Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Newsletter #402

June 27th 2007

Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) July 4th deliveries on July 4th
3) Pigweed Festival
4) 3 takes on how to use this week’s box
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Unsubscribe
9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

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1) In your box this week: Green Onions, Summer Squash, Strawberries, Lamb's Quarters, New Potatoes, Little Gem Lettuce, Carrots, Basil

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

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2) July 4th is on a Wednesday! WE WILL DELIVER ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 4th AS USUAL, even though it’s “July 4th.” If you will be out of town, we encourage you to find a friend to pick up the veggies for you. If no one can pick up the veggies for you, call or email us at least a day in advance and we can donate your veggies to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

and:

Renewal time is here again:
The third nine week session is coming up soon! For renewing members on the 9 week schedule, your last paid share is July 11/12/13. Our third nine week session starts on July 18th/19th/20th. Please call or email the office with your intentions! Just veggies is $180. Veggies with flowers is $234. You can mail a check to Two Small Farms, PO Box 2065, Watsonville, CA 95077-2065. Contact Zelda at csa@twosmallfarms.com or 831-786-0625.

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3) Pigweed Festival

I’m not a native Spanish speaker, so I pick up what I can by listening. I read road signs, too. A trip down Highway 101 to King City had me wondering about Chualar. In Spanish an “ar” ending to a noun often denotes “place of.” A salar, for example, is a place where sal, or salt, is found. Chualar, then, would be place of the chual, but what is chual? Back home, I checked my battered copy of California Place Names by William Bright. Chual turns out to be the Costanoan Indian word for Chenopodium album, a common farm weed we farmers know and loathe as pigweed.


Chual was appreciated by Native Americans as a green vegetable. The nutritious chual seeds were used as a grain. The workers on my farm gather tender sprigs of pigweed, which they call quelites de ceniza, to cook with pork and serve as a side dish. In rural Mexican parlance, quelite, an Aztec word taken up by Spanish, means cooking green, and can refer to any number of edible herbs. Ceniza means ash in Castillian. Quelite de ceniza is the pigweed that has a silvery color to the leaves. There are other quelites in our fields that could be eaten if a person was hungry enough, but they are not preferred.


Then there’s the pigweed we grow on purpose, called orach. Orach is a fancy, red, old-world cooking green that is a close relative of quelite de ceniza. If you look at the world through rose colored glasses the two herbs look alike. Orach is also called “purple goosefoot.” The scientific Latin name for quelite, Chenopodium album, simply means white goosefoot. When we are between orach harvests I tell our customers who are orach fans to put on their own rose colored spectacles and buy some quelites de ceniza. If you don’t think you can eat quelites because you’re not fond of Mexican food think of them by their English names as “fat hen” or “lambs quarters.” Be careful how you think in English, though. The British have also been known to refer to pigweed as “dung-weed”or “dirty dick”.


I suppose that so many of our common names for quelite de ceniza reference animals because the plants are a very attractive and nutritious feed for barnyard animals, just as they should be for Homo sapiens. My fields at home are free of pigweed because my goats are quick to eat any that sprout. Animals, given the choice, seem to intuitively select the most nutritious foods.


The citizens of Chualar, California, could benefit from this nutritious weed, too, and rescue their town from its obscurity along Highway 101 by calling attention to their historical association with pigweed. Chualar is just a few miles to the south of Salinas, which puts it the town near the heart of America’s head lettuce industry. For years the farmers in Chualar have sprayed every weed they could reach with powerful herbicides, but maybe, if they saw the profit of tempering their farming practices, they might change.


