Monday, June 11, 2007

Two Small Farms Newsletter #400

In your box this week: Spring Onions, Strawberries, Thyme, Yellow Carrots, Salad Mix, Summer Squash OR Cabbage, Cauliflower OR Potatoes** (Wed); Avocados: Thursday and Friday. (A few weeks ago Wed received avocados.)

** A few of you might receive potatoes: use them within 3-5 days! Store in fridge! These have not been cured like store bought potatoes: they are truly fresh-dug. They will taste great (try a salad dressed with a simple oil and vinegar). They will not keep if left outside. Eat them up! More fresh dug potatoes coming for everyone in a few weeks.

Loaves and Fishes

Anyone who believes that world hunger is a production problem can get a different perspective by growing a zucchini plant. Yes, there are droughts, hard frosts, floods, meteors, plagues etc., but nature is usually fecund to the point of being profligate. Framing hunger as a production problem is a convenient way for policy makers takes the public’s focus off of how often famine and hunger come from inequities in the distribution of food.

At Two Small Farms food distribution is our business, so we’ve learned what kinds of problems stand in the way of spreading the wealth of the fields around. For our success we depend on the trust and support of our underwriters, so when members can’t pick up their share boxes we’re happy to pass on their boxes to charitable organizations in the community that can use the produce.

For quite a while we’ve donated share boxes to the Santa Cruz AIDS project when subscribers have alerted us that they won’t be able to pick their veggies up. But the Santa Cruz AIDS project isn’t close to our farm and their volunteer isn’t able to trek down to our farm any longer. SCAP is a vibrant non profit doing great work in Santa Cruz county with HIV positive folks. We wish them the best and hope to find other ways to partner with them. Starting this week we are working with Loaves and Fishes in Watsonville.

Loaves and Fishes is a soup kitchen in Watsonville (just one block from the post office!) that serves 40-100 people a home cooked meal every Monday through Friday, rain or shine. They also offer a food pantry. They are a 5013c and we have letters for anyone who is donating their share box and would like that for their taxes. (Ask Zelda if you need one of these.) Two Small Farms matches all donations, and we also donate leftovers from our packing.

Last Thursday I took some of Mariquita’s extra vegetables to Loaves And Fishes and snapped a couple of photos. I met the Executive director, Brooke, the head Chef, Maria, and three of their daily volunteers. What I loved was when I drove up with 10 totes of freshly harvested vegetables the people inside the kitchen were all excited, and so were the people outside waiting for a meal. Loaves And Fishes is doing good work and we’re happy to help as we can.

From their website:
"In 2006, we served almost 15,000 meals through our hot lunch program, including special holiday meals for over 200 people at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our pantry distributed over 190,000 pounds of food in nearly 4,000 client visits throughout the year. We received over 28% of all emergency food assistance referrals from Second Harvest's Community Food Hotline, making us the largest emergency food assistance responder in the county. We provided emergency food assistance to over 14% more households than in 2005."

For more information: here's a link to their website
-this piece was written by Julia and Andy

Fastest Way to use this week's box from Julia:
Eat the salad within three days so it's super fresh. Dress with toasted nuts, grated carrots, crumbled cheese....

Use the onions chopped raw in tuna salad or pasta salad or green salad. Cut in half lengthwise and grill.

Save the thyme in a bag in the fridge for genuine cooking projects: it will keep in there for at least 2 weeks, maybe 4 or 5!

Eat the strawberries.
Eat the yellow carrots as sticks or cook with them. They are perfect grated into a soup so there aren't mushy carrot chunks floating around.

Try the new cabbage recipe below from Robert Gupta: it's below. Andy's favorite cabbage is quick too.

Grate carrots and add to any stew or salad.

July 4th

Week of July 4th: Please note, this year July 4th falls on a Wednesday! We will deliver to the Wednesday pick up sites on July 4th. If you are to 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.

from Ronda W., Robert G., Ileana, Lena, and Julia

Cabbage and Potato Curry

recipe by Robert Gupta
1/4 tsp mustard seed
pinch of fenugreek
two dried red chillis, cracked
1 tsp of cumin seed
1-2 tbsp of oil (olive, canola, or other)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head of cabbage chopped in 2 inch strips, 1/2 inch wide
1 # new potatoes chopped roughly 1 inch pieces (peeled or unpeeled)
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of ginger
First prepare the base, by adding oil, mustard seed, fenugreek, chillis, cumin seed to a large pot. Heat over medium heat and wait for seeds to crack.Add minced garlic and fry until aroma emerges. Add potatoes and onion and stir for about 1 minute until onions began to become brown and translucent. Add cabbage, and salt. Cover and cook on medium heat until potatoes are soft. Remove lid, and let some of the water evaporate. Add ginger and curry powder, stir, and remove from heat. Let stand for a couple of minutes.

More Cabbage Recipes:

Cabbage, Carrots, and Onions with Sesame
(Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen)
6T sesame seeds
3/4t salt
3T toasted sesame oil
1 bunch green onions
1 large carrot thinly sliced
1 head of green cabbage coarsely chopped

Combine the sesame seeds and salt in a blender. Grind until they achieve the consistency
of coarse meal. This is called gomasio or sesame salt. Set aside. Heat a medium-sized
wok or large deep skillet. Add the sesame oil and the onions. Stir-fry over med-high heat
for a couple of minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the gomasio. Keep stir-frying until
the onions are soft and translucent (5-8 minutes). Add carrots and the cabbage, and
sprinkle in about half the remaining gomasio. Keep stir- frying until everything is tender
(another 10-15 minutes). Sprinkle in the remaining gomasio, and serve. Serves 4

Andy’s Favorite Cabbage

1 head sliced green cabbage
1 large sliced onion
3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
Sauté the onion and cabbage in oil over medium high heat until softened, about 10
minutes. Add wine, salt and pepper. This is a magnificent dish.

