April 13, 2021

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Spring Onions, Braising Mix, Oranges, Radishes, Lettuce, Asparagus, and Carrots

Bread this week: Round Lavain Or Whole Wheat-your choice of one

 

Plant Starts for all your home gardening needs

 

Orders need to be in by the end of the day today if you are interested in plant starts, and we will deliver April 20th and April 24th to your drop site.

 

 

This Week on the Farm

This has got to be a pretty short note, we have all hands on deck to thin and weed the collards, kale, chard, lettuce, cabbage, bok choy, beets, and carrots before the weed pressure is just too much.  We spent yesterday thinning out the tender collards, toscano kale and red chard which is really slow hand work, but the benefit is the braising mix in your boxes today.  Spring is such an incredible time in that things change so much faster than at other times of the year.  When the soil is rich, full of humus, watered and turned over, everything germinates, wanting to get in on the rites of spring.  We are proud of our weed seed bank (which is massive, equivalent to having about a million dollars in the bank) and the rate at which it germinates, and germinates and germinates in all its diversity and deep green vigor is a clue to us that there is nothing wrong with our soil.  If we stop momentarily while madly trying to rescue the small seedlings that we eat, it is vaguely possible to remember that weed life is good life for healthy soil, and why the heck don’t we make life easy on ourselves and learn to eat and use the incredible weeds that  are packed with what makes us healthy?  Ah well, that won’t happen anytime soon, although our cilantro and arugula, fennel and flowers are now a naturalized part of the weed mix.  But on a small farm that has elected to resist mechanization and hold to the human interaction with the life of the soil (Too cheap to buy the necessary technological wonders, and somehow continue to believe in the footsteps of the farmer on the land), the feeling of being overwhelmed by the fieldwork is so familiar.

            So, like many other years, we spend our spring days this year hoeing, thinning, watering, and repeating that process in endless rhythm.  It is comforting to know that this is something we’ve been doing for 40 years and are still here, because the sheer magnitude of the task is otherwise overwhelming.  But enough of that…..

            It is beautiful this spring, but so dry.  The hills have never turned green and tomorrow we get our first well test of the year.  It will not be good.  The spring weather and lack of summer rain is the secret to the agricultural uniqueness  of California, but summer irrigation and crop production comes at a huge price to the resources of this incredible place on earth.  Covid-19 stole the news releases for awhile, but the drought is back.  And though we have known for the last 20 years that there is likely to be increasing demand on our water in the years ahead, we have refused to moderate our greed for agricultural commodities and developed resources to feed our investors.  A water aquifer is a delicate thing, and when abused by dewatering, its capacity is reduced forever.  At current levels of development and water use in the teeth of a growing propensity for drought, there is little question of whether we will revisit the sad story of the abuse of the water system of the San Joaquin Valley, but only when we will.  Someday in the future, people will ask “What were they thinking of?”  I don’t have a reasonable  answer to that question, except that in my own way, like everyone else, I just kept trying to do the best I could.  My question to the future is “Was it enough?”  I am truly afraid of that answer. Have a great week ~ Jeff

 

Sheet Pan Chicken with Spring Veggies

1 1/2 pound chicken breast

1 pound asparagus

12 medium radish

1 cup chopped carrot

12 small new potatoes, red or white

Marinade

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried

1/2 teaspoon rosemary, dried

1/4 teaspoon sage, ground

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground

Preheat oven to 425* F. Line a large sheet pan with foil for easier cleanup (optional)  Whisk together marinade ingredients in a small bowl (olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper). Set aside half the marinade. Cut the two chicken breasts in half and toss them with half the marinade. Allow to marinate as veggies are chopped, or prep ahead and allow to marinate for up to a day for optimal flavor. Wash and chop veggies: discard the bottom inch of asparagus, then cut the rest into 1-inch pieces. Remove radishes from bunch. Peel and chop carrots into bite-sized pieces. Cut any potatoes larger than bite-sized in half. When ready to bake, add veggies to the prepared sheet pan and toss in the reserved marinade. Add chicken. Try to space all items evenly on the sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes, checking and stirring halfway.

