Farm Newsletter

Week #21: Darn it, Steve won the bet.


Top, sweet corn for your CSA boxes,
Middle, transplanting sweet corn seedlings to the field
Bottom, protecting the ears from birds.

I’ve written before to explain our decision to plant more but smaller sweet corn fields this year.  Let’s explore more details and share your responses to our sweet corn survey.  

Our intention was to increase the number of sweet corn deliveries from five to seven, thereby increasing the odds that we’d deliver corn to all members, regardless of their box schedule.  For example, one year we planted five fields but four deliveries fell on one EOW group and the other EOW group only got one delivery.  It was just bad luck related to the weather but worth avoiding if we can.

First, we increased the number of plantings but made each field smaller.  Then we settled on a favorite variety (‘Vision’) and seeded in flats every 7 to 10 days.  This was a dry year, so we were able to transplant the seedlings on a regular schedule but that’s unlikely to work every year.  Wet weather can force transplanting delays, throwing off the schedule.  Seven weeks is our maximum.  Later plantings have too much likelihood of bug damage.

The downside of this new effort is that it creates more work for us; more seedings, more times to gather a transplant crew, more weedings, irrigations, harvests, etc.   You get the idea.  But we were lucky and it worked well this season.

Wow, you like sweet corn

I sent a short survey to ask how you felt about the new corn schedule.  I predicted that you would like getting 8 ears of corn per week, but would be sick of sweet corn by the end of seven weeks.  Steve guessed that you wouldn’t (he eats corn every day in season).  Darn it, he won the bet!  But you won the corn!

Here are your answers.  We are very happy with these results.

Comments and Questions

Here are a few of the many comments submitted with the survey.  Basically, you either loved the extra corn deliveries or found ways to make them work, eg freezing extras for corn & potato chowder.  It’s tough to pick which comment is most endearing, but the first one is an honor.

You gave us some of the best sweet corn we’ve ever had.   That’s saying something because we’re both in our 70s and we’ve eaten a lot of sweet corn in our time!

The “sweet corn from the farm” was the only sweet corn that our son would eat!

The number of ears of corn was generally too much for us to eat in one week, but we froze a lot of it, which is just fine with me.  Actually I’m thrilled to make some corn chowder later with potatoes…yum!  Thank you!

About the caterpillars – I so appreciate when you tell us to just cut the tips off.  I follow those instructions and otherwise would find the bugs disturbing and terrible.  But when I don’t have to see them, I can pretend they’re not there.

My son and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your farm!  Our weeks are almost totally based around the CSA!  We sit down several times a week to plan and discuss meals, we keep a running inventory, we’re excited about picking it up from our site! Thanks!

To be honest I think you should plant and harvest whichever way is easiest for you.  The corn keeps well in the fridge so having a few extra or a few fewer ears per box didn’t make a difference for us.

Brought on by your 5 vs. 7 weeks of corn question: As someone who receives EOW, I wonder why you don’t plan for 6 deliveries? So it doesn’t seem like the other ‘color’ might get an extra week of something depending on timing?

Beth: In a perfect world, six plantings would make sense.  We hedge our bets with seven. Don’t worry, we’ll have something special for the other ‘color’.

Maybe we’ve veered into self-congratulation, but it’s fun!
Thanks for taking the survey.  I sent the link again in tonight’s email, if anyone still wants to participate.
Beth
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Half garlic bulb this week

Everyone gets a half bulb of garlic this week. These bulbs dried slowly or had bug issues, so we wanted to open and examine each one.  Some of them are a little odd but all are useable.
Beth

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #21, October 7/8, 2021
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ moon

‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes, ~2 lb
Romano beans, 1.4 lb
Acorn winter squash, 1 small
Carrots, ~2 lb
Colored peppers, 2
Oranos snack peppers, 4 – 5 small
Yellow onion
Red onion
Jalapeno (HOT)
Garlic, one half bulb.  Might be a little weird.
Some sites get broccoli (purple &/or green).
Some sites get broccoli & cauliflower.

Next week’s box will probably contain bok choy, butternut squash, scallions, peppers and more.

‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes – Store your sweet potatoes at room temperature.  They suffer chilling injury below 50 F.
Here are a few things we’ve learned about sweet potatoes:
– For best flavor, cook your sweet potatoes so they brown and caramelize.  We have a simple, favorite way to roast sweet potatoes.  We used to prepare sweet potato fries in the oven.  Now we just quarter the potatoes, rub with olive oil, dust with salt and place cut-side-down on a cookie sheet.  Roast in a 450 F oven without turning until soft.  The flavors will caramelize (like sweet potato fries) but preparation is simpler and the cooking time less exacting.  Slender sweet potato fries go from undercooked to overcooked in the blink of an eye.  Larger slices are less exacting, and therefore are easier.  Small sweet potatoes can be cut just in half.  Jumbos will need to be chopped into pieces.  Otherwise, they take a long time to cook.
– This first batch of sweet potatoes will need slightly longer cooking than ones from the supermarket, perhaps because they contain higher moisture so soon after harvest.
– Sweet potatoes are good at any size. We have cooked everything from tiny to jumbo and consistently find that all sizes taste good.

Romano beans – Romano beans are more robust and meaty than green beans.  They are excellent raw but really shine when gently cooked for a long time.  Here’s a pep talk from Tipi member Steve Rankin:

“You have finally sold me.  I have never been a fan of Romano beans.  This week I have been sautéing them with various peppers and garlic, as well as the oregano from earlier this season.  They are especially tasty with poblanos.  Lots of black pepper and some soy sauce, which make the pan sticky. I deglaze the pan with wine and braise them in the wine. I’m sold!”

