March 10, 2020

What’s in this Week’s Box

VEGGIE BOX: Kale, lettuce, Oranges, Asparagus, Oregano, Cabbage and Fennel

 

Some Dates to remember:

 

Plant Sale April 18

Mothers Day Hats & High Tea May 9

Mother’s Day Garden Tour May 10

 

 

 

This Week on The Farm

This last week or so, as I drove the truck around Davis and Sacramento, the radio news was consumed by Corona Virus updates.  Starting in China, and now quickly moving across the globe, and into our own neighborhoods.  It is a scary thing trying to stave off a threat you cannot see, and can turn the most rational human towards panic after just a few short weeks listening to the news.

Personally, I have a hard time figuring out how to respond to the news. What do we do, other than frantically washing our hands every 3 minutes? Do we shut down our public meeting places? Do we cancel the markets?  Do we avoid contact with all others? Most importantly, how long do we keep it up? How long do we shut down our lives, our economy?

Then yesterday, I was out weeding my spring flower beds (still) and I realized that what we do, is keep doing what we do. The plants and weeds are continuing to grow, the birds continue to sing, and the sun continues to shine. I am blessed to be able to work in an isolated location, without much threat of the virus, growing good food to feed my community and help build up all our immune systems. UC Berkley, and Stanford have closed, one of our vendors who sends our produce to the bay area is losing sales, but we will keep growing our veggies, tending our flowers, and working to get those vitamins and minerals to our friends.

I find it to be a rare gift to be able to help supply a community with really good clean food, and it feels ten times more profound to be able to do it when life gets scary. When going to the grocery store is scary, but maybe getting your CSA box from your local drop point isn’t. 

Therefore, life goes on as close to normal out here, as I walk down the path out to the fields, the peach trees are blooming and you can hear the clank of ladders as Francisco’s son Arturo helps us prune the trees. The fig trees are pushing leaves, the mulberries have big fat berries forming up for a May harvest. My dad has been planting the last round of winter veggies; Leeks, broccoli, beets, carrots, lettuce and other greens. We even got a SUPER early planting of sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos thanks to the warm and dry February. I am also proud to report that I am finally getting to the other side of the weeds in my spring flowers, and it is SO satisfying. They look so clean and happy! The bees and birds are filling the air with their music, and the dogs can be found running around the green grass, or fast asleep with their bellies up to the sun. Life on the farm is pretty magical when you turn off your brain, and just take in all that is happening here.

Be safe out there this week, eat your veggies, drink your vitamin C, and I guess sing happy birthday twice every time you wash your hands! ~Alison

 

Thai asparagus with crunchy noodles

asparagus 2 bundles

garlic 1 clove, crushed

bird’s eye chilli 1, finely chopped

limes 2, 1 juiced and 1 quartered

shallot ½, finely sliced

sugar a pinch

fish sauce (or soy sauce for veggie option)

olive oil

mint a small bunch, chopped

coriander a small bunch, chopped

oil for frying

ready-to-wok noodles (ideally egg noodles) 150g

 

Trim the woody ends off the asparagus and put the spears in a frying pan, cover with boiling water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the asparagus is tender: how long this takes will entirely depend on the thickness of the spears. If you lift a spear up by the stalk end with tongs it should bend a little. Rinse in cold water and drain. If they are large then cut them in half once cold.

Meanwhile put the garlic and chili in a jug with the lime juice, shallot and sugar and a good shake of fish sauce and stir them until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and some of each of the herbs.

Heat 1cm oil in a wok until it is very hot, the oil should look shimmery, and add the noodles. Fry them until they puff up, turning them over to cook them on both sides. You don’t want them to brown, just puff. Drain them on kitchen paper. Wipe the wok out and fry the asparagus spears just long enough to warm them through, tip them onto a serving plate and break over the noodles, scrunching them between your fingers. Spoon over the dressing followed by the remaining herbs. Toss everything together at the table so the noodles remain crunchy.

 

Sautéed Cabbage with Fennel and Garlic

1 small head savoy cabbage (1 1/4 pounds), cored and sliced thin

3 tbl extra-virgin olive oil

1 fennel bulb, fronds minced, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and sliced thin

Salt

2 garlic cloves, minced to paste

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tbl grated Parmesan cheese

 

Place cabbage in large bowl and cover with cold water; let stand for 3 minutes. Drain cabbage well and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add fennel bulb and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer fennel mixture to small bowl.
 Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil, and heat until shimmering. Add cabbage and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, without stirring, until cabbage is wilted and lightly browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.
Stir and continue to cook, uncovered, until cabbage is crisp-tender and lightly browned in places, about 4 minutes longer, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in fennel mixture, reserved fennel fronds, and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste, transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve.

 

Hanger Steak with Orange-Oregano Chimichurri

1 1/2 pound hanger steak, center membrane removed, cut into 4 pieces

1 small garlic clove, grated

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

2 teaspoon vinegar (red wine, cider, or white wine)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided

 

Remove steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Combine garlic, oregano, and orange zest in a medium bowl; using the back of a spoon, crush with ¾ tsp. salt until fragrant. Mix in parsley, orange juice, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil until emulsified; season chimichurri with salt and pepper.

Season steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks and cook, turning once, until browned and medium-rare, 4–6 minutes per side. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve steaks with chimichurri.

 

Lemon-Garlic White Bean, Kale and Fennel Soup

1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 C Yellow Onion diced, about one medium

1 C Fennel Bulb* (see note) fronds trimmed and reserved, bulb sliced thin and chopped, about one large fennel

2-3 tsp Garlic minced, about 4-5 medium cloves (I like 3 tsp - but keep it milder with 2 tsp)

1/2 lb Bunch Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale stems removed, and chopped into bite size pieces (about 1 big bunch)

2 C Cannellini Beans (aka white kidney beans) cooked, or one can, rinsed and drained

4 C Vegetable Broth

1 C Water adjust up if a souper soup is desired

2 Lemons

Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

 

In a Dutch oven or medium stock pot, add the olive oil. Heat to shimmering and stir in the onions and fennel. Cook on medium low for about 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the onions and fennel have softened. 

Add the garlic and kale, and a pinch of sea salt. Cook on medium low until the kale is wilted, stirring a few times, about 3 minutes. 

Add the beans, broth and water, stirring gently so the beans don't break. Bring to a simmer, then turn to low. Cook to warm through about 5-10 minutes. 

Finish with a squeeze of half a lemon, plenty of fresh ground pepper and fine sea salt to taste. Serve with more lemon and chopped fennel fronds.