or casserole.
2. If using cold mashed potatoes, heat them, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Put flour, butter, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne in mixing bowl, and pour boiling water over mixture. Using electric mixer on low, beat for 1 minute, and add very hot mashed potatoes. Beat again well. Add eggs, and beat again, until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Mix parsley, shredded cheese and cream cheese in mixing bowl. Scoop 4 cups of potato mixture into prepared casserole. Make well in center, and spoon in the parsley cheese mixture. Top with remaining potato mixture. Place casserole on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sprigs of parsley.

The yellow crookneck summer squash have arrived. Those fruits seem to ripen by the hour. Refrigerate unwashed summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. Before using, rinse the fruit under cool running water to remove any dirt or prickles; then slice off the stem and blossom ends. Slice into rounds, quarters, or chunks according to the specifications of your recipe.

Here’s a nice one that satisfies that southern-fried urge we sometimes get. You could probably combine okra into this recipe with good results.

Summer Squash with Crispy Cornmeal Coating (from Farmer John’s Cookbook)
1 cup cornmeal salt, freshly ground pepper, and other herbs to taste
2 medium summer squash, halved crosswise, then sliced lengthwise into ¼ inch thick strips
1 cup all purpose flour 1 egg beaten Olive oil, or virgin coconut oil

1. Mix the cornmeal with salt and pepper to taste in a shallow bowl (mix in any other herbs and spices you might like at this time as well – garlic and paprika sound good).
2. Working with one piece of squash at a time, coat it lightly in flour and shake off any excess. Next, dip the floured squash in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off, then dip it in the cornmeal and coat well. Set the coated squash aside. Repeat the process with the remaining squash slices.
3. Lin e a plate with a paper towel. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to thoroughly cover the bottom and heat over medium high heat. Transfer as many of the coated slices to the skillet as will easily fit and cook until they are brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the slices and cook until brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the cooked slices to the paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
4. Scrape off any leftover burning pieces of cornmeal form the skillet, add more oil if necessary and repeat the cooking process with the next batch of squash.
5. Season with additional salt to taste and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

As always, we thank you for your support this year and hope you enjoy this week’s harvest.
With best regards for your good health,
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

O thou who passest through our valleys in Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat That flames from their large nostrils! Thou, O Summer, Oft pitchest here thy golden tent, and oft Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair. ~William Blake

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