Acorn winter squash – Everyone gets one ‘Jester’ or ‘Carnival’ squash.  Store at room temperature for two weeks but keep an eye on your squash and cook promptly if it starts to deteriorate.

Jalapeno chile (HOT) – This small chile is dark green or dark green with a red tip.  It’s recognizable by its color and size.  It is the only hot pepper this week.  All other peppers in this week’s box are sweet.

RECIPES from DEB

Visit our 2020 Recipe Log or our 2019 Recipe Log.

sweet potato pie

Caramel sweet potato pie

Based on a recipe from November 2018 Food & Wine, this pie could also be made with squash or pumpkin puree.
Takes about 45 minutes active time, plus 30 minutes to chill the crust and 45 minutes to bake.
Makes 8 big slices.

Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
good pinch salt, unless you’re using salted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, either salted or un- (1 stick, 8 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening or lard
1 tablespoon sugar
2-4 tablespoons cold water
Special equipment – pie weights or dried beans, parchment paper

Filling:
2 3/4 cups sweet potato puree (roasting the sweet potatoes will give you a drier puree, but steaming also works and is quicker!)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a generous pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
OR use two teaspoons pumpkin pie spice blend, such as Penzey’s

Make the crust: measure the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer (my favorite method), your food processor, or a mixing bowl. Slice the butter and shortening over the top and combine with the flour mixture, using the paddle attachment of the mixer, by pulsing the processor, or using a pastry blender, 2 knives or your fingers, until you have a crumbly mixture with no butter lumps bigger than currants. With the mixer or processor running, or while stirring with fork, drizzle in the water by tablespoons, until the mixture just starts to come together in clumps. Stop before you have one big ball. Turn the crust out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to bring it together. Gather it into a ball, flatten into a disk, wrap (in plastic, wax paper, one of your reusable snack/sandwich bags), and chill for about 30 minutes, and up to 2 days.

After chilling, roll out the crust and fit it into a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim and crimp the edges. Set it in the freezer or fridge to chill while you make the filling. Cut the trimmings into decorative shapes for the top of your pie, set them on a baking sheet, and chill them, too.

After the crust has chilled, heat the oven to 400°. Line the pie shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle the cutouts with cinnamon sugar, and bake them, too – they’ll brown quickly, so watch carefully! After about 16 minutes, take the shell out, carefully remove paper and weights, and prick the bottom of crust all over with a fork. Return the crust to the oven and bake until bottom is lightly browned, another 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

Make the filling: Combine the pumpkin puree and the eggs – you’ll get the smoothest filling if you use a food processor, but you can whisk the eggs and potato together in a big bowl, too.

Stir the granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons water together in saucepan much bigger than you think you will need – at least 2 quarts. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and continue cooking, occasionally swirling the saucepan, until mixture is a rich caramel in color, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the warm cream – it will bubble furiously – this is why you need a big pan! Whisk in brown sugar and butter until smooth and incorporated.

When the warm caramel sauce into the pumpkin & egg mixture, and add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top. Bake until the filling is just set, about 45 minutes. Decorate the top with your crust cutouts while the pie is still warm – they’ll stick better that way.
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broccoli casserole

Broccoli Casserole

This is based on Jane & Michael Stern of Roadfood fame, and I got the recipe from the Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper cookbook. It’s basically a strata, bread, egg, broccoli, and cheese.
Takes about 20 minutes active time, plus an hour to bake.
Serves four generously.

4-6 slices of bread, enough so that torn into bite-sized pieces it will cover the bottom of an 8-in. baking dish. The original recipe calls for soft white bread; I think soft whole wheat is good, too.
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus a little extra for greasing the baking dish
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons sugar (The original recipe calls for three!)
2 cups finely chopped broccoli – I like to do this in the food processor.

Heat the oven to 350°. Butter your baking dish – glass recommended, and cover the bottom of the dish with the torn bread. Beat the eggs, milk, and melted butter together, then add the cheese, salt and sugar. Stir in the broccoli and pour the mixture over the bread. Cover the dish with foil or a lid, and bake for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 to 15 minutes to brown the top, and if you want an even crispier top crust, run the casserole under the broiler.
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Heidi's miso veg & tofu

Miso Vegetables & Tofu Recipe

From 101 Cookbooks
Takes 30 minutes.
Serves 4-6, plus extra miso dressing.

This is a main dish salad with lots of veggies, from the 101 Cookbooks blog.  The author, Heidi Swanson, uses asparagus in this version, and says the original recipe, from a book called Everyday Harumi, uses green beans, that we get in the box this week. When I tested this recipe I served it over ramen noodles, and the leftovers were delicious for lunch the next day.
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Roasted broccoli baguettes
Image credit Maria Siriano

Garlicky Broccoli Subs

From the Kitchn; by Megan Splawn
Take about 30 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.

Why can’t broccoli be the star of a sandwich? This recipe from the Kitchn says, “Sure!” Substitute for the peppadews with thin slices of the Oranos peppers from the box, and spice the sandwiches up with some jalapeño if you like.
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how to roast cauliflower
Cookie + Kate

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe (Four Ways!)

Kate of Cookie and Kate gives us four different ways to roast cauliflower: Basic, Italian, Mexican, and my personal favorite, with Indian curry spices.
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green bean salad

Adam’s Green Bean Salad

From What’s Gaby Cooking
Takes 20 minutes
Serves 6

This delicious salad can be made with any type of green bean including the Romano beans in this week’s box, as shown in the picture.
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broccoli cauliflower gratin
Photo by Dana Gallagher

Best Broccoli & Cauliflower Gratin

From Country Living; by Nancy Fuller.
Takes an hour and 10 minutes.
Serves 8-10.

