Thursday, October 27, 2011

week 23

Lettuce Green Peppers Garlic
Sweet and White Potatoes Butternut
Pac Choy Green Tomato Fun Jen Cabbage
herb bag: Cutting Celery Arugula Chives
Sorrel Chickweed

We are not by any means complaining about the weather – just commenting on how interesting it is that we've had three weeks of rain on Thursdays now! Hasn't it been amazingly beautiful weather?

We've enjoyed a busy week, making the most of our last few days with Branden. We've hauled in a couple dump truck loads of manure to compost, and laid more of the garden into cover crops for winter. There were a few more cowpeas kicking around that Lulah helped bring in. We also enjoyed a farm visit at Hill and Hollow Farm up in Kentucky. Always a pleasure to see like-minded friends succeeding and thriving in their craft. It's been a good time.

There are still SOOOOO many vegetables in the garden. Next week is the last week of our Fall Share. We're having a family get-away for a week or so after that, but will definitely be willing and able to bring more greens into town at the end of November and into December (broccoli!). If you are enjoying these greens, rest assured that we'll be back with more.

Chickweed is a weed, and chicks do love it. We love it too. It's the stemmy succulent little green in your herb bag. It's taste is green and not remarkably spicy. It's a nice crunchy green and very good for you. Our herbalist friend swore by it for warding off flu in flu season. Throw it in your salad or put it on sandwiches.

Fun Jen is like a Chinese Cabbage crossed with a ruffley lettuce. Technically, it is in the same family as Bok Choy. It is easy to use as a salad green, and needs only a couple minutes of cooking to enjoy hot. Fun Jen also works well as kim chi. Wrap it tight in a grocery bag and it will keep well in your fridge. Napa Cabbages come next week. It's Kimchi time!

Let's load you up with recipes this week. One came from Martha Stewart (amazing cache of recipes on that website), and more from Sapelo Farm in Georgia (also a great selection of farm fresh recipes on their website).

Arugula and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
5 large potatoes, peeled, quartered 1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups whole milk 5 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 lb arugula, stems removed, cleaned

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes.
Drain. Return potatoes to stove. Add butter; mash potatoes to desired texture.
In a skillet, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat. Add goat cheese.
Add milk mixture to potatoes and stir well. Stir in arugula and salt and pepper to taste.
Chinese Cabbage Stir Fry
4 ounces medium flat rice noodles 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 head Chinese cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), shredded (8 cups)
8 ounces ground pork 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp finely grated peeled ginger 4 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/4 cup chopped fresh, cilantro
2 limes, halved Cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; stir, and remove pot from heat. Let stand until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add half the cabbage. Sear, pressing with a wooden spoon, until slightly wilted and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside. Repeat with remaining cabbage.
Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining tablespoon oil, the pork, garlic, ginger, and white parts of scallions. Cook, stirring constantly, until pork browns, about 1 minute. Stir in fish and chili sauces. Toss in rice noodles and seared cabbage. Add soy sauce to taste. Remove from heat, and add green parts of scallions and the cilantro. Squeeze limes over noodles. Garnish with cilantro, and serve with lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Sesame Soy Dressing
1/4 cup mayo 1 T Sesame Oil
1 T Soy Sauce 2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar or any other White Vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic

Mix all ingredients well and serve over Fun Jen, another Bok Choy, or lettuce.
If the sesame oil is very fragrant you could possibly skip the mayo, and add a dash of sweetener. A garnish of cashews or almonds would set this off nice, too.

And this just sounds SO good: Winter Squash Mac and Cheese
1 pound macaroni Salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
1 medium butternut squash, roasted and then peeled and pureed
1 cup cream or half-and-half 2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.
In the meantime, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Cook the onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook 1 to 2 more minutes.
Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth.
Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a simmer.
Stir in cheeses and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings. Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Serve.

Enjoy your food! With warm regards ~ Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” - Wendell Berry

Thursday, October 20, 2011

week 22

Lettuce Green Peppers Zucchini
Sweet and White Potatoes Garlic Green Beans
Big Bok Choy Tomato Red Turnips Butternut
herb bag: Basil Parsley Arugula Nasturtium Chives

Branden sez ~ This is a good basket if you like FOOD.
Speaking of Branden - this is Branden's last week with us. He'll be leaving next Thursday to begin his hike down the Appalatian Trail toward his home in Georgia. We wish him all goodness in his future travels and thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his dedication and hard work this summer. Branden has logged countless hours in the gardens this year, played tirelessly with Lulah and Levon, and kept things going and growing during the weeks of our spinal emergencies. Think of Branden with gratitude.

