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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CSA Farm Shareholder Newsletter

Hello shareholders!

Full share CSA members and half share Group A will receive delivery this Friday (October 7) between 12-2, unless you've arranged otherwise. 

You'll notice this week that many of your greens may have tears or small holes.  This is due to the hail damage we received on the farm over a week ago.  I tried to pick only the best-looking leaves, but you'll notice it particularly on the spinach & red mustard leaves.

Extras offered this week, can be delivered with your CSA share, simply email me by Friday morning (you can leave a check in your cooler):
  • Brown eggs from our free-range hens.  $3 per dozen, extra large size.  Special: $2 per dozen for medium-sized brown eggs from our new flock (they're just starting to lay).

In your share this week:

-Gourd Mix - welcome to October!  I'd like to give you each a bag of mixed gourds to decorate with.  Not edible, but surely a beautiful welcome addition to any front porch or fall display. The gourds will be in their own bag and labeled, so you know they are not edible and can keep them separate from the other food.  (Some of the varieties of winter squash you'll receive later in the season will closely resemble some of these gourds, so be sure to stash them somewhere that is only for decoration.)  This will be a somewhat small share of gourds; we had a terrible insect problem with our winter squash this year and nearly the entire crop of winter squash, gourds, and pumpkins failed.

-Patty Pan Squash - big orange variety (around 6-12 inches across) - shaped like a flower or a UFO, this is a summer squash.  However, in fall it forms a thick skin similar to a winter squash.  So the fall versions of patty pan will keep for a long time similar to a winter squash (I like to keep all my winter squash & fall patty pan in the basement, checking frequently, and some varieties will keep for months!).  You can use this patty pan squash like a zucchini or you can be truly awesome and make this week's recipe for Patty Pan Squash Soup served in it's own Shell (recipe below).

-Broccoli (maybe) - If there is enough for everyone, you'll receive broccoli this week, otherwise it may be a couple more weeks before it's provided again.  Great raw, sauteed, or my favorite: roasted broccoli.  Refrigerate.

-Turnip - Our turnips are very large this fall, we've had perfect growing conditions for them.  Turnips are great cooked with a roast & other root vegetables.  If you're not overly fond of the taste (somewhat like cabbage), you can mix them with potatoes. My favorite way to eat them is roasted (recipe below).  Refrigerate.

-Green Tomatoes -  This special treat is coming to you this week.  Fried Green Tomato & Italian style are included below. Can be refrigerated or kept on counter.

-Arugula - Big beautiful  arugula leaves this week, it's peaking, so you'll receive a bigger than usual bag full.  I've seen recipes for arugula on pizza!  Great on top of a lettuce salad or on a sandwich.  Refrigerate.

-Radishes - French Breakfast radishes, full size, great with dip. Refrigerate.

- Giant Summer Squash - A giant green or yellow zucchini is coming your way this week.  Perfect for shredding into zucchini bread (recipe below).  Did you know you can freeze zucchini bread, or even freeze the shredded zucchini for making more bread in the winter?  Can keep on counter.

-Lettuce - Beautiful burgandy Red Romaine lettuce mix.  All lettuce is rinsed.  Refrigerate.

-Head Lettuce - Green frilly heads of lettuce.  Rinsed.  Refrigerate.

-Green Onions - great on salads, on top of potatoes, stir fried, and more!  Refrigerate.

-Spinach - Can be used in a salad or try this week's quiche recipe (below).  Refrigerate.

-Garlic - We grew several varieties of gourmet garlic, you'll receive a bulb or two each week until it's gone.  It can be left out on your counter for several weeks.

-Kohlrabi -  It's typically peeled then sliced for a salad or eaten with a dip.  Could also be sauteed or served in a cream sauce.  Refrigerate.

-Red Mustard Leaves -  So beautiful and truly delicious!  My husband and I discovered how delicious this leafy vegetables is when eaten raw.  It has a small amount of bite or spice at the beginning, but ends with a smooth soul-filling sweetness.  I'm going to recommend eating this raw on a salad. Refrigerate.

-Brown Eggs (if you signed up for an egg share).

Washed this week: lettuce, radishes, green onions, turnip. (We've found that delicate fresh herbs and greens don't last as long in refrigeration when washed ahead of time.)

And here are some recipe ideas for all those delicious organic veggies!

