August 11, 2020
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Eggplant, Shishito peppers, Green Beans, cucumbers, Peaches, Basil, Garlic and Tomatoes
Bread this week: Rosemary Focaccia or Barbari
NEW QUARTER STARTING AUG 18th!
Payment due Aug 11th – Please let us know if you would like to continue or not
We will be taking 1 week off during the next quarter, date TBD (September)
Fall Quarter Aug 18th-Novembver 10th
This Week on The Farm
To the tune from the musical Music Man Pick a Little Talk a Little-listen to it so you can, sing along it is quite catchy, and the rhythm is the pace of the farm most days.
(Rogelio, Jeff and Francisco)
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little
Pick, Pick, Pick, talk a lot, pick a little more
(Celia, Claire and Annie)
Pack a little, talk a little, pack a little, talk a little
Pack, Pack, Pack, talk a lot, pack a little more
(Ali, Claire, Annie, Jeff)
Drive a little, talk a little, drive a little, talk a little
Drive, Drive, Drive, talk a lot, drive a little more
(All of you)
Eat a little, talk a little, eat a little, talk a little
Eat, eat, eat, talk a lot, eat a little more…..
The hum of the farm right now is….
Pick, Pick, Pick, Pack, Pack, Pack, Drive, Drive, Drive and Eat, EAT, EAT a lotttttt!
We have been rotating who writes the newsletter, or at least trying to, and Claire said to me while packing those eggplants “I think it is your turn this week!” Although no one is keeping track and there isn’t names on the calendar as to whose week it is, actually the calendar hasn’t been updated for anything since May! So that tune came jumping into my mind this afternoon as Claire was counting and washing the eggplant for today’s box and I was washing the cucumbers and boxing them up, I don’t sing much on my own, but have listened to Jeff sing his long repertoire of show tunes, crazy songs from childhood and beyond and I love to sing along with him. When we go to Santa Rosa for a few days there is no television, but my mom left us her phonograph and we have a huge collection of records that we play in the evenings. My favorite I have to say is the Limelighters-look them up on the internet, fabulous voices, catchy tunes, and downright funny too. After the Music Man song came to mind I had to listen to the tune on my phone while working as I was trying to come up with a theme or topic to write about. The song sure livened up the space and the pace of packing boxes (although it made Claire loose count of her eggplant). But back to picking, packing, driving and eating. Right now with all the abundance of what this amazing piece of land can produce we are swimming in a plethora of incredible food. Everyone here is working hard long hours to get orders out, boxes filled and delivered. You can listen to those few lines and hear the greased finely tuned working machine that is Good Humus (most of the time), it is quite wonderful to step back and watch.
Fridays are our longest day of the week, a marathon usually, a long day of getting ready for the Farmers Market, orders for the Coops, Special orders and CSA boxes all to be delivered on Saturday mornings. At the end of the day usually no one has the energy to made dinner, so a bit of popcorn and we just plop into bed. Well several weeks ago there was left over salami and cheese from a midweek picnic, along with drinks that Claire picks up when she grocery shops, bringing home beers, ales and ciders to have a sampling taste treats. The no need to cook left over’s of the week started a new ritual. Now we go shopping for the Friday eve Charcuterie board that takes the largest cutting board in the house to fit all of the delectable treats that everyone is hording all week long for the Friday night special. Of course there is the caprese salad, fresh figs, sliced peaches along with cheeses, sardines, nuts, chocolate covered cherries…oh my the list goes on. (Check out the Sicilian recipe for eggplant- Caponata, that is what I am going to make for next Friday on Thursday). Now Friday’s have a new twist to them, we all sort of dreaded Fridays before, now its kinda like not having to lead the horse to the barn when it is dinner time. We are all working together as hard as possible; the van is loaded and ready for market, the boxes closed up and in the cooler and invoices made so we can all stop and find our seats for the golden hour of eating a little, talking a little, laughing a lot, relaxing a little, and eat, eat, eating a lot-quite a wonderful way to end the week’s work.
Now what I was going to write about was not our Friday Charcuterie Board, but about how right now this time of year, when we are in the mid summer harvest it is the time of eating. Pure and simple, there are so many options of what to cook¸ which cuisine to choose from, which combinations to make for all the eggplants, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers that are filling your boxes. As we sort out the soft tomatoes, or the squishy figs, the scarred cucumbers all I want to do is cook them up into something, anything, sauce them, jam them, or make some new exotic dish with them. So now is the time to be that fabulous chef that you want to be, now is the time that you might have time to cook to your heart’s content. Eat and be merry, sit at the table and talk alittle, laugh a lot, and give a toast to the land that gave you such abundance. To end the day, to give thanks for the gifts that we are given from the land here is a poem by Mary Oliver:
It grew in the black mud.
It grew under the tiger’s orange paws.
Its stems thicker than candles, and as straight.
Its leaves like the feathers of egrets, but green.
The grains cresting, wanting to burst.
Oh, blood of the tiger.
I don’t want you to just sit at the table.
I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.
I want you to walk into the fields
Where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with mud, like a blessing.
