November 12, 2019

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Lettuce, Beets, Bok Choy, Spaghetti Squash, Sunchokes, Cilantro and Pomegranates

What’s in your FLOWER BOUQUET: Marigolds, Chrysanthemums, Zinnias, Celosia, & Amaranth

What’s in your FRUIT BAG? Apples, Lemons, Pomegranates, Pineapple Guavas

 

This Week on the Farm

Once again it is the last week of the quarter.

Once again, we get the perfect chance to say thank you to everyone who has carried Good Humus on their collective backs through another season.  For the last 26 years, 104 quarters, 1248 deliveries, we have been filling boxes and bags, writing newsletters, fielding calls, initiating, receiving, and returning calls, and in so many small and large ways entered into relationship with the families who are our partners in this large local food enterprise.  Being a farmer can be a lonely experience in many ways, and it is with great pleasure that we look around us at the people we know and realize that over the years so many of them have come to us through the medium of our weekly box of vegetables and newsletter or bag of fruit.  The young Mom who once upon a time brought her children to our stand at the Davis Farmer’s Market and now tries to figure how she and her husband can eat it all, the grad student at UCD just looking for a healthy way to eat and a few years later feeds the food from our box to her young family, the couple who have learned how to lean on each other through the years who stop by at the Market or come to the Peach Party to share memories old and new with us, are just a few of the many relationships that mean we are never lonely and always feel useful.

Not the least of the benefits derived from this relationship has been the chance to sit down each week and to try to put into words what it feels like to live this life, to wake up every morning at Good Humus Produce.  Any time that I sit at the blank before me and notice a blank inside me, I can ask myself, “What would I want to hear from my farm?”  Usually, the answer is not long in coming, because in my world out here, the people who get our box are also asking for a little bit more.  In my world, as they eat our food, the people who purchase our box are also wondering what is it like this morning on the farm.  How are the tractors running?  Any new birds?  Did the dragonflies come back in August?  What’s coming up?  Tell me about the tomatoes….and so it goes, a never-ending source of questions that come up if I think about all of you and your interest in the farm.  On some occasions, the words running together on the page that create a picture of what is happening on the farm draw me deeper into a reflection that I may not have found but for the chance to stop and reflect on some part of the farm.  Coming to mind is the discovery of a nest of woodpeckers inhabiting a dead branch of a peach tree, and in the telling of the story of the relationship between woodpeckers and dead wood, coming to the deeper realization that there is an entire life system that cannot exist without dead limbs, and that death on the farm is nothing more than the transformation from one form of life to another.  Another is the watching through the years as outbreaks of green aphids on our cole crops are of shorter and shorter duration as the habitat and food sources for all the predatory insects improve and diversify.

Of course, writing the newsletter is not all fun and games.  One of the really unfortunate byproducts of writing to others is that there seems to be an internal editor that chooses what is suitable.  In today’s world we recognize that blithely giving away the troubles, fears and anxieties of our own making can be oppressive, nor do we want to reflect too deeply on much of the knowledge that we continue to accumulate during the political and social act of farming.  It reminds me of the story of the preacher who spent his career asking God to let him see the world through His eyes.  Finally God got tired of all the beseeching and gave the preacher the gift.  You can imagine the rest of the story and the sorry state of the preacher who got his wish.   I guess the lesson of that story for me is that knowing more about the worldly affairs of humankind isn’t necessarily most important, reflecting on and deepening my understanding of what I do know must be important,  and that passing on the full socio-political picture of what we see out here is not nearly as useful to our friends as the news that the world out here is very capable of the best kind of teaching and support of a life worth living.   From this farmer’s perspective, dependent on both the miracles of nature and the support of people for my livelihood, that is news enough.  Jeff

 

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

For the pad Thai sauce:

2 tablespoons tamarind paste (see Recipe Note)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons water, to thin

For the pad Thai:

1/2 medium spaghetti squash (from a 3-pound squash)

2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, diced

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 large eggs, whisked

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 scallions, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup bean sprouts, plus more to serve