Roasted Turnips
-1 to 2 large turnips
-olive oil
-seasonings such as salt, garlic powder, pepper

Chop turnip into pieces about 1/2 by 1 inch squares.  Coat with olive oil and spread into a roasting pan (any glass or metal pan with sides is fine).  Sprinkle with seasonings.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until tender.

Fried Green Tomatoes
A Southern staple food, and so yummy!  Worth the effort.
  • 4 large green tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
  3. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.
Alternate idea: Oven Fried Green Tomatoes. I prefer to bake, rather than fry, my foods.  I have made oven fried green tomatoes before.  While it isn't quite the same experience, it was much healthier than frying.  You can use the same recipe, place the coated tomatoes onto a cookie sheet, and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes on the other side.

Italian Style Fried Green Tomatoes

My husband and I once took our mothers to a fancy restaurant in Galena for mother's day (this was in our pre-children days, so probably 10 years ago).  I was struck by how simple their staple appetizer recipe was.  They took Fried Green Tomatoes, smothered them in their house marinara sauce, then covered it in shredded cheese & baked it.  I remember thinking that it seemed overkill to fry the green tomatoes, and I recall making a similar recipe myself shortly thereafter (which skipped the frying and made it much more simple and easy).  If you want to fry the green tomatoes first, use the recipe above.
-2 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
-Pasta sauce of choice
-Italian cheese of choice
Place the sliced green tomatoes one or two layers thick into a casserole or baking dish.  Cover with pasta sauce and then top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Spinach and Bacon Quiche
For those who buy our big brown farm eggs, here is a great way to use them!  Others can use regular store eggs, but it won't be as rich tasting.
A great way to use your spinach from this week's share!
This is a Paula Deen recipe, for those who follow her on Food Network, so it's delicious ... and good for our soul rather than our health!  (We need some of those foods once in a while.)
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Spiced Zucchini Bread (Whole Wheat)

I am not a baker.  There, I've said it!  When I do occasionally bake a zucchini bread, here is my favorite healthy recipe.  It's on our farm web site blog with a picture here:

Patty Pan Squash Soup served in it's own Shell

I was trying to think of something unique for the shareholders to do with the large patty pan squash you'll all be receiving this week.  Here is where my thought process took me... I love the beauty of fall soups that are served in their own shell (have you seen the beautiful pumpkin soups served in the pumpkin shell?).  So, I'm thinking that a soup made with the patty pan squash innards, then ladled back into the squash shell, and served that way... would be just beautiful. (This would be similar to the stuffed patty pan squash many of you remember from the summer csa season, but with a soup.) Let's go with it!  (For those not wanting to go the extra step of serving the soup in the shell, you can simply make the soup and serve it in a bowl.  I have made a similar soup before, so I'll base this recipe on what I have made before.
  • 2 quarts chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound sausage (can be omitted if desired)
  • 2 large patty pan squash
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups greens, such as spinach or mustard, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 fresh tomatoes. chopped (if you've saved any back) or 4 cups canned tomatoes (could even use a jar of pasta sauce here)
  • seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, a small amount of dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
First, cut the top carefully off of the patty pan squash, just as you would a Halloween pumpkin.  Then use a spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving at least 1/2" of squash and skin around the outside and bottom so it doesn't collapse or leak when you serve the soup in it. 
Remove the seeds from the mixture.  You should still have a fair amount of squash that was scooped out.  Chop that up along with the onion, garlic, and greens.  Pull out your favorite soup pot.  Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat up.  Add the chopped onion and squash to the oil and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.  Then add the garlic & greens and let them cook with the squash & onions for about 2 minutes.  Next, you'll pour in the broth and the tomatoes (fresh or canned).  If you ended up with too much squash & not enough liquid to make a soup, just add more broth or tomatoes (really, it will be hard to mess this recipe up!).  Let everything simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.  Then season to your taste - start with a small amount of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil (optional).  Keep tasting, and add more seasonings if needed.
Finally, if you want to wow everyone, you can serve this soup back in it's own shell.  Place the shells on a cookie sheet and ladle the soup into them.  If desired, cover the top with a shredded Italian cheese (such as mozzarella or provolone).  Place back into the oven and cook until the cheese is melted.  You'll feel like a genius!  :-)
-To stretch this soup farther, you could add pasta.
-To make it Tuscan Italian style, you could serve it over day-old cubed bread.
-Delicious with a small amount ladled over scrambled eggs & topped with cheese.
-Freezes well (not in the shell :-).

Thanks everyone for your support!

Penny Peterson
Wishful Acres

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