Someone Else's Farm

September 25, 2010

Chickens

Filed under: pickup — Tags: — M @ 17:01 PM

I just want to say that I am very glad there are farmers who grow and slaughter chickens so I can eat them. I greatly appreciate that they do the dirty work so I don’t have to.

September 24, 2010

I’m still here!

Filed under: Uncategorized — M @ 16:42 PM

I haven’t gone anywhere, except for deep in the world of work. But I have two weeks of haul to show you, and tomorrow we get to pick up a couple of chickens that we ordered! So, look for a complete rundown in a few days, when I have time to surface and breathe again. But until then, it’s back to work for me!

September 16, 2010

Week 13: list and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 15:25 PM

It’s raining. I really hope it dries up before we go downtown tonight, to pick up this week’s share! We’re supposed to get:

  • Macintosh Apples (Knapp Farm) (probably my least-favorite apple variety, but oh well.)
  • Lemon Basil
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Baby Carrots
  • Cherry Belle and Easter egg Radish
  • Early Hakurei Turnips
  • Patty Pan, Zucchini, or Yellow Crook Neck Squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Loving the herbs on the list. If we get the basil and the tomatoes, I may need to get some fresh mozzarella for salad in the near future. And if we get parsley, I can add some to the salad that went with yesterday’s mujadarah!

Hakurei turnips are one that I’ve not heard of before. Fortunately, we got suggestions for using them, and their greens in the newsletter, which says, “Hakurei turnips are mild in flavor and hold incredibly well in stews and soups…. Hakurei turnips are milder and sweeter than purple top turnips, and are best eaten raw. They taste a little bit like very mild horseradish.” The turnip recipe suggestions  are for a gratin and a chicken salad. The greens recipe is an Asian-style treatment with citrus. And as far as non-turnip recipes go, we got one for a summer squash, tomato, and basil risotto.

Finally, there was a note in the newsletter that chickens will be available soon. I am eager to try their chickens. The first one, we’ll simply season and roast, so we can really taste it. (The carcass will then become soup!) After that, we’ll figure out what to do with others we get. We’re also contemplating the turkeys that will be available come holiday time.

New Recipes

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , — M @ 15:15 PM

We made some new dishes this week with our CSA share. We even made two recipes for the same little squash!

The squash started out in a recipe from the most recent issue of Fine Cooking, for a braised acorn squash with rosemary. The squash was the little carnival or sweet dumpling or whatever it was, and the rosemary came from the next-door neighbor’s bush. Casey made it, we tasted it, and it was pretty much meh. We aren’t sure whether this particular squash variety doesn’t have a huge potent flavor to begin with, or if it wasn’t cooked as much as it should have been, but for whatever reason it didn’t float our boat. Instead, we put the wedges of (par-)cooked squash in the fridge for later, and went out for dinner that night.

A couple of days later, it was time to do something with the squash. I cut it off the rind, and cubed it. And then I cooked a pound of whole-grain shells (Barilla brand), mixed them and the squash cubes together with a cheese sauce that I zinged up with plenty of cayenne, and baked up a mac and cheese with squash. This worked well. My mac and cheese recipe is mostly from Cook’s Illustrated, but I never bother with a crumb topping. In this case, I topped the pan with caramelized onions, which worked really well with the dish. And although I’m not generally a fan of most whole-grain pasta, it worked fine in this dish.

We also found something new to do with mustard greens! This recipe came from the December 2000 issue of Fine Cooking (and I apologize for the locked link; I couldn’t find the recipe elsewhere.

Noodle soup

We used a package of sirloin strips that we’d found marked down at Wegman’s that morning as the meat, some somen noodles from the Asian market in Syracuse, and the mustard greens. We used some boxed chicken broth as the base for the soup, but next time we might try using some of the Thai broth to further Asianify the flavors with no extra effort on our part. We also think this would probably do well in a shabu-shabu type treatment with thin strips of beef, or possibly like some kinds of pho where very thin slices of raw meat are placed in a soup bowl and very hot broth is poured on top. Either variation would be a fun dish for the right kind of company!

