Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring 2012

It's been along time since I posted any news from the farm.  Last year was such a nightmare with all the rain, that I never had the time.  I was always running behind the clock, trying to catch up after the soil finally dried out enough to till, which was way after Father's Day.  This year is starting out quite different.  We have had very little rain; according to a friend we are 2" below normal for April, but I'm not sure whether that's compared to last year or the average for this month!  If it's 2" below last year, then that's a blessing, believe me.      It's tempting to plant some things earlier than normal, but I am holding off on that, and waiting until the usual dates to plant.  Mother Nature can't tempt me!

I have been planting in the greenhouse;  tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, Brussels' sprouts, kale, chard, herbs.  The list is endless!  I took the opportunity to plant spinach, carrots, shelling peas, and sugar snap peas in the ground on Friday evening, anticipating the rain we are supposed to get this weekend.  And we could really use it, the ground was crispy dry, which is very unsettling for this time of year.  Are we in for a drought year?  Not sure, but it sure feels that way.

In anticipation of another year of vegetables, I have been reading a book by Tamar Adler, "An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace".  The author definitely has a different way in describing cooking in general, but I like her advice on how to create a meal with what is on hand, which is very helpful in planning meals when the ingredients are mostly determined by someone else, (meaning me or White House Gardens CSA).  It has also helped me cut down on my grocery spending.  I read a lot of food blogs, (as you can see from the list to the right), and I am always buying new ingredients for something that inspires me after reading a post from one of my favorites.  Then, I either don't have the time or inclination to prepare it, and end up with things I don't use.  Tamar's thoughts about "cooking with what you've got" are very inspiring for me and got me to thinking about how wasteful I can be with food.  I hope you will check it out.  If nothing else, please check out her video on how she uses her farmers' market purchases How to Stride Ahead: Part 2   I think you will enjoy it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

White House Gardens Week #18, Octover 14, 2010

The first frost was last night, Tuesday.  I picked peppers again last night because I didn’t want to lose them to the frost.  This has been an amazing year for peppers.  I have never had so many red ones to put in your shares.  I planted an abundance of pepper plants this year because I have been frustrated in previous years with the lack of ripe peppers.  I have not had time to check to pepper plants to see if they were damaged by the frost.  There will be more in your shares next week if they weren’t damaged. 

What an amazing fall we are having!  The weather has been perfect for the fall crops; lots of sunshine and cool temperatures with adequate moisture.  The broccoli plants are coming along nicely, but we might not have cauliflower before the season ends.  The plants are growing very slowly, as everything does this time of year.   It’s possible we may have to wait a couple of weeks for the cauliflower, like last year.  It wasn’t until the second week of November that the cauliflower and broccoli were ready so I added another pick up after the season ended.  It’s possible I will have extra onions and potatoes for sale on the last pick up, October 28th.  More on that later, but they will probably be in 2 and 3 pounds bags, at $2.00 per pound. 

It has also been a great year for potatoes.  There are two kinds in your share this week, German Butterball and Bintje. 
Lettuce  Winter Density, a romaine
Kale  Cavolo Nero, also known as Tuscan Kale or Dinasour Kale.  This is a very prized kale for it’s great taste, not widely available.  Use as any other kale.  The center rib should be removed before cooking. 
Brussels Sprouts  Brussels Sprouts grow on a tall stalk.  The sprouts are snapped off the stalk.  Last year I gave you the entire stalk, this year I cut them off for you.  The end of the sprout needs to be trimmed and the outer leaves removed if they are damaged before cooking.  Try roasting the sprouts:  toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast on a flat try or cookie sheet at 400 degrees until tender and a little crispy.  The sprouts are not all the same size, cut the larger ones in half so that they all roast at the same rate.
Beets  Red Ace in large shares, Chioggia (candy stripe beets) in small shares.
Broccoli Raab  A member of the same family as broccoli, cabbage, etc.  The stems, leaves, and florets are all edible.  See a recipe in the newsletter.
Potatoes  German Butterball and Bintje
Carrots  With tops. Remove the tops if you are storing them for an extended period.  The tops will continue to pull moisture from the roots, causing the roots to wilt.  The tops are also edible.  See   " What To Do With Carrot Tops   Recipe included in the newsletter for Roasted Carrots.

