Thursday, September 9, 2010

week #16

Red Springs Family Farm
September 9, 2010 week 16

Lettuce Tomatoes Eggplant Acorn squash
Potatoes Garlic Peppers Beets
Basil & Green Onions Cantaloupes, as available
Hot peppers and Okra, if you like

We’re making okra optional this week because we know that you, like us, may be just about okra-d out. The peppers have made themselves somewhat more reasonable with the cool snap this week, too. They’re just gathering themselves up to make more. If you’re feeling pepper-d out, too, please remember to freeze your sweet peppers. They work great for pizzas, omelets, and pasta sauces in the winter. Just wash them thoroughly, cut them into the size you like, and store them in a labeled zip lock or freezer box. Break off the amount you want, whenever you want it, after fresh pepper season is long gone.

Autumn is certainly fast approaching. This week’s weather has been so crisp and comfortable. It’s been awhile since it was so pleasant to work outdoors. We’re grateful. The creek is cold now, though it doesn’t bother Lulah in the least, and we’ve been fortunate to find some perfectly ripe paw-paws floating downstream from an over-hanging tree. The paw-paw is the closest thing to a tropical fruit we have in Tennessee. We hope you’ve had a change to try one. We wish we could find enough to share – ask around the Saturday farmer’s market if you’re curious.

Dark, succulent cooking greens are growing strong, and we hope to be able to give you all a bundle soon. Herbs are experiencing a resurgence of growth, too. The winter squash are getting more delightful by the day. If you want to hold onto your acorns, keep them dark and dry, not too cold, and they’ll keep and maybe even get sweeter, for several months. Butternuts keep all winter if held at a steady temperature with not too much direct light. We hope to dig sweet potatoes this weekend or next. The rewards of seeing through a season of CSA changes can be so sweet. If you haven’t had these sweet potatoes before, you’ll soon understand.

Until we have the sweets, there are the beets! These are the last of them for the season. Some of the roots have taken on a funny hourglass shape. We suspect the great fluctuations in temperature and moisture have something to do with it. Here are Alice Waters excellent instructions for basic beets to be prepared for a salad:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets thoroughly and put them in a baking pan with a splash of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they can be easily pierced through with a sharp knife. Uncover and allow to cool.
Peel the beets and cut off their tops and the bottom tails. Cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size; sprinkle generously with vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if the beets are at all bitter. Do not add any oil until the beets have sat for about ½ an hour and have had a chance to absorb the flavor of the vinegar. The beets will never be as good if the oil is added too soon. The vinegar brightens and accentuates the beet flavor; the oil should be added sparingly, for balance only. Adjust the seasoning. Prepared this way, the beets are ready to be combined with other ingredients in salads. A few suggestions:
Beets, sherry vinegar, orange zest, and tarragon, with the option of some crushed garlic.
Beets, balsamic vinegar, shallots and toasted walnuts.
Beets, white wine vinegar, and chives; with smoked fish, cultured cream and lemon juice.

If that seems nice and all but doesn’t sound like anything your kids will eat, go look at the blogsite for the chocolate beet cake recipe. There’s not enough room to post it here. They’ll never know what hit ‘em. Yum.

If you’re tired of making pesto, we hope you’re freezing or drying your basil. If that doesn’t even appeal to you, we can thank Angelic Organics up in Chicago for this recipe, too:

Basil-Garlic Cream Cheese
The possibilities for this classic, creamy dip-spread-sauce are endless. You can even stir it into warm tomato soup. Vary the texture and flavor by changing the amount of olive oil or by using the oil from preserved sun-dried tomatoes or anchovies, or experiment with using cottage cheese, ricotta, or yogurt cheese in place of the cream cheese. It’s fresh basil—you can’t go wrong.
Makes 1 1/3 cups

8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. (You can also do this in your food processor.) Transfer the herbed cheese to a small dish and put it in the refrigerator to let the flavors develop for about 1 hour.

As for eggplant, you may want to know some storage tips: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.

Broiled Eggplant (from The Real Dirt on Vegetables)
oil for greasing the baking sheet mayonnaise
eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

1. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Spread mayonnaise sparingly on both sides of each eggplant slice, then dip the slices in the grated Parmesan cheese, thoroughly coating both sides.
3. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the slices and broil until golden brown and crunchy on top and the eggplant is soft, about 3 minutes more.

Acorn squashes this week are Paydon’s Heirloom. They are the golden delicious of the acorns. For a decadent treat, try them stuffed: cut off the top, or cut in half, scrape out the seeds, and add apples or pears, walnuts, butter, a few raisins, more butter, and cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake them in a medium hot oven until the squash is nice and soft and maybe drizzle some honey on top after they’re done. They’re also nice JUST baked and topped with butter, salt and pepper. These are the simple tastes of fall.

Thank you for eating with us ~ Have a great weekend.
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

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