Notes from the Farm
Happy equinox! This is the time of year when we are gathering all the produce from the field, washing, sorting, curing, processing, and hopefully selling. We are drying plums, apples, tomatoes and cayennes. We are canning tomato sauce, salsa, apple sauce and pickled jalapenos; freezing kale, cauliflower and bell peppers. It’s busy, crazy, detail oriented and sometimes a bit much. While I chop what seems to be the 500th nardello pepper I wonder how farming became romanticized in our culture. Although maybe it’s better than doing anything else for those of an independent nature. We don’t like to be bossed around, but one can hardly argue with nature.
At the same time our eyes are on the future, planning late fall and winter projects both on and off of the farm; setting up winter homes for the sheep and pigs, building a lean-to for the cows and teaching adult ed classes at Corvallis school. If anyone is interested in learning how to make sausage and/or cure meat Leon will be hosting a couple of classes this winter at the farm. I’ll send out a note when it gets closer to the date, we are thinking January and February.
This Week’s CSA
Sunshine Kabocha Squash: If you like a rich flavored, deep orange fleshed squash this one is for you. Generally a little bit drier than the buttercup squash, but similar flavor. It makes a very pretty stuffed squash, being beautiful on the inside and out. Wow, if that is not a Hallmark card than what is? In our experience this squash stores well into November and then starts to go in December, so don’t leave it in your pantry thinking it may make the perfect white elephant Christmas gag.
Espelette Pepper: We tried one of these two weeks ago and felt fire. Man, it was hot. Then I tried one yesterday, a green one and it was as sweet as can be. We were given Espelette seed from our foodie friend John who claims it has a “floral” fragrance once dried and ground. This guy knows what he’s talking about and I am sure you will agree if you have a sophisticated palette. If you are like me and can barely notice the difference between mozzarella and jack cheese, lumping them all into the category of “tasty” then it probably doesn’t matter. Wikipedia writes “Chili pepper, originally from Mexico and to a lesser extent South America, was introduced into France from the New World during the 16th century. After first being used medicinally, it subsequently became popular for preparing condiments and for the conservation of meat and ham. It is now a cornerstone of Basque cuisine, where it has gradually replaced black pepper and it is a key ingredient in piperade.“
To dry these peppers you can string them up with a needle and strong thread, sew through the stem, and hang them in the kitchen as a little eye candy. You could also lay them out on a screen. Air flow is important, obviously, but our arid climate makes drying a snap. They take about a month to dry completely.
Mary’s Pears: Our friend Mary has a beautiful pear tree that is consistently overwhelmingly abundant. She harvests them and brings them to us, making our job that much easier, to share with you. They ripen quickly, turning a light yellow, once out of the cooler or refrigerator.
Savory Fruit-Stuffed Squash
2 medium-sized winter squash, prebaked and halved
1 cup raw brown rice and 1 3/4 cups water
1 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups minced onion
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 medium-sized tart apples, diced
3 large navel oranges, sectioned
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice or cloves
1 tsp salt
1-2 TBS honey
1 cup chopped almonds or pecans
- She gives instructions for making rice but I trust you all know how to do this by now. If not enter into remedial cooking class immediately.
- Melt butter in skillet, saute onion for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, apples, oranges, and spices and saute over medium heat about 5 minutes more.
- Add saute to rice and mix well. Season to taste with salt and honey.
- Preheat oven to 350. Fill prebaked squash halves and top with chopped nuts. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20-30 minutes.
This makes a nice festive meal, good for those avoiding gluten, loads of sweetener, animal products ( you can of course substitute oil for the butter) , etc. etc.
Source: The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen