August 27, 2019

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Squash, Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes, Potatoes, Green Basil, Long Beans and Shintokiwa Cucumbers

What’s in your FLOWER BOUQUET: Globe Amaranth, Sunflowers, Marigolds, Zinnias, Celosia, & Cockscomb

What’s in your FRUIT BAG? Grapes, O’Henry Peaches, Ambrosia Melon and Figs

 

 

This Week on the Farm

This is the time of year that I want to just be in the kitchen cooking all the incredible yummy food that is coming from the fields. It is really hard to take the time to make meals in the summer, I can imagine that you all are on the go doing summer fun after work, all of us are just busy, yet this is the time of incredible abundance. Maybe it is because of the heat and I don’t really want to be working out in the fields in the afternoon that I just want to putter around in the cool house-yes that is true for sure. But because it is hot I also don’t want to heat up the house by turning on the stove. I wish that I’m not as busy and tired at the end of the day so that I would have more time/energy to be creative to make interesting new dishes in the kitchen. I love trying new recipes, and love looking for them for the newsletter, just to find something new. Ahh we can live in the problems of the weather, time available, keeping cool… whether we like them or not, or not! This is the time of the summer when the abundance is finally coming in and it gives us opportunities to try new dishes, to eat new foods that we would never even think of buying at the store or market. I’m excited to play with the long beans! In searching for recipes I found out the long beans are best stir fried and not cooked like other bean in steamed water! Who knew!

On Sunday morning I decided that I just had to try last week’s plum tart recipe from Julia, I had intentions all week to make it in the evening when it was cooler and the house would cool off over the night from having the hot oven on-well that never happened. So plum tart was almost the first order of business, hot or not, I just turned on the oven and made it. Jeff and I usually have a late Sunday breakfast-about noon actually, giving us time to take it slow, get the Sunday Farm Shop order ready for pick up around 11am, change water, Jeff picks the squash (it has to be harvested everyday to keep the perfect size pick coming) or my Sunday morning delight is to drink my tea by the White Sage plants in the garden. So I made the plum tart, and while walking to the sage with my tea, I saw that my Holy Basil was large and beautiful so I decided to make tea from the fresh basil leaves. (Holy Basil Batman! Oh my it was so good-I think you may see that next year in your boxes: Holy Basil is also known as Tulsi tea). Then there were the last few Elephant Heart plums in a box sitting in the kitchen just waiting to be used, I was holding onto them just because they were the last and I didn’t want to see they go for the season or be tossed into the compost. I used them in the plum tart, and then stewed up the rest, because my new discovery is stewed plums for all the sweetness one could ever want. Jeff and I sat down to a breakfast of plum tart (no need to wait for a dinner dessert), a fried egg over a potato patty and Tulsi tea-it was divine! Somehow I have to find the time to make something new each week, and the long beans are on this week’s to do list!

 

So besides cooking food, what else is going on around here? I guess one thing that has been quite amazing to see happening is Ali driving the huge caterpillar tractor disking up the fields. I may have mentioned it before, but it is a monumental moment to see happen. Yesterday, Ali came out (on her day off from the farm) and helped Jeff mow down in the orchard. He wants to compost the orchard, along with mowing the cover crops to get ground ready to plant fall veggies. You have to understand that Jeff does not let anyone, did I say no one, nada, zip, drive his antiquated machinery in the last 40 or so years. Before kids I would help cultivate on the smaller tractors, but I haven’t done that in 35 years. Ali has asked to learn, well actually demanded that Jeff teach her how to drive the tractors so that someone besides Jeff can get the ground ready for the next season’s crops-which we are always late in planting because Jeff gets caught up in the zillion other tasks that no one else can do. I try not to watch her, or think to hard about what she is learning to do, or I would get so worried that I would run out and order her off the tractors. The one time I did watch her turn the caterpillar, she was standing up using all of her strength to push the pedals down to make the turns. With her baseball cap on, long sleeve shirt to cover up from the dust, I have to say she looks like Jeff; I have to do a second look to realize that it is Ali on the tractor. It seems she is game for anything, and I think loves to take on the challenge of learning something out of the norm, and mostly to be able to help Jeff where there is usually no one else to do the job. It is inspiring to see! Have a great week~Annie

 

Long Beans

The long bean is also known as the long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snakebean, or Chinese long bean. They have a very pronounced flavor and have a distinctly beany taste. Long beans work best briefly steamed, stir-fried, or braised, but also hold up well when added to stews. Unlike green beans, which can taste palatable steamed or boiled, yard-long beans become waterlogged and bland when treated with water. The beans are best cooked with oil: sautéed, stir-fried, or deep-fried, their flavor intensifies and their texture remains tight and juicy.