And finally, last night I made mujadarah (or megadarrah, or whatever name you want to call it). We first had this dish at the Aladdin’s restaurant in Hudson, OH, with our friends Dan and Emmy. I followed Claudia Roden’s recipe, which I have in both her New Book of Middle Eastern Food and her Book of Jewish Food, and is also available on line. It’s basically lentils and rice, with lots and lots of caramelized onions. I used green French lentils, because I like the way they hold their shape when they’re cooked, and basmati rice, because I love the flavor and texture and it’s what I keep on hand. And caramelized onions are always good. Aladdin’s serves their mujadarah with a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, and parsley, with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. I did the same, except for the parsley because I didn’t have any and I forgot to get some when I went shopping. I even went so far as to get really good yogurt…which I then forgot about in the fridge. I guess that means we have it to eat with the leftovers this weekend. Oops.

September 11, 2010

Week 12 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , — M @ 08:23 AM

It rained on Thursday night. Here’s what I picked up, compared to the list:

  • Rainbow Chard: no. I’m not complaining.
  • Mizuna: I don’t think so?
  • Mustard Greens: Maybe. We got some kind of cooking green, but without a label I can’t tell exactly what it is.
  • Yellow Onions: yes, a double handful of little ones.
  • Sweet Green Peppers: 2
  • Hot Pepper Mix (Frying, Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno): a few jalapenos and some bigger yellowish-green ones
  • Cherry Belle Radish: nope
  • Carnival Squash: 1, which looks exactly like last week’s squash.
  • Tomatillos: yes, about like last week.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: yes, much less beat-up than last week, both plum and round shapes.
  • And also, a box of orange cherry tomatoes, and a few apples.

September 08, 2010

Week 12: List and Suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 16:53 PM

We got a lengthy newsletter this week. First, the best guess list of what we’ll pick up tomorrow:

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens (Oy! Three kinds of greens again?)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Sweet Green Peppers
  • Hot Pepper Mix (Frying, Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno)
  • Cherry Belle Radish
  • Carnival Squash (maybe this is what we got this week?)
  • Tomatillos
  • Heirloom Tomatoes

The newsletter also contains a number of notes of interest.

One note is that their greens are doing well. I’m really not sure how I feel about this. I understand that big batches of greens help to “bulk out” our shares, and make it look like we’re getting lots of stuff each week. However, I would happily go with a smaller amount of stuff if it meant getting less of the dreaded greens. I understand that they’re very healthy, and I understand that they grow well. I almost wish I still had pet guinea pigs, who would go wild over such things. But if there were one vegetable type that I were doomed to eat in vast quantities each and every week, greens wouldn’t be it. Apparently most of Oswego feels the same way: over the last few weeks, as we’ve walked up and down the farmer’s market on Thursdays, we’ve taken note of the number of vendors who sell greens. And they must not be big sellers here, as there’s only one vendor that typically has them—Grindstone Farm, one and the same with the CSA. So either nobody else is growing them, or everyone has discovered that they just don’t go here so there’s no sense in bringing many of them. I could certainly deal with getting a bunch or two, every other week or so. I think between what we’ve stored in the freezer and what we’re still going to get, I’m greened out for at least the next year.

Another note is that there are more potatoes to come. I like potatoes.

Looks like we’re starting in with the second crop of some vegetables. We’re anticipating more beans when they’re ready. And I hope the radishes come; my mother-in-law will be visiting and I want to make her a radish sandwich.

I’m waiting to see the prices on turkeys and chickens. We opted not to reserve a hog this year, as we don’t have enough freezer room. If we had, I’d happily give our greens to our hog.

And finally, there was a note about the quality of the tomatoes, as I noticed last week. The issue they face is a common one: if they let them ripen all the way before picking them, they get beaten up on their way here, and don’t last more than a day or so. Back in the days when my family had a garden, we’d pick the tomatoes as they ripened (if the groundhogs didn’t get to them first) and use them almost immediately. I guess this is one of the issues when tomatoes have to travel even a few miles, and when they’re delivered only once a week. Too bad it’s not practical to have a three-times-weekly CSA delivery, to help spread out some of the produce.

