2011 Blog

May 23rd, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members! This week we hope to bring you lettuce, pea shoots, Hakurei turnips, walking onions, a choice of spinach OR braising mix, and a choice of arugula OR Easter egg radishes

We now begin our first week of the 2011 CSA season. We have been working hard for months now to bring you your food. We planted fava beans and a few other things back in February. The fava’s are starting to flower and it will be 3-4 weeks until harvest. We have planted over 1,000 pounds of potatoes and 80,000 onion plants. Every year the weather is different than the year before. Last year it was so cold that our earliest planting was not ready until after CSA started. Last year the walking onions went from not growing at all, to too tough to eat with never a good time to harvest them. Last year we were so desperate for early crops that we picked the rhubarb plants to the ground with barely a stem left on the plants to have enough for CSA. The rhubarb is alive but is not what it would have been if we had only picked 25% of the plant as recommended. We have 15 employees at the farm everyday and it is amazing how much gets done every day.

This spring we have taken on some enormous projects in addition to the 30 acres in production. We built our first 30ft X 96ft hoop house and have government funding for a second next spring. We are installing a very efficient irrigation system to overhead irrigate 10 acres at our new farm on 63rd St. We planted 3,000 strawberry plants and are hoping in future years to have strawberries. We planted several hundred raspberries and 100 more rhubarb plants as well. We are redoing our herb patch to be near the hoop house and it is about half planted.

We look forward to mid-May because it is time to plant the warm season crops. We are not supposed to get frost in our area from May 15th to September 15th. We try to transplant as much as possible the week of May 15th because it is warm enough and the following week CSA starts. CSA starting means we go from 2 days a week of harvest to 5. Last year we planted the tomatoes late because it was so cold that I feared a late frost (after May 15) would kill them. It did not freeze but we got a hail storm that killed the melons and cucumbers and would have killed the tomatoes if they had been in the field. I had to choose to either plant early to get tomatoes to CSA and market early or be safer and wait but have tomatoes later in the season. This year’s May 15th week it has rained buckets and we have not been able to transplant any of the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or melons. We did direct seed the zucchini, cucumbers and some of the melons this past week.

Next week we hope it dries out so we can plant more seeds like the beans and edamame. We need to begin planting the thousands of transplants waiting in the greenhouse as soon as the fields are dry enough. We have over 6,000 tomato plants that need to be transplanted during the first week of CSA. I am happy that we have two identical tractors and competent staff to drive them. Once things dry out we can run two crews at a time with one transplanting and the other prepping beds and seeding.

The CSA starts very heavy on greens. One of the things I have been cooking lately is Farro which is a grain that is a type of wheat. The Farro cooks in about 15 minutes and is great if you use stock to flavor it. I mix sautéed greens into the Farro with cheese and nuts some salt and pepper and a splash of balslamic vinegar at the end. Goat cheese or parmesan are my preferred cheeses. This is a simple tasty dish that leaves you with plenty of leftovers if you cook a little extra. Farro triples its size when cooked so a little makes a lot. Quinoa is another great (cheap and tasty) grain that can be used to make this. Both the quinoa and Farro are great substitutes for pasta and can be bought in the bulk section at many markets.

I have also been trying harder to make my own salad dressings. So far it has been going well and is super simple. I have read many recipes but the main thing is to use a blender or food processor and use some honey or agave nectar to get the oil and vinegar to stay mixed. Onions, herbs, spices can all be added to the basic oil, vinegar, and emulsifier (agave or honey). If you don’t have all the ingredients for a recipe skipping some still seems to make decent dressing.

I have also been grilling the walking onions. Clean them well and then coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe a little lemon or lime juice. Put them on a hot grill until browned and then flip them until the other side is brown too. One chef said to over-grill them and then wrap them in newspaper to steam them further and then eat them. I have not tried this yet. When onions of any sort (from scallions to softball size) grill the sugars caramelize and the sweetness really comes out. Some onions are for storing and are not as sweet and are not as good grilled, but most fresh onions like you will get in the CSA are great grilled. Most of the onions we give are picked that day and are higher in moisture than dried onions. They grill better because they don’t dry out.

– Wyatt

In the Kitchen

Welcome Back, returning CSA members and Welcome, new members! I guess there is no typical Spring weather, except that we get to sample of little of everything! Front Range weather is definitely a challenge for all Boulder County growers, and one of the reasons fruit usually comes from the Western Slope. Although this Spring has been challenging to those fruit growers (freezing temperatures after many trees have already bloomed). Here we had 80° weather a few weeks ago, and now cooler temperatures, much needed rain and even hail (yikes)!

I’ve been writing Red Wagon’s cooking column for four seasons now. We’ll be enjoying old favorites through the season, and I’m sure some new surprises as well. I’ll share cooking tips and recipes with you for some of the produce in each week’s share. Follow the recipes, or just use them for ideas to create your own dishes. Because you’ll be eating the freshest seasonal vegetables and fruits, it will be easy to prepare and enjoy delicious and healthy meals. I hope you will find this column helps you get the most out of each week’s share. Feel free to contact me at mkakudo@4dv.net with questions or comments, or to share your own favorite seasonal recipes with our CSA community.

Mid-spring is the time to enjoy tender greens. This week we have a variety of greens to eat raw or cooked–arugula, lettuce, braising mix (usually a mixture of young but heartier flavored and textured greens), spinach and pea shoots. The farm usually tries to provide an “allium” vegetable weekly, something from the onion family, to provide a flavor base in almost any type of cooking; this week it’s walking onions. Finally, there’s multicolored Easter egg radishes and sweet tender Hakurei turnips. Either of these roots can be eaten raw in salads or quickly cooked on the stove or even roasted. This time of year the vegetables are young and tender, best eaten raw or barely cooked.

Arugula is a peppery green from the mustard family. Right now it’s tender with some spiciness. As the weather warms, arugula also gets hotter and you might prefer it cooked, perhaps wilted in a simple pasta dish. Right now, I like it raw in salads, either on its own or tossed with some lettuce. It also makes a splendid pesto.

To make arugula salad, simply dress with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil, or add it to lettuces if you find it too peppery for your taste.

To use the arugula (or spinach) in a pasta dish, rinse and break off any large pieces of stem, then break or cut into bite-size pieces. I like to make a simple pasta sauce of sliced garlic/onion/shallot sautéed in olive oil (use the walking onion here). You can add any other veggies or herbs you have on hand (chopped tomato, sweet peppers, mushrooms, anything!), salt and pepper to taste. Cook your pasta to al dente, scoop a cup of the salted pasta cooking water and set aside, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and some of the cooking water to your vegetable “sauce”, along with the arugula pieces. Gently stir to combine the ingredients then serve right away. Have freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese and the pepper grinder on the table for a quick and light meal.

While we always think “basil” when we hear “pesto”, the Italian word simply means pounded or ground (think mortar and PESTle). Here’s a simple method to make arugula pesto to add to pasta, spread on toasted bread, dollop on soup, serve on grilled chicken, etc.

Arugula Pesto
Yields about 2 cups

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, or other hard cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 8 oz. arugula, clean and dry, including tender stems
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place arugula, walnuts and grated cheese into the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add a few grindings of pepper and a sprinkle of salt. While the machine is running, pour the olive oil into the mixture and grind into a thick paste. Taste for seasoning. Any extra can refrigerated about a week (pour a little olive oil on top to prevent browning), or frozen.

Braising Mix
While the culinary term “braising” using means cooking a long time over low heat, you’ll find these greens do best over quick, high heat, more like a sauté (think stir fry). Braising greens are a field mix of young greens, before they get large enough to bunch, so we’ve really turned the word “braising” upside down! For a delicious and healthy side dish, try this technique for any tender cooking greens.

Sauteed Greens
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. mixed greens, with tender stems
  • 1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vinegar or lemon juice, optional for seasoning, see Note

Shake the rinsed greens in a colander to remove the excess liquid, but the leaves don’t have to be completely dry.Heat a large pot over high or medium high heat until hot. Add the olive oil followed by the garlic and cook for a few seconds until it is light brown. Be careful not to let your oil smoke or burn the garlic. Add a couple of handfuls of greens and toss with tongs, incorporating the garlic so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining greens all at once, or in batches if your pot isn’t large enough to hold it all at once. Toss constantly so the greens wilt evenly. When wilted, taste first, then season with salt and pepper. Sometimes greens have a natural saltiness so you don’t want to over salt. Continue cooking over high heat, tossing often, until the excess liquid evaporates.

Turn greens out into a bowl and season with vinegar or lemon juice. Can be served hot, at room temperature, or refrigerated for up to 2 days and eaten as a cold “salad”.

Note: The acidity of the vinegar or lemon juice will cause the greens to lose their beautiful green color, so you can omit it if you prefer.

Here’s a fun recipe from last season’s newsletter. Hearty greens in a corn tortilla is a traditional preparation in Toluca in the highlands of central Mexico. Who knew?

Braised Greens Tacos
From Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday cookbook.
Serves 4

  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 each white or red onion, sliced 1/4″ thick (or substitute the walking onion, chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken/vegetable broth or water
  • salt
  • 1/2 lb. braising greens, rinsed
  • 4 thick or 8 thin corn tortillas, warmed in the microwave, oven or steamer
  • 1 cup queso fresco (or feta, or goat cheese), crumbled
  • a handful cherry tomatoes (6-10)
  • 1 each chipotle pepper in adobo, or prepared salsa or hot sauce

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high, add the onion and cook until golden but still a bit crunchy, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and chile flakes to the onion and cook for an additional minute, then add the broth or water, a large pinch of salt, and the greens. Reduce heat to low and braise, covered, for 3-5 minutes or until the greens are nearly tender, but not quite finished.Meanwhile, put the cherry tomatoes into a dry skillet over medium-high heat until blistered, transfer to a small food processor with the chipotle pepper and a large pinch of salt, and blend until smooth.

Remove the cover from the pan of greens and cook until nearly dry. Fill each taco—two tortillas thick, if thin ones—with a tong’s full of the greens, a spoonful of salsa, and the crumbled queso fresco.

Pea Shoots
What provides the flavor of peas, before local peas are available? Pea shoots! As a home gardener, I find peas tricky to grow well. If I get seeds in the ground on time (around St. Patrick’s day in March), sometimes they don’t sprout because it stays too cold and wet (I think). I plant again, and then it gets hot in a hurry, and I don’t get one good picking. I’m sure glad Wyatt and his crew are better at growing peas than I am. Enjoy pea shoots before peas are here. If the tendrils seem a bit tough to you, break them off before preparing your dish. You can try them…

In a stir-fry: In oil with minced garlic, stir-fry bite-size pieces just until wilted. If pea shoots don’t wilt readily, add a tablespoon or so of water. Salt to taste.

In a salad: Toss some tender shoots with thinly sliced spring (or walking) onion. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle with vinegar and oil (try seasoned rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil, for an Asian flair).

In a pasta: Sauté bite-size pieces in olive oil with minced garlic until leaves wilt. Stir in the drained hot pasta. Add a little of the pasta water to moisten. Toss with grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste.

Finally, eat the Hakurei turnips or Easter egg radishes raw in salads, or try roasting either with or without the greens after tossing with a little olive oil, salt and pepper–Yum! If the greens are mild and tender, include them in salads, or cook them separately in some butter with a little sprinkle of salt for a side dish.

Get off to a good start with your first CSA share of the season–cook it up and enjoy!

May 30th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we hope to bring you walking onions, broccoli raab, Easter egg radishes, red russian kale OR bok choi OR tatsoi, spinach OR turnips, and lettuce.

This week I have been thinking about two things: learning curves and timing. This is our 5th year of having a CSA and many of our members have been with us for multiple years. These members often tell me that they have “learned” how to be part of the CSA. I think this brings up a good point that there is often a learning curve for new CSA members. “What do I do with all of these vegetables I’ve never seen before?” “How do I use everything up before my next CSA pickup?” It can be a challenge to do the planning, yet still be flexible enough to use everything in your share. But another thing I hear from these long-time members is that the CSA keeps them eating healthier, it keeps them from getting in a rut, and it also gets them to eat veggies only when they are at their peak. Hopefully our weekly newsletter will help make these challenges more fun. And you are always welcome to ask us at the pickup if you need suggestions for how to use your share.

Timing is so important when you are farming. This is a very busy time of year for us at the farm. We are busy planting all of our summer crops that you will enjoy in the months to come. But all of this planting requires the right conditions. If it is too wet, our fields are too muddy and we can’t get in to plant seeds. The tractors compress the wet soil and the seeder jams with all of the mud. If it is too dry, our clay-rich soil is too hard and we can’t plow it. If it is too windy, we can’t put in our transplants, like tomatoes and peppers. The wind can dry out these tender little transplants and kill them before they get established in the soil. You have to take advantage of the weather when the conditions are just right. Last week Wyatt and the crew rushed to get in another succession of spring greens on Monday. Wyatt then came and spent a few hours at the CSA pickup Monday afternoon. He then went back to the farm for a few hours and planted green beans by the headlights of the tractor. He finished just as the rain started to pour. If Wyatt had missed that opportunity to plant before the rain came, he would have had to wait a few days and maybe a week or more for the soil to dry out enough to be able to plant again. But because Wyatt was able to take advantage of the good weather conditions, we will all be enjoying green beans come July.

– Amy

Field To Table Tips…

After you pick up your CSA share, hopefully there’s time for you to prepare them for storage.  Of course, there will be times that all you can do is stick them into the refrigerator, but try to find time the next day or so.  Your veggies will look and taste better with the extra care you give them.  And of course, seeing the variety of beautiful produce and thinking of ways you’ll be cooking them later in the week is a lot of fun too!

Your produce is trimmed, rinsed, sorted and often bunched and bagged at the farm.  Make sure any excess water is gone before storing, especially for cut greens.  You can cut off a corner of the plastic bag to allow any water you see to drain off, or place a paper towel into the bag to wick moisture off the greens.  Water left on the greens will cause them to soften and even rot if stored for several days.  Fold or twist the bag shut and store in a crisper drawer.  Make sure that tender greens aren’t in too cold a location in your refrigerator, or they may freeze.  I like to squeeze most of the air out of the bag, mostly to save room, but it’s supposed to help store leafy greens longer as well.  Be sure to gently wash greens before preparing; a salad spinner is my “go to” kitchen tool for preparing greens often.

Root vegetables usually come bunched with their greens.  Many of these greens are edible, even radish and turnips if young and tender.  If you enjoy the flavor of mustard greens (they are in the same family) try these tops as part of a stir fry or sauté, steamed or in soups.  Beet greens are very similar to Swiss chard, and can be prepared the same way.  The only greens that end up in my compost pile are carrot tops-they’re a bit rough and bitter for me, but even those are edible!  Here’s a short and entertaining article, including a recipe for Carrot Top and Quinoa Soup (check it out, Wyatt), Eat Your Carrot Greens .

Anyways, always separate roots from their tops before storing; the roots stay crisper, because the greens don’t draw moisture out of them.  Keep both parts in plastic bags until you’re ready to use them.  If you plan to use the stalks, but they’re too long for the bag, either cut them or place the bag over the leafy part to prevent wilting.  Again, rinse the greens and scrub the roots before using.

In The Kitchen

Bok Choi (Choy) or Tatsoi
Last week, I gave you a simple generic recipe to sauté virtually any type of greens.  Here an example of taking that technique, adding a protein and giving it an Asian flavor profile. You can substitute any of the greens in your share for the bok choy.  If you prefer meat in place of the tofu, double the first four ingredients to make the sauce.  Marinate the meat briefly in this sauce with slivers of garlic and ginger slices for some added flavor, drain and stir fry in a little oil first.  Remove from the pan to avoid overcooking while you cook the vegetables.  Add back in at the end to quickly reheat.  Serve with white or brown rice, or over noodles.

Tofu and Bok Choy Stir Fry
adapted from Bon Appétit | September 1998
from www.epicurious.com
Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine or sherry
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • pinch dried crushed red pepper
  • handful thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 3 green onions*, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced bok choy
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into 3/4-inch pieces*substitute tender walking onions

Combine first four ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Heat vegetable oil until hot in heavy large skillet or wok over high or medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper. Stir fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and green onions and stir fry until onions are tender, about 1 minute. Add bok choy and stir fry until just wilted, another minute or so. Add tofu and lightly stir fry until tofu is just heated through, about 2 minutes. Pour over soy mixture. Stir fry until liquid boils and thickens, about 1 minute.

Broccoli Raab (Rabe)
Spaghetti With Broccoli Rabe, Toasted Garlic and Bread Crumbs
adapted from Mark Bittman’s food blog on www.nytimes.com
Serves 4 to 6

  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, optional but homemade*
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • About 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed
  • 1 pound spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.*

Take some stale bread and tear it up, then pulse the pieces in a food processor to make coarse crumbs, nothing approaching a powder.Note: You can use the same pot for cooking the broccoli and the pasta; you can use the same skillet for toasting the bread crumbs and finishing the dish.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.  While it’s heating, coat the bottom of a large skillet with extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. When oil is warm, cook garlic just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add bread crumbs and red pepper flakes and cook until bread crumbs are golden, 5 minutes or so. Remove and set aside.

2. Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and chop. Cook pasta in same pot.

3. Meanwhile, add a tablespoon or two more oil to skillet over medium-low heat. Add broccoli rabe and toss well; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When it is warm add garlic and bread crumbs and mix well.

4. When pasta is done, drain it, reserving a little cooking water first. Toss pasta in skillet with broccoli rabe mixture, moistening with a little reserved water if necessary. Adjust seasonings and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

Finally, for salads all summer, here’s our standard Basic Vinaigrette instructions.

How To Make A Perfect Vinaigrette
* Vinaigrette is usually three parts oil to one part vinegar, seasoned with salt and pepper, and perhaps some fresh herbs and mustard. Choose good quality oils and a wine-, fruit- or rice-based vinegar. Don’t use plain white vinegar for vinaigrette; its flavor is too harsh. If you’re using a mild or sweeter vinegar, such as balsamic, raspberry or rice, the vinegar proportion can be a little higher.

* If using mustard (a pinch of dry or a small amount of prepared from a jar), whisk it into the vinegar along with the salt and pepper before adding the oil. This allows the salt to dissolve in the vinegar and the mustard acts as an emulsifier to keep everything in suspension (some food science for you!)

* Slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar as you whisk the mixture.

* Before tossing the salad, check the vinaigrette’s flavor by dipping a lettuce leaf into it to taste. If the vinaigrette isn’t flavorful enough, add more seasonings; if it’s too acidic, add more oil.

* Greens should be as dry as possible before being tossed with the vinaigrette. Any droplets of water on the leaves will prevent the vinaigrette from clinging to them, causing the vinaigrette to pool at the bottom of the bowl. By the way, prepare your vinaigrette in the same bowl as you’ll toss the salad and dirty one less dish.

Master the basic vinaigrette and the fun begins. Experiment with different vinegars and oils such as nut oils to create tasteful flavor combinations. Certain herbs complement greens and vegetables particularly well. Parsley, tarragon, chives and chervil make a classic vinaigrette with “fine herbes”.  Obtain stronger flavors from basil, mint or cilantro, which also give a regional or ethnic slant. Cheeses, toasted nuts, fresh and dried fruits provide flavor accents to salads.

Once you learn to make vinaigrettes with the perfect balance of ingredients, you’ll find it gives more consistent acid/oil balance than the throw-it-all-together method. If possible, don’t make the vinaigrette too far in advance, because once the oil is exposed to the air it loses some of its fragrance, and the dressing tends to separate. If you want to prepare things ahead, proceed up to the point of adding the oil, and do that at the last minute. Finally, buy the freshest and best quality ingredients you can afford.  Enjoy cooling salads this summer with your own homemade vinaigrettes!

Members Share…

I love learning about new ideas, recipes, techniques or cooking resources from other people.  Here’s an email message I received last week from one of our CSA members.  A wonderful tip, especially for new members.

“My name is Kim DaHarb and have been a CSA member for the last three summers in Lafayette (I think, maybe four).  The first year was a bit of a challenge for me because I had not cooked some of the veggies we received in our share each week.  I was sure that I was not going to join again the following summer.  Then my sister-in-law sent me the cookbook Clean Food by Terry Walters.  I think this is the perfect cookbook for CSA members because the chapters are organized by each season.  It follows our CSA shares perfectly.  I decided to join Red Wagon again the next summer, armed with my new cookbook. It’s a vegetarian cookbook that gives you plenty of opportunity to substitute one vegetable for another.  And if you are a meat lover, it is easy to add grilled fish or chicken to any of the recipes. Try one of our family’s favorites, “Spring Greens with Apricot Vinaigrette”. This is a fresh dressing that works well with the Red Wagon’s young and tender braising mix.  Enjoy!”

