What's in the box this week
Apples and pears
Eggplant (zebras and neons)
Green beans +
Lettuce (butter and/or romaine) +
Peppers (mixed; pimiento, and Corno de Toro)
Potatoes (yellow Finn)
Tomatoes (dry-farmed only) +
Apples and pears
Fruit Share: Pears, raspberries and strawberries
Strawberry Bounty: 4 baskets of strawberries
Family and the Pleasures of Food
Every day our family attempts to prepare and share at least one meal together, typically dinner. It becomes the conduit for bridging time and space and renewing our bonds as a family. It's a moment to catch up on what happened that day, an opportunity to complain, praise, reflect, or pass on the latest news about work, school, friends, and family. It's like a little breather, we slow down for a moment to be with each other and the actual pleasure of preparing the food and eating together determines in many ways the overall enjoyment of this mealtime ritual. As in most families, we spend a considerable time in conflict resolution mode, and the instant transformation of a frowning teenager who just lost his video playing privileges is astounding when he bites into a flavorful and mouthwatering dry-farmed tomato, a tender green bean, juicy strawberry, or lately a sweet pear or crunchy apple. The experience of the palate is translated into a positive mood swing, life suddenly just doesn't seem all that bad.
The quality of the meal we share contributes directly to the atmosphere of our time together as a family. How we decide to eat our meals and what we decide to eat, plays an enormously important role in life. Although the quality, freshness, and vitality of our food has a lot to do with the scale, proximity and type of farming we practice, I also know full well that much of the challenge in preparing a tasty meal lies in the time available to us - a precious commodity given the seemingly endless demands on our already busy lives.
The food in your box may not be able to speak but if it could, it would have a unique story to tell, one that connects you to it's source, this land and the many helpers who have brought it to you. Many of you send us feedback and tell us their story (e-mails, phone messages, pictures, and sometimes even samples yum!!) how the food we grew was prepared and enjoyed. This is the story that completes the cycle and makes it all the more rewarding for us here on the farm. As the CSA movement becomes more popular and demand for it increases, I have to ask myself the challenging question of whether continuing to grow is the right thing to do. The guiding principle is to maintain the intimacy and openness of the farm to it's community so that we can experience the pleasure of this nourishing relationship. The language of food is universal; the impulse to feed is common to all cultures, rich or poor. Community and food are intimately related, yet in our 'modern' world this relationship has become a marginal one at best. Growing, procuring and consuming food are one of the most vital and intimate activities in any society. They nourish not only our bodies but our minds and spirits as well. - Tom
|Live Earth Farm "Kids"?
John and I have been enjoying our small share. The variety of produce makes for a creative cooking and eating environment. We love the weekly tips from you and readers on things to do with what's in the box, and because of them we have far more interesting lives. Due to the share, our family pets, Cookie and Sunny (Lilac Crowned Amazons), have also been getting a wider variety of greens in their diet. Fresh veggies are core to our pets health and happiness, with string beans being a stand out favorite. Since they like their meals prepared "au natural", it's comforting to know these goodies are grown with organic care! We're sending photos of Sunny and Cookie to share with the larger CSA 'family.' Thanks again to all for the hard work and care put into our little box each week.
Laura and John Rothrock
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Hi all, I'm back in the saddle, although this week's newsletter is a bit of a hybrid; Tom's working on the 'main bits' again (like last week) and just asked me to do the recipes. Okay, so I worked on the photos and some formatting too... ;-) Anyway, here are a few recipes worth checking out! [My comments, as usual, in square brackets.] - Debbie
Athenian Plaka Salad
from 'More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden'
Authors Renee Shepherd and Fran Raboff say this salad is "Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, the hearty flavor of this traditional Mediterranean salad is a real crowd pleaser."
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
½ C crumbled feta cheese
½ C toasted slivered almonds
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 scallions, finely chopped (white part only; chop tops and reserve for garnish)
1/3 C finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 C chopped fresh Greek basil [farm basil's fine]
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/3 C olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine dressing ingredients well and reserve. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Put in green beans and cook until just tender-crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans in a colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking action. Drain on paper towels [I like to use white cotton flour sack towels; less paper wastage. Keep a bunch of 'em around; they're handy for things like this!] Mix dressing thoroughly with beans. Arrange beans in a pinwheel fashion on a large platter. Mound crumbled feta in center and surround with nuts and chopped eggs; sprinkle reserved scallion tops over all.
