Friday, December 3, 2010

versatile greens

since greens are in season - and will be for a while - i'm going to post some more really yummy greens recipes so y'all can be sure you keep your taste buds jumping for joy - or whatever it is they do when they're happy.

Red-Cooked Collards
1 cup dark soy sauce or tamari
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry sherry
several nickel-sized pieces of fresh ginger
4 or 5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
several pieces of star anise
2 pounds collard greens

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil while you prepare the collards. After washing the greens, trim them of their large stems and chop coarsely. Place in the cooking liquid and adjust heat to maintain a gentle boil. Cook until greens are tender and most of the liquid is gone, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over rice as a main course or as a side dish.

Source: Bittman, Mark. 1995. Leafy Greens.

Grilled Mesclun-stuffed Tuna Steaks
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon strong mustard
2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
1/4 cup dry white wine or water
1 tuna steak, no less than 1 1/4 inches thick, about 11/2 pounds
about 1 1/2 cups assorted greens, washed and dried

Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler. Mix together all the ingredients except the tuna and the greens.

Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife (a boning knife, for example), make a small incision halfway down any edge of the tuna steak. Insert the knife almost to the opposite edge of the steak, then move it back and forth, flipping it over and creating a large pocket. Be careful not to cut through the top, bottom, or opposite edge of the tuna. Put the tuna in the mixture; you can leave it there for a few minutes or continue with the recipe right away.

Remove the tuna from the liquid and dry it with paper towels. Toss the mesclun with the marinade. Stuff the pocket with the mesclun, still drenched in the liquid. Seal the pocket opening with a couple of toothpicks. Grill the tuna, turning once, about 5 minutes per inch of thickness (if your steak is 1 1/2 inches thick, for example, turn it after about 4 minutes and cook 3 or 4 minutes more). It will be quite rare; if you want to cook it more, go right ahead. Serve, cut into quarters or 1/2 inch thick slices.

Steamed Beet Greens with Oregano

About 1 1/2 pounds beet greens, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or marjoram, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steam the beet greens just until tender. Rinse them under cool water, then press out the moisture as much as you can. Chop finely.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano or marjoram. Dress the beet greens with this mixture, season to taste; serve at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings; 15 minutes.

Pasta with Greens and Ricotta
1 bunch tat soi
1 bunch red Russian kale, tough stalks removed (about 4 cups chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
dash of salt and ground black pepper
1/4 ground nutmeg
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 pound pasta (fettuccine, penne, macaroni, fusilli, butterflies or shells)
grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled ricotta salata
chopped tomatoes
toasted walnuts or pine nuts

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.

While the water heats, rinse the tat soi and kale well, shake off any excess water, and chop coarsely. Saute the garlic in the oil for a minute, until soft and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and saute, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat. In a blended, puree the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover, and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the sauce in a warmed serving bowl. Top with Parmesan or crumbled ricotta salata, tomatoes and/or toasted walnuts or pine nuts.

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

And here's a link to a radish greens recipe as well.

Hope y'all are keeping cozy. We hope to see you tomorrow at market!

Monday, November 22, 2010

playing catch up

Hi y'all!

We finally found our camera and the battery charger, so I took some snap shots yesterday afternoon/evening to update the blog. As you'll see, the chicks are well on their way to being full blown adolescents. The roosters finally have their crowing figured out. For some time all we got out of them was a "cock-a-..." and no "doodle doo" of any kind. It was amusing for a while - and just as our amusement was about to wear off, they figured it out. At the moment we have three roosters: Ted, Bocephus, and Uncle Jesse (of the Dukes of Hazard variety, not Full House). We're still reluctant to have to get rid of any of them, as they're growing on us, but we're also practical. We've decided that Uncle Jesse is the best suited rooster for the coop. He's the least "chicken-y" guy of the three, he's extremely protective, but he also lets us hold him, although I don't think he cares for it very much. The hens show no sign of laying eggs any time soon, but they're really not ready to lay yet anyway. They're almost 4 months old and they really shouldn't be ready until the beginning of 2011 (but we're hoping we have a couple early layers by the solstice). The guy above the right is Ted.

The fella in the frying pan above, humorously the one we will keep, is Uncle Jesse.

The white rooster above is Bocephus. He's kind of the biggest "chicken" of the three, so I had a hard time getting a picture of his face. Maybe I'll have better luck next time. 

(Above) My dad and Ben built the low tunnel in the middle and the hoop house to the right (Ben built the one on the left all by himself while I was in D.C.).

Below is tat soi. It's an Asian green that tastes kind of like spinach and bok choy crossed (although I think it leans more toward spinach).

Below is a head of oak leaf lettuce. It's one of my favorites. I love that that color of green actually occurs in nature! :)

red Russian kale (below)

Then, in order, we have broccoli, a field of broccoli, red cabbage and collards, and finally, savoy cabbage.

That's it for now. Now that we've finally organized our lives a bit more, maybe we'll be posting more regularly and updating the farm pics. So much changes daily - but it's hard to tell when those changes are picture worthy.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving! Thank YOU for caring to keep up with us and take care!

Patricia & Ben

Monday, November 15, 2010

North Carolina in November: Seasonal Recipes

Roasted Beets and Mango Salad
We have plenty of beets and salad greens in our garden outside today. Many of you going to market and in CSAs are receiving these items weekly lately. Here's a recipe to add some variety to what you usually do with beets or salads. When the recipe calls for "gourmet salad greens", realize you can make those with mixtures of things you have in your own gardens or in your shares. For instance, I would include fresh parsley, chopped kale, steam and chopped beet greens, tat soi, and, of course, lettuce in the mix.

2 large beets, trimmed
1/4 cup orange juice, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1/4 teaspoon black peppter, divided
1 tablespoon honey mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 cups gourmet salad greens
1 cup diced peeled ripe mango (about 2 mangoes)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place beets in a baking dish, and bake at 425 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tender. Cool beets. Combine 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Peel beets; but each into 8 wedges. Toss beets with orange juice mixture.
3. Combine 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablesppon lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, honey mustard, oil and salt. Combine salad greens and diced mango. Drizzle with mustard mixture, and toss well to coat. Divide salad evenly among 4 plates, and top with beet wedges. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups salad and 4 beet wedges).

From: Cooking Light: Annual Recipes 2000, page 46.

We like to eat our daikon radishes so many ways. Most folks familiar with the radish either stir fry it (chopped - greens too!) or grate the root and eat it as a salad of some kind (Ben likes to mix his with grated carrot). However, the first way I was ever exposed to this crazy huge and flavorful radish is as a German dish. My mom and I like to eat our daikon radishes sliced and salted on top of buttered European style, hard rye bread. It's phenomenal! Ben and I get our favorite bread for this snack from the La Farm Bakery stand at the Western Wake Farmer's Market (but they have other locations). Here are a few other ideas for what you can do with your daikon (and other) radishes:

Daikon Radish Remoulade

1 lb.
3 tbsp.
4 tbsp.
1 tsp.
1/4 cup
daikon radish, peeled
Dijon-style mustard
olive oil
wine vinegar
minced fresh parsley leaves

Cut the daikon into 2-inch-long fine julienne strips or grate it coarse. Rinse a large bowl with hot water, dry it, and in it whisk the mustard with 3 tablespoons hot water. Add the oil in a slow stream, whisking until the dressing is emulsified, and whisk in the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add the daikon strips and the parsley and toss the mixture well. Serves 6.
Gourmet, April 1991

Daikon Radish Miso Soup

1 Qt. water 
8 Tbsp. miso paste
1/2 cup chopped Daikon radish
tofu, chopped into small cubes
2 strands of chopped green onions

1. Add Daikon radish to slow boiling water, let cook for another 10 minutes or until soft.  You can cut the Daikon anyway you like but if you slice it relatively thin (1/4 inch) and then cut in half so that they are half-moon shaped, it will cook faster.
2. Add miso paste.  The best way is to take a small amount of the soup in a small bowl and mix the miso paste in there until it is evenly distributed, then pour the soup (with miso) back into the soup pot.
3. Remove the soup from heat immediately after adding the miso paste.
4. Add the tofu and green onions and serve!

Makes around 6 servings.

