Someone Else's Farm

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.

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.

August 08, 2010

Week 08: list and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 11:17 AM

aka Greens, Greens, and More Greens. According to this week’s newsletter, the share is supposed to contain:

  • Blueberries
  • Green or yellow beans
  • Rainbow chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Dino kale
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Bunching onions
  • Zucchini squash
  • Sungold cherry tomatoes

Sigh: both chard and kale. Again. The newsletter also notes that they seeded their fields for fall: kales (plural), collards, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and “exciting new greens.” At this point, greens of any sort fail to excite me. There’s also a note that the winter squashes are doing well, so I can at least look forward to those. I wonder how well they’d go with cooking greens, which seem like they’ll never end.

The newsletter says, “Greens can be intimidating at times.” I long ago ceased to be intimidated by greens, and am now just sick and tired of them because, it seems, there’s only so much you can do with them and they all seem to taste alike, except that some are stronger-flavored, tougher, and in need of longer cooking than others. There is a new suggestion for greens this week: dice them, marinate with vinegar, as much cayenne as you can tolerate, crushed garlic cloves, sliced green onions, and grated ginger, for a fresh kimchi. They also suggest using collards and kales in soups that can be a quick and easy meal now, or frozen for later. That would be great, except that:

  1. I’m not really looking for hot soup when we’re in the middle of summer, and more often than not this year it’s been hot and sticky.
  2. I have enough other stuff in my freezer that I really don’t have room for soup. I’d rather use my precious freezer space for homemade stock that I’ve boiled down and concentrated so it takes less room, allowing me to make soup (or sauce, or just add flavor to other dishes) quickly and easily.
  3. If soup’s so quick and easy, why would I bother putting containers of it in my freezer anyway? I can make a quick and easy soup in the time it would take me to defrost already-made soup!

I’m at the point where I wish I had a compost heap to toss the greens in, because I really don’t want to eat any more of them for a little while. Or that somewhere in town would take them off our hands. I’m starting to think that for the next two weeks or more, the farm should take their entire harvest of greens to a soup kitchen and where someone who really appreciates them could have them. I’d happily take home a smaller amount of stuff for the privilege of not having to take home greens for a couple of weeks. They’ve been dominating my refrigerator of late, at least until they wilt down enough that they use less space and are not the first thing I notice when I open the refrigerator door. If I wanted to make a horror movie right now, I think I know what the big scary bad guy would look like.

We’ve been starting to see lots of fruit in the farmer’s market. Maybe the CSA farm could trade some of their greens for peaches, cherries, apricots, nectarines, or even some of the early apple varieties. Or tomatoes. It seems almost criminal to me not to have tomatoes included in a share in late July or any time in August.

Another suggestion relates to that other perpetual summer player, zucchini: grating some in with eggs, cheese, and ham. The newsletter comments that zucchini is versatile. This, I agree with. I wish greens were as versatile. And I wish they would swap the amounts of zucchini and greens they’re giving us. I haven’t even made one zucchini cake this year yet, because we haven’t had enough zucchini for me to use it that way, and we’ve been getting so much other produce that I hesitate to actually buy anything else, except for maybe fruits since we don’t seem to get any fruit other than blueberries in our shares. (I don’t have a recipe for a greens cake, unfortunately.)

And they suggest using cucumbers, garlic scapes, celery salt, and yogurt to make a summer salad. Which would be great if we had garlic scapes, but they aren’t on our list now.

If we’re getting cherry tomatoes, maybe I’ll actually eat some of the upcoming lettuce in a salad before it gets brown and slimy and goes into the trash can.

August 05, 2010

Week 05 and Week 06: What Our Neighbors Got

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , , — M @ 16:05 PM

Two days after we left for our vacation, a box was delivered. We gave it to our next-door neighbors. They were supposed to get

  • Blueberries
  • Basil, Green
  • Beans, Green
  • Beets, Red
  • Bok Choy
  • Chicory Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce, Red Romaine
  • Mizuna
  • Zucchini

The recipe suggestions from that week were for a zucchini topping to serve over cheese ravioli, and for a chicory salad with bacon and fried potatoes. I was also disheartened to read in the newsletter that they just ordered more seeds for fall greens including (gulp) more brassicas. Sigh. Basta, as my seventh-grade Latin teacher would say. Enough.

