Our newsletter from Sept. 28:
Dear CSA members,
What lovely weather we’ve had this week! I hope you’ve all had a chance to enjoy it. This time of year always feels a little bittersweet to John and I as we wind down the harvest season. The gardens aren’t looking as beautiful and lush as they did earlier in the year and we feel sad as we look ahead to the winter months when we won’t be able to have our hands in the dirt. At the same time, we’re ready for a rest! I’m grateful to live in a place where we have such distinct and beautiful seasons. They remind me to appreciate the seasons and cycles in my own life—the times for sowing and growing as well as the times for reaping and resting.
Next week (Oct. 5) will be our final Monday share distribution. Then on October 17 we’ll have our annual harvest celebration and potluck. We’d hoped to have that a little earlier this year to try to get some better weather, but it looks like October 17 is the earliest we are going to be able to make it happen. Fingers crossed for a beautiful, warm fall day! We’ll start the festivities around 1pm with a potluck lunch. You are welcome to stop by any time during the afternoon to hike, chat, explore the gardens, and glean whatever’s left (maybe the carrots, yellow beets, and Chinese cabbages will be sized up by then). We hope to be able to do a hayride again and maybe even some cider pressing.
The long, green, pointy peppers in your shares today are Anaheim chiles. Anaheims are mild chile peppers whose heat is mostly in their seeds and veins (the ribs where the seeds attach to the pepper), so you can control their spicy-ness by either removing these entirely or leaving some of the veins in. They are great roasted and in salsas or stir-fries. Here’s a simple recipe from Martha Stewart’s website for pan-roasting Anaheims. You could remove the seeds before roasting or roast them whole and scrape them out afterwards.
Seared Mild Chiles (http://www.marthastewart.com/319407/seared-mild-chiles)
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; 8 mild green chiles, such as Anaheim; Coarse salt
In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high. When oil is very hot, add chiles, working in batches if necessary. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned and blistered on all sides, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and serve.
And then of course, there are chile rellenos! I had my first chile relleno in Tucson, Arizona and it was a revelation. I had no idea a cooked pepper could taste so good. Around here, you sometimes find chile rellenos on the menu at Mexican restaurants but they are often soggy and surrounded by way too much breading. I suspect they are frozen and reheated. Here’s a chile relleno recipe from the FairShare CSA Coalition’s cookbook Asparagus to Zucchini. It makes a large pan, so you could cut it down for a smaller portion.
Chile Rellenos Jose
Ingredients: Whole or halved chile peppers (enough to cover the bottom of a 7×13 pan); 1 lb Monterey Jack Cheese, cut into thin strips; 5 large eggs; ¼ cup flour; 1 ¼ cups milk; ½ teaspoon salt; ½ lb grated cheddar cheese; ½ teaspoon paprika
Remove the seeds from the chiles. If you want less heat, slice off the veins (where the seeds attach) as well. If you like a little spice, leave them in. Slip strips of Monterey Jack cheese inside the chiles. Beat eggs and gradually add flour, milk, and salt. Arrange chiles in a well-greased pan. Sprinkle on the cheddar. Pour on egg mixture. Sprinkle on the paprika. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
The delicata squashes in your shares are a variety called Candystick. My favorite way to fix them is to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake them face down on a greased baking pan at around 375 degrees F until they are tender. I know that some people poke holes in the skin and bake them whole, which saves you from the struggle of trying to cut them in half while they are hard and uncooked. Either way works. You can cook spaghetti squashes the same way and then use a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti” strings. I wish we had more of each of these to share around this year! The Candystick didn’t turn out to be as prolific as we’d hoped and the spaghetti squash threw a lot of off-type squashes. This is the second year we’ve experienced this with spaghetti squash, even though we tried a different variety this year. I want to write to the seed companies where we’ve purchased our seed to see if other farmers are experiencing this same problem—it could be an issue with the breeding process.
Chard loves the return of cooler weather in the fall and we love the return of chard! This gratin from FARMfood: green living with chef Daniel Orr is one of our favorite ways to fix it:
Gruyere and Chard Gratin
Ingredients: 1 lb chard, stems cut into small pieces and leaves roughly chopped; 3 large eggs; 1 ½ cup heavy cream; ¼ tsp nutmeg, ground; fresh ground pepper; 1 garlic clove, minced; 2 anchovies, finely diced [you can omit these]; 1 tsp salt; ½ cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated; butter for greasing pan
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Blanch chard in salted water until crunchy-tender and shock in ice water. Drain and pat dry. Combine eggs, cream, nutmeg, pepper, garlic, anchovies, salt, and three-quarters of cheese and mix well. Add chard and mix well to incorporate into egg mix. Lightly grease 9” glass or ceramic dish and pour in mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Pat down evenly and bake 30-35 minutes until set and golden on top. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes before serving.
The apples in your shares are Galas. As you can see, they’ve got some insect damage, but not bad for not using any conventional insecticides. It gives me hope that with a little work we could learn to grow some really decent apples using organic methods.
Enjoy! Amy & John