Week 12

IMG_2502Full Share (above)
 
IMG_2499
Medium share (above)
 
IMG_2501
Small share (above)

Hello members and friends!

We hope this week finds you well-rested after a holiday weekend and ready for more abundant produce! Even though labor day signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall, we are still in the lovely throes of lots of corn, beans, tomatoes and basil. The boxes are full and fun, and now that we’ve got a friend and neighbor farmer helping out once a week, our Monday harvest day is a lot more humane. Thanks, Ben!

It’s time for our annual member gathering, and we think the fall will be a fantastic time for one this year! We have set the date for Sunday, October 5th, from 10 am to 4 pm. Our plan is to all work together to bring in the fall harvest for the first half of the day, and then enjoy a big potluck and farm fun for the second half of the day, with plenty of time included for guided tours and self-exploration. Please feel free to join us for all or part of the day-we’d love to see you whether or not you can help haul in the winter squash and fall root crops in the morning. We’ve set the potluck lunch-time for 1:30 pm. If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email to sleepyrootfarm@gmail.com so we can plan accordingly. We hope to see lots of you there! Member gatherings are a really important way for us to build our Sleepy Root community, and you all are so important to us! We’d love to be able to see you and thank you in person.

On the farm this week:

photoWe’ve never seen so many grasshoppers in a season! This little guy hitched a ride in the truck with us.
 
 
IMG_1247Brandon found this little beauty in the corn.
 

Now, on to what’s in the box this week:

Melons (1 for each share again!)
Sweet Corn (4 ears for small shares, 6 for medium, 8 for full shares)
Tomatoes (a whopping 3# for smalls, 3 1/2# for mediums, 4# for full shares)
Basil (1 bunch per share)
Edamame (1/2# for each share)
Hot Peppers (1 for small and medium shares, 2 for full shares)
Sweet or Bell Peppers (1 for medium shares, 2 for full shares)
Haricots Vert (green and yellow mix, 1# for medium shares, 1 1/4# for full shares)
Baby kale (1/2# for medium shares, 3/4# for full shares)
Cucumbers (1 for small shares, 2 for full shares)

Everyone is receiving melons again this week, we hope you are enjoying them. The crop is doing well and Brandon is happy that his prophecy that 2014 is the year of the melon has come true! All members are getting a good amount of corn, tomatoes and basil again. We’re sure that you’re all coming up with great ways to use these summertime treats, if you have a great recipe send it on to us so we can share with the whole Sleepy Root family.

A special treat for everyone this week is a little baggie of Edamame. These are fresh soybeans, and a staple of most Sushi restaurants. Don’t let their weird shape and hairy pod scare you, they taste great and were a big hit at our employee meal on Monday. They are a great little appetizer! See method for eating below.

Edamame_by_Zesmerelda_in_ChicagoEdamame pods
 

Another fun item in the boxes is baby kale. We plant these seeds densely, the same way we plant our lettuce beds, and harvest them in the same manner as well. We love having smaller, cut greens year-round but lettuces grown in our region this time of year tend to be aggressively bitter. Baby kale is a super-nutritious, tasty and gorgeous alternative. Eat this fresh and raw like you would any other baby lettuce mix, or feel free to saute or stir fry it like you would full-grown kale.

Haricots verts are back! These gorgeous, slender yellow and green French beans are delicate and tasty. A staple of fine dining, they rarely show up on the commercial market because they need to be harvested by hand and take quite a while to pick. Treat them like you would any green bean, and just appreciate how tender they are to eat. We’ve got a few recipes below for you to try.

Recipes

Edamame, Sushi-house style

Ingredients:

Edamame

Sesame oil

Salt

Directions:

Steam edamame in their pods for about 10 minutes, or until the beans are tender when you slip one out of the pod to sample. Place the edamame in a bowl, toss with sesame oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place an empty bowl on the table as well, for people to put their discarded pods into. To eat, simply slip the beans out of the pods with your fingers, or for even more fun, place the pod in your mouth, holding on to the tip, and pull between your teeth. The beans will slide out, and you’ll have a tasty bean treat with the seasoning of the sesame oil and salt. Discard pod and repeat.

2013-0722_genius-beans-349_copy

 

Penelope Casas’ Garlic Green Beans (Judias Verdas con Ajo) 

Spanish cuisine is a favorite of mine, and Penelope Casas has written many definitive books on the food and wine of Spain. This recipe gets straight to the heart of what’s best about beans…

Author Notes: This technique looks embarrassingly simple, and it is. But it shakes up our habits, and with four ingredients, lets green beans become their best selves. Resist the temptation to add liquid. The beans will stew in their own juices, and their flavor will be completely undiluted. You could leave the garlic out, but its pushy sting will soften a little on the warmth of the beans. Adapted from The Foods and Wines of Spain (Knopf, 1982). 

Serves 4

  • 3/4pounds fresh green beans
  • 1tablespoon butter
  • 1clove garlic, crushed
  • Coarse salt
  1. Snap off the tops of the beans. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beans, and cook them over a medium to medium-high flame, stirring, until they begin to brown.
  2. Lower the flame, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in the crushed garlic, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.

 

Haricots Verts with Mustard Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

Coarse salt

1/2 pound haricots verts trimmed

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped shallot

1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon grainy or smooth Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1-Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath. Addsalt to boiling water, then add haricots verts; cook just until beans are bright green all over, 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. STEP 2-Drain beans; rinse immediately with cold water. Transfer to ice-water bath. When chilled completely, drain; pat dry.