Peppers  Red and yellow bell peppers
Red Onions  

Broccoli Rabe with Oil and Garlic
From Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich

Sometimes you see broccoli rabe cut into little pieces, but I like to serve the whole stems with the leaves attached.  If you peel and trim them the way I describe below, the stalks will cook at about the same rate as the leaves.  Broccoli rabe is a vegetable I like al dente.  By that I don’t mean really crunchy, but with some texture left to it. 

1 pound broccoli rabe
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
¼ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper, or to taste
¼ cup (or as needed) water
Makes 4 servings
To trim the broccoli rabe, first cut off any wilted or yellow leaves and the tough ends of the stems.  Then, holding a stem with the florets in hand, nick a little piece of the end of the stem with a paring knife and pull the little piece of the skin toward you, peeling the stem partially.  Continue working your way around the stem until it is peeled.    As you peel the stem, some of the large, tough outer leaves will also be removed;  discard those as well.  Repeat with the remaining stems.  Wash the trimmed broccoli rabe in a sinkful of cold water, swishing the stems gently to remove all dirt from between the leaves.  Let the leaves sit a minute or two undisturbed, to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom of the sink, then lift the broccoli rabe from the water with your hands or a large skimmer.  Drain in a colander.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Scatter the garlic over the oil and cook, shaking the pan, until golden brown, about 1 minute.  Carefully lay the broccoli rabe into the oil and season lightly with salt and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper.  Stir and toss to distribute the seasonings.  Pour ¼ cup water into the skillet and bring to a boil.  Cover the skillet tightly and cook, lifting the lid to turn the stalks occasionally, until the broccoli rabe is tender, about 10 minutes.  Taste, and season with additional salt and crushed red pepper if necessary.  Serve hot. 

Roasted Carrots
Serves 4 to 6.   Published November 1, 2010.   From Cook's Illustrated.

1 1/2
pounds carrots , peeled, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise if necessary to create even pieces (see illustrations in Cutting Carrots for Roasting)
tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

Table salt and ground black pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, combine carrots with butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Transfer carrots to foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in single layer.
2. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook, stirring twice, until carrots are well browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

White House Gardens Week #17, October 7, 2010

Week #17    October 7, 2010
The recent rains provided at least an inch of much needed moisture.  The fall crops grow much slower with the cooler temperatures and shorter days.  The broccoli and cauliflower are progressing nicely, and Brussels  sprouts will be in your share next week.  I would rather pick the Brussels  sprouts after a frost, which makes them sweeter, but they are ready now.  Most of the crops I will be harvesting in the next 3 weeks are covered with row cover to keep the deer from helping themselves to a salad buffet. 

The deer will begin to move out of the woods with the cooler temperatures, especially if we get a frost and there is nothing left for them to eat.  I have tried many ways to keep them out of the garden, unsuccessfully.  The row cover does a good job of “hiding” the crops from the deer .  The last 3 shares will probably include broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, beets, fennel, chard, turnips, broccoli raab, carrots, potatoes, and onions.  Hopefully we will have a warm, dry October to help these crops along. 

Lettuce  Winter Marvel, a butterhead
Arugula  Not in all shares
Sweet Pepper s  Long, red Carmen, my favorite.  Try making  Pureed Red Pepper & Potato Soup from Recipes For Health or see the recipe from Denny Archey in the previous email I sent.
Lima Beans  These are fresh, in the shell limas.  Try to shell them as soon as possible.  Shell them and cook them soon, or store in the frig in their shell for a short time.  They are at their best when cooked and eaten soon.  This was my first attempt at growing limas, and I think I will do it again.  The plants were beautiful, but the beans take a long time to mature.  Some of the pods may have large beans and some may not have much at all.  (Think baby limas)  They are not easy to shell:  try snapping off the tip and pulling the “string” down on both sides, which should help to open the pod easier.  I have cooked them several times and my favorite method is to steam/sauté them.  Put the shelled beans in a skillet, add enough water just to barely cover, salt, and a tablespoon of butter.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook, covered, until barely tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove the cover, turn up the heat, and boil away the water until the beans are completely tender. 
Potatoes  Rio Grande Russet and Adirondak Red.  Most of the russets are small, a result of not being able to keep the potato plants healthy and free of disease for the entire growing season.  Russets are good for baking.  Adirondak Red has red skin and pinkish-red flesh which is a result of naturally occurring anthocyanin pigments, chock full of anitoxidants.  Its color fades when boiled, but remains when roasting, baking or frying. 
Kale  Red Russian variety.  See previous newsletters for recipes.  Or try freezing kale and other greens to use during the winter.  See a recipe from shareholder Pat Brannon for freezing greens in the newsletter. 
Onions  Yellow onions for cooking
Delicata or Acorn Squash  Delicata has mulit-colored skin, Acorn is dark green.  Both can be used in recipes calling for winter squash, however the skin of the delicata is edible, the acorn is not.  I like to roast winter squash, either cut in half or cubed.  Scoop out the seeds and roast, cut side down, at 400 degrees until tender.  Baste with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, and broil until browned.   Or cut into cubes and add to potatoes, onions, peppers, toss with olive oil, S & P, and roast at 400 degrees until tender.

