Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Two Small Farms Newsletter #420

October 31, 2007
Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) Experiment
3) 2007 Season drawing to an end!
4) San Diego CSA farm hit hard
5) Benefit Dinners: Ventana Wilderness Alliance in Monterey on November 11th
6) Photos
7) Recipes
8) Which Farm?
9) Unsubscribe
10) Two Small Farms Contact Information

1) In your box this week: Butternut Squash, Escarole, Mizuna, Purple Carrots, Fennel, Leeks, Lettuce, and two mystery items

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

How to store this week's bounty: all but the butternut squash should go in the fridge in plastic bags. The butternut squash should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place.

Mizuna is a mustard green and can be used in most recipes calling for cooking greens. I like to throw roughly chopped mizuna into many soups: chicken soup, miso soup, potato soup etc. It's also good lightly steamed then tucked into quesadillas for a quick and nutritious meal. (For a lower fat meal, make sure those cheese slices are thin.) Mizuna leaves are great torn into a green salad or tossed into stir fry or fried rice. I've seen mizuna steamed and then served under broiled fish.

Escarole is a crunchy green with a bit more heft than lettuce, and it makes a great salad: on it's own simply dressed or tossed with 10 other things to make a grand main course salad. In my heart though I'm a cooked greens fan, always. I like escarole cooked up with garlic in my Standard Cooked Greens Recipe: garlic, oil, heat, cleaned cooking greens: apply together and you have a great side dish or taco stuffing--- Julia......

2) Experiment, a letter from Andy

The only time that an experiment is a failure is when it is organized so poorly that nothing can be learned. To keep the C.S.A. program interesting for both you and me, I experiment with new crops every year. And the results are in. I'm pleased to announce that my winter squash experiment was a success, and I've learned why two of the three new breeds of squash that I grew this year will never be suitable to deliver to you.

Every experiment starts with a control, against which the results can be compared. In your share box this week you are receiving a Butternut squash, which served as the control squash for my experiment. Butternut squash is a known quantity; they grow vigorously, set fruit reliably, and the fruits are sweet and long-lasting. In fact, one year I had a Butternut squash sitting on my counter from the previous year's harvest the day I began the new harvest. We cooked it, and it was great! Butternut squash is a Cucurbita moschata cultivar. The question I asked myself was, "Are there other squash from the Cucurbita moschata group that might taste even better than the Butternut?" So I bought seed for the Zuccha Piena di Napoli, the Zucchetta Rampicante, and the Zuccha Rugosa, three Italian heirloom squash that can be considered kissing cousins of the Butternut.
Photo 1. is a family portrait of the different breeds of Cucurbita moschata. You can see the family resemblance. If the Piena di Napoli was tan, instead of green, it would resemble a gigantic Butternut. If the Rugosa was smooth-skinned, rather than rough-skinned and ribbed, it would exactly resemble a Butternut, and if the neck on the Rampicante was short and fat, instead of long and skinny, it too, would look like a Butternut. In the field, because these are all heirloom , open-pollinated breeds, we sometimes find tan Piena di Napoli, smooth Rugosa, and stumpy-necked Rampicante.

Photo 2. Here is a cute picture
of Caitlin holding a Piena di Napoli. It is obvious why this squash will never work for our C.S.A. deliveries. Caitlin is strong, but each of the squash she is holding weighs thirty pounds, and there are some in the pile that weigh over forty pounds. Since I harvested a ton of these squash I'm looking for restaurants that might want to buy them.

Photo 3. Here we see the goats and donkeys
eating the Zucchetta Rampicante. The Rampicante are inappropriate for C.S.A. deliveries on two counts. First, the are long and funny shaped. They're interesting to look at, but they don't fit in the box. Also, sad to say, they taste bland. The goats like them though. That's good, because I've got two tons of them to get rid of. I'm told that squash seeds have anthelmintic properties- that is, they're useful in expelling stomach worms. Since the Barber Pole worm is an insidious threat to goats, I just may have grown my goats an organic antidote. Imagine being able to feed your kids at home medicine they would fight over! (ps, Sweet Pea the young donkey is 1 year old today, Oct. 30th. She is perplexed by the rolling squash in this photo. Her mom and the goats knew what to do though!)