  3. STEP 3-Put shallot and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in mustard. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. Set aside until ready to dress beans; whisk before using.

All the best from all of us,

Brandon, Heather, baby Root, and Frank!

 

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Week 11

full 11 2014 full share (above)

med 11 2014 medium share (above)

small 11 2014small share (above)

Greetings, members!

This box is a great illustration of what it really means to be a CSA member. We’ve waited patiently through the early spring boxes, with lovely little lettuces and crispy radishes and delicate herbs, and now we’re on to the best phase of the year: peak season!

These are the boxes that illustrate just how important it is to remember that when you join any CSA, you are participating in the life of the farm for the entire season.

We all know what the weekly cost of a small, medium, or full share is, and while sometimes in the beginning of the season the boxes aren’t always “worth” that full amount if you were to buy the items organically at your local co-op, once we hit peak season your CSA boxes contain way more value in them than the weekly cost. All this is to illustrate that CSA members are special and unique because they have agreed to support a farm throughout the entire season, and understand that the value of their shares has to be evaluated over all 18 boxes.

We spent an entire day last week salvaging what Kuri, Kabocha, and Pumpkin we could from one of our squash patches. Vine borers had killed all the plants, and began eating away at lots of the fruits, so even though it’s earlier than we would normally remove them from the fields we cut every last one off the vine, inspected them for damage, and brought the good ones into the greenhouse for safe keeping.

 

IMG_1226Some vine borer damage in a Kabocha Sunshine winter squash.  Gross.

We probably lost at least half the crop in those families. The good thing is we plant squash in several areas of the farm, and plant a variety of families, some of which are less attractive to the little bugs. It is fun to see all of the squash we did get out of the attacked patch in nice rows in the greenhouse!

IMG_1230Our good friend and neighbor, Bob Johnson. We think we found a pumpkin the size of the little baby-to-be!
 
 
IMG_1232 Squash and pumpkins that we rescued from the field, curing in the greenhouse
 

 

Here’s what’s in your overflowing boxes this week!

Melons! (1 each for all share sizes)
Sweet Corn (4 for small shares, 6 for medium, 8 for fulls)
Tomatoes (2 1/2# for small shares, 3# for medium shares, 4# for full shares
Hot Peppers (2 each for all share sizes, Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax, or a combo)
Cilantro (1 bunch for all share sizes)
Broccoli (about 1 pound for medium shares, 1 1/2 # for full shares)
Cucumbers (2 each for medium and full shares)
Sweet Peppers (1 for small shares, 2 for full shares)
Snap Beans (1# for small shares, 1 1/2# for full shares)
Zucchini (2 each for full shares)
 

Melons–they are here! The crop is looking great, and the quality is pretty awesome this year! Store these on your countertop to begin with. Once they start to emit a sweet melon smell, if they aren’t already, eat them right away or pop them in the fridge to enjoy later.

 
Melons
Some of the beauties you may find in your box
 

Cilantro-after a hiatus thanks to a lost succession due to rains, we have a lovely crop of cilantro ready for you. There’s so many things to do with it that we don’t even know where to begin. It’s great tossed into fresh salads, sprinkled on your breakfast taco, or made into a delightful chimichurri sauce or fresh salsa. 

Snap beans-the summer round of beans is also doing great! The plants are vigorous, healthy, and producing like crazy. Your beans may be yellow, green, or a combination of both. They might also be the broader, flatter Romano style bean or perhaps the thinner French-style Haricots, all depending on what’s ready when we pick them on Monday or Wednesday. All of the bean recipes we give you will work just fine for any type of fresh snap bean.

Some happenings on the farm this week:

IMG_1240 The coolest caterpillar ever, this little one will become a White-marked Tussock Moth.
 
 
 
 
IMG_1242Hot pepper id: the dark green ones at the top of the photo are jalapenos, the bright yellow-green guys are hungarian hot wax.

Recipes

Romano Beans with Tomatoes (Fagioli a Corallo in Umido)

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 green onions, white portion only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb. very ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, or 1 can (14 oz.) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juices
  • 1 small dried red chili (optional)
  • 1 lb. romano beans or green beans, ends trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Directions:

In a saucepan large enough to hold the beans, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chili, increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes reduce slightly, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans and season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes. Check frequently and add 2 Tbs. hot water if the sauce looks dry. (The dish can be prepared up to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated, and then reheated gently the next day. It will taste even better the second day.)

Transfer the beans to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Roasted Sweet Corn and Jalapeno Salsa

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes

1 or 2 jalapeños (any other hot pepper will do)

1 ear of corn, shucked

1/2 small white onion, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 2 ounces)

4 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup water (optional)

1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (to taste)

1. Preheat broiler and set rack 4 inches below. If your broiler and oven are separate, also preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.

2. Place tomatoes and jalapeños on one of the baking sheets and set under broiler, about 4 inches from heat. Broil for about 6 minutes, until skins are charred and blackened in spots. Using tongs, flip over tomatoes and jalapeño and continue to broil for another 6 minutes. The tomatoes and chiles should be softened and cooked through as well as charred. Tip tomatoes and chiles, along with any juices in the pan, into a bowl and allow to cool.