 

Sichuan Style Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans

Chinese long beans can be found in both green and purple varieties. Both have similar flavors and textures, and either kind can be used for this recipe.

1/2 pound Chinese long beans, trimmed & cut into 3 inch segments

1 tablespoon peanut oil

4-6 dried chilies, preferably Sichuanese, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon whole lightly crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3 teaspoons sesame oil

Splash of soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free option). Add a tablespoon of peanut oil to a wok or a large sauté pan over medium heat and swirl until hot. Add chilies and peppers and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the long beans and stir-fry vigorously for 3-4 minutes (you don't want the spices to burn, if they start to then turn down the heat a bit). Season with salt and sugar and stir-fry a few seconds more to mix it all together. Remove from heat. Stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce. Serve immediately. From Simply Recipes ~ minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Yield: Serves 3-4

 

Zucchini Frittata

1 ½ lbs. small zucchini cut crosswise very thin or use a mandolin

Salt

10 eggs

4 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated (divided)

Fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

Quick Tomato Sauce

Spread zucchini on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.  This draws out the moisture. Preheat oven 350F. In a large bowl beat eggs until lightly frothy.  Add zucchini and 2 Tablespoon Cheese.  Season to taste with pepper. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.  Add zucchini mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Place in oven and bake until set but still slightly moist, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with Quick Tomato Sauce.  This is good without but the tomato sauce puts it over the top. Tip:  Prep the zucchini the night before; roll up in the paper towels and leave in ‘fridge.  Makes it easy to assemble in the morning.

 

Quick Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 lb. fresh tomatoes

Pinch of sugar

2 tablespoon fresh basil

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

Salt and pepper

In skillet, warm olive oil.  Add garlic and, when it sizzles, stir in tomatoes and sugar. Sauté, stirring just until the tomatoes’ juices begin to thicken, 5-7 minutes. Stir in basil and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Cucumber Tomato Salad

This Cucumber Tomato Salad is the perfect easy summer side dish!  It is great to bring to parties or to serve as a side dish for a weeknight dinner.

3 vine ripened tomatoes diced

1 Shintokiwa cucumber diced

1/4 red onion sliced thin

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon Italian Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Add all the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and Italian seasoning. Toss the dressing with the vegetables.  Add salt and pepper and toss again, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Prep Time15 minutes

 

Tortilla with Potatoes and Onions

You can add other vegetables or herbs. In Spain, the potatoes are fried in olive oil before they are added to the tortilla. To cut back on the oil pre-cook the potatoes in salted water. Tortilla traditionally is cut into small squares and served at room temperature.

2 large potatoes quartered lengthwise then sliced crosswise into ¼ inch thick pieces (about 4 cups)

3 tablespoons olive oil

7 extra large eggs, at room temperature

1 generous tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 generous teaspoons dried oregano

2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

Cook potatoes in lightly salted water until al dente (firm but tender) drain. In a skillet or sauté pan over a moderate flame, heat 2 tablespoons oil, add onions and sauté about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper then cook 4-5 minutes use a spatula to turn potatoes occasionally and prevent sticking. Remove pan from heat. In a medium bowl beat eggs with oregano and parsley. Transfer onions and potatoes into bowl with eggs and stir. Preheat broiler. In a 12 inch sauté pan over medium heat, heat remaining tablespoon of oil. Pour egg and potato mixture into hot pan, shake pan to distribute contents evenly, then cook over medium heat until egg begins to set around the edges-about 4 minutes. Using a spatula, gently loosen the tortilla from the sides of the pan. Slide spatula under tortilla to see if it is browning and if bottom is set. When bottom is cooked, place pan under broiler for 2-3 minutes. The eggs should be just set on top. Remove pan from broiler and loosen tortilla. Slide tortilla into a large round platter and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cut into small squares; insert a toothpick in the middle of each. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Roasted Summer Fruits with Ice Cream

This is by far the easiest summer and early fall dessert I know, and when I serve it, people never fail to marvel. Imagine fruit cobbler, but without the crust.

8-12 stone fruits such as peaches, plums, nectarines, figs and grape clusters in any combination.

2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

½ to ¾ cup sugar

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Halve and pit the stone fruit. Leave the figs whole. Separate the grapes into small clusters of 3-4 grapes or separate them into single grapes. Place the fruits in a baking dish in which they will nudge together in roughly a layer and a half and drizzle them with the olive oil. Turn the fruits several times. Sprinkle with the sugar and turn again. Roast the fruits until they are tender and slightly caramelized on top and a syrup has formed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon into dessert bowls. Add a scoop of ice cream to each bowl and serve warm. From The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook