Monday, October 8, 2007

newsletter #416 and what's in the box for week of 10/10

Hello, CSA folks: I apologize for the lateness of posting the newsletter from 10/3/07. It's below. before that, I'll put in what's coming in the box for THIS week: (this may change, check the website for updates) -julia

Leeks, Romaine Lettuce, Butternut "Rugosa", San Marzano Tomatoes, Fennel, Stephen's Mystery (likely artichokes or strawberries), French Fingerling Potatoes

Two Farms Newsletter #416
October 3rd, 2007

Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) Watch This
3) Tomato Time
4) High Ground Restoration Project
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Unsubscribe
9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

1) In your box this week: Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cabbage, Celery, Lettuce, Red Beets, Stephen's Mystery, Hungarian Wax Peppers (SPICY) - yes we really have them this week!

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

How to store this week's bounty: all - except the tomatoes and winter squash - go in the fridge as soon as you arrive home. Top the greens off the beets and store in plastic bag in refrigerator, but they are best used within a day or so. Saute them up just as you might chard or spinach - garlic and lemon juice and olive oil.


2) Watch This! from Andy

It's a gross generalization to suggest that all Mexicans enjoy hot sauce. It's imprecise to confound heat with spiciness. And it's absolutely wrong to confound Mexican food with Spanish cooking. But chiles and ignorance have gone together like cookies and milk for 415 years.

Columbus made the first and biggest mistake when he made landfall on an island somewhere in the Caribbean in 1492. He'd promised his investors that he'd find a shortcut to India and gain them an advantage in the spice trade against the odious Muslims and Portuguese, so the Carib people he encountered became "Indians," and the spicy fruit they used to flavor food with became pimiento, which means pepper in Spanish. (That little red piece of "pimento" that plugs the hole in a cocktail olive reminds the politically conscious drinker of this historic travesty.)

We don't know for sure exactly which kind of pepper Columbus first tasted. Plant taxonomists file chile peppers under the family name Capsicum, but there are five major subgroups: Capsicum annum, from Mexico, the American Southwest and Central America, Capsicum baccatum, from Andean South America, Capsicum chinense, from Tropical America and the Caribbean, Capsicum frutescens, from Tropical America, and Capsicum pubescens, from Andean South America. Each of these catagories of plants display characteristics which make them botanically unique, but one thing they have in common is that they don't resemble the black pepper, or Piper nigrum, that Columbus was looking for.

Even the active chemical ingredient that makes chile peppers spicy is different than that of black pepper. Chile peppers are "hot" because they contain varying amounts of capsaicin. The capsaicin is concentrated in the seeds and connective tissue that holds the seeds to the walls of the pepper fruits. It's more articulate to speak of capsaicin being spicy than being "hot," but heat does play a role in the spiciness of a chile. Concentrations of capsaicin are measured in units called Scovilles— the more Scovilles the more "heat." The Scoville count in a pepper is mostly a question of variety, but hot peppers grown in hot climates will often pack more heat than they would have had they been grown in a cool climate.

Capsaicin is good for our bodies ( in moderation ) and even sold in a pill form for people who want to be healthy without eating flavorful food. If you don't like the "burn" of the chile on your tongue, you can remove the seeds and ribs of the pepper before you cook with it, and that will moderate the impact. If you find yourself suffering from a chile burn don't drink beer, drink milk, or eat bread. The spice in black pepper is a volatile oil called piperine, and while it is also a healthy compound ( in moderation ) it is chemically unrelated to capsaicin and it produces different effects in the body

The real Indians and the other inhabitants of tropical Southeast Asia weren't fooled by the impostor peppers, but they weren't too proud to accept a flavorful new vegetable either. Spanish Galleons making the annual run from Callao to Manila tucked American peppers into their cargos of Peruvian gold, and soon chile peppers became an integral part of a number of Asian cuisines. Some forms of peppers, like the violently spicy Habanero, were at first so associated with Chinese cooking that early botanists mistakenly took them to be indigenous to Asia, and named them Capsicum chinense. From Muslim Asia the cultivation of capsicum peppers made its way into Muslim Europe. The Ottoman Empire dominated Hungary at the time, which is why Hungarians enjoy spicy paprika today.