Freezing all kind of greens…
Debbie asked me to share with you a simple method for freezing greens. This week we have mustard greens in our box, but you can freeze any type of greens, even those tops from turnips, kohlrabi and beets. These make a pleasing addition to winter stews and soups, especially those minestrones.
If you are freezing the greens from beets or other roots vegetables, cut the greens from the root while they are crisp and fresh. Young tenders greens yield the best results, so start with the freshest possible.
Fill your sink or a bowl with cold water and give the greens a good rinse.
Remove the toughest portion of the stems. You can freeze the stems, but chop them first and set aside. 
Fill a 4 quart pot about 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. If you are saving the stems, throw them into the pot first and wait about 1 minute before adding the greens. Add the greens and cover the pot. Now watch the clock! For all except collard greens, blanch for blanch for an additional 2 minutes. For collard greens, blanch 3 minutes.
If you have lots of the same type of greens you can use the same blanching water several times, adding more hot water from the tap from time to time to maintain the water level.
While the greens are blanching prepare a large bowl with ice and cold water.
Using a slotted spoon or strainer with a handle, quickly remove the greens from the pot and transfer to the ice bath for about 2 minutes.
Drain well. You can gently squeeze the excess water from the greens, but be gentle, as to not crush those tender greens.
I use quart size, freezer zip loc bags, removing as much air from the bag as possible before zipping. Be sure to label the bag so you remember what kind of greens you have blanched. Once they are frozen, all they will all look the same!  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

White House Gardens Week #16, September 30, 2010

Sometimes I think the only reason I grow all these vegetables, is so I can share recipes with you.  There were so many choices this week from my many saved recipes, that I had to make a decision about what to leave out!  Stewed peppers, collard greens cooked with bacon, (use the leaf beet if you didn’t get collards), Butternut Squash Gallette, refried beans. Like I have said before, this is my favorite time of year.  I love the crops that are coming in now: kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, winter squash; the list goes on and on. 

Thank you Denny and Nancy Archey for helping again this evening.  They love to pick peppers!  The peppers are overflowing this year.  I planted quite a lot  because previous years have been very lean in producing colored peppers, which are actually ripe peppers.  Green peppers are not ripe!  This year was a bumper crop, due to the hot weather.  Colored peppers contain lycopene , an antioxidant that protects against cancer like blueberries, tomatoes, and other brightly colored vegetables.  Enjoy them raw, cut them up and freeze them to use in cooked preparations this winter, make soup (next week’s newsletter), stuff them, fry them, roast them, or make  Stewed Peppers from Recipes For Health by Martha Rose Shulman.   I have referred you to her column in the New York Times many times.  She has published a cookbook, The Very Best Of Recipes for Health: 250 Recipes and More from the Popular Feature on, based on this column, and I definitely believe it is worth purchasing.  I plan on making the Stewed Peppers and serving it over polenta.  Yes, I am overloading you with peppers, but they contain just as much if not more Vitamin C than oranges, so eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! 