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, to serve

Lime wedges, to serve

Cilantro, to serve

Red pepper flakes, to serve

Whisk together the tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar for the sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of water, to thin out the sauce. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds and whisk until everything is combined into a thin sauce. The sauce should taste very strong, but still palatable; add more water if needed to reach a good balance of tartness and pungency. Measure out about 1/4 cup to be used for this recipe; the remaining sauce will keep refrigerated for several weeks. Cut the squash in half; save one half for another purpose. Prepare the other half, either in the microwave (15 minutes) or in the oven (30 to 45 minutes). When cooked, shred the inside with a fork and set aside. You should have 3 to 4 cups of spaghetti squash tendrils. Toss the tofu in the cornstarch until all the cubes are evenly coated with a gummy layer of cornstarch. Set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients; make sure all the ingredients are prepped before you begin cooking. Place a large dinner plate next to the stove to hold ingredients as they come out of the wok. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a flick of water dissolves almost instantly on the surface. Add a tablespoon of peanut oil and quickly swirl the pan to coat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked tofu to a plate. (Adjust the heat as needed if your pan starts smoking.) Warm another half tablespoon of peanut oil in the pan and add the onions. Cook until the onions are just starting to soften and show golden color, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the tofu. (Adjust the heat as needed if your pan starts smoking.) Warm another half tablespoon of peanut oil in the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Whisk the eggs one more time and then pour them into the bottom of the pan. Cook, tilting the pan to create a very thin omelet. When the eggs are almost set, begin nudging and cutting them with your spatula to create big curds. Transfer the cooked eggs to the plate with the tofu and onion. (Adjust the heat as needed if your pan starts smoking.) Warm the last half tablespoon of peanut oil in the pan and add the garlic. Fry until the garlic is fragrant and golden, about 10 seconds. Add all of the spaghetti squash and spread into a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then stir the squash and spread it back out again. Repeat a few times until the squash is warmed and beginning to show golden, roasted color. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the pad Thai sauce around the outside edge of the pan, then stir it into the squash. Continue stirring until the sauce evenly coats all the squash. Give it a quick taste and add up to 2 tablespoons additional sauce if needed. Add the scallions and bean sprouts to the pan with the squash, and stir to combine. Add the tofu, onions, and egg back to the pan and stir to combine. Taste again, adding additional sauce if needed. Transfer the pad Thai to a large serving plate and top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and lime wedges. Serve immediately while still very hot. Leftovers reheat well and will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

RECIPE NOTES-Substitute for tamarind: If you can't find tamarind paste (or are in desperate need for pad Thai after the store has closed), you can substitute rice wine vinegar. The dish won't have quite the same pungency or pizzazz, but in a pinch, it works. SERVES 2 to 4

 

Sunchokes, Carrots, and Parsnips With BaconRoasted Beets, Carrots, and Jerusalem Artichokes with Lemon and The Greenest Tahini SaucIf you haven’t made The Greenest Tahini Sauce yet, thin some tahini with a combination of water and lemon juice. Grate ½ garlic clove, stir in, and season with salt.IngredientnServings: 4

  • 1 lb beets, peeled, cut into ½" wedges

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 lb carrots, sliced ¼" thick

  • 1 lb Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), unpeeled, sliced ¼" thick

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided, plus more to taste

  • 2 cups watercress, large stems trimmed

1/4 cup The Greenest Tahini Sauce

Roasted Beets, Carrots, and Jerusalem Artichokes with Lemon and The Greenest Tahini Sauce

If you haven’t made The Greenest Tahini Sauce yet, thin some tahini with a combination of water and lemon juice. Grate ½ garlic clove, stir in, and season with salt.

Ingredients

Servings: 4

1 lb beets, peeled, cut into ½" wedges

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 lb carrots, sliced ¼" thick

1 lb Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), unpeeled, sliced ¼" thick

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, plus more to taste

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided, plus more to taste

2 cups watercress, large stems trimmed

1/4 cup The Greenest Tahini Sauce

Cook Time: 30-60 min

Spice up your dinner with winter vegetable.

2 pounds sunchokes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch wedges

1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch diagonal pieces

1 pound parsnips, cut into 2-inch diagonal pieces

3/4 cup olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 shallots, thinly sliced (about 2/3 cup)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 500°F.

In a medium bowl, combine the suchokes, carrots, parsnips, ¼

cup of the olive oil, the salt, and the pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until lightly caramelized and tender, stirring once midway through cooking. While the vegetables are roasting, place the bacon in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shallots, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the bacon fat is rendered and the shallots are lightly caramelized. Drain, discarding all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Transfer the bacon/shallot mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Add the garlic, parsley, and sugar, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vinegar. Slowly whisk in the remaining ½ cup olive oil, and set aside. Transfer the roasted vegetables to the mixing bowl, and toss with the vinaigrette to combine. Serve warm.

 

Roasted Beets 'n Sweets

"Beets baked with sweet potatoes and onion makes for a colorful, delicious fall or winter side dish."

6 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

3 medium sweet potatoes cut into chunks

1 large sweet onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in single layer on a baking sheet. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and sugar in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Servings: 6

 

Soufflé Pancake with Caramelized Apples

This dinner is the form of dessert was often on our table during the chilly winter my husband and I spent on the west coast of Ireland. ~Deborah Madison

The Pancake

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons organic sugar

3 eggs

¾ cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup flour

The Apples

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tart apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons whisky or bourbon

Aged Cheddar or aged Gouda cheese thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet, brushing it once around the sides. Put the remaining pancake ingredients in a blender, add the melted butter, and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides once. Or mix everything together by hand. Let the batter rest while the oven heats. Melt the butter for the apples in the same skillet, sprinkle on the sugar, and then add the apples. Cook over high heat, flipping them in the pan occasionally until they begin to caramelize, after several minutes. Lower the heat once the apple slices begin to color, turning them with increasing frequency until they are richly caramelized. Raise the heat, add the whiskey, and bring careful to stand back a bit, tilt the pan so that it will flame and burn off. Pour the batter over the apples and bake until golden and puffed 20-30 minutes. Serve immediately from the pan with the cheese laid over the top. From Deborah Madison’s book Seasonal Fruit Desserts