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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
26th Harvest Week, Season 13
September 29th - October 5th, 2008
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Slow Down You Move Too Fast...
Sign Up for Winter Shares and Next Season
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
Calendar of Events
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy. Paul Simon

What's in the box this week

Content differences between Family and Small Shares are in red; items with a "+" in Family Shares are more in quantity than in Small; anticipated quantities, if any, are in parentheses, as are the source of any produce if not from Live Earth Farm (LEF). Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we will make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

[go to recipe database]

Family Share
Apples (will be inside your box)
Mixed bag of red and golden beets +
Cooking greens: either chard, kale, or collard greens
Green beans
Onions + (Pinnacle Farms)
Sweet peppers +
Summer squash
Bag of red slicing tomatoes +
Heirloom tomatoes (remember: these are packed outside your box! See next to your name on the checklist for how many to take.)

Small Share
Apples (will be inside your box)
Mixed bag of red and golden beets
Cooking greens: either chard, kale, or collard greens
Onions (Pinnacle Farms)
Sweet peppers
Summer squash or cucumbers
Bag of red slicing tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes (remember: these are packed outside your box! See next to your name on the checklist for how many to take.)

Extra Fruit Option
Apples, pears, and concord grapes (grapes from LEF or Vimala's Farm)

Fruit Bounty "Extension"**
Apples, pears, and concord grapes (grapes from LEF or Vimala's Farm)

**The 15-week "Bounty" option ended last week. This fruit is only for those who opted to extend their bounty share by 5 weeks.

Since Erin has not always been labeling the loaves, we asked if she could tell us what type she's making each week so we could let you know in the newsletter. She said, 'great idea!' So...

This week's loaf: cinnamon raisin - yum!!

Slow Down We Move Too Fast....
"Feeling Groovy" by Paul Simon was the first song I learned to play on guitar as a teenager.  The Song's melody and lyrics popped in my head as I listened to reports about the current financial meltdown. Everything is happening so fast, the pace at which things are unraveling  are hardly comprehensible. The farm seems like an oasis, almost sheltered, where nature, not Wall Street, dictates the speed at which things are accomplished. The pace we live, is more and more technology driven. Cell phones, computers, internet access around the clock, all contribute to live a faster lifestyle. However, instead of having more time, we get the sense that we have less, leaving one increasingly distracted and disconnected. We all have different ways to slow our pace,  for me the most grounding chore has been milking the goats.  Milking by hand is a steady, rhythmic, squeezing motion, never fast and extremely comforting. Comforting in that there is a direct connection between me and Ivy (the goat), and her milk which is food (we make cheese and yoghurt) for our family.  For me this is as real as food can get. It may sound obvious to you who are CSA members, however, it's not so obvious if your only source of nourishment comes from the middle aisle of a conventional supermarket where the only food is made of unpronounceable foodlike substitutes. 
 I like to think that the food we grow for your shares is more than just food. The benefits of that food emanate from your link and direct connection to the farm. I am reading Michael Pollan's book in Defense of Food where he encourages a foodlink where one can "shake the hand that feeds you". All of us, whether we eat or grow food are all similarly connected.  The freshness, vitality, and beauty of the food in your shares is the result of this mutual commitment. As Wendell Berry said so well, eating is an agricultural act, we are not just consumers but active participants in creating the foodsystem that nourishes us. It is comforting to know as a farmer when the headlines are ablaze with news of an impending global financial meltdown that as a Community Supported Farm we can rely on each other for support.

Benyus in her book Biomimicry reminds us, "We don't need to invent a sustainable world--that's been done already." It's all around us. We need only to learn from its success in sustaining the maximum of wealth with the minimum of material flow.

Signup time for Winter Shares and for Next Season imminent...
That's right, if the stars are all in alignment (or if I get all my ducks in a row, is more like it), I will be sending an email out to every member sometime later this week. As an existing member, the month of October is your opportunity to sign up for the share combination of your choice for next year. This will also be the time to sign up for our Winter Share, if you're interested. Winter Shares are only available to existing members, as they are of limited quantity. Come November, I will be opening up registration to the folks on our waiting list. - Debbie

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

I realized as I was making this favorite recipe again last week (okay, I have lots of favorites, but anyway) that I hadn't yet shared it with my CSA members! I always pull it out when we're getting lots of fabulous sweet red ripe peppers... which is right now! It's spicy and wonderful, and I think you'll enjoy it. - Debbie

Cuban Fish Chowder
This is from an old paperback "The Great Cooks' guide to Soups" - I remember getting it, at a used book store, and I've only ever made this one recipe from it! (I've made it several times.) The original recipe serves only 2, so I always double or triple it. It's too tasty to make in small batches! I've put the actual recipe's ingredients in CAPS and my version in [square brackets and lower case] so you can see how flexible this really is.

