Last week was a big week for the Food Farm crew: we harvested our long awaited garlic! You’ll find more pictures and descriptions of that process below. We also brought out the carrot harvester, which is efficient but requires many hands to run smoothly. Boxes are filled with high summer bounty. New this week you’ll find green peppers and GARLIC! The garlic in the box this week is “green” or not yet cured. It should be left out on the counter with good ventilation so it does not mildew.
Would you like to come see the farm at peak season? You’re in luck! We are hosting a farm tour and pizza dinner on Saturday, August 27th! Come by the farm at 2612 County Road 1, Wrenshall from 4:00pm to 6:00. We’ll be serving pizza hot from our wood fired oven and giving farm tours. Free for all to attend, we’d love to see you!
In your share this week:
Basil – Beets – Cabbage – Carrots – Cucumber – Dill – Green Garlic – Green Pepper – Green Onion – New Potatoes – Parsley – Tomato – Zucchini
What am I looking at?
This is a swarm of honey bees seen near the farm hives recently. When a hive gets large enough it splits into two distinct colonies. During this process, part of the hive leaves as a swarm to find a new home. These swarms are often very docile because they are not guarding honey or a queen, but always be careful around bees, especially if there there is a chance you could be allergic.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
From Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean
Cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into pieces)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
small handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, dill, cilantro) chopped
Put cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to make a dressing. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Sprinkle with the herbs and add feta if you like.
We have garlic AND basil in the box this week. The only option is to make pesto 😉
2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
We have full and diverse box for you this week. We had all hands on deck to harvest everything in time for Monday deliveries! Annie and Ellis were even helping packing boxes. This week new in the box we have cilantro, dill, onion, hot pepper, and new potatoes. “New potatoes” are young tender potatoes.
1 ½ cups parsley leaves (1 1/2 bunches), coarsely chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped mixed basil, tarragon, and dill
5 tablespoons walnut oil (or more, to taste) (substitute with unrefined peanut oil, or olive oil)
½ cup soaking water from the apricots, as needed
Place the dried apricots in a bowl and pour on the boiling water. Let sit for at least an hour, more if possible, even overnight. Drain over a measuring cup and retain 1/2 cup of the soaking water.
Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the bowl. Add the walnuts, and process with the garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the drained apricots, the lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne to the bowl, and process to a puree. Add the cilantro and other chopped herbs, and puree, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides several times. Combine the walnut oil and soaking water from the apricots, and with the machine running, gradually add it to the puree. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let sit for one hour. Taste and adjust salt. Serve with beans, chicken, meat or fish, grilled or roasted vegetables, or grains.
Happy Fourth of July! I hope you enjoy some family time, great food, and protect your dogs from the scary firework noises.
On the farm we’re celebrating with our first harvest of carrots! The carrots in the share this week are coming with their tops ON because carrots greens are edible and TASTY. See below for a carrot top pesto recipe.
In your share this week:
Green Onions – Broccoli – Lettuce – Carrots with tops – Radishes
Carrot Top Pesto
1/3 cup pine nuts (try substituting cashews, walnuts or sunflower seeds)
2 small cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups lightly packed, well washed and dried carrot top greens (from 1 1-pound bunch of carrots)
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more as needed (NOTE: If your bunch of carrots yields less than 4 cups of greens, add as much basil as you need to get a total of 5 cups of greens.)
1/3 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
In a food processor, process the pine nuts with garlic until minced. Add the carrot tops, basil, cheese, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and process until finely minced. With the machine running, slowly pour the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube and process until well blended.
1/2 tablespoon salt, plus more to season
vinaigrette or orange juice
red pepper flakes (optional)
mint or parsley (garnish)
Cut about radishes into matchsticks or sliced very thinly and placed in a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon of salt. Let the radishes soak for about 15 minutes, drain them, and rinse them well.
Dress the radishes with a vinaigrette or orange juice and a bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of hot pepper flakes if you like them and garnish with mint or parsley.
