Monday, September 29, 2008

CSA, Week 21

There are two more weeks of the CSA summer season, this week and next week – your LAST PICKUP is next week October 6th through October 10th. Please return all your baskets or boxes to your pickup location.

We will be taking orders for our ORGANIC TURKEYS soon for the holidays. These are both rare heritage breed turkeys and dark-feathered broad-breasted breed turkeys all raised outdoors (unlike traditional butter-balls) on pasture in a certified organic system. The high price per turkey (pushing $100 this year) will reflect both the specialty breeds and the high cost of organic grain that turkeys require to thrive. There are very few organic heritage turkeys available anywhere in the USA so we get a lot of requests to ship. We prefer to find ours a local home, and we take pre-orders for Thanksgiving, with payment at pickup. A photo is on the poultry product page of our website.

In Your Share
As always, shares may vary depending on your harvest day and your share size. Each share may not have each item listed below.

Beans, Green – organic
These tender and green late snap beans are a sight for sore eyes around the farm, with so many dried vines about. A lot of irrigation and a large block of field corn to block the drying winds allowed this fall planting to produce some nice beans. Store refriger-ated until ready to prepare. Find an easy recipe below.

Brussels Sprouts – organic
The sprouts contain high nutrition with low calories: high in Vit. A, potassium, and phosphorus, and they say the smaller, the better as far as tenderness. Be sure to cook them all the way through (but not over-cook). After removing the stem, cut a tiny X in the base to hasten the cooking, or halve them. Store in your refrigerator.

Fresh Herb, Sage – transition to organic


Hard Neck Garlic – organic

Yellow Onion – organic
This week’s onion is not as sweet as earlier in the season – more of a mild type. Use in any recipe. Can be stored in your pantry or refrigerated.

Potatoes – organic
These russet potatoes are nice for baking, mashing, or other recipes where you do not need the potato to hold its shape. While the skin is edible, you may want to peel if desired.

Summer Squash or Zucchini

Winter Squash, Long Neck Butternut
The squash will store for you several weeks, you do not need to use right away. The butternut is one of the most popular of all winter squash due to its ease in peeling. There is meat all the way up into the neck, not just in the bulb end, so be prepared to cook it all when you cut into it. Any recipe for winter squash can use the butternut. Find more recipes below.

Red Tomato – organic

Larger Shares:

Red Chile Pepper
Poblano Pepper

Recipes to Enjoy

Butternut Squash Soufflé
We enjoyed this Southern Living, Sept 2007 recipe over the weekend at the farm. It was declared a winner!

1 large butternut squash (about 2 lb.)
3 large eggs
½ C light sour cream
¼ C sugar
¼ C butter, softened
¼ C all-purpose flour
1 T finely chopped fresh sage
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Remove stem from squash. Cut squash lengthwise into 4 pieces; remove and discard seeds. Cook squash in boiling water to cover in a large saucepan over medium-high heat 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well; let cool for 25 minutes or until completely cool. Remove and discard peel.

Process squash and eggs in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Add sour cream and remaining ingredients; process 20 to 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until set.

Make-Ahead Potatoes from Taste of Home 1998

10 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
6 T butter, divided
2 T dried minced onion
1 tsp salt

Place potatoes in Dutch oven or large kettle. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in bowl. Mash.

Add sour cream, cream cheese, 4 Tbsp butter, onion, and salt. Stir until smooth and cream cheese and butter melts. Spread in greased 13X9X2-inch baking dish.

Melt remaining butter. Drizzle over potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate or bake immediately, covered, at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes longer.

If made ahead and refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Makes 12 servings.

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Lemon
a Susan Russo recipe, making 4 servings

3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved (can make with a smaller amount, just reduce breadcrumbs also)
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 T butter
1 T lemon juice
Pinch of lemon zest
¼ C breadcrumbs, toasted

Salt & pepper, to taste. Peel off any marked outer leaves of the sprouts and trim the bottoms; slice in half. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water; this will stop the cooking and maintain the sprouts' vibrant color.

To toast the breadcrumbs, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, while giving the pan handle a few shakes to toast the breadcrumbs evenly. Once they begin to turn golden, remove them from the heat and place in a bowl, as the heat from the pan will continue to toast them.

