Thursday, November 29, 2012

the end of november

Fun Jen Chinese Cabbage      Kale     Yokatta Na
White Potatoes           Seminole Pumpkins       Garlic
Herb bag:      Sorrel     Chickweed     Parsley              Dill         

It’s been cold, and the garden is flattening out.  The plants get closer to the ground.  Deep green leaves turn a little purple.  Growth is slow in the short days, but the flavors are more intense.

We’re scaling back now.  There’s more food than we anticipated having in the garden, but it’s best not to pick things when they’re frozen, and some of the basic crops are taking longer to regenerate now.  If you want veggies, watch for an email on Mondays.  We’ll aim for every other week or so, pending the weather, and as supplies last!

The little greens with little tiny leaves in your herb bag are Chickweed.  It grows wild around the garden.  This time of year, it is a succulent bright green.  It is fresh on the palate, nice on sandwiches and in wraps, excellent on salads, even do-able as a pesto or tabbouli green.  By Spring, it will be thick with stems, covered in white flowers and tiny seeds that propel themselves out and around the garden as we walk through, insuring another flush crop next Fall.  Wild greens are really good for you, and few are as palatable as Chickweed.

The shiny oval leaves are Yokatta Na – steam, stir fry, or slice thin in salad.
Fun Jen is light green and lettucey – same as Yokatta Na – try a variation on slaw.
Kale is matte, not shiny, and dark green with round thin ribs – steam, or fry with garlic. Yum.

Some fun with pumpkins or squash:
Crusted Pumpkin Wedges with Sour Cream (from Plenty)
1 1/2 pounds pumpkin (skin on)                              1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons dried white breadcrumbs                   6 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme                    Grated zest of 2 large lemons
2 cloves garlic                                                             Salt and white pepper
1/4 cup olive oil                                                         1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped dill

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the pumpkin into 3/8-inch-thick slices and lay them flat, cut-side down, on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
2) Mix together in a small bowl the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, half the lemon zest, the garlic, a tiny amount of salt (remember, the Parmesan is salty) and some pepper.
3) Brush the pumpkin generously with olive oil and sprinkle with the crust mix, making sure the slices are covered with a nice, thick coating. Gently pat the mix down a little.
4) Place the pan in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender: stick a little knife in one wedge to make sure it has softened and is cooked through. If the topping starts to darken too much during cooking, cover loosely with foil.
5) Mix the sour cream with the dill and some salt and pepper. Serve the wedges warm, sprinkled with the remaining lemon zest, with the sour cream on the side.

Be warm, keep well, and enjoy your veggies.                              Best regards from the Entwistles

Thursday, November 15, 2012

week 24

Lettuce Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash (Cushaw)
Fun Jen Chinese Cabbage Collard Greens Kale
White Potatoes Acorn squash Garlic
Herb bag: Celery Parsley Dill

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ” ― Denis Waitley

Giving Thanks. We're grateful for the awesome abundance that continues to pour forth from the soil of this little hollow. It's been a pleasure to work the ground and get to know you all this season. We hope that the food we've brought to town has served to bring health and general deliciousness into your life this year. Be well!

We're taking a week off from veggie delivery next week – Happy Thanksgiving. There's still more food in the garden than one family can possibly eat this winter, so we will continue bringing it to you until the weather and supply slow us down. Look for an email on the Monday or Tuesday after Thanksgiving for details.

Another experimental garden squash greets you this week. It resists vine borers, couldn't care less about drought, and may have been cultivated in the Americas for as many as 5,000 years (THAT'S some history). This is the Tennessee Sweet Potato, Cushaw, Green Striped Bell, and many other names. We were initially attracted to its name because we so love sweet potatoes. Upon reading the fine print, and cooking one of these monsters, we're not at all sure why they received that name. When we search for specifics about it's eating qualities, we find a mixed bag. Some folks think these squash are for decorative purposes only. They are dramatic. AND, then there is a deep Southern tradition of using Striped Cushaw, or whatever we want to call them, in place of pumpkins in pie or sweet butter. That's two very distinct opinions about what to do with a squash. That said, we worked with the Cushaw this week and were pleasantly surprised at how nice a pie it makes. The color is lighter, and flavor is milder than butternut, our usual favorite pie squash, so the flavor of the spices, and even the sweetener (we use sorghum) comes more into play. At least, you can create a wonderful decorative side or centerpiece from this squash. At most, you can roast it, make soup, pie, and freeze some squash flesh to enjoy later.

It is interesting to contemplate that as recently as one hundred fifty years ago folks, by and large, weren't always making food decisions based solely on taste. How well a food grew in their backyard had a whole lot to do with how much of it was eaten. When you've got a cow to milk, young'uns to feed, and a fire to tend, picky vegetables fall by the wayside. Those crops that don't demand so much tending become highly favored. Seeds didn't fly in airplanes yet, so we were also more bound to what had migrated en masse with different peoples.

Greens this week include Fun Jen – the lettucey leaf Chinese Cabbage. It makes a fine addition to salad. You might want to lean on it to help stretch out this lettuce – there won't be more lettuce coming for quite awhile! Fun Jen also stir fries just fine.

Collard Greens. These are like the meat of the brassica family. The dark green round leaves are thick and full. Traditionally, these are made with bacon grease. If that's not your thing, I recommend coconut oil, tamari, and garlic. Yummmmm.

To store your greens, wrap them tight in a plastic bag (they really don't mind) and keep them in your crisper drawer. You can keep these big chinese cabbages in a cooler on your back porch now that it's cool weather.

Last night was the coldest so far in this cold snap. It was 22 degrees down here this morning. The celery was still frozen when we harvested it. It's not clear how well it will recover. It should be good at least for use in soups and turkey dressing.

Usually my recipes are about the food in your basket. It only makes sense, of course. But with Thanksgiving coming, my mind is wandering. I want to share this pie with you. It is an excellent change from the old standard pies. I wish we could grow cranberries down here; we would send them to you for this recipe. Maybe we should make the hollow into a bog . There's a winter project!

Cranberry-Pear Pie (from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions)

1 recipe pie crust (2 rounds) 12 oz cranberries
1 cup maple syrup 6 large pears
4 ½ tsp arrowroot dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie crust dough and reserve the rest for making lattice. Place cranberries and maple syrup in a saucepan. Peel and core pears and cut into ½ inch pieces, adding to maple syrup as you cut. Bring syrup to a boil and cook, stirring, for several minutes until cranberries begin to pop. Add the arrowroot mixture and cook another minute more, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly. Pour into pie shell. Make a lattice to cover the pear mixture and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Feast well and enjoy thinking grateful thoughts.

We hope to see you soon.

Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon Entwistle

Thursday, November 8, 2012

week 23

Lettuce                Green Peppers               Green Tomatoes
Bok Choy              Mixed Radishes                Kale
Sweet Potatoes           Seminole Pumpkins      Garlic
Herb bag:      Cutting Celery  Curly Parsley     Dill      Sorrel   

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ―  Meister Eckhart

As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for successful garden experiments.  This new squash is an experimental variety for us this year, and we are well pleased.   Meet the Seminole Pumpkin.  This pretty little pumpkin is a Florida native (like Coree), and was cultivated and used extensively by early native Floridians.  It tolerates drought and wet conditions and has few pests.  The native people used it dried, but it can be baked, boiled, steamed, or fried.  The texture is creamy, not stringy, and the flavor is sweet and nutty.  It makes a fine pie, and don't forget to toast the seeds.  It was almost lost, but has made a come back thanks to the recent surge in heritage seed projects.  We had wanted to try this one for a couple seasons but struggled to find room for it in the garden.  The vines grow VERY long, and the squash can cross with butternuts, which we really don't want to do.  This year was no different.  We started a few, but couldn't settle on a good place to plant them out.  Late in the season, in desperation, we finally threw them in around the new compost pile, next to the chicken fence.  Plenty of nutrition there, plenty of light, and out of the way. They took off and created a swamp of squash vine and flowers.  We couldn't see much signs of fruit and didn't have time to mess with the jungle of it all until after the good frost took the vines down a bit.  Paul went wading out into the thick of it one day last week to see what he could find.   He returned later than he anticipated, having harvest 100 squashes!   When he hooked up the mower to cut the field, he walked through again and found a dozen more, and then smashed a few more besides with the mower.  Gardens are full of surprises.

