CSA Newsletter Week #9 July 25th

Farm Notes
This past week, folks from the UK College of Ag came out to the farm to catch some shots of our crew in action. Check out this great shot of the farm they got from above! You may be able to spot a group of us harvesting your green beans at the bottom of the photo!

SouthFarmAerial
Photo by Matt Barton. Original shot can be viewed from the UK College of Ag Facebook page.

Note from an Apprentice
By Langston Newton

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Langston Newton, I am a sophomore and I am majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and double­ minoring in Track and Football at the University of Kentucky. As a dual sport athlete I spend a lot of my time working out and preparing for the games my peers watch. In return I am allotted the most beautiful thing that a young man my age can get: a full scholarship with which I can major in anything I please. So with it I chose to work on the University of Kentucky’s historical South Farm.

Being a part of two of UK’s athletic teams has kind of changed my role on the farm. Along with all of the normal duties as an apprentice, I’m asked to help with a few special jobs. For example, when there is something heavy that needs to be moved, they call me. If there is a harvest that requires people to catch and toss, they call me. If something requires a taller person, well, they call me. If there is a truck stuck in the mud and it needs to be pushed out or if weight needs to be added to the back of it well you guessed it… they call me. I am fine with this because I think that it is almost a shame if I have all these skill sets from sports and they can not be transferred to use on the farm.

When I’m not digging in the dirt then I’m throwing ball carriers into the dirt. My specialized jobs aren’t the only things that I have enjoyed about the farm. I also enjoy the experiences and learning about growing crops organically. It has to be the highlight of my summer.

I have been able to read a lot about food and the food system during my travels to and from the stadium and in between practices. Even with all the books that I have under my belt there is nothing better than actually experiencing the situations. It’s almost like seeing pictures of a beach: one doesn’t truly appreciate something unless you get to stick your toes in the sand.

I plan on enjoying all of the time that I have left in this class and I hope you enjoy the food the other apprentices and I help grow. Go Cats!
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Langston and David helped us process onions this week.

What’s In Your Share

For July 25th, you’ll find:
+ 6 Squash and Zucchini
+ 6 Cucumbers
+ 1 bunch Green Onions
+ 1 bunch Leeks
+ 2 Eggplant
+ Green Bell Peppers
+ Green Beans
+ Tomatoes

The following crops are available for U-Pick:
+ Okra (You want to cut the okra pods when they are 3″ or less, if you find a larger okra pod, do everyone a favor by cutting if off the plant to encourage more pods to grow.)
+ Basil (Note: basil is located in a different field, down the grassway and on your left. Pinch off the tops of the plants to encourage more growth.)
+ Herbs (These plants are still young, but feel free to cut a bit off, they will continue to grow)
+ Flowers
+ Cherry Tomatoes are open again for U-Pick but in limited quantity

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Veggie Tips

+ This is the only week for Leeks. Farm crew member Aaron recommends grilling them along with the Green Onions, if you want to conduct an official taste test to evaluate the difference. Or try either our leek fritter or leek french tart recipes, below! Leeks can be cleaned best by cutting off the dark green tops and the roots, slicing them lengthwise and soaking them in water to remove all the dirt.

+ There are FIVE different varieties of Eggplant to choose from at our share today. Two are Asian eggplants, “Little Finger” and “Ping Tung Long,” which tend to be sweeter since they are smaller and more tender and also need less cooking time. The globe eggplant, “Traviata,” is probably the one that looks the most familiar. There is also a similar variety that is striped called “Nubia,” perhaps one of the prettiest eggplant varieties. “Nubia” is good fried or grilled. Lastly, we have a smaller white eggplant, “Snowy,” which is native to India and has a firm, creamy texture that holds up well when cooked.

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Recipes

Leek Fritters
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 lbs leeks, white and light green parts, halved, washed and thinly sliced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (from stale bread)
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/3 cup olive oil, for frying (I try to use as little as possible, the Greek way is to use a lot)

Directions:
Place the potatoes with enough water to cover by two inches, add a little salt and bring to a boil; then simmer until soft–about ten minutes, depending upon the size of your potato pieces.
Drain and place in a large bowl.
Place the leeks in a steamer over two inches of boiling water and cover and steam for about 10 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy; add the leeks and combine.
Add in the eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and the oregano and mix well.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Drop in about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each fritter and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.
Fry in batches, about three minutes a side, until fritters are golden.
Remove to paper towels on racks to drain and then keep warm in the oven.
Serve warm.

