Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BGF News 11/22/11

Blue Gate Farm News

Volume XVI, Number 2 – November 22, 2011

In this week’s box:
Baby Beets: Chioggia and/or Golden
Braising Greens Mix: Osaka Purple Mustard & Senposai
Broccoli: Marathon
Carrots: Bolero (orange), Napoli (orange), Parisienne (little orange), Red Dragon (red), Amarillo (yellow)
Chard: Bright Lights Mix
Chinese Cabbage (napa)
Hot Peppers: Ancho Gigantea
Kale Mix: Red Russian, Beira, & Beedy’s Camden
Shallots: Ambition (tan) & Prisma (red)
Sweet Peppers:asst
Sweet Potatoes: Beauregard & Georgia Jet
Tapestry Salad Mix

For those with the Egg option: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Cheese option: Blackberry-Sage infused Chevre & Classic Feta

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):   
Chorizo and Greens Quiche 
Creamy Braising Greens Soup
Roasted Baby Beets
Sweet Potato, Kale and Cheese Soup
Black Bean Soup with Pan-Roasted Poblano Peppers
Shallot Vinaigrette

Precipitation last month: .6”
Precipitation to date this month: Rain:2.25” (and counting)
Snow: 3.5”

What’s up on the farm?

Things are definitely slowing down as we reach the back side of November.  The majority of the garden chores are done, though there is still a lot of produce in the fields.  Our greatest challenge now is keeping the row covers on those crops and harvesting them for as long as possible.  After the surprise 3.5” of heavy, wet snow two weeks ago, all of the row covers were completely flattened so once the snow melted off we had to go out and reset nearly every hoop (that adds up to nearly 400 hoops).  It wasn’t a very pleasant job and we are really glad that that situation is a rare one!  And speaking of row covers and surprises, we were afraid the 20° lows last week would be too much for the Chinese cabbage so they were all harvested off and stored in the cooler.  That is why you are getting them in your boxes again this week, as there isn’t room to keep them all until the December delivery.  Our new favorite use of the Chinese cabbage is to shred it finely and add to homemade chicken soup at the last minute.  The added flavor and bulk puts it right over the top!  The cooler space issue is also why you are getting peppers this week.  There is only so much space, so you get to reap the benefits of our storage shortage!  The less-than-pleasant weather has encouraged us to get a number of indoor chores done as well, including re-claiming the sunroom from its mid-summer disaster status, book-keeping and even a little fiber spinning.

A few details on new stuff in the box:
Everything except the shallots and sweet potatoes can go into plastic bags and store in your produce drawers.
Hot Peppers: these are a poblano-type and are the peppers traditionally used for chile rellenos.  They are perfect for cutting in half, removing the innards and filling with cheese, rice, meat or anything else and baking.
Carrots: remove tops before storing them in a plastic bag in the fridge.  These cold-weather carrots are one of the favorite things that we grow all year.  You just can’t beat their sweet flavor.
Baby beets: yes, we know these are pretty small, but they are truly a gourmet treat at this stage (roots and leaves both) and we were afraid that the upcoming colder temperatures would damage them before the next delivery, so you get to enjoy them now.  The same is true with the broccoli, the heads are very young, but better to get a little bit to enjoy now than to lose the chance due to an overnight low!
Shallots: the grown-up cousins of onions, shallots have a rich flavor that really shines in soups, sauces, salad dressings and egg dishes.  Store in a cool, dark place with good air circulation.
Sweet Potatoes: sweet potatoes don’t like water, so for best storage, don’t wash until ready to use.  Store in a room-temperature area and unlike Irish potatoes, they don’t need to be kept in the dark.

Upcoming Events:
Downtown Winter Market: Friday & Saturday, December 16th & 17th, Capitol Square
Next CSA Delivery: Tuesday, December 6

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at http://beyondthebluegate.blogspot.com and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)

Chorizo and Greens Quiche
  Serves: 6-8
1 unbaked pie crust (homemade, bought, whatever you like)
1/2 pound chorizo (taken out of the casings if that's how you bought it)
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups roughly chopped greens (beet greens, radish greens, etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat your oven 375 degrees.

