Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 16: First Frost of Fall and Last Share of Summer

As is usual, it's been an unusual year as far as the weather is concerned. Planting season was slow to get going (really, really slow if you recall) but, once the weather started to cooperate, we plodded along and planted everything as planned--even if it was later than we'd like.

And we're so glad we did! This has been the warmest fall we've ever seen, and the latest first frost--allowing the crops a little bonus time to ripen up. In fact, we haven't even had our first frost yet this fall. Though, we're pretty sure it will happen tonight.

Which is why the main activity on the farm over the last few days has been bringing in squash. It won't keep if it gets frosted.

And we have far more than we can eat in the next few days :)
Even with help from the members, who'll be getting plenty of squash in the shares this week. This week's share will include: Spaghetti Squash, Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Pie Pumpkins, Celeriac, Cabbage, Rutabaga, Kale, Tomatoes, Winter Radishes, Carrots or Beets, and Leeks or Scallions.

This is the second week that we're giving out these lovely flowering kale:

We hope you are enjoying last week's kale. They are a bit different than the more familiar, broader leafed kales like winterbor or lacinato. I've found that they don't make good chips or salads because they're more stem than leaf. Happily, these  particular kales have some of the sweetest stems we've ever tasted and they are especially good in soup. Like the Pumpkin Apple Soup I made for this week's recipe.

Pumpkin Apple Soup
  • One Pie Pumpkin
  • One Leek
  • Three small (or one normal sized) Celeriac
  • Two tart Apples
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ginger
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Milk or Cream
  • 12 stems Kale
Halve the pumpkin and cook it at 350 degrees until soft, about one hour.

Meanwhile, chop the leeks, celeriac and apples into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine them with the chicken stock and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Bring them to a simmer and simmer until the celeriac are tender, about twenty minutes.

Chop the kale, stem and all, into bite sized pieces.

When the pumpkin has finished cooking, remove the seeds and discard. Then scoop out the flesh and puree it with the milk or cream until it is very smooth. 

Stir the pumpkin puree into the chicken stock, apples, celeriac and leeks. Then stir in the chopped kale.

Return the soup to low/medium heat and cook until it just barely begins to simmer, then serve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 15: Dinosaur Egg Buritos

It's squash time! We are beginning the process of pulling in all the winter squash we grew. As usual, we're starting with spaghetti and acorn squash because they are ready the earliest and don't require time in storage to become delicious.

The spaghetti squash were particularly fun to harvest. We plant our squash in black plastic because the plastic heats the soil to allow for earlier planting and keeps weeds down. The plants grow out of holes we poke in the plastic but, because spaghetti squash make big rambling vines, most of the fruits form in the paths between the plastic.

Like this.
And because the ground on which our squash grew this year was newly turned from hayfield into vegetable field this spring (and so is extra weedy), there is a dense mat of wild carrot in those paths.

Finding the squash that lurks beneath the carrot fronds is like hunting for Easter eggs. 

Laid by dinosaurs.
This week each member will receive: Spaghetti Squash, 2 Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Kale, Kohlrabi, Celery, Tomatoes, Red Cabbage or Kraut Cabbage, Beets or Carrots, Leeks or Scallions, and Basil or Parsley.

If you'd like to make sauerkraut but aren't sure how to go about it, this website has an excellent tutorial. 

If you'd like to make Dinosaur Egg Burritos, do this:

Spaghetti Squash Burritos

The quantities of seasonings (salt, cumin, garlic, cayenne) in this recipe are approximate because the size of a spaghetti squash can vary widely. My squash was on the big end of medium. Taste as you go and use the amount of seasoning that suits your taste buds.

For the filling:
  • One Spaghetti Squash
  • Two teaspoons butter
  • Two medium or one large Tomato, diced
  • One or more sweet or hot Peppers, diced (optional)
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • One can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
For serving:
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Sliced scallions
Halve the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds, and bake in a 350 degree oven until it is very soft, about one hour.

When the squash is cooked and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add chopped tomato and pepper (if using) as well as salt, garlic. cumin seeds, and cayenne.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the seasoned spaghetti squash. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato and pepper is just tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add the sour cream and pinto beans. Stir until the beans and sour cream are well mixed with the spaghetti squash and everything is heated through.

Serve with tortillas and fresh tomatoes and scallions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 13: Farmer Food

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

We did! Mostly we labored, but we enjoyed it :) There is a lot to harvest this time of year.

And this year has kept us extra busy, as we balance the increased production of Wintergreen Foods products with our usual CSA activities. 

Products like Kale Chips!
(I'm especially enthusiastic about these.)
Not surprisingly, we have found that with new endeavors come new challenges and new heights of busyness, but, while we certainly haven't achieved perfection (there's always next year...) the fields are in good shape as we transition into fall.

The dry beans are drying, the winter radishes are maturing, the acorn squash are ripening and the late planted (remember when June rains kept chasing us out of the fields?) fall crops are heading up nicely.  

