CSA Newsletter: Week 15, 2013

Dear CSA members,

I know that many of you have new fall schedules that you’re adjusting to with the start of the school calendar this month. It’s the same here on the farm as I move back into my teaching schedule and John and Diane assume the bulk of the responsibility for planting, picking, and packing your share boxes. They still let me come out and play in the dirt with them when I need a break from the books, though!

We’ve had some really nice planting weather this past week and managed to get the remainder of our Swiss chard and close to three hundred pac choi plants in the ground. Our new plantings of beets and kale are vibrant green and growing fast in the cooler temperatures and our second planting of fall lettuce mix is just peeking out of the ground. You’ve got the first cutting from our first fall planting of lettuce mix in your boxes today, along with another helping of arugula so you can make some great salad creations this week.

I’ve been combining arugula with fruit from my parents’ orchard to make some yummy salads. Here’s my favorite:

Peach and Arugula Salad

Ingredients: Arugula; Olive Oil; Peaches; Honey; Lime juice; Salt & pepper to taste

Optional: Some kind of aged cheese like Stilton or blue cheese

Cut up peaches and place in a small bowl. Add lime juice. Set aside for ten minutes or so, until the juice from the peaches has combined with the citrus juice. Wash and cut arugula into bite-sized pieces. Arrange in a salad bowl. Add olive oil to the peaches to make a salad dressing of sorts. Taste and add honey if you want a sweeter dressing. Add salt and pepper, if desired. Pour peaches over arugula and toss to distribute juice. Sprinkle with blue cheese (or other similar cheese). Delicious! You could make this with pears, too, I think.

We’ve been grilling eggplants and zucchinis this week, just brushing them with olive oil and herbs and letting the grill add its smoky flavor. Eggplant is particularly good this way, I think, since grilling seems to enhance its natural flavors rather than mask them as many recipes do. Here’s another of my favorite ways to eat eggplant, in a dip:

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients: Eggplant; Lemon Juice; Tahini (sesame butter); Olive oil; Garlic.  Optional: Salt, Parsley or Cilantro, Chili Powder, Cumin, Olives

Some people like a smoky flavor in their baba ganoush and so char the eggplant skins over the flame on their gas oven, under the broiler, or on the grill before roasting them. If you don’t want the smoky flavor, skip this step. Cut the eggplants in half and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Roast in the oven at about 375-400 degrees F until the eggplant is soft. Cool, scrape the pulp out of the skin and place it in a blender, food processor, or bowl. Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to taste and blend or mash until smooth. I’d start with a couple tablespoons tahini, one small garlic clove, the juice of half a lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil per medium-sized eggplant and go from there. Add any of the optional stuff you like and anything else that sounds good to you. Serve as a dip with pitas, crackers, chips, or sliced veggies. Or spread on your favorite bread. Since I have a digestive sensitivity to garlic, I make a variation on this which involves blackened jalapenos and chopped tomatoes instead of garlic.

Here’s another eggplant dip recipe from chef Alice Waters, which is lighter since it omits the tahini:

Eggplant Caviar

Ingredients: 1 large eggplant; Balsamic or red wine vinegar; Olive oil; 1 clove garlic; 2 shallots; ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro; Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel eggplant and cut into one inch cubes. Place in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and toss with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of water, cover tightly, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until very soft.

While the eggplant is baking, peel and dice shallots very fine. Place them in a bowl with about 2 tablespoons of vinegar and let set for ten minutes. Peel and mash garlic and add to the shallots and vinegar. When the eggplant is done, add to the shallot, garlic, and vinegar mixture, mash with a fork, and let cool to room temperature. Then stir in chopped herbs and add additional vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and/or other seasonings to taste. Serve on grilled bread or crackers.

If you served an eggplant dip with bread or crackers alongside the edamame in your shares, you could have a fun appetizer course of finger-foods. The easiest way to cook edamame is to rinse the pods in cold water, then steam them until the beans inside are bright green and tender. Sprinkle with salt and eat by putting one end of the pod into your mouth and squeezing the other end with your fingers until the beans pop into your mouth, carrying a bit of the salt along with them. Or you can scrape the pod through your teeth to pop the beans out. Some people do shell the beans before they steam them, but I’m usually to lazy to do that. Besides, eating them out of the shell is just so much fun!

Speaking of fun, I’m reminded of several conversations I’ve had this past week with members and others lamenting the lack of space and time in our culture to cook and enjoy good food. We’re delighted to be able to support you in making that time and space in your lives. My wish for you this week is that you have some utterly pleasurable (even fun!) moments in the kitchen and around the dinner table and that they nourish you for whatever good work you are engaged in.

Bon appétit!       Amy

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About Harvest of Joy Farm LLC

At Harvest of Joy Farm LLC we seek to develop, practice, and share farming systems that mirror the resilience, diversity, and self-sufficiency of a healthy biotic community.
This entry was posted in Arugula, CSA, Edamame, Eggplant, Garlic & Garlic Scapes, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to CSA Newsletter: Week 15, 2013

  1. i would like to visit sometime.

  2. Chuck Chase says:

    As always, I enjoy reading about all the things going on at your farm.
    Although I don’t recall you writing about them, reading about and seeing all the goodies you produce makes me wonder if you have to deal with four-legged woodland visitors looking for treats.
    Made me think of a favorite passage from a book by E.B. White. He writes about a raccoon who shares his yard.
    “I think this is the fourth spring the coon has occupied the big tree in front of the house, but I have lost count, so smoothly do the years run together. She is like a member of the family. She has her kittens in a hole in the tree about thirty five feet above the ground, which places her bedchamber a few feet from my bedchamber but at a slightly greater elevation. It strikes me odd (and quite satisfactory) that I should go to sleep every night so close to a litter of raccoons. The mother’s comings and goings are as much a part of my life at this season as my morning shave and my evening drink.
    I guess I have watched my coon descend the tree a hundred times; even so, I never miss a performance if I can help it. It has a ritualistic quality, and I know every motion, as a ballet enthusiast knows every motion of his favorite dance. The going down of the sun and the going down of the coon are interrelated phenomena; a man is lucky indeed who lives where sunset and coonset are visible from the same window.
    Because she is a lover of sweet corn, the economic status of my raccoon is precarious. I could shoot her dead with a .22 any time I cared to. She will take my corn in season, and for every ear she eats she will ruin five others, testing them for flavor and ripeness. But in the country a man has to weigh everything against everything else, balance his pleasures and indulgences one against another. I find that I can’t shoot this coon, and I continue to plant corn – some for her, and what’s left for me and mine – surrounding the patch with all sorts of coon baffles. It is an arrangement that works out well enough. I am sure of one thing: I like the taste of corn, but I like the nearness of coon even better, and I cannot recall ever getting the satisfaction from eating an ear of corn that I get from watching a raccoon come down a tree just at the edge of dark”

    E.B. White
    The Points of My Compass

    Here’s hoping you three agree with the last sentence and have mercy on any marauding raccoons at Harvest of Joy!

    All the best,

    Chuck Chase

    • Hi Chuck!

      In fact, we recently relocated a groundhog who had strategically dug her entrance hole directly beneath our garden fence, right next to the kale patch. Very convenient for her to be able to pop out for a quick kale snack and then dart back underground at the first sign of human approach. Not so good for our members who like kale, though! We hope she’s happy munching alfalfa in the abandoned field where we left her. Thanks for the quotation–E. B. White is such a lovely writer.

      I hope all is well in your world!

      Amy

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