Last week we mulched the field tomatoes (pictured above). These tomatoes are paste type tomatoes for sauces and will go towards the canning tomato preserving share. Food Farm preserving shares are one-time boxes made specially for the canning crowd. Whether you want to stock up on freezer pesto, make all your family dilly beans for Christmas, or perfect your marinara recipe, the preserving shares are ideal for community members who want bulk orders of the freshest local produce. Canning tomatoes will be ready for pick-up between the beginning of August and the first frost, but you can (and should!) get your preserving share order in now at foodfarm.csaware.com .
We are fortunate at the Food Farm to have enough space and appropriate equipment to grow our own mulch. Other farms have to buy in straw. Janaki cuts fields of tall rye cover crop and then the crew tucks in the tomatoes using sleds and pitchforks. It’s like sledding, but all uphill and a lot more itchy! The mulch will suppress the weeds and keep in soil moisture so our tomatoes grow big and strong.
It has been awfully chilly the last few weeks around the farm. Normally, we run around in circles and light veggie scraps on fire to stay warm every morning. We’ve also been curating a new dance routine to really turn up the heat in the packing shed. This helps us pack your veggies faster and also keeps our toes from freezing. Although I am just kidding, I often wonder during these cold midwinter stretches, “Why do I live somewhere that if I stayed outside too long, I would die?” On the other hand, the long winter can be a nice break from all of the summer work we do at the farm, and I love that we have real seasons in the Northland.
Speaking of the Northland, we had a great time seeing our community at Wild State Cider last week for our annual rutabaga giveaway. In case you missed it, this event had a unique twist this year: rutabaga curling! I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of this unique vegetable (aside from, you know, eating it). Plus, curlers can really sweep you off your feet. Our friends helped make a wonderful video with some highlights from the event which you can find on our Facebook page or by clicking this link: https://fb.watch/b8eTjlvrps/.
Make sure you sign up for your summer shares if you haven’t already! These spots tend to fill quickly. More of this information can be found right on our website. Let us know if you have any questions. Throughout these recent times of uncertainty in our food systems, the importance of local farms has really been brought to light. Community Supported Agriculture has given all of us stability and the ability to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. Our crew at the Food Farm continues to take this responsibility seriously and we appreciate our members and your support!
By the time I write the next newsletter, I expect we will have seen warmer days (by warmer days I mean anything above 20 degrees), and we’ll be starting up greenhouse work and seeding onions! Oh, and remember: organic vegetables make the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.
In your shares this month:
Beets – Carrots – Green Cabbage – Parsnips – Baby Red and Russett Potatoes – Onions – Garlic – Delicata Squash
Mulligan Stew (The Soup and Bread Cookbook, B. Ojakangas)
2 lbs beef stew meat cut into 1″ cubes (or substitute beans for a vegetarian version)
4 medium thin skinned potatoes, yellow or red, washed, unpeeled and quartered
4 medium carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
4 small onions, quartered
1 (1/2 lb) rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
3 sprigs parsley
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup red wine or water
In a 4-qt soup pot, combine the meat and cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabaga, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper. Simmer, tightly covered, over low heat until the meat is tender, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
In a cup, mix the flour and wine/water until smooth. Stir into the stew and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to thicken the stew.
Mix meats, rice/bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rinse a large cabbage head and remove about 12 large leaves. Drop the leaves into boiling water for a few minutes to soften them. Drain the leaves. Place about 1/4 cup of meatball mix into the center of the leaf and wrap it like a package. Brown in a frying pan and then place seam side down in a 9″x13″ baking pan. Pour the tomatoes over them. Bake 350F for about an hour.
That’s right farm sharers… It’s the final countdown (insert Europe guitarist). I think every one of us on the farm is shocked that the final CSA delivery is upon us. Not only because it’s still in the 70s during the day, but it also seems like only yesterday we were on the back of the transplanter planting the first of thousands of veggie starts. I don’t think we could have done it without that life-saving, and back-saving implement. Moreover, we could not have done it all without the support of our community and share members. It is all of you that keep the farm afloat and drive us to be the best farmers we can be. 18 weeks of shares have gone by in the blink of an eye yet we have so much to show for it. We have fed hundreds of people fresh, local, and organic veggies all while sustainably stewarding our farm.