This next one sounds yummy!
Crunchy Broiled Eggplant
from the 1st Renee's Garden cookbook: 'Recipes from a Kitchen Garden'
Slice an eggplant thin and spread each slice sparingly with mayonnaise. Dip each slice in freshly grated Parmesan cheese, covering both sides. Arrange slices on a non-stick or slightly oiled cookie sheet and broil them on each side just until they are golden brown and crunchy outside and soft and tender inside. [Okay, how many people does that bit of wording cause to start singing the tune to the old Fig Newton commercial like it does me??]
Although the apples in this week's shares are not from Live Earth Farm, they practically are... they're from the organic apple orchard that adjoins our property. Tom says they'll be Gala and Fuji. So here's a compelling recipe I found in 'The Greenmarket Cookbook' by Joel Patraker and Joan Schwartz:
Apple-Maple Bread Pudding
Makes 10 servings
[this recipe could be easily halved; just remember baking time will be shorter if you do this]
"This dessert is an exciting take on an old-fashioned bread pudding and is one of those things that warms up your kitchen and fills it with delectable aromas."
2 C whole milk
2 C heavy cream
¾ C maple syrup
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
10 large eggs
4 tbsp. butter, plus extra for buttering the pan
4 large baking apples
Half a 1-lb. loaf of bread sliced 1/3 inch thick, slices cut in half diagonally (for best results, use a medium- or soft-textured bread)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place milk, cream, maple syrup, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to just under a boil [and then turn off the heat, I'm guessing!]. Do not boil. Let steep for 10 minutes.
Break eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat well. Whisk in a little of the milk mixture to warm the eggs, then beat in the remainder of the milk mixture.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes.
Butter a 9-inch-round by 3-inch-deep earthenware baking dish and place the bread slices on the bottom to cover without crowding. Cover evenly with half the apples. Repeat the layers, ending with a third layer of bread. Strain the milk mixture over all [i.e. strain out the cinnamon stick and cloves].
Place the pan in a roasting pan and add hot water to come halfway up its sides. Bake until the pudding is set, about 40 minutes. Let cool at least 1 hour.
Here's a recipe I used in a newsletter 4 years ago, but I thought it was a good pick for our current box content!
Mashed Potato-Stuffed Peppers
from 'Your Organic Kitchen' by Jesse Cool
makes 8 servings
4 medium poblano or Anaheim chile peppers [any of the farm peppers you get would be good, I think]
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. potatoes, peeled, cut in large chunks
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives [from that herb garden you planted this spring...!]
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 to 1/2 C milk
1/2 C (2 oz.) Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, removing seeds and stems and scraping away white membranes. In a medium bowl, combine garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and black pepper. Toss peppers with this to coat. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake 20 - 30 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook potatoes 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash with chives. Cut cream cheese in pieces and melt/mash into potatoes, adding enough milk to make 'em smooth and creamy. Turn peppers cut side up on baking sheet. Mound each pepper with mashed potatoes and top with cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
And from the 'Rolling Prairie Cookbook'...
Very Simple Pasta and Broccoli
Serves 4 to 6
"This is simple fare, but very satisfying. Tofu is especially good added to this dish. Cut firm tofu into ½-inch cubes and add to the skillet when you sauté the garlic and broccoli." [FYI you can totally substitute broccolini for broccoli in any broccoli recipe. Remember to include the leafy parts; those're good too!]
1 lb. pasta (penne, ziti or bowties)
1 large bunch of broccoli [or a bag of broccolini]
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
lots of freshly ground black peper
1 tbsp. soy sauce
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta until done but still firm. While it is cooking, prepare the broccoli. Cut stems and flowers [and leaves] into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and broccoli. Sauté until garlic is golden and broccoli is tender-crisp. If broccoli begins to stick, add several tablespoons of water, broth, or white wine to help steam [I think I'd do that anyway; the veggies need a little moisture to cook; they get kinda tough if dry-sautéed, I find.] Season with soy sauce and black pepper. Serve immediately over hot cooked pasta and pass around the grated cheese.