2 RED ONIONS, FINELY CHOPPED [yellow onion works fine if you don't happen to have red]
3 TBSP. OLIVE OIL [aah, don't measure; just blub it in!]
1 TBSP. ANNATTO OIL [don't have/didn't use, but if I had it I would. I believe the main purpose of the annatto oil is color; if you can't find the oil, you can make it by getting achiote seeds and steeping them in hot oil... I looked it up online]
2 CLOVES GARLIC, FINELY CHOPPED [*at least* 2 cloves garlic, but usually more, crushed]
2 RED BELL PEPPERS, COARSELY CHOPPED [I just chop up a bunch of sweet peppers from the share, and try to use as many red ones as possible; in the off-season for peppers, I've used peppers I'd frozen over the summer; you could also use Trader Joe's 'melange a trois' (frozen peppers) in a pinch.]
1 TSP. GROUND CUMIN [didn't measure, just approximated]
1/4 TSP. CAYENNE PEPPER [didn't measure, just approximated]
1/2 TSP. THYME [ditto]
1/2 TSP. OREGANO [ditto]
1 LB. FILLETS OF RED SNAPPER, LING COD, OR ANY OTHER FIRM WHITE FISH [recently I've been using yellowfin (yellowtail?) tuna from my freezer; a friend's father is a sport-fisherman, that's where I got it; what a treat!]
2 TBSP. LIME JUICE, APPROX. [If you don't have limes, use lemons. Figure about 2 tbsp. juice per lemon. Limes don't seem to produce as much juice as lemons, so keep that in mind when using limes]
2 RIPE TOMATOES, PEELED, SEEDED AND COARSELY CHOPPED [we got those!! But if you make this in the off-season, just use some canned chopped tomatoes]
1 OR 2 TBSP. DARK RUM [didn't measure; just blubbed it in]
1 C DRY SHERRY OR DRY WHITE WINE, APPROX. [I used dry vermouth; poured in what looked like enough]
1/4 C CHOPPED PARSLEY [a buncha chopped parsley; this is good!]
LIME SLICES [this is just for garnish; you decide]
AVOCADO SLICES [I can't eat avocado so I leave this out. It's just a garnish anyway, but if you like avocado - go for it; I bet it'd be a good addition.]

[This is a mish-mash of the original recipe's and my preparation instructions]

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, sauté chopped onions in olive oil (and annatto oil, if you have it) until golden and soft. Add garlic, red peppers, cumin, salt**, cayenne, thyme and oregano and sauté until peppers begin to soften.

**(I learned this tidbit about salt and cayenne from this recipe! It says, 'Note: be sure to add the salt and cayenne at the same time; the cayenne will not taste as "hot" without salt.')

Add fish fillets, lime [lemon] juice, tomatoes, rum, sherry [vermouth], stir together and bring to a slow boil, stirring often enough to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot and scorches.  As the fish cooks, break it into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon (I chunked and de-boned the fish first, and then broke it up more as it cooked).

Cover pot and allow to simmer very slowly for at least 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt, lime, or sherry if the chowder tastes too flat. Turn off heat and stir in chopped parsley.

Allow chowder to sit, covered, another 30 minutes. Then reheat it slowly until it barely reaches a boil. (Another note I follow: 'Turning the heat under the chowder on and off makes a better blend of the flavors.')

Then of course the recipe calls for serving garnished with lime slices and avocado, but of course I never do that. What I DO like to do sometimes is to serve it over rice - kind of like a fish stew; it's great either way.

Next up is a fabulous recipe that friends of mine make often. It is such a perfect recipe for CSA, because you can really vary it to use so many different veggies from the box. Not only is it flexible in content, but also in cooking time. You can vary the temp and time to suit whatever you're making along with. Need more time? Use a lower temp and cook them longer. Want it quicker? Higher heat and half an hour can do it. It's brilliant. We were at their house last Friday to watch the debate, and of course we were treated to this dish (alongside a sumptuous roast chicken), and so naturally I interrogated my friend Mary for the details, so I could pass them along to you!