This is not to say that with the end of the Summer CSA that comes the end of our work on the farm. In fact, we are just starting most of the large scale projects that will prepare us for our ’21-’22 Winter CSA, winter wholesale orders, and winter itself. On the farm hand side of things, this means clearing out the greenhouses, harvesting insane amounts of carrots, potatoes, beets, rutabagas, parsnips and cabbage, taking down trellises, and stowing the irrigation pipe that got our plants through this brutal summer. On the Janaki side of things, this means ensuring that fields are seeded with cover crops, compost is produced to feed our soil microbes, and operating the tractors so that us farm hands do not suffer at the expense of the insane amount of carrots I mentioned. Of course these aren’t the only things we will be doing over the next month, but you get the idea.
Just as we’re putting the farm to bed, we’re including a few sprigs of lavender in your share, long used as an aromatherapy sleep aide.
Here’s a list of things I have learned this season, even though nobody asked for it:
Do not waste time picking burs off of Chester. He will only come back around covered in more. He is also a professional skunk hunter and deer carcass finder.
Driving a very old tractor (we call it Stubby) is very fun and also terrifying at the same time.
Pigweed is a noxious plant that really makes you question whether or not being an organic farm is really worth it… (It is).
When a bee colony swarms they are actually super calm because they are not protecting their queen or hive anymore. I once walked through a swarm of thousands of bees to feed the chickens.
Raccoons sneak onto the farm for our tiny corn patch and nothing else.
Aside from the skunks that Chester brings around, the worst smell on the farm is hands down the smell of rotting daikon radish.
Do NOT harvest beets without gloves on unless you want to look like a murder suspect.
There is no such thing as a free meal.
Once again, we could not have done it without all of your support this season. We look forward to feeding you again in 2022. Until then, we will be here waiting and working the land to ensure you all receive high quality veggies next time around.
“Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health.” – Paul Chatfield
In your shares this week:
Beets – Carrots – Cilantro – Collar Greens – Lavender – Lettuce – Yellow Onions – Sweet Red Peppers – Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Rutabagas – Red Shallots – Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash
Red Flannel Hash (modified from NYT Cooking)
This recipe also works wonderfully with left-over roasted vegetables!
1.5 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced squash
1/2 cup diced beets
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced peppers
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp each thyme and parsley
salt and pepper to taste
*Note: Dice all the veggies into the similarly sized cubes (~1/2 inch) Heat oven to 425. Place potatoes, squash, and beets on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil and bake for 20 minutes. Add remaining veggies and herbs to the pan with the remaining olive oil and bake another 25 minutes. Fry the baked veggies in a frying pan with butter in a single layer to achieve crispness. Top with a fried egg and serve with a side salad.
Strata (savory bread pudding)
1/2 lb french bread (stale or leftover works best), enough to make 4 cups of bread cubes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced peppers
1 cup diced or grated squash (~1/4″ cubes)
2 cups kale
1 clove garlic, minced
1.5 cups milk
1/2 cup grated hard cheese (swiss, gruyere, or cheddar)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak the bread cubes in 3/4 c. of the milk. Oil or butter a 2 qt baking dish. Heat a frying pan and add the kale. Fry over medium heat until the leaves begin to soften and wilt. Cover the pan and let the kale steam until cooked (3 minutes). Remove from pan, press or squeeze out the excess liquid. Chop coarsely and set aside. Add 1 tbsp oil to the same frying pan and add the mushrooms and peppers. Fry on medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked and the peppers have lost some of their moisture. Add the minced garlic and the squash, and continue to fry for another minute. Stir in the rosemary and kale. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl with the cubed bread, the two cheeses, and toss together. Arrange in a baking dish. Beat eggs in a medium bowl and add the remaining milk and salt (and a few shakes of black pepper if you like it). Pour over the bread and press the bread down into the custard mix. Bake for 40-50 minutes until puffed up and brown and a knife poked into the strata comes out clean. Note: this can be assembled and left (covered) in the fridge for the night for a quick and easy morning bake, too!
I am sure I have said in newsletters of yore that recipes aren’t really my thing. Finding them for the newsletter – I just do the laziest thing which, depending on what I’m looking for, is either just googling “spinach recipes” or whatever, or going to a couple of my go-to sites for ideas and seeing what they say. Recipes aren’t really my thing, but I do like pretty pictures of food, and being forced to look up new ideas for the newsletter does help me snap out of a rut (re: last week’s zucchini fritters comment).
