Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CSA Share Week 17

This Thursday is the first day of fall, and we've enjoyed spotting the signs
of its arrival as we walk around the farm with our kids. Acorns are dropping
to the ground. Goldenrod is in flourish. Milkweed pods are beginning to
unfurl, their fairy-like seeds loft into the air. Pheasant are popping in
and out of hedgerows. Monarch butterflies seem to be taking their last sip
of nectar from clover buds before migrating south. The green of the pasture
is losing its vibrancy and, oh yes, some leaves have just begun to turn

The region received its frost warning for tomorrow morning (Tues.) north,
south, east and west of us. We're holding our breath that we truly are
spared. In the same week we're expecting 80-degree weather. These are the
kinds of days when everyone starts work in sweatshirts and knit caps and
ends the day in short sleeves.

This week at the farm another sure sign of autumn's approach can be
witnessed inside our barn. We're cutting down, trimming, cleaning and
packing up the garlic crop-much of which will go with us to the Hudson
Valley Garlic Festival
this weekend in Saugerties, NY.

If you are looking for something to do and either love garlic or love
festival-style amusement, this is quite an event to attend. There are dozens
of garlic growers like us, peddling garlic, braids and other
garlic-related products. There are braid-making workshops. There's music.
There are craft booths. And, for those who dare, there's garlic ice cream.
It's a big event (thousands attend), and, if you go, we don't recommend
making plans that evening with anyone who hasn't attended the festival as
well. Because if you succumb to the standard conduct of those attending the
festival, you'll be grazing on raw garlic samples all day as if it's candy.
You'll learn to tell the difference between one variety's level of pungency,
another's heat, another's sweetness...—until all that garlic ultimately
burns out your taste buds for the day.

In this week's share:
1 ½ pounds red potatoes
8 ounces (1/2 pound) spinach
6 ounces salad mix
1 bok choy
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch mixed radish (pink, purple, red, white)
1 bulb garlic

*******Special Request from the Farm:*******
Maybe some of you have heard of Cookies for Kids ' Cancer, a 501 (c) nonprofit some special friends of the farm started after their son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3. The organization raises funds to support research
for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. Cookies for Kids'
Cancer was recently selected by the Jimmie Johnson Foundation (Nascar
Driver- Lowe's Team) as a winner in its Samsung Helmet of Hope Program. The
13 chosen charities are now in a popularity contest to win an additional
$20,000 grant. Plus, the winning charity will receive a great deal of
publicity and awareness courtesy of the most successful driver in Nascar. If
you can, please take a moment to vote for Cookies for Kids' Cancer at this
link. You can vote from every computer you can find and depending on your internet connection, from different browsers on the same computer.
Our friends' son, Liam, age 6 now, is still battling neuroblastoma.

Thank you for considering this.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Garlic, Ginger, and Scallions
by Susie Middleton, from Fine Cooking magazine

A simple, four-ingredient sauce makes a perfect finish for the intriguingly sweet and bitter flavor of this stir-fried Asian green. You can use mature or baby bok choy for this recipe.

Serves three to four.

1-1/4 lb. bok choy (about 1 large, 2 medium, or 5 to 6 baby)
2 Tbs. oyster sauce (preferably Lee Kum Kee brand)
2 Tbs. lower-salt chicken broth
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. Asian sesame oil
2 Tbs. peanut oil
Kosher salt
4 oz. scallions (8 to 10 medium), white and light-green parts only, cut into 3-inch lengths and halved lengthwise if thick
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
One 1/2-inch square of ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

To prep mature bok choy, separate the leaves from the stems by slicing the bok choy head crosswise at about the point where the leaves begin to spread out. Cut the leaves into lengthwise strips 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide. Quarter the stem end lengthwise and remove any inner leaves, putting them with the leafy tops. Slice the stem quarters crosswise into pieces about 3/4 inch thick. Rinse and dry the stems and leaves separately. (If using baby bok choy, simply cut the heads lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide pieces or wedges.)

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, chicken broth, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch.

In a 12-inch nonstick stir-fry pan, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bok choy stems and season with 1/8 tsp. kosher salt. (If using baby bok choy, add all the pieces now and skip the step of adding the leaves later.) Cook, tossing frequently with tongs, until the stems are pliable and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until the aromatics are tender, fragrant, and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the bok choy leaves and 1/8 tsp. salt. Using tongs, toss until the leaves are completely wilted and integrated with the stems, 1 to 2 more minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, and using a heatproof spatula, stir the sauce and quickly mix it with the vegetables in the pan. As soon as the sauce thickens and has coated most of the vegetables (a few seconds), transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Traditional Creamed Spinach
From Wholefoodsmarket.com
Serves 6

About 3 pounds fresh spinach
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 cup small (1/4-inch) diced yellow onions (about 1 small onion)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

To prepare spinach, first remove any unwanted stems or brown parts. Rinse leaves several times in cold water until all the dirt has been rinsed off. Drain spinach but leave some water clinging to spinach leaves.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add wet spinach. (This step may need to be done in batches.) Turn spinach frequently with a pair of tongs as it cooks. Once it is wilted, remove from the pan and place in a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (This step is very important.) Transfer drained spinach to a cutting board and chop coarsely. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and onions. Cook until onions are translucent and soft (about 10 to 15 minutes).
Add cream, parmigiano-reggiano, nutmeg, salt and black pepper and continue cooking until it is reduced a bit (about 5 minutes).

Add spinach to cream and mix well. Continue to cook until cream has almost completely been absorbed and dish is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and serve.

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