In the share this week:
1 lb mixed tomatoes
1 head garlic
1 bunch thai basil
1 bunch carrots
2 fennel bulbs
1 bag salad mix
1 lb green beans (either roma or filet beans)
Thoughts from Farmer Anna:
After almost two weeks without a drop of rain, the sky finally opened up this afternoon. We had almost 2 inches in our rain gauge! So much time (and water) has been spent these last weeks on keeping our plantings irrigated, so this is a very welcome change. We had just finished up the weeding (lettuces) and seeding (fall carrots and green beans) that needed to be done today before we heard the rain coming across the ridge. It is pretty cool to watch and hear a storm roll in while we are working up on the hilltop. You can literally hear the heavy rain coming just before it starts pouring down on you. There's about a ten second lead time to start running for cover in the hoophouse :) We had been listening to the thunder for awhile, but it seemed further off to the north, so I wasn't sure whether we'd get any rain or not. Thankfully we did!
It has been a little bit tough to keep all of our summer lettuces happy during the last couple of hot and dry weeks, but thankfully I invested in some overhead sprinklers and shade cloth this year to keep them cool. The sprinklers help in just the same way that water on our skin cools us down when it's hot - evaporative cooling. The shade cloth we are using blocks 50% of the sun energy, making it quite a bit cooler under the cloth. We are experimenting with using it over summer lettuces for the first 10 to 14 days after we transplant them out. Summer lettuce is a signature product for us, so it's definitely worth the time and energy to get this right.
The garlic is cured and ready to start including in shares this week. Store these heads and all dried onions at room temperature. They should keep for several months if you find you have garlic accumulating after a few shares. We are in the process of drying more of our onions too. Our sweet onions are dry and available for swapping or adding on this week. We've been eating lots and lots of these sweeties - just adding them to pretty much anything. If you have some left from previous shares, they are delicious raw on salads or sandwiches and even sweeter when sauteed. The other onions in our line-up this year are called cabernet (red), rossa di milano (pink), cortland (yellow), and shallots. We planted a ton of onions this year so that we'll have plenty to give in shares throughout the rest of summer and into the fall.
Fennel and carrots are on again this week. These are both very aromatic vegetables with complimentary flavors. I love the idea of cooking these along with a whole chicken in Maria's roast chicken recipe below. Thai basil is a new and different item this week. It has a slightly anise or clove flavor and would be great dried if you don't want to use it fresh right away. All of the basils can be stored at room temperature in a glass of water, just as you would keep cut flowers. Sometimes basil will last fresh for a couple of weeks this way.
Hope you all have a great week!
Recipes from Maria:
Thai Chicken Fried Rice with Basil - Kao Pad Krapao
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai red chili pepper or Thai red chili pepper paste
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (or 1 block tofu)
1 cup chopped green beans, 1-inch segments
2 cups cold cooked rice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped shallots/onions
⅓ cup Thai basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
In a wok or large skillet, stir-fry garlic in oil until golden; then add chilies and chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked. Add green beans and saute 3 minutes.
Add rice, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and stir-fry, mixing gently.
When well mixed, add shallots, basil leaves and cilantro; cook another minute or so, and serve.
If you desire, serve with lime wedges, bean sprouts, peanuts or cashews at the table.
Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups chopped fennel (1 large bulb)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, divided
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, crumbling it with a fork, until nicely browned. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook for one minute. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil, and add the heavy cream, milk, and tomato paste. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt, and cook the rigatoni according to the directions on the package. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Off the heat, stir in the basil and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Serve hot in shallow bowls with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan on the side.
The Perfect Roast Chicken (Ina Garten)
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.