October 20, 2020

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX:  Lettuce mix, Delicata Squash, Collards, Basil, Radish, Pomegranate, Eggplant

 

Bread this week:-your choice of one Rosemary Faccacia OR Puligese

 

 

This Week on the Farm

Tuesday morning once again. Generally Jeff and I are at the Ranch in Santa Rosa Sunday and Monday, a get away from the farm in Capay, a place to rest, restore, and work on new dreams of rejuvenating a farm that has been silent for a generation or so. My mind is still there on Tuesday mornings, and it takes time to shift back to this farm, the work of the day and the week we have just entered. When at the Ranch I walk the sidewalks that my great grandmother used, I am digging beds that my grandmother poured her heart and soul into. In the evenings I am reading her diaries about what varieties she had in the garden. I have so many memories of times spent playing in the corners of the house that my grandfather built and trying to imagine the original footprint, and the changes that have taken place since that constriction. There is a part of me that swirls in the history of this place, working with the generations of my family beside me who built, planted and tended this land and created such a magical place.

What I do there is work in the garden, I’m working with a new soil for me, a garden that has been growing for over a 100 years that has more tree roots one can imagine, and a duripan hardpan 12 inches or so below the surface, definitely not Yolo Clay Loam that goes so deep for roots grow into. I have vague memories of what the garden looked like when my grandma was alive, and what is left today feels like the bones of her time. She was, as I am, a plant lover, a flower grower and arranger, and in her 1956 journal she lists all that flowers she cut and sold to local florist shops. I’m cataloguing the plants that she has mentioned in her dozen or so diaries, researching them and seeing if they are still available in nurseries, as most are long gone from the garden. Many of the plants I started in my garden here in Capay, were taken from cutting or clumps from the Ranch. This weekend I dug up a long bed that used to line the permanent croquet court (now a lawn) that was once full of peonies. I removed what I term the place holder plants that were in this bed and brought back the white peonies that my grandmother planted and my mother removed and now I am returning peonies daughters-full circle! As much as I want to return some of my grandmother and the plants that she had in this garden, I find myself also wanting to make it into, can I say this “my garden.” Being a person that is always on the lookout for different varieties (there are so many possibilities), I am also bringing in plants that draw my eye, creating not a cutting garden but a place where the plants can help hold us and nurture us in this tranquil space.

But to be able to do this, we must leave Good Humus, and that is like leaving a milk cow that needs milking twice a day, feeding, tending and loving. It is hard to leave the farm, our doggies, kitties, the nursery of plants, and all the work that is not finished for the day or week. The only way that we can leave this behind is because first of all this time spent away really does fill Jeff and I with rejuvenation, but our two daughters are able to hold down the fort for us. They are taking on more and more responsibility of the farm, they are taking more interest is what this place takes to make it go. Claire lives here and is able to water the plant nursery twice a day, shut of irrigation lines, feed the animals, meet delivery trucks on Sunday and fend off any catastrophic event that may come up. If Claire is out for the weekend, then Ali will take care of things. And then on Monday morning Ali and Claire run the show when the crew arrives, what to harvest for this week’s CSA box, and executes the list of jobs so that we are ready to pack boxes Tuesday morning. We are usually available via phone to help make decisions, but ultimately, they are the ones on the job making the decisions. In writing this I am really trying to tell them; by writing to you all how much I appreciate what they are doing for us. It is a sacrifice, in that they can’t be care free on their days off, it is not necessarily going out to hoe the fields, but there is the milk cow lack of freedom that this farm takes to run and probably the one aspect that any young person struggles with in thinking about taking up the farming career. It is not an 8-5 occupation that you can walk away from once the work day is over. But that milk cow’s tender eyes, low mooing of contentment when milked feeling can be found from this farm, this land, it touches the heart strings that may not be easy to find in an “outside” job and it can go deep, it can pass from generation to generation that makes one just want to dig in the soil, plant and nurture just because it feels right. Have a Great Week~Annie

 

Delicata Squash Stuffed w/ Collard Greens

1 delicata squash

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 bunch collard greens

2 cloves of garlic, minced

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds and pulp. Drizzle the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the flesh of the squash is tender. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Wash the collard greens and cut out any thick stems. Slice the greens into strips, about ¼ of an inch thick. Blanch the greens in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove, drain and squeeze out any excess water. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil and minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the greens and pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Fill the cavity of the squash with the collard greens. Top each with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Season with salt an pepper to taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese begins to turn golden brown. Serve immediately.

 

Thai Spicy Eggplant with Sweet Basil

1 cup jasmine rice

2 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil

1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, or to taste

3 baby eggplants, cubed into bite-sized chunks

1 medium-sized onion, diced

1 medium-sized red bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 Tbs. white vinegar

3 Tbs. dark soy sauce, such as tamari

2 Tbs. dark brown sugar

20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

Cook jasmine rice according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet or wok-shaped pan over high heat. Add oil and crushed red pepper, and let sizzle for 10 to 15 seconds. Add eggplant, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and soy sauce. Sprinkle with sugar, and toss for 1 or 2 minutes longer.

Remove pan from heat, add basil leaves and toss to combine with eggplant. Serve over hot cooked rice.

 

Pomegranate Basil Mojito

5 whole fresh basil leaves

2 Tablespoons of pomegranate juice

Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

1 Tablespoon of maple syrup

1 ounce white rum (optional)

soda water

sprigs of basil

pomegranate seeds or raspberries for garnish

Tear up the basil leaves and place them in a tall glass.

Use a wooden spoon or "muddler" to gently crush the basil.  This releases the flavor from the leaves. Add pomegranate juice, lime or lemon juice, maple syrup and rum. Stir to blend in the maple syrup. Fill the glass with ice. Add soda. Garnish with a sprig of basil and a few pomegranate seeds or raspberries

 

Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Feta and Pecans

6 cups mixed salad greens

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup 4 oz. feta or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup pecan halves

1 cup balsamic vinaigrette recipe below, or your favorite

For Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar with sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil gradually (or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine). Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

For Salad:

Combine mixed greens in a large salad bowl with pomegranate seeds, feta/gorgonzola and pecan halves. Toss with half of vinaigrette before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding more of any ingredient or dressing.Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Walnut and miso filled eggplant with radish salad

4 eggplant

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup cooked brown basmati rice

2 green onions (scallions), sliced thinly

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon white miso paste

2 teaspoon light soy sauce

2 teaspoon mirin

Radish salad

2 lebanese cucumbers sliced thinly lengthways

1 Cup red radishes, trimmed, sliced thinly

2 tablespoon green onions sliced thinly lengthways

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoon light soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Walnut and miso filled eggplant with radish salad

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.Cut eggplants in half lengthways. Score a 5mm border with a small knife. Spoon out flesh leaving a shell. Coarsely chop flesh. Place eggplant shells on tray.

Heat oil in a non-stick large frying pan over high heat; cook chopped eggplant, walnuts, rice, green onion and garlic, stirring, for 5 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Add miso, sauce and mirin; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until eggplant is coated. Spoon mixture into eggplant shells. Roast filled eggplant for 25 minutes or until golden and tender. Meanwhile make radish salad: Place ingredients in a medium bowl; toss gently to combine.

Serve filled eggplant topped with radish salad.