The source of this recipe, County Living Magazine, suggests it as an upgrade for your Thanksgiving side dishes – but I see no reason to wait that long to make it!
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steamed sweet potatoes with tahini butter
Photo by Gentl and Hyers

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter Recipe | Bon Appétit

From Bon Appetit; by Carla Lalli Music
Takes about 40 minutes
Serves 6

This recipe for steamed sweet potatoes doused with tahini, butter, and lime juice, by Carla Lalli Music has also appeared in the New York Times, and is the type of recipe that gets a ton of comments – people are passionate about it! Give it a try and see how you feel.

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Week #20; Spectacular winter squash harvests


Carnival squash, in the wild

Winter squash are tricky to grow.  They take a full season to mature, allowing many perils of insect attack or rot in wet weather.  This has been a remarkably dry growing season for us.  Dry years create extra irrigation work for us, but usually produce spectacular crops.  I’ve written it before, but we think this might be our best-ever CSA season.

Anyway, the winter squash have benefited from the dry weather plus our typical squash-loving insects were less abundant than usual (cucumber beetles and squash bugs).  Harvests have been so easy!  The same team of squash cutters have worked with me for years because it’s an exacting job and takes time to learn.  Not this year – almost all the squash were harvestable without special evaluation.  That gave me the freedom to include everyone in squash harvest at some point.  It’s a good job to share – squash are heavy, you know.


One of many wagonloads of winter squash.  From left, Billy, John, Matt and Scott, plus Simone in back near the tractor.  We are a good team.  You can see the harvest conveyor belt stretching off the wagon to the right.  We clip the squash, pile them in the field, then return to pick them up with the wagon and belt.  That harvest belt saves our backs – we place the squash directly on the belt instead of carrying filled crates out of the field.


The harvest belt in action, kind of.


From the front, Jester, Autumn Frost (for the Storage shares probably), then Nutterbutter butternuts.
We store the harvested squash in our biggest greenhouse.  It’s warm and dry, perfect for curing squash.

Thanks for reading.
Beth

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Green cabbage, ~ 3 lb
‘Carnival’ winter squash, 1 – 2
‘Mollie’ yellow potatoes, 3.5 lb
Green beans, 1.1 lb
Plum tomatoes, ~4 count
Colored peppers, ~3
Poblano chiles, 2
Onion
Garlic
Some sites get cauliflower this week.
Some sites get broccoli.

Next week’s box will probably contain sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, peppers, some kind of fall greens and more.

‘Carnival’ winter squash – These acorn squash were harvested from very healthy plants and should store at room temperature for up to one month.  After that, they’ll start to get stringy and lose flavor.  They are beautiful so keep them in your kitchen somewhere that you can admire them and also watch for developing flaws.  If you see any flaws, then eat them soon.  The skins are too tough to eat.

‘Mollie’ yellow potatoes – These organic potatoes were grown by our friends Josh and Noah Engel of Driftless Organics.  Josh says that Mollie is a “nice all-around potato, good for frying, boiling or mashing.”

Plum tomatoes – The tomato plants are in decline so these tomatoes have an expiration date of Sunday.  Eat or cook with them soon.

Poblano chiles (triangular, shiny; green or brown; MILDLY HOT) –  Poblanos are the creme de la creme of chiles.  They have lots of great flavor in combination with manageable heat.  Roast and add to soup or casseroles.  To reduce heat, remove the seeds and midveins.  


Poblano chiles will be dark green or chocolate-colored, occasionally with a red tip.  These are the only hot peppers in this week’s box.  All other peppers are sweet.

RECIPES from PHOEBE

Visit our 2020 Recipe Log or our 2019 Recipe Log.
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Lemony Sheet Pan Potatoes and Green Beans with Soft-Boiled Eggs

Crispy, creamy roasted potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, and a bright lemon-Dijon dressing make this simple recipe a satisfying meal. Don’t hold back on the dressing here – it really takes this dish over the top.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 pounds yellow potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed (1 14-oz can)
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the green beans on one baking sheet and the potatoes on the other. Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat, and spread the veggies in a single layer. Roast the green beans for 17-22 minutes, or until crisp and beginning to brown. Roast the potatoes until the skins are puffed and crispy and the middles are tender, about 3o minutes, stirring halfway.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, honey, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and several grinds of fresh black pepper.
  4. Place the white beans, capers, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a medium bowl and fold to combine. Set aside the beans and the remaining dressing while you prepare the eggs.
  5. Fill a large saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Set a medium bowl of ice water nearby. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and carefully lower the eggs into the pot. Simmer for 7 minutes, drain, and transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Allow them to cool in the ice water for at least 2 minutes before carefully peeling off the shells.
  6. Divide the roasted potatoes, green beans, and white beans among four plates and top each one with a soft-boiled egg. Season with salt and pepper and serve with generous drizzles of the dressing.

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Quinoa and Black Bean Vegetarian Chili

Serve this hearty veggie chili with whatever fixings you like. Crushed corn chips, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, grated cheddar cheese, cilantro, pickled onions, and pickled jalapeños would all be great.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 bell or frying pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes and their juices
1 (14-ounce) can pinto beans and their liquid
1 (14-ounce) can black beans and their liquid
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, bell pepper, and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5-8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, and salt and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices, pinto beans and their liquid, black beans and their liquid, quinoa, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender and the chili has thickened, about 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and season to taste.

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Roasted Squash Tacos with Garlic-Poblano Cream

Carnival squash’s skin is edible, so you can peel the squash or leave it un-peeled in this recipe. I typically don’t peel it (peeling acorn squash is not my favorite thing to do in the kitchen), but if you don’t love eating squash skin, go ahead and cut it off.

The poblano sauce here is delicious, but you need to blend it well to get a really creamy texture. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix, soak the cashews for at least 4 hours before making the sauce.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the poblano sauce

1 poblano pepper
1/2 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the squash

1 carnival squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the slaw and tacos

12 ounces green cabbage, shredded (about 1/2 one small cabbage)
1 colored bell or frying pepper, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 small tortillas, warmed

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Make the poblano sauce: Place the whole poblano and the onion wedges on one of the baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the unpeeled garlic cloves in a small piece of aluminum foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Add the foil packet to the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Remove the skins from the garlic and the stem and seeds from the pepper. Transfer the roasted garlic, onion, and poblano to a high-speed blender with the cashews, water, olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  4. Roast the squash: Place the squash in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Use your hands to make sure the squash is well-coated, then spread it in an even layer on the remaining baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, stirring every 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the slaw: Place the cabbage and pepper in a large bowl and toss with the lime juice, olive oil, lime zest, garlic, and salt.
  6. Assemble the tacos in the tortillas with a big spoonful of the poblano sauce, a scoop of the slaw, and several pieces of the roasted squash.

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Cozy Cabbage and Farro Soup

From Smitten Kitchen
This recipe is an adaptation of the cabbage soup from the cookbook Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden, which is an excellent guide to cooking with seasonal vegetables. In the book, Joshua says that this soup has “a definite grandma vibe,” which is true in the best way. It’s comforting, nourishing, and deeply flavorful. Serve with good crusty bread.
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Mashed potatoes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

From Love & Lemons
I love this recipe, which yields light and creamy mashed potatoes with a rich garlic flavor.
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An up close, overhead shot of a sautéed cauliflower and green bean dish that is topped with a creamy sauce, chopped olives, and sliced almonds.

Smoky Sautéed Cauliflower with Green Beans, Tahini, and Almonds

From The First Mess
A tasty, out-of-the-box veggie side dish. If you don’t have fresh thyme on hand, substitute 1/2 the amount of dried thyme.
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baked potato soup recipe

Creamy Potato Soup

From Love & Lemons
This smoky, tangy soup is such a cozy fall meal! It’s great topped with shredded cheese and/or sour cream, but if you skip those garnishes, it’s entirely vegan. Its rich, creamy texture comes from blended white beans and potatoes instead of dairy.

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Week #19.


The farm is beautiful in fall.  Work has slowed slightly so we’re able to enjoy our work more now.  Above, Kristin cuts cauliflower and throws it to me on the wagon, to count and pack into bins.  We’re glad cauliflower harvest has started.  We’ll have enough for all the sites soon.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #19, September 23/24, 2021
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ sun

Green beans, 2 lb
Bok choy, 1 head
‘Jester’ winter squash, 1 
Summercrisp lettuce
Tomatoes, ~2 lb, mixed plum & slicing
Red frying peppers, ~2
Oranos snack peppers, ~4
Jalapeno chile (HOT)
Onion, 1
Basil, 1 sprig
Garlic, 1 bulb
– Some sites get cauliflower.
– Some sites get a second ‘Jester’ winter squash

Next week’s box will probably contain green beans, winter squash, potatoes, peppers and more.

Green beans – Wow, this planting is successful!  Enjoy them fresh or blanch and freeze for winter.

Bok choy (large rosette with thick white stems and green leaves) – This Asian green is good for stir-frying or sautéing or in soup.  You can think of the stems and leaves as two separate vegetables.  The stems require longer cooking.  The leaves will cook almost as quickly as spinach.  Bok choy stores well, so feel free to pull off leaves as you need them, or use the whole head at once.  Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag or other container.

Jester winter squash – This is a cross which gets its shape from its acorn parentage, and it’s flavor from its sweet dumpling parentage.  These Jester are delicious and ready to eat.  Simply roasting cut halves shows off their flavor.  They will not store well.  Plan to eat within two weeks.  Read last week’s newsletter for lots of information about winter squash.

Summercrisp lettuce – This last lettuce of the season is a variety that tolerates hot weather.  Summer is a difficult time to grow lettuce – it prefers cooler weather – so this type is helpful.


Keep an eye on your tomatoes
We’re at the end of the season and these tomatoes will not last.  Spread them on a plate and keep on your kitchen counter so you can quickly identify and eat any that develop flaws.  They taste pretty darn good for this time of year!  Don’t keep in the paper bag.

Veggie ID


Bok choy (left) and Summercrisp lettuce.  The lettuce varies in how much it’s tinged with red.


Oranos snack peppers (orange) and frying peppers (red).  If you receive a yellow pepper, then it’s a frying pepper.  There will be occasional bell peppers.


Jalapeno chile.  HOT!

RECIPES from DEB

Visit our 2020 Recipe Log or our 2019 Recipe Log.

Turkey bok choy stirfry

Bok choy, red pepper, and ground turkey, or pork, or tofu stir fry

Serves 6-8
Takes about 30 minutes, longer to cook brown rice

For serving:
1 1/2 cups white or brown rice

Sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon sherry or white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
Optional – pinch red pepper flakes or a good squirt of chili-garlic sauce, like Siracha

Stir Fry:
1 pound ground turkey, or pork, or a 12-14 ounce package of tofu
1 cup onion, sliced pole to pole
2 garlic cloves minced or put through a press
4 cups sliced bok choy, leaves and stems separated
1-2 frying peppers, thinly sliced
Optional – in lieu of red pepper flakes in the sauce, 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

First, put the rice on to cook.