Anybody who confounds Mexican food with Spanish food has clearly not spent enough time in either country. The Spanish may have "discovered" chile peppers, but they have not chosen to base many recipes of their recipes around the spicier members of that clan. Instead, they have focused in on thick walled, sweet, meaty Capsicum annum varieties like pimentos and Bell peppers. Because many Americans don't share my enthusiasm for spicy peppers, I choose to mostly grow sweet peppers.

Gildardo España, from Oaxaca, has worked with me for twelve years now, and he doesn't care for extremely spicy food, so he's happy enough to harvest the sweet, mild Bell peppers, Cubanelles, and Bullhorn peppers that I grow.. But my driver, Don Gerardo, from Michoacan, prefers heartier fare, and he's always disappointed with the pepper varieties I chose. He brings a bag of "real" chiles to work, Capsicum pubescens var. Peron cult. Manzano amarillo, so he has something to munch on when he eats his tacos. Ka-boom! Can you spell napalm?

Don Gera is a great guy, and he always offers me a chili or two to eat with my tacos, but ever since my first bite of one of his chile Manzanos I've turned him down. He's not offended. "To each their own," he knows, and besides, I'm a gringo, so he's not going to sweat it if I don't eat spicy food. I actually do like spicy food, it's just that I don't have the palate or the plumbing to keep up with Don Gera. I enjoy talking to Don Gera, and I can't help but contrast him with another fellow I knew, years ago, when I worked at Star Route Farm in Bolinas.

I speak Spanish competently now, but that wasn't always the case, and when I worked at Star Route Farm I was only just learning. The Mexican guys there were real gentlemen (except for one jerk) and they helped me a lot with my vocabulary and syntax. By way of returning the favor, I'd often buy fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices for them when I delivered the farm's produce to the produce terminal down on Jerrold Street in San Francisco. One morning I found myself at Greenleaf Produce, just after dawn.

A salesman pointed to a box of tiny, sharp red, orange and green chiles. "Why don't you take these chiles home for the guys? They're free. I can't sell them."

"Sure," I said.

"Or maybe not," he said. "These are Chinese chiles. They're too hot."

"No," I said. "I'll take them."

When I got home the guys were already gathered around the campfire, drinking Budweiser and making dinner. There were only two beers left. They offered me one, and I took it.

"What did you bring?" they asked.

I showed them the banana box full of tortillas, a case of papayas, and a huge sack of tomatillos.

"Muy bien!"

"And these Chinese chiles," I said.

"What do you mean, "Chinese chile?" asked the jerk. "Mexicans invented chiles, not the pinche Chinese!" He was always taking advantage of my ignorance by calling me derogatory names in Spanish that I couldn't understand, and I didn't like it.

"Sí, sí," I replied. "Son chiles chinos! Son muy bravos! Even the Chinese don't eat these chiles!"

"Then what are they good for," he asked.

"They're too picante to eat straight, so the Chinese use them to flavor oil, and the food takes up the spice from the oil," I said.

"The Chinese are a bunch of rice-eating pansies," he said.

"Really?" I said. Then I saw one of the guys take the last beer. "The guy that gave these to me told me they were too spicy for Mexicans."

"He's a pussy too. Watch this!"

And we all watched as he threw three Chinese chiles into his mouth. He swallowed, and grinned, and then his face turned red. He reached for a beer, but they were all gone. He stood up, startled, and started coughing. Then he ran down to the creek and tried to puke the chiles up. It must have hurt, digesting those three chile, but it probably hurt worse to hear his companions choking with delight.

"Pendejo! Ha, ha, ha!" The evening rang out with laughter.

