Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 16 8/29/2012

More garlic this week for your winter storage and cooking pleasure.  Garlic keeps very well in a dark, dry, room temperature area.  You may store it in a basket or paper bag in your pantry or cooking island. Don’t seal it in plastic. 

This week’s box:

Tomatoes- See the following note. Please wash produce. We are trying to keep the tomato plants healthy and happy despite the rain and late summer blight.  We have sprayed a copper solution that is used in organic methods.  While it is approved for organic farms, you should make sure to wash your tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. (Always wash produce!) 

Cherry Tomatoes-See the note above. Please wash produce. Some of the most flavorful tomatoes are the little ones.  Try them sliced in half with basil and chopped cucumbers (also good with diced large tomatoes).

Red Peppers- They’re here! Red and sweet and delicious.  Did you know that it takes an extra 2 weeks for a pepper to go from full size green to ripe and red?  During that time, the darling pepper must hang on the plant and avoid being scorched and softened by the August sun.

 Cucumbers- Just a few.  We have a young succession of plants that have started producing cucumbers.  We are lucky to have them.  Usually this time of year it is too hot and humid for the plants and they die of disease. Enjoy the bounty this year!

Beans-mix of green pole beans and long red noodle beans.

Basil-Oh the wonderful scent of basil.  I love harvesting it for you all.

Garlic- More delicious heirloom garlic for you this week.

Eggplant-  Just a few eggplant for you.  Eggplant doesn’t like cooler weather, but we sure appreciate the moderate temperatures!  Try simmering cubed eggplant in lightly salted water for a few minute before adding to tomato sauce or a vegetable sauté. 

This week on the Farm

Bluebird Farm was a happening place this past week. 

In the vegetable field:
                The dry weather is making it difficult to germinate seedlings.  Beets, carrots, and lettuce mix are all struggling to crack through the dry crusty ground.  The good news in the fall garden is the transplants.  Weeds had started to grow in the vegetable field.  But it isn’t very hard to kill them when the sun is beating down.  Just a little disturbance with the tractor and they’re dead.  After preparing the beds we had two big work evenings to plant all the babies (one good thing about earlier evenings is that when we work to dark its only 9 pm instead of 10 pm!).  12 rows of chard, 12 kale, and 4 each of collards and broccoli are now happily growing away. 

In the pastures:
                On Sunday it was time to move the sheep.  Normally it’s a short easy move from one paddock to the next.  But this time it was a big move.  They’d been happily grazing on the hillside for the last two months or so.  But they had reached the end of the grass.  So we had to move them back down to the bottom land across from the vegetable field.  Luckily for us we had some out of town friends visiting so we put them to work (they may not have thought themselves so lucky!).  The sheep behaved pretty well on the move.  But they did miss one turn.  They didn’t want to walk into the tall unmowed grass so they ran the entire length of the field down the nicely cut road-they thought it was the best race track ever.  So I had to run all the way around them and get them turned around in the right direction.  Fortunately, after their long run they were too tire to misbehave anymore.
                Today we opened up some piglets onto our pastures.  The ground is hard from the dry weather so they can’t turn the soil over too much.  We just want them to munch on the grass and other plants growing in the pasture, not rip the whole thing up.  It took the pigs a few minutes to cross their old electric fence (they think its still there and really don’t want to get shocked).    But once they were across into the green grass they had a blast running around and grazing. 

Enjoy the food!

William and Marie

More recipes with red peppers and eggplant!  Be creative as you use these recipes and others!  You can always trade out vegetables that aren’t available for ones that are.  For example, you could leave the squash out of the grilled vegetable pasta salad and use more peppers and tomatoes. 
Also don’t forget the good ol’ option of eating vegetables raw.  Sweet red peppers can be sliced for a great healthy snack.  Diced pepper, tomato, and cucumber tossed with your favorite vinaigrette makes a great, easy to prepare salad.

Roasted Red pepper Risotto (From From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
2 Large red bell peppers
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Juice of 2 small lemons
8-9 cups vegetables stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
About 2 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine

Heat oven to broiling temperature.  Place peppers on baking sheet. Broil close to heating element, using tongs to turn peppers to char skin evenly on all sides.   Remove from oven, place in paper bag, and close the bag.  Let peppers stand while you chop onion and dill and juice lemons.  Remove peppers from bag; peel off charred skin, remove stem and seeds (don’t rinse them, as this will weaken the flavor), and cut into small strips (for alternative roasting method see Grilled Eggplant Red Pepper “Caviar”).  Heat stock in saucepan over medium-low flame.  Heat oil in large saucepan over medium flame.  Add onions; cook until soft.  Stir in rice with wooden spoon until all grains are evenly coated.  Add dill, stir 1 mintute, then add wine and stir until wine is absorbed.  Add one cup stock; stir until stock is absorbed.   Continue cooking, stirring, and adding one cup of stock at a time until the rice is al dente and suspended in a smooth sauce, 15-25 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and red peppers.  Makes 6-8 servings. 