Like the cauliflower :)
This week's share will include: Cauliflower, Rutabaga, Kale or Chard, Potatoes, Leeks, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and/or Summer Squash, and Fresh Herbs.

Now, we know that we're not the only family that is extra busy this time of year. Harvest time is also back to school time. So this week's recipe could not be simpler, and it makes use of the sometimes-challenging-to-cook rutabaga in a kid friendly way.

I called this post Farmer Food because I used some extra weird looking cauliflower and rutabaga when I made the recipe. We always feast on the funny looking stuff :)

Curly cauliflower and a rutabaga light bulb.

Maple Roasted Rutabaga and Cauliflower

1 Rutabaga, cut into one inch pieces
1 Cauliflower, separated into large curds
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Toss chopped rutabaga and cauliflower curds together in a bowl. Stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt until they are well mixed.

Stir the maple oil mixture into the cauliflower and rutabaga to coat. Spread the coated vegetables onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring after about 10 minutes.

When it's ready, the rutabaga will be toasty and golden.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week 12: Happy September

With the beginning of September has come a grey sky over yellow fields of goldenrod...

At least that's what today looks like at our place.
...and a share packed with fall vegetables.

Just like early September, this week's share is a lovely mix of summer and fall. It includes: Kale, Potatoes, Leeks, Rutabaga, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Fresh Herbs.

The rutabagas are our usual variety, a lumpier than average heirloom called gilfeather's turnip (though they are true 'bagas and not turnips). I know some members find rutabagas especially challenging. Check out our rutabaga pinterest board for several ideas if you need some inspiration. My favorite is the baked rutabaga fries. I made some seasoned with oregano a while back, they were heavenly.

Or you can make some soup with your 'baga, like this:

Potato and Rutabaga Soup with Kale and Bacon Crumbles 

For the soup:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Leek, well cleaned, white and light green parts only, chopped small
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 5-6 Kale Leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 4-6 (or possibly even more) cups of milk
For the kale crumbles:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 5-6 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into bite sized pieces
In a large pot over medium heat, cook the first three strips of chopped bacon, the chopped leek, garlic and nutmeg until the bacon is cooked but not crisp and the leek is softened.

If you weren't sure, the leek should look like this
before cooking.
Add the chopped potato, rutabaga, and first six leaves of kale to the soup pot, then add milk to cover. For me that was just over four cups of milk. Bring the milk to a simmer, turn the heat to low and simmer until the rutabaga and potato are very soft, about 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make kale crumbles. In a small saute pan over medium heat, cook the second three strips of bacon and the second six kale leaves until both are crisp.

Once the rutabaga and potato are tender, blend until the soup is smooth. Add milk as you blend until the soup is as thin as you like it, this took about two cups of milk for me. Taste and add salt if needed.

Sprinkle a bit of kale and bacon crumbles over each serving of soup, along with some grated cheese if you like. We used smoked Gruyere on ours, Parmesan would be good too. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 11: Zucchini Fritters Take Two

Usually I do the blog on Monday night, but this Monday night my hubby had the urge to cook chicken and s'mores (not all together, thankfully) over an open fire in a windy rain storm.

Seda used the pillow case as a windsock to catch the gusts. Just before
I took this photo it was sleeting :(
After that, it was definitely bed time. So, I decided to do a blog post for breakfast. I hope it wasn't too much trouble for the members to wait an extra 12 hours to find out what will be in the shares this week.

Drumroll please...(Since I left you in suspense, I thought I'd go ahead and make the most of it.)

This week's share will include: Beans, Kale, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Zucchini/Summer Squash, Mini Cabbage OR Brokali, Onions, and Fresh Herbs

We started the onion harvest this week.

Some are going into this week's share and some will be left to cure for winter. Those that are going into the share are not cured, so (unless you keep them in a warm dry place with excellent air circulation for a few weeks) you don't want to keep them sitting around for too long, stick them in the fridge and try to use them within the week.

You can use up one in this week's recipe.

I know that I featured a zucchini fritter recipe this time last year with ingredients that are very similar to the recipe below, but the results are, I think, significantly different. They're both delicious, but while last year's zucchini fritter recipe turned out savory pancakes with chunks of zucchini, the results of this year's recipe are more of a cross between zucchini hash browns and crepes. I think your best best might be to try them both and choose your favorite. 

Zucchini Fritters II

  • 2 small or 1 medium zucchini or summer squash, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 small onion, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley (from about 5 stems of parsley)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • butter, as need for cooking
Whisk the eggs together until they are light yellow and somewhat fluffy. Whisk in the cake flour, milk, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder one ingredient at a time. Whisk well after each addition to make sure the ingredients are well mixed and the batter stays as fluffy as possible.

Fold in the shredded zucchini and onion and the finely chopped parsley. 

