Thursday, August 30, 2012

week 15

Pole Beans      Tomatoes        Eggplant
Watermelon/Cantaloupe      Summer Squash        
Peppers           Potatoes          Garlic  Cukes    Okra
Herb bag:       Arugula            Basil (green and purple)       Parsley       Sorrel    Chives

“Without deviations from the norm, progress is not possible.”
~Frank Zappa

Given the diversity of life, it behooves us to experiment in the garden.  Sometimes the experiments create wonderful successes, and sometimes they create wonderful messes.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.  We encountered this reality while picking the Red Noodle, Kentucky, and Missouri Wonder Pole beans amidst the Indian corn and butternuts in preparation for this week’s basket.  It was nice to pick such beautiful beans standing up (picking long rows of bush beans squatting and kneeling can be a real chore.  The corn is tall with nice big ears.  Butternuts and squashes are ripening nicely.  All together they are a living tangled jungle of good food.  Some of the beans in the mix are STRING beans – old timey pole varieties with excellent flavor and nice long strings attached.

The pest pressure seems to be letting up in the cantaloupe and melon patch.  For awhile, we were racing the groundhogs and turkeys for each melon.  It is dis-heartening to find them pecked and eaten in the field.  The melons seem fairly well ripened now too.  We’ve heard some stories of a few un-ripe melons.  Sorry about that.  Keep trying – there are some real winners.

It’s great to see the arugula again.  Make a salad (oh we miss our salads!) with just arugula, toasted almonds or pine nuts and parmesan or feta cheese.  Dress it with olive oil, lemon juice, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  It’s strong, but so good.

Most of our okra this week came from Long Hungry Creek Farm.  Thank goodness for neighbors.  Ours seems to be picking up speed somewhat.  Since summer started so early, it seems late in the year now, but there’s still plenty of time for okra.

The nice news in the farmyard is that we finally have a few more chicks!  Two new ones hatched on Friday, along with a turkey chick (just one), and then Lulah and I found another new one Wednesday morning.  We’ve never heard of such long spacing between hatches in a bunch of eggs, but we’re grateful to see them still coming.  Chicks like company.

It is unfortunate, in a way, that Lulah’s newfound excitement about having her own farm stand is coinciding with the beginning of her first dance class (very exciting).  She is present mostly at the tail end of pick up time these days.  She will continue to bring fresh flowers and hopefully cherry tomatoes for the on-going goat fund.  Thanks for your support!

Next week we anticipate more peppers, less eggplant, and arugula again.  Perhaps there will be celery sticks, and swiss chard.  Please begin thinking about your intentions for the Fall extension.  If you know right away whether or not you’ll be joining us for the later season greens, sweet potatoes, and squash shares, please let us know.  We’ll have plenty.

Now, some recipes…
1/2 cup red or other quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh sieve, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning     1 pound assorted summer squash
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan plus 1/4 cup shaved with a peeler
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest                                     2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar                                                 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper                                                1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted                                          1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Bring quinoa and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is tender but not mushy, 12–15 minutes. Drain; return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover; fluff with a fork and let cool.
Cut squash into 1/8"-thick slices, some lengthwise and some crosswise. Transfer to a large bowl, season with 2 teaspoons salt, and toss to coat. Let sit until slightly wilted, about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.
Whisk grated Parmesan, zest, juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Combine squash, quinoa, parsley, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over; toss to coat. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Eggplant and Tomato Curry (from Curries Without Worries)
This dish runs hot, and a bit oily, but can be adjusted down with great effect.
3 medium tomatoes                 3 hot green peppers                 1 tsp ground turmeric             
½ tsp ginger powder               ½ tsp fennel seeds                   ½ tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves                                   1 cup water                             ½ tsp cayenne pepper             
salt to taste                              1 lb small eggplant                  1 cup oil
Gravy: Cut each tomato into 6 pieces. Place the tomatoes and all other ingredients except eggplants and oil in a 4 qt saucepan.  Cook on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, until tomatoes have cooked down a bit.  Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok for a couple of minutes.  Wash and wipe the eggplants dry so they won’t splatter in the oil. Cut in half long across, and into quarters lengthwise.  Add eggplants to oil and stir fry for about 5 minutes, until eggplants start turning a little reddish in places.  Pour eggplants and oil into the tomato mixture.  Stir a bit to cover eggplants with gravy.  Return saucepan to heat, and cook uncovered on medium high for another 5 minutes.

Green Bean Curry from Aruna, a Southern Belle (also from Curries Without Worries)
1 lb green beans, cut to 1 inch pieces                        salt to taste                 ½ cup water
2 Tbsp oil                    ½ Tbsp mustard seeds                       a few curry leaves
½ Tbsp grated fresh ginger    1 small onion, finely chopped                       ½ cup grated coconut
Bring beans, salt and water to a boil.  Cover, lower heat and cook for 10 minutes.  Drain.
In a 4 qt saucepan, heat oil on high.  Add mustard, curry leaves, ginger and onion.  Fry a couple of minutes.  Add beans and stir fry.  Stir in grated coconut.  Serve hot.

Be well and thanks for your support!                                                         Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

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