Place your pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Prick the bottom with a fork. Cover the dough with a sheet of parchment paper. Fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans. Place into your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes until the crust is a touch golden and partially baked. Take out of the oven, set aside to cool on a baking race. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.

In a large skillet oven medium heat, brown your chorizo, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

In that same skillet, over medium heat again, add your onions and cook until tender. Add your teaspoon of minced garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant. You can now add your greens to the mix. Salt and pepper to taste and then add in your crushed red pepper. Cook the mixture until greens are soft and softly wilted. Set aside to cool.

Now, in a large bowl, beat together eggs, egg yolk, milk, heavy cream, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Next, add the chorizo, greens, and cheddar cheese to the egg mixture and stir until combined.

Pour the mixture into your cooled, partially-baked pie crust. Place into the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the quiche is set in the middle. This will take about 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool five minutes before serving.

Creamy Braising Greens Soup
1  slice thick-cut bacon, diced
1  large onion, peeled and diced
1  large carrot, peeled and diced
2  cloves garlic, minced
1/2  pound sausage, dried chorizo or smoked sausage, diced
6  medium potatoes, peeled and diced
7 1/2  cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2  cups mixed braising greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens and dandelion greens, thoroughly washed, stems removed, and cut into very fine strips
1/2  cup heavy cream
1/2  teaspoon kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Coarsely ground black pepper
Sauté bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving drippings in pan. Crumble bacon when cool.
Add onion and carrot to pan; cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sausage; cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add potatoes and broth; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
Add greens, cream and salt and continue to simmer until soup is thoroughly heated, about 5 minutes. Add hot sauce, if using, and black pepper to taste.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with reserved bacon.
Recipe Source: www.relish.com

Roasted Baby Beets
2 pounds trimmed red and/or yellow baby beets or small beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large orange
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If using small beets, cut them into 1- to 1-1/2-inch wedges. Place beets in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes. Uncover and roast about 15 minutes more or until beets are tender; cool. If using small beets, peel the beets. (Baby beets do not need to be peeled.)
2. Meanwhile, using a small sharp knife or citrus tool, remove long shreds of peel from the orange, taking care not to remove the white pith; measure 2 tablespoons peel. Squeeze juice from orange; measure 1/3 cup juice.
3. In a glass dish, whisk together the 1/3 cup orange juice, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, shallot, and Dijon mustard. Add beets and orange peel; toss gently to combine. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Makes 8 servings.
Recipe Source: www.bhg.com

Sweet Potato, Kale and Cheese Soup
     2 medium sweet potatoes (3 cups diced)
     1 large onion, chopped
     2 cups water
     1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
     3-4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
     1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated and lightly packed
     1-2 cups finely shredded kale
     1/2 cup skim milk (approximately)
     1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Place the sweet potatoes, onion, and water in a large kettle. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until tender. 2. Transfer the cooked vegetables and the liquid to a food processor or blender and  blend until creamy. In a blender, this will have to be done in two or three batches. 3. Return the creamed mixture to the kettle. Add the nutmeg, mustard, kale and cheese. Stir over medium heat until the cheese is melted. Add as much milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Season to taste with sea salt.