Then, mix up all the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a wide deep skillet or wok, and brown the turkey (or pork). Add about half of the sauce to the pan, when the meat is almost done. If you are using tofu, crumble it, and brown it, and then add the sauce when it is browned on all sides. Transfer the mixture to a bowl or plate, and wipe out the skillet.

Add another tablespoon of the vegetable oil to your skillet, and stir fry the veggies in the order given: onion, garlic, bok choy, peppers. When the vegetable are almost done, add the protein mixture back into the pan. Mix the cornstarch into the sauce and add that, stirring so that everything is glazed nicely as it thickens.

Enjoy over rice.
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pumpkin scones

Pumpkin (or winter squash) Scones with Maple Glaze

Make 12 scones
Takes about 45 minutes

3 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon ginger, or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
OR omit the other spices and use to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoon butter
1 cup pumpkin or winter squash puree (approximately the yield of one roasted squash!)
1 egg
3 tablespoons honey
2-3 tablespoons milk, if necessary
Optional: up to 1 cup chopped dates, cinnamon chips, nuts, dried cranberries

Icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, spices, and baking powder in a bowl. Slice butter on top, and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture has a meal-like consistency. Mix the pumpkin, egg, and honey, and add to the flour mixture, mixing and kneading until you have a soft dough, adding optional milk if necessary.

Divide the dough in half and on a floured surface, roll or pat it into two 8-9 inch circles, and cut each into 6 wedges. Place on a parchment lined, or un-greased baking sheet, and bake in the oven until browned and firm.

Combine the icing ingredients while the scones bake. Drizzle the icing over the scones after they have cooled for about 10 minutes.
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feisty green beans
Photo by Heidi Swanson

Feisty Green Beans

From 101 Cookbooks.
Serves 4-6
Takes 45 minutes
From Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks, Heidi says this recipe does have a lot of ingredients, but is worth making as written at least once. You’ll also find recommendations for substitutions, and even more related green bean recipes, at the website.
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braised green beans
Photo by Christopher Testani

Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic Recipe

From Food and Wine.
Makes 8 servings
Takes 30 minutes active time + 40 minutes braising
There are A LOT of recipes for green beans braised with tomatoes out there; this one, by Rita Nakouzi, from Food & Wine, uses canned tomatoes, but fresh tomatoes from this week’s box, peeled and diced, are even better. Deborah Madison’s version from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone layers onions, the beans, and diced tomatoes in a deep skillet, seasoned with whole cumin seeds and dill. Smitten Kitchen also offers a recipe for long cooked beans – Braised Romano Beans, that could be made with skinnier green beans.
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lemon butter chicken thighs with green beans
Photo by Eatwell101.com

Lemon Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs with Green Beans

From eatwell 101
Makes 3 servings
Takes 30 minutes
In this recipe from Eatwell 101 the green beans out number the chicken with delicious results!
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tomato salad with warm shallot dressing

Tomato Salad with Warm Shallot Dressing

From Deb’s Lunch
Serves 3, easily doubled
Takes less than 20 minutes
This is really non-recipe recipe – you can make it with any variety of tomatoes that you have and sub in onions or garlic for the shallots. Serve on a bed of the fresh lettuce from this week’s box.
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sweet pumpkin dip
Photo by My Baking Addiction

Sweet Pumpkin (or winter squash) Dip

From My Baking Addiction
Makes 16 servings
Takes 10 minutes active time + 3 hours to chill
My Baking Addiction suggests serving this sweet dip with mainly sweet dippers – apples, pretzels, ginger snaps – but few strips of the red or orange peppers from this week’s box would not be out of place in the assortment.

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Week #18; Winter squash season begins!


Everyone gets two acorn squash this week. One Jester (top) or Starry Night (middle) plus one Carnival (bottom).

We used to grow traditional green acorn squash but switched to the newer striped varieties because they taste better, the plants are more vigorous, and the squash are so pretty.  Some Carnival squash are have yellow and orange stripes, some are green and cream.  The colors vary with temperature during pollination.

Winter Squash Primer

We expect to have a steady supply of squash over the coming weeks.  Let’s review some basics about winter squash.

Expected life:  Some winter squash varieties are ready to eat soon after harvest, others store deep into winter.  This week’s acorns are cured and ready to eat.  Plan to eat these early varieties within two weeks of delivery.  Jester has the shortest storage life, so eat that first if you receive one.  Check our newsletter each week for storage information about squash delivered that week.

Storage:  Do not refrigerate!  Winter squash store best at room temperature with good air circulation.  No cooler than 50 degrees.  On your kitchen counter is good, where you can keep an eye on them.  If you see deterioration, cook promptly.  These early squash are not intended for storage.  Do not cover – that promotes mold.

To make squash easier to cut:  Microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on size of the squash.  This will soften the rind and flesh, making it much easier to cut.

Beth’s favorite simple preparation (acorn or butternut):  Winter squash are easily roasted in a 400F oven.  The goal is to get brown, caramelized edges.
– Split in half with a sharp knife.  
– Scoop out and discard seeds.  
– Run the squash briefly under running water, then shake off the excess water.  Place cavity-side-down on an oiled baking sheet.  The little bit of moisture seals the squash to your roasting pan.  The water soon evaporates, allowing the squash to brown and caramelize.  Caramelization really boosts the flavor.  
– Roast at 400F until easily pierced with a fork, 30 – 45 minutes depending on size.  Flip over while hot.  Add a little butter to melt and some seasoned salt.  Cut into wedges and eat.