3. Place corn on baking sheet and set under the broiler. Broil until you hear the kernels beginning to pop, 2 to 4 minutes. Corn should be nicely browned on one side. Flip over and broil for 2 minutes, or until you hear popping, on the other side. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then cut kernels from cob and set aside.

4. If using the same oven to roast the onions, turn heat down to 425 degrees. Break up onions into rings and place on baking sheet in a single layer. Add garlic and place in oven. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until onions have softened and are lightly browned and charred on edges and garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes. If some of the smaller pieces of onion begin to char more quickly than others, remove them sooner.

5. Stem jalapeños and place with onions and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until mix is finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer to a large bowl.

6. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, core and discard skins (hold over bowl to catch juices). Place in food processor with juice and pulse to a coarse purée. Add to bowl with chopped onions, garlic and jalapeño. Add the vinegar, season generously with salt (Rick Bayless recommends a generous teaspoon), and stir in the cilantro and corn. If desired, thin out with water.

Yield: Makes a little about 2 1/2 cups

Advance preparation: This will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to a month.

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Week 10

IMG_2489Full Share
 
IMG_2488
Medium Share
 
IMG_2493
Small Share
 
 

Hallelujah the rain keeps coming!  After having such a considerable dry spot it is nice to get a little continuous rain.  Harvest days are a little messier and everyones shoes and pants are a little wetter, but it sure beats moving irrigation lines multiple times a day.

This past week was Ben’s last week on the farm.  We are grateful for all his help and wish him the best of luck on his final semester of college! IMG_1193

Brandon’s parents also came out for a whirlwind 3-days of harvesting and packing boxes-we’re so lucky to have them and their help, especially since we are desperately seeking employees right now (hint!) and can use all the volunteers we can get! 150 boxes is a lot for two people to handle!

Tomatoes are starting to come on in full flush now.  You should be seeing increasing quantities of those gems over the next few weeks in your share.  Remember: your tomatoes will come in all sorts of different colors including green and white, they will usually be ripe or close to ripe when you receive them, so don’t wait too long to cut into them!

Sweet corn is on pause this week–the next succession will be making its way into boxes next week.  Melons are sooooooo close to being ready, it kills me that they weren’t ready enough for boxes this week.

 

Here’s what’s in the box this week:

Broccoli (roughly 1# per share)
Collard Greens (1 large bunch for full and medium shares, 1 small bunch for small shares)
Tomatoes (2# for full shares, 1 3/4# for medium shares, 1 1/4# for small shares)
Zucchini (2 each for full and medium shares, 1 each for small shares)
Basil (about 2 ounces per person)
Hot Peppers (2 each for full shares and medium shares, 1 each for small shares)
Bell Peppers (2 for full shares, 1 for medium shares)
Snap Beans (either capitano or soleil, 1 1/5# for full shares, 1# for medium shares)
Cucumbers (2 for full shares, 1 for small shares)
Eggplant (2 each, full shares only)
 

Peppers are starting to come in.  This week some members will be getting the little purple beauty bell pepper, and everyone will be getting the yellow, bananana-pepper shaped hungarian hot wax.  Below are pictures to help you i.d.  I love hungarian hotwaxes–they are the perfect hot pepper.  They can carry a kick but usually only have a medium heat and delicious flavor that adds a boost to any meal.  Unlike other smaller hot peppers its flavor always seem to blend in more than stand out.

 
IMG_2486
Purple Beauty Bell Pepper
 
IMG_2485
Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper
 

Recipes

Grits and Greens Casserole

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 cups chopped collard greens or kale, stems removed (about 1 large bunch, 1 1/2-2 pounds)
  • 2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup grits (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place bacon (if using) in a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off the bacon fat.
  3. Return the pot to medium-low heat; add oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 8 minutes (cooking time will be quicker if you started with bacon). Add 1 cup broth and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Add collards (or kale); stir until wilted down to about one-third the volume and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat during cooking to maintain a simmer, and add water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the pan seems dry.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water and the remaining 1 cup broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in grits in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until thick, about 5 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup cheese, salsa and egg in a small bowl. Remove the grits from the heat and quickly stir in the cheese mixture until combined.
  5. Working quickly, spread about half the grits in the prepared baking dish. Top with greens, spreading evenly. Spread the remaining grits over the greens. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the reserved bacon (if using).
  6. Bake the casserole until hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bake at 400°F until bubbling, about 30 minutes.

 

Pasta with Greens and Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound collard greens, (about 12 cups), stripped from thick stems, washed, dried and coarsely chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 ounces sliced pancetta, or bacon, finely diced (3/4 cup), optional
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, (not drained)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells, (3 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

PREPARATION

  1. Bring 2 cups lightly salted water to a boil in a large wide pan. Add collards and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and press out excess moisture. Set aside.
  2. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil for cooking pasta.
  3. Cook pancetta (or bacon) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 5 minutes. Drain; discard fat.
  4. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 30 to 60 seconds. Add the pancetta (or bacon), tomatoes and water; bring to a simmer, mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher or the side of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. About 10 minutes before the sauce is ready, cook pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
  6. Add the pasta, collards and reserved pasta-cooking water to the tomato sauce. Heat, stirring, until the pasta has absorbed some of the flavors, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into pasta bowls, sprinkle with cheese and serve.
 