It's sad, but ignorance, stupidity, and foolishness know no boundaries.

copyright 2007 Andy Griffin


3) Tomatoes! We can sell 20# of San Marzano 'paste' tomatoes as an 'extra'. These are 20 pound boxes for $29 delivered to your pick up site. Contact Zelda in the office to order. 831-786-0625 or reply to this email.


THIS SATURDAY OCTOBER 6, 2007 from 10am-1pm: Come join us in transforming a hillside dominated by invasive weeds into a thriving habitat of native grasses, sedges and wildflowers. We will work from 10-12 and than share a potluck lunch and nature walk to enjoy the beautiful fall colors of the wetland.

Contact Laura at (831)761-8694 for more details. Find directions to the farm at our website:


5) Photos:


Hungarian Wax Peppers


Photo Gallery

6) Recipes from Julia and Andrew

From Chef Andrew Cohen...

I make a gratin with eggplant and tomatoes that is always well received. Dice up an onion and saute in oil with some S&P. Pre-heat the oven to 400F, rub a gratin dish vigorously with a garlic clove, allow to dry, then lightly oil. While the onions cook, cut eggplant into 1/2"-3/4" slices. Do the same with an equal volume of firm tomatoes. Mince a few cloves of garlic and add to the onions. When they are soft and have some color, load them into the bottom of the of the dish. Starting with eggplant, lay in a row across the dish, then lay in a row of tomatoes with at least a 50% overlap. Continue the length of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil, or brush for a more even distribution. Salt and pepper, then sprinkle with herbs. You could add basil leaves between the layers of tomato and eggplant if you wish. Laying them in will help keep them from drying out and will allow the flavor to better permeate. Otherwise, just scatter herbs such as oregano or sage over the top, and bake in the middle of the oven until the eggplant is golden and the tomatoes are melting. You could grate some cheese on if you wished, or scatter some breadcrumbs tossed in oil and seasoned in the last 10 minutes. The dish is excellent both hot or at room temp. I have even stuffed it into a sandwich (you need sturdy bread for this) with arugula and fresh mozzarella.

Eggplant Pulp Facts from Recipes from America's Small Farms
"No one ever said eggplant pulp was pretty, but it's a beautiful base for spreads and salads. To make it, just puncture a large eggplant in a few places and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Place it in a 400 degree oven until it's soft and mushy it's usually ready in about an hour, but longer baking won't hurt it. Let it cool completely, then scrape all the flesh off the skin. You'll get about 1 ½ cups of pulp from a medium eggplant. Add whatever other vegetables and herbs you like the eggplant's mild taste and pleasant texture blends and binds other ingredients."

Indian-Spiced Eggplant, Gourmet

2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the garam masala, coriander, and turmeric; in a measuring cup, stir together water, sugar, and vinegar. Cut eggplant into 2-inch pieces. Heat the butter in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add the spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add eggplant and salt and toss to coat with the spice mixture. Stir vinegar mixture and add to eggplant mixture. Simmer mixture, covered, without stirring, 10 minutes, or until eggplant is just tender. Uncover skillet and cook eggplant mixture at a rapid simmer, without stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated and eggplant is slightly charred (but not burned) on bottom, about 15 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and let eggplant stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a serving bowl, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with rice.

Curried Rice Pilaf with Cabbage and Bacon, Bon Appetit, May 2006

4 bacon slices, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, diced, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 cups chopped green cabbage
1 cup chopped seeded roma tomatoes
1 cup chopped green onions

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Add 4 tablespoons butter to drippings in skillet; melt. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add rice, curry powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir 1 minute. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Stir, cover, and simmer until broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage; sauté 3 minutes. Mix in tomatoes and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir rice mixture into cabbage. Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings. (notes from some cooks who tried this already: added the bacon back in to the finished dish; can use less butter)

Chicken Meatball Soup with Cabbage, from: Cooking From the Heart, Mary Sue Milliken

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
1 TBS salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 pound ground chicken (dark preferred)
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cups bread crumbs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 to 2 Hungarian Wax Peppers, stemmed, seeded and julienned (or to taste!)
3 medium roma tomatoes, diced
10 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cooked rice or small pasta such as orzo - optional
3 TBS white vinegar