Kohlrabi  White or red in your share.  Can be eaten raw or cooked.  Peel before eating.  My brother-in-law loves to grill thick slices of kohlrabi!  The greens are also edible, raw or lightly sauted.
Beets  Not in all shares.  If you didn’t get beets, then you got Leaf Beet (see below) Chioggia or Red Ace.  Best served roasted: cut off tops and wrap roots in foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-60 minutes, depending on the size, until tender.  When cool enough to handle, peel skin, slice, and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.  Saute the greens in olive oil and add to the roasted roots for a complete salad. 
Shell Beans  Tongue of Fire.  You are probably tired of shelling beans, and this is the last of them, I promise.  Store in the frig in the shell but shell them as soon as possible.  (Do it in front of the TV!)  Store shelled beans in the frig or cook them and store them in the freezer for use this winter in soups.  DON’T EAT THEM RAW!  Some fresh beans (cannellini, kidney, broad beans) contain a natural toxin that will make you very sick if not cooked first.  To cook the beans for freezing:  rinse the beans to remove any debris/dirt from shelling them, put in a heavy pot, cover with water by about 2 inches, add aromatics like garlic, rosemary, thyme, or sage, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes, until tender, but not mushy.  Add more liquid if necessary during the cooking process.  Remove from the heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and salt to taste.  Let the beans cool.  They should be saucy, not dry.  Store in the freezer and use in recipes that call for dried beans, but guess what?, you have beans already cooked in the freezer, ready to use!  Also see this recipe   from Dad Cooks Dinner.
Sweet Peppers  Yellow and red block peppers.  Also green cubanelles.  See above for tips on using sweet peppers.  Cubanelles are sweet, but can be a little spicey sometimes.  It depends on the particular pepper!  Use them raw, stuffed, roasted whole. 
Radishes  Cherry Belle
Heirloom Tomatoes  Brandywine, Goldie, Pruden’s Purple and/or Yellow Brandywine.  May be the last, we’ll see if the weather holds out.  The heirloom tomatoes actually held up better than the hybrids against the many blights that tomatoes are susceptible to. 
Leaf Beet  Related to beets and Swiss chard.  Can be used like spinach in any recipe.  Also called Gator, Perpetual Spinach.  Enjoy raw or lightly sauted in olive oil with garlic, salt & pepper. 
Collard Greens  Only in large shares.  Usually tough and long cooking, these collard greens are young and tender.  Remove the stems before preparing.  See a recipe for Collard Greens and Bacon in the newsletter.
Butternut Squash  This year’s winter squash crop is very minimal.  I have a terrible problem with squash bugs (stink bugs) that eat the young seedlings and the mature fruit!  See the newsletter for recipes for Winter Squash Soup and Butternut Squash Gallette. 
Thyme and Sage 

 Collard Greens with Red Onions and Bacon Gourmet | December 1995
Yield: Serves 8

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into fourths

3 medium red onions, chopped coarse (about 3 cups)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 pounds collard greens (preferably small leaves), coarse stems and ribs discarded and leaves and thin stems washed well, drained, and chopped coarse

In a deep heavy kettle cook bacon in 2 batches over moderate heat until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons drippings and in drippings remaining in kettle cook onions, stirring occasionally, until browned slightly and softened. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
To kettle add broth, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and about half of bacon, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add about half of collards, tossing until wilted slightly, and add remaining collards, tossing until combined. Simmer collards, covered, 30 minutes. Stir in onions and simmer, covered, 30 minutes more, or until collards are very tender.
Serve collards topped with remaining bacon.

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons  

You might not have enough squash for the entire recipe.  Cut ingredients in half or use all butternut instead of both squashes.   
Serves 8
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
For soup: Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and sugar; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)
For croutons: Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.
* If you are not confident in your knife skills or lack a very very sharp one, I’d suggest roasting the squash, halved and seeded, on a baking sheet coated lightly with oil at 425 until soft, scooping it into the pot, and cooking it the rest of the way there. Peeling, seeding and chopping raw squash is not the easiest endeavor. Alternatively, you could buy butternut squash already peeled and chopped in many stores. Haven’t seen acorn yet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

White House Gardens Week #15, September 23, 2010

Week #15    September 23, 2010

Your shares this week contain the end of the summer crops and the beginning of the fall crops.  The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are just about done, and the cool season crops are just beginning to produce.  There are 5 weeks left in the farmshare, which is my favorite time of year.  It has been very dry, not much rain and the temperatures are still in the 80’s.  All the lettuce has been planted, and the spinach is beginning to show signs of life.  Less than half of it germinated, but I think we will have a little in a few weeks.  I will need to keep the deer away from it by covering with row cover, or there will be nothing for us!  Right now they have plenty to eat, but that won’t be the case are a frost.  I have enjoyed having some of you to share the harvest with.  Thank you to Rob Bowser and Kate Raymond for helping pack the boxes tonight.   Rob and Kate shared several ideas with me about how they have been using the vegetables in their share.  I encouraged them to send me their ideas so I can share them with you. 