The frost is coming. The wind has picked up and the clouds are moving out. It will be cold tonight. We spent yesterday scurrying to harvest everything that wouldn't make it. Eight bushels of beautiful green peppers came down the hill. We picked a lot of beans, but covered the row with a couple layers of remay with the hopes of pulling them through for one more picking. Tomatoes and basil we're letting go. All the greens will be OK, in fact, we look forward to the sweetness of Fall brassicas after a frost.

We did pull all the Nasturtiums, and you've got a nice handfull of leaves in your herb bag. Spanish conquistadors brought Nasturtiums back from South America in the 1500s. They spread across the Old World, and were no doubt brought back to the NewWorld too. We've not given you enough leaves to make this recipe, but you could use basil, arugula, AND nasturtiums to make a very intensely flavored green spread.

Nasturtium Pesto
Into a food processor or blender, put the following ingredients:
4 cups packed nasturtium leaves 3 to 5 cloves of garlic 1 and 1/2 cups olive oil
2 drops Tabasco sauce 1 cup walnuts Process the mixture until smooth.

Green Peppers – store them in a paper bag in your crisper, and chop up and freeze what you can't use right away. No blanching necessary! Here's a fun way to use some peppers...

Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole
2 teaspoons olive oil 1 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
Large eggs Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan 4 slices multigrain bread, toasted
8 cups mixed salad greens
In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add bell pepper, then crack 1 egg into the middle of each pepper ring. Season with salt and pepper and cook until egg whites are mostly set but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently flip and cook 1 minute more for over easy. Sprinkle with Parmesan and place each egg on a slice of toast. Toss salad greens with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper; serve alongside eggs.
Aren't the turnips and bok choy grand? We're so glad to be able to share them.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy turnips is brined. Here's how:

Pickled Turnips
Dissolve 2 to 3 Tablespoons salt (preferably sea salt) in a quart of filtered water.
Trim and wash the turnip bulbs. Slice them to your preferred thickness. We generally cut the bulbs in half lengthwise before slicing them into half moons. Fill a mason jar (quart or pint) with the sliced turnips and pour the brine over them. Cover loosely and leave on a shady counter for a few days to ferment. If you use a screw top lid on the jar, be sure to 'burp' it at least once a day to release the gases that build up. Notice the beautiful deep reddish color the turnips turn. After a few days, store the jar in the fridge and enjoy. We like to eat these with hummus, tabbouli, and other middle eastern dishes. They will last almost indefinitely in a cool dark place. We're still enjoying the turnips we put up to ferment last Fall!

Kale and Bok Choy Slaw with Spicy Sesame Ginger Dressing
(from Raw Food Revolution – a good complement to any Asian inspired meal)
Spicy Sesame Ginger Dressing
¼ cup tahini 1 Tbsp water 1 Tbsp light miso
1 Tbsp lemon juice 1 Tbsp agave or honey 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp onion powder ¼ tsp powdered mustard ¼ tsp salt
1 crushed clove garlic pinch of cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.

2 cups kale leaves, firmly packed, cut into thin ribbons
1 ¾ cups thinly sliced bok choy, packed 1 tomato, finely diced
1 apple, finely diced ½ cup mung bean or lentil sprouts
1 ½ Tbsp finely diced red onion
Place kale in a large bowl and massage it well for a few minutes to soften. The kale should take ona cooked appearance and reduce dramatically in volume. Add the remaining salad ingredients to the kale. Then add the dressing and toss well. Kale and Bok Choy Slaw is best served within 3 hours, but it can also be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. The slaw will release some liquid when stored but it will still taste good.

The abundance of this week's basket serves as a reminder of what this whole garden-share thing is about. Your commitment, to pick up baskets of whatever size and selection we have, serves us all. We believe that the current large scale commodified agriculture system is a blip on the screen of history, and we hope that we can be part of the way through into a healthier future.

We hope you'll all stay warm and enjoy this shift in the weather.

See you next week!

