Friday, August 31, 2012

CORN!

I have been anxiously awaiting to be able to announce corn in the farmstand!
 Non-GMO, no-spray, delicious, ripe, CORN. Behr farm grown, come 'n' get it at the TCS farmstand.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

twilight bean picking

The moon is almost full... and the beans are ready! 

Thanks to Atticus, Sam, Abram, and Maya. Your enthusiastic purple pod picking after the back-to-school potluck was a BLAST and very helpful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Clover lovers

Shouldn't those two words rhyme?!
Regardless, the turkeys are LOVING their new patch of clover. A small crew of helpers came out in a big way this evening and we shuffled the turkey house around, rearranged fencing, and poof! The turkeys have some yummy clover to munch on.

Spudnik

Members got potatoes a couple of weeks ago... and that was just the beginning. Despite a pretty hardy multi-generational army of CPBs this year, there still seems to be some spuds to be dug. 

Kathy Flaccus, our science teacher and a generally awesome person, came out today to help for a an hour or so and we dug 'taters for tomorrow's CSA pickup! Check out this beauty:
When I was a baby, my mom called me her little potato... look, ma, now I've got my own!


tropical New Hampshire

We are growing some southern crops this year: okra, collard greens, sweet potato, melon... and every time I harvest amongst them, I get a little weepy for my Florida roots. 
Okra, which is related to hibiscus and cacao, has the most beautiful flowers and growth:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Down with Buckwheat!

In an attempt to smother weeds, feed the soil, use cover croping in a no-till system, and attract pollinators, I seeded buckwheat between the beds of winter squash, in the paths between tomatoes and peppers, and amongst the bean tipis. 
Well, the buckwheat is now about to go to seed, and rather than allow it to do so, setting up the farm for buckwheat weeds next year, we are cutting it down!
inage from http://www.sodahead.com
Mark in the winter squash
Since buckwheat will not survive the frost (it is a 'winterkill' crop), we aren't going crazy removing it, simply whacking it down and leaving the stalks to break down where they fall. The stalks will eventually decompose and give back to the soil, further building our organic matter and fertility. Farming is typically a take relationship with the earth - harvest harvest harvest! It feels good to give now and then.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peter Piper, Peter Rabbit

Peppers are coming on! 
And tomatoes, and beans, and carrots... YUM!

I skipped a recipe last week (can I blame it on Summer Dinner?!), so here are two:

Yellow Bean Salad from 101cookbooks.com
1 pound / 16 oz yellow runner beans
1 serrano chile, stemmed and seeded
5 green onions, green parts trimmed & reserved
a big handful of cilantro
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 cup coconut milk, well mixed
1- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
2 big handfuls / 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
1 1/2 cups tiny pan-fried tofu cubes, optional
basil flower garnish, optional

Cut the beans into 1-inch segments on a deep bias. Cook in a pot of well-salted water for just 30 seconds, drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain, and aggressively shake off as much water as possible. Set aside.
To make the dressing, pulse the chile, onions, cilantro, garlic, salt, and sunflower oil into a paste with a food processor. Pulse in the coconut milk in two additions, before adding the lemon juice to taste, a half tablespoon at a time.
Place the beans in a large bowl with most of the pepitas and tofu cubes (if you're using them). Toss well with a generous amount of the dressing (you'll have plenty of leftover), even so, as I mention up above, this is one of those salads that benefits from over-dressing versus under. Serve in a bowl or platter topped with the remaining pepitas and tofu, and basil flowers if you happen to have them. 


Vegetarian Gumbo also from 101
**I have to admit that I got excited about this one for two reason... the friend from which this recipe came to Heidi is named Kim... and she talked about Halloween - my favorite of all holidays! 
Also, please check her note about the roux. The oil used to make roux is very hot!

1 cup clarified butter (or ghee)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 cups yellow onion, chopped into 1/3-inch dice
3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped into 1/3-inch dice
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 dried bay leaves
3-4 quarts of a great tasting vegetable broth (see head notes!)
Gumbo file'
1 bunch green onions, chopped green ends only
6-8 eggs
5- 6 cups cooked long grain white or brown basmati rice
To make the roux:
In a large cast-iron or enameled cast iron pot, heat the clarified butter. When it is melted stir in the flour. Continue stirring until smooth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir EVERY 10-15 seconds with a bone dry wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot clean each time for about an hour and a half, or until the roux is a deep, deep brown - roughly the shade of a Hershey's Chocolate Bar. The amount of time this takes can vary wildly. The roux will likely bubble quite a bit more at the beginning than it does at the end. Throughout the cooking process my roux temperature bounces around in the 300F - 330F range, but use your nose and eyes (particularly if you don't have a thermometer). The key is to keep the roux hot, but not so hot that it puts off smoke or other acrid smells. The consistency as it is cooking should be that of a thick, creamy hair conditioner. If after thirty minutes of cooking, your roux is too thin (or has visible pools of butter on top), add one or two more handfuls of flour, stirring until incorporated. When the roux is finished cooking, let it cool a bit before carefully transferring to a glass Mason jar or Pyrex container. This will make enough roux for two big pots of gumbo. Leftover roux can be kept in your refrigerator for a couple weeks.

