Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two Small Farms Newsletter #392

April 18th, 2007

Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) Make It Quick!
Events including a Fava Bean Upick on Sat. April 28th
4) Help Wanted
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Two Small Farms Contact Information


1) In your box this week: Baby Carrots, Salad, Strawberries, Spinach OR Bok Choy, Kale, Dandelion Greens, fava beans on Wed, Mystery on Thurs/Fri

This week's vegetable list
: I try to have it updated by Monday night, sometimes by Mon. am

Quick notes on this week's box begins the recipe section: #5.

Everything in this week's box is best kept chilled in your refrigerator. Top the carrots if you plan to store the carrots for more than a day: the greens slowly take up small amounts of nutrients: it's always best to store your roots apart from their greens...

2) Make It Quick!

My son, Graydon, was about three and a half when he came running half naked through the kitchen one morning while I was cleaning up. "I'm hungry Papa, so make me lunch!" he shouted. "Make it quick, and make it crunchy!" I told him to eat a carrot.

Children can be wiggy about what they eat, so the carrot, with its inherent versatility, is an almost perfect food. For kids that need to everything be "theirs," eating a whole baby carrot can be a satisfying experience; when a larger carrot split into pieces is absent there's the chance of being served a smaller piece, or fewer pieces, than a rival sibling. Orange seems to be a comforting color for food, too, whereas all kinds of suspicious, sickening things are green.

Of course, with baby carrots the young diner always faces the potential trauma of being confronted with a flawed or crooked root. Food corporations handle this existential issue well by taking larger carrots and mechanically lathing them into perfectly rounded facsimiles of baby carrots, thus achieving a level of uniformity that many children find comforting.

And then there's the whole issue of carrot flavor to consider. For centuries the carrot's natural sweetness was enough to make it an attractive vegetable to people and beasts. My donkey comes to the fence every time she sees me, because she hopes to get a carrot. If you want to see an "Oscar level" expression of disgust, just look into my indignant ass's face when she expects a carrot and I offer her a handful of cabbage leaves instead.

Flavor is still an important component of the carrot eating experience, though these days it is customary for many cooks to focus more on the flavor of the dip they serve with the carrot than the natural flavor of the root. Many consumers only eat the pre-bagged, pre-peeled "baby"
carrots. These "value added" carrots are treated with an antiseptic solution for "long life" in refrigerator storage and they often smell like a high school swimming pool, so it helps if the dip is flavored strongly enough to over-ride any lingering chlorine essence.

The baby carrots I've harvested for your c.s.a. box this week are a variety called "Minicor.". They have been bred to harvest young, and they are the first of the carrots that we have for you this year that were actually planted this year, and not over-wintered in the field from last fall sowing of 2006. Sometimes baby carrots don't always have the depth of flavor that comes with more mature and deeply rooted winter carrots, but they have their own charms. When I was a kid I didn't like to eat cooked carrots-actually, I didn't think there was anything nastier on earth than a cooked carrot, but I now that I'm old and gray and most of my taste buds have died, I like to cook baby carrots. Here's my favorite recipe:

Put the carrots in a pan (washed, not peeled) with a pat of butter, a pinch of salt, and a splash of white wine, and steam them till they're halfway cooked. Then remove the carrots from the flame, garnish them with minced fresh parsley and tumble it all around. The heat of the carrots will wilt the minced herbs, the melted butter helps the savory herbs cling to the roots, and a delicious aroma rises up. I like to apply a final twist of black pepper, and serve the carrots warm.

Carrots are members of the Umbellifer family, along with cilantro, chervil, fennel, parsley, and celery. Many members of the Umbelliferae make excellent garnishes for carrots. The greens from your carrots, minced finely, might make a pretty good garnish themselves. Stir the garnish into the baby carrots just as you remove them from the heat, so the garnish wilts and releases it's aroma without cooking down into sludge.

If you have any kids in the house who turn up their noses at the flecks of green garnish contaminating the purity of the orange carrots, or if you cook for a partner who is close to "the child within," remind them how lucky they are to be alive in the modern era. In the infancy of humanity, when all of us wandered naked through the forests, it was the carrot's greens
that we ate, since the carrot plant's roots had not yet been improved by agriculturalists into a sweet, quick, crunchy snack crop.