Paul, Coree, Lulah, and Levon

“Tools were made, and born were hands,
Every farmer understands.”
~William Blake

Thursday, October 13, 2011

week 21

Levon managed to delete my original newsletter, so this is round two - not quite as inspired and a little more hurried! Nonetheless - this weeks' harvest:

Lettuce Pac Choy Green Peppers

Zucchini Sweet and White Potatoes Garlic

Green Beans choice of NZ Spinach or Yokatta Na

herb bag: Basil Cutting Celery Arugula Nasturtium

Fall weather – cool and damp – rainy this morning (we're glad it doesn't rain too often on Thursday mornings!) - so nice for cooking, baking, roasting, making big pots of soup, kicking leaves, planting garlic. Beautiful Fall.

We're watching the long range forecast carefully these days. It's time to start selling basil plants. If you haven't put up pesto in your freezer, here's your chance. We have regular green Genovese plants, and Purple Ruffles, too. The Ruffles make an INCREDIBLE pesto, tho the plants are not as large an robust. They are $3/plant. Let us know of your interest.

In other news – the chocolate will be with us next week. You can place an order in advance or just take your chances at the market. One pound of chocolate comes in pint jars – they are $15 each. Nearly a .4 lb comes in a little plastic deli tub for $6.

Just a reminder – if there's too much food for you – freeze some for later. Greens beans get blanched for 4 minutes, then cooled and bagged. Greens need only short blanch – 1 to 2 minutes, before freezing.

The nasturtiums are the round leaves in your herb bag. They don't look like anything else – very different. They're pungent and complement a complex salad.

We've been roasting our potatoes and sweet potatoes lately. It's so good and easy. Here's how – cut up your potatoes and sweet potatoes into fairly regular sized cubes – whatever size suits you. Toss them in a large bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, and whatever herbs and spices you like. Use just enough olive oil to coat the potatoes, but not so much that it drips off them soggy. Pour them into a baking pan, not too thick, and roast in a fairly hot oven – 450-475 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until they're golden brown and soft to poke with a fork. Turn them a couple times while baking so one side doesn't over-brown.

Soup weather is here! Love it...

Yokatta Na works great in a soup, so simple. Slice the leaves into thin threads and put them in the bottom of the soup bowl. Pour piping hot soup over the greens and just let them cook in the bowl. It works nice with miso or other light broths, and makes a nice surprise for the soup-eater in a heartier stew.

The New Zealand Spinach will melt well with a sweet potato soup. I found this one on-line and adapted it to our purposes:

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced 1 celery stalk, diced

2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 1/2 cups brown lentils

1 quart vegetable broth 2 cups water

2 cans (15 ounce) diced tomatoes 2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper, to taste 2 cups chopped fresh spinach (NZ works)

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender and garlic is light brown in color. Add celery, and sweet potatoes. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, and water. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Cook on medium-low heat for about 35-40 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

3. Add the fresh spinach and stir. If necessary, season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and serve warm.

And another:

Creamy Choy Soup

1 Tbsp light frying oil ½ cup chopped scallions, divided

3 cloves minced garlic 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 lb choy (any kind) 1 large potato, diced

3 cups vegetable stock or water ¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper hot pepper flakes

1 tsp toasted sesame oil 2 Tbsp sour cream

1) Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Set aside a couple tablespoons of scallions fo a garnish. Add the remaining scallions, garlic, and ginger to the pot. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2) Add the choy and potato. Pour in the stock or water and add the salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes to taste. Increase the heat and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from heat. Stir in the toasted sesame oil.

3) Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree. Ladle soup int individual bowls.

4) Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped scallion.

Enjoy right away.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful seasonal harvest with us. We hope you enjoy your meals.

Best regards from our home to yours!

Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

Wendell Berry

Thursday, October 6, 2011

week 20

Kale Tennessee Pumpkins Green Peppers Sweet Potatoes Siciliano Garlic

Lettuce Tat Soi Potatoes

herb bag: Basil Sorrel Parsley Chives

Zinnias Hot Peppers

Contrary to our usual advise about your weekly harvest – DO NOT EAT THESE SWEET POTATOES TONIGHT!

Sweet potatoes need to cure. Place them in a warm dry darkish place and let them sit with themselves for a week or so, then enjoy them. They will be very enjoyable by then. This variety of sweet potato has been grown in this part of Tennessee for over one hundred years. We have found it to be far superior in flavor to grocery store sweets. It helps that they grow well here too. For those of you who are not joining us for the Fall Extension, we hope the sweet potatoes will be a tasty reminder of your time with us.

This kale is also a local original. Our friends saved the seed from some crossed up some brassicas twenty-something years ago and over time this kale green has become the child of that experiment. It does not have the same thick leaves associated with many kales so it cooks more quickly. We like to massage it into our lettuce salads, too. Bruising it makes it more receptive to dressings. After the first good frost, all kales become sweeter. We think these are pretty good even before the frost.

