Thursday, August 25, 2011

week 14

Tomatoes Cucumber Sweet Peppers Potatoes Summer Squash Garlic

Watermelon Greens Zinnias Okra if you like

herb bag: Basil Sorrel

Late August, the walnut leaves start to spin off in gusts of wind. We're grateful for the cool nights to offset the hot days. We're still longing for a longer rain. Until then, the drip tape keeps drip drip dripping. At least the evenings are enjoyably cool now. We even dared to heat up the house with a homemade pizza, topped with lots of plum tomatoes and sweet red peppers under layers of basil, garlic, and fresh mozzarella. What a treat.

The fall gardens are the main work at hand now, and it feels like spring all over again. Paul and Branden are planting and transplanting hundreds and thousands of seeds and seedlings into freshly worked ground. It's a hopeful time. The seedlings are lovely and it feels good to be moving into a new season.

Next week is the #15. We will be three quarters through the main season. Time flies. If you're on a quarterly payment plan, please be ready to renew next week or the week after. Thank you for your support.

We only irrigate the lower gardens. Down here, the creek is handy enough to pull water with gravity and a small pump. In the upper gardens there's no water near enough to be efficiently brought to the field, so we have to rely on soil fertility, mulch, and the blessings of Mother Nature to see us through. Thus, the watermelons are smaller this year. These are Crimson Sweets. The next variety to harvest are an heirloom that we're trialing this year, named Ali Baba. The next sweet corn is begging for a good rain, and the sweet peppers are obviously perfectly contented.

Here's more summer greens. Some of you will be receiving the same greens we sent a couple weeks ago, (best sauteed with sesame or olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic) and a few of you will be trying out New Zealand Spinach, otherwise known as Tetragonia, or Warrigal. This plant is not related to spinach, but has similar qualities. It is more tolerant of heat and less of cold than spinach. It also has a lot of oxalic acid, which makes it feel weird and prickly on the tongue when eaten raw. Some folks don't seem to mind it much, but we prefer it cooked. Legend has it that Captain Cook and his crew relied heavily on Tetragonia while making long trips in the south Pacific.

To cook Warrigal greens, pull the leaves from the stems, swish them in water to wash, then submerge them in a pot of salted boiling water. Let them boil for 2 minutes for pasta or salad dishes and no more than 4 minutes for side dishes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. You can store the cooked greens for a day or two in the fridge before using them. The leaves have considerably more body and less of a melting texture than spinach.

Here's a recipe:

Aussie Alfredo with Warrigal Greens (off the web)

12 ounces tagliatelle or fettucine 1 pint heavy cream

1/2 c chicken stock or canned broth 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

2 c cooked shredded/diced chicken meat Salt and fresh ground pepper

2 c cooked warrigal greens (or spinach or chard leaves), coarsely chopped

1/2 c chopped toasted hazelnuts


Halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes tossed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Grated parmesan cheese.

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain.

2. While the pasta cooks, heat the cream in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half, stirring often.

3. Stir in the chicken stock, nutmeg, chicken, and greens. Heat until ingredients are warmed through. Mix in the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more broth if the mixture seems too thick.

4. Pour the pasta into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the hazelnuts. If desired, serve with the tomato salad sprinkled on top of the pasta to balance the richness of the sauce.

Buttery Patty Pan with Basil (adapted from the Food Renegade website)

your summer squash, sliced into ¼ inch slices ¼ to ½ cup melted butter

bunch of fresh basil, leaves finely sliced sea salt

Arrange the slices of squash around the bottom of a small casserole dish. Drizzle melted butter over them, and scatter some chopped basil on top. Lightly salt. Add layers of squash, basil, butter, and salt until your squash is all gone. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (until the squash is tender). (Coree contends that this could be done in a Dutch oven or deep skillet over low heat on the stove top, as well, perhaps with just a splash of water in the bottom to help keep it from sticking – we would also throw in a little diced or crushed garlic.)

We're hoping for another flush of eggplant and some more green beans soon. Send us recipes that you're enjoying this season (we will share them in the newsletter), or post them on the blog or facebook page.

Enjoy your food. Enjoy your life.

Thanks for being a part of our farm!

Paul, Coree, Lulah, Levon, and Branden

The grand essentials to happiness in this lfe are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” ~ Joseph Addison

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