Hope you had a wonderful long weekend and are well rested for the week ahead! The cooler mornings are nice and the occasional use of a sweatshirt to do the animal chores in the morning and evening is a welcome feeling. There is this huge rush in the spring and then run into summer and then somewhere in September, the rush is still there but not the run because we know that seeding and transplanting is slowing down and plants are growing slower except for our cooler weather crops which are loving the cooler morning temps. We welcome the rain whenever we can get it. I can’t believe it’s already September – wasn’t it just May? We have harvested tons of food so far this season.
We are busier than ever here. Just when you think you are caught up, something else needs tending or harvesting. We are in full tomato and ground cherry season. The beans have given a new flush of beans. The onions are the biggest we have ever had them. Lettuce should come back next week. The winter squash, leaks and shallots are all sizing up nicely. This week will be the first week of Red Russian Kale. We decided to do Kale and Chard in the late summer early fall instead of overloading in the spring this year. We are processing many meat birds on tuesday so if you would like to buy a bunch and cut them up and freeze them for winter, this would be a great time to stock up. Tomatoes can be frozen whole – just put in a freezer bag – when you are going to use them put them frozen is soups or defrost and their skins will pop right off. Peppers can be frozen either chopped or taken the seeds out of them and frozen whole.
Ashlyn is back at Sterling College now and Mary Kelsey is back in South Carolina getting ready for her year in Spain teaching. We are very thankful for their hardwork, care, patience, and love during their time here on our farm and our community. We wish them the best of luck on their next adventures. This past week, a former volunteer from earlier this summer, Joshua – has come to be on the farm full time through October. He is from all over as he tells us and most recently from the state of Georgia. His family has a long history of visiting Grand Isle and his grandfather still lives here over on the east shore. We welcome Joshua to our little farm.
We have included ALOT of recipes for eggplant, tomatillos, and ground cherries;) To try to make up for the lack of journals the last few weeks;)
Big shout out to our volunteers~ we love you and are so grateful for all the time you dedicate to our farm. If you find free time on your hands this week we always welcome volunteers!
Have a great week.
We’re glad to be farming with you this season and hope that the CSA brings some joy to your Monday routine.
Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie, Delia, and Josh
What’s in the share this week:
This list is what is in a full share this week. Things may change between Monday and Thursday and Individual and Salad share will get differing amounts and may not get everything on the list. Green beans, onions, tomatoes, tomatillo, cherry tomatoes, ground cherries, eggplants,red russian kale, hot peppers and sweet peppers.
Farm Fresh Raw milk for Sale
We are very lucky to have two milking cows – Annie and Maggie – who both give us plenty of milk each and every day and we would like to share that with you and anyone else who would like to have raw milk. We sell it $5 a half gal. We also can do a sliding scale if needed for the milk. You can buy milk at CSA pickup or anytime out of our barn fridge next to our house at 34 Quaker.
Eggs for sale
We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown eggs– with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you have ever seen. The eggs are $6.00 a dozen. $3.00 half dozen
***FRESH CERTIFIED ORGANIC whole CHICKEN AVAILABLE at the FARM TODAY $5.75 pound***☺
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce with Greens
adapted from a recipe in the newest Joy of Cooking
This sauce would be great on grains, meats, as an enchilada sauce, or thinned with stock into a soup…Roast in an oven that’s preheated to 400 degrees in a single layer on an oiled baking pan for 15-30 minutes, until nicely browned:
husked and rinsed tomatillos
1-3 spicy peppers such as anaheims, hungarians, or other, seeded
1-2 leeks, white parts only, or an onion or two, quartered
6-12 cloves of garlic
Place the vegetables, including the juices, in a blender or food processor along with:
Several leaves of chard or spinach (optional)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup stock (vegetable or chicken) or more as needed
S & P to taste
Pulse until smooth, adding more stock of necessary to make a medium bodied sauce. Reheat gently in a small saucepan and serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Before using, peel off the husks and rinse to remove the sticky residue. Other than peeling off the husk, do not peel the green skin.
Tomatillos are traditionally used in three ways — raw, boiled/blanched, or roasted/grilled:
Raw – Uncooked tomatillos add a fresh, tangy citrus-like flavor and are often used raw in Mexican table sauces. Finely dice or puree them.
Blanching – Mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in a sauce recipe.
