CSA 2011 – Week 18: Fun with Fermentation in Your Own Kitchen!

For at least 6000 years now, people have been making sauerkraut and other fermented foods. In fact, in most cultures it would be very rare to eat a meal that does not contain at least one type of fermentation. Bread, cheese, wine, ham, sausage, beer, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi – all of these foods are produced through fermentation. Before there were refrigerators, people figured out ways to preserve foods. Salt and time were usually the two main ingredients besides vegetables and fruits.

This type of preserving is called lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative and keeps bad bacteria away. The lactobacilli found in fermented vegetables makes the vegetables more digestible and increases vitamin levels as well. These organisms produce helpful enzymes, antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Not only are they super tasty, but they are healthy too! Kimchi and sauerkraut are two of the most popular types of fermented foods around and they are fairly simple to prepare. These dishes may be a great way for some of you to use up your overload cabbage, carrots or onions that you have not gotten to yet! You can make larger batches with an investment in a 4 or 5-gallon bucket or a crock pot. Also, when making these do not use any type of metal container or tool. If you are interested in kraut-making gear, check out Lehman’s catalog!

Sauerkraut
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons salt

In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds and sea salt. Pound with a wooden spoon or a wooden meat pounder for about 10 minutes to release the juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth jar and press down until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. For the ‘cold storage’ you can place it in the refrigerator, or for best results in a place between 40-50 degrees until the kraut has the flavor you are looking for. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but improves with age.

Kimchi 

1 head Napa Cabbage (any cabbage would work), cored and
shredded
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, grated
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
2 tablespoons sea salt

Place vegetables, ginger, garlic, red chile flakes, and sea salt in a
bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or wooden meat hammer to release the juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

CSA potluck and pumpkin picking this weekend!
Sunday October 16th.
Tour and pumpkin picking: 3-5pm  |  Potluck: 5-7pm
Please RSVP to me at csa@gatheringtogetherfarm.com or call the office: 541-929-4273

Squash Towels! Have any old towels laying around the house that need a new home? Bring them down to GTF! We have been enjoying a wonderful squash washing season and are in need of old towel donations for drying them. We’ll gladly take them off your hands!

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Nicola or rose gold)– Steam, roast, fry, mash; these are versatile.

Carrots, bunched – Shred them on salad, sauté in butter with salt, or eat plain.

4 onions (2 wallas, 2 candy)– Caramelize, eat raw sliced thin on sandwiches, or add to a slaw or potato salad. (see recipe)

2 leeks– After you chop leeks, wash them out a bit before cooking. Dirt seems to get stuck in between the layers of the leeks.

1 buttercup squash– cut in half, place on a sheet pan, flesh side down. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Scoop out the inside, puree, season and serve. You can use this in place of pumpkin in any recipe, or even make a soup with it!

1 bunch of collard greens– Sauté in butter or olive oil and salt. Try braised collards.

2 colored peppers—Grill, roast, or just eat raw; they are sweet.

1 purple savoy cabbage– Shred raw and use in slaws or stir fries.

Parsley root– chop into small pieces and use in soups or roasted roots vegetables.

Bulk beets– Boil, then peel, chop, and marinate. Try chopped and fried in olive oil and salt.

1 bunch cilantro– Chop and use in soup, salsa, or try making a cilantro pesto!

Tomatoes (approximately 1 lb)– Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.

French Onion Soup
2 leeks
4 onions
4 tablespoons butter
2 quarts beef stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup cognac
2 tablespoons arrowroot mixed with
2 tablespoons water
Sea salt and pepper

Thinly slice the onions and leeks. Melt the butter in a large stainless
steel pot. Add the onions and cook on the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally for 2 hours, or until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized. Raise the heat a bit and cook a few minutes longer, stirring frequently. The onions should turn brown but not burn. Add wine, cognac and stock. Bring to a rapid boil and skim off any foam that may rise to the top. Add the arrow root mixture and season to taste. You can top this with homemade croutons and/or
cheese.

Braised Collard Greens
1 bunch collard greens
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 strips of bacon, chopped (optional)
Splash of wine (optional)
1-2 cups water or stock
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Spoonful of molasses
Splash of orange juice (optional)
Pinch of chile flakes

Cook the bacon, onions, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions and garlic start to brown. Add the chopped greens and let cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze with wine and stock. Let simmer and cook until the greens are nice and tender. Add the orange juice and/or molasses towards the end. Season to taste. Add a pinch of chile flakes for a kick.