The week after, we got back into town too late to pick up our box, so once again the neighbors picked it up. That delivery was supposed to contain

  • Blueberries
  • Basil, Green
  • Basil, Lemon
  • Beans, Green
  • Carrots, Orange Fresh Baby
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale, Green
  • Lettuce, Red Romaine
  • Onions, Bunching
  • Zucchini

The neighbors got most of the good stuff, I think.

Week 07: List and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 15:56 PM

This week, the newsletter says we’re supposed to get:

  • Blueberries
  • Green Basil
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Chicory Greens
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Red Kale
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Bunching Onions
  • Zucchini Squash

I’m beginning to wonder just how giant the fields of greens are, and if they’ll ever quit giving us kale. And I think that if they’re going to keep giving us kale and/or chard every friggin’ week, they need to give us more suggestions about ways to use them. I’m about kaled out by now, and we aren’t even halfway through our season share yet.

On the bright side, the blueberries we got last week have been wonderful. (Yeah, I know, I didn’t say anything about last week, or the week before. It’s coming.)

We got onions last week also. They looked nice and fresh, and had more bite than I was expecting. Bite is generally a good thing in onions, as far as I’m concerned.

One of this week’s suggestions was for a roasted lemon-basil chicken. This is exactly the sort of recipe I don’t really need, as I never have any trouble figuring out things to do with fresh basil. I’m also a little puzzled by the fact that the recipe calls for putting basil, garlic, and lemon slices between the skin and meat of the chicken, before the chicken goes into an oven for 45 to 50 minutes. I can’t imagine that the basil would have much impact on the flavor of anything, after that long in the oven.

The other recipe suggestion is for a zucchini pizza, where the zuke gets sliced into thick rounds, grilled, and used as the base for pizza sauce and mozzarella. I like this idea better. However, the next time I have zucchini to use up, I’m more likely to want to try a recipe I found in David Lebovitz’s blog for a zucchini cake with crunchy lemon glaze. (That’s assuming it’s cooled down enough to contemplate turning the oven on again!) One of the things that particularly appeals to me about this recipe is that all the dry ingredient measurements are given by mass. I wish the liquid ingredients were also given by mass. Oh well.

July 15, 2010

Week 05: List and Suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 11:21 AM

It’s Thursday: pickup day! According to the newsletter, this week’s selection will be:

  • Blueberries
  • Red cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh garlic
  • Green kale
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Snow peas
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini

The suggestions are for a snow pea and napa cabbage slaw, and a fruited slaw (normal green cabbage, pears, apples, and raisins with a yogurt-based dressing). Did you know that one Dutch word for salad is sla? And in Dutch, cabbage is kool (the oo in Dutch is pronounced like a long O sound). We learned these from wandering through supermarkets in the Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. So cabbage salad, or kool sla, morphed into the English cole slaw! These days, in modern American usage, “slaw” seems to refer to any kind of salad where the main ingredients are presented as shreds, rather than leaves or cubes or other shapes. Both the slaw recipes in the newsletter do, in fact, call for the ingredients to be either shredded or thinly sliced.

Also in the newsletter this week, we got confirmation that it’s been hot at the farm. I’m surprised to be getting peas of any kind, since it’s been so hot. We got confirmation that they have fields of winter squash and tomatillos, in addition to the tomatoes and zucchini that we’ve already seen. I’m sure we’ll see some later in the season. The zucchini, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to stop.

July 07, 2010

Better Late Than Never

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 18:14 PM

Just got the Week 04 newsletter, with suggestions and a correction. The correction is that, because we have a Thursday pickup, we won’t get broccoli but we will get (guess what!) rainbow chard. We also won’t get escarole, but we will get red leaf lettuce. And our tomatoes will either be of the cherry or red slicing varieties.