A lot of the way I cook (when I’m not “cooking” eggs and toast) feels like just throwing what I have lying around together, often in one or two pots and then eating all of whatever it is in a bowl. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts as a “meal”- the Midwest concept of what a meal is has imbedded itself in my brain. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts unless there’s meat (duh) and two sides (one being potatoes) and dessert. I’ll skip the glass of skim milk at dinner… but thanks for offering.
With shares like this week’s especially, I feel like all the food is just waiting to be chopped up and eaten together. I do recommend cooking the potatoes first. All these veggies would be great in a grain bowl for example. Is that so 2017? 2017 BCE? I just made a salad that is not unlike the quinoa chickpea salad below, but instead of a mustardy dressing, I used a huge scoop of fresh basil-pesto in the dressing. So good.
You also don’t have to chop all the veggies and mix them all together this very night. So much chopping! So much time! No matter what I do, I don’t feel like I get any faster at processing whole veggies and working with any whole food takes time. You’re allowed to cut a zucchini in half, cover it in cheese and store bought sauce and roast the living daylights out of it. You can even call that dinner. No milk and no meat, no problem!
All of this is partially a pep talk to myself to get me to do something with the cauliflower in my fridge before another one ends up there!
For the farm crew,
In your share this week: Basil – Beans – Cabbage (Monday), or Cauliflower (Thursday) – Carrots – Cilantro – Lettuce Mix – Melon – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Red Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini
Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles
1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup shredded zucchini
¾ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or you could use seasoned
Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using your hands, gently work all the ingredients together, careful to not overwork the meat.
Using a two tablespoons, scoop meat into individual balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once all is scooped, form the meat into balls. Freeze 20 of them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place 10 of them onto a plate to set aside to cook. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs into the skillet and let brown on one side then turn with tongs. Continue cooking until meatballs are all cooked through, about 7-10 minutes. For the zoodles, you can either just blanch them in hot water and add sauce on top along with the meatballs or you can throw them into the same skillet and cook them until softened and pour sauce on top along with the meatballs. Serve warm!
The meatball mixture makes roughly 30 meatballs. They freeze really well and I love having the ability to pull them out of the freezer during busy work weeks! 🙂
Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Summer Veggies!
From the Crowded Kitchen
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 small onion)
2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
1 cup finely chopped spinach (or any leafy green)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cucumber, finely diced
¾ cup grated carrot
¾ cup finely diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well
¼ cup grated vegan parmesan (or regular)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
1 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Cook quinoa according to package directions and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
While quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Once the quinoa is done cooking, transfer to a bowl to cool slightly (you can place in the fridge or freezer to speed this up).
Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
Prep the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, pepper and parsley.
Add all ingredients (cooked quinoa, onions/garlic, vegetables, parmesan) to a large mixing bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour before serving (or enjoy right away!).
Welcome to the first 2020/2021 Winter share. Thanks for choosing our vegetables to grace your tables this fall… winter… spring… the season we call winter tends to drag itself out, doesn’t it? Each month, I hope that you will see your winter share as a re-setting of sorts for yourself and anyone you share food with as you get replenished with winter staples.
If this is your first time getting a CSA share with us- a special welcome! In times of uncertainty, thank you for plugging into something local. If this is your twentieth share with us, or some number in between, thank you for coming back for more. And, if you had a summer share with us… you can go ahead and use that one last carrot you’ve been hoarding–I speak from experience.
The end of last season’s Winter share felt smothered in uncertainty. The start of this one feels similar. We are facing a long winter with more uncertainty. In the midst of all the challenge and trouble, I hope you can find ways to lean into any and all of the things that feel positive and bring you joy. Maybe finding new ways to use your CSA share, or creative ways to share food with others in a safe way will be a focus this season.
Trepidation, shaken, not stirred, seems to be on the drink menu for our country, and world, this year. I’m not a linguist, but trepidation has always felt like a word of movement to me. I suppose one could sit in trepidation, though I think of it pairing with “walking forward in -” or “moving through with -“.
Whatever comes in these winter months, I hope that in moving forward, with whichever emotions we bring, we can work in our own day-to-days to bring healing and to make manifest a world with more possibility for everyone.
