Notes from the Farm
Leon has been busy putting up hay and charming people with his presence at the O’Hara Commons market. The rest of the crew, i.e. Pam has been harvesting like mad.
Animal news: The Brown Swiss Beauty, January, calved about two weeks ago. You may spot her and her calf, Honeysuckle south of the driveway in the tallish grass.
Most of the pigs got moved to the mowed rye field on Saturday. They are enjoying new digs and the shade of the trees during the afternoon heat wave.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
New This Week
Romanesco is a member of the brassica family, along with broccoli and cauliflower. These too are immature flower buds, arranged in a spiral, or Fibonacci sequence. Probably one of the more visually striking vegetables out there, and pretty good to eat too. Prepare as you would cauliflower. See recipe below.
Baby reds for your plate.
This year we grew Ailsa Craigs, a variety similar in taste and style to the famous Walla Walla onion. In a taste test I cannot tell them apart, but we have had better luck storing the Ailsa Craigs in November when we need to. This onion can be eaten cooked or raw. My niece, who likes very few vegetables can consume a surprising portion of these sweet onions, sliced thin.
Ole! Epazote hails from southern Mexico all the way to South America. It is used in many traditional Mexican dishes, often cooked with black beans. We often sprinkle it in quesadillas, enchiladas and burritos. The name derives from the Nahuatl language and is translated as skunk sweat. Hmmm, not the most flattering of descriptions. To use mince the leaves and sprinkle on, or check out The Frijoles recipe below to make a stellar pot of beans. This herb can also be dried for future use.
It’s zucchini season! After a few years of trialing different varieties our favorite thus far is Black zucchini, an open pollinated variety.
Chiogga beets are an heirloom variety from Italy, and have been cultivated in the United States since the 1840’s. The insides are red and white candy striped, the light-colored leaves are mild and quite tasty.
Frijoles de la olla (home-cooked beans)
Black beans and epazote go hand-in-hand. This recipe makes 7 cups, which can be turned into rice and beans, or a wonderful burrito filling, by adding your favorite spices (cumin, chili powder, etc.). To make a great black bean soup, puree the cooked beans, flavor with cumin to taste, and add some chicken or vegetable stock. Cooked beans can be frozen.
1 lb black beans
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or bacon drippings)
1 medium onion, cut into large dice
2 sprigs fresh epazote
1-2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Check through the beans and remove any stones. Place in a large bowl, cover by at least two inches with cold water, and let soak overnight.
To cook, drain the beans and add them to a large stock pot with oil, onion and epazote. Add 2-1/2 quarts of water (you can substitute part vegetable or chicken stock, if you wish), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. Skim off foam as necessary during the early part of the cooking process. Add water if the mixture becomes too thick. When the beans are tender, add 1 tsp salt and simmer for a few minutes. Then, add more salt to taste. If using fresh epazote, remove the sprig before serving.
Source: The Perfect Pantry
Chiogga Beets with Raspberry Mint Vinagrette
a straight-forward, simple recipe
- 1 lb beets (4 to 6; preferably Chioggia*), 1 inch of stems left intact
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh orange zest (from 2 oranges)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
- Cover beets with water by 1 inch in a 2 to 3-quart saucepan and simmer until tender when pierced in center with a fork, about 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then slip off and discard skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- While beets are cooking, stir together scallions, 2 tablespoons vinegar, lemon juice to taste, mint, zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Add warm beets and toss with vinaigrette and vinegar and salt to taste. Serve warm or slightly chilled.
Gjelina’s Pan-Roasted Romanesco with Golden Raisins, Tahini, and Sumac
- 2 tablespoons (43 grams) tahini
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste (about 1 lemon)
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon cold filtered water, plus more for thinning
- 1 tablespoon quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
- Flake-style salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium head of Romanesco, trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon Homemade Vegetable Stock or filtered water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sumac
- Maldon sea salt
- High-quality olive oil for drizzling
- In a small/medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, 1 tablespoon of cold filtered water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and minced garlic.
- While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive into the tahini mixture.
- With lemon juice and/or water (chef’s discretion based on taste preferences, I usually use a 50/50 blend) adjust the thickness of the dressing. The sauce should be thick but not so thick that it can’t be drizzled. Season with flake-style salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan (enough to cover the bottom) and heat over medium-high.
- When the oil is hot and shimmering (but not smoking), add the Romanesco in a single layer with the cut side down. Let the florets cook undisturbed for a few minutes until they start to develop a deep golden color. Toss the Romanesco and continue to cook until almost tender. Note: The Romanesco should be just shy of tender before you add the raisins. I added the raisins too soon the first time I made this dish and ended up picking them out of the pan so that the Romanesco could finish cooking.
- Lower the heat to medium, add the raisins, a pinch of flake-style salt, and freshly ground pepper, then cook for 2 minutes so that the raisins can soften.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, add the homemade vegetable stock or water to the pan, and allow everything to steam for about 1-2 minutes. The stock will evaporate quickly.
- Transfer the Romanesco to a serving plate or bowl.
- To serve, drizzle with the tahini dressing, sprinkle the sumac, then finish with sea salt to taste.
- Finally, drizzle some highly quality olive oil over the top.
- The Romanesco is great warm, room temperature, and even the cold leftovers are wonderful as a snack.
Source: Chic Eats