March 21, 2023
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Fennel, Cilantro, Oranges, Potatoes, Leeks and Chard
Bread this week: French Baguette OR Barbari your choice of one
~Good Humus Plant Sale~
Saturday April 15th time TBD
~Mother’s Day Hats & High Tea~
Saturday May 13th 2-5PM
If you are interested in joining us please email Claire for ticket availability as they are limited. See the website for more information on the event.
This week on the farm
Today may be raining again, but we had a couple beautiful spring days this week and last, which allowed us to get out into the fields and start doing some maintenance on the crops we planted in February. Rogelio, Jeff, Zach, and myself spent all last Thursday clearing out the weeds with our hula hoes, as the ground is still far too wet for tractor work. In the afternoon, Nolan and Zoe joined us in the fields, but quickly wound up in the fig tree prunings building forts and climbing the trees. Seeing them takes me back to my childhood here at the farm, which somehow I haven’t thought about for a long time. We used to run about every summer day finding adventure. One year a field got totally overrun with bull thistle (a thistle that is very thorny) and it must have been a wet spring then as well, because my dad didn’t mow it down. The thistles must have been 5 feet tall, and Zach made me and Claire wooden swords, and we spend what felt like weeks carving a maze of tunnels through the prickly plants. It was so much fun. Seeing Nolan and Zoe start to discover the farm and all the things that it can provide with a little imagination, it fills my heart.
Back to those 40 or so beds that we spent the day working on, we will have cabbage, bok choi, escarole, red lettuce, green lettuce, romaine, radishes, spinach, chard, dyno kale, red kale, collards, leeks, beets, carrots, and turnips, as soon as it starts to produce. This will be product to supply our market booth and CSA box, with possibly some left for wholesale for the next few months. The early spring planting is very important as it feeds the shoulder months before summer hits. Historically it is a challenging thing to accomplish because you have to seize the small window of opportunity that is usually given sometime in January or February, and if you miss it, the farm can face some serious issues come mid to late spring. This year, that is especially clear as we had a very brief period in February to plant, and luckily my dad had the experience to have beds prepped back in august – when the tractor could be in the fields. So come first of February all we had to do was clean out some weeds with the push rototiller (because it weighs a couple hundred pounds rather than a couple thousand) and then plant! Had we missed that window however, combined with no more than a couple days without moisture here since, we would be scrambling for product as we watched our fall planting dwindle with nothing coming in to replace it.
So spending last Thursday in the fields, caring for the plants that we got in, felt really great. Seeing the Spinach beds coming in really full, and eating a tiny little radish as it begins to get fat, clearing all the weeds from around the beets just before they get overtaken brought a sigh of relief. I can now start thinking that in two weeks we will have radishes, and possibly some salad mix or braising mix as we begin to thin out the plants we don’t need. In a few weeks after that we might start seeing some full size spinach and head lettuces’. My uncle Marty says “Life is good again”.
So it may be raining again this Tuesday, but spring is still creeping in, and soon it will be warm once more. Spring is my absolute favorite time of year –especially in a rainy year-the transition from hibernation to awakening of nature again is that much more satisfying. The spring flowers are exploding everywhere, birds are chirping and building nests, I might happen upon a little baby cotton tail or fawn in the fields, and the days have that perfect combination of fresh cool air and warm sun hitting your skin. So so good. Hope you have a great week!~Ali
Bulgur with Leeks and Swiss Chard
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium-size leeks, white and tender green parts chopped
1 lb. Swiss chard, stems cut into 1-inch pieces, leaves torn
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp.)
2 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup bulgur
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and chard stems, and cook 4 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. Add mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and chard leaves. Cover, and cook 5 minutes, or until leaves are wilted, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in broth and bulgur. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender. Remove pan from heat, and serve.
Fennel and Orange Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 large egg, separated
Creme fraiche, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, fennel and salt; whisk to combine. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture. Press and work the butter into the flour with your hands until the mixture has a shaggy texture and the butter pieces are no larger than peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, orange zest and egg yolk. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. Continue to gently fold the dough until it just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, making sure to scrape out all the contents of the bowl. Lightly knead the dough together until the ingredients are evenly incorporated and the dough is smooth. Using your hands, press the dough into an 18-by-3 3/4-inch rectangle. Cut the dough in half lengthwise using a bench scraper, so you have 2 long rectangles. Next, cut the dough every 3 inches crosswise, creating 12 small rectangles. Cut each small rectangle in half diagonally. This will give you 24 scones in the shape of a triangle. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between each. Brush the tops with the egg white. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through cooking, until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes. Serve warm with creme fraiche and jam.
Potato al forno
1 kg potatoes
2 bulbs of fennel
2.5 cups whole milk
1.5 cups double cream
6 anchovy fillets, in oil
8 cloves of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary,
6 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
1.75 OZ Parmesan cheese
Peel the potatoes and onions and trim the fennel bulbs, reserving any herby fennel tops for later. Finely slice the potatoes, onions and fennel just under ½ cm thick, with patient knife skills or, ideally, on a mandolin (use the guard!). Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pour the milk and cream into a pan. Tear in the anchovies, crush in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, add the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves and finely grate in half the nutmeg. Bring to a light boil on a medium heat, then immediately turn the heat off and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Fish out and discard the herbs, finely grate and whisk in most of the Parmesan, then taste and season to perfection. In a 9.5 x 11.5 baking dish, layer up the slices of potato, onion and fennel. Pour over the cream mixture and finely grate over the remaining Parmesan. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 45 minutes, or until tender and nicely golden. Remove from the oven, tear and scatter over any reserved fennel tops, and serve.
Cilantro and Orange Marinated Chicken
1 ½ cups Orange Juice
½ cup Soy Sauce or coconut aminos
½ cup Corn Oil
5 Cloves of Garlic minced
½ cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes more or less to taste
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts 2-3 pounds
Place all of the ingredients into a large container that has a tight-fitting lid, or a large zip top bag. Make sure that the chicken is fully coated and covered with the liquid and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours. Preheat your grill to medium heat (about 425°) for 10-15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the hot grill over direct, medium heat. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. If desired serve topped with additional cilantro and a drizzle of orange juice.
Fennel and Leek Soup with Potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 leeks - sliced, about 4 cups; white and light green parts only
4 cloves garlic - minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 fennel bulbs - sliced; about 3 cups
2 Yukon gold potatoes - cubed; about 4 cups
4 cups vegetable broth
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sliced chives
Warm the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Stir in the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional minute. Add the fennel, potatoes, and vegetable broth to the pot. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the soup from heat. Use an immersion (handheld) blender to puree the soup right in the pot. See notes for instructions on using an upright blender. Stir most of the heavy cream into the soup, reserving a few tablespoons to drizzle on each bowl of soup. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a drizzle of cream, and sprinkle with chopped chives. If your fennel bulbs came with their fronds, feel free to use those as a topping too. Enjoy!
Potato Leek Gratin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for greasing the pan
2 large leeks, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1½ pounds peeled Yukon Gold potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 thyme sprigs
1 cup heavy cream
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¾ cup Gruyère, grated
Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2-quart gratin dish. Wash the leeks to remove any grit and slice thinly crosswise. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the potatoes into rounds, ⅛-inch thick. Toss with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Layer the rounds in the gratin dish. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, remaining salt and pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until leeks are tender and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard thyme and scatter the leeks over the potatoes. Add cream, garlic and bay leaf to the skillet, scraping up browned bits of leeks from the bottom of the pan. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Stir in nutmeg. Pour the cream over the leeks and potatoes and top with the Gruyère. Cover with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Let cool slightly before serving.