Stuffed Peppers (From From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
A little oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
3 cups raw brown rice         
6 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock, or tomato juice
½ teaspoon allspice
½ cup almonds, chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
¾ pound cheddar chease, grated
Salt and pepper
9 large paeppers, tops cut off, seeds removed

Heat oil in a large skillet; add and sauté garlic and onions.  Add rice and brown about 5 minutes.  Add desired liquid and allspice.  Cover and cook until rice is done, about 40 minutes.  Toast almonds in dry skillet or hot oven several minutes, tossing often.  Stir in tomatoes, cheese, almonds, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook peppers in boiling water 2 minutes.  Drain and stuff peppers with rice mixture.  Bake 350 degrees 30 minutes.  Makes 9 servings.

Grilled Eggplant Red Pepper “Caviar” (From From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
2 sweet red peppers
1 ½ pounds oriental eggplant
1 sweet onion, thickly sliced, brushed lightly with a little olive oil
1 large tomato, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
 Salt and pepper
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Black olives
Italian Bread

Prepare grill to high heat.  When hot, roast the red peppers, turning often, to blacken the skins all around.  Remove to a cutting board, scrape off the skin with a sharp knife, and finely chop the flesh (for alternative roasting method see Roasted Red pepper Risotto).  Cool grill to medium high heat, grill the whole eggplants and sliced onions, turning often, until tender.  Peel the eggplant; drain them a few minutes in a colander.  Mash or finely chop the eggplant flesh and finely chop the onions.  Combine eggplant, onions, red peppers, and tomatoes in bowl.  Mince the garlic, sprinkle it with a little salt, and mash it in to paste with a fork or the back of a knife.  Stir garlic and olive oil into eggplant mixture.  Serve with olives and hunks of Italian bread.  Makes 4-6 appetizer-size servings or serve this as a main coarse for two. 

Late Summer Bruschetta (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
2-3 large tomatoes
1 crunchy sweet pepper
1 medium sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Small handful fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Crusty bread (like baguette)
Shredded mozzarella or grated parmesan (optional)

Chop the vegetables into a midsize dice.  Combine with garlic 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and optional basil.  Slice baguette down the middle and lay the two sides cut side up.  Brush with additional 1-2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle on cheese, if using.  Broil bread for several minutes until bread or cheese browns a bit.  Top the sections (you may cut them smaller, if desired) with some of the vegetable mixture.  Makes 4 servings

Grilled Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
This great pasta salad recipe can be made with a variety of summer vegetables.  It is easy to mix and match ingredients based on seasonal availability.
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 eggplant
4 tomatoes
4 portobello mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
Olive oil spray
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound penne, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
4 oz. mozzarella, sliced
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Approximately 1 cup vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar

Heat/prepare an outdoor grill.  Slice zucchini, squash, and eggplant into long ½ inch thick “planks.”   Cut tomatoes in half.  Remove stems from mushrooms.  Cut pepper into quarters; discard core and seeds.  Spray veggies with light coating of oil.  Sprinkle with minced garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Grill until lightly charred and barely tender.  Chop and place in large bowl with pasta, cheese, nuts, and basil.  Toss with vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper.  6-8 servings.

Southwestern Strata (lasagna)  (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
1 ½-2 cups cooked beans (wither form dry or canned)-a red or black variety is best
½ cup chopped sweet red pepper
½ cup corn kernels
¼ cup minced green onion
5 eggs
1 2/3 cup milk
1 cup tomato salsa (can be made fresh by dicing tomatoes and seasoning to taste with cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, jalapeno, cilantro, onion)
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
5 6-inch flour tortillas
1/2 -1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Combine beans, red pepper, corn, and green onions in bowl.  Wisk eggs and milk in a second bowl.  Combine salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and cumin in a third bowl.  Oil a deep, round, baking dish that’s about the width of a tortilla.  Place a tortilla in dish.  Spread a quarter of the bean mixture.  Pour on a quarter of the milk mixture.  Repeat layers three or more times and end with a tortilla.  Spread sour cream mixture over top.  Refrigerate 3 or more hours.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle cheese over strata. Bake until firm, 45-55 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.  

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