Stuffed squash
Acorn squash have a central cavity perfect for stuffing.  Prepare your favorite fully-cooked stuffing, e.g. a rice or quinoa mixture.  Roast your squash as described below.  Preheat the stuffing.  Fill the cooked squash with stuffing, top with grated cheese and return to the oven until everything is hot.

Can you eat the rind?  In my opinion, rinds on these acorn squash are too tough to eat.  Steve eats the Jester rind.  I don’t.

We pick, you wash.  We remain short-handed this fall yet our crops are abundant.  We are committed to getting them harvested and delivered to you, but have to focus on the essentials.  You can help by washing your squash!

Please wash your squash to remove any soil.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #18, September 16/17, 2021
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Koji greens, 1 head
‘Carnival’ winter squash, 1
‘Jester’ winter squash, 1
Leeks, ~2
Plum tomatoes, ~4 lb
A mix of colored bell & frying peppers, ~5
‘Roulette’ not-hot habanero, 3
Onion, 1
Garlic, 1 bulb
Basil, 1 sprig

Next week’s box will probably contain winter squash, bok choy, Romano beans, tomatoes, peppers and more.

Koji greens (head of dark green leaves) – Refrigerate.
 Koji greens are a lot like Yukina if you know that one; dark green with a nice balance of bitter flavor but not too strong.  Like tat soi but with larger, lusher leaves and not so many leaf stalks.  Recipes that use mustard greens or bok choy will work with Koji.  In a contest for my favorite fall green, Koji runs neck and neck with bok choy.

Acorn squash – See above for cultivar photos.  All types are cured and ready to eat.  Plan to eat within two weeks.

Leeks (look like big scallions) – These alliums have a milder flavor than onions.  Nonetheless, they can be used in recipes that call for onions.  To wash, split the leek lengthwise, from the green tops about halfway to the base, leaving the base intact.  Rinse well under running water, separating the layers to flush.  If necessary, split the leek further if soil has penetrated more than halfway down the leek.  Shake dry.  Leeks are generally eaten cooked.  They can be sauteed, steamed or roasted.  Intact leeks will store 2 to 3 weeks if covered loosely and refrigerated.  The outer leaves will yellow.  Just peel them off and discard.  The inner leek layers will be fine.

‘Roulette’ chiles (small, shiny, red, thin-walled) – This chile has been bred to have the aromatic taste of habanero chiles, with almost no heat.   Snack on them to enjoy their flavor, or add them to any dish.  To reduce all chances of spiciness, remove the seeds and midveins.  These will be the smallest peppers in your box.


Roulette chiles

RECIPES from PHOEBE

Visit our 2020 Recipe Log or our 2019 Recipe Log.

Leek and Red Pepper Frittata

The beauty of a frittata is that you can eat it for any meal of the day! Serve this recipe for an easy weeknight dinner or weekend brunch. Any leftovers are great cold for lunch the next day.

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

8 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 heaping cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts
2 red frying peppers, diced
Fresh basil leaves, optional, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, and mustard. Fold in half the Gruyère and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the leeks soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until they soften.
  4. Spread the vegetables in an even layer at the bottom of the skillet and pour the egg mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle on the remaining Gruyère and transfer the skillet to the oven.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the frittata is set.
  6. Slice and serve with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

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Maple Sesame Grain Bowl with Acorn Squash and Greens

Acorn squash’s natural sweetness tastes fantastic with the nutty sesame-maple-ginger sauce and earthy brown rice in this recipe. If you can’t find adzuki beans, chickpeas would work nicely in their place.

1 acorn squash
1 large leek, white and light green parts, halved and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup avocado oil, more for drizzling
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
4 garlic cloves, 2 grated, 2 chopped, divided
6 cups loose-packed Asian greens
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups cooked adzuki beans, drained and rinsed (1 14-oz can)
Sesame seeds, for serving
Sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the acorn squash in half vertically and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place the sliced squash on one of the baking sheets, toss it with oil and pinches of salt, and arrange it in a single layer. Place the leeks on the other baking sheet, toss with oil and salt, and spread them in a single layer. Transfer both baking sheets to the oven. Roast the leeks for 15 minutes, or until softened and just beginning to brown. Roast the squash for 25 to 30 minutes, or until completely tender and easily pierced with a fork, flipping halfway. If desired, peel the skin off the squash wedges after roasting.
  3. Make the sauce. In a medium bowl, place the avocado oil, maple syrup, sesame oil, tamari, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, miso, fresh and dried ginger, and grated garlic. Whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped garlic, greens, and a pinch of salt and cook, tossing, until the greens are just wilted. Remove from the heat and toss with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar.
  5. Assemble bowls with the rice, adzuki beans, roasted squash, leeks, and sautéed greens. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with generous drizzles of the sauce.

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Saucy Chickpea Skillet with Creamy Lemon Zest Ricotta

These saucy chickpeas are like a distant cousin of shakshuka, the Middle Eastern and North African dish consisting of eggs poached in tomato sauce. Serve this recipe with baguette or other crusty bread for mopping up the creamy ricotta and sauce.

Serves: 2-4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 14-oz can)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (4-inch) basil stem, leaves reserved for garnish
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest, more for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving

  1. Place the tomatoes in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas, oregano, basil stem, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of fresh black pepper. Pour in the tomato puree and stir to combine. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the ricotta. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
  5. When the chickpeas are ready, remove and discard the basil stem and season the sauce to taste. Serve in bowls with dollops of the ricotta, freshly grated Parmesan, and lemon zest and fresh basil for garnish. Enjoy with crusty bread.