We got recipe suggestions this week. One is an Asian-inspired recipe for mizuna with chicken or tofu. It looks like a pretty standard stir-fry: The protein is velveted and set aside, the vegetables get stir-fried, a sauce gets added, and the protein is returned to the wok at the very end.

There’s a recipe for a cooked salsa verde. It, too, looks pretty standard. I prefer to use homemade cooked salsas as a sauce for other cooked things, and make raw salsas to eat with chips. This one could work nicely on grilled meats.

We got a fish recipe this week, for tequila-marinated mahi mahi with avocado-tomatillo sauce and grilled tomatoes. I was pleased to see that U.S.-caught mahi mahi is either a “best choice” or a “good alternative” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was also pleased to see a mustard green recipe, which would probably work with other greens as well. This one looks fairly standard, braised with bacon and shallots. Boiled egg and cranberries are suggested as a non-pork substitute. I’ll take the bacon, although I could see where cranberries might be nice, sort of like a suggestion of the classic spinach with raisins and pine nuts. I’ll take dried cranberries over raisins any day.

And finally, a vegan recipe for winter squash/garlic ravioli. (I guess you can get pasta sheets that are made without eggs around here?) I could totally see doing this when I’m in the mood to make something fiddly, but I’d use egg pasta, and real butter instead of vegan spread.

We’ve gotten lots of rain lately. I hope the beans appreciate it.

Tomatoes and Potatoes, Oh My!

Filed under: Uncategorized, what we did — Tags: , , , , — M @ 16:17 PM

We haven’t used much of what we got this week. But we have pitched several of the tomatoes and potatoes, as they went bad before we could use them.

Casey made some potatoes for breakfast over the weekend. He discovered that probably half a dozen of the little ones we’d gotten were mushy, and dumped them so we don’t get fruit flies. As far as the tomatoes, one of the slicing tomatoes was beaten up when we got it home, and had started to ooze by Friday morning, when I tossed it. Another looks about at that stage now. And three or four of the plum tomatoes went straight from green to black on the shoulders, without passing through any intermediate red stage.

The remaining tomatoes and all the tomatillos will each get made into a salsa, which will get shared with my bandmates tomorrow night.

The squash, we believe, is either a carnival squash or a sweet dumpling squash. We haven’t used it yet, but may bake it tonight since it’s quite cool and windy.

September 03, 2010

Week 11 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , — M @ 16:17 PM

Here’s what we got this week, compared to the list:

Our haul

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale: I think what we got looks more like ordinary green kale.
  • 1 bunch mizuna: This is the spiky-leafed green at the back, I think.
  • 1 bunch mustard greens: Rounding out the green selection….
  • 3 lb gold potato: Nice little ones, although three of them had gigantic bad spots and needed to be tossed as soon as we got them home.
  • 1 lb spaghetti squash: It’s not a spaghetti squash, but we did get another winter squash of some kind.
  • 0.5 lb tomatillo: In one of the bags. Hope these are as good as last week’s.
  • 2 lb heirloom tomato: Lots and lots of tomatoes. Some are slicing varieties, and one of those feels very much like a water balloon, it’s so ripe. But we also got a boatload of plum tomatoes, many of which are rock-hard and have pale or green shoulders.
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomato: Nope. But we did get two zucchini that are not baseball bats.

In addition, at the market, we picked up some peaches (a mixture of white and gold varieties), which are ripening in a brown lunchbag on the counter. The farmer who grew them said that all his fruit trees are ahead of their normal schedule. We also got some poblano peppers, which are easily our favorite fresh green chile. (We also like them very much when they dry into anchos.) We also got a bunch of carrots, since we don’t have many carrots left in the house and I enjoy snacking on carrot sticks. And a big red onion, to go along with all the cute little bunching onions from the last few weeks’ hauls.

The squash, I’m guessing, we’ll probably roast later this weekend when it cools down, and scoop out of the shell and eat as a side vegetable. The potatoes, well, who knows? If they’re like most gold varieties, they’re good for just about anything, and we could parboil them and grill them or smash and oven-crisp them, make them as salt potatoes, turn them into a potato salad of some kind, eat hash browns for breakfast…the possibilities are endless. The zucchini could get julienned into “noodles” and eaten as such (spaghetti squash, anyone? ;-)), or baked into yet another batch of cake (without the glaze, so it’ll freeze well). As far as the greens, I’m thinking of taking at least some of them Asian, thanks to recipes from my friend Sharon. (Or maybe it’ll be soup weather this weekend?) The tomatillos are likely to become some sort of salsa verde, especially since we got both poblanos and red onion. Maybe we’ll keep this salsa raw, or maybe we’ll break out the pumpkin seeds from the freezer again for another batch of pipián, or maybe even a mole verde.

