Saturday, May 26, 2007

Two Small Farms Newsletter #398

Issue Number 398, May 30th 2007

In your box this week

Salad Mix
Green Onions
Summer Squash OR Artichokes
Lacinato Kale
Loose Spinach

*why a mystery? Andy thought he'd put carrots in this week, but then the cauliflower decided to be PERFECT. But cauliflower is funny, when it's ready you have to cut it, there's no wiggle room. So some will get cauliflower, others possibly broccoli di cicco, and still others round carrots. it's like a surprise. -julia

From Jeanne and Steve at High Ground Organics:

We loved meeting so many of you this weekend at Kids' Day! Somebody left a little black and brown stuffed bear at the farm. Let us know who you are and we will send it back to you.

This Is Not A Problem by Andy

My alibi was airtight-at the time of the crime, on March 3rd, 2007, I was with my wife and children in a minivan, driving westward on the 10, traveling from Palm Springs to Los Angeles. But while we were rolling past the Morongo Indian Casino in Cabezon some perverse soul set a small plastic bag full of ladybugs on the floor inside in the gallery of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There was an exhibition of Belgian artist Rene Magritte's work going on at the time. A security guard observed the ladybugs escaping the bag. The crowded museum galleries were evacuated, and the ladybugs were apprehended. The March fourth edition of the LA Times reported that "no one was injured and no artworks were damaged."

What did the L.A. Times expect? Were the ladybugs likely to jump on museum patrons and suck their blood? Obviously no, because ladybugs eat insects that feed on plants. Just imagine the predicament the poor ladybugs found themselves in, stuck in a sterile museum environment with hard floors and threatened by humans in squeaky shoes milling about as they gazed at weird paintings. I can see a ladybug flying towards a "window" only to discover that it's no window to the outside at all, but a framed painting of an open window, with blue skies in the background and ranks of impassive, black-suited men in bowler hats painted shoulder to shoulder outside staring at the viewer, obstructing their "view"-The Month Of The Grape Harvest, Rene Magritte1959 reads the caption.

My farm is named after the ladybug-mariquita means ladybug in Spanish-and I count on beneficial insects like the ladybug to control the insect pests on my farm. I can hardly imagine a cuter or more useful insect friend than the ladybug. If I didn't have ladybugs on my farm I'd have to buy some. I'm proud to say that I'm gradually creating an environment on the farm that attracts ladybugs from around the area and convinces them to stay. We had an open house at our farm last year. Children came to the fields and they were excited to find ladybugs crawling around . I wanted to tell the curator at the L.A. County Museum of Art and the editor at the L.A. Times that "no one was injured."

I also wanted to see the Magritte exhibit, so the next day I went to the museum. Too late. The woman selling tickets said the show was closed for good. I was expressing my heartfelt disappointment when I saw that she was observing me with a wary eye. It occurred to me that I was wearing my Mariquita Farm T shirt printed with a patter that has a number of ladybugs crawling about upon it and I had my Mariquita Farm hat on that is dotted with ladybugs. Did she think that the criminal was returning to the scene of the crime? I scuttled off before she called security. Reality would be hard for me to explain. There's a famous painting by Magritte of an apple with the words "Ceci n'est pas une pomme," meaning "this is not an apple." If I'd been in the gallery the day the ladybugs were crawling amok I would've taken a photo of a ladybug walking across the apple and titled it "This is not a problem."

Isn't it amazing that the public gets so freaked out about bugs and nature that (in)security guards feel they have to treat a hand full of ladybugs like a terrorist threat. People talk a lot about the dangers posed to public health by farmers using agricultural chemicals but you don't hear a lot about how homeowners recklessly contaminate their yards as they indulge their fear of insects. I'm hoping that the guards vacated the museum and inconvenienced the patrons just so they could save the ladybugs from getting trod on by careless visitors. I want to believe that the security guards took the ladybugs into the sculpture gardens outside of the museum and gently blew them aloft into LA's yellow skies, chanting "ladybugs, ladybugs, fly away home." Rene Magritte was a confirmed surrealistic, so he would probably have been amused at the chaos provoked by the ladybugs. I can handle surrealism-it's what passes for "realism" that's got me worried.