 

Spaghetti with Braising Greens, Parmesan, & Lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1  tsp herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning blend

1 bag braising greens, finely chopped

½ cup parmesan cheese (for a dairy free option use vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast)

1 cup pasta cooking water

1 lemon

Sea salt to taste

Red pepper flakes to finish

4 oz dried spaghetti or capellini

Heat a large pot of water over high until it comes to a rolling boil. Add several pinches of salt then your pasta. Stir a couple of times then turn down the heat slightly. Cook according to the package directions or until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and set it aside before straining the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large skillet and set it over medium heat. Add the shallot and a small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the shallot softens and begins to turn brown. Add the garlic and the herbs de provence and cook for 30-60 seconds before adding the greens. Cook the greens, stirring regularly, for 3-5 minutes or until the greens have softened and reduced their size by about a third. Add the pasta water and parmesan to the greens and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until the pasta water and parmesan begin to thicken into a sauce, and then add your cooked pasta and the juice of half a lemon. Toss the pasta with the greens and sauce to warm it through. Taste the pasta and season with more salt as needed. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

 

Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Bars

For the carrot cake bars:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)

1 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded carrots

For the cream cheese swirl:

4 ounces cream cheese – room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg yolk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8x8 baking pan with non stick spray and set aside. Line the pan with parchment paper for easy removal. This is optional but makes the bars easier to cut. Prepare the carrot cake batter: Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish. In a medium sized bowl, add the melted butter and brown sugar and mix to combine.  Stir in the egg and vanilla.  Add in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and stir again until completely combined.  Fold in the shredded carrots. Set aside. Prepare the cheesecake swirl: In a medium sized bowl, add in the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until smooth and creamy. Layering the bars: Pour about half of the carrot cake batter into the pan and spread it out with a spatula. Then take half of the cheesecake batter and drop spoonful’s over the carrot cake batter. Don’t swirl yet. Drop the remaining carrot cake batter by spoonfuls around the cheesecake batter and then finish with drops of the remaining cheesecake batter. Then, take a knife and swirl around until the two are swirled together. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, the edges will be golden brown and there will be very little jiggle to the center.  Cool completely before cutting. Store airtight in the refrigerator. They are delicious from the fridge!

 

Radish chutney recipe/mullangi chutney

2 tsp oil

1 tbsp chana dal

1 tbsp urad dal

½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera

1 tsp coriander seeds

3 dried red chilli

3 clove garlic

1 inch ginger

1 cup radish / mulangi (chopped)

¼ tsp turmeric

2 tbsp water

small piece tamarind

½ tsp salt

for tempering:.

1 tbsp oil

½ tsp mustard

few curry leaves

pinch hing / asafetida

Firstly, in a tawa heat 2 tsp oil and add 1 tbsp chana dal, 1 tbsp urad dal, ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds and 3 dried red chilli. sauté on low to medium flame, until the dal turns golden brown. Now add 3 clove garlic, 1 inch ginger, 1 cup radish and ¼ tsp turmeric. Sauté for a minute. Furthermore, add 2 tbsp water and mix well. Cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes. cool completely and transfer to the blender. Also, add small piece tamarind and ½ tsp salt. Blend to a coarse paste without adding water. Now prepare the tempering, by heating 1 tbsp oil. Add ½ tsp mustard few curry leaves and pinch hing. Allow to splutter and pour tempering over chutney. Finally, mix radish chutney and enjoy with hot steamed rice, idli or dosa.

 

Spring Onion Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 pounds spring onions (or yellow onions), trimmed and thinly sliced

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

2 cups water

8 pieces crisp flatbread, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in salt, stock, and water. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree in a blender, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, blending until soup is smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls, drizzle with oil, and serve with flatbread on the side.

 

Asparagus & Carrot Stir-Fry in Spicy Orange Sauce 

28 Asparagus Spears,

8 Large Carrots,

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1-2 Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
3/4 Cups Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
2 Teaspoons Freshly Grated Orange Peel
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
1 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger

Stir orange juice, soy sauce and cornstarch in a 1-cup measure until cornstarch dissolves. Mix in orange peel. Set aside. Rinse and dry the asparagus & carrots. Cut the asparagus into approximately 1-1/2-inch spears. Cut the carrots into approximately 1/4-inch thick slices. Coat a non-stick deep frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and put over med-high heat. Add Sesame Seeds and Red Pepper Flakes to pan, stirring to toast for about 1 minute. Add carrots and stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Add the juice mixture, stirring to coat all vegetables, and cook for another 2 minutes.