Thanks, Kim!  Please email, if you have a recipe or tip to share, or just want to give some feedback.  We’d love to hear from you.  Happy Cooking and Eating!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

June 6th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we hope to bring you garlic scapes, Hakurei turnips, French Breakfast radishes OR sorrel, green garlic, broccoli raab OR bok choy OR mustard greens OR red Russian kale, and lettuce OR spinach.

We have been busy planting our farm for the past few weeks and are ready to show off all of our hard work!

Come out to the Red Wagon CSA Farm Tour this Sunday, June 12 from 11am — 2pm.

We will be giving tours of our fields and there will be a ride on our hay wagon for the kids. (If you can’t come to this farm tour we will have another one on Sunday, September 11.) We hope you can make it!

– Amy

Field to Table Tips…

One thing gardeners and farmers in Colorado can count on is that the season’s weather from one year to the next is not the same!  So this week’s share is unusual, in that  we’ll have garlic in two forms–green garlic, planted early this year, and garlic “scapes” from cloves (i.e. bulbs) planted last fall.  In late spring, a curled seed stalk, the scape, emerges from the top of the plants from the fall-planted cloves. Farmers cut it off, encouraging the plant to produce bigger bulbs. It’s most tender just as it curls, so garlic scapes are only available for a few weeks. They have a strong garlic flavor, but without the bite of the cloves.

Besides simply chopping them up and sautéing them in a little olive along with other vegetables, I’ll give you a couple of ideas for keeping them for future use in the RECIPE section.  One is a quick pickle, and the other is a freezable pesto.

I think of garlic scapes like turnip or beet greens–a food that for years was discarded but is now prized for its nutrition and color. Chop small and add scapes to any type of starch or grain like pasta, rice or  quinoa, or to greens, during the last few minutes of cooking, just like you would with fresh herbs. When you smell the aroma, it’s done!

The other vegetable that may be new to you is sorrel.  I’ve only seen it directly from farms, never grocery stores since it’s very perishable and wilts quickly.  It looks like tender pale spinach, but the similarity ends as soon as you taste it’s lemony tart flavor.  This comes from oxalic acid, which is in a lot of vegetables, including chard, spinach, beet greens, parsley and most familiar, tart rhubarb (in fact, the reason you don’t want to eat rhubarb leaves is due to the higher concentration of oxalic acid in the leaves). Concentrations of oxalic acid are pretty low in most plants and plant-based foods, but there’s enough in spinach, chard and beet greens to interfere with the absorption of the calcium these plants also contain. However, the oxalic acid in vegetables is broken down in cooking and doesn’t interfere with the absorption of calcium present in other foods, cheese for instance, that you might eat at the same time. I certainly wouldn’t avoid raw spinach or other leafy greens because of the oxalic acid effect. They have a lot to offer nutritionally as good sources of essential minerals and vitamins including folic acid, potassium and magnesium, vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C and lutein, important for healthy eyes.  Also, only cook sorrel briefly, it will lose it’s bright green color and turn an unappetizing grayish hue.

Garlic Scapes
Rinse the scapes and cut short enough to fit into a jar.  Pack them into a canning or other jar with a lid; add some spices or fresh or dried herbs if you like.  Make a mixture of vinegar (any type you like) and dilute with some water (I like to use vermouth, up to half the volume if you don’t want it too sour), with a little sugar and generous salt. Heat just to a boil and pour over the scapes, enough to cover them completely.  Close the jar, let it cool and refrigerate for a couple of weeks if you can wait.  A delicious pickle to use in salads, with fish or even in sandwiches.

Like any pesto, the “scape pesto” is freezable. Save some when we have summer vegetables and make a minestrone soup or ratatouille and finish it with the scape pesto.

Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 10 fresh garlic scapes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Parmesan or other hard cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts, your choice
  • 1/2-1 cup mild olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons good white wine, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add scapes, cheese and nuts to a food processor and begin to process. Add the oil and wine gradually until you have the consistency you prefer, from very thick to rather thin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sorrel Salad with Creamy Chive Dressing
adapted from www.epicurious.com
Serves 2-4
For the dressing (makes extra):

  • 1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or green garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the salad:

  • 1/4 pound sorrel, stems discarded and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 pound lettuces, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed fresh tarragon, leaves, torn or chopped if large, optional
  • freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Toss together all salad ingredients in a large bowl with enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat the leaves. Serve with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.  This salad could be your meal on one of these warm days accompanied by an antipasti platter of cured meats and cheeses or deviled farm eggs or a scoop of tuna salad!Enjoy cooking and eating this week’s harvest.  Email, if you have questions, want to share a recipe or tip, or just want to give some feedback.  We’d love to hear from you.
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

June 13th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide garlic scapes, spinach, lettuce, Hakurei turnips, mustard greens OR kale OR chard and an herb choice–cilantro OR tarragon OR sorrel.  For large shares, add green garlic, pea shoots and more spinach!

Thank you so much to everybody who came to our farm tour on Sunday. Our best guess is that 100 people came, which is our best turn out ever. I think that it is hard to imagine what a farm like ours looks like if you have never been to a small, diversified vegetable farm. Most people can envision a vegetable garden and also a farm with huge fields of corn or wheat, but it is hard to imagine something in between. We were excited to show so many people how a 30-acre vegetable farm works! If you didn’t make it on Sunday, our next farm tour will be on Sunday, September 11, when all the summer crops are at their peak.

– Amy

In The Kitchen

So how are you doing using all of the vegetables in your share each week?  It can be a challenge to cook creatively from scratch, especially when most of us already have a lot on our plates (ha)!  I get a lot of mileage from turning any leftover odds and ends roots and alliums (onions and garlic family) into a quick pickle that keeps well in the refrigerator.  I also just discovered the Spanish or Italian version of ‘salsa verde’.  Instead of the spicy tomatillo and cilantro Mexican version we’ll enjoy later in the summer, this is a rich savory sauce with enough saltiness and acidity to dress grilled meats and fish, yet gentle enough to use a little on your eggs.  I made some over a week ago, and it’s still keeping its vibrant green color in the refrigerator.  If it gets a little tired, I’ll just cook it gently and use it as a sauce tossed with some pasta, for a quick weeknight dinner with some cheese and bread.

Okay, so there’s no measurements in this “recipe”.  Let you taste preferences be your guide.  You won’t be able to taste the hot vinegar mixture (well, not easily) before you pour it over the vegetables.  Reduce or skip the water or wine if you like really sour pickles; use more salt or sugar, if you like them salty or sweet.  The longer you keep the pickles, the stronger those tastes will become, so just remember what you did for the next time you pickle!

As a guide, I used about 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup Vermouth (an inexpensive herb-infused white wine), 1 tablespoon each salt and sugar (later I decided that was too much salt for me, because I like my pickles a little sweet, but my husband likes them salty), some whole peppercorns and maybe some fresh herb sprigs (can’t remember what kind now).  This made enough to pour over two small (8 ounce) jars of cut up vegetables.  You want to completely cover the vegetables, so if you’re a little short, add a little more water, wine or vinegar, and invert or shake the jar gently immediately after filling with the hot pickling liquid.

  • small root vegetables, washed well, trimmed to fit your jars, peeling optional
  • garlic or onion, whole or cut, optional
  • herbs or spices, whole or crushed, optional
  • 1 part vinegar, your choice of type
  • up to 1 part water or wine, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • sugar, optional to taste
  • heat proof or canning jars, very clean with tight-fitting lids

Place the vegetables, herbs and spices into the jar, packing them snugly, but with enough room left for the pickling liquid.  Heat the vinegar, wine and/or water with the salt and sugar just until it comes to a simmer and the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Stir once or twice to blend, and don’t breath in the vinegar fumes!  Pour the hot liquid into the jars, completely covering the vegetables.  Cover and tighten the lids and let the jars cool to room temperature before placing into the refrigerator.  Eat as soon as you like, but they’ll taste more like pickles after a few days.

Salsa Verde
You can finely chop everything by hand, for a very rustic sauce, or use a food processor or blender for a finer sauce (it’s probably faster too).

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, green garlic or scapes
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish or sweet pickle
  • 3-6 anchovy fillets
  • fresh herb leaves with tender parts of stems, mostly parsley, and then whatever you like (I used oregano and mint from my garden)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or similar mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons vinegar, your choice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon juice, optional

Finely chop or process the garlic, capers, pickle, anchovies and herbs.  Add and blend in the mustard and vinegar.  Finally add the olive oil while constantly stirring or processing until you get the desired consistency (thick or thin).  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and maybe a little more vinegar or lemon juice if needed for brightness.  Use immediately, or keep in the refrigerator for up to several days.Salsa verde over mushroom frittata with tatsoi, napa cabbage and herb salad garnished with raab flowers (from my garden) and some quick pickles

Here’s a recipe from one of my favorite food websites culinate.com.  I’d say that Culinate is about eating well, using local seasonal ingredients in simple flavorful recipes.  Try this one and see what you think.  You can subscribe to a weekly newsletter emailing on the website.

Fried Egg Sandwiches with Garlicky Swiss Chard and Cheddar
from Matthew Card at Culinate
Serves 4

You can substitute kale or other greens for the chard, and a salty or sharp cheese for the cheddar; mild cheeses won’t stand up to the garlicky greens.  Use your green garlic in place of the garlic cloves, or add chopped scapes along with the chard stems.

  • salt, to taste
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, leaves trimmed from stems and rinsed; stems trimmed, rinsed, and chopped into ¼-inch-long pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • large pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon, to taste
  • 1 small to medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, sliced thin or grated
  • 4 crusty rolls (such as ciabatta or Kaiser), split and lightly toasted if desired

Bring large saucepan filled with water to boil. Season generously with salt and add chard leaves. Simmer until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Squeeze dry, chop coarsely and set aside.Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil, garlic, and crushed pepper flakes in large, nonstick or well-seasoned skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic just begins to color, about 2 minutes. Add greens and cook until glossy and covered in oil and garlic, about 2 minutes. Watch out for oil splatter here; you can lower the heat before adding the greens. Drizzle with lemon juice to taste; transfer to bowl and set aside.

Return pan to burner and reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil to pan along with chard stems, onion, sugar, and large pinch salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have softened and are beginning to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Push onion and chard stem mixture to ring around outside of pan; add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to center of pan and crack eggs evenly around center of pan. Season eggs with salt and pepper and cover pan. Cook until eggs are just set but yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes. Top with cheese, recover, and cook until cheese has just melted, about 2 minutes longer. Divide greens evenly on bottoms of split rolls, top the greens with an egg and spread onion mixture over the top. Serve immediately.

Do you have a picture and/or recipe of something you enjoyed making and eating from this or a past week’s share?  Email them to me and I’ll include in the next CSA newsletter.  Enjoy cooking and eating this week’s harvest.  And email, if you have questions or just want to give some feedback.  We’d love to hear from you.
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

June 20th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide lettuce OR spinach, braising mix, red Russian kale OR broccoli raab OR bok choi, sugar snap peas, green garlic, and cilantro OR oregano. For large shares add beets, more lettuce OR spinach and basil!

Many of you know that Wyatt and I were able to move onto a new farm last year. We still grow the majority of our vegetables at our original farm on Valmont Road, but we have been busy working on our new farm on 63rd Street. Last year we planted pumpkins and winter squash at the 63rd Street farm. These big sprawling plants have huge leaves that can compete with the weedy mess that you often have with new farm land. They are also much easier to cultivate with a tractor than little plants like lettuce or carrots. We were rewarded with a great pumpkin and squash crop last year and hope to have the same this year.

We also put up our first hoop house at the end of the winter. This is a 30ft x 96ft structure that is covered with plastic. We are having fun experimenting with tomatoes, basil, squash, cucumbers, onions, and beans to see what makes the most sense for us to grow in this space.

We have also started a new perennial area at our new farm. We have herbs like sage, oregano, and thyme, rhubarb, horseradish, and berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. We will be able to harvest the herbs this year, but it will likely be a few years before we are able to harvest any berries. But it is fun to think about the future!

We also put in a big irrigation project at our new farm this spring. We were able to get cost-share funding through NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), a federal agency that works with farmers. This will allow us to irrigate an additional 5 or 6 acres at our new farm. We are looking forward to planting this new field in a year or two.

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Thanks to members who shared pictures, recipes, a question or two, and a little bit about themselves with me last week.  It’s fun to see what members are creating and using as resources for cooking ideas.  Since you have an herb choice in your share this week, I’ll talk a little bit about using and keeping herbs before some of our CSA members share!

Cilantro and oregano are two very different types of herbs and good examples of differences in their use and storage.  Herbs are the leafy parts of aromatic plants used to flavor foods, while spices refer to the rest of the plant, mostly seeds, but occasionally bark (cinnamon), dried buds (cloves), dried root (ginger), etc. either in their whole form or ground.  In fact, coriander seeds and cilantro leaf are from the same plant, and while we don’t commonly use it, cilantro root is used in Thai curries (you can substitute the stems and a few leaves, since most of the time cilantro is sold cut and not with its roots).

These two herbs are also examples of the two main types of herbs, those which are “piney” and resinous (thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, etc.) and others which are more tender, like parsley, mint, basil and cilantro.  The piney herbs will last a long time in the refrigerator, wrapped in a paper towel to keep moisture off the leaves so they don’t mold, but in a plastic bag so they don’t dry out.  If you have more than you will use, you can let it dry out completely.  For larger amounts that you might harvest from your garden, gather the bottoms of the cut stems together with a rubber band, and hang upside down in a cool dark place like your basement.  For a small amount, I just leave out in the kitchen and use as it dries.  When completely dried, you can crumble the leaves off the stems and store in a jar.  Best to keep any spices or dried herbs in away from heat, light and moisture in your kitchen, so in a cupboard or drawer, instead of out on the counter near the stove (although that is a lot more convenient!)

Most of the tender leafy herbs store best treated like you would cut flowers in a vase. If needed,  I  strip off and use the lower leaves right away, recut the stem and place the bunch in water.  In cooler spring or fall weather, I can keep these “bouquets” on my kitchen window sill.  But the stems soften too quickly in the summer, so they’ll last longer in the refrigerator.  Cover the tops of the herbs with a plastic bag, so they don’t dry out and “wilt” in the refrigerator.  Basil, however is an exception.  If stored damp and cold, it quickly turns soft and black.  If your kitchen isn’t too warm, you can leave it out using the “cut flower” method I just described.  Or you can try wrapping basil in a paper towel, putting in plastic and storing in the “warmest” part of your refrigerator.  Best to use it within a few days either way.  For longer storage, stack several leaves, roll tightly, wrap with plastic and freeze.  When you need some, unwrap, slice thinly and immediately use; rewrap and freeze any leftover.  Freezing only works when the basil will be cooked, as it will be soft and change color when it thaws.  Pesto freezes well too.

Finally, don’t keep dried spices and herbs too long.  Most ground spices and dried herbs last a few months to a year.  Smell to check if they’ve lost their flavor.  Whole spices can last a year or longer; again, check with your nose.  Also dried herbs (not too old) are stronger than fresh.  Use only a third the amount of fresh, if you have to substitute dry.  Add the dried herbs earlier in the cooking process.  It take a little time for them to rehydrate and release the aromatic oils.  Fresh is best used at the end of cooking.

Members Share

Here’s a note I got from Jennifer Baehre:
“My husband and I were introduced to eating organic and seasonal when we lived in England for 4 years, where it is fairly common to have a weekly “veg” box delivery.  We were introduced to completely new foods such as cavalo nero, jerusalem artichokes, and black salsify.  When we moved back to Boulder, I wanted to add “local” to the mix and researched Boulder CSAs, signing up for Red Wagon on the day you stared accepting new applications.  I’m enjoying knowing that my vegetables come from just a few miles up the road.  It’s been a challenge eating all of the veggies every week, especially when my husband travels for work leaving me to eat a share myself, or because our ancient refrigerator doesn’t have a crisper drawer.  But I can make a meal of spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil.  And I’ve scoured the internet for good recipes where the veggies are the star of the show.  Some of Jennifer favorites are:

Garlic scape and walnut pesto

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Anchovy, and Hot Pepper

Spring Pancetta and Pea Shoot Pasta

Here’s a picture of her creation of “pasta with bacon, pea shoots, and parmesan”.  And if you still have some turnips left from last week, she suggests White Spring Turnips.  Thanks, Jennifer!

Ali Dejohn shared a kid-friendly (see small hands helping or eating?) recipe for turnip chips that she used from the cookbook Super Natural Every Day’ by Heidi Swanson.  “I thinly sliced the turnips, mixed a bit of ghee & salt, roasted them for about 45 min & finished them off with smoked paprika & fresh lime juice. My little kiddos ate them right off the tray! : )”

Oh, now I can tell the turnip chips are already cooked, so kiddo arms are moving fast for eating!  Thanks, Ali!

And Sarah Luna wrote:
“I just joined the Red Wagon Farm CSA this year.  I’ve been a somewhat intermittent farmer’s market shopper in the last few years, but I decided this spring that this was the year to get back in the fresh veggie saddle!”

Sarah’s recipe for “Chard with Lemon and Honey (or Agave Nectar)” is free of refined sugar and low in salt.  Super healthy!  Although it’s actually hard not to eat healthy  when you’re eating fresh and local.  Thanks, Wyatt, Amy and the whole Red Wagon crew, from all of the members!

Chard with Lemon and Honey (or Agave Nectar)

  • 1 RW green garlic (or 2 cloves garlic)
  • 1 RW walking onion (or 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 bunch any cooking greens (chard, kale, rabe, mustard, nice tops from beets or turnips, braising mix, etc)
  • 2 tsp agave nectar (to taste…)
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 TBS oil (whatever you like to use for cooking)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Take bunch of greens and separate the green leafy part from the stem.  Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, rinse and set aside. Cut off any brown bits from the stems, then dice (between 1/2 inch and an inch)2. Mince the garlic and thinly slice the onion. (Or just chop up your green garlic and walking onion yumminess.)

3. Heat oil over medium and saute the garlic and onions.  After 2 minutes (or when onions are translucent) add chopped stems.  Add 1/4 tsp of salt (or less).  Sauté for 4 minutes.

4. Add juice from lemon and the agave nectar. Sauté 1 minute.

5. At this point, you want to cook the water almost all the way down.  I noticed that freshly harvested greens contain a lot of water!

6. When it’s at the desired consistency, add the leafy greens, cover and cook until thoroughly wilted.

7. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with just about anything.

Sarah says “I found that this recipe’s good for just about any green and adds a lot of flavor for my current low-salt diet.  The liquid produced makes a very nice sauce for the rest of the meal (meat and grain for me).”

Sarah mentioned that the lemon juice can cause the greens to change color, so you could also add less, just before serving to keep the bright green color.  Thanks for a good go-to recipe for greens, Sarah.  We’ll have greens all summer, and sometimes it’s a challenge to keep the cooking fresh and interesting.

Keep up the good cooking, everyone.  And if you have a picture and/or recipe to share, email them to me for the next CSA newsletter.  Enjoy the cooler wetter weather (at least for Monday) and have a great week of cooking and eating your share!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

June 27th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide fresh garlic, peas (sugar snap/snow), fava beans, spinach, cabbage, and kale OR chard OR collards. (Large shares get double peas, double fava beans, and double garlic.)

First I will start with a note on fruit: We get the fruit for our fruit share from two farms on the Western Slope of Colorado: Ela Family Farms and First Fruits Organic Farms. I’m guessing that at least some of you don’t realize why most tree fruit in Colorado comes from the Western Slope. Spring is one of the key times of year for fruit growers. This is when the trees put out buds that blossom. Those flowers are the beginning of what will later turn into fruit. If your fruit tree is exposed to a late freeze, the cold temperatures kill the buds or blossoms and there is no fruit crop form the tree that year. On the Front Range it is very common for us to get killing frosts late in the spring, but the Western Slope is just a little bit warmer and they often escape those killing spring frosts. This difference is the reason that you don’t see many orchards on the Front Range.

Unfortunately both Ela and Frist Fruits had some problems with late spring frosts this year. Ela lost their entire cherry crop and First Fruits lost a lot of theirs. This means that we likely won’t have cherries in our fruit share. (First Fruits will probably save the few cherries they do harvest to sell at farmers’ markets.)

The good news is that we will still see peaches, apples and probably a few other kinds of fruit. I know both orchards suffered losses to their peach crops, but they were not drastic. You will still get the full amount for the fruit share, but it will probably be a few more weeks until our fruit share starts. I will keep you posted!

I also wanted to talk a little bit about crops that may be unfamiliar to you. This is one of the big parts of joining a CSA—trying new vegetables. I often see CSA members put an item in the “swap bin” at the pickup and they say they just don’t know what to do with it. That’s why we’re there! We staff our CSA pickup (instead of just leaving stuff for you in a box) so that you can ask us questions. You may have to try several different recipes for a new item (like fava beans), but stick with it—I bet you will find one you like!

Speaking of fava beans, we have been preparing them in a new way this year. Wyatt rolls them in some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then cooks them on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Then you eat the whole thing—pod and all! It is a great way to enjoy fava beans without all the work.

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Looks like summer arrived last week in spades–summer solstice and then hot, hot and HOTTER!  I wilted a little yesterday, but now the warm weather crops will flourish and we can look forward to the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil and zucchini , hallmark of summer produce!

This week’s allium is fresh garlic.  The garlic we eat most of the year has been allowed to “cure” or dry so that it will store, so fresh garlic was just harvested and has not dried yet.  The cloves are juicy with lots of garlic flavor but milder than the dried.  Enjoy their brief season either raw or quickly cooked.  You won’t want to heat up the kitchen anyways!  You can store them in the refrigerator to keep their fresh qualities, or leave them to dry.

Another short season vegetable that might be new to you is fava beans.  They do require a bit of prep work, but I think they are completely worth the effort.  Give them a try, and see what you think.  Here’s some information about favas that I wrote last season.

Start with a lot of beans.  A pound of fava’s in their pods will yield about a cup of shelled beans. To shell the beans, pull on the stem of the pod and “unzip” them and remove the beans. But you’re not done yet.  Take the shelled beans and drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking, and peel the covering off of each bean.

Another way to prepare the fava’s that I haven’t tried, but sounds a little easier is to grill them. The heat of the grill pops the pod open and splits the skin that wraps each bean.  Let cool slightly, then remove the beans with your fingers and they’re ready. If there’s a bit of char on your fingers from plucking the beans from the grilled pods, it only helps the flavor.

Fava Alert:  There is a rare disease, called favism, which affects some people of African, Mediterranean or Southeast Asian descent. They have severe allergic reactions to eating the fava bean or inhaling its pollen.

Nutrition Information..  Favas are nutrition superheroes. They are high in fiber and iron, and have so much protein, they are called the “meat of the poor”.  Italians credit the fava bean as helping to save Sicilians from starvation during a time of famine. Since then, the fava has been considered good luck.

To make a simple and flavorful pasta dish, combine favas, mushrooms and fresh or green garlic.  While the pasta is boiling, sauté the garlic in olive oil and/or butter.  Add the mushrooms pieces, season lightly with salt and cook until the mushrooms are tender.  Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water to help make a sauce.  Add the prepared favas to the garlic and mushrooms, heat briefly, add the still hot pasta and enough of the pasta cooking water to make a bit of sauce.  Check for seasoning, add some chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, basil or Italian flat leaf parsley and serve immediately with some fresh grated Parmesan or other hard cheese and freshly ground black pepper.  You could substitute your peas (whole if small, or sliced into bit-sized pieces) for the favas.

A couple of interesting ways to prepare favas…

Fresh Fava Bean Dip or Spread

  • 2 pounds fresh unshelled fava beans, prepared as above and ¼ cup of the cooking liquid
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted then ground, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • crumbled, grated or thinly sliced cheese such as feta, Manchego or Parmesan, optional
  • pita wedges, sliced raw carrots,  or crackers for dipping, or toasted bread for spreading

In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, half of the reserved cooking liquid and the lemon juice.  Add more liquid as needed while processing until the mixture is fairly smooth.  Add the oil while continuing to process until smooth.Transfer to a serving bowl and season with salt, pepper and cumin.  Sprinkle with the parsley.  Serve with pita bread, vegetables, or crackers for dipping.  Or spread on toasted bread (rubbed with garlic if you like), and topped with some cheese.

Grilled Fava Beans in the Pod with Chile and Lemon
(from A16 Restaurant via www.foodandwine.com)

  • 1 pound very fresh favas still in the pods, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or Chinese chile sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Light a grill. In a large bowl, toss the fava bean pods with the olive oil. Grill the favas over high heat for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until softened and charred in spots. Return the beans to the bowl and toss with the scallion, crushed red pepper and salt. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.  Eat as you would edamames.Check out this link to Mariquita Farm for more fava bean recipes and lovely pictures of favas.  Mariquita is a family-operated restaurant and CSA farm in northern California.  Their website has a treasure trove of recipes for many of the vegetables that we enjoy here in Colorado.  It’s one of my favorite recipe resources.

Fava Beans

A Note On Greens…
So of course this hot weather makes you think “I’ll make a nice cooling salad for dinner”, but then, no lettuce in your share this week, and probably not again until close to autumn.  If you’re used to eating locally and seasonally, you know that’s because lettuces and many other tender greens will “bolt” when it get hot.  That means the leaves get bitter, and the plant sends up a flower stalk to produce seeds, which can grow when the weather becomes more favorable again (for lettuce, that means cooler weather).  These are called “annual” plants which produce seed every year.  Red Wagon plants many greens which won’t bolt during the hot summer, which includes varieties of kale and chard.  These are “biennial” plants which produce seed after growing for TWO seasons.  What that means for you is plenty of greens during the hot summer, that you can creatively use in salads.  Since they are not as tender as lettuces and have more texture and flavor than sweet lettuces, think of techniques you would use to make slaw.  That is, chop or slice the leaves thinly, and use flavorful dressings with plenty of tart and maybe creamy ingredients, and also salty or sweet accents to stand up to their stronger, slightly bitter flavor.  I like to choose from fresh or dried fruit, nuts, cheese, olives, capers, etc.  With a little bread, you will have a cool and complete summer meal (maybe with a glass of chilled white or rosé wine as well).  I’ll include techniques and recipes for these greens throughout the summer, to give you more ideas on how to use them (do I dare say it, and not get bored with them!)

Keep up the good cooking (or not) and stay cool!  And if you have a picture and/or recipe to share, email them to me for the next CSA newsletter.  Keep your fingers crossed for a gentle thundershower or two this week. Enjoy the beginning of summer and have a great week of eating!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

July 4th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide basil, lettuce OR arugula, turnips, beets, broccoli, and baby onions. Large share members will get more basil, carrots, and double onions. Enjoy!

It is finally July and we can breathe a little sigh of relief at the farm. The big spring planting is in and our really big harvests don’t start until August. We’re still plenty busy, just not quite as frantic as we have been. The tomatoes, onions, pumpkins and potatoes all look beautiful. Our first planting of squash and cucumbers is not faring as well, though. The cucumber beetle population has exploded at the farm and these little pests are attacking our squash and cucumber plants. Fortunately they have not damaged our second squash and cucumber planting yet, but we will likely start harvesting these crops later than we had hoped. This is one of the reasons to have a diversified vegetable farm. Every year we have some crops that do well and others not so good. But, there aren’t too many things (other than hail) that would wipe out most of our crops for the season.

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Happy 4th of July!  Fireworks and late afternoon thundershowers make my dog, Hana, a little crazy these days, but I’m thankful for the cool off from the intense midday sun.  The lettuce and arugula in my garden has given it up in the heat, so enjoy those greens while we can from the farm!  Right now, it’s wait time for summer vegetables like cucumbers and summer squash, and wait a little longer for tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, so you’ll want to be creative with the roots and greens we’ll get until then.  If you have any roots or alliums leftover from the previous week, try turning them into quick pickles for salads, alongside BBQ’d meats or to complement bread, cheese and cured meat when it’s just too hot to cook.  If you’d prefer lighter or vegan alternatives to meat and cheese, think hummus or other bean spread for bread, with salad and/or pickled vegetables on the side.  If we BBQ at home and have a little meat left, it reappears later in the week on top of dressed salad greens, for a quick, easy, and no-kitchen-heat meal that doesn’t even feel like leftovers.  With a chilled glass of wine, it’s better than dinner out!

Last Spring Meal
We enjoy our last stash of asparagus, sautéed as a side to a frittata with homemade ricotta cheese, herbs from the garden and freshly baked ciabatta bread.  Hello, Summer!

I’m a big proponent of putting food up in small batches.  I avoid the waste of having a little too much fresh produce in season, and enjoy a variety of preserved foods during the months we don’t have anything growing locally.  If this idea sounds good to you, the book Well-Preservedby Eugenia Bone might inspire you to do some small batch preserving.  Eugenia is a food writer with an Italian heritage who divides her time between the Soho district of New York City and Colorado’s North Fork Valley (talk about contrasts!) and currently posts to a Denver Post food blog  http://blogs.denverpost.com/preserved/ .  You can use her recipe for Pickled Radishes for some of your turnips, or try one of these I’ve scaled down from the book QUICK PICKLES, Easy Recipes with Big Flavors by Schlesinger, Willoughby and George

Spicy Fuschia Pickled Turnips
makes about 1 pint

  • 1/2 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 clove garlic,smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh or prepared horseradish
  • 1 small beet, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch white salad turnips, cut lengthwise into quarters or wedges

Combine the liquids, salt and garlic into a small nonreactive pot and bring to a boil, stirring enough to dissolve the salt.  Meanwhile, combine all of the roots together in a bowl and then pack into one or two clean heatproof jars.  When the vinegar mixture comes to a boil, pour it over the vegetables making sure they’re completely covered, and cap with clean lids.  Allow the jars to cool to room temperature and then store refrigerated up to several months.

Citrus-Pickled Turnips with Gin and Juniper
makes about 1 pint

  • 1 bunch white salad turnips, sliced crosswise into 1/4″ thick “coins”
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
  • ribboned zest of 1 small orange, 1 lemon, and 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 2 tablespoons white grape juice
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries, slightly crushed
  • 1-2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Place the turnip slices into a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and toss to evenly distribute the salt.  Let sit for an hour, or until the turnips are limp enough to fold without breaking.  Rinse twice to remove excess salt and drain well.  Place into one or two clean jars.Combine all of the rest of the ingredients and pour over the turnip slices, covering completely.  Refrigerate overnight before eating.  Will keep about 3-4 weeks refrigerated.

Sweet Spiced Pickled Turnips with Fennel and Star Anise
makes about 1 pint

  • 1 bunch white salad turnips, cut lengthwise into thin wedges, or into thicker half wedges
  • 1/2 fennel bulb with stalks and fronds
  • 2 tablespoons pink peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons whole star anise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup white balsamic or rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice

Slice the fennel bulb lengthwise into thin wedges.  If the stalks are not pithy or fibrous, you can slice them thinly on a diagonal and use as well; otherwise discard the stalks or use elsewhere.  Save several of the nicer small fronds.In a large bowl, toss the turnips, fennel and stalks if using with the pink peppercorns.  Pack this mixture into one or two clean heatproof jars.  Place the remaining ingredients, except for the fennel fronds, into a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring just enough to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Pour over the vegetables, top with a few fennel fronds, cap with clean lids and allow to cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate and keep up to 6 weeks or longer.

Here’s a simple recipe for hummus using canned garbanzo or chickpeas.

makes about 2 cups

  • 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1-2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped chives or green onion
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • a few drop toasted sesame oil, optional

Combine and process all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning and consistency.  Use as a spread or dip.Here’s a tasty broccoli recipe that uses many of the vegetables in this week’s share.  Serve with rice and later in the season, cucumber raita.

Indian-Style Spicy Broccoli Vegetable Sauté
Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

  • 1 pound broccoli, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 pound baby turnips, cut into quarters
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, sliced and blanched
  • 1 small knob fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 fresh serrano chile pepper, cored, seeded and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, clarified butter or oil
  • 2 small dried chile peppers, optional
  • 4 dried curry leaves*, optional
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black onion seed* (nigella or kalonji)
  • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro*available at Savory Spice shop

Heat the butter or oil in a large pan.  Add the dried chile and curry leaves to briefly toast, and then add the vegetables in succession, stirring often so they cook evenly.  Season with salt and pepper and then add all of the spices.  Cook and stir; you should hear the seeds pop in a short while.  Add the fresh spices (ginger, garlic and serrano chile) and cook briefly.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve garnished with fresh cilantro sprigs.

Let me know if you have a favorite book (or website) with inspired vegetable recipes.  Try to stay cool and have a great week of eating!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

July 11th, 2011

Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide lettuce, choice of kale/chard/collards, broccoli, carrots, new potatoes and onions.  Large share members will get spinach, beets and garlic.  Enjoy!

I am from the East Coast and grew up with hot, muggy summers. I am so thankful for the dry summers in Colorado where I feel like it doesn’t get uncomfortable until we reach 100 degrees. But the last week or so has reminded me of the muggy, un-air conditioned summers of my youth. I just have to keep reminding myself that the tomatoes and melons love this weather!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

I can’t remember such a wet early July.  It’s been great for my garden projects, as I’m always late with my gardening chores, but I’ll bet it’s been a unusual soupy challenge at the farm!  One nice result, is to still have lettuces and spinach in summer; they’re usually toast (literally) by now, so enjoy a later season treat for now!

Sauteed to Braised
I think these cooking terms get a little confusing when it comes to vegetables.  When cooking meat or fish, it’s obvious that sauté means “hot pan, a little oil, dry ingredient, don’t crowd, don’t cover” so that you cook the meat with as little moisture as possible and quickly get some browning on the exterior without overcooking.  But most vegetables, especially the leafy ones, give up so much moisture during cooking, that they’re always simmering or steaming literally in their own juices.  So for vegetables, just think of SAUTÉ and BRAISE as the same cooking method, just a lot longer for braising when your vegetables are a little tougher, so you want the finished dish to be very tender, instead of with the slight crispness of a stir fry.  With that in mind, here’s a “method recipe” for your greens, with a separate one for chard stems (the other stems are probably too tough to eat this way).

Sautéed to Braised Greens

  • olive oil, butter or other fat
  • onion and/or garlic, chopped or sliced
  • salt
  • a bunch of greens
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • lemon juice

Start cooking the onion and/or garlic in a little fat while you clean the chard.  Lightly salt to help draw out their moisture.  You can cover the pan over low heat if you prefer the onions to just soften, rather than brown, and try NOT to brown garlic ever-it gets bitter.  Stem (save chard stems for later) the greens, wash and drain/spin the leaves, and roughly chop or slice into ribbons if the leaves are large.  Add the leaves to the pan and cover.  Stir occasionally for even cooking and when they have wilted they are done as a SAUTÉ.  [For tougher greens, or for meltingly tender texture, continue this cooking process as a BRAISE in the next paragraph.]  Taste for salt, adjusting the seasonings of salt, pepper, red pepper, a little lemon juice and more olive oil or butter if desired.  Remember that the acidity of the lemon will cause the bright green color to darken, so serve right away (or don’t worry about it).To continue this process as a BRAISE, leave the cover on and continue cooking over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.    Thicker and tougher greens, such as late season collards, might even take longer.  Consider using bacon or pancetta as your choice of fat at the beginning, or even finishing with a little cream.  Adjust seasoning as usual before serving, and if the dish seems too soupy by the end of cooking, leave the cover off for several minutes to reduce the amount of liquid or thicken the cream.

Chard Stem Gratin

  • leftover chard stems (broccoli or cauliflower would be good this way too)
  • bits of fried bacon or pancetta, optional
  • chopped/sliced garlic
  • chopped parsley
  • seeded, coarsely chopped tomato or roasted pepper, optional
  • cream
  • grated cheese, optional

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Remove strings from the chard stems if necessary (like you would celery) and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Drop into the water and cook until tender, just a few to several minutes, depending on their toughness.  Drain and place into a buttered baking dish sprinkled with with the bacon/pancetta, garlic, parsley, tomato/pepper or any other savory/salty ingredients you desire.  Cover with a little cream and cheese if desired, and bake in a very hot 450°F oven or broil until golden on top.In case it rains and get cool enough in the evening for you to think of making soup, here’s a traditional Portuguese “caldo verde” (green broth).  You could substitute cabbage for the kale, and meat is entirely optional.

Kale and Potato Soup
serves 4

  • 1 pound potatoes (not russets, unless you want them to crumble and soften)
  • 1 quart water, vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch kale (about 1 pound)
  • cooked and sliced garlic sausage, optional
  • good extra virgin olive oil for finishing

Peel the potatoes if desired, and chop small or slice thinly for quicker cooking.  Put them immediately into a pot with the water or stock.  Add the salt and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer covered for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes start to soften.  Meanwhile stem the kale, wash the leaves and chop coarsely or cut into ribbons.  Add the kale to the pot, bring back to a simmer and cook covered until the kale is tender and the potatoes are completely cooked.  Adjust the seasoning.  If using, heat the sausage slices in the soup, and serve garnished with a splash of the olive oil.If desired, you could purée this soup (through a food mill or CAREFULLY in a blender*) before adding the sausage.  This is a very simple soup, so cooked onions or roasted garlic can add a robust flavor as well.

*Whenever you process hot liquids in a blender, never fill the container more than halfway, and use a towel to cover the opening in the lid instead of the stopper.  This allows the abrupt release of steam to escape, rather than popping the lid off followed by hot scalding liquid, which can burn your arm.  Also use the pulse, rather than the on switch, if you have that option.

So stay cool and dry this week while you enjoy summer cooking!  Do YOU have a recipe to share about how you’ve been preparing greens?
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

July 18th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide basil, braising mix, beets OR carrots, fennel, cabbage, potatoes and onions.  Large share members will get double potatoes, both beets AND carrots and zucchini.  Enjoy!

I would like to express my gratitude to the CSA this week. I’m sure all of you know one or two ways the CSA helps our farm, but really there are so many reasons. I thought I would share some of them with you. You probably understand that it really helps us to have CSA payments at the beginning of the year. We have a lot of expenses at the beginning of the season like buying seeds and paying for labor. There are also expenses like irrigation equipment, tractor maintenance, and it seems like a million other things.

But there are a lot of other ways the CSA helps us. We sell our shares early in the year, so it helps us predict what our sales will be like and how much we should grow. It also helps us deal with the weather. If we have a rainy day at the farmers’ market our sales really suffer (after all that hard work!) But I’m sure many of you have come to get your CSA veggies even in the rain. It is also easier for us to harvest and distribute the CSA shares. We are only harvesting 5 or 6 crops for the CSA, which is a lot more efficient than the 20 or so crops we harvest to take to the farmers’ market or on restaurant deliveries. At the CSA pickup it only takes us a few people to staff the CSA tent. We don’t have all the extra complexities of trying to sell the produce like we do at the market. We are also able to bring you whatever we have in abundance in our fields, so that reduces the amount of waste we have. While we have never had to use this one, it also helps that the CSA shares our risk in this whole adventure. And then there are the other benefits like having a stronger connection with our CSA members and getting to know you better and just having some moral support.

It is a tremendous amount of work for us to get the whole CSA signed up and coordinated as well as to try to plan to have the correct amount of food each week. But our CSA is such an important part of our farm and things would be a lot more difficult without you. So I wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for all that you do to help our farm and small-scale agriculture!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

It’s time to get creative with our salad preparations, because as promised, lettuces, spinach and arugula have made a temporary exit until Fall’s coolness coaxes them back again.  Think of thinly sliced vegetable salads or slaws.  You can add fresh or dried fruit for sweetness, your own quick pickles or olives for salt and tartness, nuts for crunch, cheese for richness, or a combination of these elements.  Voila!  You have a light meal or starter without heating up the kitchen.  Add some bread or crackers, cured meat if you like, and a glass of light bodied wine or beer, and you’ll be dining “al fresco” in no time.  All of our share vegetables can work in a salad in some fashion, so here are some ideas, plus a lesson on making your own sauerkraut to eat later (probably in a month).


Fennel seems to have a rather short season here, so enjoy it’s mild licorice flavor and crunch.  We’ll probably get small ones bunched, instead of the large bulbs most recipes specify, so I’ve scaled this salad recipe down to about one bunch.  Think of using fennel as you would celery, as it has a similar texture and can give delicious results either raw or cooked.  The tops or “fronds” can be too fibrous to eat, but offer  a delicate aroma and flavor when cooked inside or atop grilled fish, along with lemon, olive oil and salt.

Shaved Fennel Salad
(adapted from Alfred Portale’s book “Simple Pleasures”)
Serves 2

  • 1 fennel bulb or several small ones
  • 1 Granny Smith or other tart crisp apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , plus additional for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Remove fennel tops and reserve some of the  green, feathery fronds. Trim root ends.  if using a larger bulb, halve and core before slicing.  Thinly slice fennel bulbs using a very sharp knife. Chop 1 tablespoon fronds and set aside for garnish.In a large bowl, combine sliced fennel and apple, cheese, olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper; toss gently.  Plate salad on chilled plates, drizzle with additional olive oil if desired, and sprinkle with reserved fennel fronds.

