Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fair Weather and Friends

Hello everyone!

It's been a good start to the summer, with (fingers crossed) generally hot but pleasant weather; averages in the 70s and just enough rain to keep us farmers and our vegetables comfortable.  We couldn't ask for weather more ideal than what we've experienced, so far not like the typical Iowa July that is so famously brutal.  We know the drill, though....we're bracing ourselves for a heat wave, any week now!  Once you start to appreciate the weather, it changes.  Looks like some hotter temps are just around the corner, soon to visit us this weekend.  We just hope this doesn't mean that the rain is gone for good!

Like we've stated recently, the beginning of summer ushers in a new lineup of produce for our CSA members (and on our market table too, for that matter).  We are still holding on to some old favorites of spring for you all to enjoy, such as head lettuce (we're aiming to put you together another salad mix!); but with the intensity of the summer solstice still lingering, much of our lettuce crop and cool, leafy greens are beginning to lose their quality.  No worries though...we've got some new treats for you!

The spread this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Mint
  • Onions (White Candy or Red Candy Apple)
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes

....and possibly more!

I know, you're probably saying to yourself "that is a nice addition of new stuff!"  We've pulled up our first candy onions from our meticulously pampered plots (if you don't know, our candy onions are the "classic" storage kind, big bulbs for slicing into onion rings) and my are they stunning....big and round, looking like big polished-smooth pearls, and they smell sweet, pungent, and delightful (I picked them in armfuls today to send to the New Pioneer Co-ops....they smell is so good your stomach growls and your mouth waters). Much thanks to anyone and everyone who has been out here and weeded our onions for hours on end, which would include our interns, farmers, and even CSA member work-traders.  Thanks to you, the onions turned out good this year!

We also have lavender for you this week, an herb you might not think of as culinary, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by how its subtle addition to a sauce or meat dish can really fancy things up a bit.  We will include some fantastic recipes for this aromatic flower.  Broccoli is on the table again, a nice little surprise you all received last week.  It is also a lovely flower like lavender, albeit much less aromatic, more crunchy, and full of vitamins and antioxidants...yes, don't forget that broccoli is a flower!  Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables....we'll also include recipes with broccoli!

Last but certainly not least....our potatoes are ready for the digging!  Farmer Derek and his adorable daughter Liliona unearthed the first red tubers this past week, and we made them into Echollective french fries.  Expect a helping of the very first Echollective potatoes of the year...Yum!

Kale and Collard greens are for the taking this week yet again (can't ever be without delicious cooked greens, am I right?)  We wanted to let everyone know that over time, the effects of last weekend's hailstorm have really manifested in our kale and collards....some of it will be a bit holy.  (Not ordained by a priest holy....covered with holes holy.)  We hope this is not a big issue; if it is, please contact us.  We cannot help the weather, though we do try.  Your greens will taste just as good and are still very pretty (we eat them all the time!), but you may very well be able to read the morning paper through them.  Hah, okay, that is an exaggeration, you wouldn't notice at first glance.  But just to warn you they are there!  We don't want any surprises.

A big thank you to CSA member (for more than one year!) Elizabeth Hinds for mentioning us in her blog!  She has given us the best CSA Member-engineered scape recipes to date.  A big shout out to her.  Go and check out her blog:  http://bethsbites.wordpress.com/.  We wish her luck on her journey through the wide world of culinary arts!

Well, that's all we've got for you folks....hope to see you at market, and take care!


Recipes


Ellen Sullivan's Lavender Tenderloin (www.epicurious.com)

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
 
Valley Center, California: In 1998, Ellen Sullivan purchased land in Northern San Diego County, California, named it The Lavender Fields, and planted, grew, and harvested fields of lavender. She also searched for culinary uses for the plant, which is still considered more of an aromatic flower than a herb. "The first modern culinary use I saw was a chef's recipe for lavender crème brûlée, and that got me thinking. Lavender's flavor is both tangy and floral, so it works as well in savory dishes as it does in sweet ones—I love what it does to beef tenderloin." This recipe remains one of Ms. Sullivan's favorite company meals.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dried food-quality lavender buds
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • One 4 1/2-pound whole beef tenderloin, trimmed and silverskin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

1. The day before serving, grind the lavender, fennel, peppercorns, thyme, and salt to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Rub the tenderloin with the spice mixture, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
2. Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a rack inside a roasting pan.
3. Remove the plastic wrap, brush off the spices from the tenderloin, and rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place the tenderloin on the rack and roast for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.
4. Reduce the heat to 325°F and roast for 5 to 15 minutes longer, to the desired doneness (an instant-read thermometer will read 125°F for medium rare).
5. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the remaining olive oil to the roasting pan, scrape well, and stir to combine the drippings.
6. Cut the tenderloin against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle the pan drippings over the meat and serve.

From One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking by Molly O'Neill. Copyright © 2010 by Molly O'Neill. Published by Simon & Schuster. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York.



Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle (www.eatingwell.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried *(or fresh) rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese *(substitute other kind of cheese if desired)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
 *Echollective suggestions!


Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat four 10-ounce ramekins (or a 2- to 2 1/2-quart soufflé dish) with cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Place broccoli in a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until the broccoli is tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Adjust heat as needed to prevent the mixture from getting too dark; it should be the color of caramel. Add milk, mustard, rosemary and salt and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in goat cheese and 3 egg yolks until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Beat the 5 egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whipped whites into the milk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites and the reserved broccoli just until no white streaks remain. Transfer to the prepared ramekins or soufflé dish.
  5. Bake until puffed, firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F, about 20 minutes in ramekins or 30 minutes in a soufflé dish. Serve immediately.


Potato Basil Puree (www.foodnetwork.com)


Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 pounds large Yukon Gold or white boiling potatoes *any kind of potato works fine!
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*Echollective suggestion!
 Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color. Drain and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters. Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain well, return to the saucepan, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese until the cream simmers. Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the hot cream mixture and process until smooth.

With a handheld mixer with the beater attachment, beat the hot potatoes in the pot until they are broken up. Slowly add the hot basil cream, the salt, and pepper and beat until smooth. If the potatoes need to be reheated, cover and cook gently over low heat for a few minutes. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, season to taste, and serve hot.



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 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!