Fire roasting – Leaving slightly blackened skins on enriches a sauce with a smoky, woodsy flavor. Can roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill or a gas burner. Make sure the heat is quite hot, otherwise the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.
LOOSE TOMATILLO SALSA RECIPE:
I roast them, along with onion, garlic, tomatoes and poblanos to make a roasted chile salsa, with toasted then soaked dried chiles (guajillos, anchos, negros, chipotles–mix ‘n match). Puree it all with some cider vinegar, lime juice, salt and cilantro, then slow cook the puree for a couple of hours. Awesome
Kale with Smoked Salt and Goat Cheese
from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
serves 2, can be doubled
1 large bunch of kale, any variety (about a pound)
2 Tablespoons robust olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Smoked Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh bread crumbs made from a large slice of country bread, crisped in olive oil
Apple cider vinegar, to finish
Pull or slice the kale leaves from their ropy stems (if they have ropy stems). Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the sea salt and kale. Cook until tender, 2-5 minutes. Be sure to taste frequently so that you don’t overcook it. Drain, then chop the leaves coarsely.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last minute, then add the kale, Toss well and continue cooking until it’s heated through. Taste and season with smoked salt and plenty of pepper.
Pile the kale onto 2 plates. Crumble the goat cheese over the top, then drizzle with oil and add a pinch more smoked salt. Finally, cover with a shower of bread crumbs and serve the vinegar on the side.
Fragrant Broiled and Pureed Eggplant adapted from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider
This recipe suits any large eggplants – ones with a large proportion of flesh to skin. Season, broil until smoky and squishy, drain, and puree. Do not trim off the stems, which act as handles during preparation. Serve as a salad course, accompanied by olives, sliced tomatoes, and breadsticks or toasted pita triangles. Or thin puree slightly to offer as a dip with raw fennel and other vegetable strips. Allow to mellow overnight before serving. Mince feathery fennel tops to sprinkle over the dip.
3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground anise, fennel or allspice
about 2 Tablespoons flavorful olive oil
2 or 3 eggplants of equal size (to total about 2.5 pounds)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ Tablespoon kosher salt
about 1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt or a smaller quantity of thick drained (‘Greek’) yogurt to taste
Black pepper or ground hot pepper to taste
Preheat broiler. Cut garlic into long slivers or slices. Combine in cup with coriander, cumin, anise, and 1/4 teaspoon oil; mix well. With knife tip, cut deep slits in eggplants. Holding slits open with knife, insert garlic. When garlic is used up, rub eggplants with any remaining spice mixture. Place eggplants in a baking pan as far from broiling element as possible. Broil, turning once, until skin wrinkles and blackens and eggplants collapse – about 20-30 minutes, depending upon size of eggplants and type of broiler. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand about 10 minutes. Holding stem of one still hot eggplant, gently remove skin with a small knife. Discard skin along with stems. Place flesh in a strainer to drain as you peel remaining eggplant (s). Combine eggplant flesh, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to barely mix. Pulsing, gradually add yogurt to taste, then add remaining oil. Do not puree until smooth – some texture is nice. Scrape into a bowl. Add pepper and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate overnight. Season before serving, preferably at room temperature.
Grilled Eggplant Panini
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 1/2-inch slices eggplant (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
8 slices whole-grain bread
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
4 thin slices red onion
1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine mayonnaise and basil in a small bowl. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush both sides of eggplant and sprinkle each slice with garlic salt. With the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, brush one side of each slice of bread. Grill the eggplant for 6 minutes, turn with a spatula, top with cheese, and continue grilling until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is tender, about 4 minutes more. Toast the bread on the grill, 1 to 2 minutes per side. To assemble sandwiches: Spread basil mayonnaise on four slices of bread. Top with the cheesy eggplant, red peppers, onion and the remaining slices of bread. Cut in half and serve warm. Submitted by April Stearns
Layered Eggplant Casserole
from Recipes from America’s Small Farms
2-3 TBS vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 TBS milk
¼ cup all purpose flour, more if needed
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
4 ounces Monterey Jack or other cheese, grated
1 TBS unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart casserole. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl and spread the flour on a plate. Heat 1 TBS of the oil in large skillet. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, and then flour on both sides. Place the slices in the skillet in a single layer and fry until golden on both sides. Continue frying the eggplant in batches, adding oil as necessary, until done. Layer the fried eggplant, the onion, the tomato, and the cheese until they are all used up; the final layer should be the eggplant. Sprinkle any remaining flour (or use another 2 TBS of flour) over the top. Dot with the butter. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and the eggplant is tender. Note: instead of frying the eggplant slices, you can drizzle them with oil and bake them on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Eggplant Pulp Facts
from Recipes from America’s Small Farms
No one ever said eggplant pulp was pretty, but it’s a beautiful base for spreads and salads. To make it, just puncture a large eggplant in a few places and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Place it in a 400 degree oven until it’s soft and mushy – it’s usually ready in about an hour, but longer baking won’t hurt it. Let it cool completely, then scrape all the flesh off the skin. You’ll get about 1 ½ cups of pulp from a medium eggplant. Add whatever other vegetables and herbs you like – the eggplant’s mild taste and pleasant texture blends and binds other ingredients.
