Thursday, August 26, 2010

week #14

Red Springs Family Farm
August 26, 2010 week 14

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Potatoes Okra
Eggplant Basil Pears
Melons, first come first serve Hot peppers, by choice

What a week! We’re grateful to have gotten off as easy as we did in that last flood. We’re still assessing garden damage. The summer squash and cukes took a hard hit, and the second half of the parsley row seems to have drowned. The ground still isn’t really dry enough to continue planting, but we’ve been clearing the ground of what is old, getting ready for the new greens of Fall. Considerable time was spent this week picking up winter squashes. The barn loft is stacked with baskets of acorns and butternuts now. We had never seen nor heard of butternuts splitting their skins from too much rain, as tomatoes and melons do, but this year it happened. It’s just not ordinary to get 11 inches of rain in August! There were still plenty of beautiful brown nutty squashes intact in the field. They will cure and sweeten up for a couple weeks before we begin to send them.

It’s been an amazingly busy week. We got the call from our neighbor on Thursday that the pears were ready to be picked, so we got up the hill as soon as we could on Friday and picked these beautiful pears. If they hit the ground, they bruise and don’t keep well. If they are picked straight from the tree, these Maxines and Magness (please don’t ask us which is which!) pears ripen into such succulent good fruits! Stock up on them while they last (we don’t have enough refrigeration to keep them for long) for $1 per lb.

Saturday some friends from Nashville came out to work and enjoy the weekend. Monday, Lulah had company that kept her mercifully occupied so Coree could get work done, and Tuesday our regular helpers were busy with picking up winter squash. Just after they left, a friend from eastern TN stopped by for an unexpected visit and helped Paul load the heavy squash baskets into the barn. Wednesday brings the arrival of Wilson, our trusty harvest helper, who sees us through the intensity of picking, counting, and packing your veggies each week. Whew!

Please take note: those of you on a quarterly payment plan – NEXT week is your last week paid for. Please bring the check for your last quarter either to the September 2nd or 9th pick up. 

Recipes this week are for some of the prolific plants we’re glad to be growing this year:

Simple Chicken Groundnut (Peanut) Soup or Stew (off the line)
3-4 lbs. of chicken pieces 2 onions (enough for 2 cups, chopped)
3-6 cups of water 1 ½ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
½ to 1 cup of creamy natural peanut butter (no sugar) a couple of Tbs tomato paste
1 8-oz can tomato sauce (or substitute fresh tomatoes) okra
ground red pepper to taste), or fresh hot chili pepper
(NOTE: a few garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or pressed, and a teaspoon or 2 of fresh grated ginger, a sprinkling of salt or seasoned salt and ground red pepper are nice options too)

(continued on back)
1) Remove skin and fat from chicken and put pieces into a heavy pot with a cup of the water. Peel and chop one of the onions and add them to the pot along with any additional seasonings (like a little salt, garlic, ginger, red pepper, etc.) and steam the chicken in a covered pot for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
2) Add the tomato sauce and paste, the rest of the chopped onion, the red pepper, and the remaining water (start with 4 cups for the soup). Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.
3) In a medium saucepan, ladle about 2 cups of the soup broth into the pan, and mix it with the peanut butter. Heat the broth and peanut butter mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the oil separates from the nuts and rises to the surface. This may take 15 or 20 minutes. NOTE: you can simply stir the peanut butter/broth mixture directly into the soup, cooking it separately somehow flavors the peanut sauce more, like browning would. Keep stirring or the peanut butter will scorch, and add a little more soup broth to it if necessary.
4) Ladle some of the soup into the sauce, stir it, and stir the mixture into the soup, taking care not to splatter yourself.
5) Add the okra, if cooking in the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the flavors blend and the chicken and okra are cooked. Add more water if you prefer a thinner soup. Check the seasonings and add more salt, red pepper, etc., to taste.

When this is prepared as a stew (thicker) it can be served over rice like a curry. Also, when serving this as a stew and for large numbers of people, I often debone the cooked chicken. There are several short-cut options, especially if you wish to use this as a first course/starter: use prepared chicken broth, add all the other ingredients but omit the chicken pieces, and simply add the peanut butter after mixing it with the hot broth. Use cooked okra or fresh chopped scallions as a garnish and instead of bread or rolls, serve the soup with mini-rice balls. If made a day ahead and reheated it seems to taste even better.

Bell Peppers Lemonly Dressed and Cumin-esque
This versatile recipe will add just the right amount of color to any dish in need of some visual pizzazz. What’s more, the lemony cumin in the peppers will pizzazzify the flavors on your plate. Angelic Organics Kitchen (adapted from Recipes from a Kitchen Garden). Serves 4

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil, divided 2 red or purple bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 green or yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced parsley 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon honey (optional) 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or red onion 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers; sauté, stirring until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
2. Combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, honey, and garlic in a large jar. With the lid tightly screwed on, shake the jar vigorously until the oil and vinegar have combined and thickened.
3. Toss the peppers and scallions or red onion with the vinaigrette in a large bowl; add the salt and season with pepper to taste. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour.

Thanks for eating with us. Have a wonderful weekend.
Paul, Coree, and Lulah

“Burn down the cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” ~William Jennings Bryan

No comments: