Notes From the Farm
Sorry I neglected to write the newsletter last week. In order not to be named “worst mom in the world” for two consecutive years I had to make a little trip with my son to an amusement park in Idaho, the upside being I am off the hook for County Fair duty.
The big news on the farm… drum roll…we have sweet corn! Leon, self-proclaimed “Child of the Corn”, has once again pulled off a successful crop in this land of raccoon and blackbirds. I have been quite amused these past two weeks as he has plotted and concocted potions to deter his adversaries. He made some really foul looking garlic and hot pepper tea which he planned to spread around the perimeter of the corn to repel animals. A day later our neighbors combined their wheat crop a mile down the lane and Leon could not have been more delighted thinking how the flock of yellow winged blackbirds would be more interested in the accessible grain than his corn. Apparently in his excessive joy he has forgotten about the potion, it is still sitting in our kitchen. We are not completely free of corn lovers, raccoons have been visiting nightly, taking their share of the August bounty, but a couple of coons are less destructive than 200 birds.
This Week’s CSA
Sweet Corn: We grow a bi-colored corn that’s pretty and tasty.
Anaheim Pepper: This pepper is also known as California pepper, or Chile Verde. It’s listed as a hot pepper in the seed catalogues, but this variety can be variable. Some of them are downright mild, others have a little heat. These peppers make great Chile Rellenos.
Tomatillos: Tomatillos are a distinctive and indigenous ingredient in Mexican cuisine. The fruit goes by many names, including tomato verde and husk tomato since it remains green while ripe and it grows inside a papery calyx or husk. Mexican green tomatoes grow in the wild but most cultivated varieties you find in the store are green, yellow, or purple and remain in their husk. The fruit itself is thin skinned with a mild acid and lots of seeds. If you plan to use them quickly, tomatillos can be stored at room temperature in a cool place. For longer storage, keep inside a paper bag or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. The fruit can be used raw but it takes well to cooking too. Roasting or simmering tomatillos can help mellow their slightly tart bite. They make a great addition to many Mexican dishes and can be used as burrito or enchilada filling or to supply the base ingredient for sauces and pork verde. However you prepare them, the husk needs to be removed and the tomatillo rinsed of the slightly tacky substance around the base. If adding to a stew (i.e. chile or pork verde), tomatillos can be chopped and added raw. If making verde or other salsa, tomatillos need to be cooked first; roasting or boiling are two typical methods.
Other items in the box include: Basil – unfortunately the leaves are a little tattered the grasshoppers are loving this crop, chives, walla sweet onions, green beans and dragon tongue beans – we are nearing the end of bean season, green cabbage, lettuce mix, zucchini, cucumber and strawberries.
Chile Relleno Casserole
Note: The recipe originally called for poblano peppers.
- 8 Anaheim chiles
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
- 1 pound Mexican chorizo (or other spicy sausage)
- 1 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (can sub feta)
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
- One dozen eggs
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 The first step is to char the outside skin of the Anaheim chiles. The easiest way to do that is directly over the flame of a gas burner (see How to Roast Chiles over a Gas Flame). You can also do that over a grill, or in a broiling pan under a broiler (don’t use a thin baking sheet or it will warp under the high heat). Just put the chiles close enough to the heating element so they char and blister on the surface. Turn the chiles so that they get completely blackened all around. Place the blackened chiles in a bowl and cover with a plate or damp towel. Let the chiles steam in their own heat for several minutes.
2 While the chilies are cooling, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan, on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes (break up any whole tomatoes before adding to the pan). Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3 Carefully peel and discard the blackened skin off of the chilies. Cut off the stem ends. Carefully remove the seed pod without tearing the chiles (which you will stuff later).
4 Put the Mexican chorizo in a large frying pan and set the heat to medium high. Break up the chorizo with the edge of a metal spatula as you cook it. Cook until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
5 Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8×12 inch baking dish. The tomato sauce should be the consistency of a thin spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, thin it out with a little water.
6 In a large bowl, mix together the stuffing of the cooked chorizo, cotija, and oregano. Stuff chiles with sausage mixture and place them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish.
7 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the eggs. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle chiles with half of the jack or cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over chiles and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
8 Bake until top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.
Stuffed Anaheim Chile Peppers
3–4 Anaheim chili peppers, tops sliced off and seeds removed
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup fresh tomatoes (any kind), chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 can of black beans, liquid drained
1/2–3/4 cup queso fresco or Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup onion, diced (optional)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. While the rice is cooking, prepare the peppers and chop other ingredients.
- Mix the beans and other ingredients with rice.
- Spoon the mixture into the cavity of each whole pepper.
- Bake on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 45 minutes.
- Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.
- Top with salsa, sour cream and/or lime juice.
Serves 3–4. Prep time, 10–15 minutes; cook time, 45 minutes.
Source: The FruitGuys