Just as Gilroy has a garlic festival, and Watsonville has a strawberry festival, Chualar could have a festival to honor the virtues of Chenopodium album. I can see it now; “Welcome to the First Annual Pigweed Festival.” Taking into account the predominantly Hispanic character of the town these days maybe it would be more appropriate to call such an event the “Quelite Fiesta.” Driving down the freeway past Chualar I’m moved to appreciate the sonority of the Spanish language. What if the English had invaded California first? Can you imagine a road sign indicating the off-ramp to Dungweedville?


copyright 2007 Andy Griffin

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4) 3 takes on how to use this week’s box from Laura, Julie, and Nina

Fastest Way to use this week’s box from Laura

Here's my fast way to use up the box: the strawberries will be cut up and eaten with either ice cream or yogurt. I'll steam the new potatoes and dress them with some melted butter and herbs, probably rosemary. I'll saute some of the green onions in olive oil with garlic and almonds, add the lamb's quarters to wilt and grate some carrot over at the end. More of the green onions will be stir fried with summer squash, some of the carrots, and either tofu or chicken, then topped with peanut sauce and some of the basil. Any additional green onions and summer squash will be sauteed in olive oil and topped with basil. The lettuce will be used for simple salads, with grated carrot if I still have any.

How Julie would use this week’s box:

I get a kick out of using every last bit of what comes in the box every week. Here's what I'll probably do with this week's treasure:

First, I'll wash the strawberries and put them on the counter. They'll be gone in 5 minutes.

I'll cut the greens off the carrots and separate the leaves from the stems. I'll separate the basil leaves from the stems. Then I'll make a pot of vegetable stock with all the stems, some carrot peels, a green onion, a few dried tomatoes and a handful of dry garbanzo beans. I'll throw in some thyme and oregano from the last couple weeks. I'll freeze the stock for now.

I'll roast the potatoes with some green onions and toss with minced basil and carrot leaves before serving.

I'll use some squash and green onions in zucchini-feta pancakes, using the recipe in the original Moosewood cookbook. I'll throw in a handful of carrot leaves.

I'll make a scramble with green onions, grated squash, lambs quarters, basil and eggs and/or tofu.

We'll have lots of salads, using combinations of lettuce, lambs quarters, carrots, green onions and some leftover beet and cabbage from the last couple weeks.

That's the plan!

Nina’a Plan:
Here's my possible plan for the box:

Pesto, of course. Art's been pining for basil the last couple of weeks!
Oven roast the green onions, summer squash (thick slices topped with some parmesan cheese), carrots and potatoes. Serve with fish or steak.
Left-over roasted veggies can go in a pita sandwich with meat and/or cheese and lettuce.
Strawberries sliced with bananas for breakfast or topped with orange liqueur for dessert.
Spinach salad with beets, hard boiled eggs, crumbled bacon and toasted pecans and a honey-mustard dressing.

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5) Photos

Lamb’s Quarters: an heirloom spinach

Basil Bunches

A csa member who loves our carrots!:
(photo courtesy of mom Tracy)

Lambs Quarters Spread photo
(recipe is below)
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6) Recipes from Brigid, Sara, and Julia

Brigid submitted this:
It's from Cooking Light, and I make it all through the summer, adding other seasonal ingredients:

Strawberry Spring Salad

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups quartered strawberries
1 (10-ounce) bag Italian-blend salad greens (about 6 cups)
4 teaspoons toasted pine nuts

Combine first 6 ingredients, and stir well with a whisk.
Combine strawberries and greens. Add vinegar mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with nuts.

Sara’s Great Frittata Recipe:

The summer squash, green onions, and basil make a wonderful frittata. In the main bowl of a food processor, grate about two pounds of summer squash. Put the squash in a colander and lightly salt. Leave to drain, and put the chopping blade in the food processor. Add a healthy fistful of onions and the leaves from a bunch of basil. Toss in a couple garlic cloves if you have them, and pulse until well chopped. In a big bowl, mix around a cup of flour with a couple teaspoons of baking powder and about a half cup of grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. Lightly beat four eggs and a quarter cup of oil (if you're feeling decadent and there are no vegetarians in the crowd, add a couple spoonfuls of bacon grease). Put the grated squash in a thin clean dishtowel or heavy duty paper towel and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine all the ingredients in the big bowl. You should have a thick, fragrant batter. Pour the batter into a greased 13x9 baking pan and sprinkle a little more cheese on top. Bake at 375 degrees until golden, about 30-45 minutes (it depends on the moisture left in the squash). When cool, cut into squares and serve. These make great appetizers or savory treats at a tea or coffee.