Photo 4. My fall squash display
in my yard is dramatic. The experiment was a success, and Julia and I have really been enjoying the Rugosa.


3) The 2007 Season is Drawing to an End!

Our last week for delivering veggies is the week of November 14/15/16. Your last scheduled delivery is noted next to your name on the sign in sheet at your pick up site. If you are not signed up for our last two weeks and would like to be, call or email Zelda at the office by next Monday, November 5th and mail in your payment. (two weeks is $40 veg only, or $52 veg plus flowers). Office line and email are: 831-786-0625 or csa@twosmallfarms.com

Also, if you have an outstanding balance, please send in your payment to our PO Box 2065 in Watsonville, CA 95077.


4) San Diego "Be Wise" Farm hit hard

A long-time San Diego organic farmer lost their home and a large part of their farmland went up in the flames from the wildfires. We are collaborating with a couple other local CSA farms and taking donations. If interested, mail checks payable directly to Be Wise Ranch 9018 Artesian Rd. San Diego, CA 92127 (Note: these are not tax deductable, it's just you trusting Bill the farmer that he will get every penny to the employees who are in need, with no strings attached. We're certain there are great non-profits doing great work where your donations can be claimed on taxes such as Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross. )

Further details on their story


5) Benefit Dinners:

Ventana Wilderness Alliance is a favorite charity of many of us here at Two Small Farms. The benefit event is Sunday, November 11th starting at 5:45 pm in Monterey at Stokes Restaurant and Bar. It is $65 per person which includes tax and tip but not beverages. For more info, go to our web page. You can call or email Zelda at the office to make your reservation: 831-786-0625, csa@twosmallfarms.com

Also, on November 15th, The Valley of Heart's Delight project in Palo Alto is presenting its second annual 100-Mile Thanksgiving Celebration - an evening of food, fun, and discussion. Two Small Farms will be just two of the farms donating vegetables for the meal. Eat Thanksgiving dishes prepared with organic and locally grown food, and discuss what's involved in preparing a Thanksgiving dinner from food grown from within 100 miles of Palo Alto. The event is held at Conexions, 1023 Corporation Way in Palo Alto on Thursday, November 15 from 7 pm to 9 pm. Cost is $40 or $35 for Conexions members, seniors and low-income. Pre-registration is required. For more information and for registration, contact Susan Stansbury at sstansbury@conexions.org , call (650) 938-9300 (x11) or register on-line.


6) Photos:

Butternut Squash




Purple Carrots

Mizuna (this photo is courtesy of The Village Voice....) I'll try to get our own mizuna photo up on the website soon. -julia

Photo Gallery


7) Recipes
Julia's winter squash/pumpkin preparations:

I put cut up pieces (large ones) already seeded into my crock pot for 2 or so hours on high. When a fork can easily pierce the squash/pumpkin pieces, I remove it and scrape the flesh into my food processor and whirl a bit. Then I freeze in 1 and 2 cup increments. Soup and pie are obvious and delicious choices, I also put 1 cup of this puree into nearly every batch of muffins, waffles, cookies, pancakes, biscuits etc. that I make. I just take an existing recipe and add my cup of squash puree. It nearly always works, and my kids are none the wiser.
Tagliolini con la Zucca (Pumpkin Pasta), adapted from the Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed

1 pound fresh pasta or less of dried (she calls for tagliolini, I used whole wheat thin spaghetti) 3# piece of pumpkin (or about 1 butternut squash? I used a whole mess of yummy puree I'd made from a butternut squash.)
4 Tablespoons butter (I used olive oil, butter would likely be divine here.)
1 leek (I used 2 leeks) well chopped
1 stick celery well chopped
Chicken stock
S & P to taste
Grated Nutmeg to taste
2/3 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Melt half the butter and add the chopped leek and celery. Peel the pumpkin (or butternut!) and remove seeds and any stringy fibers. (none in these puppies, don't worry.) Cut the pumpkin into thin slices. (or skip the peeling/cutting and roast and puree the whole thing like I did. see notes above for that option.)