 

 

 

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Box 9

full 9 2014 Full share (above)

medium 9 4014Medium share (above)

small 9 2014Small share (above)

 

Well, members, can you believe it?! Half-way there! It’s been one of our hardest farm seasons ever, and we really hope to have a breath of fresh air and some better luck with weather and pests for the next 9 boxes.  We got a little over an inch of rain overnight and during the day, so the plants are all set for the week!  It will be a relief to not have to drag irrigation pieces all over the farm for a little while.

IMG_2475
 
 

 A word on ripeness and when to eat your tomatoes:

We usually save this kind of thing for after the list of whats in the box, but I imagine there are many well intending members that just don’t quite make it that far in the newsletter, so I thought I’d put this at the top since it will drastically improve your CSA experience: All the tomatoes you receive should be eaten really soon after you receive them.  Most of the tomatoes we grow are heirlooms, desired for their flavor, unusual shapes and otherworldly beauty–but not for their shelf life.  When they get to you they are either ripe or really close to being ripe–even if they are green in color (like the one in the picture above-that tomato is ready to go)!   You will receive red, yellow, white, green, and purple tomatoes and some of them will take a leap of faith to cut open because the color may not look right, but do it!  Some of the green ones are particularly tricky because they turn more red as they become over-ripe.  If your second guessing yourself, you can often tell by how soft the tomato feels.   The bottom of the tomato should be soft to the touch and feel like it could be bruised if you press it beyond gently holding it.  But they are worth all the fuss!  Heirloom tomatoes are one of the highlights of belonging to a CSA.

We’re sorry to report that we’ve lost our star full-season employee, Megan, quite suddenly due to a family emergency. Our star part-season employee, Ben, goes back to the wilds of West Virginia at the end of the week to finish his last semester at school. Suddenly we find ourselves on our own! We are advertising for replacements and in the meantime if any of you have any tips, leads, kids to loan out, or want to come out and lend a hand, we sure could use it! We aren’t typically on our own until October, and truth be told, Heather is starting to slow down because of her pregnancy, in spite of her stubbornness.

Let’s check in on the melons:

IMG_1173 Yum, looks like a soon to be cantelope

IMG_1172 Ice box watermelons–may be the first of the melons this year…

IMG_1171One of my favorite new melons we tried last year, spanish lambkin.  Looking good!  The season of the year of the melon is soon to be upon us!

A few other photos from the week:

IMG_1188 The pop-corn crop is starting to tassel–looks a little like truffula trees.

IMG_1182Late Summer/Fall Brassicas–from left to right Romanesco, Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, Broccoli, Collard Greens (light green), Brussel Sprouts (purple-ish), Cabbage

 

There’s been a big invasion of one of the worst pests a farmer can get in the midwest-squash vine borers. These little bugs do a lot of damage, attacking squash, pumpkins, zucchini and gourds. They lay eggs so small they’re invisible to the human eye, and then the little larvae bore into the squash stem, eating and destroying the plants in a matter of days. We only lost 5 plants to the little red and black menaces last year, but they are showing up in huge numbers this year. We’re actually pretty worried about our winter squash crop. There is little that can be done once you have them beyond cutting open each plant stem and manually removing the larvae or injecting a bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) into the stem with a syringe that disrupts their digestive system (but is completely safe for humans).  Once we noticed the symptoms we starting treating the plants in hopes that the larvae weren’t too far along.  It’s a surreal experience, administering something like that to a plant, and a frustrating reminder of how little we can do to protect some crops. Keep your fingers crossed for the squash plants!

This Thursday Heather is teaching a class on the main floor of the farmhouse, for the Hungry Turtle Learning Center. The class, Healthy Cooking: Eating on the Wild Side, recaps highlights from the fascinating book “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson, and gives attendees tips on how to purchase, store, and cook vegetables and fruits to get the most nutritional value out of them. There are still a handful of spots left, so if you’re interested, go to the Hungry Turtle website to sign up!

Okay, finally, here’s what’s in the box this week:

Sweet Corn (2 ears for small shares, 3  for medium shares, and 4 for full shares)
Tomatoes (3/4# for small and medium shares)
Snap beans (1/2# for small shares, 3/4# medium–thursday mediums may get slightly less beans but extra tomatoes to make up for the shortage)
Mustard Greens: Ruby Streaks or Mizuna (1 bunch for medium and full shares)
Arugula (1/3# for small shares)
Zucchini (3 for full shares, 2 for medium shares)
Cucumber (1 for medium and full shares)
Eggplants: Fairy Tale (10-12 fairy tale for full shares)
Chives (1 bunch for small and medium shares)
Broccoli or Cabbage (1# broccoli or 1 cabbage  for small shares)
Head Lettuce (2 heads full shares)
 
 
 

Sweet Corn!  Yes!  Our first round or two of sweet corn will be a little slim and runty: the wet wet wet spring made it impossible to keep everything as weeded as usual and unfortunately sweet corn was one of the victims.  That combined with it being incredibly dry once the ears started filling out has been a double whammy that makes for smaller ears and shallow kernels. But fear not, we have some beautiful second and third plantings on the way that will surely make up for the first round!

Mediums and Fulls may recognize the mustard green bunches they receive this week, either Ruby Streaks(purple and frilly) or Mizuna (green and spiky).  We use the baby version of these greens as part of the spicy salad mix that was given out in the spring.  It is common to get mustard greens as mature leafed plants like the bunches your getting this week.  They can be used in the same ways as you did the spicy salad: raw like a lettuce or slightly cooked or wilted more like a kale.  They will be milder when cooked and are excellent in egg dishes–I’ll often mix them in raw with my egg batter for an omelet or scrambled eggs.