Roasted Root Vegetables
3 medium potatoes
4 medium beets
2 chopped medium-sized onions
2 medium or 1 large parsley root
3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch of pepper
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary

Chop the veggies into quarter size pieces. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Place in a 400 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked all the way and they become slightly browned.

CSA 2011 – Week 15: ‘Ode to the Johns’

Most of you are all aware of Farmer John, Sally, Rodrigo, Joelene, Frank, and all of the other characters that float around the farm daily. I wonder, however, how many CSA members are familiar with the Johns, meaning John Petillo and Jon Boro. These guys have a huge role in keeping the farm running, or shall I say, farm trucks running. These guys fix trucks on a daily basis. In fact, it wasn’t until this year that we even started tracking the repair jobs and since May there have been over 200. Most of these repairs are on trucks or tractors, although you would be surprised at the number of restorations that the Johns are responsible for all over the farm. For example, they have been known fix ovens, stoves, cash registers, CSA scales, building repairs, electrical appliances, anything with a motor, weed eaters, welding on market racks, computers, and much more. John P is a long time friend of Farmer John’s, and he tends to pop in almost every day. Jon B has been working here at the farm for a few years now. Together the Johns make quite a dynamic duo; needless to say we are lucky to have them here.

Mark your calendars for our CSA potluck October 16th!
3-5pm, pumpkin picking, 5-7pm potluck! We have a limited supply of pumpkins this year so if people could RSVP with the number of children coming so that we can try to assure that each child will receive a pumpkin that would be great! You can RSVP by e-mail or phone.

Acorn Squash Purée
1 acorn squash
2 eggs
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Cut the squash in half, remove seeds and set cut side down in a buttered glass baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add eggs and nutmeg and season to taste. Transfer purée to an ovenproof serving dish. Melt the butter and pour over purée. Sprinkle on pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Rose Gold)- Steam, roast, fry, mash, you can do just about anything!

Carrots, bunched – Shred them on salad, sauté in butter with salt, or eat plain.

2 onions (white)– Add to any sauté, or eat raw sliced thin on sandwiches, or add to a slaw or potato salad.

Cantaloupe– Eat just like it is!

1 acorn squash– Roast in halves or chunks with salt, pepper, olive oil and/or butter. You can use the acorn squash purée in place of pumpkin for pies, bread and more! (see recipe)

1 bunch of spinach– Sauté quickly in butter or olive oil with salt. Try using garlic and white wine.

2 colored peppers, 1 lipstick pepper— Grill, roast, or just eat raw, they are sweet.

1 shallot– Caramelize, or eat raw. They are wonderful!

Chinese cabbage– make slaw, steam in chunks or add to soup or stew. (see recipe)

Green Leaf lettuce– Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps.

Tomatoes (approximately 2 lbs)- Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.

Stuffed Cabbage
1 Chinese cabbage, outer 12 or so leaves
2 lbs ground meat, sausage, tempeh, or tofu
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 onion or shallot, chopped finely
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 bunch cilantro
Salt and pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons arrowroot or corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cool water (optional)
*Add any vegetables into this recipe for some variations.*

Remove several leaves from the outside of the cabbage and set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water or so to boil. Blanch the leaves in the water for
about a minute or two, or until the cabbage leaves are malleable. Level out the leaves by cutting some of the thicker stalk part off or slicing it sideways. Anything cut off can be used in the stuffing. In a large skillet, cook the ground meat or tempeh until done to your liking. Add the onions, chopped trimmed cabbage, rice, sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, chili flakes, and cilantro. Season to taste. Place a spoonful of stuffing in each cabbage leaf, fold in sides and roll up. Arrange in several layers in a ovenproof casserole dish and cover with stock. Bring to a boil and transfer to the oven. Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour. You can serve the rolls just like this, or you could remove the cabbage rolls from the dish, platter them, and place in the oven to keep warm. Bring the remaining stock to a boil and add the arrowroot/water mixture little by little to thicken. Ladle sauce onto cabbage rolls as you serve, or whenever desired.