For the farm crew,
In your share this month: Brussels Sprouts – Beets – Green Cabbage – Carrots – Celery* – Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash – Onions – Red and Yellow Potatoes – Turnips
A note on the celery in today’s share: this crop was one of the things that we harvested half-frozen in the snow a few weeks ago, and it was the least able to cope with that kind of abuse. It’s not in great shape and we debated not sending it at all, but in the end decided that we would let members make the call of whether they can use it or not. It wouldn’t fit in the regular boxes, so look for the gray harvest bins nearby. This is a new-ish crop for us, and when it works well the flavor is amazing so we hope it’s worth your patience at times like this when it’s below our normal quality standards.
Brussels Sprouts – From the Crowded Kitchen
3 ½ lbs. brussels sprouts, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp fine kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Maple Mustard Dressing:
2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ tsp pepper
⅛ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Wash and thoroughly dry brussels sprouts. To prep brussels sprouts, slice off the woody, tough stem, then use your hands to peel off the leaves. You may have to trim the steam again as you work towards the interior. See blog posts for photo tutorial!
Toss leaves with olive oil, salt and pepper and transfer to 2 large sheet pans. Roast for 30-35 minutes total, stirring well half way through cook time and again at 25 minutes. For even cooking, switch bottom and top trays halfway through cooking. Keep a close eye on the oven as oven times may differ.
Meanwhile, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth.
Remove brussels sprouts from oven, transfer to a large bowl and toss with dressing. Serve warm.
Lemon Tahini Dressing for roasted veggies (or whatever!)
2 tablespoons tahini
1 juice and zest of lemon
1 clove garlic grated
½ teaspoon salt
~¼ cup hot water
¼ cup parsley minced
In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice/zest, garlic, and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until desired consistency is reached. Stir in parsley and toss on roasted vegetables!
As I look back over this farm season, I am reminded of how challenging it has been. There was not enough rain, then too much at once, then hail, then not enough rain again. It hasn’t been an easy year on the vegetables = not an easy year on the farmers.
Obviously, out there in the world there has been a huge amount of difficulty and unpredictability that has affected all of us. So much rubber seems to be meeting the road at once and it stinks. I practically have to hold my nose while listening to the news.
I think a lot of us have been thinking about food, how we get it, and how much of it we keep on hand at any one time during these past several months. Or any shopping and consuming really; I’ve learned about myself that I ran way more petty errands than I needed to in the “before times”.
For me, preparing food has been a nice diversion from other parts of life that feel more unsure, and more stressful. It’s been nice to sometimes, not always, have a meditative approach to cooking and baking to go along with the sometimes meditative aspects of farming. I’ve been lucky to be on both sides for a while now.
I hope that for you, getting your CSA share each week has been a positive point of structure and rhythm, even as normal rhythms get canceled, changed or postponed. We are glad you chose our CSA, and want to hear what you thought about it on the end of season survey! We’re always fine-tuning things to most closely match what has been working best for our members.
If you are also a member of our Winter Share, then we’ll “see” you in a few weeks. (A few weeks that is a blur of harvest activity around the farm!). If you just get our Summer Shares, we hope you have a good fall and winter, and look forward to connecting again in the spring. Either way, we hope your dinner table continues to be a center for you in these un-centering times.
Thank you for participating with us in this crazy, messy, tasty thing we call life.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week: Brussels Sprouts – Carrots – Celery – Cilantro – Cucumber – Garlic – Greens Mix – Kale – Lettuce – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – French Fingerling Potatoes – Delicata Squash – Tomatoes
Roasted & Stuffed Squash
From No Crumbs Left
For the Squash: Delicata squash 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper 1 Tbsp olive oil
For the Ground Sirloin Filling: 2 Tbsp olive oil 2/3 cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 ½ – 3 cups sliced brown mushrooms 1 ½ pounds ground sirloin 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper ¼ tsp cayenne 2 generous handfuls spinach, chopped (could use greens mix!)
Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut the squash into 1” thick rounds. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a large sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Cook until soft but not mushy, about 55 minutes, flipping halfway through. While the squash is cooking, make the filling: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds, stirring. Add the mushrooms and cook, covered for 3 minutes. Uncover and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the ground sirloin and cook over high heat, about 6 minutes (or until meat is no longer pink), breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon.
