LEF logo (small)

Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
2nd Harvest Week, Winter 2007/2008
December 5th, 2007

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Fermenting Vegetables - stay tuned!
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Contact Information

" This food comes from the Earth and the Sky,
   it's the gift of the entire universe
   and the fruit of much hard work;
   I vow to live a life which is worthy to receive it. "

~ Grace of the Bodhisattva Buddists

Greetings from Farmer Tom

It has turned into an annual tradition that for my wife Constance’s birthday, I organize a getaway for just the two of us. Since her birthday coincides with the farm's seasonal slowdown, it's an opportunity to recharge our batteries, relax and reconnect. This year we spent two days in San Francisco enjoying some of the urban/cultural attractions we generally don't have much time for, such as strolling through museums, going to a concert, and most exciting of all. . . eating some good food.
Both cooking and eating is a sensory pleasure, and I have come to appreciate meals that are uncomplicated; ones where the ingredients taste as they are, expressing their full flavor. The world of food is one that predominantly involves the five senses. Even in a fine restaurant in San Francisco I am always tempted to use my hands to separate and touch something on my plate or draw a forkful of delicate greens to my nose to smell their freshness. Alice Waters, who started a culinary revolution inspired by sourcing seasonal, local, and sustainably grown food, likes to point out that good cooking is not based upon years of training and encyclopedic knowledge of world cuisines, but rather on engaging the senses that teach us to prepare delicious and creative meals. I recently came across a wonderful and inspiring new book she just published, entitled “The Art of Simple Food.” It is probably one every CSA member should have in their kitchen.
As a farmer who also loves to cook I believe that beyond cooking with our senses we also have an opportunity to rediscover our agrarian roots by planting our own garden. There is probably nothing more satisfying than to cook and eat something you yourself have grown. Now is the time to start planning if you want to awaken your well rested and long forgotten inner gardener or farmer. How to picture what that inner agrarian feels and looks like? I recommend you grab a new 2008 seed catalog (there’s probably one mixed in with the rest of your junk mail) and sit down in your garden next to your planter box, or walk through your neighborhood community garden plot, and let your imagination inspire you. Without worry or stress, since nothing is growing yet, you can identify what your senses may want to discover, learn and explore as you imagine the kind of plants your interested in growing. Even a pot of herbs can transform how you cook and experience the seasons.  If you are serious enough and it turns into more than a well intentioned New Year's resolution, you can give us a try to get your questions answered, or we can point you in the right direction. For now, it doesn't hurt to dream!!

– Tom

<back to top>

Fermenting vegetables - stay tuned!

This past weekend I was fortunate to have been able to participate in a two day fermentation workshop in Santa Cruz given by none other than Sandor Katz, author of ‘Wild Fermentation’ – it was absolutely fantastic, and I am so pumped to start working with the things I have learned! Fellow members Stacy and Dan Scott also went, and we have plans to provide you with stories and ideas to ‘inoculate’ you with the idea of learning to ferment vegetables yourselves. So stay tuned to this space! Stacy has volunteered to write a first installment next week. We'll have some good veggies for fermenting. . . cabbage, carrots. . . (of course you can ferment pretty much any veggie, but I'm jumping ahead!)

- Debbie

<back to top>

What's in the box this week

winter veggies
Apples (Bobby Silva)
Brussels sprouts
Collard greens
Red Russian kale
Green kohlrabi
Bread (for the folks who didn’t get it last week – i.e. the Santa Cruz county pick-up sites)

a peek at next week: more winter squash, Asian greens, radishes, caulifower, cabbage, possibly white beets, and then of course the usual (cooking greens, apples, carrots. . .)