And dip? Well, the first dip that humanity discovered was probably yogurt made from donkey, horse, yak, sheep, cow, or camel milk, with some crushed herbs and salt mixed in. That still sounds pretty good, even if it requires a little work. Back in the stone age, the quick-fix, emotionally satisfying, commercial, salty, pre-made dips that come in plastic tubs or packets
were still far off in humanity's adult future, along with tax deadlines, hydrogen bombs, and this laptop computer I'm writing to you on. Convenience took a long coming.

Copyright 2007 Andy Griffin

Events Page: a few are coming up, including a fava bean upick at
Mariquita Farm on Saturday April 28th in Hollister

4) Help Wanted: High Ground Organics is looking for help selling at
their farm stand in Watsonville.

High Ground Organics is looking for a vegetable- and people-loving person to sell at our Redman House Farmstand in Watsonville. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. We'd love to have one person work the whole five days, but are willing to split the job if we get a weekday person and a weekend person. Retail experience and good knowledge of
vegetables and cooking helpful. $12/hr.



Baby Carrots

Dandelion Greens

Another Variety of Dandelion Greens

Fava Beans

Fava Beans in the pod

Bok Choy


6) Recipes from Julia

first notes on some of the vegetables:

BABY CARROTS: just eat them! They of course work for any cooking whole side dish thing too. Andy's recipe is below.

Dandelion Greens: These can be eaten as a salad or as a cooked green. See Recipes below.

Fava Beans: These are traditionally shucked then shelled. The early ones that aren't that big can just be shucked and you can cook the whole bean. These can be steamed then eaten in a room temperature salad or cooked more 'officially': see recipes below.

Kale: this is lacinato (sometimes called 'dino') kale: it's a dark dark green leaf Italian kale. This is easy to cook, no need to remove much or any of the ribs like other kales. I like it best chopped up then cooked with garlic and eaten as is. You can also chop it up and add to many kinds of soups: brothy, bean type, minestrone, etc.

Bok Choy: this is best cooked in two steps: first the succulent white part, then add the greens at the end as they don't take quite as long. I like to cut the white stem part into small slices then stir fry them with grated carrots and anything else I have around, then add the greens at the end.

How to Store Fresh Berries

When we find ourselves with a surplus of fresh berries, we store them unwashed and unhulled in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel. Cover them with a second towel and refrigerate. Stored this way, the berries should last four to five days.

2 dandelion greens ideas from CSA members:

I know we think of dandelion greens as a kind of lettuce/salad ingred., but their "spine" is wide and crunchy enough to hold up to hummus dipping - and the combination is glorious. It really works! Haven't tried fennel for dipping as whenever we get it I have to braise it - so yummy that way. - Kevin

Loved the dandelion greens! These were immense and would certainly be daunting to pull completely (if you wanted to get rid of them, that is) but were wonderful in the saute pan. Braised them a bit in olive oil with sliced garlic, then dressed with sherry
vinegar/honey/raisins/toasted almonds. A bit of S & P. -Debbie Johnson

and a strawberry idea from Adrienne Cox:

1/2 Cup of chopped strawberries (little pieces work better for dipping) I use my egg slicer and just slice vertically, turn the strawberry and slice horizontally.
1/2 Cup of Chopped kiwi fruit (same egg slicer strategy)
1/2 tsp. of lime juice
1/2 tsp of lemon juice
1/4 tsp of zest from both lime and lemon (I like a bit more so add to taste)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
6 flour tortillas

Heat oven to 350. Mix Sugar and cinnamon together and set aside. With a pastry brush paint a very small amount of water on a tortilla then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat this for all of the tortillas. Slice or cut the tortillas to the desired "dipping chip" shape, and bake in oven until crispy. Make sure sugar does not burn. While tortillas are baking, mix chopped fruit, juice and zest together and refrigerate until use. This is a yummy alternative to a calorie and fat filled dessert, and perfect for warmer weather BBQs.

