February 1, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Lettuce, Fennel, Oranges, and Eureka Lemons
Bread this week: Barbari OR Sourdough Baguette your choice of one
Late Lane Oranges ~ 5# for $9.00 or 10# for $18.00
Please place your order by 5pm Friday evening so we can have your order ready for Tuesday Feb 1st
This week on the farm
On Saturday night, in the midst of the changed world that is 21st century America, two families sat down to an evening meal together. Altogether, there were three generations and eighteen people gathered in two shifts around the table. Kids ate first shift, all eight together, none having yet graduated to the adult table time. While they ate, the smallish kitchen was alive and bulging with busy bodies. On a coolish evening, the single pane windows of the old farmhouse ran with condensation as the heat generated by the near critical mass in the kitchen reached its climax. Kid’s dishes came in helter-skelter, first round of dishwashing added to the heat and moisture, vegetables came from the oven, chicken from the barbeque, lettuce salad laced with carrot, turnip, kale and spinach, and then it was time to sit.
The thing about an old house, is that it has seen it all before. The floors, the walls, the windows and the furnishings all harbor the memories of so many family times, three, four, five or more generations of the many times the house rocked with the activity of the youngest or listened to the laughter and remembered scenery of shared times of the older ones. Upon reflection, it was quietly felt that because of various vicissitudes of life, it was the first time in a long time for the families gathered together and an even longer time for the walls of the house to resound with the energy and gaiety of home, family, friends and food. Thus, as we gave thanks together for the bounty of our farms and lives, for the opportunity taken to be together, and for the space in which to do it, I also silently remembered other grandparents, other parents, and other children gracing the rooms of this old home. That realization allowed me to put our celebration of family and friendship in its place in a long line of such gatherings, and it felt just right.
Strong wind this morning and everyone except me is out there in it. The wind whistles through the barn where the lettuce, cilantro and kale are being bagged, threatens those on ladders picking oranges and lemons, knocks out the tower on the hill that governs our communication, and twists huge old branches until they come crashing to the ground. There is nothing civil about the north wind, it is like a stubborn, cantankerous, bullying relative who refuses the folds of family to go his
or her own way. But it is worth remembering that it is in the family, and that the Central Valley, California and the world would be a different place without its mixing, cleansing and travel opportunities. This appears to be a pretty cold wind, which it should be on the first of February. As farmers, we have concern for the leaf burn on our winter leaves, the drying effects on the shallow rooted crops, and the strong likelihood of a cold snap following the dying of the wind. So far so good, our recently reroofed greenhouse is holding, branches above it are holding, and one giant olive branch broke off but missed our well piping by a foot or two. Close!
We are sending prayers for Francisco’s wife Elvia who is in the hospital in Mexico recovering from a near fatal heart attack. From her have come the strong sons and daughters that have helped us over the years, and that have gone on to become valuable members of our local communities. Francisco has been my field partner since 1978, and our families are intertwined. Well, have a good week. ~ Jeff
Fennel Gin Cocktail
For the fennel-infused simple syrup:
1/2 cup fennel stems roughly chopped
1/8 cup fennel fronds
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the cocktail:
3/4 oz lemon juice freshly squeezed
1 oz gin (I used The Botanist)
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz fennel simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 hefty dash Peychaud's bitters
1 fennel frond to garnish
At least a few hours before you intend to serve the cocktail, make the simple syrup by combining all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and place a lid on the pan. Leave to steep for 30 min. Let the syrup cool and strain it through a sieve. Discard the solids. Transfer it to a clean glass jar or bottle and store in the fridge for up to a month. To make the cocktail: Place a coupe glass in the freezer at least 10 min before you intend to serve the cocktail. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour the rest of the ingredients over it. Shake for 15-20 seconds. Double strain the cocktail into the chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a fennel frond and serve immediately.
Roasted Beet & Fennel With Orange Vinaigrette
Source: Walder Wellness
1 large bulb fennel
1 large golden beetroot
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup raw almonds
Zest from 1/2 an orange
Juice from 1/2 an orange
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt + pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Remove peel and ends of beet. Cut into an even 8 chunks.