 
 
 

Recipes

Corn and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried bow-tie pasta
  • 2 fresh ears of corn or 1 cup whole kernel frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken-optional
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth (if using) or water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Snipped fresh chives, basil, or any other herb you have on hand

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook pasta according to package directions. Add corn during the last 7 minutes of cooking pasta. Return to boil and continue cooking. When pasta is cooked and corn is crisp-tender, drain pasta and corn in a colander. (If using fresh ears, it may be easier to remove the ears with tongs, and then drain the pasta.) Rinse pasta and corn with cold water to stop cooking, and drain well again. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cobs.
  2. In a large bowl combine pasta, corn, chicken (if using), and tomato.
  3. For dressing: In a screw-top jar, combine the olive oil, vinegar, herbs, chicken broth (if using), salt and pepper. Cover and shake well.
  4. Pour dressing over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil before serving.

Raw Corn and Zucchini Salad

courtesy of Martha Stewart
 

Ingredients

  • 3 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. chopped chives, basil, or any other herb you like
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

Cut off tips of ears of corn; stand corn in a wide, shallow bowl. With a sharp knife, slice downward to release kernels (you should have about 2 cups); discard cobs, or freeze, saving up until you have enough to make a rich corn stock for a soup this winter. Transfer kernels to a medium bowl. Add zucchini,lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to combine.

 

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Box 8

IMG_2472
Full Share (above)
 
IMG_2477Medium Share (above)
 
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Small Share (above)
 

Hello dear members! Welcome to week 8 of the Sleepy Root Farm CSA. This week has seen a return to the hot and sticky weather we all expect from August.  Up until lately the summer has been relatively cool and has prolonged the maturity time on our beloved Summer crops.  We have a full arsenal of tomatoes who have been waiting for the heat to ripen and make their way into boxes–unfortunately they are still catching up with the weather.  As we walked through the tomato patch with high expectations for the first flush of ripe tomatoes we were silently mocked at almost every turn by green tomatoes:

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and more green tomatoes…

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and more…

 

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and more…

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and–wait! that one’s almost ripe!

 

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All said and done, after walking close to half a mile worth of tomato rows, this is what we ended up with:

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A lot for one person, not a lot for 150 members, and definitely not a lot for 1200 tomato plants.  So this week only a trickle with a few consolation tomatoes going to the 2o full shares.  But once all those green tomatoes start turning en masse, we are all going to be in tomato trouble in the best kind of way.

We had a great yoga class here on Saturday,thanks to Tarisa and Susan of YogaSoul, complete with a wonderful potluck lunch. We hope to coordinate more in the future, so keep your eyes out for the next announcement. Thank you ladies, for leading us in a lovely session.

 

A few photos from the farm this week:

 
Salamander!
A spotted salamander hiding under a head of lettuce. Heather’s best amphibian find EVER!!!!!!
 
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Frank doing what he does best.
 
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Heather with a particularly whimsically nosed eggplant
 
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Cucumbers climbing to the top of the high tunnel have reached the peak of their trellises 
 
 
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Benjamin doing his best Steve Zissou point before chartering off to mow the buckwheat and clover cover crop aisles between the tomato rows.  
 
dragonfly
Can you spot the blue dragonfly?

Now on to what’s in the box this week!

Eggplant (2 for full shares and 2 for small shares)
Zucchini (3 for full shares, 2 for medium, 1 for small)
Cucumber (2 for full shares, 1 for medium and small shares)
Onions (4 for full shares, 3 for medium and small shares)
Basil (1 bunch for full, medium and small shares)
Head lettuce (2 for full and medium shares, 1 for small shares)
Snap Beans (1# each for full and medium shares)
Cabbage or Broccoli (one or the other, for full and medium shares)
Arugula (1/2# each for full and medium shares)
Fava Beans (1 1/4# for full shares)
Tomatoes (about 1# for full shares)
 

Onions-this week’s spring onions are the Copra variety. Fairly mild and sweet, we think you’ll enjoy them raw or cooked.

Basil-a gorgeous mix of Geneovese, the typical pesto basil, and Purple Italian, perhaps the prettiest basil on the block.

Arugula-this fantastic, peppery and pungent salad green makes its first appearance this week. The leaves have lots of little holes in them, but don’t worry, they still taste great! We love arugula for its versatility in the kitchen. Try dressing it lightly with olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, some shaved manchego cheese and toasted almonds for an awesome summer treat. Add those snap beans, blanched, and a hard boiled egg if you really want to go over the top! It does really well in pasta dishes as well-you can cook your favorite pasta, drain it, toss it with butter or olive oil, a pinch of salt, the zest of a lemon and any cheese you like. Add the arugula while the pasta is still piping hot and it will wilt to the perfect tenderness.

Fava Beans-A special treat for full shares, we had a slim harvest of fava beans this week but we decided it would be worth passing them on to you anyways.   Likely not enough to make a full dish out of, but enough for a novelty item or a small yet exquisite addition.  Also known as broad beans, fava beans are a relic legume of the Old World, reportedly the only bean eaten in Europe before Europeans discovered the variety of pulses from the New World.  They are a fascinating, prehistoric creature that reveals itself as an elegant gem through it’s multistage shelling ceremony.     Before you eat them, you will need to know how to properly shell them by clicking here.  For a few more recipes click here.  And for a little more history and background click here.