Meanwhile in a skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the butter. Once the butter begins to bubble up and the garlic starts to jump a little, add the sprouts. Cook about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown spots start to appear on the sprouts. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the toasted breadcrumbs into the skillet and toss gently. Add more breadcrumbs on top before serving; sprinkle with lemon zest if desired.

Tomato Pie

1 frozen deep dish pie shell
3-4 ripe tomatoes
1 medium onion
1-2 ounces fresh sweet basil (try substituting other fresh herbs if desired)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise

Bake frozen pie shell half done.

Quarter tomatoes and roughly chop. Layer tomatoes in pie shell. Chop onion and add to pie shell as second layer. Chop sweet basil and add to pie as third layer. Mix cheese and mayo together in bowl, then spread over top of pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Week 20, CSA

News from the Farm

Some things have slowed down a little on the farm – most of all is the rate at which the crops grow with shorter daylengths and cooler nighttime temperatures. Summer crops will still produce, just the time to reach the same level of ripeness is much longer in September than in July. This change of season also affects the egg laying of our hens – shorter days equals less production and less eggs to gather and wash each day.

We continue to experience extremely dry conditions, some say we are in the same situation as the 2007 drought. However, by having early rain this season, we were able to get plants established and many items harvested before the non-rainy days began. We had some good early hay crops and have some bales of hay stockpiled for our livestock for winter feeding. (Actually some of our neigh-bors that do not rotate their animals as frequently as we do around several pastures are already feeding their winter hay supply. We may be in the same situation soon.) With such a low water table now, we face going into fall and winter with dry ponds and non-flowing streams. We are very thankful for the wisdom of our ancestors who chose this farm with good soils and a strong creek for fresh water. The ability to irrigate and the willingness to put the hours of time in to set up and move the lines and pumps around is a requirement in growing crops the last several years. We also use municipal water to irrigate and the expense adds up when the flow goes 24 hours daily.

On the up-side, weeds can be identified pretty easily in our row crops, only appearing around the irrigation line. We can spot water leaks pretty quickly from our water lines running to the cattle and the poultry as the leaky spot will green up the grass in a day. We don’t worry about the truck getting stuck in the field in that low spot that holds water, and we really don’t ever get rained out on harvest days. We have an appreciation for heavy dews and foggy mornings that pull a little moisture out of the air into the ground.

We had good yields on some earlier crops allowing us to get winter squash, garlic and potatoes into storage. We may get less than desired yield on later crops, however, but we know to take that into account as we plan for the fall. The dry conditions now will affect over-wintering crops such as next year’s garlic and onions if we do not receive any rainfall. The plants need to grow strong roots and be healthy to prepare for the cold winter their production cycle requires. The weather continues to keep things interesting.

In Your Share
Items in your share may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Every share may not have every item listed below.

Beans, Green – organic
These tender and green late snap beans are a sight for sore eyes around the farm, with so many dried vines about. A lot of irrigation and a large block of field corn to block the drying winds allowed this fall planting to produce some nice beans. Beans are low in calories and high in Vit. A and potassium. Store refrigerated until ready to prepare. Find an easy, new recipe below.

Cilantro – organic
This popular pungent herb can be used right away in sauce, salsa, on salads, or with pasta. To freeze, remove the stem and put chopped leaves in ice cube trays, adding a little water if desired. Freeze. Remove cubes and store in freezer bags, pulling out one or two when needed later on. To keep fresh, store refrigerated in the coolest area, in a bag or container to keep from drying out.

The fall cucumber plants are producing, offering a refreshing crisp coolness during these dry days. Mostly water, cucumbers need to be refrigerated and will keep 7-10 days. Find two new recipes.

Hard Neck Garlic – organic
Our members have told us that garlic is one of your top vegetables and to keep including it in your share. You may not use a whole head each week, but you will want to save your extras in a dry, darkish area of your pantry. Your garlic will keep for many weeks and you will have it to use long after the CSA season is over. Chop with your fresh herbs to make pesto and pop into your freezer!