The suggestions: one for escarole and cannellini beans. I love escarole and beans together, especially with a little bit of spicy sausage, but we won’t get any escarole unless their Best Guess is inaccurate. Another suggestion is for what they’re calling “Oklahoma Comfort Food:” a casserole of brats, cabbage, and green beans. I’m guessing the cabbage that everyone’s going to get spurred this. The recipe is for a stovetop casserole, and I’ll have to check with Casey but I’m guessing it’s not too far from the Electric Frying Pan Casserole he grew up with. (I was a little worried when I saw the title, that they were suggesting we turn on the oven to 350 °F for an hour. Not in this weather!) And the third recipe is for Salmon and Swiss Chard Quiche, which is an interesting idea, but if I have fresh wild salmon, I’m not hiding it in a quiche!

June 30, 2010

Week 03: List from newsletter

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 14:25 PM

New week, new newsletter, new pickup tomorrow. Here’s what’s supposed to be coming:

  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy
  • Rainbow chard
  • Garlic scapes
  • Green kale
  • Red kale
  • Rhubarb
  • Either pak choi, an extra bok choy, or tatsoi in lieu of broccoli

It was very hot over the weekend, and at the beginning of this week. Thus, the broccoli on the farm bolted, so we won’t get any more till fall. It didn’t go to waste, however: the farm harvested it to feed to their 12 pigs. While we have the option of putting down a deposit for a heritage breed pig, we think we’re going to hold off this year. At the very least, we’d need to clean out some freezer space and find some friends to share with. We might even need another freezer, specifically for the purpose of holding meat, if we don’t find someone to share with. The problem with meat in the freezer is the need to plan ahead a couple of days for adequate thawing time. I’m not so good at that. So for this year, we’ll probably pass.

We won’t be getting many, if any, peas or beans either, thanks to some hungry deer that apparently left the weeds untouched. They may also go on the list for replanting in the fall, along with broccoli. I wonder if maybe the CSA needs to look into adding free-range venison to their options.

The newsletter included a note on substitutions, to clarify that CSA means everyone shares the loss, just as when there’s a bumper crop of something, everyone shares the bounty. Given the lack of broccoli this spring, I most definitely feel some ownership, and I really hope the blueberries do well.

Given the continuous output of greens, I was not surprised to see a recipe suggestion for a bok choy salad. Casey pointed out that I’ve been enjoying this salad for many years courtesy of Aunt Charlene; it’s one of her go-to dishes for a potluck, which most family occasions are. In addition to the eponymous bok choy, it involves sesame seeds, almonds, olive oil/lemon juice dressing, and uncooked ramen noodles for crunch. The other recipe is for a rhubarb tart, which I passed on to Casey. I’m holding out for blueberries.

June 22, 2010

Week 02: List from newsletter

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 17:55 PM

What we’re supposed to get in this Thursday’s box, according to the Best Guess Harvest listing:

  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Rainbow chard
  • Garlic scapes
  • Lacinato kale
  • Green kale
  • Green royal oak leaf lettuce
  • Green romaine lettuce
  • Tatsoi

Tatsoi is new to me. To quote the newsletter: “It is in the brassica family. You cook and prepare it like you would bok choy.” We have a recipe for browned butter pasta with tatsoi this week: short chunky pasta, butter, tatsoi, sage, parm, maybe some lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. This got me thinking about cabbage and noodles. The classic dish, sometimes known in these parts by the Slavic name haluski, is noodles (wide egg, elbows, or whatever your mother used) boiled until tender and mixed with ordinary green cabbage that’s been cut into pieces (squares, ribbons, something else to match the shape of the pasta), maybe salted and pressed but then again maybe not, and cooked very slowly, for a very long time, in butter (maybe with the grease from some browned sausage, maybe the sausage meat itself gets mixed in with the noodles, or maybe not for a completely meatless dish, depending again on what your mother did or depending on who’s coming over for dinner or maybe depending on whether it’s Lent) until the cabbage is completely soft and brown and sweet. I could make a whole dinner out of that, especially on a cold, snowy, wintry night. But in the recipe in the newsletter, the tatsoi is just barely cooked until it’s slightly wilted. I guess that’s more suitable for a summer day anyway.