To make the gumbo:
Scoop 1/2 cup of roux into a cold thick-bottomed pot. Alternately, you can just leave about 1/2 cup of the roux in the base of the pot you made your roux in originally, if it is large enough. Stir in the onion, green bell pepper, and salt. You want just enough roux to coat the onions/peppers (see photo) - too much roux and you end up with a muddy gumbo. Cook over medium high heat until onions aren't translucent, roughly 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another minute or so. Now stir in 6 cups of stock, and the bay leaves. Bring to bubbling boil. Boil, boil, boil (see photo) and when it thickens add more stock a cup at a time. Keep adding stock and boiling for two hours - the gumbo should be thicker than a heavy cream, but thinner than a heavy gravy. Imagine it ladled over rice. I taste along the way, but here is where I make final adjustments - does your gumbo need more salt? Don't under salt or the gumbo will taste flat. Maybe it needs a bit more acidity? You can stir in white vinegar (1/4 teaspoon at a time) to get the right balance on this front. A couple pinches of smoked paprika adds depth, but maybe you need a touch of sweetness, a pinch or two of sugar will do. If you aren't excited about how it tastes, keep at it, one tiny adjustment at a time - remembering that you can always add, but never take away. Cover towards the end, dial down the heat and simmer. Remove bay leaves.
Ten minutes before you are ready to serve the gumbo, poach the eggs. Gently crack one egg into a ramekin, lower the ramekin down into the barely simmering gumbo and let the egg slip out. Let it simmer there for a few minutes, past the point when the whites have become thoroughly opaque. If you like a loose yolk, cook for less time. Repeat with three more eggs (I poach the eggs in batches of 3 or 4).
To serve, place a scoop of rice in each bowl, top with one egg, and a ladle of gravy, the rice shouldn't be totally submerged in the gravy, it should peak up above it in places. Finish with a small pinch of file' and about a tablespoon of the chopped green onions. Repeat with the remaining 3-4 eggs.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Summer Dinner

After the record turn out for our July dinner, we have rethought many logistical elements around the timely serving of food to an enormous crowd, and know that we are more than prepared to not only provide a sumptuous feast for all who join us, but also to ensure that the second half of the line doesn't end up eating dessert before dinner!

The crazy bounty of local farms is never more apparent than in the month of August, even though drought has been the watchword of the summer.  We're putting all this food to good use in a themed meal where we cook all manner of goodness in ways suited to wrapping in corn or flour tortillas, drizzling with any number of salsas and sauces, and sprinkling with fresh herbs or cheeses.  These are not your elementary school hard corn tacos that break in half with the first bite and drizzle out strange orange, vaguely meat-flavored oil.  Get past the notion of "Mexican only" and broaden your scope to include Greek, Italian, Ukrainian, Uruguayan, and French influences.

Picture this, instead:

Start off with some local cheese from the Big Farm Creamery and the Sandwich Creamery and a cup of watermelon gazpacho, your new favorite summer soup.  Have a cool drink, visit with a friend, and then get down to the business of trying a little bit of lots of dishes guaranteed to leave you sated.

Imagine smoked lamb tossed with cucumbers, mint, and fresh yogurt folded in strips of whole wheat wraps; grilled fish with cilantro, garlic, cider vinegar and pickled cherry tomatoes spooned onto bite-sized flat breads; eggplant and zucchini basted in herbed olive oil and smoked until velvety smooth, smeared on a hunk of corn tortilla and sprinkled with fresh goat cheese; roasted fresh corn with hunks of chicken tossed with chopped red onion and jalapenos rolled up into finger-sized bites; good ol' ground local, grass-fed beef, browned with cumin and garlic and tossed with black beans; fresh beans simmered with sage, garlic, olive oil, and plum tomatoes, served as a side salad with fresh greens; green beans lightly tossed with cider vinegar and slivers of fresh sheep's milk cheese.