Here is a lighter version of a fennel salad adapted from Heidi Swanson’s food blog “101 Cookbooks” http://www.101cookbooks.com/

Shaved Fennel Salad
Serves 2

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper thin
  • loosely chopped fresh dill or fennel greens
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • honey, if needed
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill or fennel greens in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.When you are ready to serve the salad, toss again, taste and adjust with more olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to balance with a drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Topped with the nuts and feta and freshly ground pepper if desired.

For me, it wouldn’t be summer without potato salad.  But instead of dressing lovely local potatoes with goopy store-bought mayonnaise (I do keep mayo in the frig for tuna fish and egg salad!), try Julia’s simple French potato salad, or the more extravagant version which follows hers.  Both  use the odd ingredient of chicken stock.  I imagine this is a staple in French kitchens and can add some extra “omph!”, but it’s most certainly optional, and as Julia points out, use some of the potato cooking water instead!  Enjoy her detailed instructions…

Julia Child’s French Potato Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 pound “boiling” potatoes, all the same size and shape if possible
  • 1 tablespoon salt per 2 quarts of water for cooking the potatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons shallots or scallions, finely minced
  • Salt
  • White pepper, freshly ground
  • 2-3 tablespoons chicken stock (or potato cooking water)
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional

Fill a medium pot half full with cold water.  Wash the potatoes.  One at a time peel a potato, and if it’s round and fat rather than long and thin, cut it in half lengthwise. Cut the potato into slices 1/4 inch thick, and drop the slices into the pan of water, to prevent discoloration while you prepare the rest.  It is best to cook them within 1/2 hour to prevent the possibility of their turning grey.Drain out this water, then add clean cold water to cover, and the salt. Bring to the simmer, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender — keep testing by eating a slice to be sure.  (My note:  it will take longer than 2-3 minutes due to our altitude.  I’m guessing 5 minutes once they’re simmering,  but it will depend on how thick you cut them and bring them to a simmer, and the nature of the potatoes themselves.)  Back to Julia… Crunchily undercooked potatoes are dreadful, and overcooked potato slices will disintegrate.

Drain out the cooking water (you may wish to use it for soup). At once cover the pan and set aside for 3 to 4 minutes (but no longer than 5), to allow the slices to firm up. Then uncover the potatoes and season them while still warm as follows.  Turn the warm potatoes into a roomy bowl and toss gently with the rest of the ingredients except the optional olive oil. Let steep 10 minutes or so, tossing gently a few times. Then adjust the seasoning, toss with the optional oil, and the potatoes are ready for serving.

The potatoes will keep a day or two covered and under refrigeration.  If they are made with oil, let sit for 1/2 hour at room temperature before serving.  (My note:  this allows the olive oil to warm slightly and release its fragrance.)

Here’s the New York Times extrapolation of Julia’s recipe…
French Potato Salad
Serves 4

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound small white and/or red boiling potatoes, left whole
  • 1 tablespoon good dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade of fresh basil

1. Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water and add a tablespoon or so of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until they are just cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes depending on their size. Drain in a colander and place a towel over potatoes to allow them to steam for a few more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in half (or quarters, if potatoes are large) and place in a bowl. Add wine and chicken stock, and toss gently. Keep warm and allow to rest for 10 minutes.2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to make an emulsion.

3. Add about half the vinaigrette to warm potatoes. As potatoes absorb vinaigrette, add more to taste. Add scallions, dill, parsley, basil, more salt and pepper if needed to taste. Toss gently to mix. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here’s a simple coleslaw recipe, then onto sauerkraut!

Creamy Coleslaw
adapted from Bobby Flay, Food Network

  • 1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, finely shredded
  • 3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey*
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste*honey is sweeter than sugar

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream/yogurt, onion, sugar/honey, vinegar, mustard, celery salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine; taste and adjust seasonings.

Eastern Europe’s sauerkraut, Korea’s kimchi, Japan’s umeboshi, Latin cortida and even dill pickles were originally preserved through lacto-fermentation.  This is a process of beneficial bacteria naturally present in/on foods converting the sugars of these foods into lactic acid which then preserved that food.  For an excellent introduction and description of this process, check out this link from the University of Wisconsin Extension http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/B2087.pdf.  Nancy Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” book is the most often cited reference for  more recipes, but here’s a fun and flavorful recipe from our favorite food geek chef, Alton Brown.  His recipe also makes a good beginner’s amount using 5 pounds instead of 25 pounds of cabbage!  Omit the juniper berries, if you don’t think you’ll like their flavor (will remind you of gin).


  • 5 pounds green cabbage, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries, optional
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 quart water, in a sanitized glass jar (for weight)

In large mixing bowl, mix cabbage thoroughly with salt, juniper berries, and caraway seeds, using hands or tongs. If using your hands, make sure that they are very clean prior to mixing. Let stand for 10 minutes.Pack cabbage mixture down into a large plastic food container. Top with a lid smaller than the opening of the container and place a glass jar filled with the quart of water on top of the lid. Place in cool area overnight (65 to 70 degrees F). Within a day, the cabbage should have given up enough liquid to be completely submerged. If not, top with a light brine ( to completely cover the cabbage.  Other recipes suggest pounding the vegetables with the salt to release some of the juice before placing into a container.  The jar serves as a weight to keep the cabbage submerged and away from air.

Check cabbage every other day for approximately 2 weeks and skim the surface of scum, if necessary.  Allow to ferment for about 4 weeks, less time if it’s warmer. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Enjoy your food adventures this week.  Try something new, and share your results in words or pictures with us!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

July 25th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Basil, Beets, Carrots, Zucchini, Green Beans, Leeks, Onions and Potatoes.  Large Share members will also get Green Kale, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic.  Enjoy!

We may all be wilting, but things are looking great at the farm! We are excited to start seeing the early summer crops—green beans, potatoes, and zucchini. These are all things we planted in April or May. In a few more weeks we will see eggplant, peppers, melons, and tomatoes. Enjoy all the summer produce!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

When it’s this hot, the less cooking the better, right?  And if you have to cook, make it quick and easy, or cook for more than one meal at a time, or out on the grill.  So I’m thinking salads (of course), large batch or double duty cooking (never call it leftovers), cooking the meats and even some of the vegetables outside.  I was in Southern California last week visiting family during “Carmageddon” (the 405 Freeway weekend closure).  My sis has an amazing backyard vegetable garden with almost year round growing.  One of her family’s favorites right now is grilled pizza (I’ll get her recipe for next week, hopefully), so you can even have homemade bread without turning on your oven!  So, onto the ideas and recipes…

A Composed Salad
When it’s hot, keep your composure in the kitchen with a “composed salad”!  Here’s the one I made last night with most of the ingredients from last Saturday’s farmers’ market.  While you probably won’t be able to get a bed of local lettuce until fall now, think creatively, and if you want greens, thinly slice kale, cabbage or other greens, but I think the salad is fine without greens as well.  This recipe uses a clever, energy and heat-saving strategy of one-pot cooking, that cuts down on cleanup too, so I’ll think you’ll like it.  It also relies on a well-stocked pantry to avoid a shopping trip, which I was able to do.  So consider this a good beginning guide for a staples list for frig/pantry, if this type of eating appeals to you.

“A Nice Niçoise For Next To Nil” adapted from Volume 1 of Canal House Cooking by Hamilton & Hirsheimer

A few words on anchovy and canned tuna:  I feel any and all ingredients are optional, depending on what you have on hand and your own personal tastes.  But if you’re afraid of fishy anchovies, don’t be.  The addition of preserved (in oil or salt) anchovy is to add salt and “umami” to the dish.  If they’ve tasted fishy in the past, try a different type or brand.  I’ve had good experience with the “Ortiz” label, imported from Spain, for both anchovy and tuna in olive oil.  The tuna is pricey, compared to regular canned tuna, but remember it’s the main protein in this dinner!

Jar of Ortiz tuna; dressing ingredients: crushed anchovies, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, S&P (I added a clove of garlic, very thinly sliced)

A Nice Niçoise for Next to Nil
Serves 4

  • 4 small to medium thin-skinned waxy or new potatoes
  • salt
  • 4 large eggs, in shell
  • 2 handfuls of green beans
  • 4 tomatoes or a jar of RW* cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled if needed and sliced, optional
  • 4-6 anchovy fillets
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 cans or jars of tuna packed in olive oil (substitute your favorite best quality tuna)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons capers, salted or brined
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced, optional
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, the “good stuff”
  • 1 head of lettuce, if you have it
  • handful of black oil-cured olives, careful if they have pits!
  • small handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped (I forgot those)

*Red Wagon uses wide-mouthed pint jars to display their sweet cherry tomatoes at the market and their farm stand which opens in August (yeah!)Get a large pot of water, salt it heavily and add the whole, unpeeled potatoes.  Bring to a boil and then add the eggs; reduce the heat to keep the water at a simmer.  Set the timer for 10 minutes if you like the yolks set but still moist; longer for more cooked yolks (this is for cooking at our altitude, but the time will probably vary).  When the timer goes off, scoop the eggs out of the pot and into a bowl of cool tap water.  Change the water as often as you need to cool the eggs.  Check the doneness of the potatoes with the tip of a paring knife; it should slide in easily when they’re done.  Continue cooking the potatoes if needed.  Now add the untrimmed green beans to the pot, and cook until tender crisp, tasting as you cook to determine doneness.  It will take a few to five minutes.  If the green beans are very done, scoop them out into a bowl of cool water; along with the eggs is fine, just make sure you keep changing the water so it stays cool, or add some ice.  If they’re still a bit crisp, just drain them and they’ll continue to cook while they cool slowly.  The potatoes should be done as well, so check and drain them and set aside to cool (not in water).  Cooking is done!

To make the dressing, coarsely cut and/or crush the anchovies with some salt and pepper in a sturdy little bowl with a fork.  Add some of the oil from the jar of tuna if you like it’s flavor.  Squeeze the juice from the half lemon into the bowl, add the capers and sliced garlic, if using, and the olive oil.  Adjust the seasonings.

Trim and cut the rest of the salad ingredients: slice the tomatoes into wedges or cherry tomatoes in half, trim the ends from the green beans and cut in half if long, leave the lettuce leaves whole, or tear or chop as you like, peel and quarter the eggs, quarter or cut the potatoes into large pieces.  Arrange the salad on a large platter or on individual plates.  Lettuce underneath everything if using, and the rest of the ingredients around in clusters.  Drizzle the dressing all over, garnish with chopped parsley and olives and serve immediately with baguette and butter.

Notice that this cooking method allows you to cook extra for later in the week-potatoes for French potato salad (last week’s recipes), blanched green beans to quickly reheat or eat cold in another salad, and hard cooked eggs to devil or make egg salad sandwiches!

I have not tried to grill root vegetables before, so this recipe intrigued me.  The flavor profile is Spanish, with the smoked paprika and Marcona almonds which usually have been fried in olive oil and salted.  You can substitute regular almonds toasted if you prefer.  As always, toasting, then grinding whole spices, such as the fennel and coriander seeds will give more flavor, but use already ground for convenience.

Grilled Carrot Salad with Brown Butter Vinaigrette
(from Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine restaurant, Austin, Texas)
4-6 servings

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 pound small carrots, halved lengthwise and tops trimmed to 1 inch
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons Marcona almonds, plus some chopped for garnish
  • 1/2 pound arugula or other small but sturdy greens, torn or chopped, optional

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, ground spices, garlic and thyme.  Add the prepped carrots and let stand at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Preheat the grill on medium, remove the carrots from the marinade (save for another use*), season them with salt and pepper and place them on the grill.  If they’re too small and will fall through the grate, place them on top of foil with some small holes pierced with a paring knife.  You won’t get as much char, but you won’t lose the carrots.  Turn occasionally and cook until tender crisp, probably 5-8 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the butter over medium heat until light brown and nutty smelling, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or so.  Let cool slightly (but don’t let it burn), and pour the liquid and solid bits into a blender jar.  Add the vinegar, water and 2 tablespoons of almonds and blend until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the dressing and greens, if using to the carrots and toss in the bowl.  Serve garnished with the chopped almonds.

*To the leftover oil mixture, add some fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper and use to marinate chicken, fish or shellfish, lamb or pork for another meal.

What are your “cool cooking in hot weather tips”?  Share your ideas with us for next week’s newsletter.  It’ll probably be hot for a while!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

August 1st, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Squash Blossoms OR Green Beans OR Broccoli, Kale OR Chard OR Collards, Zucchini / Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Beets OR Carrots, Onions and Potatoes.  Large Share members will get Beets AND Carrots, Japanese Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes.  Enjoy!

I’m so happy that Marilyn put some freezing instructions in the newsletter this week. I used to do a lot of canning, but find that I don’t have time anymore. Instead I make sure to freeze some veggies so that I have them in the winter. On my must-freeze list: pesto, spinach, chard, kale, green beans, tomatoes, and roasted peppers. It takes so little effort to freeze vegetables and I am always thrilled to have them over the winter.

– Amy

Dear CSA Members,

We are at the half way point of the season, August starts today.  The CSA is at the half way point as is the farmers’ market. On the farm, the crew is tired from all they have done the past 4 months and the hardest six weeks of the season is just beginning.  Much of the work that we have been doing each week since early April is taking care of the warm season crops. Each week we harvest for CSA, Boulder Farmers’ Market and 15 restaurants as well as plant and care for the future crops.  Every week it is important to harvest everything we have already grown so we can make money to pay the bills but also not get behind on the crops that will provide us with a future harvest.

This season we started 7,000 tomato plants in the greenhouse in April and transplanted out in May and weeded, watered and trellised and are just beginning to have a few fruits turn from green to white on their way to red. We trellis the tomatoes with a metal T-post every 5 plants (over 1000 stakes).  These all had to be pounded into the ground and then had twine woven though the plants and tied off at each T-post.  As the plants grow the trellis has to be made taller.

The thousands of melon plants have vined out and have fruit close to the size they will be when ripe.  The melons have to “net up” where the fine netting that covers the melon emerges from the smooth unripe melon and then they turn the brownish gold when ready.  The watermelons are also close to final size but every premature one we cut open (desperately hoping we found a ripe one) only has a pinkish white interior and is not quite sweet enough.  Picking ripe melons is always a challenge.

During August each week we need to plant fall crops if we want to have a good selection of crops into October. The spring plantings have been tilled into the soil and new plantings of lettuce, arugula, spinach, radish, braising greens, raab, carrots, beets and turnips need to be planted.  The soil needs to be prepped, planted and much of it protected with row cover.  The August heat dries out the soil amazingly fast and the new crops will need daily watering if they are going to survive.  The planting of the late fall greens needs to somehow be worked into the biggest harvest of summer crops that we have ever had!

– Wyatt

In The Kitchen 

You can see from the “pick list” that we haven’t quite hit our stride for summer crops yet.  I noticed this year that even corn was late, by almost two weeks.  That said, you might have some types of veggies starting to pile up in your refrigerator, especially since it’s been too hot of late to inspire much cooking, or even preserving of any sort.  This might be a good time to know what vegetables freeze well, and the best ways to do it, before we enjoy the abundance of later summer and fall produce.

Mo, who works the Red Wagon Pumpkin Farm on 63rd Street, is the real “Freezer Queen”.  She and her family eat locally year round, enjoying an abundance of Colorado summer produce that she’s tucked inside her chest freezer.  Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that, and cost is a factor for the freezer and electricity to run it.  But when you consider food flavor, color, texture and nutrients, and the time you save freezing over other preserving methods such as drying or canning, the money is well spent.

A couple of words on freezer logistics, before we get started

  • take good care of your produce before you freeze it; freezing won’t improve quality!
  • remember the FIFO (First In, First Out) rule when using your frozen produce, and that frozen foods don’t improve with age (use up within a year at most)
  • freeze quickly (to minimize ice crystals) and thaw slowly in the refrigerator for less “drip”, or cook from the frozen state
  • label and date all containers and packages, which should be sturdy and as airtight as possible
  • keep your freezer organized (even a well marked bag of frozen peas can get lost and rest in peace until after next year’s harvest is frozen as well)

I keep a list (mostly up-to-date) on my computer of what’s in my freezer.  Foods are grouped by type (meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.) and I record the storage date and number of packages/containers.  I print a dated copy and keep it handy for reference and hand update, and every once in a while update the computer copy and print a new one.  Here’s an example:


2            sweet peppers            10/10

5            hot peppers              10/10

1            corn                      7/10

I try to keep the frozen foods in their groups as well.

The one cooking technique you’ll want to use for freezing your excess vegetables is blanching in boiling water, steaming or even microwaving if you’re used to doing that.  Most vegetables require this step to ensure a good quality product when thawed.  Unless enzymes are destroyed by heating, they slowly continue their activity and can cause unnatural colors, disagreeable flavors and odors, and even tough or fibrous textures to develop in frozen vegetables.  And although there is some vitamin loss when cooking the vegetables, it turns out that over time they retain more nutrients during frozen storage, than vegetables that are frozen in their raw state.

Here’s a review on how to blanch and “shock” vegetables.  If you’re preparing them for freezing, be sure to work cleanly and quickly to maximize quality.

  1. Get organized before starting to cook.  You’ll need a large pot, large bowl with iced water, strainers or colanders, maybe some clean towels to help dry vegetables before freezing, clean containers or freezer bags, pen and tape for labeling.
  2. Clean, trim and prepare the vegetables while bringing the water to a boil.  Use at least 4 quarts of water to blanch a pound of vegetables (I like to use salt in the water, but it’s always optional).  Vegetables should be thoroughly cleaned, peeled if needed or desired and cut into similar sized pieces for more even cooking.
  3. Carefully drop the vegetables into the boiling water to avoid splashing.  Unless you’re blanching leaves or very small pieces like peas, you’ll want to wait until the water returns to a boil before starting to taste for doneness.  Remember you’ll be cooking these vegetables more later, so you just need to heat them through to deactivate those enzymes, not cook them all the way.
  4. Now quickly scoop them all out into your ice water bath to stop the cooking process and chill.  I like to use a large handled sieve and leave the vegetables in the sieve in the iced water.  That way, they don’t get all mixed up with the ice.
  5. When the vegetables are cool, scoop them out and allow to drain well, on a clean towel if needed.
  6. Label and date container(s) or bag(s) as needed, fill and immediately freeze.  Minimize the air space, but remember that water expands when frozen (and vegetables are mostly water).  Bags that are frozen flat, and square containers stack easier and take up less space.
  7. If processing a lot of vegetables at the same time, you might want to keep some boiling water to top up the pot.  Also, be sure to have plenty of ice on hand.  If you run out, you can also cool the vegetables under cold running water.

As far as the particular types of vegetables that do or don’t take to freezing, potatoes for the most part don’t freeze well.  And if you’re short on freezer space, root vegetables will keep for a long time in the refrigerator, while our later storage onions and garlic will keep well in a cool basement.  And you might prefer pickling cucumbers and beets to freezing them.

Leeks and onions freeze well without cooking them first.  Just wash, trim, peel off the outer leaves/layers, slice and freeze.  Mo mentioned that she freezes these on a sheet pan first, then just adds them to a gallon zip lock freezer bag as she has them.

Tomatoes and peppers haven’t arrived in quantity yet, but if you have room, these can also be frozen raw (I usually freeze my sweet or hot peppers after roasting them first).  For peppers, just wash, halve, remove seeds and membranes.  Chop or freeze as halves (Mo suggests chile rellenos).  They take up more room than roasted peppers, but are quick and easy, and don’t heat up the house.  Freeze clean whole tomatoes on a sheet pan, then transfer to plastic zip lock freezer bags.  The skins crack during freezing, making them easy to remove after thawing.

For greens such as kale, chard, collards and later spinach, rinse well and trim away large mid-ribs and stems.  Stir a few times while blanching to keep the leaves from matting together.  After cooling and draining well, you can rough chop if desired before freezing.

Red Wagon doesn’t grow corn, but you’ll find it at the farm stand soon.  Blanch it on the cob, cool, then cut off the kernels for freezing.

Finally next year, if you discover some of this year’s produce lurking in the freezer, make soup stock, either vegetable or add some bones, and re-freeze!

Well, I’ll get back to grilled pizza in a future newsletter, after I clear out my fridge!  Share your hot weather-cool cooking ideas or freezing tips with us for next week’s newsletter.  We’re supposed to be past the hottest days, but it doesn’t feel like it yet!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

August 8th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Kale OR Chard OR Collards, Celery, Zucchini OR Cucumbers, Carrots, Green beans OR Cherry tomatoes, Bell Pepper, Potatoes and Shallots.  Large Share members will get Zucchini AND Cucumbers, Green Beans AND Cherry Tomatoes and a Watermelon.  Enjoy!