~Have a great week! Annie Main
Gin and Cucumber Basil Smash
2 tbsp granulated sugar - for decorating the glass –
8 basil leaves
8 slices cucumber - about 5mm thick
2 tbsp sugar syrup - boil 2 parts cold water with 1 part granulated sugar, whilst stirring constantly for 3-4 mins – until the sugar dissolves
50 ml gin
1 tbsp lemon juice
Splash of tonic
Strips of cucumber - use a vegetable peeler
A few basil leaves to decorate
Make a sugar rim on the glass by dipping the rim of the glass in a sauce of water. Spread the sugar on another saucer and dip the rim of the glass in the sugar.
Place the basil leaves and cucumber in a cocktail shaker and muddle (or gently bash) with a muddler or wooden spoon until the basil and cucumber are bruised and the scent is released. Add the sugar syrup, gin, lemon juice and ice. Shake vigorously until frost forms on the outside of the cocktail shaker. Fill your glass with ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Top up with tonic water. Decorate with strips of cucumber and basil leaves.
Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Green Beans and Orzo
8 ounces dried orzo (1 1/3 cups)
8 ounces green beans, trimmed (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 pound chicken tenders
2 peaches cut into wedges
¼ teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 – 4 ounces herb-flavored feta cheese (Garlic and herb or peppercorn), crumbled
Fresh thyme (optional)
Some things just make summer, summer. Get those baked beans. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven cook orzo according to package directions. Add green beans during last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain; do not rinse. Meanwhile, lightly brush chicken and peaches with some of the oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until no pink remains in chicken and peaches are tender and grill-marked. In a large bowl combine orzo, beans, grilled chicken and peaches (chopped, if desired), and feta. Drizzle with remaining olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme, if desired.
SICILIAN Eggplant caponata with chocolate
Caponata has evolved over the ages to become the dish, which personifies Sicilian cuisine and is a popular dish during festivities. There are many regional variations and enrichments of what must have been a very humble dish, as well as the personal, innovative touches from the chefs of ancient. In Sicilian cooking the melanzana (eggplant) is said to be the queen of vegetables, second only to the tomato and the principal ingredient in caponata is the eggplant. In keeping with the tradition of what is customary in Palermo, just before serving add a sprinkling of coarse breadcrumbs or almonds — blanched, toasted and chopped. In Sicilian cuisine there are a number of recipes, which include chocolate to enrich the flavour of a dish and chocolate in eggplant caponata is a common variation in certain parts of Sicily. In the early 1500s, the Spanish conquistadors discovered a variety of unknown foods in the New World. Among these was xocolatl, (chocolate) obtained from ground cacao seeds. Spanish nobility arrived in Sicily during the 15th and 16th centuries and they brought their exotic ingredients from the New World to the island. This was also an ostentatious period of splendour and opulence for the clergy and the Sicilian aristocracy.
Extra virgin olive oil,
¾ cup eggplants, 3-4 large, dark skinned varieties
1 onion chopped
2 medium red tomatoes, size, peeled and chopped
½ cup capers, salted or in brine
¾ cup pitted green olives, chopped
2-3 celery use tender center stalks also the pale green leaves
½ cup white, wine vinegar,
2 tablespoons sugar
1.8 ounces of dark, extra fine 70% chocolate
salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut the unpeeled eggplant into cubes. Place the cubes into abundant water with about 1 tablespoon of salt and let soak for about 30 minutes to keep the flesh white, remove any bitter juices when cooking it will absorb less oil. Prepare the capers, if they are the salted variety, ensure that they have been rinsed thoroughly and then soaked for about 30 minutes before use, and then rinsed again. Chop the onion. Slice the celery into very fine slices and chop the green leaves. Peel, and coarsely chop the tomatoes (or use tomato paste or canned tomatoes). Drain the eggplants and squeeze them to remove as much water as possible. You will need a deep, large fry pan. Although the vegetables are fried separately, they are all incorporated in the same pan at the end. When making large quantities I sometimes use a wok. Heat a large frypan over medium heat with ½ cup of the extra virgin olive oil. Add eggplant cubes and sauté until soft and golden (about 10-12 minutes). Place the drained eggplants into a large bowl and set aside (all of the vegetables will be added to this same bowl). Drain the oil from the eggplants back into the same frypan and re-use this oil to fry the next ingredients. Add the celery and a little salt gently for 5-7 minutes, so that it retains some of its crispness (in more traditional recipes, the celery is always boiled until soft before being sautéed). Remove the celery from the pan and add it to the eggplants. Sauté the onion having added a little more oil to the frypan. Add a little salt and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes or the tomato paste (with a little water) to the onions, and allow their juice to evaporate. Add the capers and olives. Allow these ingredients to cook gently for 1- 2 minutes. Empty the contents of the frypan into the other cooked vegetables. Add the sugar to the frypan (already coated with the caramelised flavours from the vegetables). Heat it very gently until it begins to melt and bubble. Add the vinegar and allow it to evaporate. Add ground pepper, check for salt and add more if necessary. Add the chocolate pieces into the agro dolce sauce and stir it gently as it melts. This results into a much smoother and more luscious caponata. Incorporate the cooked vegetables into the frypan with the agro dolce sauce. Gently toss in all of the cooked ingredients over low heat for 2-3 minutes to blend the flavours. Remove the caponata from the pan and cool before placing it into one or more containers. Store in the fridge till ready to use and remove it from the fridge about an hour before eating– it will keep well in the fridge for up to one week. When ready to eat, sprinkle with either toasted almonds or toasted breadcrumbs. I like to add fresh basil or mint leaves. From All Things Sicilian and More by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins