Monday, October 6, 2014

CSA News, Week 21

It's Fun to Eat This Way!

Having your CSA farm share with Elmwood Stock Farm, in part, helps us manage the production and harvest of our crops. Another very important part is the experience you have trying different recipes with your favorite vegetables, and even eating things you may not be familiar with.  Eating seasonal and eating local is not just a trend, it is part of our evolution.  Though our American culture seemed to forget for a while with the ease and availability of refrigeration, transportation, and new packaging technologies, many are returning to the ideas of eating whole foods, well-balanced meals that include vegetables, and locally produced organic items bursting with nutritional benefits.

Hopefully when you explore each week’s bounty there is a bit of an adrenaline rush like a surprise or receiving a gift. Since even we do not know exactly what will be ready to be harvested for the shares until the morning of your pick-up, how could you? We do know the secure feeling we get when the barns are well stocked with hay for the winter, so it must feel pretty good to have your kitchen well stocked for the week.  While managing a busy schedule, at least you know there is something good to eat at home, and you can avoid the trappings of processed foods away from home. We have enjoyed the stories you relay to us, and we can picture you opening the box or bag, reading the riveting newsletter cover to cover, planning a menu for the week, and properly storing your items in their best environment, or prepping and cooking ahead for the week.  We appreciate knowing that our efforts to provide really good food are rewarded with you having a fun eating experience. 

As your farmers, we see the seasonal abundance of certified organic food at the farm. Since we have access to all of it every day, we don’t have to plan out too far in advance what we eat, and we don’t need to purchase many off-farm items. Almost everything we eat is organic and for that we feel very fortunate.  When we travel, or when we purchase fruits that we don’t grow, we stick with organic as much as we can. Naturally, we encourage you to support other organic farmers as well, wherever or whenever you can. Certified organic is more readily available these days, and the health benefits are documented. It is really too important not to do it. 

At the time of the year, with all the different shapes and sizes of hard squash being harvested and stored, and the various colors and types of potatoes about, be sure to try different recipes as the days get shorter and you find more time in the kitchen. You might want to think about getting some extra greens for the freezer, get some spuds tucked away, or get the freezer secured with beef or chicken while access for you is easy. When attendance it down on a cold farmers market day, we ask “what are people gonna eat this week, because they missed the market?” By having your share conveniently delivered near your home, we know that all of you will eat well no matter the weather. If you need any extras now for stocking up, please email or call to let us know and we’ll pack a special order for you to collect with your share.

Next week is the last week for your summer CSA share. (Round up those extra boxes to return!) If you are considering the fall season, now is a good time to sign up. If you plan to shop the farmers market instead, know we will be in downtown Lexington every Saturday morning, forever. Whatever you do, keep your kitchen stocked with local organic food if you can, and you will find it easy to eat well year-round. Have some fun with it, try some new recipe ideas. Be well nourished! Our hope is that you have as much fun as we do when it’s time to look around the larder and see what there is to eat.

In Your Share:

Delicata Squash
Kale Greens
Hot Pepper
Sweet Pepper
Yellow Squash
Sweet Potatoes
Green Onion


Kale Citrus Salad
1 bunch kale, leaves torn off the stalk
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced very thin
3 whole tangerines/clementines OR 1 orange, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
4 oz goat cheese
¼ C orange juice
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or grated
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 heaping T sour Cream OR plain Greek yogurt
Grab bunches of the kale leaves and use a sharp knife to thinly slice them. Keep going until you have a big pile of finely shredded kale. To make the dressing, combine the orange juice, olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a small mason jar. Shake vigorously until all combined, then add the sour cream or yogurt and shake again until it's nice and creamy.  Toss the kale in half the dressing for a minute or so, then add the jalapeno slices and citrus pieces. Toss again until combined. Add a little more dressing if it needs it (extra dressing can be stored in the fridge and used for any salad.) At the last minute, break the goat cheese into chunks with a fork and toss it into the salad. Serve!

Stuffed Bell Peppers
3-4 green bell peppers, cut tops off and remove seeds
2 T vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef (you could probably make 4-5 peppers with this amount)
1 C finely chopped onions
½ C finely chopped peppers (use the excess from the tops of the peppers)
1 clove minced garlic
Parsley or celery leaf, to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 C of cooked rice
8 oz tomato sauce
shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut tops of peppers off and remove all the insides. In a large pot of boiling water, boil peppers for 2-3 minutes, lay on paper towels to dry. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and chopped peppers, cook until soft.  Add beef, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned. Add cooked rice and tomato sauce, mix well. Pour just enough water in a baking dish to cover the bottom.  Stuff peppers with mixture and cook until tender and heated through, about 25-30 min.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with shredded cheese. 

Kale Enchiladas, Simply in Season, serves 4
1 pound kale greens, stemmed and finely chopped; finely chop stems also, set aside
2 tsp oil
2 diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ C ricotta or cottage cheese
3 C tomato sauce
2 T taco seasoning
8 corn or flour tortillas
1 C shredded cheese
In a deep frypan, sauté onions and garlic in oil with chopped kale stems until softened, 10 minutes.  Add cumin, pepper and greens and cook until greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add water if necessary.  Remove from heat.  Mix in ricotta cheese and set aside. Combine tomato sauce and taco seasoning and pour 1 C in bottom of 9 x 13 baking sheet. Spoon greens/cheese mixture into tortillas, roll up, and place seam side down in baking pan.  Pour remaining sauce evenly on top, covering all edges.  Cover and bake in preheated 350° oven for 40 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake uncovered another 10 minutes.

Yellow Squash Patties
6-8 medium yellow squash, shredded
1 onion, shredded
1 ½ T salt
1 C all-purpose flour
½ C organic cornmeal
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese
ground black pepper to taste
1 T vegetable oil
In a bowl, mix the squash and onion, flour, cornmeal, egg, and cheese. Season with pepper.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop squash mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls into the skillet, and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Crash Hot Potatoes, adapted from The Pioneer Woman
10-12 small round potatoes
3 T olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
rosemary, or other herb of choice
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.  On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.  With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Wedges adapted from Lorna Sass
2 lb sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 T olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Set two racks in middle section of oven. Line baking sheets or large, shallow roasting pans with foil. Preheat oven to 450°F.  Halve potatoes crosswise (no need to peel). Cut each piece in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece into wedges about ½ -inch thick. Spread out on baking sheets. In a small bowl, blend oil, chili powder, and soy sauce. Dribble half of oil mixture over each batch of sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange wedges in one layer with a little space between them. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes. Turn slices over. Reverse shelves for baking sheets. Continue roasting until potatoes are tender, 8 to 12 minutes more. If needed, sprinkle with additional salt, serve hot.