Someone Else's Farm

October 07, 2010

Week 16 List

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , — M @ 09:04 AM

Here’s what we’re supposed to get this afternoon:

  • Cortland apple
  • Arugula
  • Purple eggplant
  • Red potatoes
  • Cherry Belle radish
  • Buttercup squash
  • Carnival squash
  • Tatsoi
  • Cherry tomato

I really hope the prediction about eggplant is correct. We haven’t gotten any all summer, and it’s feeling as though summer is over.

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October 03, 2010

How We Used Our Chickens

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , — M @ 15:45 PM

As I posted earlier, we got two chickens. We picked them up last Saturday, 25 September. That night, we roasted one, naked except for a lemon and an onion tucked inside and some salt and pepper and a smear of butter outside. I couldn’t take any pictures before, because my hands were a mess, but here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven:

Whole Roasted Chicken

I don’t usually truss birds, but this one was a little differently shaped than a supermarket bird. It insisted on lying on its back with its legs pointing straight up at the ceiling. So I tied the legs together, to help bring them down a smidge and make the bird fit into the oven better. I followed Tony Bourdain’s roasting temperature guidelines: white wine to cover the bottom of the roasting pan, about half an hour at 375 degrees F, and then another half hour at 425 or until done. I didn’t baste. But alongside the bird, I did cook one of the winter squashes, which I halved, scooped out the seeds from, and put cut-side down in a glass baking dish with a little water in the bottom. And when I turned the temperature up, I slid in a tray of the little red potatoes, which I’d cut into wedges and tossed with a bit of olive oil and seasoned salt.

Casey carved the chicken, because he usually does a better job than I do:

Cut up chicken

We decided that the flavor was terrific, but we weren’t so sure about the texture, particularly in the leg and thigh meat, which were tougher than we were expecting.

Of course, we saved the carcass!

Chicken carcass

The next day was Casey’s turn to do something with a chicken. He cut it into pieces, again saved carcass and wings, and put the breasts and leg quarters into the Dutch oven to brown.

Chicken parts browning in the dutch oven

And then he flipped them over to brown the other side.

Fully browned chicken parts in dutch oven

And from there, he went on to follow Julia Child’s recipe and turn out a fabulous coq au vin. The vin in question was actually more properly a viƱo, specifically a Spanish Jumilla. It might not have been classic Julia wine, but it worked nicely in this dish.

bowl of coq au vin. yum.

We decided that braising was a more appropriate use of these chickens, as the texture of the meat was easier to appreciate than it was in the roasted bird. About the only thing we’d do differently next time is remove the skin from the chicken before serving, as neither of us is a fan of flabby wet-cooked chicken skin. (We both think it needs to stay on the bird during the braising, as the browning adds too much flavor to lose from the pot that early.) We had leftovers, which we stripped the skin from before storing. We ate the leftovers the next day over cooked egg noodles, and they were just as good on the first day.

And then, Chicken, Act III:

The night we ate the original coq au vin, we cooked up both carcasses and all the wings into stock. Two nights later (the night after the coq leftovers), we had chicken soup for dinner. I browned some carrots, celery, and onions in a soup pot. I then added the carcass stock, the leftover roast chicken meat (cut into bite-size pieces), and the very few leftover roast potato pieces (also cut down smaller). It came up to a boil, and was ready to eat. I had just enough left over for the next day’s lunch. And that was the end of our two birds.

But wait, there’s more!

When I found out that whole birds, with feet that they walked around on, would be processed, I put in a request for chicken feet. I’ve enjoyed them braised in Chinese restaurants, but Casey’s not as fond of them as I am. Nonetheless, I like to include a couple of feet when I make stock, especially from a roasted chicken carcass. (Roasted chicken carcass stock always seems a little thin in body to me, probably because there’s no gelatin left in the bones.) And I came home with five pounds of chicken feet. I rinsed them in cold water, and packed them in baggies in pairs, and put them in the freezer. I wound up with 25 baggies of chicken feet. I thought about blanching them all, and trimming the center and chopping off the claws, but decided to wait and do that when I use each pair. That all happened the same night we roasted the first chicken, and I wanted to get the feet out of the way before starting to deal with roasting prep. I think when I use them, I’ll do so without telling Casey. Don’t tell him, please.

Catching Up

In other words: Week 13, Week 14, and Week 15 List, Suggestions, Haul, and What We Did With Some Of Our Good Stuff.

You’ve already seen the list and suggestions for Week 13. Here’s what we got, in the rain:

Broccoli, carrots, tomatillos, apples, tomatoes

Lemon basil, tomatoes, grape tomatoes

  • Macintosh Apples: half a dozen.
  • Lemon Basil: a big bunch.
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley: a bunch.
  • Baby Carrots: a baggie, the real thing, little tiny carrots that are that size and not cut down from big ones!
  • Cherry Belle and Easter Egg Radish: nope, although we weren’t sure at first.
  • Early Hakurei Turnips: a bunch. They look like little white radishes, which is why we were so confused.
  • Patty Pan, Zucchini, or Yellow Crook Neck Squash: two zucchini.
  • Tomatillos: a bagful.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: four biggish ones.
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes: Not sungolds, but a pint of red grape tomatoes.

This came just as work started to get crazy for me. Probably the most notable thing we did with the produce from this week was a pasta dish that Casey concocted, with a sauce of tomatoes, zucchini, and parsley and lemon basil.

Week 14’s list, and what I picked up on 23 September:

Peppers, turnips, tomatoes, apples, greens, squash

apples, turnips, greens

  • Macintosh Apples: four apples.
  • Green Italian Basil: I wish, but no.
  • Green Kale: a big bunch. Of course.
  • Red Potatoes: a net bag full of spuds a little larger than salt-size.
  • Acorn Squash: three of the tiniest I’ve ever seen.
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash: no.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: a bunch of smallish plum-shaped tomatoes, two large red bashed-up tomatoes that were unsalvageable, and a green zebra or something similar.

And also a bunch of peppers, some jalapenos and some sweet orange and pale yellow varieties. And for good measure, two batches of leeks from another farmer’s market vendor. Leeks grow in dirt, in case you wondered.

The newsletter suggested this week that we make kale with apples and mustard, sauteed baby patty pan squash with basil and feta, and linguini with basil, kale, and tomatoes. We did none of these. Casey concocted another fresh tomato sauce for pasta, which did not have kale in it but did contain peppers and (shhh!) an anchovy, which worked very well.

The Macs from these last two weeks, I made into apple butter. I’m not a fan of mushy apples, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do with these but they were taking up more fridge space than I could afford to give them. So I rinsed and stemmed them all, cut them into quarters, tossed them into a pot with a splash of water and the juice from a leftover lemon half, and let them cook until they were mush. (It didn’t take long.) I then ran the cooked apples through the food mill to get rid of the skins and seeds. If I’d wanted applesauce, I would have stopped here, but then I would have had to put it into jars and process them right then and there, and I probably wouldn’t have finished that until way too late at night. So instead, I put the applesauce in the slow cooker (there was about 3 quarts, based on the markings of the bowl I ran the food mil into), added sugar (both brown and white), cinnamon, nutmeg, and a couple of whole cloves until it tasted defiantly sweet and spicy, cocked the lid of the slow cooker just slightly ajar, and let it cook on low overnight, stirring whenever I thought of it. By morning, the applesauce had cooked down quite a bit and turned brown, and there was a rather thick skin on top. I stirred the skin back in, and let it cook another couple of hours. (The skin broke down and cooked in until I couldn’t detect any pieces of it. The cloves must’ve broken down, because I couldn’t find them.) During the last bit of cooking time, I sterilized four half-pint jars and simmered the lids to match. I had enough apple butter to fill the four jars plus a little more to eat on waffles right then and there. I processed the apple butter-filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. All four jars sealed, so we’ll have apple butter for the winter.

And finally, Week 15, the most recent pickup, again in a drenching rain:

garlic, greens, squashes galore, apples, peppers, turnips, radishes

greens, greens, garlic, peppers, squashes, apples

  • Cortland Apples: four.
  • Arugula: a bunch.
  • Collard Greens or Brussel Sprout Greens: a bunch of collards, I think.
  • Garlic: four heads.
  • Green Peppers: three.
  • Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers: three, that didn’t taste very hot.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: a handful of tiny ones. I hope that means they have some heat in them.
  • Cherry Belle Radish: a bunch.
  • Hakurei Turnips: a bunch.
  • Delicata Squash or Spaghetti Squash: we got three pale green pattypan squashes and another of what looks like the carnival squash from Week 12. Nothing looked like either delicata or spaghetti squash.

The newsletter noted that they grow lots of greens because “we need them and most folks love them.” As I’ve said before, we enjoy greens, but not in the quantities we’ve been getting them. Maybe it would be better if we had a bigger household. But they did give us a suggestion for traditional southern-style collard greens with a ham hock or smoked turkey leg, or cooked in soup, and an idea for using collards (and sweet peppers and cabbage and a few other things) raw as a wrapper with julienne-cut vegetables and a nut pesto inside. And the turnips can go into miso soup. I could go for that, and it’s definitely turning into soup season.

We have a baguette and both Brie and Vermont Butter & Cheese Company Cultured Butter, to go with the radishes. For the turnips, I’m thinking a Korean-style pickle, to eat with dol sot bi bim bop this winter. All the tomatillos and many of the jalapenos will probably become mole verde, which will go in the freezer for later.

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