Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CSA Week 9

Your farmers went camping this weekend. Along with some other friends who are also farmers we hiked in the woods and we built a fire and at night we fell asleep to the sound of a gentle rain against the canopy of trees and against our tents. It was a good weekend, and it was significant because it is rare that we both take two days off in a week, and it is rare that we so fully leave the context of the farm during the season. We spend a lot of time here, and I was reminded this weekend that it is easy to lose perspective of your surroundings while you are immersed in them. To leave--to walk away into the woods--provides an opportunity to return with refreshed awareness and see the place you left as if it is new. Growth and change are constant on the farm, but they are easy to miss when they are constantly before your face. Leave for a weekend, though, and the profusion of new plant life--weeds and flowers and vegetable crops alike--is startling. Its like when you were younger and your grandmother would visit from the midwest and even though you didn't feel any taller she would always greet you with her favorite pun: You gruesome! We're back, refreshed, and most things on the farm grew some in our short absence. The squash harvest was particularly epic this morning, but do you think those plants noticed how large and profuse they'd become? Probably not, they didn't leave themselves for a minute.

Here's what is in the share this week:

Beets, red
Onions, ailsa craig
Broccoli, gypsy
Summer Squash

Notes about the food:

chioggia beets

*Friend of the farm Sadie Ryn Miller made a delicious beet salad, and she shared the recipe:

Trim, salt and oil one bunch of beets. Add a centimeter of water to a baking dish, add beets, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and roast at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Peel the beets under running water while they are still warm so that the peels slide off between your fingers. Marinate in vinaigrette (red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper). Serve with fresh greens, nuts and goat cheese. Fresh figs and pistachios are perfect additions.

*Sometimes I would like to spend all day eating baked goods. If you'd like to incorporate some vegetables into dessert, try these recipes--One uses summer squash for something sweet, the other uses beets:

Summer Squash "Apple Crisp" (From another friend of the farm.)

6-7 cups zucchini or other summer squash
3/4 cup lemon juice

Peel, seed, and chop squash into slices. Combine with lemon juice and cook on the stovetop until slightly translucent. Remove from heat and add:

1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Stir and pour into a baking dish. Top with:

1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup oats
2/3 cup butter

Bake at 375 until golden and bubbly.

Chocolate Beet Cake (From Farmer John's Cookbook.)

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups beets, cooked and pureed
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 10 cup bundt pan with oil and dust with flour. Partially fill bottom of a double boiler with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Put the chocolate and 1/4 cup of the oil in the top half of the boiler. Heat just until the chocolate melts, then remove from heat and stir until combined. Combine eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly beat the remaining 3/4 cups oil, chocolate mixture, pureed beets and vanilla. Sift the all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour into a bowl. Stir in baking soda and salt. Gently stir the flour mixture into the egg and chocolate mixture just until the flour is mixed in. Don't over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.

*Broccoli, like other vegetables in the brassica family (kale, cabbage, etc.), is a cool weather crop, and the fact that we successfully grew well-formed heads of the stuff in the middle of this hot summer is somewhat baffling to us. We planted it without real expectation, and then watched as it thrived. Remember to eat the stem and leaves along with the florets: much of the plant's nutrition is contained in those parts, and they are just as tasty.

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