January 11, 2022

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Carrots, Butternut, Broccoli, Chard, Spinach, Oranges, and Parsley

 

Bread this week: Rosemary Focaccia OR whole wheat your choice of one

         

This week on the farm

Epiphany the Magical Time of Midwinter

In Europe Epiphany is on January 6th and is an official holiday, in England, the 12th Day of Christmas, in Austria children go singing as The Three Wise Men, in the ancient cycle of the sacred Sunyear it is the end of the Solstice, when the sun comes out of its dark retreat and is visibly rising again, thus the true new sun year begins. The end of Epiphany is the promise of spring to come, even though it is still deep winter. These celebrations are not common in America, and since last year, January 6 has become infamous for riots in the Capitol.  Let’s go back to remembering what this time of year actually is on a cosmic level, when our place on the earth turns towards the light, and each of us get to choose: stay in the dark pit, or renew our own sense of Epiphany.

This time of year has seen the celebration of so many traditions ….

The Celebrations of Renewal;  Celebrations announcing the coming of a new season of light;  Forecasts, predictions and resolutions;  Celebrations of the end of the old and the beginning of the new;  Feasting in gratitude for the gifts of new life;  The arrival of the Magi to place gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh before the newborn Jesus;  Gifts of coal from Befana bring warmth in your home in the coming year

In this time of midwinter, when all of nature appears asleep and a quiet moment is usually hovering nearby, a winter break from the pressure of weekly harvesting, packing and delivery is so important to us on the farm. Every year, as I grow older, I feel a deeper need to stop, stay still, listen and restore my inner sense of peace.  Over our break Jeff and I took a private time to listen to that quiet.  We walked out into the hedgerow among the wild native plants and just sat and listened to the trees standing in their winter place. I thought of the worms deep down in their tunnels knowing that they are safe among the stones and soil of our earth. I felt the breath of cold winter air on my face, the misty water droplets suspended in the air that keeps us alive. I heard the evergreen trees sighing, talking to us with the assistance of the brisk wind blowing through them. The warm afternoon sun beamed down with all the strength it could muster and we felt the pleasure of a nurturing, not a scorching sun, and that evening will come early.  In a couple of hours, we walk back to our warm home thinking of hibernation, restoration, discovery, realization, or disclosure….and perhaps, just maybe, our own epiphany.

 

I am trying to start my new Sunyear by leaving behind some unneeded baggage I carried from last year…baggage where I failed to meet my expectations, where others failed to meet my expectations, where the world moved too fast or not fast enough for me. Or the heavy baggage I carry when the deer, the turkeys, the ground squirrels, the jack rabbits, the weeds each use our farm to live their lives, peacefully oblivious to our needs. This silent time of year, especially the quiet of the Tule fog days, gives me a safe place to do this work. The rain and fog are like my old comforter keeping away the outside world and my outside self.  In this comforting world the bare trees and birds flitting around in the bushes hold my attention and all is well.

The next morning at the crack of dawn, just as the first soft light illuminates our bedroom, I can see the beauty of a new day, new season, and new possibilities for where I want to go this year. In my mind’s eye I imagine a High Sierra mountain stream, where the cool waters cleanse me of my failures as I float. As I floated down this High Sierra stream, I see one of our deer, (no, I don’t know how) and instead of thinking of her as my enemy who is eating our crops, I looked into her eyes and saw the reality of her good life... I watch for the healthy twitch of her ears and wag of her tail letting the unwanted emotions of anger and resentment fall into the water.

Today, as I work my way through another day, I try to let go of the chatter in my mind, of my unwanted emotions.   I try to hold onto that image, and to what is possible for the New Year. I am thinking of my elders, the friends and family, the teachers and mentors that have gone on, but who brought me to this very moment in my life. Sometimes they brought adversity to my life, but they always brought me gifts. I am sure they were each wrestling with their own burdens, but by knowing that they took time for me, it gives me hope that I can take the time for others, too. Having experienced this start of a New Year, I write these words with gratitude for the experience, with gratitude for all those that have taken the time for me, and for all of you that sit with me. I hope each and every one of you feels and hear the quiet time of the winter. Annie

 

“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the Astonishing Light of your own Being!”

