In The Box 5: Farm Pick Up and New Glarus Delivery
PLEASE EXCUSE THE LESS-THAN-PRETTY WEBSITE. WE’VE BEEN HACKED AND ARE WORKING ON GETTING UP AND RUNNING AGAIN SOON.
Hard to believe we are already halfway through the CSA season. And what a season it has been! The hardy crops out there that have made it though the month of drought have now survived three tremendous thunderstorms in the past week. Some have been laid to the ground multiple times, yet they pop back up and keep growing. We are thankful for the life-giving rain and thankful for the bounty we keep harvesting from the battered fields. This box marks the beginning of tomato season, and though we only have a few to put in now, we anticipate many weeks of juicy colorful deliciousness from our vines. Here’s what else is in the box:
In order of most to least perishable:
Basil – These leaves are sandy and some are bruised from the storms, but they still taste great. So use them up soon. We’ve provided some nice recipes below. To wash, fill a bowl or sink with cold water, then swish each stem individually.
Chocolate Mint – Nothing like a minty mojito or refreshing mint ice cream in the heat. Mint shows up in lots of other summer recipes these days. To keep this fresh for as long as possible, put the cut stems in a glass of water and store in the fridge.
Salad Mix – We didn’t think we’d have this but we do – so enjoy one last time before the fall. Salad with tomatoes. Yum.
Summer Squash/Zucchini – You’ll notice we tend to pack very small summer squash and zucchini. That’s just the way we like ‘em. Soft skins, small seeds, sweet and tender. But if you are a fan of big fat squashes, we will have some here in the cooler at the farm and you can help yourself to them.
Tomatoes – We’ve got 14 varieties of heirlooms out there, but those that ripened first this year are a few different colored cherries and the little Ida Gold two-bites.
Our tomatoes are lush, beautiful and covered in fruit. And so they should be. We baby them like crazy! First, we start all of our own plants from organic seed in the greenhouse in March. Then we put them out in holes fortified with compost, kelp and calcium. We erect strong trellises divided by black plastic to suppress weeds. We lay drip tape irrigation along the trellises and a heavy mulch over that. Finally – we tie the plants up to the trellis every few days. At last the effort is paying off…
Swiss Chard – So shiny and colorful. We just love picking in this part of the field. Try these nice big leaves in the Chard Sushi recipe below.
Baby Kale – Perfect in salad, great for kale chips, wonderful in the recipe here: “Spaghetti with Kale”:http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/spaghetti-with-kale/
Beets – We picked the last of these lovely roots this week. Hopefully the new planting will do as well for fall.
Kohlrabi – My favorite veggie of the year! Do I say that all the time? This time I mean it. Kohlrabi is like a cabbage that you can eat like an apple. These should be peeled, though, since the skins get tough in heat. Slice into sticks and eat like carrots, or cut in slices and bake in gratins with potatoes. Also wonderful diced and sauteed in butter, then salted and peppered.
Shallot – Our germination was unfortunately poor on these lovely red shallots, so ya’ll only get one a piece. Save them for some fresh eating! Great minced in salad dressing.
Cippolini Onions – These sweet Italian disc-shaped onions are exceptionally sweet when roasted or caramelized. Usually they are small, but all of our onions went nuts in the field this summer, so these are in fact huge. Instead of roasting whole, try quartering them. See what The Kitchn has to say about them “here”:http://www.thekitchn.com/sweet-and-mild-whats-the-deal-121431
Scallions – I guess it’s onion week in your box. But they are all so good right now!
Thyme – In a tiny bag. This little-leafed herb makes everything better. I can hardly think of something I wouldn’t put it on. Rinse, then pull the leaves from the stem and add to eggs, soup, sauce. Try pairing with roasted tomatoes. Excellent with summer squash and zucchini sauteed in olive oil.
2 medium beets
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Peel beets and slice 1/16-inch thick with a mandoline. In a large bowl, toss beets with extra-virgin olive oil. On two rimmed baking sheets ( or use one sheet and bake in two batches0, arrange beets in a single layer. Stack another rimmed baking sheet on top of each. Bake until edges of beets begin to dry out, about 20 minutes. Uncover and rotate sheets. Bake 10 to 20 minutes, removing chips as they become lightened in color. Transfer to a wire rack; chips will crisp up as they cool.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
from Willy Street Co-Op Reader, July
3 c. fresh mint leaves, stemmed
2 c. heavy cream
2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped into chunks and flakes
Bruise the mint leaves with a mortar and pestle until fragrant. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cream, milk, sugar and salt together. Heat until it just begins to steam, then remove from heat, stir in the mint leaves, and cover. Let sit at room temperature at least an hour, up to three hours. With a slotted spoon, remove mint leaves from the pot and bring the cream mixture to a very low simmer. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then while whisking, pour in a cup of the cream mixture. Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until custard reachs 170 -174 degrees F. Stir in the vanilla, pour into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions, and add the chocolate to the mix about halfway through. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Placing the plastic wrap in contact with the custard will prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least 4 hours, then serve. Makes 2 quarts.
Chocolate Basil Cake
A million thanks to farm member Pat, who passed this recipe on to us years ago. We’ve published it multiple times since, and made it even more.
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and dust with rice (or regular) flour. Place the sugar and basil in a food processor. Process until basil is chopped fine and is uniformly green in color – will look wet. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, cocoa powder and basil sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until blended and smooth. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour, stirring just to blend. Add hot water to mixture, stir just to blend. Bake 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool before frosting.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (even better if you add whiskey where noted)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons sour cream ( or 3 TBSP sour cream and 3 TBSP whiskey)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa. In separate medium bowl, beat sour cream and melted chocolate on low speed of mixer. Gradually add sugar mixture. Add vanilla and beat well for 1 minute until very smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled cake and garnish with extra basil leaves.
2 cups vegetable stock
8 leaves chard, stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small onions, minced
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup short-grain rice
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
Bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Toss in the chard leaves, a few at a time until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove and set aside. Do the same with the rest. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat through. Toss in the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the rice, parsley and mint. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Lay chard leaves flat on a table. Place some rice mixture down the center, lengthwise. Roll up tight, like a cigar, and place on a steamer tray. Steam, covered, over the top of the stock until the rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove and cut into 2-inch long pieces. Mix the tahini with the lemon juice and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled over the chard bundles.
A nice twist for the middle of summer.
3 cups packed basil leaves, or a combo of basil and mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
coarse salt and fresh pepper
2/3 cup toasted pistachios, chopped
Pulse leaves in a food processor until finely chopped. Add shallot, lemon juice, cheese, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and oil. Blend til well combined – about 45 seconds. Add pistachios, and pulse until combined but still chunky. Refrigerate 30 minutes and up to 1 day, bring to room temp before serving. Great to dress pasta, or use as a dip for veggies.
Recipe for “Roasted Cipplinis!”:http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/roasted-cipolini-onions/
Got plans for next weekend? Take the first annual Soil Sisters Farm Tour on Sunday, August 5. Visit seven southern Wisconsin farms primarily led by women. All are sustainable small operations and all have lots of fun activities planned for visitors of all ages, with an emphasis on kid-friendly fun at each site. 11 am to 4 pm. Circle M is on the tour, and we’ll have lots of fun wool activities, yarn spinning demos and a Nibble Tour of the gardens. Itâ€™s FREE and open to the public. No registration is needed. Pack your boots and bring a cooler! There will be opportunities to purchase farm fresh produce and meats. See more info “here”:http://soilsisterswi.org/.