The Asian green this week is tat soi. Isn't it beautiful? It can be used like spinach. Both the tat soi and kale pair well with beans in a soup (think of white beans and tomatoes with oregano and kale in a hearty stock – look up Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Cooking for details on that.)

Here's a recipe to help with the greens this week:

Garden Blend Soup (from Raw Food Revolution) yields 2 ½ cups, 1-2 servings

¾ cup water ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, or chopped ½ an orange

3-4 cups chopped packed kale leaves ½ an apple or ½ small cucumber, peeled chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro or basil leaves 1 ½ Tbsp light miso

1 ½ tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice ½ clove garlic

¼ red jalapeno chile or pinch cayenne ½ green onion (optional)

¼ cup sunflower seeds, soaked 1 hr, rinsed and drained OR ½ ripe avocado, chopped

¼ cup mung bean sprouts or seasoned pumpkin seeds as garnish

1) Combine all ingredients except sunflower seeds and garnish in blender or food processor and process until smooth.

2) Add sunflower seeds and process until smooth.

3) Garnish each serving with sprouts or seeds and serve immediately.

(You can use a variety of vegetables in this soup, and use hot water for a warming soup on a cool day. A hearty serving of this soup provides 17 grams of protein, abundant Vits A, B (except B12), C, and E, as well as ¼ the required calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc for the day.)

Other fun goodies in your basket today include the Tennessee Pumpkins. They're not as large as they have been in years past. This hasn't been the best squash year for anyone, even our best winter squash growing friends over at Long Hungry Creek Farm. Nonetheless, the pumpkins are a treat. They are very good eating, and make nice decorations and carving pumpkins if you want to hang onto them that long.

We're not jiving, but we are chiving! (Sorry – I can't help myself sometimes.) The chive patch sits still all summer, looking pretty awful, then suddenly comes back into beautiful production when the weather snaps cold. They lay down still for the winter then bunch up again real nice in early spring, before we start deliveries.

Here's a recipe to help with the up coming flu season – it's seriously garlicky – but Lulah will still eat it, with a little red sauce to temper it.

The One, the Only, the Greatest Garlic Spaghetti (from Passional Vegetarian

8 oz spaghetti or fettucine 1 raw large egg, preferably free range

7-8 cloves garlic, peeled 3-4 Tbsp butter softened

¼ -1/3 fresh grated parmesan 1 tsp dried basil (or more fresh!)

salt and fresh ground pepper crushed red pepper and/or bacon bits to garnish

1) Bring a large pot of water to vigorous boil. Drop in the pasta.

2) As the pasta cooks, warm a serving bowl.

3) Combine the egg, garlic, butter, parmesan, basil, a little salt, and a lot of pepper in a food processor. Buzz, pausing to scrape down the sides, until a thick paste is formed.

4) When the pasta is done, drain it but do not rinse. Quickly transfer to the warmed bowl and dollop it ith the garlic paste. Toss like wild adding a little more pepper and maybe a dash or two more salt.

5) Sit down and eat ASAP, passing the red pepper, veggie bacom and if you like additional parmesan and a peppermill.

I know we say this every year, but what a year! Each season has it's own flavor. We weathered more personal physical challenges than anticipated this year (not that anyone ever anticipates having a bad back!) and the usual ups and downs of so hot and too wet, so hot and too dry. We missed the corn, but sure enjoyed the tomatoes. We're grateful that a few of you came in mid-season to help eat those up.

At the season's close, there are landmarks – the garlic bed is ready to plant, sweet potatoes are harvested, cover crops are sown, Levon is taking baby steps, and Lulah has lost her first tooth. Thank you for sharing the ride through the gardening year.

Whether or not you are sticking with us into November, if you need an extra bag of lettuce or kale, some squash, potatoes, or garlic, please drop us a line – we'll be glad to work with you. Also, the homemade chocolate will be coming in a couple weeks. Let us know if you want some. Prices are: $15/lb (glass pint jar) or $6 for a .4 lb tub. The only ingredients are cocoa beans (fair trade from a small women's cooperative in Nicaragua), organic coconut oil, and organic agave nectar. It doesn't get much better than that.

We're grateful to our family and friends for supporting us and our growing ventures, and grateful to you for allowing us to be...

Your gardeners,

Paul, Coree, Lulah, Levon, and Branden