Recipe Source: Cooking with the Right Side of the Brain

Black Bean Soup with Pan-Roasted Poblano Peppers and Crispy Shoestring Tortillas
  serves 6
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium poblano peppers (12 oz) (340g) – seeded and cut in 1/4” dices (2 cups)
1 medium Spanish onion – peeled and cut in 1/4” dices (2 cups)
4 garlic cloves – skinned and minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle to taste
2 medium carrots (4 oz) (115g) – seeded and cut in 1/4” dices (3/4 cup)
6 cups reserved cooking liquid from the beans or water
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Tequila
For the garnishes
4 corn tortillas
3 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
large pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Step 1: Heat a large, heavy-bottom soup pot at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and poblano peppers. Sauté for 2 minutes until the peppers soften. Add the onions and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden-brown. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle and carrots. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the black beans, reserved cooking liquid and salt.
Step 2: Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until carrots are tender. Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor so that it’s creamy, but still a bit chunky. Add the lime juice and Tequila. Adjust the salt and thin the soup with additional water if needed.
Step 3: Cut the corn tortillas in half. Cut each half in 1/8” julienne strips. Heat a large skillet to high heat. Add the oil and the tortilla strips and reduce the heat to medium-high. Toss well so that the tortilla strips are well coated with the oil and spread them over the whole surface of the pan. Sauté for 6 to 8 minutes until the strips are golden, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and spread on a tray lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool to room temperature.
Cook’s note: The tortilla strips can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store at room temperature in a sealed container.
Step 4: Ladle soup in bowls. Spoon a small dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream in the center of each bowl. Sprinkle with the cilantro, top with the shoestring tortillas and serve.
Recipe Source: www.foodandstyle.com


1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon
Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil (preferably French) or safflower oil

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Best Day...

I found this today and it really struck a chord:
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
Bob Moawad
It started me thinking about what I (we) have chosen to do in this life and how important it is to actively participate, not to just let life happen to you. Sometimes when we are really scrambling during the "heat" of the season, its hard to do any more than just keep putting one foot in front of the other and forging ahead. But oh, how much we miss when that is how we spend our days.

I must always remind myself:

It is so simple, and yet, so easy to forget to chose to live rather than to just let life happen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Liebster Award

This week we were awarded the Liebster Award from Granny Sue's News and Reviews

The "Liebster Blog" award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers ("Liebster" is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, loveliest, cutest etc.)
We definitely qualify for the "less than 200 followers" part, not so sure about the "sweetest and cutest" though! Sean would say, definitely not! LOL! What fun to get an award from a blog that I always enjoy reading by a fellow storyteller, canner, ginger-lover and noodle-maker! Thanks for the vote, Granny Sue!!

The rules for the Liebster Award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to her/him.
2. Reveal your top picks and leave a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love too!

Part of the fun is picking the blogs to pass the love along to!
 In no particular order, here are my picks: 
Miss Effie's Diary one of my very favorites, as she says "Rantings of a woman bound to make history."
 three thirty three a fun-filled family and their daily adventures of life on earth
Adventures in Wonderland the irrepressible Maggie and her always inspiring life
The Beginning Farmer's Wife the adventures of a wonderful young family starting a farm "from scratch"

I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eureka Moments...Wowza Moments

So yesterday as I was finishing up the newsletter for our first Winter CSA delivery of the 2011 season, it occurred to me, duh, why don't I post these on the blog? I'm already writing about things going on on the farm, and the people who read this might enjoy the recipes as well. Besides that guarantees blog posts every week in the summer when I am challenged to do blog posts, plus bi-weekly posts in Nov & Dec...well just because. So there you go, starting now (yesterday, cause that's how my brain works) we will post all our CSA newsletters on the blog and readers can enjoy or skip them at will. Done!

That said, those posts will not generally include awe-inspiring photos, as Tuesdays (CSA days) are generally crazy busy. So today we will celebrate the photos of this week's harvest with a little viewing. Be forewarned, these are not for the faint-of-heart! So as you may have noticed in the CSA newsletter posted yesterday, daikon was on the schedule for Tuesday's delivery. So with the forecast for Tuesday being so ugly, we did our harvesting on Monday and this is what we found...

Yep, pulled it straight out of the ground like that...crazy! If you are on Facebook, go to my profile and look at the hysterical list of comments made on the photo...too funny!

Next we pulled this one...

You just never know what you will pull out of the gardens here! But this one had a destiny other than a CSA box. This one just had to go to our favorite DM coffee ladies at  Ritual Cafe, which is our DM CSA drop location. We like to share produce with them and this one just had to go!

