February 9, 2021
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Beets, Turnips, Rutabaga, Oranges, Kale, Parsley and Broccoli
Bread this week: Rosemary Foccacia or Whole Wheat-your choice of one
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This Week on the Farm
Last May Ali and I planned, reviewed, increased our numbers, shifted varieties and planting dates so that we would have tulips for Valentine's Day. We have been growing tulips for the past ten years and continue to learn something new every year. We used to make our orders so that we planted the bulbs all at once on arrival in the fall. Come February we would be stressed, pulling our hair out trying to harvest and sell....all those tulips all at one time. We now plant about 1000-1500 every other week from November to January. This year we planted 7000 bulbs, that once planted will bloom pretty much 10 weeks from planting time. Lack of rain changes the length of the tulip stem, as does warm weather.
Over this winter I read Tulipomania the story of the world’s most coveted flower and what a craze passion it aroused. A time in history when in Holland there became a craze known as Tulip Mania. The other night at dinner Zach was explaining the current craze with the stock market and the Game Stop phenomenon. How individual regular folks are getting involved with the stock market. I couldn't help myself in telling them about the stock market with tulip mania in 1637! It is a complex story, difficult to tell with so many details, but very similar what is happening now.
So here is the story in a bulb! The tulip is not from the Netherlands but of the mountains north of the Himalayas where China and Tibet meet Russia and Afghanistan. The wild hardy petals inches from the ground were blood red in color, and the Persians regarded these wild blooms the holiest of flowers. They were literally thought to be the flowers of God because in Arabic script the letters for “tulip” are similar to those in “Allah”. The first tulips that were found in tended gardens lived in Istanbul, and by 1559 found their way to Europe.
By 1568 Carlos Clusius established a hortus academia at the University in Leiden and described and cataloged the tulip, without which a trade for tulips could never have developed. These simple robust color schemes were cultivated in the Dutch Golden Age to become elaborately colored with flames, flares, streaks and contrasting color variations that were akin to magic. These tulips attracted attention not by the Turks and the Dutch; they became supreme among flowers in the mind of seventeenth century judgment. The tulip was God's chosen flowers.
The number of available bulbs were limited, as it took five years to cultivate from seed do flower and were only available to the privileged or influential. They were coveted, thus they became expensive, and because they were expensive they became increasingly lucrative to grow. By 1635 the very first florists came into being, they were not interested in growing the bulbs, but to making a profit from buying and trading tulips. People from all crafts joined the bulb trading, compared to insane wages with eighty hour work weeks the number of people attracted to trading increased, and so did the prices. A single bulb of the most celebrated tulip was worth the sum that could feed, cloth, and house a Dutch family for half a lifetime. Everyone became a bulb trader! Tulip trading season was from June through September when they were lifted from the ground until planting in the fall. For florists this was too limited so the trading progressed to buying and selling what we know as “futures" while the bulb was still in the ground. This was the first futures market where anyone could trade, not just the high ranking merchants and stock exchange specialists. Payment for bulbs were whatever was their craft; looms of weavers, houses, farm animals, crops, entire gardens. At the height of tulip mania bulbs were changing hands as often as the times in a single day, the price rising from each deal. February 1637 the great crash began, lasted a few days and the tulip market simply ceased to exist.
The story today is that the Dutch dominate the tulip production of the world ---and every year we plant thousands of bulbs for cutting. We pay up to fifty cents per bulb which we feel is a lot of money for a flower that we only cut once. We pull up the entire bulb when we harvest them, cut the bloom off, compost the bulb and buy more from the Dutch for next year, And the tulip has secured it's future by continuing to be the supreme flower holding the key to our hearts and manipulating us to cultivate this little brown bulb the world round. Happy Valentine's day~Annie
Parsley Pesto Pasta
1 lb. fettuccini
1 bunch Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Rinse the parsley well and shake off as much water as possible. Remove the leaves from the stems and place them into the food processor. Also add the garlic (peeled), parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Pulse until there are no large chunks of garlic left. Slowly add the olive oil through the spout on the lid as you continue to pulse the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and pulse until smooth. Taste the pesto and add salt to your liking. I added 1/4 teaspoon. You want the pesto to be slightly saltier than you’d think because it will be spread out thin over the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (this can done while you make the pesto). Before draining the pasta, reserve about a half cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta, let cool slightly (about 5 minutes) and then return it to the pot. Add the pesto and stir to coat. If the pasta becomes dry, clumpy, or sticky, use a small amount of the pasta water to help loosen it up. Serve warm!
Quick Orange Chicken and Broccoli
2 medium oranges
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (optional)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups broccoli florets
Zest and juice the oranges. To a medium bowl, add 2 teaspoons orange zest and 1/2 cup orange juice. To the bowl, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, crushed red chili flakes (optional) and cornstarch. Whisk together the sauce then set it aside. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes. (If the broccoli has been blanched, reduce the cook time to 1 minute.) Add the prepared sauce and bring it to a boil until it has thickened and is syrupy in consistency, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.
Rutabaga or Turnip Puff
2 medium rutabagas, peeled and cubed (about 6 cups)
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the rutabaga until it’s very tender. Drain and mash in the pot with a potato masher, adding the butter and some salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly, and preheat the oven to 350F. Add the eggs to the rutabaga and mix them together well. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and nutmeg; stir into the rutabaga. Scrape into a shallow baking dish, smoothing the top. Stir together the crumbs and butter and sprinkle overtop. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until slightly puffed and golden. Serves 6-8.
Roasted Balsamic Beets and Rutabaga
3 medium-sized red beets
3 medium-sized golden beets
3 medium-sized rutabaga
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 TB balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Scrub the beets and rutabaga. Lop off the ends, and peel away the skin with a Y-Peeler or sharp knife.
Starting with the rutabaga, use a mandoline slicer and slice them all up. Place in one pile. Repeat the process with the golden beets, and finish with the red beets.
Place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a 6.5-inch cast iron skillet. Place alternating slices of beets in a straight line down the palm of your hand. I could fix about six at a time. Place them around the edge of the pan in a tight spiral. Keep working until the pan is filled. When you are done, go back and insert extra slices to make the arrangement tight. Once done, slightly press down on the top to make sure all of the slices are wedged in. Drizzle with more of the olive oil, season with some salt and pepper and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400. Once preheated, place the skillet into the oven to bake for an hour, checking on it every 15 minutes to ensure the tops are not burning. Drizzle again with a little more olive oil if any portions of the tops start to look singed. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately straight out of the pan with crusty bread or focaccia and a glass of red wine.
Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
Carrot Ginger Dressing
½ cup chopped roasted carrots, from 3/4 cup raw carrots
1/3 to ½ cup water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons minced ginger
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 batch Roasted Chickpeas
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, grated
1 small red beet, grated*
½ watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
1 avocado, cubed
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
¼ cup pepitas, toasted
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing and roast the chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with pinches of salt and pepper. Place the carrot pieces for the dressing in their own corner on the baking sheet to roast alongside the chickpeas. Roast for 25 to minutes or until the chickpeas are browned and crisp and the carrots are soft. Set the roasted chickpeas aside. Transfer the carrots to a blender and add the water, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and salt. Blend the dressing until smooth and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Place the kale leaves into a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and a few pinches of salt. Use your hands to massage the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half. Add the carrot, beet, watermelon radish, half of the cubed avocado, cranberries, pepitas, a few more good pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and toss. Drizzle generously with the carrot ginger dressing. Top with the remaining avocado, more dressing, the roasted chickpeas and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Season to taste and serve.