The newsletter is getting out a little later than usual today. I spent a large part of the day with the inspector, Mark, from the Colorado Department of Agriculture who does our organic certification. It takes an unbelievable amount of paperwork and record keeping to be a certified organic farm. Mark often points to parts of our organic certification application and says that they cause “brain damage” because they are so cumbersome to complete. Being an organic vegetable farmer isn’t all tractors, seeds, and sunshine. There’s an awful lot of office work, too!

Fruit Share Update

We are at the very beginning of peach season and I am hopeful that we will have a fruit share pickup every week from here on out. It should be a lot easier for us to get fruit for the CSA each week as it is more readily available this time of year. This has been an especially difficult season for us to get fruit and I know that both Ela Family Farms and First Fruits Organic Farms are struggling to get through a difficult season. Our thanks to them for all of their hard work and hanging in there even through the difficult years!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

I’m pretty much a “from scratch” cook and don’t mind spending a couple of hours in the kitchen making a late dinner for me and my hubby, sipping a little wine while I stir the pot (kids are grown up and out of the house-yeah!)  But that just isn’t the week night reality for most families trying to get dinner on the table between work and school, sports and music lessons, homework and house chores.  So while I love making bread, and you can certainly find ways to do that in a busy life, store bought alternatives are practical and should be guilt free!  So here’s my busy sis’s Grilled Pizza recipe she borrowed from Bon Appétit magazine.

Grilled Summer Pizza
(adapted from Bon Appétit, July 2003)
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup diced seeded tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Let the tomato mixture stand for 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature.Oil the grill rack. Preheat the barbecue on medium-high heat.

Unroll the dough onto your work surface, stretching to form 12×12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal square pieces. Using a large spatula, transfer the pieces of dough to the grill rack; cover and grill until the bottoms are brown, about 4 minutes. Check often as cooking times can vary a lot between different types of grills.

Turn the squares over and immediately top each with the tomato mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover and grill until pizza bottoms are again brown and cheese is melted, about another 4 minutes. Sprinkle pizzas with Parmesan and serve.

One of my favorite main course salads during the summer is the classic Greek salad.  Don’t put off making it if you’re missing one of the ingredient; it will still be fresh and delicious!  It’s really a no recipe required dish, and goes great with pizza!

No-Recipe Greek Salad

  • Tomatoes, quartered or cut into 1/8th’s if big
  • Cucumbers, peeled only if the skin is bitter and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Red onion, sliced thinly or other onion that you like
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Red wine or other vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Olives, Kalamata’s if you have them
  • Your favorite Feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • Fresh oregano, optional

Simply place each ingredient in individual bowls are you prepare them.  Season, drizzle with vinegar and oil, add olives and cheese.  Enjoy with bread, pita and a bottle of Greek wine!Here’s an easy and tasty way to grill the beautiful potatoes we’re getting this season.  We tried it last week, and it’ll be my favorite way to cook potatoes during the summer.  You could even turn these potatoes into potato salad, all without heating your kitchen!

Grilled Salt and Vinegar Potatoes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound potatoes, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons  cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Immediately after slicing (to prevent browning), toss the potato rounds with the rest of the ingredients.  Place into a sheet of foil, crimp securely to keep all the liquids inside.  Place on the grill to cook before and/or alongside anything else you’re grilling; they will take about 25 minutes to cook.  If you double the recipe, place into two foil packets for more even cooking in the same amount of time.Getting tired of Chard/Kale/Collards?  I had some I needed to use up, so this is how I cooked them last night to go alongside a steak and some corn that my hubby grilled.  He even said they were delicious!  Start them before you start the grill, so they’re meltingly tender and absorb the other flavors.

Simmered Greens
Serves 4

  • 2-4 cloves garlic (or more), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, olive oil or a combo
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • salt to taste
  • 1 bunch of greens, cleaned, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
  • grated hard cheese, optional
  • freshly ground black pepper, optional

Place the garlic, butter/oil and wine into a pot with a little salt.  Cover and bring to a simmer and cook until the wine is almost gone. Add the greens and tomato, cover and continue to simmer until the greens are very tender, 15 minutes or so.  If the mixture is too soupy, take off the lid to reduce the liquid.  Check for seasoning.  Serve with the grated cheese and pepper, if desired.Don’t forget to share your hot weather/cool cooking ideas.  The days are still hot, but it seems like the nights are a little cooler now!  Enjoy!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

August 15th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Kale/Chard/Collards OR Roasted Chiles, Summer Squash/Zucchini OR Cucumbers, Green beans OR Cherry Tomatoes, Japanese Eggplant OR Bell Peppers, Fingerling Potatoes and Watermelon.  For a Large Share, just change the ‘ORs’ to ‘ANDs’, except for the Greens OR Roasted Chiles.  Enjoy!

There are certain smells from the farm that remind me what time of year it is. The first time I smell tomato plants means that it is April and we are about the plant a bunch of tomatoes in walls o’ water. The smell of garlic means that it is around July 4th. And the smell of roasted chiles means that the peak of summer is here!

You are in for a treat if you haven’t had roasted chiles before. This year our chiles are medium-hot with thick walls and thin skins. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do with them right away. You can throw the whole bag in the freezer until you want to use them. You can use them in chiles rellenos or chop them up to make green chile, put them on a burger, or put them in a soup. Add them anywhere you would like a little heat.

I also want to share that I have gone over to the “dark side”. People have told me for years that they make kale smoothies. My reaction has been to put on a sourpuss face and say “That’s gross!” I do occasionally juice vegetables like carrots and beets—just not kale. But our CSA member, Rob, finally pushed me over the edge. Rob told me that he is on a juice diet (or fast??? I’m not sure of the lingo) inspired by the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The film crew happened to come out to Red Wagon in the fall while they were on their juice diet/road trip/film tour. Wyatt thought they were “extra crazy” (in Wyatt’s words). You can see a photo of Wyatt showing off our kale “palm trees” on the Red Wagon Face Book page.

Now Rob isn’t somebody who looks like he juices vegetables, let alone kale. I would guess that he is more likely to eat a hamburger than kale juice. But this seemingly normal looking guy keeps telling me about his juice diet and how great he feels. Finally I thought “FINE! I will try throwing some kale in my juice.” And to my surprise, it is quite good! Yesterday I did a carrot, beet, cucumber, kale, ginger, and lime concoction. I don’t see myself going on a complete juice diet anytime soon, but it is nice to add these super healthy drinks to my day. Thanks Rob for pushing me over the edge!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

We have a nice variety of summer vegetables in this week’s share.  Last Sunday’s ‘The Splendid Table’ food talk show on public radio had an interesting variation of a “tian” (French word for an earthernware casserole dish; it originally referred to a Provençal dish of gratinéed mixed or layered vegetables).  This is the first recipe I’ve seen using eggs and cooked rice.  Besides making the dish more of a complete meal, those ingredients will bind the cooked mixture together so you can slice the tian without having the vegetables fall apart, making for a prettier layered presentation.  It does call for baking in the oven, so wait for a cooler evening to make this.

Zucchini Tian
(from Martha Rose Schulman)
Serves 4-6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced
  • 2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice, cooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ounces Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dry)

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 2-quart baking dish.2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until it begins to smell fragrant, and stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is translucent but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the thyme and rice, and remove from the heat.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese. Stir in the slightly cooled zucchini mixture and mix well. Scrape into the baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes to make it easier to slice for serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Here’s a recipe for the more common layered vegetable tian, which is beautiful and I think more traditional.

Summer Vegetable Tian
Serves 4-6
(photo from Eric Diesel who posts on www.slashfood.com, a community food blog)

This photo reveals the simplicity of the dish.  While many recipes call for a base of pre-cooked alliums (such as leeks or onions and garlic) under the layered vegetables, I have also simply layered thin slices of onion right in with the eggplant, squash and tomatoes as a time saver with delicious results.  Another way to save time baking, is to simply slice the vegetables thinner, closer to 1/8 inch rather than ¼ inch.  Use small or medium size vegetables in the proportions listed in the recipe to fit your baking dish.  Arrange the slices in concentric circles (from outside to center) in a round dish, or in rows in a square or rectangular dish.  Drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil just before serving!

  • 1 or 2 onions
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 or 2 zucchini or other summer squash
  • 1 or 2 eggplants
  • 2 or 3 medium plum tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Dry white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of an oven-proof glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside. Butter the inside of the dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.2. Chop the onion and sweat until translucent in a little olive oil.  Or simply cut the onion into very thin rounds.

3. Peel and mince garlic and add to the sweated onions, or sprinkle into the buttered dish.

4. Remove the ends from the zucchini and eggplant and discard. Cut each crosswise into coins ¼ to 1/8-inch thick.

5. Remove the stem ends from the tomatoes and discard. Cut each crosswise into rounds ¼ to 1/8-inch thick.

6. If you cooked the onions and garlic, spread them across the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper; strip the leaves from one of the sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over the mixture.

7. Layer the zucchini, eggplant, tomato and onion if using this way, alternating each and overlapping slightly.

8. Drizzle with some olive oil and splash with a little wine. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper; strip the leaves from the remaining thyme and sprinkle over the casserole.

9. Butter the cut parchment and carefully place, buttered side down, on top of the vegetables. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are soft but not mushy.  Remove the parchment and continue to bake until the edges of the vegetables are nicely crisp and brown.

10. Serve warm or room temperature.

The Splendid Table’s website has a new section called ‘Eating Close to the Ground’, “a collection of recipes to inspire you to eat in a more wholesome and earth-attuned way”.  To give you an idea of the content, here’s a couple of recipes from that collection for some of our share veggies.

Kashmiri-Style Collard Greens
(Adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey)
Serves 4

Note: Young greens will cook faster than the sturdier ones harvested later in the fall.  For the more tender greens, like we have now, start with half the stock/water and add more if needed.  Serve with rice and dal or meat curry.

  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • big pinch ground asafetida*, optional
  • 2-3 dried hot red chilies (the short cayenne type)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • Salt

*a traditional Indian ingredient which gives a strong garlic/onion flavor; you can substitute garlic/onion powder, or add fresh sliced garlic to the recipe.

1.Wash the collard greens and then remove their stems and coarse central veins. Stack 6-7 leaves on top of each other and roll them up lengthways. Cut crossways to get 1/2 -inch ribbons. Now cut lengthways to get 1 -inch pieces.

2.Pour the oil into a large pot and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the asafetida and the chilies. As soon as the chilies darken, a matter of seconds, take the pan off the heat briefly to add the greens and the stock. Put the pan back on the heat and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to medium low, and cook 30-40 minutes or until greens are tender.

3.Remove cover and taste. Seasoned stock may require only 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add what is needed. Turn the heat to medium high and boil away most of the liquid. If you are eating the greens with rice, you may want to save some extra juice to moisten it adequately.

Pickles don’t have to be just cucumbers.  Here’s another recipe from the website, adapted from Quick Pickles: Easy Recipes for Bold Flavors, by John Willoughby, Chris Schlesinger, and Dan George.

Sweet and Hot Curried Zucchini Pickles

  • 1 pound zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into very thin rounds, about 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 small-medium red onion, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1-2 colorful chile peppers of your choice, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup seedless golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1″ piece ginger, peeled and sliced into coins

1. In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the zucchini, onions, chilies, and salt, and let them stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse twice to remove the salt, then add the raisins and set aside.2. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, bring all the remaining ingredients except the ginger to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the squash mixture; the squash should be amply covered or slightly afloat. Add the ginger to the squash mixture, allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.

3. These pickles develop great flavor within a couple hour of refrigeration and will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for 3 to 4 weeks.

Nothing speaks of summer like a slice of cool, peak-of-the-season watermelon, but once you’ve had your fill, here’s a version of the refreshing watermelon salad I’ve been seeing in restaurants recently.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
(adapted from Jacques Pépin at Food & Wine’s website, http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes)
Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small (3-4 pound) watermelon, cut into 1-inch chunks (4 cups), chilled
  • 1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon and toss gently. To serve, scatter the feta, olives and onion on top of the watermelon and garnish with the mint.What sources do you like to use for quick, easy, and/or seasonal cooking ideas?
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

August 22nd, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide edamame, eggplant, sweet corn, baby onions, jalapeños, tomatoes and melon.  For a Large Share, add green beans and double tomatoes and melon.  Peaches are in the Fruit Share.  Enjoy!

We are happy to bring you organic sweet corn from Full Circle Farms (aka Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch) in Longmont. Corn has different growing requirements than the vegetables we grow. It needs more water, higher nitrogen, and different equipment. We are not currently set up to grow sweet corn at our farm, but we often get requests for it from our CSA members. So we are happy to bring it to you from our friends at Full Circle. Keep in mind that the corn is organic, so you may find a worm or two in your ears. Conventionally grown corn has been sprayed with pesticides to kill the Corn Earworms. The worms are a trade-off for having organic corn.

Eggplant is a common vegetable, but it is not a hit with a lot of people. It can often be cooked so that it is mushy and not very flavorful. If you think you don’t like eggplant, try this recipe from Wyatt. Grilling the eggplant makes it a bit crispy and gives it more flavorful. Top it off with Parmesan and it is wonderful!

Grilled Eggplant with Parmesan

  • Heat grill on medium.
  • Slice Japanese eggplant into long, uniform slices using a mandolin or a very sharp knife.
  • Lightly spray or brush eggplant with olive oil. (Eggplant absorb olive oil rapidly, so don’t coat with too much oil. Use just enough so that the slices do not stick to the grill.)
  • Salt and pepper the eggplant slices on both sides
  • Put slices on grill immediately so the slices do not absorb too much oil.
  • Grill until lightly browned on each side.
  • Remove eggplant from grill and sprinkle immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Wonderful with fresh tomato slices and grilled sweet corn!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Edamame soybeans were a new crop for Red Wagon last year.  Looks like we have a bigger harvest this year.  In case you didn’t get a chance to try cooking them, here’s a refresher on the basics.

Edamame is a green vegetable as it’s harvested at the peak of ripening right before it reaches the “hardening” stage of bean growth. The word Edamame means “Beans on Branches,” and it grows in clusters on bushy branches. In East Asia, the soybean has been used for over two thousand years as a major source of protein. There, edamame is consumed as a snack, a vegetable dish, used in soups or processed into sweets. Of course the most familiar and fun way to eat them is right out of the pod.  Here’s how to prepare them for eating this way.

Boiled Salted Edamame

  • 1 pound edamame, in the pod (green soybeans)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Boil the edamame pods in well salted water until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain in a colander and pat dry. Toss the edamame pods with the 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and serve warm or room temperature.

Boiled Edamame Spiced Variation

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound edamame, in the pod

Heat the salt, chili powder and pepper flakes in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring until hot and aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and crumble in the oregano.Boil the edamame pods in well salted water until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain in a colander and pat dry. Toss the edamame pods with the salt and spice mixture and serve warm or room temperature.

Edamame Hummus

  • 1 quart water (mixed with 1 tablespoon salt)
  • 1 cup raw shelled edamame
  • 3 tablespoons red miso
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili oil, or to taste
  • Water, as needed to thinOptional Garnishes:
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • fresh chives, cut into 1-inch lengths, for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, bring the salted water to the boil over high heat; add the edamame and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.Drain, then place in the work bowl of a food processor; add the miso, garlic and lemon juice, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle the chili oil through the feed tube; add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth and the desired texture is achieved.

Serve as a dip with vegetables or chips.  Garnish with optional sesame seeds and chives.

Since we have corn in our shares this week, you might enjoy your edamame prepared this way!

Soybean Succotash
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels, cut off the cob
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 small yellow or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup shelled soybeans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint or basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion to skillet and sauté until tender and beginning to turn golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the diced bell peppers to skillet; sauté until tender, another 5 minutes.Add chicken broth or water to skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and check seasoning, salting lightly if needed.

Add the corn and edamame to skillet; stir and cook for 3 minutes.  Add butter to skillet; stirring until melted and remove from heat.  Stir in the minced herbs and adjust seasonings.

I lived in in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a couple of years, and have fond memories of the delicious and sometimes blow-your-head-off-spicy dishes with either charred/roasted green chiles, or the same chiles ripened to red, and then dried hanging as chile ristras.  In case all you had time to do last week was to throw your bag of roasted green chiles into the freezer, keep this easy recipe in mind to make a sauce that you can use as a base for a stew, chili or soup, with or without carne, or as a sauce for enchiladas, eggs, burgers, rice and beans, or casseroles (thin a bit if you need to).

Basic Green Sauce
Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 cups chopped green chile, roasted, peeled, seeded*
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

*If you want a spicier sauce, stem and seed a jalapeño, finely chop and add at the beginning of cooking with the onion.

Heat the oil and sauté the onion a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook until softened. Stir in the flour, cook 2 minutes, then slowly add the stock.  Add the chile, tomato and cumin.  Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add water or stock if sauce gets too thick. Adjust seasonings.

Enjoy a fun varied vegetable share this week!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

August 29th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide green-&-other-colors beans, tomatoes, roasted chiles OR edamame, a big bunch of basil, melon and eggplant (Italian or Japanese). For a Large share, add arugula, zucchini/summer squash and garlic. Peaches are in the Fruit Share. Enjoy!

A few words from Wyatt-

The farm is doing great as we enter the last week of August. The summer crops are quickly ripening. The onions have been mostly pulled and are drying. There is a ton of food in the field from parsnips to sunchokes to potatoes. We will dig these as needed. The plantings we have done for fall of greens, beets, carrots and turnips are looking pretty good. We need to continue to plant a little each week and we should have a great fall.

We often feel like we fall apart in August. In the last two weeks we lost several of our crew. We knew Connor (one of the managers) was leaving to return to school. Another worker who left was hired as late season help to make sure we had enough people to get everything done and she did not last two weeks. The other two were want-to-be farmers who had committed to the entire season. One decided to take a job now to get him through the winter and the other left to work on his own farm for next season. This last one plans to start a farm with less than 3 months of actual farm experience. We have enough people to get everything done but the mental pain of losing people that committed to the season is really stressful.

Some of our want-to-be farmers seem to get really frustrated with my solution to insect and plant disease problems. They will tell me about a problem expecting a miracle cure and get upset when I don’t do anything. We have never had the same insect or disease problem two years in a row or even twice ever. By the time we are aware that tomatoes are diseased there is nothing to be done. When we see insect damage on a crop we are usually close to the end of that planting and ready to move to the next planting. At this time of year the zucchini plants will dramatically slow down production and the plants start to not look so good. Some of our workers who have not experienced this start to tell me that they think the squash is diseased. They just don’t understand that each plant produced a good yield of fruit and that the plants don’t go on living and putting energy into growing anymore. The plants just want to ripen their seeds and die with the first frost.

Crop rotation is the best solution we have for controlling pests and disease. We do not plant plants of the same family in the same place two years in a row. We have learned to till in plantings of things like beans as soon as we can once the plants are finished producing. This way the insects don’t have a large food supply to live on and really increase their population. We try hard to not just grab whatever spray is recommended as a solution to insect problems. There are organic sprays that can be used but they are expensive to buy and to apply. I feel like we don’t lose much yield to insects most of the time, especially if the plants are healthy to begin with. We use row cover (a thin white sheet) to control insects by tightly covering the plants. The row cover allows water through and we remove it each time we harvest.

As the day length shortens the basil growth really starts to slow down and the plants usually die in the first frost of the season. We are picking bunches of basil for CSA this week to go with the tomatoes and because this is close to the end of the basil season. We hope you have time to make a batch of pesto to freeze for later!

Right now we continue to plant more greens and turnips, etc. to harvest in late October and November.

– Wyatt

In The Kitchen

Our CSA manager, Dana, mentioned to me that some folks had questions about preparing eggplant. Since they’re in this week’s share also, or if you’re still wondering what to do with last week’s, here are some tips on how to prepare them and some recipe ideas.

I think eggplants are a bit of a misunderstood vegetable. My husband is kinda leery of them, thinking I’m trying to put a vegetarian meat substitute over on him whenever we eat them. But they are an extremely versatile vegetable, from the Mediterranean to the Middle East to Asia, able to take on many flavor profiles. The Japanese eggplants cook up fast and easy. I slice them lengthwise up to the stem and then fan before seasoning and grilling. The larger Italian type can be prepared similarly. I think they have a stronger flavor and need more cooking time. You definitely want to cook eggplant well, to bring out their creamy texture. When you get them young and fresh from a local farm, salting sliced eggplant to remove bitterness isn’t needed, but it does help hasten the cooking process.

(salt, let sit 15-30 minutes or longer, then pat dry before cooking). I like to leave the skin on if it’s tender enough, but peel the large globe eggplant if you prefer.