 So when I got to the cafe, I presented Linda with her bag of BGF produce, crowned with this (these?) and her response was to take another photo of it, just to highlight its unique qualities...

Yep, we know how to grow 'em at Blue Gate Farm!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BGF News 11/08/2011

 Blue Gate Farm News – Volume XVI, Number 1 – November 8, 2011

In this week’s box:
Chinese Cabbage
Choi: Win-win
Garlic (hardneck): Northern White or Music
Kohlrabi: Winner (green) and Kolibri (purple)
Potatoes: Banana (yellow fingerling) or Red Gold (red skin)
Spinach Mix: Bordeaux (red stems), Olympia, Space & Tyee
Sweet Peppers: asst
Tapestry Salad Mix
Turnips: Hakurei and/or Scarlet

For those with the Egg option: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Cheese option: Cranberry-Pecan Chevre and Classic Feta

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Sesame Stir Fried Chinese Greens
Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Arugula
Slow-Roasted Red Peppers in Balsamic Garlic Glaze
Easy Daikon Salad 
Vietnamese Pickled Carrots and Daikon
Precipitation last month: .6
Precipitation to date this month: 1.5” (and counting)

What’s up on the farm?

Welcome to the first delivery of the 2011 Winter CSA season!  We hope you are looking forward to bountiful fresh, chemical-free produce for the next two months.  Just a reminder that the Winter CSA delivers every other week, so if you show up next week, you might be able to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, but we won’t be there.

We have been celebrating the mild fall that nature has been sharing with us for the past couple of months.  It seems like we have more produce available now than we have had all year and we are putting as much as we can into your boxes this week, because you never know when this lovely weather trend will end.  I heard the word snow in the forecast for later this week, so we packed the boxes extra full to protect you from an extra trip to the grocery store in ugly weather.  Regardless, we have been celebrating the fine weather by getting a good start on our chores for the winter.  The third week in October, we started putting row cover on all our remaining field crops, and there are a lot of them!  That complete, we moved to clearing the tomato beds, which is a significant task with all of the trellising and plant matter.  Once the tomatoes were out of the way we were able to get to our ultimate fall task, the planting of the garlic!  Given our bumper garlic crop this year, we were feeling enthusiastic, so we planted an extra 25 pounds over last year’s numbers, for a total of a little more than 100 pounds of seed garlic in the ground, around 1,500 row feet.  Hopefully they will do as well next year! Garlic prepped, planted and mulched, we then moved over to clearing all of the irrigation lines from all of the fields.  Given how dry our late summer and fall were, we had more irrigation tape out than ever before, so that was a more significant task than in the past.  We were really pleased to get to do this on a 70° day, as one tends to get a bit wet during this task, so it wasn’t nearly so arduous a chore as in some years.
In addition to the regular seasonal goings on, we have had a few special achievements in the past month. Progress has continued on the new barn and we are now fully enclosed, just in time for inclement weather and Jill’s dad (our contractor/builder/designer extraordinaire) has been splitting his time between that and moving our wood-fired boiler from the old packing shed location to its own, custom-designed boiler shed.  This entailed re-purposing an old metal roof that had once protected Jill’s great-grandfather’s buggy from the elements, to top our new little building, moving the boiler itself and then locating and moving the underground water lines.  It was quite the process.

Our other new acquisition was adding 80 new 6 month-old laying hens to our flock.  They came from a farm that raises their chickens like we do and they will replace our retiring birds that were past their productive years and keep us in better egg-counts through the winter and into next season.  The “new girls” are settling in very nicely here at BGF.  Look for messages later this week about purchasing our eggs during the winter.
So that’s about it around here, recently.

Special note: Lois, our favorite cheese-maker and the owner of Reichert’s Dairy Air, the supplier of our Cheese Share had a surplus of a couple varieties of her chevre cheese that are about to go “out of date”. So she sent them along with us for anyone who wants to try some of her excellent product. While they are still good now, you will want to use them sooner than later. These are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you might want to try to get to the pick-up a little earlier today, so take advantage of her generosity! (However, I won’t be there before 4:45, so don’t get too ahead of yourselves). (Farm pick-ups, we left cheese in your box).

