In The Box 7: Madison Delivery
Early fall is just the best! Today we had a lovely cool morning to work in the fields. A gentle breeze stirred colored leaves from the hedgerow trees which sprinkled our shoulders and the dark earth while we hoed the rows of late season greens. Of course the day heated up fast, but then we got to eat hot, juicy just-picked melons and salty edamame for lunch. The farm is so beautiful and bountiful right now. Hope we’ve been able to transport some of that goodness to you this week. Here’s what’s in the box:
Basil – The sheep got into the gardens this week and ate all the Swiss Chard right down to the ground. Apparently, they don’t like basil, since this was right next to it and went unscathed. Ah – the surprises of homestead living are myriad! You’ve probably found lots of ways to love basil by now, but this week you can try making a pesto that’s half basil and half sorrel – tangy!
Sweet Corn – Just a few ears this time, perhaps to add to succotash or a salsa recipe. These are the picking of our second, lower ears from the stalks in the corn patch. They aren’t as big or sweet as the first. But still good, and still best eaten very fresh.
Tomatoes – You should have at least one of all the heirloom varieties we are growing this year: Pink Brandywine (huge), Yellow Brandywine (huge), Aunt Ruby’s German Green (large), Green Zebra (medium), Ida Gold (small), Black Prince (dark medium) and Amish Paste (long skinny sauce tomato). As well as hybrid Big Boy and Wisconsin 55 slicers. Our cherries and plums are still rockin’ along as well. The green cherries are very prone to splitting when ripe, so eat those up pronto. Enjoy and leave the firmer ones til last. Check out this video of our enemies in the tomato trellises:
Tomato Hornworm Video!
Collards (bunched large leaves) – These Southern favorites are very happy in the heat. This is our first picking through the rows so the leaves are very very tender and young. If you’ve used the starchy stiff collards you can get at the grocery store, this will be a bit different and cooking times in recipes should be greatly reduced. You can even eat these fresh, like a salad. They have a cabbage flavor and pack a terrific nutritional punch.
Summer Squash/Zucchini – This is the week to make bread or zucchini boats with your squash, or slice them up and use instead of noodles in a layered lasagne. We simply can’t pick these fast enough to stay ahead of them right now, so they are large.
Edamame – These are the stiff bean pods packed in your boxes still attached to their plants. This is our best chance of getting them super fresh to you – so leave them on the plants, in the fridge, until you are ready to cook them. But do it soon! This taste treat is sort of the Japanese version of our much-loved sweet corn. In other words, it is best eaten picked at just the right time and fresh. Sweet Corn and Edamame are two of the best reasons to participate in a CSA! Believe it or not, these pods are soybeans. Heirloom, non-GMO soybeans, so they are quite different from what you might see yellowing up in the neighboring farm fields right now. These should be pulled from the bushes and rinsed. Then cooked for about 10 minutes in 2 quarts of boiling water to which 2 tablespoons of salt has been added. Then drain, and cool slightly. Finally, squeeze them directly out of the pods and into your mouth! I can totally OD on these. Hope you like them, too. In Japan, they are served at bars instead of bowls of peanuts. In fact, this variety is called “Beer Friend.”
Melons (Shortie Shares Only) – Well, we’d planned to grow a lot of small little Asian “pocket” or “gift” melons to put in the shortie boxes, but most of what we grew for melons this year got very large! It’s just a melon kind of year. So your boxes are a bit heavy and crowded with melon. But we think you’ll find them delicious and, of course, since we are picking for you and just in the week before your delivery, these will be dripping sweet and fresh. Eat soon! We tried to pack the smallest melons we had ripe this week, so you could have small red watermelons, oblong yellow watermelons, netted orange cantalope, white muskmelon with green flesh or various other odd heirloom melons from around the world.
Sorrel – In a box full of taste treats, we’ve got yet another specialty item for you this week. Sorrel is generally a spring crop, but we transplanted our entire perennial herb bed right after we packed sorrel in the spring. (The hoophouse went up where the herbs had been.) So we cut the plants way back to help them focus on building their roots systems. Now they are fresh and young like spring sorrel, and just the thing to add to your pesto this week. Or try cooking with the collards. We’ve also added some lovely recipes to take advantage of this lemony herb.
Hot Peppers – We’ve got a few hot peppers in your box this week so you can keep on producing salsa with all the tomatoes.
Garlic – Collards sauteed in olive oil with garlic just can’t be beat for taste or nutrition. Serve over some brown rice and sprinkle with a bit of apple cider or balsamic vinegar and you’ll taste the brilliance of simplicity.
Onions – You’ve got round Walla Wallas and flat Cippolinis this week. Both are pretty well-cured and should keep out of the fridge for some months.
Wow! “Roasted Tomatoes and Cippolinis”:http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/09/roasted-tomatoes-and-cipollini/ from The Smitten Kitchen! Ours are a lot bigger than the ones they are showing, so quarter them before roasting.
Circle M Soybean Succotash
Traditional succotash uses lima beans, but we find edamame sweeter and nuttier tasting. These proportions are really just a guideline, and you should use whatever you have on hand in approximate amounts.
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup fresh soybeans, shelled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 ears fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob
basil leaves, thinly ribboned
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chopped onion and garlic, sprinkle over salt. Saute until clear. Add lima beans, tomatoes, sugar, and corn and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add fresh pepper to taste.
Sorrel and Goat Cheese Quiche
2-3 cups sorrel, coarsely chopped
Small onion, chopped
3-4 ounces goat cheese
1Â½ cups milk (whole is best)
Â¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread goat cheese (or any strong flavored cheese) in the bottom of a piecrust. Cover with chopped sorrel and onions. Beat eggs, salt and milk together. Pour over greens. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Vegetarian Collards and Rice
Collards are traditionally prepared with broth made from smoked ham hocks. That will be perfectly appropriate with the beefier collards we’ll send along later in the fall. For these tender leaves, though, all you need is a light hand and thinner seasonings.
2 cups vegetable broth (or water, especially if you are adding the sorrel to this dish)
1 cup brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups collard greens and/or sorrel, rinsed and chopped
pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)
In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the rice, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the collard greens and bring to a slow simmer. Add garlic, chopped or pressed. Cover and allow to cook until rice is soft, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a dash of black pepper and more salt and red pepper flakes to taste. For a spicier dish, mix in a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper before serving. Vinegar is great sprinkled over at serving time.
Try the lovely “French Sorrel Soup”:http://honest-food.net/2012/04/04/french-sorrel-soup/ at Honest Food.
See more great seasonal recipe ideas at the “Circle M Market Farm”:https://www.facebook.com/circlemfarm facebook page!