Shamsedin-Mohammad Hafez Shirazi (1325/26–1389/90)

 

 

Orange-Glazed Carrots With Ramp Barley and Spinach

Source: seriouseats

 

1 cup pearled barley

Kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch segments

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)

1/2 cup fresh juice and 1 teaspoon zest from 1 orange

6 ounces spinach

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

Extra-virgin olive oil for serving

Add barley to a medium saucepan. Cover with 6 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until barley is just tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. While barley cooks, place carrots in a large saucepan or skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and orange juice and zest. Add enough water cover by 1/2-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until carrots are completely tender and liquid has reduced to a saucy glaze, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and remove from heat. Drain barley well. Heat remaining tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high until foaming subsides. Add ramps and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly tenderized, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add spinach and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring constantly until spinach is wilted. Add barley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, transfer barley to a large plate. Reheat carrots, adding a tablespoon of water if sauce has broken and swirling until it comes together. Season carrots to taste with salt and pepper. Add parsley and toss to combine. Pour carrots and sauce over barley. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil

Phyllo Torte With Butternut Squash, Chard and Feta

Source: Washingtonpost

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups chard, stemmed, steamed, chopped & squeezed dry

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram

1 to 2 teaspoons kosher

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

10 ounces fresh feta, preferably homemade, crumbled

2 medium, long-necked butternut squash (3 to 4 pounds total)

2 large eggs, beaten

8 ounces frozen/just defrosted phyllo sheets (at least 10 sheets)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and stir to coat; cook for about 8 minutes or until translucent, stirring as needed. Stir in the garlic; cook for a minute or two, just until it releases a sweet smell, then add the chard, parsley, mint, thyme and marjoram, stirring to incorporate. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the chard is tender and wilts a bit, then season with the salt (keeping the feta in mind) and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Crumble the feta in a large mixing bowl, then gently stir it into the cooled chard mixture. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed; the mixture should be highly seasoned. Stir in the eggs.

Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut the neck from each butternut squash; reserve the bulb portion for another use. Use a vegetable peeler or knife to peel the necks, then use a mandolin or large, sharp knife to cut the necks into a total of about 48 very thin slices (1/8 inch). Unroll 10 phyllo sheets; cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap and place a damp towel on top of the wrap. Return any remaining phyllo to the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil; place the spring form pan on it. Use a pastry brush and some of the melted butter to generously grease the inside of the spring form pan. Butter the top (first) phyllo sheet; pick up two sheets, placing them buttered side down in the pan. Press the phyllo to the sides of the pan, letting the excess phyllo drape over the edges. Repeat two more times, until six sheets are on the bottom of the pan, rotating the pan with each addition so the phyllo is draping evenly around the edges. (It’s okay if some of the phyllo cracks or splits; use a little melted butter to patch it.) Spread half of the chard-feta mixture across the phyllo. Use half of the squash slices to cover that layer completely, overlapping them in a concentric pattern. Scatter half of the hazelnuts across the squash. Brush the top phyllo sheet with some of the melted butter; pick up two sheets and place them, buttered side down, over the hazelnuts, allowing the excess to drape over the side of the pan. Repeat one more time, then layer the remaining chard mixture, squash and hazelnuts. Gather the draped phyllo around the edges of the pan; pleat and gather it to create a large beggar’s purse. Trim off any excess with kitchen scissors, leaving a small topknot for decoration. Generously brush the top layer with the remaining melted butter, then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Make 12 shallow cuts through the top layers of phyllo in a spoke-wheel pattern; that will help the phyllo puff up and will help keep the top together when you are slicing and serving the torte. Transfer the baking sheet to the middle rack of the oven; bake until well browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the torte is hot all the way through. (To test, insert a knife deep into the center of the torte, then extract the tip and briefly touch it. The knife should be hot.) Let the torte cool for 15 minutes, then remove the ring and unmold it. Serve warm.

 

Orange Cheesecake Breakfast Rolls

Source: Taste of Home

 

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)

1-3/4 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour

filling:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

glaze:

2 cups confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, eggs, butter, salt and 5 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, orange juice concentrate and vanilla until smooth. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll 1 portion into an 18x7-in. rectangle. Spread half the filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices; place cut side down in a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Combine confectioners' sugar, orange juice and zest; drizzle over warm rolls. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Orange-Scented Winter Squash and Carrot Soup

Source: newyorktimes

 

6 allspice berries

4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs

10 peppercorns

 Strips of zest from 1 orange

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ pound carrots, diced

2 pounds peeled butternut

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 medium potato

 Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice or additional stock or water

 Cayenne to taste

FOR GARNISH:

¼ cup cooked black quinoa

1 tablespoon toasted pistachio oil

Cut a square piece of cheesecloth to make a bag for spices, herbs and orange peel. Place allspice berries, cardamom cloves, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and strips of orange zest on cheesecloth. Fold two ends over, then roll up the cheesecloth like a burrito and tie tightly with kitchen string. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add onion and carrots. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add winter squash and garlic and cook, stirring, until the mixture smells fragrant, about 1 minute. Add water or stock, potato, spice bag, and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, until squash is very tender. Remove spice bag but first press it against side of the pot to extract liquid. Using a hand blender, or in batches in a regular blender, purée the soup. If using a regular blender cover the top of the jar with a towel pulled down tight, rather than airtight with the lid. Return to pot and whisk in the orange juice (or additional stock or water). Taste, adjust seasonings, and heat through. Toss quinoa with 1 teaspoon of the pistachio oil. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some of the quinoa. Drizzle a little more oil over each bowl and serve