Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 23

Roots Farm CSA Week 23: September 28

This Week:
-Peppers: Carmen, Islander, Green Bells, Cayenne, Jalapeno
-Eggplant: Nadia, Hansel, Gretel, Fairytale, Pingtung Long
-Basil: Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple
-Okra: Clemson Spineless, Red Burgundy
-Winterbor Kale
-Easter Egg Radishes
-Flowers: Assorted Zinnias

On the Farm . . .
The kale is finally sizing up for a harvest, and our second planting of radishes is beginning to come on. Spinach has germinated, as has more cut salad mix. Baby squashes grace our last (8th? 10th?) planting of summer squash and cucumbers are getting trellised in the hoop house. Fall is moving right along and it’s a good, good thing. The fields definitely enjoyed the rain of this past weekend, and our cover crops and direct-seeded plantings are getting their sprout on. We continue to plant carrots, arugula, turnips, radishes, lettuces, scallions, and much, much more! Plus, we’ve started digging sweet potatoes! Yay! The wheel turns, the farm keeps on farmin’.

In your basket . . .
I’m excited to announce that the leafy greens are back! For some of you, this is jubilation--YAY we missed you so much! For others, it’s a return to “how do I manage to use all these before next week?” Either way, we’re back in greens and we’ll help you along the way. Don’t forget our kale recipes online, not to mention the ones I provide here today. I hear that the secret to longevity in the Southeast is greens and sweet potatoes. Well, it is now that time of year. As my great-grandma Ruth would say, “Eat it, children, it’s good for you.” I’d like to add that it’s also kinda tasty. The sweet potatoes will be coming soon, but in the meantime, enjoy the kale.


Kale & Walnut Pesto
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 lb kale, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1tsp)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (~1 1/2 oz)
freshly ground black pepper

Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. (Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once they are toasted.) Immediately transfer the walnuts to a dish to cool. Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt, then add the kale. Cook kale until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Put the garlic, walnuts, and kale in a blender or food processor; pulse until well combined. With the blender or food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a steady, smooth, pencil-thin stream. When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Serve hot. Makes about 1 cup. This version of pesto is particularly good over roasted potatoes, but it works great over pasta, too, and don’t hesitate to top a pizza with it. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Baked Squash with Kale & Pear
butter or oil for greasing the pan
3 acorn squash or 2 medium butternuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 large leek, chopped (~2 cups)
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1 tsp minced garlic (~2 cloves)
1 Tbsp butter
1 pear, firm-ripe, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (~1 cup)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch pan with butter or oil. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut-side down on a baking sheet; bake until tender, 30-40 minutes. Turn the squash halves over and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, stock, bell pepper, garlic, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to boil, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring frequently, until kale is tender and the liquid evaporates, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pear; saute until lightly browned and tender but not mushy, 2-3 minutes. Add the pear to the kale mixture and stir well. Spoon the kale and pear filling into the squash halves. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings. The pear really makes this dish shine--its unique sweetness balances the kale’s earthy overtones. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Bean & Kale Minestra
1/2 lb kale (~4 cups chopped)
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 cups cooked cannellini beans or cranberry beans
4-5 cups vegetable stock or water
2 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
6 fresh sage leaves (1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Remove the stems from the kale and coarsely chop the leaves. Soak the leaves in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the soup. In a soup pot, saute the garlic in the olive oil for just half a minute. Add about half of the cooked beans and part of the water or stock to the pot. Puree the rest of the beans and stock in a blender or food processor along with the tomato paste and sage. Stir the pureed beans into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the kale. Mix into the soup and simmer for at least half an hour, until tender. Mix the cornmeal with the lemon juice and enough water to make one cup. Pour this paste slowly into the simmering soup while stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Simmer the soup for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a heat diffuser, if necessary, to prevent scorching. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings. Serve the soup immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan. Makes 6-8 servings. From the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.

Kale & Potato Tarragon Salad
2 lbs small potatoes, scrubbed
7 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bunch kale, large stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4— 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
salt & pepper to taste

Steam or boil potatoes until fork-tender. Drain, cut into large bite-size pieces, place in large bowl, and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add onions; saute until translucent. Add kale and garlic; cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes more (you can cover pan to help wilt kale). Combine vinegar, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp tarragon, remaining 6 Tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper. Add kale mixture to potatoes and pour dressing over everything. (It’s important to toss the dressing while the mixture is hot, to soak in the flavors.) Add more salt, pepper, or tarragon if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook. This recipe is taste-test approved by Roots Farm -- yum!

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