IMG_2474Fava Beans
 

Recipes

Our friend Lindsey blessed us with her Grandma’s cole slaw, so if you were lucky enough to get cabbage in your box this week, or have one leftover from last week, proceed immediately to making this recipe. It is the best coleslaw we have EVER EATEN!!!! Thanks, you two!

Grandma Libby’s Coleslaw

1 large head cabbage shredded or more

1 large green pepper diced

1 bunch of green onions cut  (Psst…you can use the green part of the onions from your box if you want!)

2 cups (or so) carrots, shredded

Mix together separately:

1 cup of sour cream

1 cup of mayo

3 tablespoons of white vinegar

3/4 cup of sugar

1 tsp of celery seed

1/2 tsp of salt

I add all of the vegetables to a big bowl and then pour in a little dressing, mix, pour in a little dressing, mix – depending on the size of the cabbage, and how saucy you like your coleslaw. (This recipe makes a lot of sauce.)  Always tastes even better after a day in the fridge!

 

 

 

 

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Box 7

full week 7 2014 full share (above)

medium week 7 2014 medium share (above)

small week 7 2014small share (above)

Welcome to Box 7, or, The Shoulder Season Box as it’s lining up to be right now at Sleepy Root!

Why the term shoulder season? Well, we are directly on the cusp this week/next week of the transition into the true summer crops. Everything is fruiting, flowering or otherwise going about its business of becoming the food we’re all dreaming of, but it’s all not quite there in any great quantity. Mostly this is because of how long it takes these crops to mature in the north-no matter how ready we are for them to happen in July, they typically don’t actually happen until the early part of August. For example, last year eggplant didn’t appear in most boxes until Week 9. We’ve also had an unseasonably cool July, which isn’t spurring any of the mediterranean heat-lovers to fast action. The colder weather has been great for all the expectant mommas out here in Polk County, but it’s not doing anything to speed up the summer crops. This box was also the box we had hoped to put beets into, but those were one of the first victims of the flooded June we had. We apologize, and promise to make it up to you with other extra veggies in the boxes throughout the season.

There are tons of tomatoes on the vine, mostly all green still. We’ve got hundreds of eggplant ready and waiting to harvest, but they need about another week to grow to their full capacity and volume. Hot peppers and bell peppers are formed and forming, but they aren’t ready to pick quite yet. Melons are forming and growing well, but we still have to wait. Cucumbers are just starting to arrive in serious numbers. Summer squash and zucchini, the predictable early all-stars of the summer season, are pretty abundant right now. What this means for your boxes is that everyone gets an exciting grab bag! Since our goal is to always give you the best of what’s growing, regardless of the plans we penciled out back in February, it means different share size boxes will get different things this week, but the important part is you’ll all get great goodies and be able to make some good food! Just remember that over the course of the season every share size will  be seeing most everything that’s grown on the farm, but it doesn’t necessarily happen for everyone at the same time. Thanks for keeping in mind that the key part of being a CSA member is knowing that everything can vary, but you still get your portion of all the produce on the farm.

We also have an exciting announcement for a farm activity this weekend! Some of the fine women of YogaSoul, our newest drop site, are coming to Sleepy Root this Saturday (Aug 2nd) to teach a yoga class at 10:30 a.m. We have to limit the class size to 20 because of space, so if you’d like to come please RSVP by sending us an email at sleepyrootfarm@gmail.com to reserve your spot. If you attend the class and would like to stay for a very casual potluck afterwards, go ahead and bring a dish. Many thanks to Tarisa and Susan of YogaSoul for offering us this incredible chance to enjoy our space in an amazing, restorative way. They are bringing some yoga mats but if you have your own please bring it!

a few pictures from the week:

IMG_2464 packing this weeks boxes (from foreground to background: Ben, Maddox, Marley, Heather, Megan)

IMG_1088Megan and Marley trellising the yard long beans

Without further ado, here’s what’s in the boxes this week:

Zucchini (1 for small shares, 3 for medium, 3 for full shares. Please note, sometimes we throw and extra one in there to make up for a smaller squash. We’re trying to giving each box of the same size an equal weight or volume, depending on the crop)
Cucumbers (1 for small shares, 2 for medium and full-same idea applies, if we think a cucumber is a little small, we’ll give you an extra)
Kale or Chard 
Beans: green and yellow romano or green and yellow french fillet (1# small shares, 1 1/4#  full shares)
Head lettuce (1 per medium share)
Eggplant (2-ish for medium and full shares)
Cabbage (either Napa or Early Jersey for small and full shares)
Cut Lettuce (3/4# for full shares)
Broccoli (full shares)
Chives (full shares)
 

The head lettuce that everyone will see this week or next are newer heat tolerant varieties that have been selected to grow well in hotter weather without becoming bitter. Bitterness is the reason why most CSA growers don’t use lettuce in the hottest months of the year, and we’re excited to try these two varieties out. The heads are especially gorgeous shades of red and green, are really nicely sized, averaging 3/4# each, and we thought they tasted pretty good. Let us know what you think of these compared to the early spring assortment you’ve tried.

