|Posted on July 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM|
Greetings and Salutations CSA Members,
And a happy 200th day of the year to you! Yes, 200 down and 165 to go in 2011. Not only is the year more than half way over, so too is our growing season at Spring Creek Farm. Time flies, they say; the proverbial wisdom we’ve grown so accustomed to hearing, a phenomenon so familiar. Yet nature and the seasons surprise us with their change, constant and enduring.
It is an exciting time at the farm, as some of our heartier veggies are truly making their presence felt. Here’s what we’ve got for you this week:
Salad Turnips (Making a comeback)
Carrots! Honestly, who doesn’t like carrots? They’re sweet, filling, and endlessly versatile: Carrot Salad, Carrot Soup, Carrot Cake, Carrot Wine, Pickled Carrots, Roasted Carrots. I could go on forever. Actually, I think carrots are something we have a tendency to take for granted-- They seem like a staple, and for many they are, but in reality home grown carrots take time and patience.
Some farmers at the market we sell at in Wasilla had carrots in mid June—I don’t want to say it was a blow to our ego, but we were a little disheartened. After some harmless investigating, we came to the conclusion that these early carrots were possible with the help of heated greenhouses. Of course there are always methods available to farmers for extending their growing season, but they are often very expensive. Conclusion: carrots done the slower, old fashioned way are simpler and worth the wait. And they’ll be in your shares from here on out.
We hope that you all are enjoying your fresh veggies. Below are some recipes to consider using with the new additions to your share.
Your farmers and farmerettes
*the following recipes are all adapted from the website Smitten Kitchen http://smittenkitchen.com/ *
Summer Squash Salad
4 medium summer squash
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound mesculin
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated (on large holes of a box grater; 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*Cut squash crosswise into paper-thin slices with slicer. Toss slices with one teaspoon salt in a large colander set over a bowl and let drain 20 minutes.
*Rinse squash slices well, and then drain, pressing gently on slices to extract any excess liquid. Pat zucchini slices dry with a kitchen towel.
*Put greens in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over greens and toss. Arrange squash slices over mesculin greens, then drizzle with remaining oil, lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper.
Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte
Makes 8 servings
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
12 ounces yellow crookneck squash or regular yellow summer squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
6 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans. Set aside 1/4 cup sliced green onions. Toss remaining green onions, cheese, flour, thyme, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend.
Layer 1/6 of potatoes in concentric circles in bottom of 1 prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Layer 1/4 of squash in concentric circles atop potatoes. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with 1/6 of cheese mixture. Repeat with 1/6 of potatoes, then 1/4 of squash and 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with 1/6 of cheese mixture. Top with 1/6 of potatoes. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with 1/6 of cheese mixture and press gently to flatten. Repeat procedure with second cake pan and remaining potatoes, squash, oil, and cheese mixture.
Cover pans with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until tortes begin to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes longer. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cool. Cover with foil and chill. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 350°F oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.)
Cut each torte into wedges. Sprinkle wedges with 1/4 cup green onions; serve.
Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes
1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup water
Accompaniment: lemon wedges
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.
Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.
While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Makes 4 side-dish servings.
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint
Harissa is delicious but is not necessary to make this salad. see note below
3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsely grated
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or about half as much, ground (I used seeds but ground them first)
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or about half as much, ground (I used the seed but ground them first, again)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon harissa (for a solid kick of heat; adjust yours to taste, and to the heat level of your harissa)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
100 grams feta, crumbled or chopped into bits
In a small sauté pan, cook the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa and sugar in the oil until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Pour over the carrots and mix. Add the herbs and mix. Leave to infuse for an hour and add the feta before eating.
Harissa: Is a North African chile paste that has become so popular, we were tickled to find it all over tables in Paris two years ago, right next to the Dijon mustard. There is almost nothing it doesn’t make more delicious: eggs, potatoes, stews, couscous, sandwiches and more, and there are almost as many recipes as there are people who consume it. Most boil down to hot chiles ground with garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and olive oil, often with a smidge of sundried tomatoes. You can make your own (I’ve been eying this recipe for some time) or you can buy some (I brought home this brand, which we love). The advantage of making your own, as always, is that you can adjust the recipe to suit your tastes and desired level of heat
Summer-Squash Soup with Parsley-Mint Pistou*
For squash soup
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 lb yellow summer squash, halved and thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 yellow-fleshed potato (1/2 pound), peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 large scallion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Make soup: Melt butter in a 6- to 8-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat, then cook onion with salt, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add squash, carrots, potato, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool soup, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Working in batches, puree; soup in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids) and transfer to a bowl. Return purée to cleaned pot and thin with water if desired; simmer 3 minutes. Season with salt.
Make pistou while vegetables simmer: Pulse mint, parsley, and scallion in a food processor until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in a stream, then add water and salt, blending until incorporated.
Swirl 1 tablespoon pistou into each bowl of soup.
Carrot Ginger Dressing
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1/4 cup grapeseed or another neutral oil
2 tablespoons water
In a blender or food processor, combine carrot, shallot (scallion can be substituted), and fresh ginger. pulse together a few times until they are combined. Scrape down sides and add the miso, vinegar, and sesame oil. Turn the machine on low, and while it is running, slowly add the grapeseed or another oil and water. Run until the dressing is smooth. Mmmm.