Easy Grilled Eggplant
Serves 2-4

  • 1 large eggplant or 2-3 small ones
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano
  • salt and freshly grated black pepper

Preheat the grill at medium.  While the grill is heating, slice the eggplant about 1/2-inch thick. Salt, then dry as described above, if desired (if you do this, omit the salt in the marinade). In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil and vinegar mixture. Place eggplant slices on the hot grill and cook about 15 minutes total, turning once. Serve as a side, or try with…garlic-mint yogurt as an appetizer

goat cheese in a sandwich

pasta or pizza as a topping

Princess Eggplant from China
Serves 4-6 as a main/side

  • 2 pounds eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons oil for high heat cooking
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, spinach or other tender green, washed and roughly chopped (it’s ok to leave water on the leaves)
  • 1 bunch parsley or cilantro, chopped

For the sauce, mix together with a bit of water:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce

Cut the eggplants into 3/4-1″ bite-sized pieces. Cook them over high heat in the oil, after 2 minutes, add the garlic and stir often, until the eggplants are mostly cooked through. Add the chopped greens, mix in and cook until somewhat wilted. Add the sauce to hot eggplant mixture. Stir in the parsley or cilantro just after removing from the heat. Serve with rice.

Fragrant Eggplant Purée
Use the larger Italian globe eggplants for this preparation. The garlic slivers will flavor and season the flesh, while broiling or grilling will add smoky flavors. You could also bake or roast in a hot oven until very soft. Don’t trim off the stem before cooking; it makes a handy handle when removing the skin from the hot cooked eggplant. The purée can be

served as a salad course, accompanied by olives, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and sprinkled with feta. Or thin it slightly with more yogurt as a dip with various raw vegetable strips. Tastes even better the next day!

  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise, fennel or allspice
  • 2 tablespoons flavorful olive oil
  • 2 or 3 eggplants of similar size (total of 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt or a smaller quantity of thicker Greek-style yogurt
  • freshly ground lack pepper, chile powder or smoked paprika to taste

Preheat the broiler, grill or oven. Cut garlic into long slivers or slices. Combine in a small bowl with coriander, cumin, anise, and 1 teaspoon of oil; mix well. With knife tip, cut deep slits in eggplants. Holding slits open with knife, insert seasoned garlic. When garlic is used up, rub eggplants with any remaining spice mixture.Place eggplants in a baking pan as far from broiling element as possible, or in a 400-425°F oven or directly on a medium hot grill. Cook, turning as needed, until the skin wrinkles and darkens and the eggplants collapse – about 20-30 minutes, depending upon their size and type of cooking you use.

Remove from heat, cover, and let stand about 10 minutes. Holding stem of one still hot eggplant, gently remove skin with a small knife. Discard skin along with stems. Place flesh in a strainer to drain as you peel remaining eggplants.

Combine the eggplant flesh, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to barely mix. Add yogurt to taste, then add remaining oil while continuing to pulse. Do not purée until smooth – some texture is good. Scrape into a bowl. Add ground pepper/paprika and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate overnight if you have time.

Eggplant Non-Recipe
Chop eggplant (skin either on or off) and onions (and sweet bell peppers if you have them). Add some walnuts and currants. Sprinkle everything with salt and freshly ground pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Bake in a 350-400°F oven until the eggplant is cooked, remembering to toss once in a while and add a little more olive oil if needed to brown. If you are in a hurry, start it on the stove, in a pan that can go straight to the oven to finish. Enjoy on garlic-rubbed crostini’s (toasted bread), or as a pasta dish. it’s good hot or cold, and it makes a great sandwich for lunch the next day.

Enjoy your eggplants and the other vegetables in your share this week, and STILL try to stay cool!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

September 5th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Arugula, Cucumber OR Zucchini, Green Beans OR Cherry Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Bell Pepper, and Onions.  For a Large share, add Chard, Beets and Melon.  Fruit share will have peaches.  Enjoy!

Hey CSA, it’s Eva (Harvest Manager) here with a little update from the field.

We’re about to enter a fairly intense but fairly enjoyable part of the season. The days are cooling off a bit so that we’ll see pleasant 70 and 80 degree temperatures instead of the 90 and 100 degree days we’ve been dealing with. This is the time when so much of our work throughout the early and mid-season pays off. There are a few magical weeks in September when we harvest almost every crop we grow all at the same time. The warm season crops are still producing: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil, and the occasional late melon.  We’re also harvesting plants that enjoy cooler weather—namely, baby greens—without fear that they’ll be too bitter or pungent. We’re still planting and weeding a few late-season crops but mostly it’s just harvest, harvest, harvest all the time: for market, for restaurants, for our farm stand, and for you, our fabulous CSA.

I heard on the news last week that this region experienced the hottest August on record.  I hadn’t really thought about it but I’m not surprised. I usually budget my two pairs of work shorts for the hottest days of the week, saving my heavier Carhartts for the cooler days, but lately I’ve been running a wash load in the middle of the week so I can get double use out of the shorts. More to the point, even some of our toughest, most steady workers have been dragging a little from the heat and the physical nature of the labor they do every day. We usually have a little less work in July but our crops were producing so well this year that we’ve been racing trying to keep up with the harvest—so we didn’t get any kind of break in the middle of the summer. People who’ve worked together all day every day are starting to get on each other’s nerves.  A lot of our work is communal; there are no cubicles to retreat to on the farm!

All in all, though, we’re having a fabulous year and producing more food than ever before. We’re lucky enough to have some people join us who’ve been part of the Red Wagon team in previous years (welcome back Adley and Kirsten, as well as Doug who volunteered with us one day last year). The people who continue to work on the farm are becoming more efficient and more effective, as they do every year at this point. I’ve starting taking over some of Connor’s (the other manager) job—making sure things get weeded and thinned—while our amazing tractor driver Javier has easily handled the irrigation that Connor used to run. We’re all doing our best to continue to bring you great food at this really exciting time of year! Keep eating, and we’ll keep it coming!

– Eva

In The Kitchen

Wow!  A Big change in the weather over the Labor Day weekend, down to mid-40°F’s at night and much cooler days.  Feels like Fall, and a lot more compatible with indoor cooking, so I did a little roasting (beets), stovetop cooking (mussels in a fragrant herb-tomato broth, a vegetarian curry and fish quickly cooked in an aromatic broth of summer vegetables), some preserving and pickling too.  It’s time to spend a little more time In The Kitchen, enjoying the smells and flavors of late summer vegetables transformed into delicious and nutritious suppers.

I made all of the above dishes without a specific recipe, and I think you can too.  Actually, I read cook books and cooking magazines for inspiration, and look up recipes online for ideas.  But when it comes down to making dinner, I’ll let what’s fresh and seasonal (or what really needs to be used up in the refrigerator) guide my ingredient choices.  Then those ingredients, the weather and my whims determine cooking platform (grill, oven, stove) and method (high or low heat, moist or dry).  It might take an hour or more to make a few dishes from scratch, but we always have leftovers for a second meal or a “makeover” meal (like soup turned into a pasta sauce).  Of course, that’s not the weekday reality for most families, but if you like cooking, try that approach on a weekend or when you have more time.  And it’s nice (but not absolutely needed) to keep some versatile ingredients on hand for some extra flavor and flourish–cheeses, nuts, dried fruit, olives/capers, fats/oil, vinegars/citrus, herbs/spices, etc.  You can also easily substitute or omit, when you know what that item brings to the party (sweet, salty, sour, crunchy, chewy, soft, etc, etc).

Here’s what I’d consider doing with this week’s share…

  • Arugula – salad with the cucumber and cherry tomatoes; tossed into hot pasta with tomatoes, garlic and feta cheese (or just Parmesan)
  • Cucumber – above or Greek salad (combine with tomato, bell pepper, red onion, olives, feta, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil); or just cut up and salted
  • Zucchini – lightly stewed with corn and chiles (Calabacitas), or with tomatoes and eggplant (Ratatouille); start by cooking onions and garlic for both dishes
  • Green beans – simply cooked with butter or olive oil and garlic as a side; frozen or pickled for later
  • Cherry tomatoes – add to any salad or pasta dish; toss with olive oil, S&P and roast if you’re already using the oven; snacks!
  • Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Onion – the start of a Creole-style stew, add chicken, sausage or shrimp, serve over rice
  • Chard – ditto as green beans above (except for pickling)
  • Beets – roast, then serve warm as a side, or  room temperature drizzled with oil and vinegar, garnished with cheese and nuts as a salad (on top of the arugula); cook the greens as you would chard if they’re nice
  • Melon – I had it at Pizzeria da Lupo, thinly sliced and drizzled with an aromatic extra virgin olive oil and lightly salted – it was delicious!

Here’s a couple of recipes to get you started…

Serves 4

  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups cubed zucchini and/or yellow squash (total between them)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 mild green chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (1 small can works too!)
  • 2 cups corn kernels (from 2-4 ears, depending on size)
  • a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat; add the onion and “sweat” until soft, 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and dried oregano, then the zucchini &/or squash and bell pepper and cook another 10 minutes until the squash begins to soften. Stir in the chiles and corn kernels, cover and simmer until the corn is just heated through, another 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the cilantro.  To serve, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the cheese.Here’s the classic method of making ratatouille.  It takes longer, but you can taste each of the different vegetable’s flavor and texture.  To save time, see the last part of the directions.

Ratatouille (layered cooking method)
Serves 6

  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large eggplant, or 1 – 1 1/2 pounds small
  • 2-3 sweet red peppers, seeded & chopped
  • 3 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons assorted fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, basil, marjoram and oregano), chopped

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté  pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring until translucent but not brown, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook briefly, stirring so you don’t let the garlic brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove to mixing bowl.If using slender Asian eggplant, cut into quarters lengthwise and then into 1-inch sections, without peeling. If using round Italian eggplant, trim top and bottom, peel and cut into 1-inch dice.  Using the same pan, heat another tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and add eggplant. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until eggplant begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until eggplant is rather soft, about another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine with onion in mixing bowl.

Continuing to use the same pan for all of the vegetables, heat another tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and add peppers. Cook, stirring, until the peppers become tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to the bowl.

Heat another tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and add zucchini, stirring constantly until zucchini just begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender-crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to the bowl.

Finally cook the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar briefly, scraping the bottom of pan to get up any brown bits.  Add tomatoes and juices to vegetables in the bowl and stir to combine.

Empty contents of mixing bowl into a pot or larger pan and cook over medium-low heat to reheat and ensure the vegetables are all cooked. Onion, eggplant and peppers should be very soft, and zucchini should still have a little bite. During last 5 minutes, add  chopped herbs and stir well. Taste again. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature.  To save time, you can also cook the vegetables together.  Simply start with the onions and then add the next vegetable when the previously one has slightly softened.  Be sure to season as you add each one.

Enjoy some cooking in the kitchen this week!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

September 12th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Lettuce OR Arugula, Beets, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, Spaghetti Squash, Yellow Onions (storage-type instead of the fresh ones we’ve been getting). Large share will also get braising mix, carrots, and potatoes. The fruit share will have peaches and apples.

We had a great tour of the farm on Sunday.  Thanks to all who attended.  This week begins the first of the winter squash for the CSA season. We are starting with the Spaghetti squash.  Winter squash grow like summer squash and zucchini but we let them ripen all the way and the outer shells get fairly hard and the inside of the squash is also very firm.  Winter squash range from stringy to very solid with no strings.  Spaghetti squash is the stringiest winter squash of them all.  Stringiness is desirable in this case and makes a great substitute for pasta.

I am hoping that everyone will have a chance to try the spaghetti squash covered in a fresh tomato sauce from the tomatoes, onions and peppers you get this week.

To prepare the spaghetti squash cut it in half length wise and scrape out the seeds.  Place the squash face down on a cookie tray or baking pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  When the squash pierces easily with a fork it should be done. Scrape the flesh out with a fork and it will resemble spaghetti noodles.

To make a fresh sauce sauté some diced onion in olive oil.  Add chopped tomatoes to the pan with the onion.  Garlic and bell or sweet peppers can be added as well as a little salt and balsamic vinegar.  A pinch of chili flakes is good, too. The idea is to just cook the sauce until it is hot enough to serve and not to try and reduce the sauce down to a traditional pasta sauce.  As soon as the sauce is hot put it over the scraped out spaghetti squash.  Add parmesan and have a great dinner that mixes the end of the summer tomatoes with the beginning of the winter squash.

If you don’t get to eat your winter squash right away don’t worry.  My current record for a spaghetti squash was a year and five days before I ate it.  If winter squash is not nicked or otherwise damaged they can store for many months and not lose quality.  The winter squash dry slightly as they cure and continue to dry a little bit for a long time.  Most winter squash can be cooked the same as above but should have water added to the pan to help rehydrate them as they cook.  The spaghetti squash you get will be picked this week and is moist enough to not need extra water. FYI I am trying to break my record with a huge butternut squash that is on my desk that is almost a year old.  It needs to make it a few more weeks and I need to remember to cook it.

– Wyatt

In The Kitchen

We’re in that magical late summer period when we can get a fantastic variety of produce.  Cooler temperatures allow for another round of lettuces and other greens, and as long as it doesn’t freeze, we’ll get plenty of tomatoes (2 pounds this week).  Soon there’ll be brassica’s again (broccoli, cauliflower, and others).  Our Fall vegetable this week is spaghetti squash, with more winter squash varieties coming soon!

Here’s some reminders on storing on all these different types of vegetables properly.

  • Give tender greens, like lettuce and arugula, a gentle rinse or soak, then spin them dry (not too rough or packed too tightly in the spinner!) and place them into a clean plastic bag with a paper towel or two to wick away excess moisture.
  • Trim the greens from the beets; if the stems are really long, you can remove those so the leaves fit into a plastic bag.  Remember beet greens taste a lot like chard, and can be cooked the same way.  Make sure nothing’s too wet if stored in plastic, as that can encourage mold and rotting.
  • Peppers can go right into the vegetable crisper for up to a week; vegetables tend to keep better if you don’t wash them until you use them.
  • Leave your tomatoes out at room temperature, usually up to a week unless they are very ripe.  Tomatoes lose their just picked flavor and texture when stored in the refrigerator.  If you have more than you can use before they get too ripe, rinse and remove the stem, dry and place in a ziplock bag and freeze for cooking later.  They will slip right out of their skins when they thaw!
  • You can keep your winter squash out at a cool room temperature for quite a while.  If I have a lot, I put them down in the basement, where it’s cooler.  Be sure to store them so they have good air circulation, and make sure you don’t have mice enjoying a snack when you’re not looking!
  • The yellow onions this week have been “cured”.  That means they’ve been allowed to dry slowly under controlled conditions.  You should be able to keep them for weeks under cool, dry and dark conditions without sprouting.  Try to avoid removing the dried “skin” layers that protect the onion during storage, but do remove any dry or thin layers before cooking as they never get tender.

Here’s some more detailed information I provided last year for those of you unfamiliar with winter squash.  I hope you will learn to love them (or at least like them a lot!)

Winter squash can store pretty well for a few months in a cool, dry location, like in a basement.  Some varieties typically store longer than others, but it mostly depends on their condition (free of bruises or nicks, stem still intact, larger sized ones tend to keep longer for me).  Be sure they have air circulation all around to slow the growth of mold (don’t crowd into a plastic bin or lay directly on the floor).

Preparing winter squash is a matter of dealing with their hard shells and seed cavities.  I’ll explain different methods when we get different varieties, but here’s how to cook your spaghetti squash (the only part that’s really different from other winter squash is getting the stringy flesh out).  I found this step-by-step pictorial online, so if spaghetti squash is completely new to you check it out.

In general, bake winter squashes either whole or cut in half in an oven set around 350°.  Be very careful when cutting winter squashes due to their hard shell-like skin.  You can usually knock the stem off with the back of your knife, or just cut to one side of it.  Keep the squash steady as it wants to roll around under the knife, and keep your fingers out of the way!  I like to scoop the seeds out first, but be careful not to remove the flesh that you want to eat.  Place the squash on a sheet pan to catch any juices that might leak out during cooking even if whole.  Place halves cut sides down to avoid drying out and browning of the edges; add a little water to the pan if you like.  If you want those yummy caramelized edges, then place cut sides up (sliced garlic seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed in olive oil in the scooped out hollow makes a nice addition).  Bake until a knife goes easily through the flesh, probably 45 minutes to over an hour depending on the size of the squash and your oven temperature.  Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, cut in half (if you baked it whole) and carefully scoop out the seeds avoiding the flesh.  You can separate the strings of a spaghetti squash with a fork before scraping them out of the skin into a bowl.  If you have more squash than you can eat in one meal (which happens pretty often) and want to freeze some, let it cool completely before placing into a plastic bag or container. Here are some simple dishes to get you started with your spaghetti squash.

Herbed Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4 as a side

  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 1/4 pounds
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed soft herbs, such as basil, chives, chervil, parsley and sage
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare spaghetti squash as above.Heat a skillet. Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Spaghetti Squash Bake
Serves 4-6

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground meat of your choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid (or use fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, your choice

Prepare spaghetti squash as above.  While it’s baking, cook the ground meat, onion, red and green pepper, garlic, salt and pepper until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain off any excess fat; add tomatoes, oregano and the cooked squash “noodles” and check for seasoning (remember you’re going to add some cheese later). Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes or until liquid is reduced. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake uncovered at 350° for 20-30 minutes until juices bubble. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese on top and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.

Southwest Skillet Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 4 chipotle chicken sausages or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
  • Dried flaked red chiles to taste
  • Fresh sage, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Hard grating cheese (parmesan, pecorino, Manchego, dry Jack, etc.)

Prepare spaghetti squash as above.  While it’s baking, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausage and onion with a little salt and pepper.  When the onion is translucent and the sausage is cooked through, add the butter if needed and dried flaked chilies and stir until butter melts. Add fresh chopped sage, the cooked and scraped out spaghetti squash, and adjust the seasonings. Heat through. Serve with the grated cheese passed at the table.I would love to hear how you like to prepare spaghetti squash!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

September 19th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide choice of lettuce OR arugula, choice of carrots OR red beets, choice of green chiles OR potatoes, tomatoes, sunshine squash and garlic. Large share will also get kale, turnips, and sweet red peppers. The fruit share will get peaches and apples.

Last week we started harvesting pumpkins and winter squash at our farm on 63rd St. Once again, the fields here were prolific and we will have tons (literally!) of pumpkins and winter squash. But this is also the time of year when the crops start dying. The pumpkin plants have stated to crumple, revealing the orange treasures that have been hidden beneath the leaves all summer. The dying crops always make me look ahead to the end of the season. While we are all looking forward to a break from the frantic pace of the summer, there is also a lot of anxiety at the farm. Wyatt and I have plenty of paperwork to keep the two of us busy over the winter, but when the plants die and all the produce is gone, there is no more work for the people who work in the fields, at the markets, and at the CSA pickups. As you can imagine, it is not easy for most people to find a job for 4 or 5 months in the off-season. I have been able to help some of the farm workers find jobs with snow removal, and a few others have been lucky enough to find jobs in restaurants, but a lot of the people at the farm have to hope that they put aside enough money to live on until the farm reawakens in the spring. But for now we are all living in the moment, trying to keep up with the most abundant time of the year!

Speaking of abundance, I hope that some of you have had a chance to “put up” some vegetables from the harvest this year. Two weekends ago I canned about 60 lbs of tomatoes. (I do not recommend doing this! It was way too much work for one person!) We also have our winter stash of pesto in the freezer. Now I need to make sure I freeze enough spinach, chard, and kale to get us through the winter!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Fall officially arrives this week with the autumnal equinox occurring on this Friday the 23rd.  You can feel the difference in the light and air, and the pleasant chill at night.  A frost can happen anytime now, so do enjoy the later summer vegetables, freezing any extras for later this winter.  While tomatoes can go straight into the freezer (simply wash and core first), most other vegetables will need a quick blanch in boiling water, cool in a cold water bath, and drain/dry before freezing airtight.  If you can, try storing the potatoes in a paper bag in a cool, dry, dark location (like the basement), rather than your refrigerator.  Use them up before they start to soften and the eyes start to sprout.

I found a great online reference to some of the more common types of winter squash, choosing, storing and preparing them with a few recipes (some are pretty vague, but I think you can figure out how to make the ideas work for you).  FRONT RANGE LIVING is the personal newsletter of local Niki Hayden, well known gardener and former newspaper writer.  She shares hers and others’ thoughts and pictures on gardening, “escapes” (local travels), cooking and other topics.  Here’s a winter squash article.