Andy's Baby Carrot Recipe:

Put the carrots in a pan (washed, not peeled) with a pat of butter, a pinch of salt, and a splash of white wine, and steam them till they're halfway cooked. Then remove the carrots from the flame, garnish them with minced fresh parsley and tumble it all around. The heat of the carrots will wilt the minced herbs, the melted butter helps the savory herbs cling to the roots, and a delicious aroma rises up. I like to apply a final twist of black pepper, and serve the carrots warm.

Garlic parsley dandelion greens recipe

This tasty dandelion greens recipe from Nouveau English cookery features dandelion greens and parsley sauteed in garlic butter - great with pork or chicken. Serves 4

4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. dandelion greens, soaked in salted water, washed and shredded
1 tbsp. pimientos, chopped

Melt butter in a pan. Add parsley, garlic, salt and black pepper. Fry gently for 3 minutes. Add pimientos. Cook for 4 minutes. Add dandelion greens and simmer gently for 5 minutes until tender. Serve hot as a side dish to pork or chicken.

San Francisco Chronicle

2 bunches Dandelion Leaves,
6 Anchovy Filets
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Ground Black Pepper

Wash dandelion leaves thoroughly. Dry. Trim large leaves into 2" long slivers; leave smaller ones whole. Mash anchovy filets with garlic; blend in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss leaves with dressing, then divide among 4 plates. Top with black pepper and serve at room temperature with thick slices of chewy bread. Serves 4

Per serving: Calories: 165, Protein: 5g, Carbohydrates: 13g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 221mg, Fiber: 2g. Source:

Dandelion Greens Saute

1 lb. dandelion greens
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Wash and slice greens. Blanch in enough water to cover about 1 minute. Drain and saute in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then add the sesame and garlic and saute for couple minutes more. Add the sesame oil and serve.

Fava Idea From Bruce at Bix:

The easiest way to prepare favas is to grill them. The heat of the coals will pop the pods open and split the hulls that wrap each bean. Remove the beans with your fingers and they're ready. If there's a bit of char on your fingers from plucking out the beans from the grilled pods, it only
helps the flavor.

Fava Bean Soup
I used one bag of fava beans, blanched these for 2 minutes. Chopped up last piece of broccoli (1/2 a stem) Used 2 cups of chicken broth, heated then added the broccoli cooked for 5 minutes, added the blanched and peeled fava beans, 2, 3 parsley sprigs(small handful), a fresh sage leaf and some thyme. Cooked for another 5 minutes and pureed it in blender. Add 1/8 cup of cream. (I had a very light chicken broth, from roasted chicken bones and skin) so that was handy but I'm sure it would work with commercial broth. Anne-Marie Mann

Our Favorite Fava Beans
from Julia and Andy

2 pound favas, taken out of the pods
1-4 cloves of garlic, chopped AND/OR: 1/2 cup onions, chopped olive oil
S & P

The simplest version: saute the favas with the garlic in the heated oil. the shells will come off in the pan, they are a lighter green, and the whole thing can be eaten like that. (Season with S & P)

Version #2:

Put the light green favas (that have been removed from the pod) into boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove immediately, rinse in cold water. Take the outer shell off each fava bean, so that you have just the bright emerald green bean. Then cook just the inner brighter green beans in the heated oil with the garlic for 2-3 minutes, then eat.

We like both versions, and which one we do depends on if we have guests or willing children to help in the extra step of Version #2.

From a CSA member in 2006:
Bok choy: (the bok choy in the box was amazingly good!)

1 T oil
1.5 lbs bok choy
1 T light soy sauce
2 T chicken stock or water

Heat wok over moderate heat. Add oil and then bok choy. Stir fry 3-4
minutes, until leaves have wilted a little. Add soy sauce and chicken
stock/water. Continue to stir fry for a few more minutes, until the bok choy is done
uty still slightly crisp.

Very easy, very good.
source: Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery
(very good recipes, clear instructions, and excellent taste)


Editors' note: The original recipe calls for Chinese wheat noodles, but we also like this soup made with somen (Japanese thin wheat noodles) or soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles).