Cannellini Beans and Greens on Garlic Toast
3 cups water
12 cups torn kale (about 1 bunch)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup diced seeded plum tomato (or canned diced tomatoes)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (16 ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
4 (1 1/2 ounce) slices country or peasant bread, toasted
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large Dutch oven; add kale. Cook 6 minutes or until tender; drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. 
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and oregano; saute' 1 minute. Stir in kale, reserved liquid, and beans; cook 3 minutes. 
3. Rub garlic halves on 1 side of each toast slice. Place toast slices, garlic sides up, on 4 plates; sprinkle each slice with 2 tablespoons cheese. Top each with 1 cup bean mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese. Yield: 4 servings. 
Source: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2000, page 104. 
Well, I hope these recipes give you a few ideas. Remember to check out the recipe links to the right side of the screen. There are a bunch of other winter and spring recipes that work for the produce you're getting around these parts fresh right now. I'll try to post more recipes and some pictures soon. 
Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Glorious Greens! - They sure are pretty, but what do I do with them?

So, the fall and winter seasons bring us lots of greens and lots of root vegetables. If you don't know what to do with them - and they're really quite versatile and easy to put in just about everything - they can pile up on you and make you feel like your bounty is a chore. This is the last thing we want folks to feel about their weekly produce shares, so I'm getting on the ball and getting to some of the recipes I find useful and inspirational. But I do need to let you know, that once you begin on the greens journey, you'll realize how extremely easy cooking and eating greens can be - and it's tasty and nutritious too!

Ben told me that a number of folks were asking about tatsoi and what to do with it, so I'll begin with it. Those green beauties to the left are tatsoi. Mark Bittman, author of Leafy Greens: An A-to-Z Guide of 30 Types of Greens Plus More Than 120 Delicious Recipes, breaks down the Asian greens (he refers to them as "Chinese cabbages") (21-22):

Nutritional information: High in beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, some B vitamins, and fiber.  To cook: Heading cabbages can be treated much like green or red cabbage; bok choi can be used like chard. All Chinese cabbages are good in stir-fries and soups; braised, with or without meat; pickled (as in kimchee). Young Chinese cabbages, or the tatsoi variety, are excellent in salads. Substitutes: For bok choi, chard, which is close enough for most purposes; for the heading cabbages, common head cabbage; for tatsoi, young mustard, arugula, or cress.

Now, let me just tell you that you will figure out that you can substiute tatsoi for a lot of other things than Mark suggests above. I think it's a great substitute for spinach as well. I think the best way to figure out what you'd like to do with your greens is to try them raw and to try them braised with a little salt and pepper. Once you taste them in these two purist forms, you can decide on what types of flavors your palate is comfortable combining them with. Just to give you an idea of how easy it is to eat greens, I'll tell you what I did for breakfast this morning. First, I chopped up the turnip roots into diced pieces (two bunches worth). I let them simmer on low in a dollop of butter and a sprinkle of salt. As those simmered, I chopped the turnip greens and then added them to the pan. Then I placed a lid over the pan so the veggie juices would help cook the turnip roots and the greens (and it's always good to salt your greens as you place them in the pan - it helps wilt them and it disperses the salt more evenly when they're uncooked vs. cooked and bunched). In the meantime, I then chopped up one head of tatsoi and added it to the pan. Like spinach, it takes up a lot of pan space at first but then it wilts down quite a bit. I then put the lid back on the pan (this is a medium-sized typical frying pan - all metal). I then chopped up one head of bok choi. Okay - hold on. So, what's the count so far? Right now, we have two bunches of turnips, one head of tatsoi, one head of bok choi and a small dollop of butter. That sounds like A LOT of greens, and I suppose it is, but it really all does wilt down to a manageable bunch of greens. Okay, so back to the pan. Basically, I added all of the chopped greens in increments, so they all had time to wilt. Once all the greens were sufficiently wilted, I added 4 whisked eggs into the pan. I then let those eggs cook for about 4 minutes on low. In the meantime, I got out the block of sharp, white cheddar cheese and grated it over the top of the eggs. Finally, I turned the oven on to 350 degrees and placed the entire pan in the oven. I am a terrible omelet maker, so I do my egg omelets, fritata style (it sounds fancy, but it's really just a lazy person's omelet as far as I'm concerned). To be honest, I'm not sure how long those eggs were in the oven - somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. The goal, of course, is to make sure you cooked it long enough to cook the eggs through (unless you like your eggs a bit wet, in which case, I suppose that's not your goal...). Anyway, you should be able to see whether the eggs are cooked to your liking. If the visuals are uncertain, you can always just poke at them to feel their texture - but don't burn yourself! Once the dish is cooked to your satisfaction, take it out of the oven and scoop some out, add a little salt and pepper (or any condiments you usually eat with your eggs - I'm a fan of hot sauce, but I know some folks really like ketchup on their eggs) and enjoy! :) Whew! That sure does sounds like a lot of work (and food - but there are not usually any left overs in our house, but when there are we just reheat them for lunch or the following morning's breakfast) when I look at what I typed, but the whole process takes me less than 20 minutes and I listen to the news on NPR and drink my morning coffee as I cook. I also make the chickens' breakfasts as I prep our food. They like pretty much every vegetable we chop up and give them (all but eggplant, peppers, and onions), so it's nice to feed them the things I would normally toss in the compost bin.