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tomato bruschetta with balsamic drizzle

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Balsamic Drizzle

From Cookie & Kate
A classic way to use your tomatoes, basil, onion, and garlic. Enjoy this recipe as an appetizer, side dish, or light meal.
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Beef noodle soup in a bowl with chopsticks.

Garlic Ginger Beef Noodle Soup

From Spoon Fork Bacon
This recipe calls for spinach and kale, but the bok choy or koji greens from this week’s box would be a great substitute.
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Roasted acorn squash

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

From Love & Lemons
A simple, cozy fall side dish. Feel free to use dried rosemary and/or sage instead of fresh.

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Week #17; Tomato-palooza

Sweet corn survey

We tried something new with sweet corn this year.  We increased the number of plantings but made each field smaller.  Our goal was to do a better job of distributing corn to members of all share types, whether weekly or monthly members.  It worked!  You got seven weeks of sweet corn instead of five, but with about 8 ears per box instead of about 10 ears.

What do you think about the new system?  Too much corn?  Still too little?  We really want to know so we can plan for next year.  Check this week’s email for a survey link.

FYI, the bugs at the tips are a separate issue.  Most years, the earliest plantings are at least risk of insect damage, as the egg-laying moths usually haven’t arrived in Wisconsin yet.  Things were reversed this year, with bugs in the early plantings, then fewer in the later ears.  Sometimes moths get blown north earlier than expected.  That’s probably what happened.  Each corn earworm moth can lay 2000 eggs so a few moths can do a lot of damage.

Tomato-palooza

We are at peak tomato season right now.  We are determined to get tomatoes to all of you, whether in the CSA boxes or through extra purchases or via farm u-picks.


It takes this many pails and baskets of tomatoes to pack 4 lb in every box, plus fill pre-orders for members who want to preserve for winter.  From left, Matt moves pails of tomatoes, Ben washes kale, Maggie, Charlotte and Karen put tomatoes in paper bags for the CSA boxes.


First plum tomato u-pick. 

The weather was perfect and the picking was easy.  We have planned a second (and final) plum tomato u-pick.  Check your 9/6/21 email titled “Tomato upick” for details and a link to register.  Our farm events are for Tipi CSA members only.

Can you see the straw in the aisles in the photo above?  That’s the straw mulch that we laid down in June.  It’s worked pretty well for weed control but has required spot weeding and one mowing to control wheat sprouts.  If you use wheat straw, you will get wheat seeds too.  The mulch has definitely made the tomato field an easier and more pleasant place to work.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #17, September 9/10, 2021
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ moon

Kale, 1 bunch
Slicing tomatoes, ~4 lb
Globe eggplant
Red watermelon
Grape tomatoes, ~1 pint
Colored peppers, bell or frying (sweet), ~4-5
Oranos snack pepper (orange, sweet), ~2
Yellow onion, 1 – 2
Basil, 1 bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, peppers, leeks and other fall veggies.

Kale (large bunch of ruffled leaves) – We finally have room in the box for greens!  Our youngest field of kale and collards has been ready to pick for a few weeks but we couldn’t fit them in the box.  Enjoy.  This young planting is in good shape, with tender leaves.

Peppers (bell &/or frying; sweet) – The orange and yellow peppers are over-achievers right now too!  This is a treat – these peppers are beautiful with thick walls, perfect for roasting.  We’re pleased with how unusually productive these peppers are this year.  It’s not typical.

Oranos snack peppers (smaller, slender, orange, sweet) – These beauties are perfect for packed lunches, in small portions but with sweet, tangy flavor.

Red watermelon – This might be the final melon of the season.

RECIPES from DEB

Visit our 2020 Recipe Log or our 2019 Recipe Log.

stove top mac & cheese with kale
Photo by Todd Porter & Diane Cu

Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Kale

Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 6-8
Takes about 20 minutes

Ingredients
1 bunch of kale, rinsed, and large stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press (optional)
good pinch of kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups warm water
3 cups milk, warmed
1 pound macaroni or pasta of your choice
another good pinch of kosher salt
3 cups shredded cheese – again your choice – when I tested this recipe I used white cheddar, Swiss, a kind of spicey smoked cheddar with a bit of chipotle, and Parmesan
Additional salt & pepper to taste, and you can play around with the seasoning – I often put in a bit of nutmeg, and dry or prepared mustard, and some hot seasonings like cayenne would not be out of place

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and when it’s boiling, submerge the kale and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse with cold water to cool it, and then squeeze the water out of the kale by handfuls, transferring it to a cutting board, where you will chop it into bite size pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the kale, and sauté, adding the salt and pepper and optional garlic, until it’s looking a softened and browned, about 10 minutes.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot – could be the same one you used for the kale, and add the flour. Blend, then whisk in the warm water and the milk. Add the dry pasta and the 2nd pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked and liquid is mostly absorbed. Uncover and add the grated cheese, kale, and any additional seasonings. Stir well and serve.
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Bittman's pasta alla Norma
Photo by Sabra Krock for The New York Times

Pasta Melanzane

Adapted from The New York Times.
Sometimes called Pasta alla Norma; serves 4-6
Takes about 45 minutes

1 1/2 pounds eggplant
approximately 1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced or put through a press
1 bell pepper, any color, sliced or chopped
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or a 14 oz. can)
1 pound pasta – fettucine is traditional here; spaghetti also work
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oven to 400° Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with olive oil, arrange in a single layer on one or two baking sheets, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until softened and browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it, and when it’s boiling add the pasta. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy, and drain.

