Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FALL CSA Harvest Week 3: Frost?

FALL CSA Harvest Week 3: Frost?
Waxed veggie BOXES: Please return the waxed veggie boxes that your veggies come in.  Simply trade us an empty box for a full box each week. 
Where’s the frost? What is so important about frost?
Our frost date in our area is October 15th.  What’s a frost date?  Our frost date is when it is 90% chance that there will be a frost.  It certainly has not happened yet, and it is not forecast to frost until October 25th.
Frost kills all cold sensitive plants like marigolds, tomatoes, peppers, zinnias, and eggplants.  Many times we will get a killing frost (which kills sensitive plants and will slightly damage others) but then we will get several weeks without more heavy killing frosts.  That’s when we gardeners get a little more time without much frost damage to lettuce, arugula, radishes, beets, and carrots.
How do keep our plants growing into the early winter? (lettuce, arugula, radishes, beets, carrots, kale, Swiss chard, collards)
We place metal pipe or wire “U-shaped” hoops into the ground.  Then we cover this miniature little structure with fabric (known as row cover or by the brand name ReeMay) and weigh it down with sandbags.  With the first few frosts, the fabric can protect the plant from freezing.  Once the weather really cools down, the fabric prevents the plants from drying out in the wind or from freezing very quickly or thawing very quickly.  We want the freeze/thaw process to be very gradual to prevent plant tissue damage.  See another description of row covers here.

Let us know if you questions or comments about your veggies!
  Store your greens and head lettuce in plastic bags in your crisper drawer to keep them hydrated and fresh.    Washing veggies: We’ve got wonderfully fresh vegetables for you.  Just remember to rinse or soak your veggies before preparing or cooking.  I have a large bowl that I fill with cold water to soak and swish veggies around it before cutting them up or spinning the salad greens dry. I also have an awesome little salad spinner that stays full in the fridge with my washed baby lettuce and arugula mix. (My salad spinner has a solid top and body like a Tupperware container.)

Farm Fresh Harvest

Broccoli- Large heads of garden fresh broccoli.    Will keep in a plastic bag for 1 week, but use by Friday night for an amazing flavor that is garden fresh! 
“Salanova” Lettuce mix- This gourmet mix of 6 different types of leaves has great flavor and texture.  The plants are actually a special type of miniature head lettuce that grows to a small lettuce “ball” that is about 6x6 inches in size.
Arugula- 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!
Bell peppers- Crunchy and Sweet!  The plants are slowing down with the cooler weather, and we will pick all of the peppers right before a frost.
Tomatoes- Still tomatoes? Yep, no frost yet and our plants are healthy under their high tunnel/hoophouse.  The structure does not protect against cold weather, just rain and fungal damage, so we will pick every single tomato out there just before a frost is predicted. We will even pick green tomatoes- they sauté up and kind of taste like squash.  The green tomatoes are even better fried!
Rainbow  Swiss Chard-  You must try the Swiss Chard quiche!  See recipe below in recipe section.

Try sautéing onions, garlic and olive oil for a few minutes until done.  Then add chopped pieces of this delicate green Swiss Chard leaves and sauté for just a few minutes until the leaves turn a bright green…Not a dark green.  You can cook the stems- if you’ve never tried Swiss Chard, try cooking it with the leaves the first time for a more mild flavor.  The next time, dice about half of the stems and sauté them with the onions, and then add the chopped greens.

Watermelon Radish- This hard, crunchy root has a bright red interior which gives it its name.  Make thin slices and then chop in small triangular pieces for a pretty addition to salads.  I like to add a bit of salt and olive oil to the chopped pieces and let them marinate for 5-15 minutes before adding to the salad.  The watermelon radish takes a long time to grow- almost 2 months, compared to 3 weeks for smaller radishes.  During this long growing time, the radish is able to grow into a dense crisp root.

Classic Tangy Vinaigrette
Check out this recipe for an easy to make Classic Tangy Vinaigrette.  One of our standard favorites!

Quiche with Greens
This is a favorite recipe that goes great with a nice salad.  Or you can eat it cold at work the next day.  We always take this quiche to potlucks!
Quiche with Fall Greens
Quiche is one of my favorite recipes to highlight the flavors of fresh eggs and greens.  It is also easy, relatively quick, and delicious.  This recipe is adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.   You can also cook it without the crust or substitute a store made pie dough for the shell.
Tart Pastry (one nine-inch tart)
This well-balanced, basic recipe produces a firm, crisp crust with the taste of butter.  You can sweeten it slightly, if you wish, by adding 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar to the flour.  The tart pastry will not get tough if you handle it a lot and you can mix it in a food processor.
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ pound cold butter, in small pieces
1 egg yolk (save the white for the quiche)
2 tablespoons ice water
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal or tiny peas.  Whisk the egg yolk and water together in another bowl, add the flower mixture, and blend until the pastry is smooth and holds together in a ball.  It can be mixed in a food processor; process first the flour, salt, and butter quickly together, then add the egg yolk and water through the funnel and process until the dough balls up around the blade. 
Pat the dough into a pie pan or springform with your hands.  Pull pieces of the dough from the ball and press them over the bottom and sides of the pan, using the heel of your hand.  The dough should be thick enough to hold the filling, but be careful that it is not too thick around the bottom edge or the finished tart will seem coarse. 
Prick the bottom with a fork and bak2e it unfilled for 12 minutes in a preheated 425 F oven.  If you used a springform pan, do not remove the sides until you serve the tart.  
Fresh Greens and Onion Quiche
(Serves six)
½ pound fresh greens (spinach, chard, stir-fry mix, radish greens, or any other fresh cooking green you have on hand)
4 eggs
1 egg white from tart pastry
2 cups light cream or milk (if you use milk whole milk works best although I have made it with 2%)
½ tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups grated swiss, cheddar or other hard cheese
1 partially baked Tart Pastry from the first recipe
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Dice onion and sauté in olive oil or butter.  While the onions are cooking wash and chop greens.  When the onion is almost done (when it starts to turn transparent) add the greens and put a lid on the pan to help it steam.  Cook the greens until they are soft. 
 Sprinkle ½ of the cheese over the bottom of the tart shell.  Place the onions and greens into the tart shell.  Combine the eggs, egg white, cream (or milk), salt, and spices in a bowl and beat thoroughly.   Ladle the mixture over the greens and onions.  Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top of the egg mixture.  
Bake for 15 minutes at 425 F; then lower the heat to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve in wedges hot or cold.

 Roasted Broccoli Recipe
 Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 as a side dish.
 The measurements are just a guideline. Add more or less olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, or cheese to taste.
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon, about 1 Tbsp
  • Kosher salt
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste


1 Preheat the oven to 400. In a large bowl toss the broccoli florets, chopped stems, and minced garlic with olive oil and lemon juice until lightly coated. Sprinkle salt over the broccoli and toss to coat.
2 Arrange the broccoli florets in a single layer on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Then uncover and cook until done to your liking.

3 Put the roasted broccoli back in the bowl and toss with lots of freshly ground black pepper and the grated parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.
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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