The Bok Choys take the cake so far for nice big heads of greens.  We love the white stalks and dark green leaves.   What a treat.  These are great raw – cut the crisp white parts up like carrot sticks and use them to dip, or stir fry the whole thing fast.  Use it slowly, keep it wrapped up well and it will keep quite awhile.  Good accompanying flavors include ginger root, onion, cilantro, sesame or coconut oils, and small root veggies, like carrots or radishes.

Another option that should not be ignored is the possibility of fermenting your bok choy.  Choys make fine kimchi variations.  Kimchi is the Korean version of Sauerkraut.  Some version of fermented green exists almost everywhere in the world.  Lacto fermented food is extremely healthful, and tasty, and provides an easy way to store large quantities of certain veggies.

I'm including this recipe from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions for you to play with if you choose.  Fermentation is both an art and a science – so as long as you follow the directions in terms of salt and water content, the vegetable content can be EXTREMELY flexible.  Use what you like.  Taste everything often.  Just make sure there's always water on top.

1 head Chinese Cabbage or the like              1 bunch green onions (or a couple bulb onions)
1 cup carrots, grated or sliced                                   ½ cup daikon radish, grated or sliced
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger                          3 cloves garlic (at least), peeled and minced
½ tsp dried chili flakes (optional)                  1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp whey, or an extra 1 Tbsp salt

Place veggies, ginger, garlic, chili, sea salt and whey in a bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or meat hammer to release juices.  Pack into a quart sized wide mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage.  The top of the veggies should be at least 1 inch below the top of the  jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

These next two recipes are from The Spice Box Vegetarian Indian Cookbook.  I've a strong suspicion that this soup will work just fine with kale:
Spinach Soup
4 cups water                           1 lb fresh spinach
salt to taste                             dash of black pepper
1 Tbsp oil                                1 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium onions, chopped   2 tsp lemon juice
½ cup sour cream

1) Bring water to a boil.  Add spinach, salt and pepper.  When spinach is cooked, puree in a blender.
2)Heat Oil in a saucepan and fry the cumin seeds until they puff up.  Add the onions and fry till wilted.  Add the puree and heat thoroughly.  Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and sour cream.

I tested this on a Seminole Pumpkin, and modified this recipe quite a bit –
Pumpkin Curry
4 Tbsp oil                                pinch asafetida
1 tsp turmeric powder           4 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut in small chunks
4 tsp coriander powder         2 tsp cayenne powder (I didn't use that much!)
salt to taste                             2 fresh chilies, seeded and chopped
1 cup water                            2 tsp mango powder
1 tsp sugar                              1 Tbsp dried grated coconut

            Heat oil in a wok and add asafetida and turmeric.  Fry 1 minute.  (Here I added an onion or two and some fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped – let it cook down for a couple of minutes before proceeding.)  Add pumpkin, coriander, cayenne, chilies (the hot stuff is optional).  Fry 2 minutes (I let them cook longer than two minutes so the squash actually browned a little).
            Add 1 cup water, cover and bring to a boil at medium heat until pumpkin is soft.  (Here's where I really departed from the print – I added a can of coconut milk, and a little water, then let it all cook until soft.)
            Mash mixture with a wooden spoon.  Add mango powder, sugar and coconut.  (I left out the sugar, grated coconut and mango powder altogether, and we enjoyed the chunky creamy pumpkin curry over rice with some cilantro to green it up, just like that!)