Heat about a tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta and cook the garlic and peppers, until the garlic colors a little bit, and the peppers have started to soften. Add the tomatoes along with some salt and pepper; continue to cook until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally.

Cut the eggplant into strips and add to the peppers & tomato mixture. Add the drained pasta and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the basil and grated cheese and serve.
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focaccia

Focaccia with Roasted Peppers

Based on Carol Field’s Focaccia from Genoa, in Focaccia, Simple Breads from the Italian Oven
10-12 servings
Takes about 45 minutes active time, plus 2 hours to overnight to rise

Sponge:
2 1/2 teaspoons (scant tablespoon, or one pack) active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (105° to 115° F – should feel just barely warm)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

Dough:
all of the sponge
1/2 cup room temperature water
1/3 cup white wine – also room temp
1/3 cup olive oil
2 3/4 – 3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons table salt

Topping:
About 2 tablespoons olive oil, and about 2 teaspoons flakey salt
2-3 roasted peppers, technique below

Make the sponge: Pour the water into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle in the yeast, then add the flour and mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Cover the bowl and let rise for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours until bubbly and puffy.

Make the dough: Pour the water, wine, and olive oil into the bowl with the sponge. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or with the flat beater of the stand mixer until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding the additional flour as necessary. If you are using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium, and beat/knead for 3 minutes. If you are making the dough by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. For both methods, form the dough into a smooth ball in the bowl, cover, amd let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled. The dough can also be refrigerated at this point for several hours, and up to overnight.

Roast the peppers: there are lots of ways to do this, but the method I like best is to arrange whole peppers on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet, and place them under the broiler. Broil until they are well charred, turning to get all sides. Put the peppers into a heat proof bowl, and cover with a plate or lid. Let steam and cool for at least 15 minutes. Place a cutting board tipped into your sink, and lay a pepper on the board. Split it open with a paring knife, and let the (possibly very hot!) juices run into the sink. Remove the stem, veins, and seeds, and turn the pepper over and peel off the skin.

Shape the dough: Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a 10 x 15 1/2 in. baking pan and dump the risen dough out into the pan. Turn it over to coat it with oil, and start stretching & pushing the dough to the sides of the pan. Let rest for about 15 minutes – 30 if refrigerated – and then continue stretching and dimple the dough with your fingertips. Add the toppings at this point – up to another tablespoon of olive oil plus the roasted peppers and salt. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake the focaccia: About 30 minutes before the end of the rising time, heat the oven to 425°. When the dough is risen, place it in the oven and spray the top of the dough and bottom & sides of the oven with water from a mister. Close the oven and reduce the heat to 400°. Spray with water twice more during the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake 25 – 30 minutes total, until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

The example in the picture has roasted poblano chiles and potatoes, parboiled & sliced thin, and roasted delicata squash, also thinly sliced.
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panzanella

Panzanella

Panzanella is a great way to eat tomatoes and use up the end of that sourdough loaf that you can’t get anyone to eat! The salad in the picture is made with grape tomatoes and cucumbers – a mix of the grape and slicing tomatoes in this week’s box will work fine, and omit the cukes if you’re out.
Makes 4-6 servings
Takes 30 minutes or less

about 4 ounces crusty bread – 4 large slices or so
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, any variety
2 tsp. Dijon or other prepared mustard
a good pinch of sugar
another one of coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
a good pinch of sugar
another one of coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 of a large red or sweet white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers, drained (optional)
a couple of good handfuls of herbs (basil or parsley), chopped or torn as appropriate
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350. Tear the bread into coarse chunks, crouton size, and place it in a bowl large enough for tossing. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and add the garlic, and toss. Turn the oiled bread out onto a sheet pan, and toast in the oven until golden. Let cool.

Mix the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar in the bottom of the bowl you’ll serve your salad in. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out some of the juice and seeds, and cut them into bite size pieces. Add them to the bowl with the bread, onion, and capers, and toss well. Add the herbs and toss again. Right before serving, which should be within in an hour or two, top the salad with the crumbled feta.
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Pepperonata NYT
Photo by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Peperonata

From The New York Times
When we have an abundance of peppers in the summer, I love to make big batches of peperonata. It freezes well, and brings back the tastes of summer deep into the winter. This recipe calls for fennel; you can sub in a small pinch of fennel seed, and in lieu of roasting the peppers you can make this on the stove: slice the peppers and combine with the other ingredients, and sauté.
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watermelon cuts

Some ideas for watermelon

Most of us are simply inclined to eat watermelon in slices, but here are a few suggestions.

You can seed the watermelon and cut it into chunks to include in fruit salads. As shown in the picture, the seeds grow in a line. If you start by cutting the melon into quarters, stem end to blossom end, you can cut along the seed line and remove most of the seeds that way. Mollie Katzen suggests using a spoon handle for this; I usually cut the melon with a bread knife, and use the tip of the knife to remove the seeds.

Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen) provides a method in this Mojito recipe for cubing the melon and freezing it on a tray. Transfer the melon cubes to a plastic bag or container for longer storage if not making drinks right away.

And, there’s always the ubiquitous watermelon-feta salad, made by everyone from Ottolenghi to Nigella Lawson to Smitten.
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chicken stir fry with peppers
Photo by Todd Porter & Diane Cu

Lemon Zest Chicken Stir-Fry with Sweet Peppers Recipe

From Food and Wine.
This easy chicken & peppers recipe from Food & Wine sparks up a stir fry with lemon zest. Serve over white or brown rice for a quick meal.

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