Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 13, CSA

From the Farm . . .

When we first started transitioning from a traditional Kentucky beef cattle and burley tobacco farm to a more diversified farming system in the early 1990’s, farmers markets (specifically Lexington Farmers Market) were busy and thriving with an abundance of truck farmers and a supportive customer base. However, one did not see as much promotion of “Buy Local” in supermarkets and restaurants as we see today. Restaurants imported specialty foods from Europe (like cheese, mushrooms and chocolates) and our groceries promoted convenience over freshness and flavor.

Over the past decade, we have started to see people becoming reacquainted with locally grown foods they may remember eating as a child at the home of a grandparent. Now people are beginning to seek out Kentucky based value-added products (jams, jellies, cheeses, sausages, salsas, and much more) or even learning how to process their own. Issues surrounding food safety and food security give people motivation to get to know their local farmers, purchase a CSA share, seek out certified organic products, and know more about production practices of how their food is grown.

Finally, it seems there is also a resurgence of community as people come together in canning or freezing parties at local church kitchens, organize potluck dinners in their neighborhood with food from their own gardens, or request local farm foods at their wedding and birthday celebrations. The existence of the internet and use of websites and food blogs for people to post or search for favorite recipes has opened up the secrets of food presser-vation and fresh food preparation to all of us. It is not as hard to “Buy Local” as it once was and for this we can all be Kentucky Proud!

Many of you are already aware of many local activities and resources in our Central Kentucky area that focus on this topic. A few that Elmwood feels fortu-nate to be a part of recently are listed here:

Take the
Eat Local Challenge during the month of August – you can signup and get helpful information from Good Foods Market and CafĂ© in Lexington.

Visit Kentucky Green TV, an internet based television station to learn more on sustainability and visit
one or two of the Elmwood farmers.

Local Lexington based web site that promotes, educates, and helps us find all local things to satisfy our taste buds. Enjoy the delicious photos of Savoring Kentucky, along with tried and true recipes, and sometimes some
really nice tributes to local farms.

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

Stringless Green Beans – organic

Savoy Cabbage – organic
You may recall that the savory cabbage is a little sweeter than traditional green. It will also store for you very well in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Sweet Corn
The last harvest for several weeks – Enjoy!

Garlic – organic
Your garlic head has been air-dried and cured and will store at room temperature.

Yellow Onion – organic

Bell Pepper

Raspberries – organic
Ripening very fast due to the heat, eat these soon!

Tomatoes, Heirloom and Slicing - organic

Tomatoes, Heirloom Salad – organic


Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Summer Succotash with Bacon and Garlic Croutons
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe. She reports that it is “TO DIE FOR” and that she used frozen lima beans as fresh are not in season yet. Original recipe was in Gourmet magazine, but this also appeared on the Smitten Kitchen food blog site. Makes 4-6 servings.

1 pound fresh or frozen baby lima beans
1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes halved, or other tomatoes chopped
Fresh kernels from 4 ears corn
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
1/4 cup packed small fresh basil leaves (optional)

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook shelled beans over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. In a sieve drain beans and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet. Add oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, corn, and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape. Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in cooked beans and half of bacon. Cool succotash to room temperature and gently stir in basil and salt, pepper and additional sherry vinegar to taste. Toss with croutons (below, if using) and sprinkle with remaining bacon before serving.

Garlic Croutons

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 round loaf crusty bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cut three 1-inch-thick slices from middle of loaf and brush bread with oil. Lightly oil a well-seasoned ridged grill pan and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Grill bread until golden brown on both sides. Alternately, you can run toasts under the broiler for a minute. Remove from heat and immediately rub bread both sides with cut side of garlic and sprinkle with salt. Cut into cubes and toss into succotash.

Corn Cob Jelly
Though this old-time recipe may seem a bit of a novelty, if you are intent on using “everything” in your share this week, this fits the bill. People say it reminds them of honey.

12 corn cobs, kernels removed
4 cups water
1 box pectin (such as Sure-Jell)
4 cups sugar

Place corn cobs in large pot and add 4 cups water. Bring to boil and cook 10 minutes. Remove cobs and drain liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. You should have 3 cups; if not, add water to equal three cups. Return liquid to pot and add pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil. Add sugar, bring back to boil and boil for one full minute. Skim foam and pour into hot jars (I use half pint size), top with sterile lids and rings.

Tomato and Smoked Mozzarella Pasta
Thanks to a friend of the farm for this tasty, yet simple quick pasta recipe. You can customize by using different colors and varieties of tomatoes; adding cooked chicken or shrimp; and changing the type of cheese, perhaps provolone. Serve immediately.

Penne pasta
4 cups chopped tomatoes
8 oz smoked mozzarella, diced
½ cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients except pasta in large bowl. Toss with pasta and serve.

Country Green Beans
recipe from Entertaining with Bluegrass Winners – recipe can be adapted using oil rather than bacon grease and leaving out the bacon

2-3 pounds fresh green beans
3-4 slices uncooked bacon
1 heaping T bacon drippings
1 large onion, chopped
1 heaping T sugar
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Pop off ends of beans and break into bite-sized pieces. Rinse in cold water. Place in large pan with just enough water to cover. Cut bacon into pieces and add to beans with rest of ingredients. Bring beans to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours, adding a little water if necessary. Serves 6 to 8, improves as leftovers.