Cut the tops and tails off your radishes – they’ll keep well in the fridge.  Enjoy it all!
If you need special extras of anything for Thanksgiving – please let us know soon.
Peace be with you all.                                                                                                            The Entwistles

Thursday, November 1, 2012

week 22

yikes - i've gotten behind!  here's this week's.  I'll try to post some photos and catch up soon...

Red Springs Family Farm                      
November 1, 2012 week 22

Lettuce                Green Peppers               Green Tomatoes
Pink Mustard                  Tat Soi     Big Red Radishes          Kale
Sweet Potatoes           Winter Squash      Garlic
Herb bag:      Parsley   Dill      Sorrel   

“We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. ” - Charles Chaplin


It was 24 degrees just before dawn this morning.  MUCH colder than we had anticipated.  As I write, we're still waiting for the garden to thaw a bit so we can pick.  Hopefully, all the leaves have held up through the night. 

The cold nights lately have really put the gardens to bed.  The nasturtiums and marigolds finally went down.  We picked the last green peppers and green tomatoes.  If they hold up well, we'll send a final round next week. 

The Pink Mustard does not much resemble your standard mustard.  It is not hot or spiny.  If you want spicy and spiny, definitely eat your radish greens. The Tat Soi and Mustard are both suitable for salads, or fast stir fry cooking.  The same goes for the pink daikon radishes.  These veggies are versatile!

Admittedly, we have never tried  Green Tomato Mincemeat Pie, but I'm fascinated by the concept, and intend to give it a shot this year.

Mock Mincemeat Pie

Cut into pieces:
1 ½ cups seeded raisins
Pare, core and slice:
4 medium tart apples or a combination apples and green tomatoes
Combine raisins and apples.  Add:
Grated rind of 2 orange                     juice of one orange
½ cup cider or other fruit juice
Cover these ingredients and simmer until the apples are very soft.  Stir  in until well blended:
¾ cup sugar                            ½ tsp each cinnamon and cloves
2-3 Tbsp crushed soda crackers
This mixture will keep for several days.  Shortly before using, add:
1 or 2 Tbsp brandy
Preheat oven 450.  Line a pie pan with a pie dough.  Fill it with mock mincemeat.  Cover with a pricked upper crust or a lattice.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake about 20 minutes.

In this basket, you have the supplies for a slightly unconventional harvest feast.  For our personal Halloween celebration this year, we made Colcannon and popcorn balls.  Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish, often served at St. Patrick's Day, and also traditional for Halloween.   The broiling part at the end is optional.  We like it whipped light and served straight from the stove top.  Now that the last of the peppers are upon us, it might be nice to stuff into some peppers and bake a few minutes.  If you decrease the liquid, you can make Colcannon patties and fry them like pancakes.  Versatile comfort food...

1 1/2 pounds potatoes
1 savoy cabbage, trimmed, pale-green leaves finely shredded (4 cups) – OR KALE (I use MORE)
1 leek, or 2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice                            1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter                                               1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt

Preheat broiler. Peel and quarter potatoes, and place in a medium saucepan; add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Mash with a potato masher or pass through a ricer; cover pan to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine cabbage (or kale), leek (or onion) , milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and nutmeg; season with salt. Cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Stir into potatoes.
(optional:) Spread mixture in an 8-inch square baking dish. Make a small well in the center, and place under the broiler until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes.
Remove from broiler. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in well. Serve immediately, spooning melted butter from well onto each serving, if desired.

Our thoughts remain with those who are still bailing out of the floods, or covered with snow, in the Northeast.  Amazing.  We'll close with more of that interesting quote from Charlie Chaplin. 

“We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.”
~ Charles Chaplin

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Set your clocks back, and kindle your inner light as the length of the night increases.  Eat your greens and keep warm.

Best regards,

The Entwistles