Melt a generous pat of butter in a saute pan over low/medium heat. Place large spoonfuls of zucchini mixture in the pan, be sure to stir well before scooping out each spoonfull because the batter will settle to the bottom of the bowl. Cook each side until the batter starts to turn golden, about 3-5 minutes.

Like this.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 10: It's Delicious!

The beans and cucumbers are in big time!

A Bucket of Beans.

Boxes of Cukes.
Mid-August is an awesome time of year for the CSA. For everything but our backs ;)

Scott picking down a row of Dragon's Tongue Beans.
While I pick Royal Burgundy Beans, to match
my watch.
This week's share is all about summer. Members can expect: Beans, Cucumbers, Summer Squash/Zucchini, Tomatoes, Basil, Scallions, Chard, Mini Cabbage, and Brokali OR Kale.

Actually, most members will get brokali. We're pretty sure there is close to enough out there for all 60 shares that are going out this week. We'll use a bit of kale to fill in.

The peak of summer harvest is a somewhat easy time to be a CSA farmer. Most members have very few questions over what to do with basil, beans, or cucumbers. However, we do usually have several folks ask what to do with chard. Which is why I am featuring it in this week's recipe.

As we ate this evening, we debated what this new recipe should be called. When Scott suggested Bean and Rice Lasagna with Swiss chard I mentioned that as I was putting it together Seda had asked if I was making vegetable cake (I made it in a cake pan), at which point Seda said "Whatever it's called, it's delicious!" And so it was named.


  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 15 ounce cans of no salt added beans, drained (I used one can pinto and one can kidney) OR 3 cups pre-cooked beans of your choosing
  • 1 1/2 cups high quality salsa, separated (I used a low sodium corn and black bean salsa--I really don't like it when food is too salty!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil OR coconut oil
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used monteray jack)
  • 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, over medium/high heat, combine the rice, water, beans, 1 cup of the salsa (reserve the other half cup for later in the recipe), garlic and cumin. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Simmer until the rice is completely cooked, about 45 minutes.

In the meantime, separate the chard stems and leaves. Chop the stems into small (about 1/4-1/2 inch wide) pieces and place in one bowl. Chop the leaves roughly and place them in another bowl. Slice the scallions into 1/4 inch pieces and combine them with the chard stems.

Heat the olive or coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and chard stems. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chard stems are just starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and remaining half cup of salsa. Stir well until the chard is evenly coated in salsa and has begun to wilt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chard is tender, about 15 minutes.

Once the rice and chard are both done, layer them into a 9x9 (or there abouts) baking dish thusly: First put half the rice and bean mixture on the bottom of the pan, then add all of the chard mixture, sprinkle half the shredded cheese over the chard, layer on the remaining rice and beans, add a layer of sliced tomatoes, sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese. 

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I knew there was no way I was going to make this plate of food look
pretty, so I went for a spooky skull face instead. See how the chard
leaf in the center kind of looks like a nasal cavity? Bon appetit!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week Nine: A Beautiful Day with Choices

Perhaps I am a bit biased or something, but it was an absurdly beautiful day at the farm today.

I mean, look at these!

The tractor looked like candy.
The birds danced with the trees.
And sunshine turned cabbage leaves to stained glass.
Hopefully, this week's share captures something of that loveliness for the members. This week includes several choices, which always makes for a fun (or surprisingly stressful for some indecisive folks!) pick-up. 

Members can expect: Mini Cabbage, Zucchini/Summer Squash, Thai Basil, Scallions, Tomatoes, Head Lettuce, Kale OR Chard, Frisee OR Radicchio, and Purslane OR Brokali OR Fava Beans. 

Usually we try to keep the choices similar, as in kale or chard, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. This week our small planting of favas is producing nicely, but it isn't quite enough for everyone (and we know from years past that not everyone wants them...) while at the same time our second two varieties of cutting broccoli are just getting started and our purslane patch didn't recover quickly from last week's heavy picking. Members have some real decisions to make :)

So, because I know you'll all be stressed from all that difficult choosing, I made this week's recipe extra simple.

 Halibut with Thai Basil

We were fortunate enough to have some wild caught halibut gifted to us by a generous fisherman who works on a trail crew in Alaska, but this recipe would work equally well with any mild fish, or even chicken.
  • 1/2 bunch Kale or Chard, stems removed
  • 3 large stems Thai Basil, leaves and flowers only
  • One bunch Scallions
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • One Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • About 1 pound Halibut Fillets
  • Salt to taste
Finely chop the kale or chard, Thai Basil leaves and flowers, and scallions. Toss them together in a bowl with the lemon juice and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. While the pan is heating, salt the flesh side of the halibut fillets lightly.

Once the pan is hot, place the fillets flesh side down in the pan. Sear until the surface of the fish is just golden and the fillets begin to release from the pan, about one minute.

Carefully turn the fillets over so they are skin side down in the pan (they are very delicate at this point) and turn the heat to low.

Spoon the basil mixture over the fish, cover the pan and cook over low heat until the flesh is white throughout but still juicy, 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your fillets.