Tomatoes  Roma or San Marzano tomatoes.  Good for making tomato sauce.  See a previous newsletter for a recipe for Marinara Sauce.  When you cut into these tomatoes, the top portion may not be ripe.  This is actually an environmental condition, caused by fluctuations in temperature and moisture.  This part can be cut away and the rest of the tomato is usable. 
Onions  Can be stored in or out of the refrigerator.
Potatoes  There are still 5 rows of potatoes to dig, so there will be many more to enjoy.  This week’s variety is called All Blue or Russian Blue.  It keeps it’s blue color when cooked and stores well.  Don’t refrigerate potatoes, as they lose their taste when chilled.  These are very small, so enjoy them steamed and tossed with butter and herbs, or cut up and fried.
Shell Beans  Cannellini beans in large shares, Tongue of Fire in small shares.  To enjoy the beans at their best, shell them as soon as possible.  This is best done in front of the TV!  Use them just like dried beans in any of your favorite recipes, minus the long soaking.  If you can’t cook them right away, the shelled beans can be kept refrigerated for a few days, or freeze them to use later.  Don’t store them unrefrigerated as they may not be dry enough and could mold.  See last week’s newsletter for recipes.  Please do not eat any beans before they are cooked.  I learned this the hard way!  In the garden I occasionally snack on different varieties to see if they are ready to be picked.  I ate some shell beans and that evening and the following day was not feeling very well.  Turns out white beans (cannellini), red kidney beans  and broad beans (limas) have a natural toxin in them that is only removed by thoroughly cooking them .  I found this out through a cooking blog I read regularly,  Dad Cooks Dinner, the very next day!   So DO NOT EAT THE BEANS RAW!

Peppers  Red, sweet peppers called Carmen and yellow Hungarian Hot Wax.  Peppers are easy to preserve if you find you have too many of them.  Cut into dice or cubes (whatever size you want to use them) and store in the freezer in a zip lock bag.  They can be added to fried potatoes, or any dish requiring fresh peppers that are meant to be cooked. 
Eggplant  Recipe for Baba Ganoush in the newsletter courtesy of shareholder Pat Brannon.
Swiss Chard  From the same family as beets, chard can be used in place of any “green” in a recipe.  See a previous newsletter for Sauted Chard with cream and prosciutto.  The stems and the leaves are edible.
Kale  Winterbor is among many varieties of kale.  This one has curly leaves. 

I love hummus, so when I found eggplant in this week share I thought “baba ganoush” - an eggplant dip similar to hummus. I like this variation which combines these two middle-eastern favorites (  Serve with pita or bagel chips. I make my own with day old bagels from Bruegger’s - slice them into rounds and toast lightly in a low oven.  Pat Brannon

  Eggplant Hummus with Roasted Garlic
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
 4 garlic cloves skins on
 1/4 cup extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil
 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
 3 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
 Garnish with paprika and parsley
 Roast both garlic and eggplant in a 425* oven on a baking pan (rub with 2 tablespoons of oil) for 20 minutes.

 Remove garlic from pan set aside. Continue to roast eggplant until soft and flat about 25 more minutes. Cool.

Slice eggplant in half and scrape flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Add garbanzo beans. Peel garlic and add to processor bowl, along with juice and tahini, salt and 2 tablespoons oil. Process till smooth.

To serve, drizzle with more oil and paprika on top. Serve with pita chips or bread, celery, carrot sticks or buttery crackers.

 The following is a recipe using the kale and beans from your share.  Any type of kale can be used along with any type of beans.  There is no need to soak the beans before cooking them, as the beans in your share are fresh. 

Sauteed Tuscan Kale with Garlicky White Beans

Sunday, September 19, 2010

White House Gardens Week #14, September 16, 2010

Week #14    September 16, 2010

Thanks to helpers Michelle Krocker, Nancy & Denny Archey, and my niece, Sarah Fulton, we got your boxes packed by 8:00 pm again this evening.  Thank you, helpers. There is at least one hour less of daylight now, so we have to move fast to get everything picked before the sun goes down.  I enjoy growing at this time of year the most, when the days and nights are cooler, the weed pressure is less, and the crops grow slower.  Most things that go in your boxes are weighed or counted, so I know how to divide the harvest evenly.  When things need to be bunched or bagged, we count out the bags or rubber bands beforehand so there are no mistakes.  When things are weighed, such as the arugula, we then divide the weight by the number of shares, AND count out the bags, and then fill them.  My math was a little off this evening, so we had to re-bag the arugula to make 35 shares.  I know I keep saying this, but this may be the last time there are tomatoes in your share, other than romas and/or heirlooms.  Hopefully, we will get some much needed rain this week. 

