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.

See?
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.

Delicious

  • 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.

 





Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 8: An Unexpected Salad

I know I said salad season was over. 

And it is if you think of salads as requiring lettuce, but we still have a few luscious leafy things to harvest this season.

Like Frisee
And Purslane
And these leafy things make a delectable summer salad.

Before I get too far into this week's share description, I should mention that the share includes plenty of non-salad items too. Along with the frisee and purslane, this week's share will include: Snow Peas, Basil, Kale, Cabbage, Tomatoes, and Peppers OR Eggplant.

But back to the frisee and purslane.

Frisee should be familiar to members by now. We have grown it for several years and it was in the shares last week. It's an endive, a bitter green, which makes many folks apprehensive, but it needn't be a source of stress. Bitter flavors can be overpowering, but they can also be delicious when paired with equally assertive sour, sweet, salty, and/or creamy flavors, as in this week's salad recipe.

Purslane is a newcomer to the shares, at least this cultivated variety is. Nevertheless, some of you may recognize it as a garden weed. It is a common weed, originally introduced to North America as a vegetable that escaped cultivation. It has a mucilaginous texture (think okra), a mild flavor, and high level of omega-3s. The entire plant, stem and all, is eaten raw or cooked. It's also featured in this week's recipe.

Frisee Salad with Purslane and Nectarine

  • 1 Head Frisee Endive, chopped roughly
  • 1 Handful Purslane, chopped roughly
  • 2 Nectarines, 1.5 chopped into bite sized pieces, remaining half reserved
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Toss together the chopped frisee, purslane, chopped nectarine, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Prepare dressing by pureeing the reserved nectarine half, sour cream, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt together.

A very grown up Fruit Salad




Monday, July 27, 2015

Week Seven: Black Magic

It's kale time.

It took a while, but all those kale transplants we put in after the June rain finally subsided are ready to start harvesting.

Let us know what you think of the new lacinato variety we're trying this year.

It's called black magic.
In addition to kale, members will receive the following in this week's share: Snow Peas, Brokali, Frisee Endive, Napa Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Fennel and a Hoophouse Treat.

The hoophouse is just starting to produce for the season. We were able to harvest enough tomatoes, banana peppers and eggplants for everyone to get their choice of one this week. I know this early harvest is kind of a tease, but I promise there is plenty more to come as the season progresses.

Just the beginning.

If you are apprehensive about getting another fennel in your share, fret no more! I added a few more fennel recipes to our Pinterest board if you need some ideas.

There is also an extensive endive board, should you need some inspiration with that this week.

If you aren't sure what to do with your Brokali, try this recipe:

Chicken and Brokali with Ginger Citrus Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced orange zest
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
  • 1/4 pound brokali (include florets, leaves, and tender stems)
  • 1 banana pepper
  • a large handful of snow peas (there were about 12 peas in my handful)
Combine the ginger, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, and sugar. Stir well and pour over the cubed chicken. Marinate for half an hour.

In the meantime, chop all of the vegetables into bite sized pieces.

When the chicken is done marinating, heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Pour in the chicken and all of its marinating liquid.

Cook, over medium/high heat, until the chicken is browned on all sides and the sauce has begun to boil, about five minutes. 

Turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook until the sauce is reduced by about a third and the chicken is completely cooked, 10 to 15 more minutes.

Push the chicken to the side of the pan and pour in the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just heated through and covered with sauce, about two minutes.

Serve with plenty of rice to soak up the sauce.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 6: In Between Time

During our field walk this morning Scott and I found baby peas and baby zucchini growing.

I am a sucker for morning sun on the field photos.
The long salad season is drawing to a close for this year and the shares are starting to get just a little bit chunkier. We haven't quite gotten into the summer vegetables yet, but they're close.

This week's share will include: Pea Greens, Fennel, Nappa Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Spring Onions, Fresh Herbs, Brokali OR Collards, and Daikon OR Gold Ball Turnips.

Scott said he did a bit of a survey regarding the pea greens at last week's pick up. The general consensus was that they are good, but a little tough. We have definitely found that they toughen as they sit after harvest--just like fresh peas will, so try to use them up within the first couple days after you get them. We have also noticed that the toughest portion of the greens tends to be the fine tendrils that grow off the tips of the shoots. If you are having trouble with them, perhaps try trimming off the tendrils before you prepare your pea greens.