Potatoes – organic
This week’s potatoes are a good all-purpose type that can be used for most any dish. Please remember that organic potatoes are not treated with chemical sprays to prevent discoloration or sprouting, so store refrigerated out of the light. Your potatoes will also keep for you for several weeks.

Radish – organic
The fall root vegetables are beginning to get established, and the quick growing radish is ready for harvest this week. The greens will not keep as long as the bulbs but contain high nutrition. Find a recipe below using in a salad; also use your radishes cooked with roasted chicken or beef roast.

Summer Squash

Winter Squash
The squash will store for you several weeks, you do not need to use right away. To prepare, cut in half, remove seeds, bake in 350 F oven 30-60 minutes, depending on size. Enjoy with butter and seasonings or with honey.

Swiss Chard - organic

Red or Heirloom Tomato – organic
Open any cookbook and you are sure to find a recipe for fresh salsa using tomatoes and cilantro. The late tomato crop is a good time to enjoy the freshness of the tomato fruit with some homemade salsa – find one recipe below. Another option is to use some crusty bread in a late summer bruschetta.


Recipes to Enjoy

Find two ideas for fresh salads using cucumbers and radishes, adapted from Alanna Kellogg recipes

Cucumber in Vinegar

1 large or 2 small cucumber, trim ends, slice thin

6 or so red radishes, trim ends, slice thin
1 T kosher salt
Water and vinegar to cover, about 2:1 water:vinegar
Pinch sugar
Black pepper to taste

In a colander, layer the cucumber, radishes and salt. Place in a sink (or in a bowl in the frig, if you want the cucumber to be really cold) to drain for an hour. Lightly rinse in cold water. Taste -- if it's too salty, rinse again, though you do want some saltiness to come through.Transfer cucumber/radish mixture to a bowl. Add just enough water and vinegar to cover, stir in the sugar and black pepper. Stir and let rest for about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with paprika, serve and enjoy!

Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber
1 T coarse sea salt or kosher salt
½ C sour creambunch of fresh herb, snipped with scissors (original recipe uses chives)
1 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Slice the cucumber into thin rounds. Combine with the salt and let sit for about an hour. Rinse, press out what water you can, combine with the remaining ingredients, and serve.

Braised Garlic and String Beans
recipe from Bert Greene; serves 4

1 pound tender young beans, trimmed
3 T unsalted butter
4 to 5 large cloves garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 T chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add the garlic cloves; cook, covered, until lightly golden and soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let the butter burn. Remove the cover and mash the garlic with a fork until well mixed with the butter.

Add the beans to the skillet; toss over medium heat until warmed through. Add the sage, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato Salsa, a From Asparagus to Zucchini recipe

1 small onion
½ bell pepper
small bunch cilantro
3 minced garlic cloves
chile pepper to taste
1 T honey
salt to taste
1 ¾ pounds, peeled, fresh tomatoes

Process all ingredients except tomatoes in a food processor. Add peeled tomatoes. Process again, and it’s ready to eat. Will keep refrigerated 1 week. Does not freeze well. Makes about 2 cups.

Squash and Sausage Ratatouille
recipe from Bert Greene; serves 4

2 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced into 1/8” rounds
1 medium sized pepper, seeded, cut into thin rounds
1 T red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion; cook 1 minute. Add the garlic, cook 4 minutes more. Stir in the sausage slices. Cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to a plate.

Pour off all but 3 T fat from skillet (if not enough, add butter to compensate). Add the squash and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Return the sausage mixture to the skillet, stirring well. Cook, covered over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and sprinkle the mixture with the vinegar. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, 3 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 15, 2008

CSA News, Week 19

In Your Share . . .


Hard Neck Garlic – organic
So far this season, most of the garlic has had a mellow and not too pungent flavor. To get a stronger taste, mince or puree to release sulfuric compounds and oils. The longer you cook garlic; the flavor softens and even sweetens up. Store your whole garlic heads in a dry, cool, and even dark place for several weeks. Once broken into pieces, the cloves will not last quite as long. Don’t store refrigerated.