Eggplant Rounds with Cheese and Tomato Sauce
adapted from D. Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
6-8 eggplant rounds per person, grilled, broiled or fried (from the skinny asian eggplants, reduce number of slices if using the large purple ones.)
3/4 cup grated or sliced mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or goat cheese
about 4 cups favorite tomato sauce
chopped parsley or basil
Place the eggplant rounds on a sheet pan and cover with the cheeses. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Serve with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce on each serving and garnish with the parsley or basil.
By Laura Boyle
When I serve ground-cherry pie to my guests, the very few people who have ever tasted the treat before usually react with remarks like, “Oh, I remember when my grandmother used to make this,” or “My great-aunt baked these for special occasions!” However, most folks have never heard of—much less tasted—this delicious fruit. That always astounds me, because ground cherries have been included in our family gardens for at least four generations!
As a matter of fact, it isn’t even necessary to cultivate ground cherries, since they’re commonly found in fields, along roadsides, and in open woods and wastelands in every part of the United States except Alaska. (Not long ago I discovered a patch of the wild fruit on a grassy embankment just two blocks from my Minnesota home.)
These fast-growing species of the genus Physalis are also known as husk tomatoes, tomatilloes, strawberry tomatoes, bladder cherries, and poppers (the Chinese Lantern is a popular, non-edable ornamental variety). They belong to the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, tobacco, and nightshade.
The plants, while widespread, are usually not very abundant in the wild, so to assure a big harvest it’s best to cultivate them from seed, which can be ordered from www.seedsavers.org
Expect this garden crop—which prefers medium-dry soil—to sprout early and grow rapidly. It quickly puts out yellow flowers with brown or purple centers, and will continue to bloom and bear until the first frost. Around July, the fruit (which develops in a husk) will begin to drop to the ground and—even though it’s not fully ripe when it does so—you should gather the cherries as they fall, since they’re favorites of many animals and birds.
Inside the husk you’ll find a small berry about half an inch in diameter with a tomato-like skin that, when ripe, has a sweet flavor similar to that of a strawberry. The color of the mature cherry will vary from species to species: It may be yellow, red, purple, or brown. And (again, according to the species in question) it can be poisonous when green, so be sure to let the fruit ripen in the husk until it’s soft and sweet. (I have often stored the unhusked cherries for months. In fact, I was once able to prepare a fresh ground-cherry pie for Christmas dinner!)
I think husk tomatoes are as tasty as any fruit when simply served with cream and sugar, or with a good dry cereal. They’re also a delicious addition to vanilla ice cream, and can be preserved if covered with a syrup made of 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of water, and a little lemon juice, simmered until tender, and frozen.
To prepare a ground-cherry jam, crush 4 cups of fully ripe fruit so that each berry is broken, add lemon juice and a package of pectin, bring the mixture to a boil, stir in 4 cups of sugar, and reboil the jam for 1 minute. (The spread is a fine topping for buckwheat pancakes!)
But my favorite way, by far, to eat ground-cherries is in a pie. To make this festive dish, combine 2 cups of sugar with 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then, add 4 cups of husked, ripe cherries, 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour the filling into a 9″ unbaked pie crust, cover it with another sheet of dough, cut a few slits in the top for venting, and bake it at 350°F for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
As Grandma knew, this pie will turn even an ordinary meal into a very special occasion!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Folks who’d like to avoid using white sugar in the foregoing recipes can substitute honey to taste and thicken with cornstarch or—for jam—”Magic Pectin.”
Remember, never forage any wild plants without the aid of a local expert and/or a good field guide.