August 18, 2011 week 13
Tomatoes Cucumbers Sweet Peppers Corn Cantaloupe Summer Squash Garlic
Beets White Potatoes Green Onion
Herb Bag: Basils Parsley Sorrel
It's been an exciting week out here. We've been participating in a farm group called CRAFT (referring to the craft of farming), and last Monday was our turn to host a farm tour. Our farm friends and their interns turned out in what seemed astounding numbers to us. They came from as far away as Louisville, and enjoyed a garden tour and then demonstration and discussion about a few of the more unique things we do. Paul showed the crowd our grafted tomatoes, solar battery charger, and how to save tomato seeds. A brave few went exploring in the cold creek, and we all enjoyed a lovely pot luck dinner, topped off with home-milked, hand cranked ice cream from our friends at Hill and Hollow Farm. Branden got some quality time with other interns (i.e. young folks); Coree got to chat it up with the farm wives; Paul enjoyed some serious farmer-guy time, and Lulah played with rough and rowdy farm kids until the day was done. It was a good exhausting day.
The cold snap has been great. Though it's still way too dry, the cooler temperatures protect the plants (and the gardeners) from completely frying in the field. The more temperature-sensitive plants have bloomed again and stand ready to set more fruit (tomatoes, eggplants). The watermelons had been taking the heat pretty hard, which is unusual for them. They seems to be making more fruits again now too. We hope to have Crimson Sweets in the van next week. The cool weather has slowed production on some of the mid summer crops like okra and squash, but we're confident that they will catch up soon.
The corn has seen some tough predation. We put an electric fence around the field from the time it tassled, but the raccoons and squirrels have broken through a few times. There is a conspicuous lack of nuts on the ground in the woods this year, and so the hungry animal population is exerting great pressure on a lot of crops. We're feeling fortunate to have been spared as much as we have. Corn ear worms are the organic certifiers of our corn crop. If they disturb you too greatly, we recommend taking a heavy knife and just chopping off the silk end of the corn before you shuck it. We also recommend that whatever happens, you cook this corn TONIGHT. Corn is best as fresh as possible, and we work hard to keep it fresh for you. Make the most of it and enjoy. Hopefully, there will be another flush of it in a few more weeks.
How about these peppers? This is a lot more than a peck of perfect peppers, and this is a good time to freeze some sweet peppers for the winter months. Chop them to whatever size and shape you enjoy cooking with, pop them into baggies and on into the freezer. They're a real treat for homemade pizzas, pastas, and stir frys when this season of plenty has passed. Keep in mind as well – a ripe red sweet pepper has THREE TIMES as much Vitamin C as an orange, and loads of beta carotene as well. As much as these plants love the sunshine, its no wonder!
Sweet Pepper and Lentil Soup
inspired by a recipe in Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook
2 Tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, or 2 leeks, chopped
3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon freshly purchased paprika or smoked paprika
1-3 sweet peppers, depending on their size, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup brown or black lentils, rinsed 5 cups broth or water
1 tsp salt P to taste 1-2 Tablespoons champagne or sherry or rice vinegar
Cook the onion in 1 Tablespoon oil over medium heat in a skillet until the onion/leeks begin to soften. Stir in paprika and allow it to cook for about a minute more.
Add the chopped sweet pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until everything begins to soften. Scrape all this into a slow cooker. Add the lentils and broth (or water) and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are completely soft, 7-9 hours.
Season the soup with S & P (more salt if you used water, less if you used purchased broth), and last Tablespoon olive oil. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of one of the vinegars, adding more if needed. Serve hot.
Fettuccini with Sweet Peppers & Pinenuts
1 lb package uncooked fettuccini pasta 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 3 large sweet peppers, cored, seeded and julienned
1/2 cup pine nuts 1/2 cup fresh parsley or basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, halved 1/4 cup capers, drained
1 tablespoon coarse salt or coarse sea salt black pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions: drain and return to pan to keep warm. In a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil. Add garlic and bell peppers (yellow, red & orange), and cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously. Add pine nuts and cook approximately 4 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Gradually stir in basil or parsley. Add olives and capers and heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a serving bowl, toss the sauce mixture with prepared pasta.
Pickled Beets (tangy and sweet refrigerator pickles)
4 cups cooked sliced or diced beets 5 cups water 1 tsp. salt
marinade: ½ cup lemon juice 1 cup vinegar ¼ cup honey
½ Tbs. Dill ¼ tsp mustard powder
Soak and chill the cooked beets in water and salt for several hours, then drain off the water. Prepare the marinade, mix with beets, and store overnight in the refrigerator. Serve next day.
Sweet Steamed Beets
4 cups raw beets 2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 Tbsp coriander powder
Slice or cube beets. Steam until tender (+/- 20 minutes), drain. Melt butter. Put beets in a serving dish and drizzle with butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle with coriander. Toss to coat evenly, and serve.
We hope you enjoy the harvest.
Paul, Coree, Lulah, Levon, and Branden
“Then only is our life a whole when work and contemplation
dwell in us side by side, and we are perfectly in both of them at once.” - Ruysbroeck