To Roast Garlic:
Position oven rack in center and preheat to 350F. Remove papery skin from head of garlic, taking care to leave the heads intact and the cloves covered. Slice ½ inch off the top to expose the cloves. Put head in a large piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Gather foil around the garlic and place in baking dish in case the oil leaks. Roast until garlic is completely soft and golden brown, 70-80 minutes. Let cool briefly and push garlic from skin.

Use as spread on bread or crackers; whisk into a salad dressing; stir into mashed potatoes or cooked veggies.

Fresh Cut Herbs, Scarborough Bundle – organic
This week’s fresh herb is a collection of Parsley (Italian Flat-Leaf), Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. Use fresh or dry for later use.

To Dry Herbs:
Ideal temperature for drying is between 70-90 degrees F, not letting herb dry out too fast. Preferable is an airy, dark place, so that moisture can evaporate and oxidation is prevented that may change the flavor. To air dry, tie stems in small bunches and hang upside down in paper bags to keep dust-free.

To quickly oven dry, spread out in a single layer on flat pan with oven on lowest possible temperature and leave door ajar to let moisture escape.

To store dried herbs, first remove stem, seed chaff, or other material. Put into airtight jars or bags and store in dark area.

To Freeze Herbs:
Freeze a whole stem as is in a ziploc bag. Or, remove herb from stem, chop fresh, freeze in ice-cube tray with a little water. Once frozen, put cubes in other container ready to use one or two cubes in your recipes.

Pepper, Bell – organic

Potatoes – organic

Spaghetti Squash

Summer Squash

Red or Heirloom Tomato – organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Bohemienne – French Eggplant
This dish from Béatrice Peltre comes from the south of France, where it's typically served as a side, or a spread on toasted rustic bread. In many ways, bohemienne is similar to ratatouille or caponata, except that bohemienne is an even simpler dish, requiring fewer ingredients and less time behind the stove.

2 medium eggplants, cut into ½ inch dice
1 T coarse sea salt, or to taste
5 tomatoes
3 T olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 sprigs fresh thyme
pepper, to taste
1 T chopped basil

1. In a colander, place the eggplants and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt. Toss and let rest for 30 minutes. This softens the flesh so they cook faster and removes any bitter juices.

2. Core the tomatoes. With the tip of a paring knife, make a 1-inch "x" at the bottom of each one. Place the tomatoes in a large heatproof bowl. Pour enough boiling water over them to cover them. Set aside for 10 seconds to loosen the skins. Drain the water. Peel off and discard the skins at the slits. Halve the tomatoes, squeeze the halves till the seeds pop out, and discard the seeds. Coarsely chop the flesh.

3. In a heavy-bottom casserole over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes or until it softens without browning. Add the garlic and thyme. Cook for 1 minute more.

4. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring often and crushing the eggplant pieces with the back of a spoon, for 1 hour, so the texture resembles a coarse puree.

5. Remove the pan from the heat. Discard the thyme. Add pepper and basil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

Squash Casserole
Thanks to the CSA member who shared this delicious recipe, originally in a Southern Living magazine. Makes 8 servings.

2 ½ lbs yellow squash, sliced
¼ C butter
2 large eggs
¼ C mayonnaise
½ C chopped onion
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ C crackers, crushed, either Saltine or buttery
½ C shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Cook squash, covered, in a small amount of boiling water 8 to 10 minutes or until tender; drain well. Combine squash and butter in a bowl; mash until butter melts. Stir in eggs, mayonnaise, onion, sugar and salt; spoon into a lightly greased shallow 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed crackers. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.

Roasted New Potato Salad
also a Southern Living recipe from 2004

2 T olive oil
2 pounds small potatoes, diced
½ medium-size sweet onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp coarse salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
8 to 10 cooked crisp bacon slices, crumbled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
¾ C prepared dressing (Ranch suggested)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place oil in a 15- x 10-inch pan; add potatoes and the next 4 ingredients, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture in a single layer. Bake at 425° for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss together potatoes, bacon, green onions, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Garlic-Rosemary Butter
adapted from Fine Cooking, yields ½ cup

2 large or 4 small garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
freshly ground black pepper

