Farm News 07/08/14

Important Reminders
  • The fruit share starts this week.
  • This week we will deliver vegetables and fruit.
  • Next week we will deliver vegetables, fruit, dairy & eggs.
This Week’s Vegetable Share
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Arugula
  • Cucumbers
  • Curly Kale
  • Leafy Asian Cabbage (Tokyo Bekana)
  • Zucchini/Summer Squash (off-farm pickup sites only)
This Week’s Fruit Share
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Cherries
  • Raspberries
Quick Tips for Storage
  • Store all of this week's fruit in the refrigerator. Raspberries are highly perishable and should be eaten within a couple of days. Blueberries and cherries will store longer.
  • Basil leaves will turn black if stored in the refrigerator because they can't tolerate cold temperatures. Instead, treat your basil bunch like a bouquet and place it in a small glass of water on the countertop.
  • Store all other vegetables, including zucchini and cucumbers, in the refrigerator in plastic bags or in a crisper drawer.
In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your Share
Kale is closely related to broccoli and cabbage. The key to cooking kale is to let it simmer long enough so that it becomes tender. Before cooking with kale, take a sharp knife and slice out the tough center rib. Then tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and steam or simmer in water or broth until just tender. Add cooked kale to omelets, quiches, scrambled eggs, lasagnas, and casseroles. You can also add chopped raw kale to soups and pasta sauces mid-way through the cooking time. One of our favorite ways to prepare kale is actually one of the easiest. First, sauté some chopped garlic in olive oil until golden. Then add chopped kale leaves (stems and ribs removed) and a couple of big splashes of white wine. Simmer until tender and season with salt and pepper.
Here's a close-up taken in the kale field this morning. All of those beautiful kale "trees" lined up in weed-free rows is a beautiful sight! 
There are numerous types of Asian Cabbage. This particular type is called Tokyo Bekana. For those of you unfamiliar with Tokyo Bekana, it is the item in the box that has frilly yellow-green leaves and is banded with a twist tie. It's a great addition to our offerings at this time of year because it grows quickly in warm wet weather, and it really gets going just as our spring and early-summer lettuce plantings are fading. Tokyo Bekana's mild cabbage flavor provides a nice contrast to the more familiar flavor of head lettuce. It can be used raw in salads and in much the same way as you would use head lettuce or Napa cabbage. When sliced thinly and paired with an Asian-inspired or vinegar-based salad dressing, the result is a slaw with a nice delicate crunch.

On Tuesday afternoon Nadia is busy setting out vegetables (including this lovely Tokyo Bekana) for CSA members who pick up at the farm.

A Few More Fun Photos Taken this Week...

In this photo, sheep graze contentedly at the Brodhead farm. Thanks to all the rain, our pastures continue to produce abundant forage for our animals.

There are 12 acres of woods on the back side of the Brodhead farm. Matt and Peg are slowly restoring this area to Oak Savannah by clearing brush, using proscribed burning and spreading the seeds of native prairie plants. This photo was taken from the hill, looking out toward the tomato fields.

Tuesday morning started out a little gray, but skies were sunny by the time the crew at the Grayslake farm returned from the fields with their first load of arugula.

By lunchtime, all of Tuesday's CSA boxes had been packed and Tyler was preparing to deliver them to our members.

This Week’s Featured Recipes
Barefoot Contessa's Couscous with Zucchini & Basil

1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 zucchini, large dice

1 1/2 cups couscous (10 ounces)

1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan, and turn off the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and saffron threads and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Bring the chicken stock just back to a boil. Place the couscous in a large bowl and add the cooked zucchini. Pour the hot chicken stock over them. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Add the basil. Toss the couscous with a fork, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
adapted from a recipe by Bobby Flay,
2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into thin strips

Canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus leaves for garnish

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Wedge Pecorino Romano, for shaving

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Heat the grill to high heat. Brush the zucchini on both sides with canola oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill for just about 1 minute per side (until slightly charred and wilted), then remove them to a platter. Whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, to taste, and salt and pepper, to taste, and parsley in a small bowl. Slowly, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the zucchini and let it marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature. Top with shaved cheese, pine nuts, and parsley.
Asian Cabbage Salad with Beets, Toasted Pistachios & Yogurt Dressing
3 large beets, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 bunch Tokyo Bekana (Asian Cabbage), chopped
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place beets in a 12-inch square piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper; fold foil into a packet. Roast until beets are easily pierced with a paring knife, 30 to 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut into wedges. Whisk together yogurt, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons oil; season dressing with salt and pepper. Thin as desired with 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Divide Tokyo Bekana among plates and top with beets, pistachios, and dressing. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Beet Muffins
This is a wonderful recipe from Anna Thomas Bates, a local freelance food writer. Serve the muffins as is, or turn them into fancy cupcakes by dressing them up with cream cheese frosting.
1/2 cup roasted beet purée (made from 1 medium beet)
4 oz butter, melted
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ¼ cups white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and wrap beet in foil (You can do several at a time and use the leftovers in a salad). Roast in preheated oven 45 to 75 minutes, depending upon size and number of beets. Cook until you can pierce easily with a knife. Let beets cool completely. Rub off beet skin, cut one beet into chunks and purée until smooth in a food processor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, place the ½ cup beet purée, melted butter, buttermilk, egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Whisk mixture until smooth and combined.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir until just incorporated. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with muffin papers. Fill cups almost to the brim for tall, domed muffins, or three-fourths full for smaller muffins with a flatter top. Recipe will yield 8 to 12 muffins depending upon how the cup is filled. Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
Lasagna with Kale & Italian Sausage


12 oz Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced (2 cups)

1 bunch kale, stems and ribs removed

4 garlic cloves, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper

8 ounces lasagna noodles (about 9 noodles), each broken crosswise into 4 to 6 pieces

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 5-quart pot, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in onions; cover, and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.Add kale and 1/2 cup water to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain; coarsely chop. Transfer to bowl with onions.

Meanwhile, cook noodles 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain; rinse under cold water.Add noodles, tomatoes, and ricotta to the bowl; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.


Garden Minestrone
2  teaspoons olive oil
1  cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4  garlic cloves, minced
4-5 cups chopped zucchini and/or summer squash
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes, chopped, with juice
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth, divided
6 cups chopped kale leaves (stems and ribs removed)
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash/zucchini and corn; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

Stir in tomatoes, broth and kale; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add pasta and beans to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. 

Next week’s harvest (our best guess)…blueberries, apricots, raspberries, new red potatoes, garlic, lettuce, cucumbers, green onions, fresh sage, carrots, broccoli and maybe the first green beans!



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  • Margaret Sheaffer