Add the salt, pepper and cayenne. Then add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and place on plates. Top with the meat mixture and serve.
Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
1 pound brussels sprouts 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable) 2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste) 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don’t fit in one layer, don’t fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]
Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.
The summer -turned fall- CSA has just two weeks more after this one, and it will probably go out with a climax of color, just like the summer does. We have winter squash in out of the field now, and are harvesting a variety of potatoes to go along with all the usual summer/end of summer produce you’ve been seeing lately. I hope that you have been finding fresh and creative ways to use the vegetables each week. I say this knowing that for me, I tend to get in a rut of cooking (sometimes tasty ruts, but still, how many zucchini fritters can one family eat?) and am now thankful for a change of weather to remind me of other go-to foods I love to make.
When I was growing up, my mom used to make big batch meals, some for dinner, some to freeze, and more often than not, some to bring to someone who needed it. My sister and I loved smelling whatever was cooking all day, and were primed and ready for chili, or spaghetti or roast for dinner by the time it rolled around. The worst was when she said it was something she was making a day or two ahead of time -pure torture for growing kids to wait to eat whatever smelled so good!
Back when the farm still had chickens for meat, one had been injured somehow a couple weeks before we were set to harvest them all. Figuring she might not make it that long, and knowing that either way she was suffering, Janaki said I could have (read: eat) her if I wanted to do that on my free time. So after work, I pulled together all the stuff I’d need to kill, clean and pluck the chicken and got to work. It isn’t really so very much work if you know what you’re doing, but what I did learn that evening was cleaning up from killing one chicken is just about as much work as cleaning up from 200. A little blood, a lot of blood, either way everything has to get totally clean. Only there’s just one dead chicken, verses food for dozens of families. So, I decided that day I’d set a minimum of 5 chickens next time.
In the before times (as they are called now) the crew used to eat lunches all together in Janaki and Annie’s house (ever more becoming Truman and Ellis’ house!). Some years we’d have a rotation down of who would go in a bit early to start lunch, other years we’d all cook together as fast as we could in an hour. Often I’d find myself in there with a pot of rice and a pile of vegetables and 25 minutes to put something together for 5, 6 sometimes 8 people. I could lie here because who’s going to check… but the truth is that the kitchen sometimes looked like a tornado had struck by the time I was finishing up. Many a time someone (Patricia) would come in and start working around me in the kitchen, scraping cut ends of onions off into the compost and washing salad spinners and colanders. But the end result was usually half way decent, fresh whole-food for a hungry farm crew and a kitchen that went back to sorts.
If only my kitchen at home had a person walking around behind me making things cleaner. Right now, it has a little person walking around pulling towels out of the drawer, putting measuring spoons between the fridge and the wall and holding onto the back of my pants. Basically, he’s no help. To boot, I’ve realized the same lesson applies from the chickens: cooking using whole food for 8 people – same mess as cooking for 3. Is this just me? So, the down side of that is obvious, it is: wow, what a mess. The plus side: it really isn’t so much more work to make twice, or three times as much and put some away for later. If you have to wash a cutting board, counter, knife and pots anyway, why not just chop a little more? If you’re roasting something, is another couple of baking sheets such a burden?
If anything, I write this as a pep talk to myself to just go nuts cooking. We can all go wild in these next few weeks of bounty, like squirrels running around frantically for acorns.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week: Northeaster Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Leeks – Onions – Red and Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Rutabagas – Acorn Squash -Tomatoes – Zucchini
from The Leek and the Carrot
My two cents, and educated guess, is that quiche is usually very flexible, and as long as you don’t add something too watery (like tomatoes) without changing the amount of milk you add, you can put in just about anything you want as substitutions. Example, leeks instead of onions, or adding red pepper instead of mushrooms.
