In the share this week:
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch salad turnips
1 pint sweet lunchbox peppers
1 lb yellow onions
1 bag salad mix
1 bag arugula
1 bunch lacinato kale (pictured below)
Thoughts from Farmer Anna:
The drought we are experiencing is really starting to make its' effect known. We are watering almost constantly on the farm just to keep everything going. The grass is crispy and brown in many places and trees are starting to droop and drop their own brown, crispy leaves. We've had a bit more deer and insect pressure as well. The drought is what makes the deer a bit braver since their other food sources dry up. The unrelenting heat is what is making the insects bad, as they continue to get in more and more life-cycles while the getting is good. All in all, we are doing ok here, thanks mostly to our ability to irrigate. I'm not looking forward to seeing our water bill for September though! We currently use city water to irrigate our crops because we don't have a pond on our property. Even if we did have a pond, I'm guessing we'd probably be pumping it dry about now. We desperately need rain, especially now that the heat has turned up just a few more notches. I guess I'm never surprised by these extreme shifts in weather. It does certainly seem to be the new normal. We are doing our best to adjust to this reality with our farming practices and trying to make sure that every choice we make in our daily lives helps to lighten the load on the environment. It does feel pretty frustrating that more isn't being done to lighten our environmental impact at every level possible, but we just need to keep pushing toward that goal.
Ok, on to happier thoughts - like your awesome share this week! New items this week are the salad turnips (one of my absolute favorite crops), lunchbox peppers (the sweet snackable size), and lacinato kale. You'll probably remember the salad turnips from the spring - they are great raw or roasted or in soups. They have such a sweet, fresh flavor and wonderful texture. The lunchbox peppers can be eaten raw out of hand and have a very small seed cavity that you can just munch around. Lacinato kale is a more delicately textured kale and some say it has a lighter flavor as well. We use it in any kale recipe, but it would be great chopped fine in a salad, baked into kale chips or used in a soup (perhaps with those turnips!). Maria has some awesome recipe ideas for your arugula this week. Arugula is pretty versatile since you can eat in raw in salads or cook it. FYI: we are harvesting sweet potatoes this week, so they will appear in next week's share if you want to wait for that before making the gnocchi recipe below :)
Recipes from Maria:
Crispy Roasted Potatoes and Arugula Salad
For the Potatoes:
1½ lb. baby potatoes, quartered
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp ground sweet paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
4 cups (packed) arugula
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly grated, to taste (I used 1/4 cup)
For the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine together the potatoes, garlic, dried rosemary, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper until potatoes are well-coated.
On a large baking sheet (lined with parchment paper for easy clean-up), spread the potatoes in a single layer and roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
For the salad. As the potatoes roast, place the arugula in a large bowl and top with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine and then set aside.
Put it together. Plate the arugula on a large platter or plate and top with the roasted potatoes. Then grate a generous amount of parmesan cheese over the dish. Best served immediately.
Arugula Walnut Pesto
4 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed
1 cup of shelled walnuts
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
Cracked black pepper, to taste
½ to 1 full lemon, squeezed
Over medium high heat, lightly brown the unpeeled garlic cloves, about ten minutes. Peel off the skins once they have cooled down.
Over medium high heat, toast the walnuts until fragrant, about three to five minutes.
In a food processor, combine the arugula, salt, walnuts and all the garlic.
Pulse while drizzling in the olive oil.
Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper and a big squeeze of lemon, to taste.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
For the Gnocchi:
One 1-lb sweet potato
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cup flour (more for dusting)
Sauce and other ingredients:
5 cups finely chopped broccoli rabe (stems, leaves, and florets)
Arugula Walnut Pesto
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
For the gnocchi: Stick the sweet potato a few times with a fork, wrapped in a damp paper towel, and microwave until soft, about 7 minutes. (You can also bake the sweet potato in the oven, which will take closer to an hour.)
Scoop the flesh of the sweet potato into a mixing bowl. Discard the skin. Mix the ricotta, parmesan, and salt until well combined and almost completely smooth. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading very gently after each addition (don’t over knead it – you don’t want it to get tough).
Eventually, as the dough becomes easier to handle, transfer it to a clean floured work surface and form it into a loaf, about 9×5 inches. Cut a slice off the loaf on the short side (think of it as if it were a loaf of banana bread and you were going to cut a slice to eat). Roll and stretch the slice on a floured surface until it forms a long, skinny rope-like shape. Cut the rope into 1-inch segments and transfer to a bowl: this is your gnocchi.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the gnocchi, and boil until the gnocchi rise to the top of the water. Drain and toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. At this point you can make the rest of the recipe with the gnocchi, refrigerate the gnocchi to finish them later, or freeze them.
For the Broccoli Rabe: Bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare a bowl with ice water. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool and stop the broccoli rabe from cooking further. Drain again and set aside.
Putting it all together: Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until lightly bubbling and foaming. Add the gnocchi and pan-fry until golden brown on the outside (you may have to do this in batches). Once the gnocchi is done, add the broccoli rabe and pesto, the sauce should coat the gnocchi and broccoli rabe very lightly and serve immediately with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice if you want.