Add pumpkin in slices or as a puree to leek and celery and stir for a few minutes. Add a little stock and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin slices are cooked through. OR cook for a shorter while if using the puree. Add more stock from time to time if necessary to keep moist. Check the seasoning and add S & P and nutmeg to taste. Process in a food processor (I used my stick blender!). Return to the pan to keep warm.

Cook the pasta according to directions, and avoid overcooking. Fresh pasta will only need a few minutes, so add the cream to the sauce as soon as you have thrown the pasta into the boiling water. Drain the pasta and place in a heated dish. Stir in the freshly grated cheese and then the pumpkin sauce. Mix well, add the rest of the butter, and serve at once.
Mizuna is a mustard green and can be used in most recipes calling for cooking greens. I like to throw roughly chopped mizuna into many soups: chicken soup, miso soup, potato soup etc. It's also good lightly steamed then tucked into quesadillas for a quick and nutritious meal. (For a lower fat meal, make sure those cheese slices are thin.) Mizuna leaves are great torn into a green salad or tossed into stir fry or fried rice. I've seen mizuna steamed and then served under broiled fish.
Hot Garlic Dressing over Greens, Gourmet
1/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 lb greens (such as beet, mizuna, and mustard)

Heat oil and garlic in a small saucepan over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar and immediately pour over greens. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Serve right away.

I'm a fan of escarole. It's a crunchy green with a bit more heft than lettuce, and it makes a great salad: on it's own simply dressed or tossed with 10 other things to make a grand main course salad. In my heart though I'm a cooked greens fan, always. I like escarole cooked up with garlic in my Standard Cooked Greens Recipe: garlic, oil, heat, cleaned cooking greens: apply together and you have a great side dish or taco stuffing--- Julia......
Julia's Escarole Sausage Dinner Soup

Up to a pound of sausage of just about any kind (half a pound, even a quarter pound is fine for the flavor, you could also use 2-4 slices bacon here, and of course this is easily skipped for a vegetarian version.)
1-2 onions or leeks cleaned and diced
2-6 garlic cloves minced or roughly chopped
1-2 cups cooked beans (white, pinto, garbanzo.... yes, it's fine to use a can of beans!)
1 can diced tomatoes (about 2 cups or 15 oz.)
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
Parmesan rind, if available
2-5 cups cleaned chopped escarole or other cooking green such as chard, mizuna, kale, spinach...

Brown the sausage, drain off excess fat if there's lots, then remove the sausage for just a bit. Add the onions to brown in the sausage drippings and cook until translucent then add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more. Then quickly add the beans and tomatoes and broth and parmesan rind. Add the sausage back and bring the pot to a low boil. Then add the cooking greens and cook through. (3-4 minutes for escarole, less for young spinach, more for kale or collards....) Serve.
Italian Wedding Soup with Quinoa and Escarole, from CSA member Alexis

For the Soup:
1 large turnip, diced
1 large head of escarole, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup parmesan
2 large handfuls fresh basil, chiffonade
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cans chicken broth
3/4 cup quinoa
1 lb meatballs (recipe below)

In a large stock pot sauté the onions and garlic over low heat until caramelized. Add the turnips and caramelize a bit. Add the broth and bring to a boil and add the escarole and quinoa. When the escarole is soft, and the quinoa chewy, drop the meatballs in one by one. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the eggs and parmesan like egg drop soup, stirring as it is poured in.

Meatballs for soup:
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup ground flax seed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS oregano
1 TBS dried parsley
1 pound ground beef or turkey

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Roll into balls of 1/2 in diameter and drop into boiling soup.
Warm Escarole Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Pancetta, Bon Appetit

5 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/4-inch-thick slice pancetta, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brandy
1 large head escarole, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to paper towels; reserve mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain; reserve pancetta. Carefully whisk vinegar into drippings in same skillet. Bring to simmer over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard and 3 tablespoons oil, then brandy. Bring to simmer. Place escarole in large bowl; pour warm vinaigrette over. Toss to coat. Mix in reserved mushrooms and pancetta. Season with salt and pepper.
Hungarian Fennel with Mushrooms, More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden, Shepherd and Raboff