Lacinato kale is also known as dinosaur kale, the newsletter sez. To me, kale is kale is kale, lacinato or dinosaur or green or otherwise. It works well in combination with sausage, particularly spicy sausage. And based on the list for this week, I’m going to be exploring all kinds of permutations of kale , with and without sausages. The newsletter says that all kales work well in soups. Saturday looks like the coolest day of the upcoming week, topping out at only 71 °F, with a chance of thunderstorms. Maybe that’ll feel like soup weather. I have a box of chicken broth and a can of white beans ready!

As for the chard, I’m starting to think of it as a slightly gutsier version of spinach. We still have most of the feta cheese I’d gotten for the taco filling. Maybe I’ll make a batch of strudel dough and fill it with cooked and squeezed-dry chard and feta, sort of like a Hungarian-Greek fusion spanakopita strudel. Or maybe I’ll just get lazy and pick up a box of phyllo dough at the supermarket.

I’m happy to see garlic scapes on the list again. The newsletter author did a garlic scape linguini alfredo with shrimp, asparagus, and roasted red peppers. This sounds good. But this Serious Eats post reminded me of Dorie Greenspan’s garlic scape pesto, with parmesan and almonds. The really ironic thing about garlic scapes is that once upon a time, we lived in a house with a large garden. We never planted much in the garden ourselves, but we had volunteer tomato plants (especially the first couple of years we lived there), and horseradish, and catnip after we made the mistake of planting it directly in the ground once, and garlic. And because we had garlic plants, every spring we’d get garlic scapes. And once upon that time, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them, so they just stayed there! I’d always dig up at least some of the garlic bulbs in the fall, but not once did it strike me that the green thingies sprouting up every spring might actually be not only edible but tasty. Of course, those were also the dark days before we had broadband Internet access!

I’m starting to feel a little like the Witch in Sondheim’s Into the Woods: “Greens, greens, and nothing but greens….”

The newsletter also apologized for shorting some boxes on asparagus and strawberries. We were among the latter, apparently, forced down that road when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. They’re trying to do strawberries in this week’s box for those of us who didn’t get them last time. If that doesn’t work, we’re supposed to get extra broccoli. Should that be the case, we might actually have enough broccoli for more than a small stir-fry.

June 16, 2010

Week 1: list and suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup, what we did — Tags: , , — M @ 21:43 PM

This week’s list of our share:

  • Strawberries, Pint 1 Lb
  • Asparagus 1 Bunch
  • Broccoli 1 Bunch
  • Chard, Rainbow 1 1/2 Lb
  • Garlic Scapes 1 Bunch
  • Kale, Green 1 3/4 Lb
  • Lettuce, Salad Mix 1 Bunch
  • Radish, Easter Egg

The suggestions for what to do are both for greens. There’s a non-recipe for chard, cut into bite-sized pieces and sauteed in butter, with sliced peeled apple. And we got a recipe for a kale soup with spicy sausage and potatoes with a little cream. We’ve done soups before with greens, spicy sausage, and either white beans or chickpeas, but never with potatoes or cream. In fact, we’ve never had an issue of knowing what to do with greens.

The one that slightly befuddles us is the radishes, as we’ve never bought or used many in anything. I googled easter egg radishes, to at least get myself a picture of what will be arriving. And in the pictures I’m finding, they just look like…radishes. So my next step was to turn to one of my favorite resources, The Flavor Bible by Dornenburg and Page, to see what goes with radishes. It gave me a whole list, which I’m not going to reproduce here, other than to say that the two things listed in bold capitals were BUTTER and SALT, esp. SEA.

Our next step was to go to our cookbook stack, and pull out several likely candidates. Inside A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop, we found a recipe for radish and Saint-Andre Sandwiches with Lettuce. Aha! It’s exactly what it sounds like, with thinly sliced radishes on a baguette. And lucky for me, I’ll be in Syracuse on Friday morning, and able to stop at a Wegmans where I have a reasonable chance at finding Saint-Andre cheese and a decent baguette. This one’s definitely on our list!

I’m looking forward to picking up our share tomorrow, and seeing how the list actually reflects what we get.

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