I've included fennel in this week's slaw recipe, I know it's one of the items we grow that members find especially challenging to use up. If you would like to go in a different direction with your fennel, this recipe for candied fennel and fennel syrup is fantastic. 

Napa Cabbage, the true cabbage rose.

The Napa cabbage we're growing this year is a variety called mini kisaku, and it makes a fairly small head compared to standard varieties of Napa cabbage, which can get fairly gargantuan. Small though they are, the mini kisaku are still substantial. I used one head to make a slaw to serve four adults plus Seda (my parents are visiting!!) and we had leftovers.

They bought her a kite :)

Napa Cabbage Slaw

  • One small head Napa cabbage, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • One small fennel bulb, with feathery fronds included, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced finely
  • One package ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packet) broken up into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Toss together the chopped Napa cabbage, fennel, onion, and ramen noodle.

Whisk together the oils, vinegar and spices.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. 

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Before it was slaw.



Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 5: Heat Wave

If you somehow didn't notice, it has actually been hot the last few days!

And the crops are loving it.

For example, these lovely potato flowers are thoroughly enjoying
the summer weather.
Though we are still playing catch-up a bit as we finish getting our fall crops in, this is the time of year when we primarily focus on maintaining what we've planted so that it will be at its best come harvest time. It's the time for weeding and trellising and hoping the weather cooperates by giving us a bit of summer heat, mixed with just enough rain, which is what it did this week :)

The hoophouse tomatoes (this photo is from last week,
tomato harvest looms ever closer!) are just one of
the crops that need trellising this time of year.
The transplants are putting on size. We'll be harvesting all your favorites soon.

The lacinato kale was late to get in this year, but
it's well on its way to harvest now.
And we have some new crops to look forward to.

New crops like purple peacock broccoli. 
This week's share is full of a mix of old favorites and new delacies as well. It includes Kohlrabi, Hakurei, Mesclun, Braising Mix, Pea Shoots, Bunching Onions, Fresh Herbs, and Joi Choi OR Nappa Cabbage OR Brokali.

No, brokali is not a typo. It's a broccoli kale cross. Instead of making big heads of broccoli, it makes lots of shoots and tasty kale like leaves. We are actually trialing a few of these sprouting broccoli varieties this year (the purple peacock pictured above is one of them). This first variety, which is called Apollo, is just starting to make its first shoots. We were able to harvest enough for 24 members, the rest of you will get the last of the Joi Choi pac choi and the first of the Nappa cabbage for the season. We're hoping the Apollo will continue to make shoots throughout the season and, along with the other varieties we're trying out, help us get more broccoli into the shares over a longer portion of the season.

This is where I would usually include an original recipe. But this week, I decided not to. If I had come up with an original recipe it would have featured the kohlrabi, because the kohlrabi are very much the stars of the share this week and because they are a vegetable that we tend to get a lot of questions about. However, when pondering what the recipe would look like, I realized I have featured kohlrabi recipes on the blog several times over the years.

The time has come for a best of!

When reviewing the kohlrabi recipes I noticed that I say the following things (that all bear repeating) about kohlrabi every time I post about it:

1. Peel it! Kohlrabi is the only thing we grow that I always peel. The outside is tough and stringy. The inside is tender and sweet. If you eat the peel you will not like it, I promise.

2. Eat it raw with a little salt and lemon juice or honey and lime juice and possibly some cayenne or fresh herbs sprinkled on it. This is kohlrabi at its best. If you feel fancy, season with salt, lemon juice, etc. and grill it for a few minutes.

3. Use the leaves!!!!!! Kohlrabi leaves are better kale than kale is.

And my two favorite kohlrabi recipes are:

Kohlrabi Salad (with apples!) from July 8th 2013

and

Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad from June 25th 2012

Both of these are, of course, raw. If raw kohlrabi doesn't do it for you (a possibility I believe exists but honestly cannot imagine) I highly recommend using them in place of the hakurei in last week's curry recipe.