Okay, so that's one idea :). I'll leave you with some other recipes, written by the experts who aren't nearly as long winded as myself. These recipes call for particular greens, but you can substitute them for others. I use tatsoi and spinach interchangeably. I even cooked chopped turnips and greens and bok choi and put them in a white sauce lasagna for our CSA potluck/Oktoberfeast. It was a hit and I don't think anyone realized they were eating something so "exotic" as Asian greens in their lasagna :).

Spinach and Egg Soup (Bittman 1995: 67)
1 pound spinach (I would also use kale, tat soi, beet greens or turnip greens for this recipe - or even a combination of greens)
2 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
5 to 6 cups of good chicken stock (my note: you can certainly substitute vegetable stock)
2 eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. Steam or parboil the spinach until it wilts. Cool it under cold water, squeeze it dry, and chop.
2. Melt the butter in a 4- to 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the stock and bring it to a gentle simmer. Beat the eggs with half the Parmesan and add them to the soup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are cooked and soup is thick. Serve with break, passing the remaining Parmesan at the table.

Turnip Greens with Potatoes (Bittman 1995: 110)

2 tablespons peanut or vegetable oil (I use sesame oil)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 pound turnip greens
2 small red potatoes, about 1/2 pound, washed well and peeled if desired, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teasppon rise or wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to color; add the remaining spice and cook, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turnip greens, the potatoes, and the stock or water, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, checking and stirring every 3 or 4 minutes, until the potato is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Raise the heat to high and boil off excess liquid, if any. Season to taste, drizzle with vinegar, and serve immediately.

You can also use collards, cress, dandelions, kale, mizuna, mustard, tatsoi or bok choi. I usually decide on what to use depending on, first, what we have and need to use and second, depending on what I flavors I want in my meal. A lot of times, I just throw all the greens together, since we almost always wind up taking at least a few greens back home from the CSA drop or from market  - even after donating to the Interfaith Food Shuttle.

Well, hopefully I've given y'all some ideas for how to start using your greens. If you have favorite things to do with your greens, please feel free to post your recipes or send them my way via e-mail at

Also, please do check out the links at the right side of the page under the heading "labels". There are a number of recipes and I tried to always label what was used in those recipes, so they'd be easy to search.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Funny How Time Slips Away

Today I went through the pictures on our camera and found quite a few from the past month or so. It seems I've gotten a little behind sharing pictures and other tidbits on this here blog - so I'll be doing that. But before I get there, I do want to remind y'all that we are still accepting Fall CSA members. Please take a look at our brochure here. Our CSA will run for 12 weeks, costs $210 for a half share and $315 for a full share, and we'll be offering a number of yummy fall vegetables including: arugula, beets, bok choi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collards, dandelion greens, herbs, kale, kohlrahbi, leeks, lettuce, mesclun, mustard greens, parsnips, peas, radishes, scallion, swiss chard, tatsoi, and turnips. Some folks like to split shares with friends or family members. Please feel free to give us a call or send us an e-mail if you have any questions or concerns regarding the fall CSA membership. We look forward to hearing from you soon and we also look forward to sharing the bounty of autumn with y'all. To the

These are the veggie kabobs we ate last night. Aren't they pretty?

So, as I said, it's been a while since we posted pictures and since we posted here in general - so I'm going to try to do a quick recap of what's gone on here on Two Trees Farm for the last month or so. It was Ben's 31st birthday at the end of July. We know we're finally adults this year, because instead of going out and celebrating our birthdays (my 30th and his 31st), we worked. But, that doesn't mean we didn't find ways to make each others' birthdays nice. I made Ben a yummy chocolate zucchini cake for his birthday. I also made moussaka for the first time. It took about 4 hours, but it was well worth the wait. All in all, I think Ben enjoyed his birthday. 