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A few weeks ago I put a basil ice cream recipe in the newsletter and someone asked about in the comments on the blog version of the newsletter. So I purchased my pint of whipping cream and made it. Here's my reply, with the recipe as I made it underneath. Enjoy!

julia's basil ice cream post:

I finally made the basil ice cream. I followed the recipe as closely as I could, except I halved it. (that way I only purchased 8 ounces of heavy cream, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with that much basil ice cream except eat it all!)

I used 3 egg yolks instead of 3 and a half or 4 yolks. I left the mint liqueur out.

The ice cream was a dull green, I can see why it helps to serve in a frozen lemon half with a fresh basil leaf as a garnish. It was delicious as most ice cream can be, especially home made. I used our small Donvier maker, it's very simple.

The ice cream had a pronounced basil flavor, but it took well to the cream/sugar theme and didn't remind me of the usual garlic/cheese theme that basil finds in our kitchen.

This would be a GREAT dessert for any party where you want to impress your guests with something a bit adventurous, try serving with a more mundane cookie, like shortbread.

The Recipe:

Basil Ice Cream
Julia's adaptation, from a recipe originally gathered from Chowhound
This is an herbacious ice cream that would do well with a simple sugar or shortbread cookie. My 10 year old daughter enjoyed it. I plan to substitute pure mint leaves the next time I allow myself to purchase a pint of whipping cream! Mint ice cream = heaven in our household. I use a small Donvier ice cream maker (the kind that has a canister you freeze; when it's time to make the ice cream you assemble the frozen canister with the holder and cover and just do a few twists of the handle while doing everything else in the kitchen: it's VERY easy and no salt is necessary. I've successfully found one of these Donvier makers at thrift stores/garage sales whenever I've needed one in last 10 years. (I've purchased them for friends too.)

1 cup milk, divided
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cups whipping cream (8 ounces, one half pint)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 large or 4 small egg yolks
Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

COOK 1/2 cup milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat until bubbly. Stir in basil leaves, and remove from heat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
PROCESS basil mixture in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids. Set aside.
COOK remaining 1/2 cup milk, whipping cream, and 1/4 cup sugar in saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, just until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat.
BEAT egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale. Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot milk mixture into yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in basil mixture and, if desired, liqueur; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Cover and chill 4 hours.
POUR chilled mixture into ice cream maker of choice and follow their directions. Serve in frozen lemon shells, and garnish, if desired. This recipe can easily be doubled or quadrupled for larger ice cream makers/crowds.

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Lamb's-quarters Spread
adapted From THE WILD VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK

Julia’s note: wow. This was REALLY good. I didn’t even have the avocado, that would have likely made it even better. I highly recommend this recipe.

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small red or white onion, peeled
2 cups lamb's-quarters leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted (I didn’t have one so I used 1/3 cup olive oil)
1/2 cup toasted nuts (I used almonds, the original called for 1 cup walnuts)
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives (the original called for: One 6-ounce jar low-sodium pitted olives, drained)
3 tablespoons hedge mustard leaves or seed pods(I left this out)
2 tablespoons mellow (light-colored) miso
1 tablespoon chili paste or 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1. Chop the garlic in a food processor or by hand.

2. Add the onion and chop.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and process or chop until finely chopped.

Lamb's-quarters Spread will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

julia’s note: this was a big hit with the three adults at table. We ate it with cucumber slices. You could eat it with crackers, or as a sandwich spread or a pasta topping.

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LAMBS QUARTERS (POULET GRAS)

Lambs Quarters or Pigweed is a common garden weed that grows abundantly in all parts of Maine. It is best gathered when about 6 inches high. But you can also strip the upper leaves of taller plants. Wash thoroughly and cook in a small amount of boiling, salted water until tender. It will cook bright green and taste much like spinach. You can also use Lambs Quarters or Pigweed in salads or soups.