Eggplant
 
Eggplant, from left to right: Galine, Ping Tung Long, Turkish Orange, Black Beauty, Dancer, Swallow and Fairy Tale

The eggplants are a mixed bag of varieties, and will continue to be a mix throughout the year. For the most part all varieties are interchangeable for cooking purposes. Occasionally the size of the eggplant influences what we make with them. Once we get into the full flush of the large globe type, they’re great to use for roasting and making into babaganoush, simply because there’s less skin to peel. It can still be done with the smaller ones, though. We like to dice and saute the assorted slender varieties of eggplant, or slice and roast them. Regardless, there are so many great eggplant recipes out there we are sure everyone will find something they like.

Cabbage is either the final harvest of the Napa cabbage or the start of the Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage. Heather has a special crush on the Early Jersey and insists we grow them every year. They have the cutest pointy heads and tend to grow very dense and compact, so you get a lot of usable cabbage out of them. Everyone loves coleslaw, right? If we can find beloved member Lindsey’s Grandma’s recipe (ahem, Lindsey?) we’ll post it next week-it’s the best slaw in the world. Unbeatable. Like, sneak into the kitchen and eat it out of the bowl on your “water break” good. There’s also lots of other great ways to enjoy summertime cabbage, like this quinoa and cabbage dish and this asian-style slaw from David Lebovitz.

Those getting Napa cabbage this week may want to peek back to week 5’s newsletter when we first gave them out for a few ideas on use.

Recipes 

These two eggplant recipes make the most of the start of the season, featuring your eggplants as part of a greater dish. We’ll get into posting all-eggplant recipes like babaganoush once we have them in greater volume. Don’t worry, members, we’re still sticking with our less-eggplant-than-last-year promise!

Penoni with Grilled Eggplant, Herbs, and Burrata 

SOURCE Marth Stewart Living, August 2011

Ingredients

2-3 eggplant, halved lengthwise

2 T extra virgen olive oil, plus some for brushing

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tsp. hot pepper flakes, or more or less depending on your taste

1# pennoni, rigatoni or orecchiette, cooked al dente (plus 1 cup cooking water reserved)

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 T lemon juice

2 T fresh herbs, your choice. Chives, basil, oregano or mint would all be great.

8 oz. burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces (burrata is a super special treat-check a specialty cheese shop like Surdyk’s for availability. If it’s not available at the moment, fresh mozzarella is nearly as great!)

Cook’s Note: Follow these steps when you cook the pasta for each dish: Bring a large pot of water (6 quarts) to a boil — you want enough water so the pasta can move around. Season the water with 1/4 cup coarse salt. (The water should be well seasoned; think “salty like the sea.”) Cook 1 pound of pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups cooking water. The pasta releases starch as it cooks, and the starchy water is essential to the sauce.

Directions:

Step 1:

Heat grill to medium. Brush eggplants with oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until soft and cooked through. Let cool, and coarsely chop.

Step 2: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until golden. Add eggplant and chile, toss to coat and season with salt.

Step 3: Toss in the pasta, the reserved cooking water, and the lemon zest and juice. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and fresh herbs.

Eggplant Foccaia

from the James Beard Foundation

  • 1/2 batch Quick Pizza Dough
  • 1/2 small eggplant (6 ounces), sliced paper-thin lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, marjoram, or basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place a rack in the top portion of the oven, as high as it will go, and preheat the oven to 500ºF.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes to take the chill off. Flatten the dough into a square or rectangle and place it on a well-oiled half-sheet pan or cookie sheet. Using your fingertips, push, pull, and stretch the dough into as close to a rectangle shape as you can get it. If the dough becomes too elastic and retracts as soon as you push or stretch it, let it sit undisturbed for 20 minutes to relax the gluten, and then try to stretch it again. Sometimes for leverage I tack one corner of the dough over the edge of the sheet pan and then pull the rest of the dough from there.

Lay out the eggplant slices on a plate and sprinkle both sides with 3 teaspoons of salt. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or until the salt draws out water from the eggplant. Rinse the slices under cold water and pat dry.

Arrange the eggplant in an attractive pattern on the pizza crust. Spoon or brush half of the oil evenly over the eggplant and on the edge of the dough. Sprinkle the garlic and herbs evenly over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant and the crust are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with additional salt and black pepper to taste.

 
 
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Box 6

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Small Shares
 
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Medium Shares
 
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Full Shares

A third of the way through the season! Wow! Where is all the time going? We’re really enjoying the boxes this week, as totally new crops are now ready and there’s more change happening in the boxes. Making their debut this week are Romano beans, Cabbage, Fennel and Collards.

We hope all of you are doing well with the sudden heat wave-after so much time in cooler temps it’s been a real challenge here on the farm to not wilt under the heat and humidity. Luckily for us Brandon took everyone out for ice cream after we unloaded the boxes at the Hungry Turtle Farmer’s Co-op warehouse.  It looks like the rest of the week should be a little cooler.

A few cucurbit (squash and melon family) pictures from the week:

IMG_1079 We have 6 different zucchinis this year that you may find in your box, from left to right: Zephyr, Costata Romaesca, Benning’s Green Tinted Patty Pan, Midnight Lightning, Butter, Cocozelle

 

IMG_1069 Pumpkin on its way

IMG_1072Baby Watermelon, protected by its fortress of vines, worries only about diligently working toward fulfilling the prophecy of the Year of the Melon.

