Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BGF News 7/15/14



Volume XXIV, Number 7 –  July 15, 2014


In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese and/or Italian Large Leaf (a little dirty from the weekend deluge, wash just before using)
Beans: Mix (Carson & Provider), Maxibel (green, filet) or Marvel of Venice (mostly yellow, lg, flat)
Carrots: St. Valerie (orange), Purple Haze (purple), Amarillo (yellow) & Rainbow mix
Green Garlic: asst hardneck
Kale mix: Red Russian, Toscano & Beedy's Camden,
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (round, green), Golden Glory (yellow zucchini), Patty Pan (lt. green, dk. green or yellow, round scallop), Slik Pik (lt. yellow, long) or Lemon (small, lemon-shaped, yellow)
and at least one of the following:
Broccoli (again, a little funny looking, but tasty)
Cherry Tomato Mix: Juliet (red mini roma), Golden Rave (yellow mini roma)
Cucumbers: Suyo Long (long, bumpy) or Diva (smooth, English-type)
Eggplant: Orient Express (dark purple, long & slender)
Peas (Snap or Snow)
Squash Blossoms
Tomatoes: asst. see list below
           
For those with the Egg option [full and half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Thai Magic basil, sage, dill

Featured Recipes (see below):  BGF Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Spiced Carrot Salad
Precipitation in the past week:  1.60”

  What’s up on the farm?
We had such a great time this Sunday at the Ice Cream Social. Much fun, ice cream, desserts and laughter was had by all. Thanks to everyone who made the trek out and shared the day. For those of you who were unable to join us, don't worry, we'll do it again next year!

Writing this morning, it is hard to believe that on Sunday we had perfect ice cream eating weather. The crew, animals and some of the crops think this is heaven. We are seeing a 2nd flush of blooms/pods on the peas and the broccoli, cabbage and new lettuce transplants think they have hit the jackpot! Others out in the gardens aren't so sure about these temps. The tomatoes, basil, cucumbers and sweet potatoes are all quite sensitive to cold temps and this is almost too cool for them. It will definitely slow the ripening on the peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. As long as we stay above 50° though, we shouldn't see any serious damage.

And speaking of damage, we went out to Plot VI (the most distant garden) yesterday to harvest Romano Beans and were dismayed to find that sometime overnight, the deer had made a mad dash through the garden and run right into the 6' tall bean trellis. They clearly got caught up in it as the trellis was in pieces on the ground, posts were bent and there were beans strewn out in a 20' radius around the area. Amid the ruckus they managed to trample some of the nearby potatoes and melon plants. Ugh! Not what we had hoped to find, but nonetheless, the crew got new posts installed and the remaining bits of trellis re-strung. Hopefully the beans in that area will rally and continue to produce, as they were just getting started and we definitely want everyone to be able to try this tasty treat.

So besides fixing trellises and eating ice cream, what else have we been up to in the past week? Lots of harvesting! The vast majority of the garlic harvest is complete and we have a barn-full of garlic plants hanging from the rafters to dry. For the most part, we are very pleased with the harvest so far and should have plenty of cured garlic to get us through the end of the year. You will get to enjoy the last of the fresh garlic in your boxes today and hopefully that will hold you over until the curing process is complete, which should take two to four weeks depending on the weather. We are also harvesting the following crops daily or every 2 days: beans, summer squash, eggplant, and cucumbers. Soon the same will be true for the tomatoes and peppers. It does make it a little more challenging to keep up with the weeding, planting and other maintenance, but it sure is more fun! Starting today, we get to harvest one of the special fun crops…Squash blossoms! WE don't have enough to fill all the boxes at once, but be assured that we intend for everyone to get to try this lovely treat in the next few weeks. Be sure to use them as quickly as possible, as they are extremely perishable.

We are getting the first real start of the tomato harvest this week.  For today, they are a "at least one of the following" item so a few lucky members will be getting a taste of what is to come. We anticipate putting lots of tomatoes into all the boxes very soon so to get your palate primed, here is a full description of all the tomatoes we are growing this year.  You should anticipate seeing the majority of them over the course of the season.  As there is such a rainbow of colors (including green), the best way to tell if an individual tomato is ripe is by touch.  A ready-ripe tomato will yield to gentle pressure.  We try to send a range of ripeness in each delivery, so that you can enjoy them throughout the week, so do try to notice which are the most ripe and dig into those first.
Amish Paste: meaty, red roma-type with delicious flavor for fresh use or canning. Great salsa tomato!
Azoycha: Lemon-yellow medium-sized fruits with sweet, yet rich flavor.
Black Cherry: Beautiful black cherry tomato with rich flavor.
Black Krim: purple/red slicing tomato with excellent full flavor
Blondkopfchen: Small yellow 1” cherry tomato with excellent sweet taste.
Cosmonaut Volkov: medium-large red slicer with a full-rich flavor
Costoluto Genovese: red, fluted Italian heirloom with intensely flavored flesh
Dr. Wychee Yellow: Large orange tomato with meaty, rich tasting flavor.
Golden Rave: Small 1–2 oz yellow, plum shaped tomatoes with good tomato flavor. Perfect snacking tomato.
Green Zebra: Small, 2 1/2" olive yellow with green stripes and a sweet zingy flavor
Japanese Black Trifele: A dark maroon, pear-shaped tomato with green shoulders and sublime, rich flavor.
Juliet: Small 1 – 2 oz red fruits that are the perfect flavor and shape for slicing onto pizza or salad.
Paul Robeson: Large, brick-red fruits with dark green shoulders.  Has a sweet, rich, smoky flavor.
Pantano Romanesco: A large, deep red Roman heirloom. The flesh is very rich, flavorful & juicy.
Red Zebra: Smallish red tomato with irridescent green stripes with a bright, citrus-y flavor
Redfield Beauty: 3”– 4” flat pink fruits with excellent, full flavor.
Riesentraube: tasty little, red cherry with big, red tomato flavor
Rutgers: large, red with excellent flavor for fresh eating or canning
White Queen (Beauty): Medium-sized, smooth white-skinned tomato with sweet, juicy flesh, low acid.