1/2 pound bok choy
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
6 scallions
8 grams katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes; about 2/3 cup) (I've used
chicken or vegetable broth
6 ounces thin Asian wheat or buckwheat noodles

Cut bok choy crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Discard stems from mushrooms and cut caps into thin slices. Cut scallions diagonally into thin slices.

In a 5- to 6-quart kettle bring 6 cups water to a boil with katsuobushi and boil 1 minute. Pour stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl and discard katsuobushi. Return stock to kettle and add bok choy, mushrooms, and noodles. Simmer soup, uncovered, until noodles are tender, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on type of noodle. Season soup with salt and pepper and stir in scallions.

Gourmet February 1999

The most commonly found Chinese vegetable is also one of the oldest - bok choy has been cultivated in China since the fifth century a.d. You can find many kinds of bok choy at Asian markets, all differing in shape and size; this recipe works well with any mature variety. Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 1 hr

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
2 1/2 lb bok choy (not baby), tough stem ends trimmed
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 oz Gruyere, coarsely grated (1/2 cup)
1/2 oz finely grated parmesan (1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 42 F. Lightly butter a 2-quart gratin dish and dust with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs.

Cut bok choy stems and center ribs into 1/2-inch pieces and coarsely chop leaves. Cook stems and ribs in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes, then add leaves and cook 30 seconds. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.
Squeeze out excess water by handfuls.

Cook shallot in 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add bok choy and cook, stirring, until greens are coated with butter and shallot, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread bok choy in baking dish.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then add flour and cook roux, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper, then stir in Gruyere and 2 tablespoons parmesan and pour evenly over bok choy.

Toss remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan in a small bowl and blend in remaining 2 tablespoons butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over gratin and bake in upper third of oven until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Makes 6 side-dish servings.

February 2003

SPICY KALE (or other greens) AND TOFU

3 T vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes or peppers
2 green onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped ginger
2 bunches kale or other greens
2 T brown sugar
2 T soy sauce
1 t dried chile flakes
1 pound firm tofu

In a large pan, heat olive oil. Add peppers or tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger and kale. Saute over med-low heat about 5 minutes or until kale wilts. In a medium bowl, mix sugar, soy sauce and chile flakes. Meanwhile, drain or press as much water a possible from tofu. Cut into cubes and toss with soy mixture. Add to pan with wilted greens, along with any juices. Saute
briefly, just enough to heat tofu.


Soup: A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka

1 bunch kale, trimmed
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional to taste
2 flat anchovy fillets
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or dried
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 cup (225 g) cooked small white beans or drained and rinsed canned
4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (60 g) small shell macaroni
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, cook the kale with 1/2 cup (125 ml) water and the salt over medium heat until tender. Drain the kale, reserving any liquid that remains. Coarsely chop the kale.

Very finely chop anchovies together with the rosemary.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the oil and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is pale gold, about 10 minutes. Stir in the anchovies and rosemary. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Discard the garlic. Stir in the kale and cook for 2 to 3 minutes,
stirring to thoroughly coat it with the oil. Stir in the beans. Cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the reserved cooking liquid and the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir in the macaroni. Boil for 6 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Pass Parmesan cheese at the table.

Makes about 5 cups (1.25 liters); 4 first-course servings.


2 cups strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk

Blend all ingredients in a blender until nearly smooth (some people like a few strawberry chunks, some don't, you decide). Pour into an 8X8" pan and freeze. When thoroughly frozen but not hard as ice, cut up into chunks and re-blend until it achieves a sherbet consistency. Scoop into bowls and eat promptly. This looks very pretty in small wine glasses. Garnish with a slit strawberry or a couple of mint leaves (but don't let the mint get into the slush.) Recipe from Nancy Beth Garrett

As for strawberries, I like to make milkshakes with them -- just blend milk, vanilla ice cream, and a few strawberries (it doesn't take many). -Paul Mishkin

Recipe Index

7) Which Farm?

From High Ground: spinach, salad, bok choy, berries, and flowers From
Mariquita: Carrots, Favas, Kale, Dandelions

High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077

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