You’ll probably notice how much green is going on with the boxes this week-almost everything shares some shade of one of nature’s best colors. Green is a really important color, nutritionally, in vegetables, since it indicates the presence of some amazing, powerful, naturally occurring chemicals that are really good for us. These chemicals exist in the plants to help protect them from insects and disease, and are believed to aid those of us who eat them in fighting disease as well. Collards are credited with having strong anti-cancer properties, are incredibly high in Vitamins A (healthy skin and vision) and K (increases bone mass and limits neural damage in patients with Alzheimer’s ), and have lots of folates, which play a major role in preventing neural tube defects in fetuses. Go collards! Those beautiful Romano Beans are a good source of zea-xanthin, thought to aid in prevention of age-related macular degeneration. They’re also high in fiber and packed with minerals like iron and potassium. Broccoli is amazing–it’s loaded with phyto-nutrients that help protect from prostate, colon, pancreatic and breast cancers. It’s also quite rich in Vitamin C (anti-oxidants and immune system modulation) and folates.

Here’s what’s in the box this week:

Cut lettuce (1/2# small and medium shares, 3/4# full shares)
Fennel (1 portion per share. For some it means two slender heads and for some it’s one larger head)
Collard Greens (1 regular bunch for smalls, 1 large bunch for medium and fulls)
Broccoli (approximately 1 1/2# per share)
Zucchini (2 for medium shares, 3 for full shares)
Snap Beans: Green Romano or Yellow Haricot (1# medium, 1.25# fulls)
Cucumbers (small shares)
Red Express Cabbage (1 head per full share)
Red zeppelin spring onions (1 bunch per full share)
 

Fennel–an often under-used vegetable, these lovely specimens are tender, delicate and have a pleasant mild anise flavor. The crunchy, slightly sweet bulb is eaten raw or cooked in a myriad of ways. One of the simplest ways to prepare fennel is to cut off the stalks and shave the bulb into paper thin slices, using a knife or a mandolin if you have one. See this basic video for more help on how to do this. We often toss the shaved fennel with our salad greens and add some feta cheese, sliced kale or other raw veggies we have around to make a great hot-weather lunch salad. Don’t forget to use the fronds and stalks as mentioned!  Keeping this crop in a plastic bag will help keep it crisp.

Collards-another favorite around here! Store them in a plastic bag in the crisper when you get them home. We cook and eat them much like we would kale or spinach, namely by taking the leaf off the stem/rib and stacking the leaves on top of each other. We then roll the whole thing up like a Cuban cigar, and slice ribbons as thick or as thin as you’d like. We usually saute them in a very hot pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic, but there are so many great ways to cook them. Here’s a good video on how to chiffonade, just ignore the terrible music! See recipes below.

Broccoli is back again, looking as lovely as ever. Our partner farm in the crop swap, Turnip Rock, really knows what they’re doing when it comes to growing this brassica. Broccoli would also prefer to be stored in a plastic bag like everybody else. Hopefully you’ve been saving those lettuce bags!

Romano beans are making their first appearance! These fantastic, flattened beans are one of my favorites to cook and to pickle. I’m repeating my favorite romano bean recipe below.  Most medium and full shares will receive Romano this week, a few might get an early tasting of the yellow french fillet bean Soleil in its place.  We try not to put our beans into water before we give them to you so that they will last longer. Excess moisture can cause them to “rust” prematurely, giving them an undesirable appearance. Because of this you may notice that a number of the crumpled expired flowers have taken a ride with your beans.  Simply rinse them off before using, if you want to wash the whole batch of beans, let them drain well and return them to their plastic bag with a folded paper towel or cloth to absorb any excess moisture.

Recipes

Romano Beans with Serrano and Poached Egg

A favorite that Dad and I always cooked together when we were in Spain, one of the few places broad beans can be found in abundance:
2 1/2 cups romano beans, ends trimmed
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
7 oz. serrano ham, diced
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
 
Cook the beans in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and plunge into ice water. Drain again once cool.
Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic until it begins to brown. Add the beans and saute for a minute, then add the ham.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a simmer. Add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into a ramekin and slide them one at a time into the water. Cook for about 4 minutes, scoop out and drain on a towel.
Divide the bean and ham mixture onto plates, topping each with an egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 

Fennel, Olive and Orange Salad

This would make a lovely little salad to top a piece of grilled chicken or fish, or just serve on that side with any meal for a fresh, crunchy, alternative side dish.
 
1 fennel bulb, shaved thin
a handful of fennel fronds, chopped
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
a handful of black olives-oil-cured would be awesome here!
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T lemon juice
red pepper flakes, to taste
 
In a medium bowl whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Add the shaved fennel and toss to coat well.
Add the oranges, olives, fennel fronds and as much red pepper flake as you’d like.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
 

Spaghetti with Collards and Lemon

2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
a pinch red pepper flakes
1 bunch collard greens, chiffonaded
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
grated zest of one lemon
the juice of that lemon
12 oz. spaghetti-be adventurous! Try a farro, spelt, or whole-grain variety! The nutty taste and stronger flavor pair really well with the collards and lemon. Of course a traditional spaghetti will be delicious…
1/4 cup pecorino romano, grated
salt and black pepper to taste
 
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic and pepper flakes until tender. Add collards and cook until tender. Remove from heat and add pine nuts, lemon zest and lemon juice.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in well-salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain.
3. Add the pasta to the skillet, tossing to coat. Add reserved water if needed to adjust consistency. Sprinkle with lemon zest and cheese, serve immediately.
 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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