Remove the stalks, fronds, and any dirty outer peel of the fennel. Cut into 8 similarly-sized chunks, like the beetroot. Place the chopped beet and fennel chunks onto a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt, using your hands. Spread the vegetables out evenly, allowing some room between each piece. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven for about 40 minutes, or until fork-tender and lightly browned. While the beet and fennel are roasting, spread the raw almonds in an even layer on a separate baking sheet. Place them in the oven for the last 12 minutes on the timer, allowing them to toast. They should be lightly browned and fragrant when done. Remove from the oven along with the roasted veggies. While the rest of the ingredients cook, wash the orange well and remove the zest from half the orange with a cheese grater or microplane. Set the zest aside – you'll use it to sprinkle on top of everything. Make the orange vinaigrette by squeezing the juice out of half the orange into a small bowl. Add the other dressing ingredients and whisk together well. Transfer the roasted beet and fennel to a serving dish. Top with toasted almonds, orange zest, and drizzle the orange vinaigrette overtop. Feel free to sprinkle with a little green as well – I just used the fronds from the top of the fennel! Serve immediately.
Lemon Kale Pasta
500 grams Fettuccine
2 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Garlic Minced
200 grams Mushrooms
½ cup Green Peas
3 cups Kale
2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
2 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt and pepper
1 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
Clean Kale under running water. Remove the stems. Chop them roughly. Sprinkle little salt. Toss well and let it rest while preparing other vegetables. Clean mushrooms and cut them into half. In a big pot bring water to a boil. Salt generously. Add the pasta and cook it al dente. While the pasta is getting cooked, In a pan heat butter and with little olive oil. When the pan is hot, add sliced mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms have softened and start browning around the edges. Add minced garlic. Fry for 30 seconds. Stir in peas. Squeeze the chopped kale well and add to the pan. Saute until kale has wilted and the colour has changed to deep green colour. About 5-6 minutes. Add drained pasta to the pan. Add lemon juice, Italian seasoning, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and ½ cup (more if required) of reserved pasta water. Toss everything until the sauce coats the pasta and the veggies well. Take the pan off the stove. Grated parmesan cheese. Mix everything well. Serve with more grated parmesan cheese on top.
Cilantro & Lemon Marinated Chicken Kabobs
Source: Taste of Home
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
2 serrano peppers, sliced
1 piece fresh gingerroot (1 inch), coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 medium sweet onions, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
In a large bowl, toss chicken with lemon juice and salt; let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place water, yogurt, herbs, peppers, ginger and garlic in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Stir into chicken mixture; refrigerate, covered, 2 hours.
Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Brush onions with 2 tablespoons oil. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 10-12 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.
Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Thread chicken onto six metal or soaked wooden skewers. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 10-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining oil during the last 4 minutes. Serve with grilled onions and lemon wedges.
BROTHY CHICKPEA SOUP WITH LEMON, FENNEL AND SUMAC
Source: Feasting at Home
1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked 8-24 hours (or sub 2 14-ounce cans, drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white or yellow onion, diced.
1 extra-large fennel bulb,chopped ( about 2 cups)
1 cup celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
4 cups veggie broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme or dill
2 bay leaves
2–4 tablespoons lemon juice
Garnish: fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley ( or both- even better), olive oil or zhoug sauce. Serve with pita bread, crusty bread or serve over cooked grains (like quinoa). All optional. If using dry beans, soak in a big bowl of water for 8 to 24 hours. In a large dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes, stirring, add fennel, celery and garlic, lower heat to medium and cook 3-4 more minutes until fragrant. Add broth, water, chickpeas, salt, cumin, coriander, optional sumac , bay leaves, and dried thyme. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer gently on medium-low for 25-35 minutes, or until chickpeas are tender. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and taste. It if tastes bland, it needs salt. Add the optional chili flakes. Divide among bowls and garnish with olive oil (or zhoug) and a generous amount of fresh herbs. Serve with pita bread or crusty bread, or ladle over a bowl of cooked grains (like quinoa).