CSA member Debra Biasca responded to last week’s question about how do you like to prepare spaghetti squash.  She wrote:

“I have read about (and tried) microwaving winter squashes. I think the hardest part about cooking them is cutting them. The older I get, the harder it is (but I won’t go into that!). [You can try microwaving] an acorn squash for 5 minutes, then cutting it, then baking it (or even microwaving it the rest of the way).  I guess I sacrifice some of the taste you get from real roasting if you only microwave, but microwaving just enough to make it easy to cut through the squash is really helpful.”

Great suggestion, Debra!  My mom’s favorite winter squash is the Japanese pumpkin or Kabocha.  She has some arthritis in her hands, and has found it a lot easier to deal with preparing hard winter squashes by rinsing them off, then placing them whole in the microwave and zapping them until they are easier to cut with a knife.  For safety reasons, be sure to pierce the skin and flesh through to the cavity with a sharp paring knife in several places.  Otherwise the pressure buildup from steam inside the squash can lead to an explosion of hot squash inside, or even outside of your microwave when you open the door and touch it!  I speak from the experience of having a house guest think she could hard boil an egg in the microwave; luckily no one was in the path of flying egg particles!

This time of year makes me start to think of cooking soups again.  Soups are easy to make in quantity, so you can have some now, and some later, and they usually freeze well.  They’re warming, easy to digest and a great way to use up bits and pieces of last week’s vegetable share if you need to.  I like to look online for ideas for a particular type of soup, but then follow my basic soup-making method rather than a specific recipe.  This way I’m able to use whatever I have on hand or need to use up.  It’s almost always delicious, and we never eat the same soup twice!

Last week, here’s what I did starting from some leftover Indian takeout dishes, and a couple of pounds of tomatoes that had lingered on the kitchen counter for several days.  Indian restaurants usually have an aromatic puréed tomato soup on their menu’s, so I ‘googled’ “Indian tomato soup” just to get an idea of spices to use that I already had on hand.  I also had a lot of fresh ginger that needed to be used, so I was already planning on that.  If you don’t have an extensive spice collection, you could use a curry powder, which is a blend of various Indian spices.  You could also change this soup to an Italian, Mexican, French, etc. version, just by changing some of the ingredients.  Most of the regional or ethnic quality of dishes comes from the fat and aromatics that are used.  So an Italian or Spanish version would use olive oil for the fat with onions and garlic for the aromatic vegetable base.  Then to steer it towards Italian, some fennel seed, perhaps dried oregano, finished with a garnish of fresh basil.  To steer the soup towards Spanish, I’d probably use the dried oregano and Spanish smoked paprika, then finish with some crumbled Spanish or Mexican cheese, or even add some type of chorizo to the dish if I wanted some meat.  You get the idea!

An Indian-Style Fresh Tomato Soup

  • tomatoes, rinsed and cored
  • ghee, clarified butter, or butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • garlic, minced (optional)
  • fresh ginger root, peeled, minced
  • curry powder and/or the following spices
  • cumin seeds
  • coriander seeds
  • mustard seeds
  • fennel seeds
  • seeds from a few cardamom pods
  • ginger powder, optional
  • chile powder, optional
  • salt to taste
  • can of coconut milk or cream, optional
  • garnishes–limes, plain yogurt, cilantro

Place the tomatoes into a pot over medium heat and cover.  Occasionally give them a stir and break up with a wooden spoon, continuing to cook until the tomatoes break down and the flesh separates from the skin.  Continue to cook, covered while you start the aromatic base next.In another larger pot, heat the ghee or butter, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until softened.  Add the minced garlic and ginger root and the curry powder plus the other spices that have already been ground.  Cook briefly to soften the garlic and ginger, and toast the spices.

Next combine the tomatoes which are the body of the soup with the aromatics.  You can purée the tomatoes in their pot with a stick blender or CAREFULLY in a stand blender (be sure that you allow the hot steam to escape through the cover), either leaving the skins in or removing them first.  Some of the skins will probably catch on the blades and need to be discarded anyways.  I have a food mill which I place on top of the larger pot of aromatics, and pour the tomatoes through.  When I turn the handle of the food mill, the tomato juices and flesh are pressed though the strainer-like holes, leaving the skins and all but the smallest seeds behind.  Simmer to blend the flavors and reduce to the desired consistency.  Taste during cooking to adjust the salt and sweetness, but don’t do your final adjustments until the soup is reduced to its serving consistency (if you keep reducing it can get too salty).  For a richer soup, add some coconut milk or cream, adjusting the seasonings if needed.  Serve with lime wedges, plain yogurt and cilantro leaves as possible garnishes.

There are no amounts in this “recipe”, so everything is added to taste in order to use up the ripe tomatoes.

I hope you are feeling confident and adventurous enough to try making a soup this way.  Use a recipe(s) as a guide, but feel free to substitute and improvise according to your family’s tastes and what you have in the refrigerator and pantry.  Let me know what you come up with!  Enjoy cooking the harvest!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

September 26th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide spinach, carrots, leeks, bell peppers, acorn squash and broccoli raab. The large share will also get broccoli, tomatoes, and an extra acorn squash. The fruit share will have apples and pears.

It is Fall and we are busy getting our pumpkin patch open at our farm on 63rd Street. Last week Jonathan and Doug pulled 13,000 pounds of pumpkins out of the field in one day — by hand! We love fall with all the delicious squash, bright colors, and unusual pumpkins. But it also means tired arms and a sore back for everybody helping with the harvest!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

This week, you’ll find a third type of winter squash in your share (are they starting to pile up yet?)  Luckily, they really do store quite well in a cool, dark, dry location (best if they have some air circulation), until you get around to using them.  Mo, one of our farm managers, did a little write-up on winter squash which I want to share with you here…

All winter squash benefit from some curing except for acorn, sweet dumpling, and delicata. That means you can get several different types of squash, and they will not only keep, but some actually get better. The acorn, sweet dumpling, and delicata will keep for months, but don’t get any sweeter with curing. Curing simply means keeping the squash at room temperature (70°F) for 10 to 20 days. You can assume that your Red Wagon squash has had several days of curing in the field or in storage, but you can also keep it at room temperature for a week or so.  After that store the squash in a cool area of the house or a garage location that doesn’t get too cold during the winter (45°F-55°F). Absolutely do not store your winter squash in the refrigerator!  Even though it’s cold, the fridge will cause them to mold and spoil much quicker.  Large hard rind winter squash will store 6 month (longer if you ask Wyatt, but who wants it that long?).  The smaller hard rind squash will keep more like 3 months.  Be sure that you only try to keep unblemished squash for longer storage; that is, free of nicks or bruises and with stem intact.  Here are some “best uses” of the different types of winter squash.

Acorn squash are hard to peel because of their ridges, so leave them unpeeled and stuff the large seed cavity before baking or roasting. The flesh is usually creamy, smooth and nutty. The different colors don’t really taste different.

Delicata are great because of their size, enough for one or two people. They are easy to cut in half and bake more quickly, so are a good “starter squash” for people intimidated by cutting large, hard squash. You can leave them unpeeled and eat the skin, and save the seeds for roasting. Just rinse the seeds and pat dry, drizzle and toss with some oil and salt, and scatter on the baking sheet alongside the squash. You’ll have soft sweet flesh to eat with crunchy salty seeds!

Spaghetti squash keeps forever, is low in calories and a gluten free substitute for pasta!

Butternut?  What’s not to love? Smooth, attractive, easy to peel and chop, with a small seed cavity at the bottom so there’s little waste. Butternut are good candidates for recipes calling for squash that is peeled and cubed before cooking.  Toss cubes with a little salt, pepper and herbs and then roast until tender with caramelized edges, either by themselves or along with some other vegetables.  “Sweat” (cook covered over low-medium heat with a little oil/butter) in a pot along with some onions, garlic and apple for the base of a puréed squash soup, finished with cream or apple cider. Butternut is sweet, moist, and sort of nutty!

ButterCUP and kabocha-type squash-we have sunshine, bonbon, Uncle David’s and maybe a few others. This is the one I call Japanese pumpkin. They all look pretty similar-green (except for sunshine which is orange), round or slightly flattened, warty, with a heavy feel since they have dense flesh. These are very sweet squash with dry dense flesh, kinda like a potato. They often taste like a sweet potato. They are great to use for fillings like custards (savory or sweet), pies, ravioli fillings or just mashed like you would a potato with butter, milk/cream and herbs, or like a sweet potato with butter and brown sugar or honey .

Sweet dumplings taste much like acorn,  creamy and nutty, and are great for individual servings, halved and baked with a dab of butter and seasoned, stuffed (they also have a large seed cavity) or baked but kept firm enough to use like a soup bowl!

The two pie pumpkins we have are winter luxury and New England pie pumpkin. Winter luxury is netted and the NE pie looks like a regular pumpkin, but smaller. Both of the pie pumpkins have very true pumpkin flavor. They are both dry enough to make pies that don’t weep (you might weep because they are so delicious!) but they still have a creamy, sexy texture (uh-oh, we have to rate this newsletter “R” now, Mo). Last year, the Daily Camera and the Boulder Culinary gardeners agreed that winter luxury is their favorite pie pumpkin!

Pink banana has a beautiful golden flesh, nice mild squash flavor and freezes beautifully after cooking. They grow so large that you’ll only have to buy and cook one squash this year!

The blue hubbard-type squash we grew are Queensland blue, baby blue, sibley and of course, blue hubbard itself. They all have very hard rinds (so are excellent keepers) with flavorful sweet moist flesh that is usually bright orange. Worth the effort of cutting into them!

Thanks for an excellent reference to the various squash and their uses, Mo!

Here are a couple of recipes to stuff your acorn squash, a classic one with ground pork (or use sausage and reduce the salt), and a vegetarian one using quinoa.  You’ll notice that the first recipe calls for 4 small acorn squash, but the ones I’ve gotten from the farm are never smaller than what I would call medium.  So just use half of a squash in place of a whole small one.  Of course, you can use other squash as well.  Those miniature pumpkins would be a charming container for a holiday meal!

Alton Brown’s Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4

  • 4 small acorn squash, 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, completely thawed, drained and chopped or other leftover cooked greens, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Generous pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.Cut 1-inch off the top of each acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. If necessary in order for the squash to sit upright, cut off a small portion of the bottom. Put 1 of the 4 pieces of butter in the cavity of each squash. Set squash on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, brown the ground pork until no longer pink. Remove the meat from the pan, add the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Return the cooked ground pork to the pan along with the cooked rice, spinach/greens, walnuts, oregano and salt and pepper, to taste. Stirring constantly, heat mixture thoroughly, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Divide the mixture evenly among the squash, top each squash with its lid and bake for 1 hour or until the squash is tender. Serve immediately.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves 2, with leftover quinoa.

  • 1 medium to large acorn squash
  • 1 cup quinoa,  mixed 1/2 cup red and 1/2 cup white if desired
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter divided, for squash
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • large handful of fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh feta

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle salt, pepper, cayenne pepper over squash. Place butter in each squash. Roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender, set aside. Toast walnuts, set aside. Cook quinoa as you would pasta, in plenty of salted boiling water, just until tender, not mushy.  Drain well through a fine strainer.  In a skillet, sauté mushrooms and onions in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Cook until mushrooms and onions are tender and slightly brown, about 15 minutes, season them with salt and pepper. Add garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest. Cook on low for 2-3 minutes. Add cooked quinoa to the vegetable mixture. Stir in fresh parsley and feta cheese. Place quinoa mixture inside cooked acorn squash. Top with toasted nuts.  Reheat briefly in the oven if needed before serving.Enjoy your winter squash this week!  Be sure to check out all the different types at the farm stand or the farmers’ market.
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

October 3rd, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Spinach, Shallots, Sunchokes, Choice of Beets, Carrots, Parsnips, OR Broccoli, Butternut Squash and Sage.  Large share will receive three out of the four “choice of vegetables” (beets/carrots/parsnips/broccoli) plus double spinach.

It is hard to believe the season is winding down already! We just have 3 weeks left in our CSA season! The summer crops like tomatoes and eggplant are coming to a close, but we still have an amazing abundance of food in our fields. It is time for all the fall crops like winter squash and root vegetables. Plus we are seeing a welcome return of all the greens we had in the spring. Enjoy the abundance of this time of year!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

It’s always good to hear from our CSA members.  Last week, Valerie Hess sent us her favorite broccoli rabe recipe.  She wrote,

“This is our first year doing a CSA and we are loving it. I am committed to experimenting with everything we get. I thought I would share this recipe using Broccoli Rabe that I cut out of Sunset magazine. It is fabulous!”  Thanks, Valerie!  Sometimes the new and unusual vegetables can intimidate our new members, but you’ve jumped right in!  Since we don’t have broccoli rabe in this week’s share, consider using spinach or broccoli, or any type of greens that you like to cook.  You can also substitute any type of short pasta for the orecchiette, and omit the sausage or use mushrooms for a vegetarian version of this dish.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Serves 4

  • 8 oz. orecchiette pasta (the “little ears” shape)
  • 8 oz. Italian-style sausage (if buying it in casings, remove those)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, chopped
  • About 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as package directs. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown sausage in oil, stirring to break it up, about 5 minutes. Add shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in vinegar and scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Add broccoli rabe pieces, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and cook, covered, until bright green and tender-crisp, about 2 minutes.Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot along with sausage mixture. Add a little reserved water if pasta seems dry. Season with salt to taste and serve with Parmesan.

All About Sunchokes… Before you start cooking, here’s some information we published last year on Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, since they’re an unusual vegetable that many people haven’t prepared at home.

The Jerusalem artichoke is actually not part of the artichoke family but is a member of the sunflower family. A native of North America, it grew in the wild along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Nova Scotia. The explorer Samuel de Champlain first encountered them growing in an American Indian vegetable garden in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1605. In his opinion they tasted like artichokes, a name that he carried back to France. The American Indians called them sun roots and introduced these perennial tubers to the pilgrims who adopted them as a staple food. Later sunchokes arrived in Italy sometime before 1633. The Italian word for sunflower, “girasole” which means “turning to the sun,” was somehow corrupted into the word “Jerusalem.” This corruption combined with Champlain’s likening the taste of the vegetable to an artichoke brings our sunchoke history lesson to a close.

To prepare sunchokes rinse and scrub clean if needed. To preserve their nutritional value, don’t peel them, although the skin may darken after cooking due to its high iron content. If you decide to peel, chop or slice them, immerse the pieces in water with lemon juice or vinegar to prevent browning from oxidation.  Sunchokes take to a variety of cooking methods; here are some ideas:

To use raw:  Slice sunchokes and add to your salads or as crudite served with a dip.  Shred and add to a slaw.  Slice or dice and marinate in a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To sauté or fry: Slice or dice and sauté along with other fresh vegetables in a little extra virgin olive oil. They will become softened in about 4 to 6 minutes. For a tender crisp texture, stir fry about 2 to 4 minutes.

To roast or bake: Cook sunchokes whole or sliced. Toss them in a bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then place on a baking sheet. Place into a preheated 350°F oven and bake 30 to 45 minutes for whole, and 20 to 30 minutes for sliced, turning them part way through.  Lower or higher oven temperatures are fine; just adjust your cooking times and keep an eye on them at higher temperatures to avoid burning.

To steam or boil: Coarsely chop and place into a steamer basket. Cover and bring an inch of water to a boil over high heat. Continue at high heat and steam for 5 to 8 minutes. Test for softness and season to taste. Sunchokes can be boiled whole or cut as desired. Add sunchokes to a pot of cold salted water, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes for whole, and 5 to 8 minutes for cut up. Season to taste.  Sunchokes can be mashed like potatoes after steaming or boiling.

Here are a couple of simple recipe ideas…

Sautéed Sunchokes with Sunflower Seeds
(adapted from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison)
Serves 4

  • 1 pound sunchokes, sliced into ¼” rounds
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (or a combination of oil and butter)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Sauté the sunchokes in the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until lightly browned and tender but still a bit crisp. Taste them as they cook; they can be done in 5 minutes or take as long as 10. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the sunflower seeds, parsley, and thyme, toss well and serve.

Sunchoke Gratin
(adapted from Marcela Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”)
Serves 4

  • 1 pound sunchokes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter an oven-to-table baking dish.Peel the sunchokes and drop them in salted, boiling water. Cook them until they feel tender, but not mushy when pierced with a paring knife. About ten minutes after the water returns to a boil, you’ll want to check them frequently because they tend to go from very firm to very soft in a short time. Drain when done, and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2-inch slices.

Place the sunchoke slices into the buttered baking dish, arranging them so they overlap slightly, roof tile fashion. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the grated Parmesan, dot with butter and place the dish on the uppermost rack of the preheated oven. Bake until a light golden crust begins to form on top. Allow to settle for a few minutes out of the oven before serving.

Butternut Squash
There are a million zillion recipes for winter squash, especially butternut squash, soup out there, but I think they boil down (hah!) to two basic approaches.  You can cook everything in one pot (make it a large one), by adding the ingredients one at a time, cooking them as you go and layering their flavors.  Or you can roast the squash in the oven, creating some caramel-like flavors, ahead of time or the night before.  I tend to use the second approach, mainly because it avoids wrestling (ie. peeling and chopping) the raw whole squash.  I simply scoop the cooked squash out of its skin and into the pot of cooked aromatic vegetables and spices, add water or stock and bring to a simmer.  Cook until everything is tender, purée with a hand or stick blender if desired, adjust the seasonings, and you have a delicious warming soup.  You can garnish with some fresh herbs, yogurt/sour cream/crème fraiche for some extra flair.  Here’s a basic recipe to get you started.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4-6

  • a 3 to 4 pound butternut squash
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh sage leaves, optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2-4 cups chicken/vegetable stock or water

Preheat the oven to 350°-400°F.  Cut the squash in half (cut on either side of the stem) and scoop out the seeds.  Oil, salt and pepper the inside and cut edges of the squash.  If desired, place some fresh sage leaves inside the cavity and then place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast until tender, 30 minutes to an hour; check the thickest parts of the squash neck by pressing with your finger (careful!) or by inserting a paring knife.  Let cool slightly and then scoop the flesh out of the skin and set aside.At the same time you’re roasting the squash, place the onions, and apples on another sheet pan and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tender.  (You can also do this step on the stove by sweating the onions and apples in a large pot over medium heat, cooking about 15-20 minutes.)

Melt some butter in a large pot, add the curry powder and cook until you can smell the fragrance of the spices.  Add the cooked onions, apples and squash, along with enough stock or water to make a thick soup.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes to meld the flavors and ensure that all the vegetables are tender. Purée in the pot with a hand blender, or very carefully in small amounts in a stand blender.  Reheat in the pot and taste for seasonings, to be sure there’s enough salt and pepper to bring out the curry flavor.

Enjoy your winter squash and send me your favorite sweet or savory squash recipes to share!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

October 10th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This week we plan to provide Lettuce OR Spinach, Kale OR Chard OR Collards, Carrots OR Parsnips, Watermelon Radish, Potatoes and Delicata squash.  Large share will receive Lettuce AND Spinach, plus Rutabaga and Onions.

We may be nearing the end of the growing season, but that doesn’t mean we stop planting! Wyatt said he might put in another planting of arugula if the moisture from Saturday dries out enough in the next few days. We already have one planting of spinach in the ground to “over-winter” and there is a good chance we will put in a second. The biggest planting we do this time of year is our garlic planting. In the next few weeks we will plant a few hundred pounds of garlic. The little garlic cloves will put out roots soon after they are planted and this will be enough to keep them alive until the early spring when they really start growing.

– Amy

CSA Members can separately order a “Winter Keeper Box” by replying to the email you received from Amy.  This is a nice assortment of storage vegetables that will allow you to eat locally into the winter and during the holidays.  It includes:

  • 35 lbs winter squash (assorted)
  • 5 lbs yellow onions
  • 6 lbs red potatoes
  • 1/2 lb shallots

This is $80 worth of produce discounted by 25% to CSA members to purchase for $60.  Order now and pickup next week!  Once you get your box home, be sure to unpack it and store in a dark, cool, dry location (ie. probably your basement).  Keep the potatoes separate from your onions and shallots (they’ll store longer).  Inspect your winter squash, and use any that have been nicked or have lost their stems first.  DON’T wash your vegetables before storing; wait until you’re ready to cook them.  And of course, protect them from any mice that may come in for the winter!Don’t forget to RSVP to the Evite for the Red Wagon CSA Harvest Celebration this Sunday at the Pumpkin Patch farm location.  Bring a potluck dish to share family fun, good food and company, and a Thank You for helping make 2011 a successful Red Wagon season!

