Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week Nine: Deep summer rain

I guess I've been saying this for weeks now, but I think summer has truly arrived in all its bounty. Plus, we got an INCH of rain at the farm on Tuesday night, which made the earth soft for digging carrots and made all the plants really perk up and start growing. With this and the heat, I think we're in great shape for the rest of the season.
In other wonderful news, we had a wonderful wedding at the farm on Sunday. Former farm apprentices Aura and Michael "picked" each other in a beautiful ceremony and celebration led by Anne and Paul. I worked with Aura and Michael for a few years and it was such a joy to be part of their special day and to celebrate their love for one another and for the farm. In the CFK this week we'll be making the same potato salad Cynthia and I brought to the wedding--yum yum. I guess it comes as no surprise that the farm is an idyllic setting for a wedding and reception, and it was fun to spend time with other farm apprentices and to meet Aura and Michael's families.
Tuesday and Wednesday were good work days out at the farm. Tuesday was spent harvesting parsley and tomatoes and working on weeding chores. Wednesday was so busy trying to bring in all the gorgeous crops--it took Rebecca all morning just to rinse the Swiss chard--2 lbs per share is a lot!
Here's the share:
Tomatoes - 1/2 lb
Lime basil - 12 tips
Summer squash - 4
Garlic - 1 bulb
Potatoes - 1 box
Swiss chard - 2 lbs
Cucumber - 2
Carrots - 1 bunch
Radish - 4
Lettuce - 3 heads
Parsley - 1 bunch
Arugula - 1 bunch
Green onions - 5

Arugula and Potato Salad from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 11
Chard Cheese Bake from Laurel's Kitchen p. 192 (with Vegan option)
Lime Basil dressing - I just made this up to showcase this unique and delicious flavor. Goes well on radishes!
Roasted Carrots with Rosemary - I learned this simple recipe while working at Pendle Hill. Always a hit.
Oven Baked Zucchini Fritters - adapted from a few different places including this site. You all enjoyed those veggie burgers a few weeks ago; hopefully these will be just as tasty!
Oh Be Joyful! Salad with lettuce and spring onions
fresh cucumber and tomato
sliced radishes to be used for topping salad, spread with butter, or marinated in the lime basil dressing.

Phew! We'd better get busy...!

We're happy to welcome guest chef (and Eliza's sister) Nell to the kitchen this week. Last year around this same time we had help from her and it was great fun. Hooray!

Pictures: 1. Newly-weds Aura and Michael PICK each other! 2. Idyllic wedding at the farm 3. Becky stirs zucchini and onions for last week's pasta dish 4. Eliza preps radishes 4. We have a full car of veggies. Note that we re-use boxes from the Ypsi co-op...none of our vegetables come from California! 5. Colorful radishes and cukes ready for their dressing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Week Eight: Buried Treasures

What a lovely and much-needed rain shower we got in Ann Arbor this morning! I don't know how much rain they got at the farm, but let's hope it was plenty!
We did a lot of digging this week: potatoes, garlic, and carrots are all coming out of the ground like buried treasure. Digging for potatoes is a challenging but fun job--after forking through the dirt and removing the withered potato plant, you have to dig carefully all around to ensure that you've got all the potatoes. Each one emerges like leprechaun gold--a delightful treasure! The garlic is another job--you can tell where they are from the stalks, but it's a trick to loosen them with the fork without impaling them. I'm getting better at this all the time! The carrots were tough to get out of the dry ground, but we had a big crew to work on that on Wednesday and the carrots themselves are real rewards for our hard work.
We also did the last major planting of the year on Tuesday: broccoli for fall harvest will be settling into the fields well with this rain. The summer crops like tomatoes and peppers don't like the cool weather we've been having, but other crops like beans and carrots are thriving. Hopefully the heat will come soon to bring on our summertime treats.
This week's bountiful harvest is:
Green Beans - 1 lb
Potatoes - 1 box
Cucumber - 1
Tomatoes - 4
Radishes - 10
Greens - 1 lb
Carrots - 1 bunch
Summer squash - 4
Garlic - 1 bulb
Lettuce - 2 heads
Parsley - 1 bunch
Arugula - 1 bunch
Basil - 2 tips

Pasta with Summer squash, Arugula, and Herbs from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 13 This dish is so light and summer-y, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Spicy Green Beans from Laurel's Kitchen p. 181. This is a new one for me, but I love the sound of green beans with cloves and cinnamon. Should be tasty!
Carrot Soup from Laurel's Kitchen p. 159. Well, while we're in the cookbook, let's use this recipe which should show off our orange beauties
Radish Cucumber Salad I was puzzled about these until I found this recipe!
Chard and Zucchini with Almonds Another web find, I'll be doing my own adaptation from these two sources.
Beauty of the Rain Salad with lettuce and arugula and maybe some carrots and radishes.