Peel the garlic cloves, halve them lengthwise, coarsely chop. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, smear and mash the garlic and salt together to form a smooth paste, making about 2 tsp paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl; add lemon juice and rosemary. Stir to combine. Add the butter and mash together with a fork until completely incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or shape into a log in wax paper or plastic wrap, twisting the ends like a sausage. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Slow Food Nation

The Slow Food USA organization just concluded its three-day event in San Fransisco of workshops, tastings and food celebrations. With a wide range of both presenters and attendees from all over the country and other parts of the world, word is out that it stands out in sheer scale. Headliners included authors and chefs such as Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Alice Waters, and Eric Schlosser. The first “continental culinary congress” is considered a success. A delegation of Kentuckians including several artisian producers attended, so there should be some stories about locally soon. The local Slow Food Bluegrass chapter organizes happenings throughout the year in our region and maintains a calendar of food and farm related events. Visit the website to learn more and keep up-to-date.

As a member of the local Slow Food chapter, Elmwood has the opportunity to connect with consumers and chefs who are interested in choosing local foods, specialty items, and even heritage breeds of meat such as the turkeys we raise at the farm. Several years ago, Slow Food recognized the need to partner with the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory to further their mission of protecting genetic diversity in livestock species by protecting and promoting endangered breeds. It was recognized that to save the Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, and Slate turkey breeds from extinction, there needed to be a demand for farmers to continue to breed and raise them. The turkey breeds were added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste which is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction.
In future news, we’ll share more about Elmwood’s heritage breed organic turkeys. Until then, visit the websites:

In Your Share
As share contents vary depending on your share size and day of the week your items are harvested, each share may not have each item listed below.

Brussels Sprouts – organic – new this week!
We agree with the author of the sprout recipe included below, forget boiling! Her golden-crusted version of sautéed sprouts will “turn around the most vigilant sprouts-hater.” Try not to overcook and eat soon after prepared. Store refrigerated until ready to prepare.

Hard Neck Garlic – organic

Okra - organic

Sweet Onion– organic

Pepper, Hot – organic
To save for later, you can air dry, or use a food dryer for the tiniest pepper. Others can be sliced and put into freezer bags raw.

Potatoes – organic
This week’s share includes the Cranberry All-Reds, a soft moist potato that can be all-purpose, but really shines when steamed, sautéed or au gratin. Look for streaks of pink color in the white interior. Store out of the light refrigerated.

Winter Squash – new this week!
You have Calabaza, known also as Cuban Squash or West Indian Pumpkin. It is edible, not decorative, and desired in Caribbean style cuisine. Store in your pantry up to 6-8 weeks. The flesh is bright orange and can be used in any recipe that calls for winter squash like butternut. Use care when slicing – use the largest butcher type knife that you have

Fresh Tarragon –in transition to organic
This fresh cut herb is wonderful with roasted chicken. Add to chicken salad for a tasty “mystery” ingredient. Find a new recipe below. Air dry for later use or refrigerate to use this week. Can be chopped and frozen as is.

Red or Heirloom Tomato – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Fried Okra Salad
a Paula Deen recipe

1 ½ pounds fried okra (recipe below)

Oil for frying
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ C vegetable oil
¼ C sugar
¼ C distilled white vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine fried okra pieces, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions and bacon. In a small saucepan, combine oil, sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Pour over okra mixture, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Ingredients below will make a lot of fried okra, you can reduce the oil and breading to meet your quantity on hand. To fry okra:
6 C oil, for frying

½ C cornmeal
1 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp Paula’s seasoning, recipe follows
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (if desired)
2 pounds fresh okra, sliced ½ inch thick
½ C buttermilk

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet to 350 degrees F. (You may not need to use this much oil; do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil.) In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, Paula’ seasonings, and cayenne pepper. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well. Carefully add okra to the hot oil, in batches as needed, and cook until golden brown. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.

for Paula’s seasoning:

1 C salt
¼ C black pepper

¼ C garlic powder
Yield: 1 ½ C; Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Golden Brussels Sprouts
recipe from; serves 4

24 small Brussels sprouts

1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ C grated cheese of your choice

Wash the sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil). Heat 1 T of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they’re tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese. Parmesan is recommended for a light dish; try Gruyere or Gouda in colder weather. While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.