2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots (or 1 leek) finely chopped
3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 TBS butter
1 pound mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
2 TBS fresh fennel tops, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: 1 tsp fresh paprika and 1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large skillet heat oil and add garlic and shallots. Saute until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add fennel, water and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until fennel is tender-crisp. If any liquid is remaining in skillet, cook uncovered until absorbed. Add butter to skillet, then stir in mushrooms and saute until they are soft. Add sour cream and fennel tops. Cook until just heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle paprika and parsley over the top before serving. Serves 4 to 6; serve over rice for a complete meal or alone as a side dish.
Leek, Fennel and Poppy Seed Tart, Bon Appetit

3 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 3 leeks)
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 8 wedges, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
**other cooks suggest splashing in some white wine or broth in place of some of the milk

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17 1/4-ounce package), thawed
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss leeks, fennel and 3 tablespoons butter in roasting pan. Roast vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 425°F. Whisk milk and yolks in small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; whisk 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk mixture. Bring to simmer, whisking constantly; continue to whisk until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Mix in vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

Roll out pastry on floured surface to 12-inch square. Transfer pastry to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang. Fill pastry with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and poppy seeds. Bake until crust is deep golden, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Fennel Cakes - Peasant Style, from the epicureantable.com, Patricia Conant - Makes about 6-8, enough as a light lunch or dinner for two

1 bunch fennel fronds (+- 200 g. or what will fit tightly encircled with your index finger to the thumb)
1 beaten egg
A little broth (vegetable or other)
50 g. dried white bread (or whatever is on hand) 50 g. grated hard cheese such as pecorino, parmesan or mature Manchego Black pepper Minced wild garlic (optional - see note below)

Gather young fronds, avoiding the very thick, tougher stems. Lay all in one direction in a basket. If you can gather some of the tender, light green hearts, lay these separately. Once home, rinse gently in a large bowl of water a few times. Parboil in unsalted water for about15 minutes (or until the thickest stems crush easily), adding the fennel hearts at the last 5 minutes. Or steam them until tender. This step is necessary as the fennel stems can be quite hard. In the meantime, tear or cut the bread into small pieces and moisten with a little broth, taking care not to wet them too much. Just enough so that they are no longer hard. Drain (or remove with tongs to keep stems in one direction) and rinse gently with cold water. Drain again and lay in a cloth towel and pat gently to dry somewhat. Starting from the ends of the stems, mince finely as if chopping chives.

With a fork, mash the bread somewhat, season with a little pepper and blend in the beaten egg. Add the cheese and the minced fennel, stirring well with a fork to blend. Take a rounded tablespoon and form to a cake. If it doesn't hold, add a little more beaten egg. The mass should not be too dry nor very wet. Fry in a little olive oil until lightly browned on both sides. Drain and serve if you like as I prefer with a little room temperature yogurt to which I have added a little minced garlic. Note: serve these with poached, scrambled egg or a plain omelette or with smoked salmon, fresh salmon or perch filets. You can also add the minced garlic to the minced fennel together or in the yoghurt sauce. Both are delicious.
Variation: don't have enough fennel? Make up the rest with minced parsley, however do not blanch the parsley leaves but do blanch the stems at the last 5 minutes of blanching the fennel fronds. Also, a cooked potato can replace part of the bread. These cakes will taste somewhat differently, but also delicious! Dill alone, or other tender herbs such as chervil mixed with parsley leaves make very tasty herb patties. In this case, no parboiling is necessary. I just lightly steam them for a minute or so to wilt before continuing the recipe.

More Recipes at:

Escarole recipes

Winter Squash recipes

A-Z list of recipe links


8) Which Farm?

>From High Ground: Fennel, Leeks, Lettuce, Mystery (cauliflower,
>radishes, zucchinis, or berries)
From Mariquita: Butternut Squash, Escarole, Mizuna, Purple Carrots, Mystery (summery things)


9) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter

Two Small Farms Blog

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page: http://twosmallfarms.blogspot.com/


10) Two Small Farms Contact Information

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

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