Remember: July 4th will
be a normal
Greetings from Farmer Tom
A promise needs to be kept, especially if it's one to my 13 year old son. For
David who is entering the tender and uncertain years of teen-hood, words don't
mean much, so last week, I followed through on my long held promise of showing
him New York. In what was a spur of the moment decision, we hopped on a
red-eye flight on Wednesday and the two of us spent 3 days in the Big Apple.
For David, not knowing what to expect, the physical scale of things combined
with the richly diverse and many overwhelming contrasts of Manhattan, had the
intended effect of absolute amazement and curiosity. It was a tour-de-force from
morning until late at night. We covered all the major sights, rode the subway
like gophers on adrenaline, and spent most of our time walking the grid of streets
and buildings from one sight to the next. When exhaustion finally caught up with
us I couldn't wait to relax and spend Saturday morning visiting the Farmer's
Market at Union Square. It was one of our highlights, with warm weather and clear
blue skies; everybody was out and about. The small park at Union Square was filled
with people relaxing and soaking up the sun. The farmer's market was lively,
a real oasis, where the encounter between two cultures – the urban and
agrarian – felt like a fresh breeze within this hard core financial epicenter
of the world. It is sometimes the contrast that makes one see things that otherwise
go unnoticed. As a farmer standing in the middle of this vibrant and thriving
market, not too far from Ground Zero, I was filled with hope that we are in fact
starting to transform things towards a more encouraging alternative future, away
from the current and more vulnerable industrial and economic model of our times.
Just like the mighty World Trade Center towers were vulnerable, and crumbled
in the face of an unexpected terrorist attack, so too is the centralized, industrial
food system, in the hands of a few corporate mega-farms, vulnerable to crumbling
under economic and ecological pressures.
I was right at home talking to fellow
farmers here in New York, enjoying the taste of their first fresh tomatoes, sampling
goat cheese handcrafted by a small farm in Pennsylvania, and sipping deliciously
refreshing cold raw chocolate milk. I was thinking of Luis, who at the very same
moment was setting up our Live Earth Farm farmstand at the Westside Market in
Santa Cruz, and of the probably thousands of others at farmer's markets all across
the country. Security and peace can be built around a food system that relies
on smaller and widely dispersed family farms and local enterprises, where the
producers and consumers can have a conversation, look each other in the eye,
and trust the story behind the product being exchanged. Here at the Union Square
Farmer's Market, the products offered for sale involved much more than just a
financial transaction: it involved a conversation, a handshake, smelling, tasting,
colors... it felt like a community. I like to believe that food is a wonderful
vehicle for creating a more secure and stable future, one where we celebrate
our interdependence rather than our independence. Happy 4th of July!
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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
here to go to my extensive
recipe database, spanning 10 years of CSA recipes and alphabetized
by key ingredient. Includes photos of most farm veggies; helpful for
ID-ing things in your box! Also, FYI, as a rule, I put my own comments
within recipes that are not my own inside square brackets [like this]
to distinguish them from the voice of the recipe-writer.
First, here is a recipe I kept for when we got
turnips. It was sent to me by Holly Trapp. Also, before I forget – those turnip
edible too! Just remember as usual to cut off and store them separately from
the roots. Farmer John’s cookbook says, “Turnip greens are coarse,
have a slight bite, and look very similar to [giant] radish leaves. It is good
to blanch them before cooking. They do well combined with other greens and cooked
lightly with oil, vinegar, hot sauce, ground red pepper, sugar, garlic or onions.” -
Persian Turnip Pickles
1 large beet (or several small)
4 small turnips or 3 medium size turnips
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Young celery leaves
1/2 C each white vinegar and water
1 tbsp. coarse salt
Boil in beet water until tender and peel, cool, slice and set aside. Drop turnips
into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, take out and peel. Cut into French-fry
size sticks. Sterilize a 1 pint wide-mouth jar, layer turnips, beets, a few slices
of garlic and celery leaves. Combine water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.
Fill jar with vinegar mixture, seal and store in warm place 10 days. These get
better the longer they sit - which usually doesn't happen!
from Real Simple magazine, Sept. 2004
Makes 6 servings
From member Christen Stryker: I just made a yummy new recipe tonight that I wanted
to share. This is a recipe from Real Simple magazine. It is so easy (especially
with a food processor to grate the squash for you!) and a great way to use a
bunch of that zucchini and summer squash we are getting in our boxes. I served
it with steamed broccoli (from our share) and a loaf of herbed focaccia. A nice
light meal that was a hit!
3 C grated zucchini (I just used whatever squash was in the box this week.)
1 small onion, chopped
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C grated provolone cheese (I used the Trader Joe's 4 cheese blend) [you could
probably use any number of cheeses; the flavor will just vary slightly based
on the cheese you use]
3 eggs, beaten
¼ C vegetable oil [I always prefer olive oil]
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil (I used more than this - probably about 2-3 tbsp.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat over to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon
of the Parmesan. Spoon the zucchini mixture into a 10-inch round glass pie plate
or metal pie pan that has been coated with vegetable cooking spray [or just use
your fingers and some olive oil; the idea of oil coming out of a spray can gives
me the willies]. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with
the reserved Parmesan. Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Here is a slight variation on roasted potatoes, sent in by regular contributor
Homemade Garlic-Basil "Fries"
Farm potatoes, washed and cut into quarters.
Farm garlic - 2-3 cloves, minced and then mashed with salt into a paste
Basil - slivered
Toss potatoes with a small amount of olive oil, salt & pepper in a bowl.
Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and cover with foil. Bake at 450 degrees
for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to roast until done, about 20-30 minutes.
Place mashed garlic and basil in bowl. Add hot potatoes and toss well. Season
with more salt & pepper if needed.
Here’s an intriguing recipe sent me by member Cynthia Neuendorffer; I have
an orange tree, so I’ll have to try this recipe with my beets this week!
Citrus Feta Beet Quiche
Make your favorite butter pastry shell, but add about 1 tsp. orange zest
to the dry ingredients before mixing in liquid. Bake shell until it’s
just starting to turn golden.
Julienne two beets and sauté in olive oil until just starting to
soften. Let cool. In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add about 1/3 C milk. Season
with pepper. Mix in 6 oz. crumbled feta cheese and the beets. Spoon into crust.
Bake at 350 degrees until egg is firm, about 15 minutes.
I made these as mini-quiche in muffin tins for book club meeting, but a large
quiche should work well too!
Chickpea and Leek Soup
from a Jamie Oliver book, sent in by member
Jennifer Marcoux [I’d
been saving this for when we got leeks]. Jennifer says this is her favorite
12 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
1 medium potato, peeled
6 leeks, finely sliced [if we only get 3 in the bunch, I’m sure you can
halve this recipe no problem]
1 tbsp. olive oil
knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely, sliced
freshly ground pepper
4 C vegetable or chicken stock
handful parmesan cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil
Cover the potato with water and cook until tender.
Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthways from the root up, wash carefully
and slice finely.
Warm a thick-bottomed pan, and add the tablespoon of oil and the knob of butter.
Add the leeks and garlic to the pan, and sweat gently with a good pinch of salt
until tender and sweet.
Add the drained chickpeas and potato and cook for 1 minute. Add about two-thirds
of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Purée half the soup in a food processor and leave the other half chunky
this gives a lovely smooth comforting feel but also keeps a bit of texture.
Now add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check
for seasoning, and add Parmesan to taste. Garnish with a little olive oil.
Mary Murphy’s Sautéed Greens with Chevre and Toasted Garlic
Okay, well Mary didn’t exactly send me a recipe for this, just said this
was a current favorite way for using the chevre she gets from Summer Meadows
Farm together with veggies from Live Earth Farm (chard, kale or spinach, she
says). But it sounded so good I thought I should share it! I think you can pretty
much get the idea from the title, but if you’re not sure, try this:
Wash and stem your greens, leaving water clinging to the leaves, tear or chop
up and sauté in some olive oil until tender. If you’re
using chard, you could optionally chop up the stems and sauté them with
a little chopped onion first, then add the leafy part and sauté until
wilted. (If you don’t like the stems, then just use the leaves and sauté like
fresh spinach.) Kale will take a little longer to wilt down; keep an eye on the
moisture level, and add a splash more water to sort of steam/stir-fry. The kale
will be a little more tender this way. Whichever green you use, remember to sprinkle
on a little salt too while cooking.
Here’s how I’d make toasted garlic bread crumbs: cut some fresh,
sturdy-type bread (like sourdough or wheat or rye) into chunks and drop into
your blender or food processor and chop into small pieces (you know, breadcrumbs!).
Don’t try this with old, dry bread or you’ll end up with dust. Then
melt some butter or olive oil (or both) in a skillet, add a clove or two of crushed
garlic, sauté/sizzle for a few moments, then add the breadcrumbs and stir
to mix well with the oil/butter/garlic. Sprinkle on a little salt, then continue
to sauté until they smell and look toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat.
Then simply toss together the greens, toasted breadcrumbs and crumbled chevre,
or, combine the greens and chevre and top with the toasted breadcrumbs. If you
do the former (i.e. mix them all together), be sure to wait to do this until
just before serving so the breadcrumbs retain some of their crunchiness!
Kale with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Vinegar
From another regular contributor, Lauren Thompson,
who writes, “Noah
made this recipe last week when we made the fritters. He was supposed to be
making ‘Garlicky Kale with White Beans’ from Vegetables Everyday,
but accidentally made the other recipe on the same page. This is my favorite
so far out of the new kale recipes we have tried this season. Yay for happy
1 ½ lbs. kale
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
½ tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
2. Wash the kale in several changes of cold water, stripping off the leafy green
portion from both sides of the central vein. Discard the veins and rip the leafy
portions in small pieces. Add the kale and 1 teaspoon salt to the water. Cover
and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 8 minutes. Drain
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook,
stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the
sugar and continue cooking until the onions are a rich brown color, about 10
minutes. Lower the heat if at anytime the onions start to burn.
4. Add the kale and cook, tossing well, until heated through and evenly flavored
with the onions, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and a generous amount of pepper.
Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.
Here’s a last-minute submission from member
Kim Couder who says, “this
is my favorite summer squash recipe - it's from 'Recipes from a Kitchen Garden'
by Renee Shepard of Renee's Garden... they are super simple to make and really,
really, really yummy!”
6 med. zucchini (I use whatever summer squash I have)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice ( I use lemon zest instead)
2 scallions, finely chopped
4 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil, or 2 tbsp. dried
2 small cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. cooking oil
Shred zucchini, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to draw
off moisture. Squeeze or wring the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel
to remove all the moisture you can. Combine the squeezed-out zucchini with the
rest of the ingredients except the butter and oil, mixing well. Heat the
butter and oil in a heavy skillet. Spoon the zucchini mixture into the heated
skillet, shaping into pancakes. Cook over medium heat until set and light brown.
Flip pancakes and finish cooking the other side.
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