Hello CSA friends!
Here we are, almost at the end of a great growing season and the farm is surely starting to look that way. We were busy this week prepping the fields for the freezing temperatures that came about this weekend, removing summer plants and covering fall plants. Part of our cold weather preparation consisted of our final pepper and eggplant harvest followed by removing the plants from the fields, officially wrapping up the summer fruits and giving the land a bit of rest before spring planting next year. Be prepared for sweet and hot pepper galore within the next few weeks. Green peppers will make an appearance again, as well as the ever daunting array of hot peppers. With all of the summer plants gone, the farm is now filled with nothing but ginormous green leaves, scraggly fronds from all of the young carrots and fennel, and fields of young green grasses and clover to occupy the soil in the winter months in preparation for the spring. Another tell tale sign of the farm hunkering down for winter is all of the white row fabric that now litters the farm, covering the plants to prevent damage from frost and the cold weather.
Every week it seems as though small bits of the farm are coming full circle. A few weeks ago it was planting garlic that will be harvested in May, the past few weeks have been filled with the slow removal of the summer crops, and now this coming week will be the time to plant onions that will be harvested late May and early June. It may only be November, but next season never leaves the brain of a farmer. However, the quiet times of the winter are always much anticipated; reminding us farmers to slow down just as the growth of the plants slow down as well. We are also cover cropping are now empty summer fields to add nutrients back into the soil and to harbor a great ecosystem for all of the bugs and bacteria that make up our healthy soil. I urge you all to take in all of the great views of the farm this Tuesday, see the farm slowing down yet still alive and kicking.
This weekend was also our last farmer’s market at the Serenbe Green, thanks to all of you who stopped by and bought a few “lasts” from us.
Kermit did say that it wasn’t easy being green, sometimes I think he meant its not easy eating greens. We have bombarded you all with your daily dose of greens and eating greens can feel like a chore some days, so I thought I would share some great tips and tricks for eating them from myself and a few CSA members.
Kale and Collards: What great bitter greens, if I had to play favorites these guys would take the cake (keep reading for a literal translation of this). These two greens are rather bitter and a bit harder to eat raw than other greens. A great way to cut the bitter is by adding just a bit of sugar in the cooking proccess. The best way to cook the greens are by sauteing some onions and garlic, then adding the greens, a dash of water and sugar, and covering with a lid for just a while to steam the greens. Simple, easy, and tasty.
Mustards: A green that returns to our farm cooler more than any other, a green that I hope you all experiment with at least twice because first impressions are usually filled with nerves and burnt foods. Mustard greens are best when sauteed and cut with a bit of vinegar at the end of the cooking process. I love to make cooking these greens an all day event, cooking in my favorite broth or just salty water and letting them simmer for a few hours and adding some vinegar and a bit of crushed red pepper in that last 30 minutes of cooking. If doing this, save your broth/now green water and use it for a quick soup or to add in your smoothies for the week.
Turnip Greens: A green you primarily find attached to your turnips, so don’t toss them! Cut off the greens and throw them in with your mustards or asian green saute.
Asian Greens (Bok Choi, Mizuna, Komatsuna): Great for fermenting and sauteing.
- Asian greens + Kale
- Kale + Collards
- Mustard Greens + Turnip Greens
- All greens together at once…do it.
Green replacements in recipes: Some greens taste rather similar and are easy to replace in certain recipes…
- Can sub collards for kale or vice versa
- Asian greens for mustard greens
- Turnip greens for mustard greens
- Chard for spinach
Kale and Apple Cake (Collard and Pear Cake):
I made this cake over the weekend and didn’t have kale or apples so I replaced them with collards and pears, it was just as tasty! I made a “pear sauce” in place of the apple sauce.
- 2cups fresh kale leaves, torn into small pieces, woody stalk discarded
- 1/2cup vegetable oil
- 1/2cup applesauce
- 3/4cup sugar
- 2teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2apples, peeled and grated
- 2cups all-purpose flour
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line two round cake pans.
- Boil or steam the kale for a few minutes until tender. Refresh by rinsing in cold water, then drain and puree with a stick blender (it will still be a bit stringy).
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla together well. Beat in the kale puree and grated apple, then sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and combine gently.
- Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 2 minutes in the pans and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- 1 1/4cups powdered icing sugar
- 2tablespoons butter, softened
- 2tablespoons smooth applesauce
- 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and beat well until smooth. Frosting can be stored in the fridge until needed.
Polenta-Crowned Kale Casserole:
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 oz mushrooms of your choice
- 1-1.5 pounds of kale (roughly one of our bunches), leaves coarsely chopped
- 1.5 t salt
- 1 c polenta or cornmeal
- 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Heat oil in large saute pan. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Add kale and salt. Cover pan and cook over medium heat until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Remove lid and stir to incorporate all vegetables. Cover again and cook for 5 more minutes. Transfer to large baking dish and set aside.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Put polenta, salt, and one more cup of water in bowl. Add this mixture to boiling water. Reduce heat to medium, stirring often. Polenta is done when thickens and bubbles in middle, usually after 20 minutes.
- Pour polenta over kale mixture and place in oven for about 30 minutes.
Radishes, another vegetable seen rather frequently in your shares. This is a fun way to do something a bit different with them outside of the typical pickle and salad topper.
- 1 pound radishes, with tops
- 2 T butter
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/8 t black pepper
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- Trim off tops of radishes, leaving a little green stem attached. Cut radishes lengthwise in half and place in medium pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat until cook through. About 5 minutes. Drain, reserve water, and set aside.
- Melt butter in pan, add flour and whisk smooth. Stir in salt, pepper, and reserved radish water. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Whisk in cream and let cook one more minute until thickened.
- Stir in radishes and serve warm to accompany the kale casserole.
I want to end my newsletter with a big virtual hug and thank you for all of your support of our vegetables and growth of us young farmers. Thank you for letting me use your weekly newsletter as a food blog and allowing me to share with you all my love for food. Happy eating!