Thyme Recipes:
All three of these from: Osage Gardens
Serves 4
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into ½" slices on the bias
Salt and pepper
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and unsalted and toasted in the oven (10 min. at 350º F)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, picked from stems
Cook carrots uncovered in 2" of boiling water about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in skillet. over medium heat, stir in brown sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Add cooked carrots. Cook slowly until well glazed. Toss with roasted pistachios. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve.

Braising zucchini brings out their subtle, delicate flavor.Serves 4
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium zucchini, about 1-1/4 lbs., trimmed and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon and juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh thyme
¾ cup crème fraîche
Melt butter over low heat in skillet. Add zucchini, salt, pepper, lemon juice and thyme. Cover skillet and braise over low heat for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender. Uncover skillet. Gently fold in crème fraîche and just heat through. Correct seasoning and serve at once.

There is nothing more satisfying than a simple roasted chicken. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.
1 natural or organic chicken
1 lemon
Fresh thyme
3 tablespoons softened butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425º F. Dry chicken inside and out. Rub under the breast skin and all over with softened butter, which has been mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme. Place several sprigs of thyme and the remainder of the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken. Roast on a rack 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350º F and continue to roast until chicken registers 160º F on an instant read thermometer. Let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

from Wikipedia:
A brief history of thyme

Ancient Egyptians used thyme in embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms. In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. (Huxley 1992). In this period, women would also often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Add thyme to your favorite pasta sauce recipe.
Fresh thyme adds a wonderful fragrance to omelets and scrambled eggs.
Hearty beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans taste exceptionally good when seasoned with thyme.
When poaching fish, place some sprigs of thyme on top of the fish and in the poaching liquid.
Season soups and stocks by adding fresh thyme.

Two Recipes submitted by Rhonda:

Rhonda’s Notes: Veal Stew (I don't actually use veal for this - Trader Joe's has Niman Ranch stew beef that works perfectly, and it's already cut up - I'll use the carrots and thyme for this):

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef or veal stew meat (cut into approximately 2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, crumbled
3 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 10-ounce package frozen petite peas, thawed, drained, (or cauliflower!)
Steamed rice

Season veal with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add veal to Dutch oven in batches and cook until brown, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer veal to plate. Add onion and remaining 2 tablespoon butter to Dutch oven and sauté until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Return veal and any juices on plate to Dutch oven. Sprinkle flour over veal and stir 2 minutes. Pour in wine and bring to boil. Add chicken broth and thyme.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes.
Mix in carrots and continue simmering until carrots and veal are tender, about 25 minutes. Add cream and boil until liquids are reduced to sauce consistency, about 15 minutes. Stir in peas and bring to boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with rice.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Bon Appétit

This recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
The rice-shaped pasta orzo is sometimes labeled riso or rosamarina.
3 1/4 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
5 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 3 1/4 cups broth to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix in orzo and simmer uncovered until just tender but still firm to bite and some broth still remains, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add green onions and cheese and stir to blend. Season pilaf to taste with salt and pepper. Rewarm over low heat, if necessary, and mix in more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if pilaf is dry. Transfer pilaf to large bowl and serve.
Serves 6.
Bon Appétit
April 1999

History of Cauliflower from Alan Davidson in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food
It’s a variety of cabbage in which the flowers have begun to form but have stopped growing at the bud stage. It is generally believed that it was the Arabs who introduced the cauliflower to Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Tibetan Cauliflower Curry
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 lg onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lg. head cauliflower, chopped
1 lg. carrots, cubed
3 potatoes, cubed
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 chili peppers, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups, peas
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup coconut milk
Saute onions with garlic in oil until transparent. Add spices and cookgently for a few minutes. Add celery, carrots, tomatoes, and chilis, thencook for a couple minutes stirring often. Add 1 * cups of water andcontinue to cook until vegetables begin to get tender. Add potatoes andenough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Maintain a low boiluntil potatoes are tender, but not overcooked. Add cauliflower. Whenthoroughly heated, add coconut milk, honey, and chopped cilantro. Add salt to taste.

"Strawberry Flakes"
an original recipe created by Lena Wiley and Ileana Conviser
2 cups frozen strawberries
1/5 cup sugar
7 Tbsp chocolate sauce
1. Cut strawberries when still frozen into little flakes about the size of 4 mm.
2. Sprinkle on sugar in different places. Mix well.
3. Pour chocolate sauce on.
4. Let strawberries defrost.
5. Eat.
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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


American Red Cross of Santa Cruz County said...

Awesome Blog!

Anonymous said...

How soft will the avocado's be when they are ripe? The ones that I got are quite hard. Do you recommend storing them in or out of the refrigerator? Thanks!

chardgirl said...

Hello: Thanks for the avocado questions: you inspired me to post special about it in this blog. See the most current post. I also included carrot recipes because 2 people called Zelda asking for a carrot reprieve, I thought others out there might want inspiration on how to use up carrots in the fridge.