LAMBS QUARTER SOUP (SOUPE AUX POULET GRAS) :

3 tbsp. butter
2 or 3 med. size onion slices
3 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Few grains pepper
3 c. milk
About 2 c. cooked, young lambs quarters, chopped lightly and cooking liquid

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Lamb's Quarter Quiche
Submitted By Jamie Schlemm

1 9" unbaked pie crust
1/2 t Salt
4 c Young lambs quarter leaves -cut up
3 Eggs
1 3/4 c Milk
1/4 c Chopped onion
2 c Grated Natural Swiss-cheese (8 oz) 2 T Butter
1 T Flour

Partially bake pie crust at 450 degrees for 5-7 min. or until light brown. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Cook onion and leaves until tender and limp. Stir in flour and salt. Beat together eggs and milk; add vegetables. Sprinkle cheese in pie shell; pour in eggs. Bake 40-45 min. or until knife comes out clean when its inserted off center. Let stand 10 min. before serving.

NOTE: This is really good and don't tell people you made it with weeds.

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Steamed Lambsquarters
I found this on this website

Tribal Affiliation : German-American White Folk

Origin of Recipe : Offered by Carla J. Striegel... who learned this from learned through an urge to live simply and organically.

Type of Dish : Contemporary & Traditional

* Water
* Olive Oil
* As much Lamb's Quarter (Chenopodium species) as you'd like to eat.(a large, double handful makes a nice side serving per person)
* Fresh Minced Garlic
* Bragg

Directions

Lamb's Quarter is a common, non-native weed in waste places. If you are lucky, it grows in your garden. Although this recipe is really not too exciting for someone already familiar with this excellent green, I couldn't help but share it with those who have never tried it. It is my absolute favorite vegetable.

Gather any of the tender leaves and stalk--I prefer to let some keep growing in my garden and keep its tender shoots well trimmed. It is also nice to use the small plants that you have just weeded from around your "garden plants".
Steam these greens for several minutes (less than ten minutes, because you do not want them mushy).
Remove the greens from the steamer and place onto serving dish.
Pour a dash of olive oil onto each serving.
Top with minced fresh garlic and a bit of Bragg's.
Voila, you have the best meal this world could offer!

Note: Lamb's Quarter is a very common "weed" that is extremely nutritious. The seeds are also edible. To learn more about the plant, look in almost any book about wild edibles.

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lambsquaters note from blogger Mental Masala

In Mexico, these greens are called quelites (as are many other edible greens). According to Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, the word derives from theAztec word quelitl, which was used for any culinary green or herb. Since my first introduction to the use of lamb's quarters was by Bayless in Mexican cuisine, I cooked my bunch of lamb's quarters in two Mexican dishes. The first was in soft tacos, with the greens lightly steamed and topped with hot sauce and cheese.

The second was in a tortilla casserole, combined with cheese, corn, squash and crema (a relative of sour cream). The greens were excellent in both dishes, with a pleasing tenderness, a mild spinach-like flavor and none of the lingering astringency that I find in spinach.

Recipe Links:

Lambs Quarters

Greens Recipes
(these would work with the lambs quarters too)

Basil

Salad Dressings


Summer Squash


Strawberries

Green Onions

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7) Which Farm?

From High Ground: Potatoes, Berries, Lettuce, Flowers
From Mariquita: Basil, Lambs Quarters, Carrots, Squash, Green Onions

To see a picture of the 2 farm families:
http://www.mariquita.com/images/photogallery/twosmallfarmers.hg.jpg

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8) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter http://www.mariquita.com/news/newsletter.signup.html

Two Small Farms Blog:
http://twosmallfarms.blogspot.com/

BLOG ADVANTAGES: I can change mistakes after I post them. I don’t have to subscribe/unsubscribe folks. Old newsletters easily accessed. Links! (I send this newsletter out as plain text so more folks with differently-abled computer systems can easily read it.) You can sign up for email updates to the Two Small Farms Blog on the main blog page:
http://twosmallfarms.blogspot.com/

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9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

Two Small Farms
Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
831-786-0625
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077
csa@twosmallfarms.com
http://www.twosmallfarms.com
http://www.mariquita.com
http://www.highgroundorganics.com

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