December 6, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Mandarins, kale, Parsley, Fennel, Quince, Carrots and Potatoes
Bread this week: Asiago OR Whole Wheat, your choice of one
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This week on the farm
The elusive California winter has showed its face after its long hiatus, and how wonderful it feels! It’s the time of year that everyone in my family will write a newsletter to you conveying once again how magical winter is to us, and how good it feels to finally slow down. The pitter patter of rain on the roof and the monumental relief knowing that our most precious resource is bringing natural rejuvenation and life to our soil.
Last Wednesday, we were scrambling to complete all the tasks we had not prioritized quite as high as we should have, disbelieving that the forces was correct and rain would in fact finally come. So I spent all day on our old Caterpillar tractor disking in our old summer crops, and when one field was disked, my dad was right behind me broadcasting the cover crop while I moved to the next section. After all the seed was spread we disked once more over the seeds one more time to tuck them in, away from the birds hungry eyes. We worked until dark and finished just in the nick of time, and when Thursday morning came and brought the rain both of us could rest easily knowing we got it done just in time.
As always, the veggies keep producing no matter how slow, and our routine continues no matter the heat or the cold, so Rogelio and I spent all day in the field harvesting for the market, while Claire and mom washed and packed it up. The Saturday market being the ritual end to each week, and it was my turn to work it. So we set out as we always do, but rain was in the forecast for what feels like the first time in over 2 years. We set up our tents for shelter, and Randii the market manager had scooted us all back under the permanent structure so shoppers could be out of the rain too. It was the first time since the start of the pandemic that we had been able to be a bit closer to our friends across the market and it was to cozy and festive. There were lights strung up the poles and despite the weather customers came out! And the weather was significant. It rained the whole market, and didn’t get above 40 degrees- but somehow I enjoyed it so very much.
Best of all, the rain has stuck around, showers, mists, momentary downpours, it has been 5 days of the California winter we have all missed and my heart is so full. As we begin to close in on this year, I hope beyond hope that it is filled with our winter weather and the continuous pitter patter on our roofs. Happy winter and have a cozy week! ~Ali
Fennel-and-Sweet-Onion Pizza with Green Olive
1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup brown ale
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup Pernod
1 cup chicken stock
Freshly ground pepper
1 very large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 pound shredded Trugole or fresh Asiago cheese
8 large pitted green Sicilian olives, coarsely chopped
Basil leaves, for garnish
Make the dough In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, honey and 1/4 cup of warm water. Let stand until foaming, about 4 minutes. Add the 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and the whole-wheat flour, ale, olive oil, salt and 1/2 cup of water and mix at medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 2 minutes. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to it and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until very billowy, about 1 hour. Make the toppings In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the fennel and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the wine and Pernod. Return the pan to moderate heat and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the skillet. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, turning the fennel once, until very tender and the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the fennel to a cutting board and coarsely chop it.
Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until softened, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until the onion is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent scorching. Preheat the oven to 500°. Preheat a pizza stone as close to the oven bottom as possible for 20 minutes. Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 balls. Set the balls on an oiled baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let stand for 15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll or stretch one dough ball to a 10-inch round. Set the round on a floured pizza peel, shaking it gently so it doesn't stick. Brush the edge of the dough with oil. Add one-fourth of the cheese, followed by one-fourth each of the braised fennel, caramelized onion and olives. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake until bubbling on top and the crust is deeply golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, sprinkle with basil and cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
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Duck Breast With Quince Compote
Source: NYtimes cooking
2 duck breasts (magrets), about 1 pound each
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
Salt and ground black pepper
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
2 quinces, peeled and cored, in slices ¼ inch thick
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups chicken stock
½ cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Trim a tablespoon of fat from edges of each breast, and set aside. With a sharp knife score skin of each breast in a crisscross pattern. Rub flesh side of each with ¼ teaspoon five-spice powder, and season with salt and pepper. Place a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Place breasts skin side down in skillet, and sear a few minutes, until skin is nicely browned. Place breasts in a baking dish skin side up. Place in oven for 1 hour. Meanwhile, melt reserved fat in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until soft. Add quince slices, remaining five-spice powder and the sugar; cook, stirring, a few minutes, until quince starts to color. Add stock, bring to a simmer and remove ½ cup stock to a dish. Add wine to saucepan, cover and cook about 15 minutes, until quince is tender. Whisk hoisin sauce into reserved stock. When quince is tender, stir in hoisin mixture. Simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Remove breasts from oven, and slice on bias. Pour any juices into pan with quince. Arrange duck on a platter. Reheat quince mixture, and spoon around duck. Serve.
French Grated Carrot Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
1 pound carrots, peeled
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice,
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 finely sliced scallions
Shred the carrots in a food processor. Set aside.
In a salad bowl, combine the dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, vegetable oil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the carrots, fresh parsley and scallions (or shallots) and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Notes: Depending on the sweetness of the carrots, you may want to add more or less honey. Also, if you make this salad ahead of time, be sure to check the seasoning again before serving as the flavors tend to mellow.
Quince With Cipollini Onions and Bacon
Source: NYtimes Cooking
1 pound cipollini onions
2½ to 3pounds quince peeled, cored, cut in 1-inch chunks
6 tablespoons pure syrup
½ pound thick-cut bacon
4 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil, add the onions, turn off the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss quinces with half the maple syrup and spread in a single layer in a large baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, until tender. Peel and trim the onions. Quarter large ones; cut small ones in half. Fry bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add onions to the pan and sauté on medium until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Cut bacon strips in ¾-inch pieces. Add to pan with onions. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining maple syrup and the vinegar. Fold in quince. Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Add parsley and thyme. Gently fold ingredients together. Cook a few minutes, then serve warm.
Carrot, Kale, and Potato Hash
4 carrots, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ lb organic Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 (1-lb) pkg organic chopped kale
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
12 large egg
Cook carrots, onion, garlic, and potatoes, covered, in 3 Tbsp hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook 5 minutes or until browned. Add kale, broth, basil, and ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Sauté 15 minutes or until kale is wilted and vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Crack 6 eggs in skillet; sprinkle with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper.
Cook 2 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Repeat with 6 eggs and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Top each serving of hash with 2 eggs