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
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!)
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
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
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
Kohlrabi 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.
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
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!).
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!