A few details on new stuff in the box:
Everything except the garlic, potatoes and rosemary can go into plastic bags and store in your produce drawers.
Chinese (napa) cabbage: keep outer leaves intact (to preserve moisture) until ready to use and store in the crisper drawer for up to two weeks. Mild, and tender with a fresh, cabbage-y flavor.
Daikon: The large, white single root with a crisp, mild flavor used raw or cooked in many Asian cuisines. Store up to two weeks in a damp-wrapped towel or plastic bag in the produce drawer, or for up to two months packed in damp sand in a cool location.
Kohlrabi: The alien-looking green and purple globes topped with green/purple-shaded leaves. Excellent, mild-cabbage flavor that can be used raw or cooked, we like them best sliced raw and sprinkled with salt. Store globes in a plastic bag for up to one month. Store leaves in a damp towel or plastic bag in the produce drawer and use as soon as possible.
Rosemary: put in a sealed plastic bag in your produce drawer, or hang it up in a clean, airy place to dry

Upcoming Events:
Downtown Farmers Harvest Market: Friday & Saturday, November 18th & 19th, Capitol Square
Next CSA Delivery: Tuesday, November 22

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at http://beyondthebluegate.blogspot.com and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)

Sesame Stir Fried Chinese Greens
I would also add a clove or 2 of garlic, some fresh ginger and a dash of Sriracha sauce to take this recipe over the top!
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds baby bok choy and/or
Napa cabbage, sliced thin
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
In a wok or large frying pan heat the oil over high heat until very hot. Add the bok choy and stir-fry until they begin to soften slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and cook until just done, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Recipe by Ellie Krieger

Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Arugula
1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 lb whole wheat pasta
6 oz feta cheese (I used Trader Joe's Mediterranean herb blend)
8 oz arugula
cracked black pepper

1. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp oil, salt and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400 for 30 minutes or until soft and browned.

2. Place 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet.  Add the leeks and rosemary and cook for 7 minutes, or until soft and golden.

3. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water.  Drain and place in a large bowl.  Toss with sweet potatoes, arugula, leeks and feta.

Recipe Source: www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com

Slow-Roasted Red Peppers in Balsamic Garlic Glaze
3 red (or any ripe-colored) peppers, sliced into generous bite-size pieces
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Sea salt & cracked pepper

Heat oven to 300 F

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.

Meanwhile, place sliced peppers in an oven proof dish.  Sprinkle with garlic slices and top with well whisked balsamic glaze.  Add a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper.

Roast peppers for 1 hour, turning on occasion.  Turn oven up to 375 and roast for another 10 minutes or until peppers are sizzling and just beginning to char.  Remove peppers from oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving warm.

Recipe Source: www.inspirededibles.ca

Easy Daikon Salad
2 cups julienne cut daikon radish (I used my food processor to cut it)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp sweet rice wine (mirin)
OPTIONAL crushed peanuts
  1. Place the daikon in a colander/mesh strainer over a bowl or the sink and sprinkle with salt. Mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and then rinse well with cold water. Drain.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the seasoned rice vinegar, sugar and rice wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves (this will only take a few minutes).
  3. Transfer the daikon to an airtight container and pour the rice vinegar mixture over. Shake or stir well to combine. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.
  4. This can store for up to a few days in the fridge, if it lasts that long. If desired, serve topped with crushed peanuts.


Vietnamese Pickled Carrots and Daikon

makes 2 cups, can just use daikon
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound carrots (peeled and cut to match stick size)
1/2 pound daikon radish (peeled and cut to match stick size)

1. Mix the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolves.
2. Place the carrots and radish in a container and cover with the pickling liquid.
3. Let pickle for at least and hour and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipe Source: www.closetcooking.com/