Combine the garlic, cilantro, 1 tsp each of salt and pepper, the chicken, and egg in a mixing bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs. Roll the mixture between your palms into walnut-size balls. Place them on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large stockpot over high heat. Add the onion, carrots, 2 more teaspoons of salt, and the rest of the peppers. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the cabbage, wax peppers, and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and bringto a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot (nearly smoking). Add the chilled meatballs in batches, shaking the pan to prevent sticking. Brown the meatballs on all sides, and transfer them with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add the cooked meatballs to the simmering soup and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. For a heartier version, add the rice or pasta if desired. Stir in the vinegar. Serves 6.

Beets with Mint and Yogurt, from World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey

1 medium beet or 2 smaller ones, boiled or roasted in foil
2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I like to use olive oil)
3 small garlic cloves, peeled (or 1 large garlic clove, cut lengthwise into 3 sections)

Peel the cooked beet and grate it coarsely. Put the yogurt in a bowl and beat it lightly with a fork or a whisk until it is smooth and creamy. Add the salt, pepper to taste, and cayenne, if using. Mix. Add the mint and beet. Mix gently. Put the oil and garlic in a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat. The garlic will eventually begin to sizzle. Press down on the garlic with a spatula and let it sizzle some more, turning the pieces once or twice, until they turn a medium brown. Now pour the flavored oil and garlic into the bowl with the yogurt and mix. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

Roasted Beets, from posting on

Roasting beets concentrates their earthy sweetness, transforming them into intense mouthfuls of deliciousness that play well with lots of other tastes and textures. And all kinds of great salads are possible. To roast beets, cut off any greens (good eating in their own right) and scrub bulbs clean. Wrap them tightly in foil (or put them in a covered roasting pan or casserole) and roast until tender when pierced with a knife (around an hour at 350F, depending on size). When cool, skins will peel off very easily (wear powder-free latex or vinyl gloves, or hold them with a paper towel, to avoid staining your hands).

A range of fruits and vegetables complement roast beets in various ways. Some match their soft texture and/or sweetness (avocado, oranges, mangoes) and others lend textural contrast (endive, raw fennel). Other popular additions to beets salads are nuts and soft, salty cheeses (goat, blue, feta). Most suggest using light dressings on beet salads; walnut and olive oils are good bases. For something a bit different, mix beets with yogurt, a little garlic, and fresh dill

Rockin' Celery Boats, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello

12 celery stalks, peeled
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch sea salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 red jalapenos (or use your hungarian wax peppers!), seeded

Cut the celery into 4-inch-long pieces, then slice off a thin edge at the rounded part of the stalk to help them lie flat while stuffing. Place them in a bowl of ice water and refrigerate until ready to stuff. In a bowl, toss the pecans with the honey, butter, cayenne and salt, making sure the nuts are well coated. Spread on a baking sheet, bake until nuts are toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Chop pecans coarsely in a food processor. Add the cream cheese and process until smooth. Remove celery from the refrigerator, drain and dry well. Scrape cream cheese/nut mixture out of the food processor into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Fill each celery boat with a generous amount of the mixture. Cut the pepper into thick strips, and then cut each strip in half at an angle. This should look like a sail. Garnish each of your celery boats with its red jalapeno sail.


Harissa is hot pepper sauce from North Africa
It can be served with vegetables, rice dishes, couscous.... etc.

1/2 pound fresh hot chilies, roasted and peeled
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon paprika
1 ts. salt
1 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
olive oil
Place the roasted, peeled chiles in a processor and chop until coarsely ground. Add the other ingredients (except oil) and process until smooth.

Ten Minute Stir Fried Chicken with Nuts
adapted from The Minimalist Cooks at Home by Mark Bittman

1 Tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 cups mildly spicy pepper strips, onion slices, or a combination of the two
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup halved walnuts, whole cashews, or other nuts
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce

1) Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet and heat on high for one minute. Add the veggies in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until they begin to char a little on the bottom, about one minute. Stir and cook one minute more.