Chinese cabbage soup
2-3 cups finely chopped cabbage
2 cups finely chopped carrots
1 onion, or shallot chopped
1 cup celery chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups water or stock
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil up in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes or until cooked halfway through. Add a pinch of salt while cooking. Add a splash of white wine and let it simmer for a minute. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cabbage and turn the burner off. Salt to taste and serve. Variation: Add 1 cup of finely chopped potato in with the onions. Or try putting chopped pieces of bacon in when you add the onions. Other veggies or seasonings can go great in this soup as well. For a spice, add a pinch of red chili flakes.

Also, if anyone has not been receiving the newsletters in their e-mail and wants to, please let me know by e-mailing me at: csa@gatheringtogetherfarm.com. I’ll get you on the list.

CSA 2011 – Week 13: Melons, Melons Everywhere!

The theme of the past few weeks here at the farm has been melons! I personally have been trying to eat at least one melon a day for the past couple of weeks, and I think that I’m succeeding. We plant four staggered plantings of melons in the season, intended to spread out our melon season for four weeks or more and assure that we will get a good harvest.

This year we transplanted them into the fields a little late and the lack of warm weather seemed to drag us behind with the melons, resulting in our first good melon harvest the last week of August. The amazing thing about all of this is that our 3rd and 4th melon plantings are both ready to be picked now! The hot weather ripened up those melons in a hurry. Thank you to Joelene and Sarah for spending their Sunday and other countless hours of their time devoting to the melon picking and boxing. We grow several different varieties of wonderful melons here. Those of you who attended our tasting last month got to try them all. For the melon type, we grow charentais, honey orange, honey pearl, and gaila. The watermelon varieties are sunshine, little baby flower, starlight, new orchid, and sorbet swirl. These melons are very special and are treated with special care. This week’s box contains the 4th melon for you all this season, and there will be more to come!

Assorted Veggie Casserole from CSA member Ruth:
1 lb potatoes
Several tomatoes
2-3 summer squash, chopped
Cheese (optional)
Herbs (marjoram, or thyme)
Salt
Olive oil

Slice the potatoes thinly, salt them, and layer in a casserole dish. Layer the dish with the tomatoes and squash, or any other appropriate vegetables. Sprinkle some layers with chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. Add some shredded cheese if you’d like in the layers – mozzarella works well. Drizzle with a significant amount of olive oil so that the layers all get some. Bake at 400 degrees covered for about 45 minutes– 1 hour.

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Nicola or Colorado Rose)– steam, roast, or mash.

Beets, bunched – They are great raw, roasted, or boiled.

2 onions– chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. Try them caramelized.

Watermelon, assorted types– Eat just like it is!

2 jimmy nardelo peppers– Chop and put on salads. (see recipe)

2 colored peppers— Grill, roast, or just eat raw, they are very sweet. (see recipe)

1 lipstick pepper– Chop raw for salads, add to a sauté or potato salad. (see recipe)

1 globe eggplant– Roast with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Try sautéing with tomatoes and onions.

2 Japanese cucumbers– Chop and add to a salad. Marinate and combine with tomatoes! Try combining with melons and eat together.

Bok Choy-Sauté with squash, and onions, serve with rice or quinoa.

Squash (zucchini and cocozelle)– Grate and make fritters, or zucchini bread. Bake or sauté with onions, olive oil and salt.

Romaine, Cardinal, or Red leaf lettuce– Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps!

Tomatoes (approximately 2 lbs)- Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.

Cucumber Melon Soup
1 watermelon, rind removed and cut into chunks
2 cucumbers, peeled, cut in half, seeds removed
Pinch of salt
Spoonful of honey
Few sprigs of mint and/or cilantro
Tiny pinch of cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. For an even
smoother texture, strain after blending. Serve this soup cold. Add some
club soda or sparkling water before you serve for an extra kick!

Assorted pepper “slaw”
2 colored peppers
1 lipstick pepper
2 jimmy nardelo peppers
Aioli or mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Cut the colored peppers in half and then remove the seeds before slicing. Then, cut the peppers into thin strips (julienne). Mix with Aioli (recipe below) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Aioli
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4-1 cup extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil, or a combination of the two.
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped.
Pinch or two of salt

Place egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while the motor is still running. Taste for seasoning. At this point you can add herbs if you’d like. Once the mixture gets thick it is just about done. Scoop out of the machine and into a container and put it in the fridge. Add to the peppers once they’re ready and chopped.