Mashed Calabaza Squash

the onion and cumin add a contrast to the sweetness of the squash

1 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves (minced
1/4 tsp cumin seed
2 C calabaza squash or butternut squash (chopped 1 inch pieces)
salt (to taste) (optional)

Heat oil in a saucepan and fry onions until translucent. Add garlic and fry until light golden brown. Add cumin seeds and fry until they begin to pop and release their aroma. (About 30 seconds). Mix in the pumpkin and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add ¼ C water. Cover and lower heat to med low. Cook for 10 - 20 minutes or until tender. Remove lid and mash squash with fork or potato masher until smooth. Add salt if using. If water is not yet absorbed, cover and simmer until water is absorbed. Remove pot from heat and serve as a side dish with rice or alone.

Braised Potatoes with Tarragon
adapted from July 2008 Gourmet, serves 4

1 ½ pound potatoes (peeled if desired)
1 ½ C water
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1-3 T chopped tarragon

Slice potatoes into long wedges. In a 10-inch skillet, bring potatoes, water, oil, garlic, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper to a simmer. Cover and briskly simmer, shaking skillet occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove lid and cook, stirring gently, until moist of water has evaporated and potatoes are glazed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in herbs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

News about local food

CSA, Week 17
Coming up at the end of this week is the Healthy Foods, Local Farms annual conference organized each year by the Sierra Club in Kentucky. This year it will be held in Louisville on Saturday with a Harvest Festival local food tasting on Friday night. Always offering compelling presentations from diverse speakers (KY’s own Wendell Berry is a favorite participant) the event brings together food consumers, farmers, environmenalists, faith-based organizations, policymakers, non-profit organizers, and educators. Topics vary from year to year, but ultimately the title of the event is always the focus—accessing healthy food grown on local farms. That access is easier now as almost every county in KY has a farmers market with local food items. Many farms (including Elmwood) participate in the WIC program and Senior program that gives vouchers to low income seniors and young mothers to spend on KY grown fruit and vegetables.

Changing a family’s food consump-tion from processed items purchased at a conventional grocery store chain to local produced foods, eating food that is in season where you live, food offered for sale at an independent food market or restaurant, and food items you grow yourself is more than just a simple choice – it does turn into a change in lifestyle. Not having all the ingredients in that recipe you saw on TV, having family members unwilling to try foods that are “different”, or not having enough time to think through your meal preparation are all real challenges.
Often, however, folks find surprising benefits if they get far enough into the lifestyle change. Examples are weight loss from including more vegetables and whole foods in the diet, healthier medical test results, quality family time as meals are prepared and eaten together, better food choices by the kids at school, and happier folks as a result of consciously eating nutritiously.

In Your Share
As always, your share may vary depending on pickup day and share size. Each share may not have each item listed below.

Sweet Basil - organic

Hard Neck Garlic – organic
The garlic will keep for you for several weeks. Store in the pantry or at room temperature.

Okra – organic

Sliced okra can be sautéed with diced tomatoes for a nice side dish. Try oven roasting whole okra -- put on baking sheet in single layer, drizzle with olive oil, roast at 375-400 until crisp. Batter and fry or oven roast for traditional Southern style fried okra. Until ready to use, store refrigerated.

Sweet Onion– organic
Not a storage onion like some, try to use your sweet onion fairly soon. Store refrigerated.

Bell Pepper, Sweet – organic

Pepper, Hot - organic

Potatoes – organic
Your potatoes will also keep for several weeks if stored refrigerated, and out of any light.

Yellow Squash

Swiss Chard –organic
Find a bunch of dark, rainbow leaf chard this week, a favorite. High in Vit. A, E, and C and iron and calcium, the minerals in chard are better absorbed than from other leafy greens like spinach. Store refrigerated and try to use within 2-4 days. Can be blanched quickly, drain-ed, and frozen in bags.

Green Tomato
To keep green, store in the refrigerator; if out on the counter, they will begin to ripen into a red or yellow.