Mark and Mary's Paprika Roasted Veggies
Again, you can change the content of what's in this dish simply based on what's in your box in any particular week. Here's what was in the batch I had:

Summer squash
Tomatillos (!yes! Who'd've thought it?? And they were terrific!)
Sweet peppers

(other farm veggies you could include when in season: fennel, bok choi, brussels sprouts, celeriac, green garlic, leeks, cauliflower, potatoes, parsnips, cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi, radishes, rutabaga, turnip, winter squash... this is not exhaustive; I'm sure they're more!)

In addition to your veggies, all you need is:
olive oil

Optional additions (at the end):
goat cheese
meat drippings from any roast or chicken

Probably the most important step is to cut up the veggies so they are more or less a uniform size (as much as possible; don't go nuts). This helps them roast more evenly. Things like beets and carrots you probably want to peel, but if they're scrubbed well you don't have to. And Mary says she just cut the tomatillos in half. You'd probably want to peel rutabagas, turnips and winter squash when using them, though again, sometimes if the skin is in really good shape, or the veggies are fairly small, you don't have to. Definitely leave the skins on potatoes though! Cherry tomatoes, leave whole.

Crush or mince your garlic (as much as you like!) and toss cut veggies with olive oil and garlic, salt to taste, and a generous amount of paprika. Paprika is the magic ingredient, says Mary.

Spread the prepared veggies on a baking sheet and bake... both Mark and Mary say a minimum of half an hour in a fairly hot oven (450 degrees). You can experiment with this though; if the veggies are done, or very close to, and you still have other things to prepare, turn off the heat and let them sit in the oven. It doesn't hurt them to continue to cook longer. You might peek at them occasionally, give 'em a poke; if they look and feel really done and you're worried, just take 'em out of the oven and cover them with foil or something until you're ready to serve. Again, alternatively you could roast them in a slower oven (say, 350 degrees) for 50 minutes to an hour. This is not like a soufflé where temperature and timing is critical. It's also an excellent recipe for learning on, because it is so forgiving in this way!

Once the veggies are done, transfer them to a bowl and serve. If you want to use the optional goat cheese, just distribute it over everything on the baking sheet, then scrape it all off into the serving bowl.

If you want to use the meat drippings (in our case, Mary used pan drippings from under the roast chicken, sprinkling in a few dried herbs - some combination of thyme and/or sage and/or marjoram), just do like you would in preparation for making gravy: tip the chicken on end to let the juice drain out into the pan with the drippings in it. Put the pan over a burner and heat, scrape up the tasty bits, and generally stir it all around with a fork or whisk to mix all the stuff together (this is called 'deglazing' if you want the fancy term). Pour this over the veggies and optional goat cheese then transfer it all to a serving bowl. Couldn't be more delicious!!

Next up, a beet recipe sent me by member Cynthia Neuendorffer. Although she calls it 'Pink Pasta Veggies' (credit the red beets), you could easily use the golden beets - it'd just become 'Golden Pasta Veggies'!

Pink Pasta Veggies
by Cynthia Neuendorffer [with Debbie's comments]
Amounts below are approximate, and serves ~2 adults

Roast 4 beets, peel and chop

Cube 1-2 breasts chicken [or thighs, or firm tofu even].  Sauté with 1 garlic clove, 1/4 onion, diced, and 3 chopped carrots. [I'd sprinkle some salt in here somewhere, but that's just me!]

Toss in a small handful of green beans and roasted beets. Pour in a little white wine (roughly 1/4 C).

Cook some pasta; dump into above.

Mix together about 1C plain yogurt with a smidge of honey (~1 tsp) and a pile of dill.

Serve pink pasta with dollops of yogurt.

Here's another favorite recipe; it's one I ran back in 2004, but it's a good one, worth running again, seeing as how we've been getting plenty of eggplant each week! I've added a few more comments since I last wrote this.

Babaghanoush is a middle-eastern roasted, kind of smoky eggplant dip. Generally it is served cold, with items for dipping or spreading upon - baguette, pita, chips, cut up veggies - but I particularly love it when it's still slightly warm, just after I have finished making it. Mmmmm.....

I used to believe that this recipe worked best with larger, globe-style eggplant as opposed to the slender Asian eggplant, but I now retract that. It's really just fine with either. It also is eminently scalable, to whatever quantity of eggplant you have on hand. Use these proportions as a guide.