Here's me picking Japanese eggplant a few weeks ago. 
The plants are much taller and uber-prolific these days.

We also got our mail order chicks from Murray McMurray at the beginning of this month. They're a little over three weeks old now. Ben and I spent a lot of time getting the chicken coop in the barn ready for our newest farm members. Ben dug out all over the ground of the coop, so we could lay down hardware wire and cover it back up with dirt (to keep burrowing critters out). We also placed scrap wood from Beth's farmhouse all over the inside walls - again, to keep critters out (but this time, crawling/wall scaling ones).

Here's Ben taking a short break from digging in the dirt.

August 3rd, 27 cutie pie little chicks arrived at the Clayton post office for us. The post office called us at 8am letting us know they'd come in. We were allowed to pick up our chicks at the back entrance and hours before the post office opened due to fragility of our "package".Sadly, we don't have any pictures of the chicks in their mailed box. We were too excited about getting them out and getting them watered and fed, that the camera was the last thing on our minds. I'm posting pictures of the chicks at about a week old here. They're MUCH bigger now - and those pictures will come soon - maybe next time.

This is Amelia, the first chick to fly, watching the others from her perch.

Once we were able to get through the most vulnerable time for the chicks, Ben started working on building a hoop house. We'll be using it to start seedlings for now. I'll let Ben tell y'all all about it when he posts next time. In the meantime, here are some of the pictures.

Here's Ben. Proud of his house :). 

And here are Ben and Charlie, checking out the progress of the butter beans. 

This is Ben in the midst of the okra (some of which is ridiculously tall!).

And finally, here's Ben watering the seedlings in the hoop house. 

As usual, thanks for stopping by and taking a look around. We hope you're having a fantastic Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the heat before it's gone ;).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ben's Produce is One Year Old

This month marks our one year anniversary as Ben's Produce! We are thankful for the support of everyone that has helped make Ben's Produce possible: all those on and around Sasser Street, our long time friends and family who support us with everything we do, Peace China, Double-T Farm, Two Trees Farm, a number of folks from the NC State Sociology department, our CSA members, the Western Wake Farmer's Market, Bickett Market, Market Restaurant, and Angelina's Kitchen (for more info about some of these supporters, please refer to the links on the left side of your screen). We couldn't have done or continue doing this without all of you! Thank you SO very much. We are sincerely honored and grateful to have you in our lives.

On a related note, today one of our CSA members and friends sent Ben and I a link to an article in the News and Observer. You can access the article here. Basically, the article talked about produce box delivery programs in the area - that they're more convenient than going to the farmers' market or picking up for a CSA. While I do think that these programs have their advantages, I think they risk trading community for convenience. The article prompted me to write a letter to the editor - the first I've ever written. These letters have a word count maximum of 200 words - and as I'm sure you well know by now, I have difficulties being brief :) - but I managed. Here's what I wrote (190 words):
While CSA may be inconvenient in comparison to produce delivery, it does provide for more transparency, community building, and mutually beneficial relationships - BEYOND consumer/seller relationships. As a  very small farm (we grow on less than one acre) without bank loans or credit cards, the CSA model allows us to grow healthy food for our community. Members' early monetary contributions (there is a payment plan) are what enable us to purchase essential farm materials. This farm box model may work well for people who already have the funding to purchase the goods they need on the farm. But this model also means food travels farther and people don't get to know their farmers. I strongly believe that CSA should and does create community. While this farm box business does create a valuable service for consumers, we hope our CSA does more than that - albeit a little less conveniently. I hope this trend doesn't mean an end to CSA. I also hope it doesn't mean the local movement will be co-opted by corporations (as has happened with organic). This middle man business sounds a lot like "business as usual" to me. 

I'm curious to hear what y'all think. What kinds of food experiences do you find to be the most rewarding? Do you feel a sense of community when you go to the farmer's market or when you go to your CSA pick up? What suggestions do you have for CSAs and for Ben's Produce more specifically for improving community?

We would like to offer a farm dinner to our CSA members. I am not sure when we'll be able to do this. We are still sharing our living space with Beth and the kids (the farm house construction is taking WAY longer than anticipated). We would like to be settled in before we attempt to host a dinner - so it may not happen for another month or two. I suppose it may not happen at all this year - but if that's the case, we'll be certain to do one as soon as the weather (and the harvest) permits next year. I know I enjoy home cooked dinners with new and old friends alike. Of course, if we offer a large scale dinner, we might have to enlist the help of you all in the form of a pot luck (but we would certainly provide most of the food). And sharing is always nice :).