Copyright 2007 Andy Griffin

Where to keep the vegetables once their home

Everything should go into the fridge except maybe the basil. There are many basil storage theories out there: the important thing is that it not get *too* cold: if there are warmer parts of your fridge (for some that's the door) that might work. Some folks have put the basil in a jar with water and then covered it with a bag: that might work. You can change the water like a bouquet of flowers. I prefer to just make pesto or another dish and not fuss, but then again I'm married to the basil farmer. -julia (oh: and make sure to remove the carrot greens when you return home, the carrots store better without their greens.)

What to do with this week's box? From Nina S.

Here's my plan for the box:
Basil: My husband will make pesto. His favorite breakfast is a slice of wheat toast spread with pesto and topped with a fried egg. I'll also make pasta with pesto.
Salad Mix: I'll serve a green salad (probably with some nuts, chicken and/or cheese in it) with the pesto pasta.
Spinach: Spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, toasted pecans, and chopped bacon with a honey-mustard dressing and wheat rolls.
Strawberries: Sliced for dessert for as long as they last (never long enough!)
Green Onions, Carrots, Kale, and Squash or Artichokes: I'll put these in soup with chicken stock, chicken and potatoes, plus some sauteed onions, garlic, and fresh herbs from my garden.

Trade Box Theories

We began the 'trade box' (nearly all pick up sites have a trade box) as a way for members to easily trade certain items that their families especially enjoy or don't like so much. We begin each trade box with an item from our farms... the *theory* is that if someone loves fennel but doesn't like onions, they can remove the fennel we left in the box and leave their onions.

THIS IS NOT A FREEBIE box, please please only take something if you leave something. It's not 100% failsafe, if the item you don't want is the same as the only one in there, we suggest you find a neighbor or colleague who would love to take it home to eat. Occasionally someone may just leave an item there so there's more than one, we still ask that you only take one if you're leaving one: it's a nice 'extra' for the pick up site hosts. Thanks much from all of us at 2SF.


Lacinato Kale

Salad Mix



Parisian Round Carrots

Recipes from Gail, Nina, Phyllis and Julia

SQUASH AND PEPPER SKILLET, from Taste of Home Magazine by Gail Davies

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
5 medium zucchini, sliced
3 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1 small sweet red or green pepper, julienned
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper and garlic; stir-fry for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: 8 servings

Kale with cream (Irish) 4-5 servings

1 3/4 lbs Kale
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp double cream (I used heavy whipping cream)
a pinch or so of nutmeg, salt, pepper
2 Tbsp stock (I dissolved a vegetable bouillon)
Wash kale and strip leaves from stalk, then plunge into heavily boiling water. Cook 'til tender, 20-30 minutes. Drain well and chop finely. In saucepan, combine butter, cream spices, then add kale and stock.Mix well. Cook until well heated and sauce is slightly reduced.
(The sauce is just enough to offer flavor but not drown the kale.)
-Phyllis Mosher

Hot and Sour Soup with Spinach
adapted from Great Greens by Georgeanne Brennan

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (high quality as this is a brothy soup!)
6 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and leaves sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tablespoons light soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3/4 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot chile oil
5 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 Tablespoons water mixed with:
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, including half the green part, minced

In a large saucepan or a soup pot over high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add the mushrooms and spinach, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, sesame oil, chile oil, and tofu and stir. Then stir in the water and cornstarch mixture and the eg, and cook for 1 minute.

Ladle soup into soup bowls, and garnish with the cilantro and green onions.

Five Spice Scallion Soba Noodles
adapted from Spices of Life by Nina Simonds 6-8 servings

1 recipe 5 spice hoisin tofu (recipe is below)
4 cups good quality vegetable broth (or chicken broth!)
2 cups water
1/2 cup sake or wine
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups scallions (about 10 scallions), mainly greens, cut finely into diagonal slices
1/2 pound young spinach, rinsed and spun dry
1/2 pound soba noodles

First: Prepare the Five Spice Tofu (recipe below) Let cool and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices that are about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, making sure that the slices are still coated with the hoisin marinade.

Second: While the tofu is baking, mix the broth, water, rice wine, minced ginger, and soy sauce together in a large pot and heat until very hot. Cook for about 10 minutes to blend flavors. Add the tofu slices and scallions and cook until the liquid comes back to a boil. Add the spinach and stir carefully. Cook briefly until the spinach leaves are slightly wilted and then turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

Third: Meanwhile bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add the soba noodles, and stir to separate. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, until al dente. Drain the noodles in a colander, rinse under warm water, and portion into serving bowls Spoon some of the broth, tofu, and spinach over the noodles and serve.