Which brings us to those tomatoes. I have no problem using fresh ripe slicing tomatoes. I love them for lunch, sliced, with some kind of cheese and a sprinkle of fresh herbs if I have any on hand, and topped with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar that’s been reduced to a syrup and maybe a bit of extra-virgin olive oil if I’m in an extravagant mood. But that treatment doesn’t work on tomatoes that are not perfectly ripe, such as the 2.5+ pounds of plum tomatoes. They’re getting a couple of days out on the counter, to see if that improves their condition at all. But I’m also leaning towards embracing their firmness and finding something to do that takes advantage of it. One possibility is a tomato gratin, with cheese and breadcrumbs and seasoning. These tomatoes may also work well for stuffing and baking, if there’s enough of a cavity inside to make it worth the bother. In any case, I’ll be keeping a sharp eye on all the tomatoes, and hoping I don’t start to see fruit flies invading the kitchen.

September 02, 2010

Week 11 List

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , — M @ 09:10 AM

No suggestions again this week. This afternoon, we’re supposed to pick up:

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 1 bunch mizuna
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 3 lb gold potato
  • 1 lb spaghetti squash
  • 0.5 lb tomatillo
  • 2 lb heirloom tomato
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomato

No eggplant on the list, even. I wonder if this means we won’t get any this year, since we didn’t get it when it was on the list. I’m a little surprised by the absence of zucchini also, and can’t quite believe that the zucchini season is officially over already? I’m disappointed at these omissions because without zuke and eggplant, both of which I feel like should be in profusion at this time of year, I can’t make ratatouille. I might just have to remedy that by supplementing our share with some produce from the farmer’s market.

I hope the big tomatoes are in better shape this week, so we can actually eat them. An earlier message said that Tuesday people would get the cherry tomatoes and Thursday people would get patty pan squash. We pick up on Thursday, so either their plans changed between messages, or we’ll get patty pan squash instead of cherry tomatoes. I guess we’ll find out later today!

September 01, 2010

Summertime Eating

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , , , , — M @ 12:27 PM

I wish we’d gotten the eggplant. That, to me, is the food of summer, along with tomatoes.

But instead, we got zucchini. I grated it and turned it into another batch of zucchini cake, this time with the lemon glaze. The glaze turned out to not add much, I thought, so next time I probably won’t bother. It’s certainly well worth making, even if the house is devoid of lemons. Casey thought it was just fine without the glaze, so I’ll be adding this to my zucchini repertoire.

And we got cucumber and tomatoes, which I turned into Asian gazpacho. The recipe is from Ming Tsai’s first book, Blue Ginger, and because Amazon lets you search inside, if you look for “Asian gazpacho” you’ll get to the recipe. I had basil and cilantro and jicama, and stole the mint from the next-door neighbor’s prolific herb garden. (That’s not totally accurate. I stole the mint, and then I phoned and asked permission.) The onion, tomatoes and cucumber came from the CSA. I am currently out of sambal oelek so I used sriracha instead, and for the chile I used a poblano. (I could have used one of those jalapenos that we didn’t get also.) Casey thought it was a little too spicy for his taste. I didn’t care for the mint, which I’ll leave out next time. I think it’s worth keeping in mind, but tweaking.

We also used up last week’s tomatillos. Casey turned them, the other poblanos, some garlic, some raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and other things into a pipian-style sauce. We ate it on a grilled pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces which we wrapped in warm flour tortillas. We had a little bit of pork, and some sauce, left over; they’ll go onto a pizza tonight.Pork, green sauce, tortillas

And last night: homemade black bean burgers and salad (CSA lettuce, CSA tomatoes, store red pepper).

The calendar may say September, but it’s definitely still summertime here!

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