2) Add the chicken and stir once or twice. Cook one minute until the bottom begins to char. Cook and stir another minute or two, then check a chicken piece to make sure it’s done. Lower heat to medium.

3) Stir in the nuts and the hoisin sauce. Cook about 15 seconds then add 2 T water. Cook, stirring, until it’s bubbly and glazes all the chicken and veggies. Serve with rice.

I enjoy your recipes. Here is another recipe for stuffed chiles that I
have been using for years. I usually use a mix of fresh red and green
jalapenos for a festive look at Thanksgiving dinners. When refrigerated
overnight, the oil in the tuna and mayonnaise mellows the heat so that
even gringos like me can eat them. I have even been able to eat stuffed
habaneros. They have a wonderful flavor.

1 small can tuna - drained - preferably packed in oil - (hard for me to
find these days)
1 TBs grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced oregano
1 tsp minced basil
pinch of thyme
some minced garlic
lemon juice to taste
S&P to taste
Enough mayonnaise to moisten well

Mash and mix well

I like to slice fresh chiles lengthwise leaving a piece of stem on each
half to use as a handle. I also remove the seeds and ribs.

Stuff each half with the mixture, cover with saran wrap and refridgerate
overnight for milder taste.


Ralph R.

Stuffed Pepper Sandwiches, as told to Andy by a market shopper. Andy is sorry he forgot who gave this recipe...

Some hungarian wax or jalapeno chiles
Some Mexican cheese (you could try a few different kinds....)
A baguette, sliced lengthwise

Slice the tops of the peppers and stuff them with the cheese. Roast these stuffed peppers under the broiler until the peppers look a little scorched and soft. Put these stuffed, just-roasted peppers in the baguette and eat like a sandwich.

Some things you can do with spicy peppers: The peppers should be roasted and peeled first:

Chop them up and bake them in corn bread.

Stuff them with a filling of shredded chicken, chiles, raisins, olives, walnuts and rice. Top with sour cream or Mexican ‘crema.’

Slice them up and fold them in quesadillas with a good anejo mexican cheese.

Stuff with rice that’s been doctored any number of ways: onions and garlic, shredded hard cheese, etc.

Use them to make goulash.

Julia’s Loose Pico De Gallo Recipe

Chop and mix and eat fresh the following items:

Roasted spicy chiles
yellow onions
avocados diced
fresh garlic (extra well minced
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lime or lemon juice

adapted from Recipes from a Kitchen Garden, Shepherd & Raboff

1 15-oz. can refried beans
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. minced scallion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 hungarian waxed peppers, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup beer at room temperature

Combine all ingredients except beer in a heavy saucepan. Heat,
stirring, until mixture is heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Add beer
gradually, stirring. Transfer to a fondue pot.
Accompany with tortilla chips or fresh vegetables for dipping. Makes
about 3 cups.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

6 tortillas, cut into strips
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
cooking oil
3 hungarian wax peppers, chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tomatoes, chopped
cut up cooked chicken, or tofu cubes, optional
S & P to taste
2-4 T cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, sliced just before serving

Saute onions, and tortilla pieces in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil. (Olive oil is fine.) Cook over medium high heat until all are limp and cooked through. Add garlic and jalapeños then cook another couple of minutes. Add broth and bring to a low simmer, add the tomatoes, S & P, and chicken/tofu if using. Serve with fresh cook avo. pieces at the bottom of the bowl, garnish with cilantro.

Beet recipes

Cabbage recipes

Celery recipes

Eggplant recipes

Spicy Chile recipes


7) Which Farm?

From High Ground: Cabbage, Celery, Lettuce, Delicata Winter Squash, Flowers.
From Mariquita: Tomatoes, eggplant, Red Beets, Hungarian Wax peppers


8) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter

Two Small Farms Blog

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:


9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

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

1 comment:

OnFarming said...

Thanks for the excellent information posted here! Please keep sharing the information like this.

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