Five Spice Hoisin Tofu
adapted from Spices of Life by Nina Simonds

Mix together the marinade:

3/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup rice wine or sake
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon five spice powder*
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

pour marinade over: 1 1/2 pounds firm tofu, drained and cut in half through the thickness

Let tofu sit for an hour at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Then arrange tofu on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil. Pour the marinade on top and bake for 35 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool slightly. Cut into pieces that are 1/2 inch thick, 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Spoon some of the cooked marinade on top and serve, or use as directed in recipes.

Fresh Basil Dressing

1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
S & P to taste
2 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Whirl everything together in a blender.

Green Onion Drop Biscuits

Tips: Use a food processor to combine dry ingredients and shortening. Pulse a few times until the mixture is the size of peas. If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute plain yogurt.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in green onions. Add buttermilk, stirring just until flour mixture is moist.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 biscuit)

CALORIES 111 (26% from fat); FAT 3.2g (sat 1g,mono 1g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 2.9g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 74mg; SODIUM 135mg; FIBER 0.6g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.2g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1996

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta Cheese, and Green Onions

8 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups diced peeled baking potato (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
3 cups thinly sliced spinach
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine water and quinoa in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain in a sieve over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid; add enough water to cooking liquid to measure 6 cups. Set quinoa aside.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add jalapeño and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in potato, salt, cumin, and black pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 6 cups cooking liquid, quinoa, and 1/3 cup onions; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in 1/3 cup onions and spinach; cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and cilantro.

8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 165(29% from fat); FAT 5.3g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 6g; CHOLESTEROL 13mg; CALCIUM 116mg; SODIUM 484mg; FIBER 4.1g; IRON 2.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 24.2g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 1999

Basil Beer Bread

Olive oil for the baking sheet
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan
1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale
Flour for the work surface
1 cup chopped or torn fresh basil

Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a baking sheet.

In the bowl of a standing mixer on low, or in a large bowl using a spoon, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Add the beer and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the basil and knead gently just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared sheet. Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Tip: This dense, hearty bread is best when it's thickly sliced and served with a plate of fresh tomatoes or a bowl of summer minestrone. You can also toast it and drizzle it with olive oil.

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

CALORIES 336 (8% from fat); FAT 3g (sat 2g); SUGAR 0g; PROTEIN 12g; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; SODIUM 977mg; FIBER 3g; CARBOHYDRATE 63g
Real Simple, AUGUST 2006

Italian Pork Chops with Kale

2 lbs kale
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
4 thick pork chops
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 cup hot water
1 small can tomato paste

1. Soak kale and rinse it thoroughly then simmer for 20 minutes in pot of salted water.

2. While kale is cooking, heat oil in large, deep skillet. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes over low heat. Add pork chops and saute for 5 minutes on each side, then season with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds.

3. Dissolve tomato paste in hot water and add to pork chops. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes, adding water if sauce gets too thick.

4. Drain kale and stir into tomato sauce. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Kale-and-Cannellini Wrapinis
julia's note: an unfortunate name for an interesting looking recipe!

3 bacon slices
12 cups water
12 cups chopped kale (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Romano cheese
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Bring the water to a boil in a large stockpot; add kale. Cook 6 minutes or until tender; drain and set aside. Drain the beans in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup liquid.

Heat the drippings in pan over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes. Add the crumbled bacon, reserved bean liquid, carrots, sage, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale; cook 2 minutes.

Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Spoon 1 cup kale mixture onto each tortilla; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese, and roll up.

4 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)
Nutritional Information

CALORIES 422(24% from fat); FAT 11.3g (sat 3.3g,mono 4.7g,poly 2.2g);
FIBER 6.9g; IRON 5.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 64.4g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2000

Which Farm?

From High Ground: Berries, Artichokes, Salad Summer Squash, Flowers
From Mariquita: Basil, Green Onions, Kale, Carrots, Spinach

To see a picture of the 2 farm families:


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9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

Two Small Farms
Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077


erika j said...

i really appreciate the blog. it helps give us ideas on what to do with veggies we've never used or seen before! thanks.

chardgirl said...

Erika: I'm glad you like the blog: I like it too for the following reasons:

- I can edit posts, even add recipes

- I can include a photo

- I don't have to unsubscribe or subscribe folks!

enjoy. -Julia

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the box of this month was great, perfect for some creative recipe!