Tongue of Fire Shell Beans  Only in large shares this week.  There are many more to be picked, so we will have them again, at least for the next couple of weeks.  Shell beans are like dried beans, but they don’t need to be soaked before cooking them.  The pods can be stored in the refrigerator temporarily , but they should be shelled as soon as possible.  If you can’t cook them right away, they can be frozen after they are shelled and cooked when you have more time.  A simple way to cook them is to sauté some chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil.  Add the shelled beans with enough water to cover and simmer gently for about 30-40 minutes.   Add more water if necessary so that the beans don’t go dry.  Taste for doneness after about 30 minutes.  Here is a link  on  How to Cook Shell Beans for more information on cooking fresh shell beans.  Many of the pods that are in your share are a little drier than I would have liked, but they will still cook quicker than dried beans.  Use in place of dried beans in your favorite recipe.  Included in the newsletter is a recipe for a shell bean salad.  See   Recipes for Health for more shell bean recipes.

Radishes  French breakfast variety. 
Pac Choi  This is an Asian vegetable, in the same family as cabbage, broccoli, etc.  It can be steamed, sauted, or used in stir fries.  Both the stems and the leaves are edible.  When stir frying, it’s best to cut the leaves from the thick stem, slice the stems into ½” pieces and add them before the leaves, as the stems take longer to cook.  Here is a recipe from shareholder Pat Brannon for a coleslaw made with pac choi.

I tend to improvise in the kitchen---I sliced the bok choy bulb into julienne size pieces. To that I added some chopped Vidalia, and a can of halved Mandarin oranges, a handful of broken walnut meats, and a scattering of Gorgonzola cheese. For the dressing I added a minced garlic clove mashed with a dash of Dijon mustard, than blended in white wine vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper. The result was a refreshing, crisp fruity slaw. Next time I will try with diced apple and a creamier sweet dressing – maybe with mayo and honey.

Tomatoes  The last of the slicing tomatoes.  Yellow or red Brandywine, or Goldie, another heirloom
Arugula  Has a peppery taste.  Use in place of lettuce, or mix with other greens in a salad. 
Sweet Peppers  Carmen (long, red), red block peppers, and Amish Pimento and/or Topepo.  These last two are the short, squat red peppers, very sweet.
Hot Peppers  Jalapeno, Serrano, Czech Black, Hungarian Carrot, and Cayenne.  The hot peppers are in a paper bag.

Shell Bean Salad With Tomatoes, Celery and Feta

This is a perfect end-of-summer farmers' market dish. It makes a nutritious main salad or a great starter or side dish.
For the salad:
1 1/2 pounds shell beans (about 2 1/3 cups shelled)
1 onion, halved
7 cups water
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each of parsley and thyme, a sprig of sage and a bay leaf
Salt to taste
1 cup sliced or diced celery
1 pound tomatoes, cut in wedges, the wedges cut in half crosswise, or cut in large dice
1/2 cup crumbled feta (2 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, chives, tarragon, mint
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced or pureed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Combine the beans, onion, water, crushed garlic, bouquet garni and salt in a heavy saucepan or soup pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Taste and adjust salt. Remove and discard the onion, the bouquet garni and the garlic cloves. Drain though a strainer or colander set over a bowl.
2. In a large salad bowl, combine the beans, celery, tomatoes, feta and herbs. Sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt if desired.
3. Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Toss with the salad, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.
Variations: You can serve this salad warm or cold. Heat the beans if they've cooled off, then toss with the other ingredients. You can also add some of the liquid from the beans if you want more marinade for the mixture (though the tomatoes will become juicy).
Tuna, Bean and Tomato Salad: Add a drained can of tuna to the mix.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Advance preparation: You can cook the beans up to three days in advance. The salad will hold for a few hours. Tomatoes will continue to release juice, but this just makes everything taste even better.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shell Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Celery and Feta

Here are my freshly shelled beans from this week's box.  I made the recipe in the newsletter, Shell Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Celery and Feta.  

Beans in the pot with herbs, garlic and onion

I really liked it.  Nice contrast of flavors.  It's a keeper!