Yield: 20 fritters

Goat’s Cheese, Shallot, and Leek Tart
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
230 g ready-made flaky pastry dough ( 9 ozs)
12 ounces leeks, cleaned, trimmed weight
8 ounces firm goat cheese ( rindless)
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
7 fluid ounces creme fraiche or 7 fluid ounces double cream
4 pink shallots, trimmed and finely diced
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. You will need a 7½ inch (19 cm) diameter fluted quiche tin with a removable base, 1¼ inches (3 cm) deep, very lightly buttered, and a small, solid baking sheet.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and pop the baking sheet in to pre-heat on the centre shelf.
3. Now prepare the leeks. First, take the tough green ends off & discard them; leave some of the lighter green & then make a vertical split about halfway down the centre of each one and clean them by running them under the cold-water tap while you fan out the layers – this will rid them of any hidden dust and grit. Then slice them in half lengthways and chop into ½-inch (1 cm) slices.
4. Next, in a medium-sized frying pan, melt the butter over a gentle heat and add the leeks, shallots and some salt. Give it all a good stir and let them cook gently, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes or until the juice runs out of them. Then you need to transfer them to a sieve set over a bowl to drain off the excess juice. Place a saucer with a weight on top of them to press out every drop.
5. Roll it out into a circle on a lightly floured surface. As you roll, give it quarter turns to keep the round shape and roll it as thinly as possible. Now transfer it, rolling it over the pin, to the tin. Press it lightly and firmly over the base and sides of the tin, easing any overlapping pastry back down to the sides, as it is important not to stretch it. Now trim the edges and press the pastry up about ¼ inch (5 mm) above the rim of the tin all round, and then prick the base all over with a fork.
6. After that, paint some of the beaten egg for the filling over the base and sides. Now place the tin on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Check halfway through the cooking time to make sure that the pastry is not rising up in the centre. If it is, just prick it a couple of times and press it back down with your hands.
7. While the pastry case is pre-baking, crumble the goats’ cheese with your hands, and then gently combine it with the leeks & shallots in the sieve. Now, in a jug, mix the beaten eggs with the crème fraîche or double cream, seasoning with just a little salt (there is some already in the leeks) and a good grinding of freshly milled black pepper.
8. As soon as the pastry case is ready, remove it from the oven; arrange the leeks, shallots and cheese all over the base. Pour the cream and egg mixture over the top of the cheese, shallots & leeks, then put the tart back on the baking sheet with the oven shelf half pulled out, then gently slide the shelf back in and bake the tart for 30-35 minutes, until it’s firm in the centre and the surface has turned a lovely golden brown.
9. Next, remove it from the oven and allow it to settle for 10 minutes before serving. These 10 minutes is important, as it will be much easier to cut into portions. The best way to remove the tart from the tin is to ease the edges from the sides of the tin with a small knife, then place it on an upturned jar or tin, which will allow you to carefully ease the sides away.

Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Salad
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
For the salad:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds total), cut into 3 x 3/4 x 3/4-inch strips
2 large green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips

Dressing:
8 large garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
3/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the sesame spread:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt

8 warm pita bread rounds, cut into wedges

Directions:
To make the salad: Place rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Spray large heavy baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Combine eggplant, peppers, garlic and oil in large bowl. Toss well. Transfer to prepared sheet. Bake until eggplant is brown and vegetables are tender, stirring every 10 minutes, about 50 minutes. Remove garlic and reserve. Scrape vegetables and all pan juices into bowl.
To make the dressing: Combine vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne in processor. Peel roasted garlic; add to processor. Puree until smooth.

Toss vegetable mixture with 1/4 cup garlic dressing. Cool, tossing occasionally. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill vegetables and remaining dressing separately. Bring to room temperature.)

Mound salad in center of large platter. Surround with pita wedges. Serve, passing remaining dressing and Sesame Spread separately.

To make the sesame spread: Beat butter, sesame seeds and salt to blend in small bowl. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Yield: 8 servings

Ratatouille on the Grill
Submitted by Cheryl Kastanowski

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed with press
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds plum tomatoes, each cut lengthwise in half
2 medium red peppers, each cut lengthwise into quarters
2 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large (1 1/2-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 ounces ricotta salata or Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Prepare outdoor grill for covered, direct grilling on medium.

Prepare vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. In slow, steady stream, whisk in oil until blended.

On 2 jelly-roll pans, lightly brush tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and onion slices with some vinaigrette. With tongs, transfer vegetables to hot grill grate. Cover grill and cook tomatoes about 6 minutes; peppers, zucchini, and eggplant about 8 minutes; and onion about 12 minutes or until all vegetables are tender and lightly charred on both sides. Return vegetables to jelly-roll pans.

To serve, on platter, arrange grilled vegetables; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and sprinkle with basil. With vegetable peeler, shave ricotta salata into large pieces over vegetables.

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