Please respond here with your comments or e-mail me at We would very much appreciate your feedback - members and non-members alike.

As usual, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Announcing our Fall 2010 CSA!

Hi y'all!

We're offering a Fall CSA share this year. It's gonna be good and you know you want one ;) ... especially if you like fresh, organic, locally grown produce (espeically green produce - it's the fall afterall!). You can access our Fall CSA Brochure HERE. Please check it out and spread the word. The CSA can and does build community. At best, we'll become friends. Real ones. Pals and confidants, even. At worst, we'll have a better relationship than we would have if you bought your produce at a grocery store (especially a chain) and we worked at one/sold to one. Basically: it's a WIN WIN situation :).

Alrighty! I'm done with that. If you're not convinced - well, I might just have to do some more convincin' - but hopefully you'll sign on if you can. Even if you're not interested in (or able to do) the CSA thing this Fall - please talk to us. We'd love to hear your comments, recipes and just plain ol' stories. Give us a call. Leave a comment here. Email us. Message us on Facebook in internetland OR Stop by the farm (but please do call and schedule with us first)! We'd love to have you.

Patricia & Ben

Monday, August 2, 2010

Eggplant Glorious Eggplant!

Our eggplant varieties are growing in full force. We have about 400 plants and five varieties. We're growing the basic Italian globes, white globes, rosa biancas and two different Japanese varieties. Most of you are probably most familiar with the classic Italian globes. These types are tasty and they are what most grocery stores offer. They are also the type that most people use when making eggplant Parmesan. However, this particular variety is also the most bitter of the ones we are growing. This is why most recipes call for salting the eggplant prior to cooking it. The other varieties we are growing are much sweeter in comparison (especially the Japanese eggplant) and do not require the salting process. If you'd like to learn more about these different types of eggplant and you'd like to take a look at some tasty recipes, please check out the I Love Eggplant! website.

Pictured below are the classic Italian globe (the larger variety) and the two types of Japanese eggplant we're growing.

Of course, this is the white variety (sweeter than the classic globe).

And this is the rosa bianca variety.

If the I Love Eggplant! site doesn't give you enough ideas on what to do with your eggplant, let me offer you a few more suggestions. Last week (July 26th) was Ben's birthday. For his birthday I made chocolate zucchini cake and for dinner, moussaka. Moussaka takes quite a while to make (almost 3 hours including prep and bakind time) - but it is well worth it! Here's a link to the recipe I used. I did not salt the eggplant. Also, I think that while the breading was tasty, I could definitely forgoe it in the future so as to cut down on the prep time. I think next time I'm just going to sprinkle bread crumbs into the mix. Finally, since we did not have ground lamb on hand, I used ground beef. While lamb is better for this recipe, the spices in the beef worked well (and since I couldn't find all the necessary spices the recipe called for, I used a pumpkin pie spice mix we had - which also worked well). 

A much easier way to make an eggplant dish is to make the classic Baba Ganoush dish. You simply roast the eggplant, scoop it out and puree it with the other ingredients. You will need to get tahini (sesame paste) to make this dish. If you're not familiar with it, here's some info. Here's a link to a particularly tasty recipe (I don't think the parsley, cilantro or chili powder are essential - but you definitely need the rest of the ingredients).

Finally, the Japanese eggplant varieties lend themselves to easy stir fry. We like to eat them in a green coconut curry. The Italian varieties are great for grilling.

I hope I've been able to help y'all get the creative juices flowing. Please do submit any recipes you enjoy or any other comments regarding the recipes or info I've posted here.

Thanks for stopping by! And for a little fun, I'll leave you with a couple images of some eggplant critters :).

Eggplant penguins

Eggpant chicken

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Day in the Life

over an inch of rain - - - finally!
more squash, leeks, scallions, collards, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cabbage
we'll have chickens in here soon
sugar baby in the rough
desert king - it's orange and yellow on the inside - not your typical watermelon
eggplant up close and personal
string bean green beans

our tomato plants are ridiculously tall

can't wait til the corn's ready
Jeremiah the bullfrog's home
See y'all again soon!