That's the lot! See you Friday!
Photos: 1. Megan, Ricardo, and Helen washing carrots 2. Luscious cucumbers 3. Colorful Pure July Soup from last week--yum!

Two Recipes by request

Hi everyone! Regular weekly update will be coming later today, but by request I'm posting a couple of recipes.

Firstly, here is the Fava Bean Guacamole recipe that has become so famous around the farm community. It comes from The Boxing Clever Cookbook by Jaqui Jones and Joan Wilmot. This British cookbook is quite hard to get ahold of in this country, so I think it's worth posting the recipe. The title of the cookbook is a reference to Box Schemes, a British version of a CSA--this cookbook should allow you to do your box scheme cleverly. It's a bit obscure, but a great cookbook.

Fava Bean Guacamole (Mary's adaptation)
2 c shelled fava beans - take off the outer shell for sure, but it is up to you whether or not you want to take off the inner shell. I don't usually bother, but you certainly could.
1 bunch fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic (or some garlic scapes!)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 small onion (spring onions work well for this)
1 small hot pepper, fresh or dried. I also sometimes use a splash of hot sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Steam or boil the fava beans until slightly cooked--this makes it much easier to remove the shells. Put garlic and onion into food processor and gradually add other ingredients to puree to a rough paste. Taste and adjust seasonings

Second is the Beet-and-Carrot Burgers that everyone has been raving about. This comes from Farmer John's Cookbook by Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics (subject of the recent film, The Real Dirt on Farmer John)
Beet and Carrot Burgers
1/2 c sesame seeds
1 c sunflower seeds
2 c grated beets
2 c grated carrots
1/2 c minced onion (I use the food processor to do all the grating and mincing)
2 eggs (we actually didn't use any eggs in the CFK burgers. Vegans might add extra flour or cornstarch for stickiness)
1 c cooked brown rice
1 c grated cheddar cheese (leave out for vegans--baking time will be slightly shorter)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c chopped parsley
3 T flour
2 T soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1/4 t cayenne pepper (this flavor doesn't come through until after the baking, so be cautious)

1. Toast the sesame seeds and the sunflower seeds in a dry cast iron skillet.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

3. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Shape patties and arrange on baking tray (suggest using your hands!)

4. Bake at 350 degrees until brown around the edges and not squishy in the middle, about 30 minutes or more depending on size of patties. You can turn them over if you'd like, but I haven't done that.

Yum yum!
Picture shows me taking the outer shell off the fava beans and leaving the inner shell!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Week Seven: Summer's bounty

We're looking at another great week here at the CFK with amazing vegetables simply pouring in from the farm. This is Blair's last week cooking with us, and we'll certainly be missing her and wishing her luck as she begins to work full time at the Greening of Detroit. We hope she'll be back as a pickling consultant later in the summer, though.

It's been a good week out at the Farm. We had a busy day on Tuesday harvesting green beans and parsley, weeding Brussels sprouts and carrots, and transplanting baby lettuce. The carrot weeding was tough because it's important not to disturb the plants too much in this hot, dry weather, so we had to leave some weeds in place--not very rewarding, actually! The Brussels sprouts job was much more satisfying. Wednesday was a very relaxed harvest day. We arrived early, but worked efficiently and finished all the harvesting quite early. But don't think this means we didn't get much food, because on the contrary it's a huge harvest.

Here we go:
Green beans - 1 lb
Carrots - 1 bunch
Radishes - 2
Basil - 2 tips
Tomatoes - the first two!
Swiss chard - 1/2 lb
Kale - 1/2 lb
Beets - 1 bunch
Garlic - 1 bulb
Cabbage - 1 head
Summer squash - 4 (!)
Arugula -1 bunch
Parsley - 1 bunch

I'm really excited about this week's menu:
Italian Zucchini Pie from Simply in Season p. 134. The cookbook claims that this is one of the best zucchini recipes ever, and after making it for dinner last night, I had to put it on the menu. Yum!
Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Beet Greens, Apples, and Raisins from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 69. This beautiful dish was a hit last year and I've been waiting to get some cabbage in this year to make it again.
Grated Raw Beet Salad from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 59 Another favorite from last year--tasty and unusual.
Pure July Soup from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 86 This soup recipe basically called for everything we have this week, so I have to make it, right? It looks really tasty, so I hope you'll enjoy it.
Spicy Crunchy Salad with Arugula and radishes and some grated carrots
We'll also be sending home the first taste of summer in the form of tomatoes and green beans for you to enjoy fresh. Mmmm.

See you Friday! Don't get stuck in Art Fair traffic!

Photo explanations: 1. Beautiful radishes at distribution time in the barn. 2. Colorful beets, carrots, and parsley ready to be made into last week's beet-and-carrot burgers 3. My dinner table with Italian Zucchini Pie 4. Blair grating carrots in the trusty food processor.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Week Six: Rockstar Veggies!

