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  • September 27th, 2011

What a surprise!  I had really set myself up for a disappointment with brussel sprouts this season.  Last year they were so beautiful and this year…not so much.   The plants have just been more scrony.  However, I guess there is always hope and optimism in the heart of a farmer, so we kept giving them TLC….and we got ’em.  We began cutting brussel sprout plants today and popping off the little jewels.  They aren’t beautiful and uniform like what you will find in the frozen food section of the grocery, but they are fresh and know you will enjoy.  Some are tiny and your recipe may call for you to cut into quarters—-don’t think you’ll have to do that on all of these because some are very small!

A quick lesson we will share….for those of you whom have come to the farm, or been to other vegetable farms, you may recall seeing rows of plastic where the plants are planted.  This is plastic mulch that helps create a more controlled environment for the plants.  Plastic mulch and drip irrigation supplies alone cost about $300, at minimum.  We didn’t realize how valuable the black plastic mulch was to brussel sprouts until this year when we thought we could “get by” with planting them into bare soil and just laying drip irrigation beside the plants.  The result gave us brussel sprouts that couldn’t even begin to compete with last years’….so next year…these beauties will be on plastic mulch.    You know it’s hard to believe we seeded these in the greenhouse back in March!!!  They have been a long time coming!  Good things come to those who wait!! Enjoy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1- 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts

3 tablespoons good olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

 

Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

From EatingWell:  September/October 2009

Sliced Brussels sprouts and mushrooms cook quickly and cling to the pasta in our fall version of pasta primavera. Look for pre-sliced mushrooms to cut prep time. Serve with a tossed salad.

12 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups sliced mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster and/or shiitake

4 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup dry sherry (see Note), or 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 cups low-fat milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese, plus more for garnish

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, return to the pot and set aside.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sherry (or vinegar), scraping up any brown bits; bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 10 seconds (if using vinegar) or about 1 minute (if using sherry).  Whisk milk and flour in a bowl; add to the skillet with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in Asiago until melted. Add the sauce to the pasta; gently toss. Serve with more cheese, if desired.

 

Beautiful sweet peppers—what to do with them??

This week we have the Yummy Orange sweet pepper (that is actually the name of them) that is apricot in color and the interesting purple bell peppers.  Both are perfect as a snack, plain or dipped in your favorite dressing.  They are perfect in green salads, cold pasta salads, a nice garnish to any meal, liven up a sandwich, lightly cooked in a vegetable medley, or stuff the orange peppers with cream cheese and ham for a heavy appetizer.  They really are a treat from above!

 

The Harvest shares enjoy the last Heirloom tomatoes of the season….

Try a light lunch of Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches…

1 and a half ounces of softened cream cheese

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

4 slices of soft hearty-white sandwich bread

2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices

salt to taste

ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayo, dill and garlic powder.  Spread evenly over slices of bread, layer with tomato slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with other bread slices.  Serve immediately.  Yum!

 

We just couldn’t resist to offer some more sweet corn for the season.  Here’s one note in our “journal” that has been highlighted—-next year—put more focus on sweet corn space in the field and work on timing of it!!!  We have dearly missed having a field to go to grab a few ears for dinner!  This week, enjoy Gallrein Farm’s Corn.  (As a side note, they are a great place to visit during the Fall for a family day!)

Louise’s Corn Pudding (Flavors of Kentucky, Sharon Thompson)

This recipe is one I use very often (in a year following a plentiful corn crop)… It really is good enough to serve for Thanksgiving dinner and quick enough for a side-dish in a hurry!

16-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained (I use fresh cut-off-the-cob or frozen {no need to thaw})

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

salt and pepper

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons butter, melted

milk

Combine all of the ingredients, except the milk, in a 2-quart microwaveable dish.  Add enough milk to cover.  Microwave on high, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Stir as the mixture cooks.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

This week we have had a beautiful harvest of golden zucchini, patty pan squash, zephyr squash (half green/half yellow), and sunburst squash.   There are dozens of ways you can fix them.   Each are so full of flavor, you really could eat fresh, or slightly sauteed.  If you want a great one-dish meal, give this a try… This summer we have fallen in love with the combination of squash and pork sausage—-never knew the flavors would marry so well….but they do!