1 large or 2 medium-ish globe eggplants, or more if smaller or Asian
Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon (more or less)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
2 to 3 tbsp. tahini (I've substituted almond butter with great success. I have also, believe it or not, used creamy peanut butter - be sure it is 'just peanuts' though; none of the kind with added sweeteners and other junk, yuck!!)
1/8 tsp. or so ground cumin (optional - I've forgotten to add this and it tastes just fine)
tomatoes, kalamata olives and parsley (optional, but very tasty, garnishes) - another option is to mince up the parsley and stir it in at the end, rather than garnish with it.

Roast eggplant whole over a gas or BBQ grill, or under a broiler, turning once or twice, until skin has blackened and eggplant has gone limp. Remove from heat to a plate or bowl (to catch any escaping juices) and allow to cool enough so you can handle without burning yourself. I'll hold the eggplant aloft by its stem and peel off (and discard) the blackened skin, then cut off the stem last. This is easier than cutting the stem off first, I have found. Coarsely chop and then mash eggplant pulp in a bowl with a fork or what have you (adding back in any juice that escaped while cooling), until just a little lumpy. Sometimes the eggplants will have these dense seed clumps (there's a difference between the male and female eggplants apparently; it's the males, I believe with the extra seeds), so I'll try to remove them from the pulp as I come across them, as they're not as pleasant as the rest of the silky, buttery eggplant flesh. Mash garlic with salt, pounding to a puree. (This is an important step; can't tell you why, but it is somehow.) Add to eggplant mixture. Alternately add tahini and lemon juice, blending each time. Blend in cumin, if using. Taste for seasoning, and add more lemon juice or salt or tahini to suit your taste (this is where I got hooked on the taste of it warm!). Serve it warm, room temperature, or cold, garnished with parsley sprigs, black olives and tomato wedges. Provide goodies for dipping with or spreading upon. Another nice way to serve it is like a salad, by putting a scoop of it onto a lettuce leaf and then scattering with olives and tomato wedges. You could drizzle it with a good olive oil at this point if you liked too.

The concord grapes...
These grapes are delicious just as is, but people have asked me what else can be done with them. As flavorful as they are, they can still be something of a pain to eat when the fruit is small, as you have to spit out a seed from each. So I experimented with making juice from them... to mixed success. Here's what I found:

My experience trying to juice them raw was not so great. I stemmed them, put them into a wire strainer, squished them one by one to break the skin, then tried pressing the fruit through the strainer with the back of a wooden spoon to extract the juice from the seeds and skin (inside the skin the grape is gelatinous, not just 'juicy' as I expected). The pressing went slow, so I tried transferring the pulp to some cheesecloth to squeeze out the juice. This, also, was slow; much slower than I expected. The juice I ended up with was fabulous, but it took a LOT of elbow grease and patience, and I only got maybe half a cup of juice out of a CSA-bag of grapes!

So I went back to the drawing board; I know that cooking fruit softens it, so I took a new bag of grapes, picked them off their stems and dropped them into a pot. I added just a little water (couple tablespoons), to give them a base to start simmering in, then covered and turned the heat to low. I let them simmer awhile and they popped and juiced nicely. I even added a bit more water, figuring it would only help in extracting flavor from the skins as well as the inner pulp. Cooking them also made the color a much darker purple, as it was indeed extracting stuff from the skins as well.

I then poured this mixture through a wire strainer again, and it worked a lot better. I just let it rest and drain for awhile, then finished with a wooden spoon to try to extract more. At this point, I could see introducing a little more water again, to rinse more goodies out of the pulp. Don't forget to scrape any good stuff off of the bottom of the strainer!

When I did it this way, I ended up with 1 ½ cups of juice - three times as much as the raw fruit way.

From here, you could of course experiment: I tried making grape tapioca; if you have plain gelatin, you could certainly make your own jello! That'd be a fun thing to do with the kids!!

Maybe next week I'll put in a recipe for making grape jelly...

For details on events listed below, please Click here to go to the calendar page on our website.

Fall Harvest Celebration - Saturday Oct. 11th (more details as it gets closer!)

Fall "Five Fridays" Mataganza Garden Internship - Oct 24 and 31, Nov 7, 14, 21
Cost: $50; email Brian Barth for more info, or call him at (831) 566-3336

Banana Slug String Band Benefit Concert for our very own up-and-coming nonprofit, the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program - Saturday Nov. 22, 11am and 1pm at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz
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farm phone: (831) 763.2448
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