This week's vegetables are SO beautiful and glamorous--they can only be rockstars. Check out the pictures and see if you don't agree. :-)

It's good to be back, though I enjoyed my week's holiday very much. We had good sailing, though some days the weather was better suited to sitting inside reading, playing games, and making music. All of which are perfect vacation activities--I got a LOT of reading done. Ask me about The Wild Trees, a fascinating book about climbing redwoods--it's probably good that I didn't read this book BEFORE starting the CFK or I may have run away to California to go to grad school and study/climb tall trees instead! Other vacation adventures included kayaking when it wasn't windy enough for sailing, and capsizing my sister's sailboat on a VERY windy day.

Back at the farm, though, it's amazing how much changes in a single week. The mulberry tree is bearing now, and there are raspberries in the hedge-rows. Farmer Anne's brothers and sisters and parents are visiting for a family reunion, which adds to the party atmosphere. Her brother shared a delicious berry-topped pie with all the farm hands on Wednesday in honor of a family birthday. Yum! We got a lot of weeding done on Tuesday and had a relaxed harvest morning on Wednesday. It's good to be back.

This week's ROCKSTAR share
Summer squash - 3
Oriental Greens (arugula and mizuna) - 1 bunch
Swiss Chard - 1 1/2 lbs
Beets - 1 bunch
Carrots - 1 bunch
Lettuce - 2 heads
Green onions - 5
Parsley - 1 bunch

This week's menu - so, I'm super-excited about these recipes. I usually have four cooked dishes and a salad, but this week I decided to go for a larger quantity of each dish rather than doing an additional dish and having smaller quantities of each one. Let me know what you think about this change. I also like how Blair made the recipe titles bold, so I'm doing that too. :-)

Split Pea and Zucchini Soup from The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook p. 30 This recipe's delicate flavor has made it popular in the past two CFK seasons.
Baked Beet-and-Carrot Burgers from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 60 This veggie burger recipe sounds incredible.
Mediterranean Summer Greens Sauce from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 86 Complete with olives and capers, this versatile sauce should be delicious.
Rockstar Salad with lettuce, green onions, arugula and mizuna, and grated carrots.

That's all for this week! See you Friday!

Photos: 1. Carrots fresh from the ground. 2. Helen shows off the rockstar beets. 3. Mary sailing! 4. Bob the cat thinks the pie looks delicious. 5. Carrots! 6. Chard! 7. Swiss chard standing tall in the field.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mary is out, carrots are in!

Greetings CFK devotees and members, guest blogger Blair here. While Mary is off sailing the ocean blue, or rather, some lake in Canada, I'm stepping in to give you all your weekly CFK news. After Cynthia and Michelle, two cooking regulars, harvested your shares this afternoon, the three of us met up in the bowels of the anthroposophical society, a.k.a. the CFK kitchen, and planned your meals for the upcoming week. It seems the sunny days that precipitated all this gloom were kind to the community farm of Ann Arbor, for thick and crunchy lettuce heads, juicy swiss chard, beets, carrots, and even a few early zukes are all on offer in this weeks cornucopia. To get right to the point, this week's share consists of the following:

15 Garlic Scapes (no, it isn't your imagination, the numbers continue to climb)
choice of 1 Zucchini or 1 bunch of Kale (we chose both)
5 Green Onions
1 1/4 lbs Swiss Chard
1 bunch Arugula
1 bunch Parsley
2 heads Lettuce
1 bunch Beets
1 bunch Carrots

And what scrumptious dishes will we be creating in Mary's notable absence?
Fear not, for Mary left us well supplied not only with a fair share of kitchen wisdom, but also with an army of cookbooks and past recipes. We weeded through all of these sources and finally whittled down this week's menu to the following 5 dishes:

Shredded Beets and Greens Slaw with Mandarin Oranges (Michelle says this dish from Greens Glorious Greens was a huge success last year)
Garlic Scape Soup (a recipe from Supernatural cooking by Heidi Swason, we're thinking this creamy (vegan!) soup will show you once and for all that there is no end to the goodness and possibilities when it comes to garlic scapes)
White Bean and Carrot Hummos
(We're using parsley and white beans to make this carrot spread into a CFK original)
Kale and Swiss Chard Sautée (Cynthia found this recipe in Green's Glorious Greens, and we're hoping that between the crunch and heat of hot peppers and chard stalks, you're going to be thinking twice about what's waste and what's good for eatin'.)
Castaway Salad: Arugula, lettuce, Green Onions, Toasted Almonds, and Strawberry Vinegarette (named in honor of Mary's vacation, we couldn't resist showcasing this spicy mustard green alongside the sweetness of green onions and strawberries.)

And that's just about everything that will be coming your way this Friday from the CFK. We're looking forward to cooking for you all, rest assured that your produce is in good hands!