Still need more?  Think salsas with tomatoes, fresh peaches, tomatillos, cilantro, basil, tarragon, walnut oil, olive oil, onion, scallion, shallot, sea salt, black pepper, chili peppers, jalapenos, hungarian wax peppers.

Even more?  Fresh yogurt, lebna (a zesty fresh yogurt cheese).

Save room for dessert....

As always, these meals are served by donation, so pay what you can or what you think the meal is worth.  Imagine getting food this good in a restaurant?  Make this date night.  Family night.  Get to know your neighbor night.

Hope to see you on the 15th at 6pm.  Let us know if you'll be joining us so we can plan enough food for all.

Friday, August 10, 2012

finally, RAIN!

After an entire MONTH without rain, we're finally getting it. I swear you can hear the plants breathing sighs of relief. 
Okay, maybe the plants aren't actually sighing... but you can see watch the grass turning from brown to green!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spring (roll) into Summer!


This week's feature veggie is Napa Cabbage. An Asian cabbage that is perfect for kimchi, stir fry, spring rolls and more! 
Actually, this website explains 8 different ways to prepare and eat it up. 
While # 6 is spring rolls, I'd like to give you another option... one that doesn't require the rice spring roll wrapper (although if you had those at the Summer Dinner, you know they're good!)

Here is a recipe for Napa Cabbage spring rolls where the cabbage leaf is the roll!

Napa Cabbage Spring Rolls from: http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/napa-cabbage-spring-rolls/

Ingredients
    •    1/2 cup arborio rice or long grain rice
    •    1 tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt
    •    4 cups ice cubes
    •    1 head napa cabbage or savoy cabbage
    •    1 cup shredded or grated carrots
    •    1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
    •    2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
    •    1 tablespoon sesame oil (not toasted)
    •    1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
    •    2 teaspoons lime juice
    •    1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
    •    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    •    Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce

Directions
    •    In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boiling. Slowly add rice and return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover; let rice cool. Set rice aside.
    •    In a 5-quart Dutch oven, combine 12 cups (3 quarts) water and the 1 tablespoon sea salt. Bring to boiling.
    •    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 8 cups cold water and ice cubes.
    •    Remove 8 outer leaves from cabbage. Make a cut through each individual leaf at the base where it attaches to the core. Trim out some of the woody stem area from the leaf. Set the remaining head aside.
    •    To blanch, carefully add trimmed cabbage leaves to boiling water; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until just wilted. Cool quickly by plunging cabbage leaves into ice water for 1 minute. Remove individual leaves from water and lay each flat on a cloth towel to dry. Set leaves aside.
    •    For vegetable filling: From the remaining cabbage, finely chop enough to measure 1 3/4 cups. In a large bowl, combine the finely chopped cabbage, carrots, onions, parsley, sesame oil, lime peel, lime juice, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
    •    About one hour before serving, assemble rolls. (These rolls benefit from allowing the surface to dry a little, so making them an hour or so in advance of serving is a good idea.) First, squeeze out any excess water from the vegetable filling. Then, on the counter or cutting board, take a blanched cabbage leaf and lay it flat, with the base end toward you. In the center of the leaf, place 1/4 cup of the vegetable filling on center of leaf, then place 2 tablespoons of the rice on top of the vegetable mixture.
    •    Roll the base end over the rice and filling. Fold both left and right sides over so that it just covers the opening on the edges. Continue rolling toward the end, wrapping tightly with care not to tear the leaf. Place finished roll on a serving dish with the end tucked under the roll, seam side down. Repeat with remaining leaves, rice and vegetable filling.
    •    To serve, if you like, cut each roll in half crosswise on a diagonal to make 16 pieces. Serve with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.
 

 
 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Zen and the art...

... of farm equipment maintenance!

There is a quote that hangs on my fridge that reads "Some people tell me that I’m wasting my college education, but to be a good farmer, you have to be a scientist, a mechanic, a businessman." I think there is a lot more that can be added to that list, but this week, Jared + I played mechanic.

Jared has a bit more recent experience in this, he is re-building a '70s model motorcycle. So, I asked him along to assist me in replacing the cable that engages the mower deck (blades) on the riding lawn mower. Between the two of us, we replaced the cable in about 15 minutes... (I couldn't have loaded it into the back of my truck to drive it to the mechanic in that little time!)

Some of the work required muscle and some of it required small fingers. Turns out, we each brought a piece of each to the table.

Money was saved, skills were acquired, and the mower is fixed!