Tuesday, September 17, 2013

 CSA Harvest Week 19: Farm day,

Farm day this Friday from 4-7pm.  Free for all CSA members and their families.  We’ll go tour the farm and show the how’s and why’s of a small organic farm.  Tell a friend!  If you pick up at Nature’s Bounty and haven’t made it by the farm yet, we really want to share the farm with you!  Come see your farm.  See more at our webpage…https://sites.google.com/site/bluebirdfarmnc/home/farmers-markets/happenings

We couldn’t have this small organic farm without your support throughout the year!  You and your families are the backbone of what we do.  We think about our CSA families all the time.

 We are finishing the CSA year with beautiful garden harvests.  Next Wednesday is the last week of the CSA.  We are so happy to have you with us on this seasonal journey on the farm. You’ve been with us during the ups and downs of the growing season.

If you are signed up for the fall CSA there is no break in our vegetables.  We will see you the very next Wednesday October, 2nd.  If you aren’t part of the CSA you don’t have to miss out.  Marie will be at the Morganton market every Saturday in October from the 5th through the 26th from 8-noon.  Hope to see you there!

            The weather is always making life on the farm interesting.  After the summer of deluge we have received only about 1 inch of rain in the last 4-6 weeks.  It hasn’t affected us too dramatically.  The groundwater is obviously in good shape, creeks are full, and the soil is not bone dry.  It is also nice that the dryness came when we have shorter days so things don’t dry out as quickly.  But we have had to run the irrigation every other day or so to keep new seedlings and transplants alive.  The pigs miss the rain and their constant mud holes.  The dry soil just doesn’t give a satisfying splash!    

Next week we’ll have freshly dug sweet potatoes! MMM…slow baked and sweet!

Farm Fresh Harvest
Kale- Fresh greens! 
Head Lettuce- Here is some lovely head lettuce for you.  Careful, it is very tender and fragile.  This variety is called Skyphos and it is a delicious buttercrunch variety.
Arugula- Spicy!  The arugula grew a little taller than we usually let it get, so it is spicy!  Pair it with sweet dried cranberries, honey mustard dressing, and toasted walnuts.   For those of you who think it a little too spicy raw, try this.  Make an arugula pesto with walnuts. Check out this blog post! http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/arugula_pesto/
Radish- Spicy little radishes.  To help make them more mild…grate, slice, or chop and add salt and olive oil.  Let marinate for about 5-10 minutes before eating.
Hakerai salad turnips- these crunchy veggies are wonderful sliced, chopped, or grated.  I even eat them like an apple.  I also prepare them like the radishes above.
Bell peppers- Crunchy!  They are turning red and sweet! They ripen with sunshine in late August and September!
Tomatoes- The tomatoes have full ripe flavors since we grow them under the hoophouse, which keeps the rain from watering the flavor down.
Cherry tomatoes- Little gems of sunshine!

Cucumbers This is late in the season for cukes.  The plants aren’t producing much, so we have to mow them.
Basil  Basil is not producing well. They are very small plants!

Recipes: Peppers…Stuffed, Roasted, Relish

Peppers Stuffed with Chile Grits 
This recipe does not require baking and making the grits is quicker than making rice!  Try this richly flavored recipe with roasted poblanos, green chiles or bell peppers or even an assortment of peppers. The piquant flavors of roasted peppers melt into the satisfying thick comfort of chile grits.  Serve with chips ,salsa, and sour cream or plain yogurt next to shredded lettuce or cabbage.
To Prepare bell peppers for stuffing:  Try this!  Don’t cut the top off of the pepper making a deep soupy cavity- try cutting the bell pepper in half vertically all the way through the stem.    Leave the curly stem for a nice garnish.  Trim the membrane and seeds.  Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan and heat to high.  Add peppers to hot (medium high heat) skillet to sear.  Listen for the sizzling racket for about 3 minutes and turn and sear for another 3 minutes.  This cooks the peppers slightly and browns them a bit.   This way the peppers are ready for a hot stuffing to placed inside of them and served.  Save the fragrant oil and cook with it. 
Note: Have peppers or chiles prepared beforehand or prepare them while you are making the grits. Also note that the peppers are not baked after they are stuffed!  I cook the grits while the onion is cooking to save time.  Follow the directions on the package.  It’s okay to use “quick” grits, just make sure to get plain flavored, watch the amount of sodium in the package, and make them thick!
1 tablespoon oil
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned
1 clove garlic
1 cup thick cooked grits or polenta
3 tablespoons roasted, diced green chiles, jalepenos, poblanos, or more to taste.  You can also use about 1 tablespoon chipotle powder  or ¼ or ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 or 7 roasted poblanos  or green chiles or (3 medium bell peppers- prepared for stuffing)
Heat the oil over medium heat, add onion and sauté for 4 minutes.  Add ground coriander and corn and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add garlic, grits (or polenta), diced green chile, and stir to combine.  The filling will need to be thick enough to stick together somewhat.  If it’s not, cook and gently stir until thick.
Stuff the peppers or chiles and serve. 
Chile Cheese Grits: Add ½ cup shredded cheese to the chile grit mixture and stir to combine

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.

Roasting chiles or peppers is simple.  You char and blacken the chile or pepper with intense heat or direct flame.  That means you can roast a poblano, chile, sweet pepper, jalepeno or anything else with a gas grill, charcoal grill, gas stove range, electric or gas broiler.
 I love roasted chiles!  I was first introduced to a freshly roasted chile while staffing a farmer’s market in Colorado for the ranch I was working on.  My first bite was of a “Big Jim” chile stuffed with fresh soft sheep cheese, and it was love at first bite!  The smells of the propane chile roaster rotating and flame roasting the chiles filled the air, bringing the locals to declare that the heights of summer had arrived! 
Here’s a quick way to knock out a batch.  Place the peppers or chiles with stems under a very hot grill or put the peppers or chiles on a baking sheet under a preheated broiler until the skin blisters slightly and is black in spots, about 5 minutes on each of two sides.   Place in a large bowl with a towel over it until cool enough to handle; this steams the skin off.  Peel most of the skin off.  Don’t rinse the flavor away! Use a paper towel if needed!  The pepper can then be used for days in many dishes. Or freeze for later.
Preparing for Stuffing : Cut a slit lengthwise from under the stem to the end point.  Delicately scrape any seeds than can be easily removed.  Stuff with your favorite stuffing.
Preparing for dicing:  Cut a slit lengthwise from under the stem to the end point.  Remove the stem, seeds and membrane.  Slice and dice.

Poblano Pepper and Heirloom Tomato Fresh Relish:
Try the piquant flavor of the poblano in this salsa type relish. You can also use roasted sweet bell peppers for a flavorful, but mild relish.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
3 or 4 poblanos, roasted, peeled, and diced
2 ears of corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1 bunch scallions or 3 tablespoons diced sweet onions
1 clove garlic, crushed or diced
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or more to taste
Tomatoes, diced- about a half pound
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and optional pine nuts and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in poblanos, corn, scallions, cilantro, and lime juice and cook until the flavors blend- about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat, add diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and let cool.  Can be cover and refrigerated for a couple of days.  Best served at room temp.

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

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