In The Kitchen

Fall is here, with winter not too far behind, ready to knock on your door along with the Halloween Trick ‘o Treaters!  This is the best time to enjoy the plenty of the Fall harvests with all of the greens, roots and long cooking vegetables, along with Fall fruits for eating and baking.  The Winter Keeper Box is a great way to extend your season of eating locally and fresh.  Hopefully, you’ve put some peppers and tomatoes in your freezer to remind you of summertime in January.  And if you’re a serious food preserver, you’ve had time to do some canning and drying.  I feel like the squirrel in my backyard, busy eating and storing food in the ground for the winter!  Here are some warming Fall recipes to get you started.

Nut-Stuffed Delicata Squash
(adapted from Sunset magazine, October 2008)
Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, your choice of a mix of walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, etc.
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, whole or lowfat
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, optional
  • 2 delicata squash (about 2 lbs. total), halved lengthwise and seeded

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Set aside.In a large bowl, combine yogurt, eggs,  1/2 cup parmesan and nutmeg, if using. Stir in the nut mixture. Divide stuffing among squash halves, sprinkle with more parmesan, and bake until squash is tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 45 minutes.

Brown Rice, Lentil and Spinach Soup
Serves 6-8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds,
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • red pepper flakes or other dried chile
  • 12 cups chicken/vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. spinach, coarsely chopped

For a non-vegetarian version, start with a 1/2 pound of sweet or hot Italian sausage, ground beef or ground lambRemove sausage from its casing if using. Heat oil in a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat; add sausage or ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces, until browned, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate.  Drain excess grease from the pot to leave about 2 tablespoons.

To the hot oil, add carrots, celery, and onions, along with cumin, thyme, and red pepper flakes or chile. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 10—15 minutes. Add reserved meat if using, stock or water, rice, and lentils and season with some salt and pepper (under season now so you can adjust before serving).

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until rice and lentils are soft, at least an hour. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.

The next recipe come from Traci Des Jardins, chef owner of Jardinière restaurant in San Francisco.  It’s an indulgent and rich recipe, so be sure to save the oil for another use (store in the refrigerator).  Feel free to substitute seasonal vegetables for a luxurious vegetable dish anytime of year.  Use eggplant or peppers in place of the zucchini.  If you don’t have broccoli or cauliflower, substitute root vegetables or a winter squash that doesn’t soften too much (stay away from the kabocha types that have those spongy looking stems), fennel, celeriac, sunchokes, kohlrabi, etc.  You don’t want to use leafy vegetables or ones that have too much water (like tomatoes), but a lot of vegetables will work in this recipe.

Olive Oil Braised Vegetables
(adapted from Saveur magazine #141)
Serves 4-6

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. anchovy paste, optional
  • ½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lemon, ends trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
  • 1 large zucchini, cut diagonally into 1½?-long pieces
  • 1 lb. baby Yukon Gold or new potatoes
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets, stalk cut into large pieces
  • ½ medium head cauliflower, cut into florets, stalk cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 2 sprigs oregano or marjoram, stems removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the olive oil, anchovy paste, chile flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, and lemon slices in a 6-qt. Dutch oven. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the garlic and the lemon slices are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.Add the zucchini in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the zucchini, and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add the potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower to the pot and stir once or twice to coat in oil. Cook, covered, without stirring, until the vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 30 minutes. Stir vegetables gently, replace the lid, and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook until the vegetables are very soft and tender, about 60 minutes more.

Remove the vegetables from the heat, and stir in parsley and marjoram. Season with salt and pepper.

Fruit share members, here’s a recipe to use for firm pears or apples.

Wine Poached Pears or Apples
Serves 4

  • 1 cup red or white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3  2″ strips orange peel
  • 1  2″ strip lemon peel
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 firm but ripe pears or apples
  • Ice cream, for serving

Combine wine, water, sugar, orange peel, lemon peel and cinnamon in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.Core the fruit from the bottom, leaving the stem intact if possible.  Cut 1/4″ from the bottoms to make a flat surface. Peel the fruit and nestle them into bottom of pan containing wine mixture. Add more water/wine if needed to cover the fruit.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and barely simmer, covered, until a knife slides easily into fruit.  This can take as little as 20 minutes or as long as an hour, depending on the ripeness and size of the fruit. Remove from heat; let cool in the syrup, unless the fruit got too soft. To serve, transfer fruit upright to a plate and drizzle with some of the sauce from the pot (you can also reduce this), and serve with ice cream.

Keep warm in the kitchen this week!
– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

October 17th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  This is the Last CSA week for the season!  We have lots of choices and a variety of greens, roots and storage crops in your last pickup.  Regular CSA share includes Lettuce OR Spinach, Baby Kale OR Bok Choy, Beets OR Carrots OR Hakurei Turnips, Rutabaga OR Cabbage OR Brussels Sprouts, Storage Onions, and Choice of Winter Squash (Confection, Sunshine, Butternut, and Acorn.  Large share members get to choose three additional “Choice” items.

How can this be?? It is already the last week of our CSA season! We hope you have all enjoyed being members of our farm this year. I would love to hear any feedback you have regarding our CSA—just send me an email.

I feel like we have a lot to be grateful for right now. We are grateful for this amazing growing season. This is probably the best year Wyatt and I have seen in terms of growing crops. The fact that we had tomatoes into October is really unbelievable! We are also grateful for having such a grate farm crew. We had so many hard-working people at the farm who really knew how to grow and harvest vegetables. And we are so grateful for our CSA! The CSA is the most stable part of our farm and we really could not have our farm without you. I don’t think I can say enough about how grateful we are to have all of you. Thank you so much for a great season!

– Amy

Don’t forget to get a “Winter Keeper Box” for almost 50 pounds of storage crops if you want to keep eating locally and seasonally from Red Wagon Farm into the holidays!  Keeper boxes are $60 and include:

  • 35 lbs winter squash (assorted)
  • 5 lbs yellow onions
  • 6 lbs red potatoes
  • 1/2 lb shallots

When you get your box home, be sure to unpack it and store in a dark, cool, dry location (ie. probably your basement).  Keep the potatoes separate from your onions and shallots (they’ll store longer).  Inspect your winter squash, and use any that have been nicked or have lost their stems first.  DON’T wash your vegetables before storing; wait until you’re ready to cook them.  And of course, protect them from any mice that may come in for the winter!In The Kitchen

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts, as their appearance suggests, are members of the cabbage family and related to cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and collards. The plants grow on upright stems with an ideal sprout being approximately 1-2 inches in diameter with a firm texture, tight head, and rich, green leaves. Smaller sprouts tend to be more tender when cooked, but the choice is up to the cook’s preference.  They were first cultivated in Belgium and hence acquired their name after the nation’s capital, Brussels. Both “Brussels” and “Brussel” are accepted spellings.

Brussels sprouts are quite nutritious, with high concentrations of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, and fiber.

They suffer from a poor reputation, I think due to improper cooking or rather OVERcooking. (The phrase “Eat your Brussels sprouts” was often used in playground banter as an example of how unfair or mean parents can be!) Overcooking results in pale, pasty vegetables with a faintly sulphurous odor — the sulphur compounds can be strong enough to affect the taste of the vegetable. Properly cooked, Brussels sprouts have a nutty flavor that makes a good accompaniment for roasts of red meats, particularly when prepared with butter or onion. They can be boiled, stir-fried, made into soup, braised, even eaten raw in salads. Prior to cooking, fresh versions can be stored unwashed in the refrigerator for several days; cooked sprouts freeze well. The longer sprouts are kept before cooking, the stronger their flavor will be.

You will find this Brussels sprouts salad similar to the popular one I’ve had at The Empire Restaurant in Louisville, or Pizzeria Da Lupo, both owned by Chef Jim Cohen and both award winners in this year’s Best of Boulder.  Congratulations, Jim!

Brussels Sprouts Salad
(adapted from Saveur magazine #115)
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cups toasted walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Working over a large bowl, shave Brussels sprouts into very thin slices on a mandoline, starting from each sprout’s top while holding it between thumb and forefinger by its stem. Discard stems.  If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.  With cut side down, slice thinly from tip to stem end, discarding the stem.Add walnuts, pecorino, olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the cheese, season lightly with salt to taste.

Toss with a spoon until just combined and divide salad between 4 bowls or small plates. Using a peeler, shave more pecorino over the top; drizzle with more olive oil and add more pepper to taste.

If you like this salad, try it with other cheeses, such as Gruyere, Manchego or aged Jack, other nuts such as hazelnuts or pistachios, and the addition of thinly sliced apple or pear, or a little dried fruit.

Confection Winter Squash

Confection is our last winter squash introduction to CSA members.  Plan on storing this one for at least a couple more weeks or a month. They are good keepers and they just keep getting more rich-tasting, velvety and sweet until February or March, if properly stored.  They’re still good when it’s finally not squash season anymore!

I found a new (for me) food website that looks like it could be a good source to keep me cooking all fall and winter.  Here’s a link, http://www.food52.com/,  and a sample recipe. The recipe’s a little more ambitious than usual, but you could make the dough and precook the squash and garlic the night before, or save this recipe for the weekend.  Kinda like a pizza, but the dough will be crisp and rich like a pie.  In fact, this would make a great appetizer for a dinner party served alongside a simple green salad.

Winter Squash and Roasted Garlic Galette
Serves 4 to 6

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons iced water


  • 1 small to medium winter squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

To make the dough: Put the flour, semolina, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to form a mixture that looks like small peas. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough sticks together (to test, remove the top and gather the dough in your fingers. If it sticks together without crumbling, it’s ready). Be careful not to over mix. Transfer to a lightly floured board and shape the dough into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the filling: Cut the squash in half, peel and remove the stem and seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put in a large bowl and add the olive oil, chopped garlic and thyme. Toss to coat evenly. Spread out on one of the lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Put the whole unpeeled garlic cloves on the baking sheet and bake until the squash and garlic are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool while you roll out the dough.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a large circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to parchment paper—lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.

When the garlic is cool enough to handle, peel and put in the bowl you used to toss the squash. Mash with the back of a wooden spoon and stir in the ricotta.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and spread the garlic-cheese mixture over the top, leaving a 1-inch border. Spread the squash over the garlic-cheese mixture and fold the 1-inch edge over the filling towards the center. Sprinkle the fontina over the center of the galette. Sprinkle the edges of the crust with the parmesan and bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

I’ve enjoyed writing about the vegetables, and sharing cooking tips and recipes with you again this season.  Enjoy good company and food over the fall, winter and holidays.  If you get stumped in the kitchen, feel free to email questions.  If you find or have a great recipe to share, let me know.  It would be fun to have a mid-winter edition of the newsletter, just to see how everyone’s cooking!

– Marilyn mkakudo@4dv.net

October 24th, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  Welcome to the first week of our Mini Fall CSA! We have lots of choices again this week: braising mix, bok choi OR broccoli raab, scarlet turnips OR purple top turnips OR sunchokes, acorn squash, beets OR parsnips, leeks OR lettuce OR Brussels sprouts. Large share members get to choose three additional “Choice” items.

We have a guest chef for the recipe section this week. Marilyn is not available to write the newsletter for our Mini Fall CSA, so Mo is filling in. Mo has worked at Red Wagon for the last two seasons. During that time I have come to learn how completely obsessed she is with food. Whenever I have a food question I am sure to ask Mo because I know I will get more information than I could possibly hope for. Enjoy her words of kitchen wisdom!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Happy Fall CSA Members!

This is Mo McKenna. You might know me from Thursday CSA pickup. I am the ‘mature’ blond who is usually working at the back tables of CSA pickup with the volunteers bagging your food. The rest of my week I work at Red Wagon’s 63rd Street Farm.

Marilyn, our expert in Farm to Table cooking has a previous commitment and didn’t have time to write the newsletter this week or next. So I raised my hand and said I would share some simple ways I use the vegetables we grow. You have had all the vegetables we are offering this week already. So if you want a more refined ‘recipe’ I know Marilyn has great ideas in the newsletter archives you can check out.

At CSA pick up people ask me all the time. “What do you do with______”. The honest answer, probably 80% of the time is I heat up a pan and put in some olive oil, garlic, maybe some onions then add whatever vegetable(s) we had a lot of that day that didn’t all go to CSA or Market, or Restaurants and sauté them until they are done to my liking. I call it the Red Wagon Daily Special. I cook enough for dinner, and try to have enough for lunch the next day. Sometimes I scramble eggs and throw those in the pan with the veggies I just sautéed and I then have a Red Wagon Frittata. Sometimes I boil some pasta or grains while the veggies are cooking, toss that all together, hit that with some olive oil and maybe whatever cheese I have what I call the Red Wagon Pasta/Grain special.

Let’s look at a couple of this week’s CSA offerings and see how I would answer the question; “what would I do with_____”?

First braising mix. Ahhh braising mix how do you CSA’ers either love/hate thee. I am in the love camp on braising mix. One of my favorite things to do with it is to (see above) sauté it with olive oil, and garlic until it is wilted and bright green then I add in some cheese, any type that will melt ( I like cream cheese for this) and roll it in small flour tortillas and eat. Yum.

Another thing I might do this time of year is cook and freeze the greens you are getting for use later this winter when you are really missing the CSA and greens. You could cook all of the greens you get this week together, braising mix, broccoli raab, and even some beet greens. You could sauté them or just quickly boil them until they turn bright green, and drain them. At this point if I am going to freeze them, I like to lay them on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all the excess water I can. Then I roll the greens into a log shape and wrap them in plastic wrap and pop that into the freezer. You can cut off as much as you need from the log for two or three quick meals like omelets, or to add to soups, or make  the above greens tacos, or just eat the greens as a side dish.

Looking at the rest of the CSA offering (turnips, sunchokes, beets, parsnips, leeks) you could oven roast any or all of those together or separately. The scarlet turnips and beets are nice roasted together. Just wash them and cut them into the same size pieces so they cook evenly, rub some olive oil on them and salt and pepper. You can add some herbs now if you have some lying around. Rub the herbs on the veggies with the olive oil. I do all this on the pan I am going to roast the vegetables in.  Put this in a hot oven, about 375F and start checking for doneness in about 30 to 40 minutes. The cooking time will depend on how big you cut the vegetables.

I think you all know how to cook squash by now so I’ll just share a couple of things I like to do with squash. For the acorn squash, I always think of stuffing or filling the seed cavity of acorn squash with something while it is baking. Acorn squash are sort of wobbly so if you fill it you will need to steady it somehow. Sometimes I use a couple of table knives on either side of the squash. Or sometimes I put the squash in a bowl then put that bowl on a roasting pan to transport it to the oven. The point is you need a plan for moving the filled squash BEFORE you remove it hot from the oven!

I like to put some orange juice and a little butter and maple syrup in the seed cavity and bake the acorn squash. You don’t have to fill it all the way up. The amount of liquid that bakes out is different all the time, so like I said, be prepared for removing it from the oven. When it’s done you sort of gently mix the squash into the juice mix and I think you will be very happy with the results. Try any liquid, milk, cream, apple juice, coconut milk. Another mix I like is to fill the squash with some milk or cream and some chopped onions and a little grated cheese. All the flavors bake together and it forms a sort of deconstructed casserole.

I hope my simple ideas inspire you to try your own twists on using your CSA vegetables. Also, thanks for your enthusiasm and support! We cannot say enough how much we appreciate our CSA members!

See you at pickup!
– Mo

October 31st, 2011
Greetings, CSA Members!  We have lots of choices again this week: spinach OR baby chard, beets OR carrots, roasted green chiles OR parsnips, small bag of lettuce, sunshine winter squash, and onions. The large share will get an additional squash PLUS two more things from the choices. The fruit share will get apples.

This past week was a good reminder of why our farm season ends when it does! Many of our crops like spinach and beets can take snow and freezing temperatures. However, our crops are grown outside, which means that everybody at the farm has to battle through those freezing temperatures and snow to harvest the crops! Also, our wash area is outside in a tent. This is where we rinse the dirt off the crops and tidy them up. Most people start to complain when it is 35 degrees out and they have to stick their hands in a tub of water! We also have an astonishing lack of infrastructure at the farm. We don’t have any nice, warm, mouse-free buildings in which to store things like winter squash. This means that when the cold comes, we have to scramble to make some temporary shelter to keep the squash safe for a day or two. In short, it is time for the farm to take a rest!

Thank you so much for joining us for our Mini Fall CSA! We hope you’ve enjoyed the season with us and look forward to seeing you again in the spring!

– Amy

In The Kitchen

Happy Halloween. What great weather we have today for the Trick-or-Treaters.

Early this morning I was at the Teller Farm on Valmont Road, where we grow most of our food. I was checking on a beehive I have there and I walked around the fields for a while. I am always in awe of the huge amounts of beautiful food we grow. And walking around the now, mostly bare fields, images of the growing year flash through my mind. One of the first things we plant at the beginning of the growing season is parsnips. I walked by where we are now harvesting the parsnips and couldn’t believe the season has almost gone full circle.

Parsnips are one of my favorite vegetables so I am always rooting them on in the field. Being such a long season crop things can sometimes go wrong but we had a great crop this year. Yeah! I know a lot of CSA’ers feel like I do about parsnips and are so happy to get them in their share.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for using parsnips:

Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup
Yield: 3 litres of soup (about 4-5 large servings)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 minutes

  • 1 1/2 lb. parsnips
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 lbs. tart apples (granny smith, pink lady, etc.)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 lb. waxy potatoes (such as Yukon gold)
  • 1/2 tsp each ground ginger, cumin and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, pulverized
  • 2 litres vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Shaved Parmesan for garnish

1. Roughly chop parsnips and  potatoes into 1? pieces. You can peel them or not, your choice.2. Place parsnips in roasting dish and dot with 3 tbsp of butter. Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 or 15 minutes.

3. In large heavy bottomed pot, heat remaining tbsp of butter over medium. Add onions and cook until translucent.

4. Add in, apples and spices and sauté for five minutes. Sometimes I roast the apples with the parsnips and potatoes.

5. Add in roasted vegetables and stock and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes or until all vegetables and fruit is softened.

6. Using an immersion blender, stand blender or food processor, blend the soup into a smooth purée (in batches if using a blender or food processor).

7. Pour back into pot and reheat, stirring in cream and seasoning to taste.

8. Ladle into bowls and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan for garnish.

People ask me all the time what is the best way to keep the lettuce they get in their CSA share. I know this has been talked about, but since I get the question almost every pick-up I’ll quickly share what I do.

I dump my bag of lettuce into my salad spinner and fill it up with cold water. Then I dunk the basket up and down a few times and dump out the water and spin the lettuce. I then put the whole spinner in the refrigerator and store the lettuce in the spinner. It will keep at least a week or 10 days like that. I do the same with spinach and any cut greens.

You will also be getting another sunshine squash in your share this week. I have heard lots of you saying you loved the sunshine squash! We love hearing that! I was working the market this weekend and a man was buying several sunshine squash from us. He said he bought one last week and it was delicious and he wanted more. I asked him how he cooked it and he said he roasted it and when it was almost done he cut up a Snickers Bar and put it in the seed cavity until it melted, then he scooped it out and mashed it all together  and had it for dessert! !!.  (Ewww!)

I think I’ll just rub some olive oil and some herbs in the flesh and roast it and skip the Snickers Bar. But hey, it is Halloween so I thought a candy bar recipe might be in order!

Your share this week will also include a choice of chard or spinach. That’s would be a tough choice for me! Whatever you choose, chard or spinach, here is an easy, quick vegetarian meal idea I make all the time.

Use the same pot of water to blanch the greens before boiling the pasta and then cooking the whole dish in said pot. This dish is quick, easy, nutritious, deliciously tempting, and works with greens of all sorts.

Pasta and greens

  • 1 bunch cooking greens (chard, spinach, kale, lacianto kale, collard greens, turnip greens, any greens)
  • 1 Tbsp. salt plus more to taste
  • 1 lb. spaghetti or linguini
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3/4 cups freshly shredded grating cheese such as parmesan, asiago, or aged pecorino

1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim and wash greens, leaving the leaves whole.

2.Add 1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water. Add greens and blanch until wilted, from 30 seconds for chard to 2 minutes for lacianto kale, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the leaves to a colander and rinse them under cool water.

3.Boil pasta until tender to the bite. Drain, reserved 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside.

4.Meanwhile, chop garlic, and cooked greens.

5.Once pasta is drained, return pot to medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until garlic turns just the tiniest bit golden.

6.Add chopped greens and stir to combine. Add reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Add pasta, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Take off heat. Stir in half of the shredded cheese. Taste and add salt to taste, if you like.

7. Divide between plates or pasta bowls, garnish with remaining shredded cheese, and serve.

Makes 4 servings Pasta With Greens.

It has been a great season. Thank you, thank you, thank you All. I hope to see you all next year on the other side of winter.

– Mo McKenna

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