Mix-n-match squash casserole

4 cups of summer squashes, cubed (a variety is nice)

1 lb. of pork sausage, cooked and drained

1 cup of dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup of minced green bell pepper

1/4 cup of minced onions

1/2 grated parmesan cheese

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place squash and a small amount of water in a large saucepan; cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or possibly until tender.  Drain.  Add in all other ingredients; mix well.  Transfer to a greased 11-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes at 325 degrees.  Serve with warm bread and enjoy!

 

Every summer we end up having an over-grown zucchini or two (or more!) that make wonderful zucchini bread.  However, this week, you have this over-grown patty-pan squash that will work PERFECT for zucchini bread!  The ideal size of patty-pans are anywhere from 1 -1/2 to 4 inches in diameter.   Unfortunately, we overlooked that our younger patty-pan plants were bearing again, so here’s a cheers to everyone for making bread sometime over the next few weeks.  The patty pans will keep for weeks in your fridge until you have time to prepare.  The bread freezes well and will also keep in your refrigerator for weeks.  We thought about passing up on the opportunity to share the “accidental overgrown” patty pans with you because it’s not something we are proud of, BUT we want this CSA experience to be as if the garden was really in your backyard. And, if it were, 99% of you would at some point have overgrown squashes out there.  And, to best utilize what we grow, we find delicious recipes for mess-ups from the garden that result in happiness.  So, overgrown patty pan squashes will make delicious “zucchini bread”.

 

Old Fashioned Zucchini Bread (n/k/a Overgrown Patty-Pan Bread)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

 

A delightful snack: Acorn Squash Seeds

1 cup winter squash seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  After removing the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry, and place in a small bowl. Stir the olive oil and salt into the seeds until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until seeds start to pop. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet before serving.

 

In a rush to prepare dinner and wanna have some acorn squash?

Here’s a recipe for cooking it in the microwave...

(do note that this is sinfully good, so you may want to be disciplined and not eat all of the goodies that flavor your squash that pool up in the middle???)

2 medium acorn squash

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

4 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut squash in half; discard seeds (or save to bake as a snack). Place squash cut side down in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until tender.  Turn squash cut side up. Fill centers of squash with brown sugar, butter and honey; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

Herb of the week: savory

Fresh thyme can be preserved the same way as others—freeze or dry.

For herbs that are fresh, you only need half of what a recipe calls for when asking for “dried”.   Savory is great for mushrooms, meats,

Herbed Roasted Potatoes

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 lb. low-starch potatoes (red or yellow skinned), halved or quartered
1/2 tsp. dried summer savory
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450° F. Use some of the oil to coat a heavy baking sheet or pan. Combine potatoes, herbs and remaining oil in pan and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until potatoes are golden brown, stirring frequently, about 40 minutes.

To shorten the cooking time, you can parboil the potatoes for 4-6 minutes before roasting. Drain well, add oil and seasoning and roast for about 20-25 minutes.

Lima Beans

Oh, boy, these little things grow you some patience!! We have two rows of lima beans planted, about 700 feet long.  The yield is terrible!  “Expert lima bean growers” tell me this is normal and they will continue to bear hear and there until the end of the season.  So, with that, we all have to be patient.  We are keeping a log of who gets them in hopes that prior to the end of the season, everyone will have the chance to enjoy!  A few tips on them…..The pods are kinda rough looking, but it doesn’t matter since we only eat the beans inside.  You can use for a bean salad, garnish any salad with them, or cook them.  A trick I’ve learned is not to stir, but shake.  If you can’t eat right away, you can freeze them.  Hull, blanch, drop in ice-cold water, drain on towels until dry, scoop up and pop in a freezer bag.

Hope you have a great week in the kitchen!  Get ready for some fresh fall salads come next week!!

 


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