2 partially baked pie crusts (see below) or 2 store-bought pie crusts 1/4 cup sunflower oil (or olive oil), divided 4 cups diced butternut squash 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 1/2 teaspoon sage 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided 1 garlic bulb 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons butter, divided 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 pound shittake mushrooms, loosely chopped 3 kale leaves, stalks removed and roughly chopped 1 cup finely shredded parmesan 6 eggs 2 cups half & half or whole milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss diced butternut squash with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sage, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside once finished. Cut the top off a garlic bulb. Drizzle with one tablespoon oil. Wrap in foil and add to the oven to roast until the squash is finished. Once cooked, remove from foil and squeeze cloves out of the peel. Gently chop and set aside. Meanwhile, begin caramelizing onions. Combine last tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt and remaining pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until well softened. Add sugar and continue cooking for 10 minutes until lightly browned and just caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe the large skillet out with a paper towel (if necessary) and add remaining tablespoon of butter. Melt over medium low heat. Add mushrooms along with remaining teaspoon Kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until just wilted. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and prepare your quiche! Add half of the cooked butternut squash, chopped softened garlic, caramelized onions and sauted mushrooms and greens to each partially cooked pie crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over each quiche. In a large bowl, combine 6 eggs and cream or milk. Whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over each quiche so that all veggies are covered. Bake quiche for 35 minutes or until center is set. Enjoy warm today, tomorrow or all throughout the week!
Pie crust: 2-1/2 cups flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and very cold 1/2 cup cold water
I love to make pie crust in my food processor. I think it is the simplest thing on Earth. If you don’t have a food processor, follow this recipe; same techniques but no food processor necessary. Before I even begin making the crust, I cut the butter into pieces and stick it in a bowl in the freezer. Then I fill a one- or two-cup measuring cup with 1/2 cup cold water and stick that in the freezer too. The trick with pie dough is to work quickly so that the butter stays cold and in small uneven pieces. This is what creates a flaky crust. Chilling these ingredients right before you start helps with this. Combine flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse a few times until well combined. Add all the butter at once and pulse a few times until broken up but not at all incorporated. What you are looking for is pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout. Uniform size is not important. Add half the cold water to the mixture, turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the rest of the water. Continue running the food processor until the dough comes together into one mass (it will not be a ball, but will be smooth and even). Remove dough from food processor using a rubber spatula and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. When ready to use, turn half the pie dough out onto a well-floured counter. Dust the top with flour and roll out until about 12 inches in diameter. Press into a 10-inch pie pan, line with foil and add pie weights (or dried beans). Bake at 425 degrees (with the butternut squash works well!) for 10 minutes.
Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios
From the Smitten Kitchen
Chickpeas 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salad 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley 1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Dressing 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1/4 cup lemon juice 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.
Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.
Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and pistachios and dig in.
Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.
I love the little chill in the air that we have in the morning and evening now. On the farm, we’ve put in our time with some very hot and humid days! -and it’s good for a break.
Ever since I can remember I have loved this time of year, mostly. Knowing school was starting back up wasn’t usually the best part, but even the settling back into routine ended up being good for me as a kid. And as an adult, I think I always started college semesters off feeling strong and hopeful and organized (even if it ended in panicked 3am paper editing by mid-December).
This year it feels like the shift back to school for kids and adults, and all those that teach or work with/around them is clouded in a troubling unknown. Whether you have or know children in school (however it looks), or you work with or around students in some capacity, we wish you the best as you start this next school year.
I know so many people have wondered and dreamed about what it would be like to send a child to Kindergarten one day, or to pack up for college… none of us would have dreamed this up to add to the list of worries along the way.
I think we’re all pretty sick of so many aspects of life feeling harder, or sadder, or more complicated and divisive than normal (show of hands for who thought there was more than enough of that to begin with…). I hope that there are bright spots in the midst of all of it for you as well, whether it’s been family time, or new habits or getting outside more.
As we move forward as a country with so many returning to school, I hope that in your home (regardless of connection to a school, after all, we’re all connected in this) the dinner table, or maybe breakfast table, can be a place were connection is found, worries heard and validated, and wholesome sustenance consumed to see you through incredibly challenging days.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week: Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Sweet Onions, Parsley, Red and Hot Peppers, Red Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini
Green Bean Salad
From The Leek and the Carrot
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half if large (about 4-5 cups)
1 head washed lettuce, thinly sliced
1 large shallot or onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes then rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a towel.
Toss together lettuce, beans, shallots and tomatoes in a large bowl (or four small bowls). Top with feta and walnuts.
Whisk sherry vinegar with dried oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once combined, whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with a little extra flaky sea salt right before serving.
2 cloves garlic
2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a food processor place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.