Red or Heirloom Tomato – organic

Green Zucchini

Larger Shares:
Beans, Green – organic

Enjoy these heirloom beans grown from saved seed, not a variety that is available commercially. You do need to string them on both sides and break into bite-sized pieces before cooking. Simmer in plenty of water for an hour or more until the pods are soft and the beans cook through. Use your favorite seasonings or one of the following: olive oil, bacon grease, onion, bell pepper, hot pepper, or ham hock.

Recipes to Enjoy
Zucchini Strand Spaghetti, adapted from a Michael Chiarello recipe on the Food Network, serves 4
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¾ pound whole-wheat dried spaghetti
¾ pound zucchini
¼ C olive oil
2 T minced garlic
½ tsp red pepper (either flakes, or a little less fresh)
3 T coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
½ C grated Parmesan, plus a small piece

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, cut the zucchini with the fine French-fry cutter on a mandolin, or cut by hand into the longest, finest julienne you can manage. Season with salt and pepper. If your zucchini is very finely cut, it does not need to be cooked. Otherwise, place in a colander, suspend over the pasta pot, cover the pot, and steam the zucchini until still slightly crunchy, about 2 minutes.

Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté briefly until light brown. Turn on the exhaust fan and add the red pepper. Quickly mix in the basil and remove from the heat. When the pasta is al dente, drain through a colander, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Pour the pasta into a warm serving bowl; add the zucchini, garlic mixture, and ½ cup of the cheese. Toss well, adding cooking water as needed to make a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as needed. Grate about 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top and serve at once.

Swiss Chard with Caramelized Onions and Pine Nuts

adapted from recipe published in Hearst Newspapers to serve 1 as a main dish, 2 as a side dish
1 T pine nuts

1/2 T olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
7 stalks of Swiss chard, stems & leaves
1 T golden raisins (optional)
1 T balsamic vinegarsalt and pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until brown & fragrant. Set aside. In the same pan heat the oil & add the onion. Allow to cook until soft & golden brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, separate the stems from the chard leaves. Chop the chard stems into 2 inch pieces & the leaves into 2-inch strip. Once the onions have cooked add the chard stems and raisins to the pan and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the stems are tender.

Add the chard leaves and cook until wilted down, about 5 minutes. In the last minute or so of cooking stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the reserved pine nuts.

Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette
This recipe works well for a salad dressing as well as a sauce for chicken or fish entrées.

Fresh peppers (roasted, skins and seeds removed)
1 C quality olive oil
1/3 C white vinegar
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
¼ C chopped fresh mixed herbs
1 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

In food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To roast peppers:
Over a gas range top or outdoor grill, place fresh peppers directly onto the flame. Char the peppers all the way around each side; the pepper skins should turn black and blistered.

After the peppers are charred, place them in a paper bag and allow to steam for twenty minutes. Steam-ing allows the skins to be removed more easily. After the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bag and peel them. Consider wearing rubber gloves or coating hands in oil prior to peeling any hot peppers. Discard the seeds and the charred skins, remember to save the pepper juice, it has a lot of flavor. Store refrigerated or can be frozen for later use.

You can also roast peppers in the oven, lightly oiled on a sheet pan. Roasting peppers in the oven works well if you do not have a gas range, but the end result is not quite as good. You can roast almost any pepper using this same method.

Baked Green Tomatoes Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe. She says to enjoy the taste of fried tomatoes without the fat!

1 C cornmeal
1 tbsp dried dill weed
Salt & Pepper to taste
5 medium green tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium baking sheet. In small bowl, mix the cornmeal, dill, salt and pepper. Dip tomato slices into the mixture, coating both sides. Arrange coated slices in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes in preheated oven until crisp and golden brown.

Squash Fritters recipe shared by Wash House Herb Farm in Stamping Ground, Kentucky

3 T vegetable oil, divided

1 egg, beaten

2/3 C milk

½ C self-rising cornmeal

1 C packed grated yellow squash or zucchini

2 T grated onion

2 T sour cream

2 T finely shredded Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon salt

¼ tsp black pepper

prepared salsa

Combine 2 T oil, egg, milk, cornmeal, squash, onion, sour cream, cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper; mix well. Add additional milk for a thinner consistency or another tablespoon of cornmeal if batter is too runny. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon ¼ C batter per fritter on first side and 2 minutes on second side. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with salsa. Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish. Makes a great appetizer.