<back to top>

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database

I didn’t scare up any ‘greens’ recipes for you this week because I figure you all are pros by now (you, our winter share members, that is!), but here are a couple recipes for Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and fennel. . . plus a dessert recipe with a kick! - Debbie
Browned Brussels Sprouts
sent in by member Mark Stevens, who says he modeled it after a dish he had in New York last week at a restaurant called Casa Mono
(serves 2 or 3 as a side dish)

1 share worth of Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Grey salt
Prep Brussels sprouts by cutting off the stalk ends, then cutting in half (if medium or large) or leaving whole (if quite small). Boil in pan (or steam in a little water) for about 5-7 minutes, until starting to get soft.  Set aside in a bowl (can be for up to 30 minutes).
In frying pan (not non-stick, as you want the Brussels sprouts to brown), put equal amounts olive oil and butter on medium heat. Heat until butter is starting to brown. Add sprouts, trying to arrange as much as possible with the cut side (of the half pieces) down. Let fry until the portion facing down is brown, squeezing lemon juice overall a couple of times while cooking. Do not turn, as you want a very brown side to the Brussels sprouts.
Transfer directly onto plates, sprinkle some grey salt over the top and serve immediately.
here’s a recipe I found online last year from Riverford Organic Vegetables, a CSA equivalent program in the UK. We likely won't get 2 lbs. of kohlrabi in our shares, but you can use this recipe to give you ideas. Me, I could see adding sliced fennel to take up the slack in kohlrabi quantities. . .
Kohlrabi Gratin
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4

2 lbs. kohlrabi
3 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 lemon
2 oz. butter
1 C cream
4 oz. Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
1. Peel the kohlrabi, cut in half and slice thinly. Place half in a gratin dish and sprinkle with half the parsley.
2. Finely grate the lemon rind and sprinkle half on top of the kohlrabi. Dot over half of the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Put the remaining kohlrabi, parsley and lemon rind on top. Dot with the remaining butter and pour over the cream.
4. Top with the grated cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes, until tender.
Roasted Fennel with Olives and Garlic
modified from an undated Bon Appetit clipping
serves 4

2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut vertically into 8 wedges with core attached to each wedge
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely crushed
½ tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
a generous pinch of dried crushed red chili peppers
coarse salt
¼ C halved pitted Kalamata olives
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. combine fennel, olive oil, garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper in a bowl; toss to coat. Spread out on prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.
Using tongs, turn wedges over. Continue to roast until tender, turning 1 more time, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle olives over fennel. Roast until fennel begins to brown at edges, about 8 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.
I really liked the sound of this apple cake. . . with cayenne in it! As the recipe says, “Great for those who like a little heat with their sweet.”

Firecracker Apple Cake with Spiced Pecans and Caramel-Chile Glaze
from a restaurant called “Firefly Grill” in Nashville, TN (another Bon Appetit clipping)
Spiced Pecans
1 C pecan halves
1 lg. egg white, beaten until foamy
2 tbsp. (packed) brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 ½ C flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¾ C vegetable oil
¾ C (packed) brown sugar
¼ C sour cream
2 lg. eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ¾ C apples, cored, peeled, cubed
Caramel-Chile glaze
 2/3 C (packed) brown sugar
6 tbsp. half and half
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 lg. egg yolks
½ tsp. (generous) cayenne pepper
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss all ingredients in medium bowl to coat. Spread pecans in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour an 8- to 10-cup Bundt pan or tube pan. Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, ginger and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk oil, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Add dry ingredients; fold together just until blended. Fold in apples and transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Invert onto plate.
Caramel-Chile glaze: Stir all ingredients together in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until mixture coats back of spoon, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Spoon ½ C warm glaze over warm cake. Transfer remaining glaze to small pitcher. Cool cake completely.
To serve: place slices of cake on plates, drizzle some additional glaze over each slice, sprinkle with spiced pecans and serve with optional vanilla ice cream.

<back to top>

Contact Information
email Debbie at the farm (for any farm or CSA share-related business): farmers@cruzio.com
email Debbie at home (with newsletter input or recipes): deb@writerguy.com
farm phone: 831.763.2448
website: http://www.liveearthfarm.net