Monday, September 24, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 25 September 2012 - Delivery #15

Hi everyone!

It would appear that the rainy season has arrived in Nova Scotia.  It would have been nice to have some of this in the sweltering drought this summer, but we are glad nonetheless!  Along with the rain, we've also noticed the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler.  Now that the night temperature is getting down, we've had to start closing the greenhouse and caterpillar tunnels to keep the rest of our tomatoes growing as long into the fall as we can.  The shorter days also mean we are "reluctantly" forced to have shorter work days as well.  It won't be long before we're lighting fires in our stoves and dreaming about starting vegetables for next season's CSA.  But, we still have a few weeks left and now we'll keep dreaming about what will be in next week's CSA basket that will feed and excite you.

As promised, the second chance for you to come and see where your food is grown will be next Sunday, the 30th of September.  This will be our second Open Farm CSA Day, and we'd love it if you could make it sometime between 12-4.  There will be snacks and refreshments as well as guided tours for those interested, and of course the animals will be meeting and greeting all day.  If you know of someone who is interested in joining our CSA next season, feel free to bring them along, too.

Joe puts the finishing touches on the new growing space
We've been working on a new greenhouse here on the farm for a little while now, it is just about ready to have the plastic put on, and you can see it yourself on Sunday!

What's in your basket this week:

I've had a couple of customers at the farmer's markets telling me about making a stacked beet salad with goat cheese out of our beautiful tri-coloured beets.  I had to scour the internet, but I found this very descriptive step-by-step recipe (Click on the photo or the title to visit the website):

Stacked Beet Salad
6 large beets
1/2 cup goat cheese at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Cut beet greens off beets.  Peel beets and cut ends off.  Slice beets into 1/2 inch layers (don't slice the beets too thinly).
3.  Brush olive oil on beet slices and lay onto baking sheets.  Roast beet slices for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour until edges are caramelized and beets are cooked through (my oven cooks hot and it takes my oven 45 minutes).  Let beet slices cool.
4.  Mix goat cheese with balsamic vinegar.  Season with pepper (I do not season with salt because the goat cheese usually has a salty flavor).
5.  Spread 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese mixture onto one side of a large beet slice.  Layer with a slightly smaller beet slice and spread 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese mixture on top of second beet slices.  Continue layering.  I build my stacks to 8 layers because, after that, they become unwieldy to eat but you could certainly stack higher.  Do not spread goat cheese on last layer.  Continue building stacks.
6.  Carefully cut stacks into quarters, making sure not to press too hard onto the beet stacks.  I find that the easiest way to cut them is to very gently hold one stack and slice through it halfway and then lay the half-stack on its side to cut into quarters.
7.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  If you leave the beet stacks in the refrigerator longer, the red beet color will seep into the goat cheese.  I prefer the flavor when the beet stacks have been refrigerated for 4 hours or more but they certainly look prettier when they have been refrigerated for only 30 minutes.
8.  To serve, layer beet stacks on spinach leaves and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.
(*Note: this would also be great with additions such as: walnuts, citrus, avocado, fresh dill!)

Sunchokes/Jerusalem Artichokes
This photo is of our remaining Jerusalem Artichokes still in the field, which turned out to be a very nice hedge at the side of our salad mix patch.  If you've never used them before, you're in for a treat and something really truly different.  They are, as they look, in the sunflower family, and they have a fantastic crunch and a nutty sunflower flavour.  Since these ones are so fresh, you need not peel them, just scrub them to get the dirt off (which should come as a relief as most of them are pretty gnarly!).
In my previous job, I often recommended Sunchokes as an alternative to potatoes for those watching their blood sugar levels or on restrictive diets or clenses.  Sunchokes contain the carbohydrate inulin instead of starch, which is a type of dietary fibre known as fructan that the human body has a limited ability to process.  Unlike potatoes-- which are considered high on the glycemic index-- the inulin in sunchokes does not cause an insulin response in the body or raise triglycerides (Of course, please do your own research to see if it is right for you if you are on a restricted diet). 
Regardless of all this, they are delicious little nuggets and I hope you find a way to enjoy them!  The first time I had them I over-roasted them, which was a big mistake: They get bitter and have a soggy textured when overcooked.  Once I was ready to attempt cooking them again I used a recipe and had much better luck.  I have heard that they can be hard on the stomach for some, who recommend fully cooking them (like in the soup recipe below).  I am including a recipe that is basically how I most often prepare them, as well as links to a few others that I think look interesting:

RECIPE: Sauteed Sunchokes
1 lb sunchokes/jerusalem artichoke
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 Scrub or peel artichokes.
2 Slice each artichoke to 1/4 inch thick slices.
3 In a Wok or frying pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat.
4 Add sliced artichokes, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley; stir well to coat artichokes.
5 Stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
6 Do not overcook artichokes, they should be slightly crunchy.
7 Serve immediately.

Check out a couple of other recipes that might inspire you:
Cream of Sunchoke Soup (We tried this one the other night with much success; I highly recommend it!)
Sunny Sunchoke Salad

or Turnips
In my scouring of the internet this week, I found a great blog with a detailed post about kohlrabi:  Just in case you need some more instruction to be able to deal with yours.  Also, because of this website (and because they're beautiful!), we are including the leaves on your kohlrabi this week, which you can choose to eat or not (but mind the advice that they are to be treated as a hearty green like kale or collards).  If you're not in the mood for experimental cooking, you can simply peel and slice your kohlrabi to enjoy it raw, roasted, sauteed or steamed.  It's mild cabbage/turnip flavour goes well with your stir-fry greens, cauliflower or broccoli, et cetera.  If you have any great successes, please email me your recipe!
If it's a turnip you happen to find in your bag (there were not quite enough kohlrabi for everyone), they are delicious enjoyed most of the same ways you would enjoy your kohlrabi- raw, roasted, sauteed, steamed, or even cooked and mashed with potatoes to give them an extra kick. 

Dill and beets are a great combination.  At this time of year it can be hard to find baby dill, and I always take advantage of it when I'm able to get it and freeze some for winter.  Just chop it up and put it in an airtight container- it does turn black but it retains it's flavour far better than drying.

Brassica Mix

Again, "brassica" is farm code for a few things that you will find in your bag: broccoli (heads and florets), cauliflower (green and white), cabbage, and romanesco broccoflower (pointy green alien that looks kind of like cauliflower...  only pointy!). 

I get the same amount of "too much kale!" pleas as I get "more kale!" requests.  This will please you if you are the latter!  For those of you who haven't found a love for this phenomenally healthy and tasty green, I beg of you: don't leave it rotting in your fridge or send it next door, make this:

RECIPE: Massaged Kale Salad


1 bunch kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the seeds. Toss and serve.

If you love kale but just can't fit it into your schedule this week, then chop it up and throw it straight in the freezer.  It goes great in soups, stews, and smoothies and prevents winter scurvy!

To add a little onion flavour to your life. 

Full-size shares also get:
Potatoes do not contain inulin and are chock-full of starchy goodness!  I made some mashed potatoes this week to go with some venison steaks a friend shared with us, and they were top-notch.  I used to love russets the best, and if you love the traditional very dry mashed potatoes, these are your ticket.  With some butter and sour cream they taste just like the inside of a baked potato (or save yourself the peeling and just make a baked potato!).

Stir-fry Mix

In the stir-fry mix this week we have: Bull's Blood beet tops, red mustard, red mizuna, mizuna, tatsoi, ruby streaks, chard, and nasturtium flowers (which are also edible). 

Our helpers after a long, tiring day getting the CSA bags ready!
(I believe I'll do the same myself as soon as possible!)

Have a great week!

Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901
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