The farm crew finds the range of tomato names quite inspiring and has been entertaining themselves while weeding by making up a "Farm Drama" using those names. If we are lucky, they will commit some of those entertainments to paper and we will share them with you in a future newsletter.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Carrots: These "mid-season" carrots are a little different than the candy-sweet gems of late-season/winter carrots. They are a little more strongly flavored, a little earthy. This makes them perfect for cooking and more complicated recipes, as some might not love them for fresh eating. Remove the leafy green tops, leaving about an inch of stems. Refrigerate dry, unwashed carrots in a plastic bag for two weeks or longer. Peel carrots or scrub carrots well with a stiff brush just before using. Trim off any green spots, which can taste bitter. When slicing or chopping carrots for cooking, be sure to make all the pieces relatively the same size; this will ensure an evenly cooked dish.

Cucumber: Store unwashed cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin for about a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus—these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. You can do a lot of fancy things to the skin of a cucumber, and when it is young, fresh, and unwaxed, it really only needs to be thoroughly washed. However, if the skin seems tough or bitter you can remove it; if the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out.

Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild. Many people like to peel, salt, and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor; however, bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while, so with farm-fresh specimens this is generally not necessary. Many recipes call for salting in order to make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent—much like draining tofu. Salting is not an essential step, but it can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your dish and is well worth the extra effort. The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

Green Garlic: Super-fresh tasting and juicy. This is the first taste of our full-season, freshly harvested garlic. As it is not yet cured, you will want to store it in a zip-top bag or glass jar in the refrigerator and use within a couple of weeks. To use, just peel down through the succulent wrapper layers until you get to the clove within.

Squash Blossoms: Squash blossoms are very perishable.  Arrange them on paper towel lined tray, cover with another cloth and then lightly wrap with plastic, refrigerate and use very soon.  Blossoms will keep for 1 week at 50ºF (10°C) and 2 to 4 days at 40ºF (4°C).  Chilling injury will occur if held for several days at temperatures below 50ºF (10°C). You can also freeze, can, pickle, or dry squash blossoms.  If cooked, blossoms will store in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.  Open and inspect squash blossoms for insects before using them.  Pull off and discard the green calyxes surrounding the bottom of the blossom.  Clean blossoms by gently swishing them in a bowl of cold water.  Shake them dry.  Trim or snip out the anthers or style.  A few suggested uses for the squash blossoms:  as a garnish raw on crêpes, green salads, fruit salads, soups, and quesadillas; stuff blossoms with rice or minced meat and fry in batter; stuff blossoms with soft cheese, cooked and crumbled sausage, then bread and fry or bake; dip blossoms in a flour and cornstarch batter and fry until brown and crunchy; chop them up and add to quiche.

Leafy Greens will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  For those of you who are new to our salad mix, yes you can eat the flowers. 

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us at our blog at http://beyondthebluegate.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or Blue Gate Farm Community

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 & Indigo)

BGF Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2-3c. grated zucchini
2 c. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
1 tsp salt
½ c. oil
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1/3 c. cocoa
2 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together, pour into greased & floured 9 x 13” pan.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.

When cool, frost with Hershey’s Cocoa Frosting
1 stick butter
2/3 c. cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium mixer bowl melt butter, add cocoa and stir until combined. Alternating between powdered sugar and milk, add to cocoa and butter, mixing between. When thoroughly combined, beat in vanilla. Makes +/- 2 cups.


Stuffed Squash Blossoms

6-8 medium squash flowers
Filling:
1/2 cup cream cheese or chevre
2 tablespoon garlic scapes, scallions or fresh garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Breading
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup egg white
2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
pinch salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients and stir until blended- set aside.
  3. In one bowl, place your egg whites and in another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and salt/pepper. Stuff each zucchini flower with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture. Fold over tops of the flower so that the flower is somewhat sealed. Dip each flower in egg whites and the roll in bread crumbs. Set aside and repeat with remaining flowers. Once each flower has been breaded once, dip each flower back in the eggs whites and bread crumbs one more time for a thicker breading.
  4. Place flowers on a parchment covered tray and bake for 15-18 minutes until breading is crisp and a nice golden color.
  5. These would work well as an appetizer, on a salad, or even as part of a pasta dish.
Recipe Source: www.naturallyella.com

Spiced Carrot Salad
In this exotic recipe from Morocco, carrots are blanched until they are barely tender, then marinated in a lemony-sweet spiced dressing. Slivered dried prunes and/or chopped black olives (both common Moroccan ingredients) or a handful of currants make great additions to this recipe. (Angelic Organics Kitchen.)
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups diagonally sliced or julienned carrots
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
lemon slices

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots; boil
until barely tender and still brightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Drain the carrots and immediately run cold water over them
to stop the cooking. Drain well.
3. Transfer the carrots to a large salad bowl. Add the parsley,
cilantro, and mint; toss to combine.
4. Mix the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and
cayenne in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar. Slowly pour in the olive
oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is thick
and no longer separates.
5. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss until well coated. Cover
and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
6. Let the salad come to room

Recipe Source: Angelic Organics Kitchen
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