From the Farmer

Week 19 – 9/24/2014

Many thanks to everyone who attended the potluck this weekend.  Great spread and great turnout!  We ate, we hung, we dug taters.  It was a lot of fun.  Thank you for the potato harvest and for sharing family dishes.  I’d like to invite you to share these either on our Facebook page or, better, on our website recipe page.  To get you in the mood find one of Sunday’s recipes, Chai tea, below.

These cool mornings are for sweatshirts, warm foods and hot drinks.  I recommend rosemary potatoes and eggs for breakfast with a warm cup of Anu’s chai tea.  For dinner make some Baba ganouj and garlicy beans cooked in butter or toasted sesame oil. 

Vegetable of the week: Delicata winter squash.

Correction of the week: Delicata is actually a “Fall Squash” rather than a winter squash.  With a softer, edible skin, fall squash like Delicata, Acorn and Spaghetti don’t need to be cured.  Without that hard rind they won’t store as long, so they’re for eaten’ while the getting is good – certainly within a couple of months.  We like to rotate squash through the season and we expect you’ll see these again.

Favorite thing to do with Delicata: slice in half, scoop out seeds. Add butter and some brown sugar (or maple blessings) inside, then bake at 350°F until you can smell it.  Delicata don’t need sweetening, but who doesn’t like butter and brown sugar?  Cut each half in half and serve.  Eat flesh and don’t be afraid of the skin.

Delicata goes well with: quinoa, corn bread, fish and chicken breaded with cornmeal, garlic red pepper and hot pepper.

Did we mention delicata goes well with chicken? 

This week Bonnie tells us All About Chicken.  Our very own chicken.  Our very own free grange, pasture-raised, GMO-free, happy poultry poultry.  Find it in the freezer at the farm stand and try Mike’s no fail guide to baking a whole chicken (most important steps in bold):

  1. Thaw chicken overnight in sink or refrigerator.  If necessary, thaw in a pot of cool water.
  2. Step 2: (if you’re motivated and organized, which Mike is not) brine or season whole bird overnight.  MTO Kombucha works well for this.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. Stuff the cavity with any herbs you have on hand (Charmaine Smith swears by lemongrass).  Add salt and pepper.  Add herbs and/or garlic under the skin in a few places.
  5. Bake one side 20 minutes.
  6. Turn chicken over, bake other side 20 minutes.
  7. Turn back over, bake first side another 20 minutes.
  8. Done.  Eat.

Step Nine: Have some chocolate cake and relax with your own homemade chai tea.  

I love Anu’s recipe for chai tea.  Fresh ginger is coming soon – we expect to harvest ours fresh in the next week or so!  In the meantime, skip the ginger or use the usual from the store.

                                                             

Anu’s Ginger Chai Recipe (for 2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 4 whole cardamom pods (2 cardamom pods can work well – I like this flavor heighten so I do 4)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1/2-inch peeled fresh ginger root (you can keep the skin on for a more earthy taste, first timers may prefer the skin off)
  • 1/2 fresh stick of cinnamon (this is a strong flavor – I typically don’t put any in but some people love it)
  • 2 teaspoons loose black tea of your choice or two teabags of black tea (Lipton & Red Label work great)
  • 1/3 cup organic 2% milk (or to taste – this amount may be on the creamier side for some)
  • sugar to taste (if you are not sure where to start I have found most people like 1/2-1 tsp sugar)

Directions

  1. Pour filtered water into pot and turn heat to medium high.
  2. As the water starts to boil crush cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle (or roll over with rolling pin).  The black seeds inside the cardamom should come out and you crush them also.  You should be able to smell the delicate sweetness of cardamom after doing this.  If the inside cardamom seeds are brown that means they are really old (happens if they have been on the grocery shelf too long) and ideally you need to toss them out and try another batch of cardamom seeds.
  3. Add crushed cardamom seeds and pods (yes all of it), whole fennel seeds, whole cloves and peeled 1/2 inch of fresh ginger into water (the cinnamon stick would be added at this time if you choose to use it).  I personally do not recommend using powdered versions of any of these ingredients.  If you don’t have one of these ingredients then just forgo adding it.
  4. Once the water boils with these seasonings for 2-3 minutes (flavor really seeps in) then add black tea (loose or tea bags).
  5. Let the entire mixture boil with black tea for about 1-2 minutes (if you want more caffeine, i.e., like your tea darker) then boil a bit longer.
  6. Now add milk to taste and allow the mixture to boil one more time. This is key for good chai. (For me it is this smell of chai that reminds me of gratitude as I begin my new day).
  7. Use a tea strainer and pour tea in a cup.  Discard all the seasonings and tea (loose or tea bags).
  8. Add sugar to taste.

Play around with these chai ingredients.  Add all of them or take away one or two of them and create your perfect cup.

Once you have poured the chai into your favorite cup, do a two minute gratitude exercise, i.e., think about 2 to 3 things you appreciate in your life right now.  Moonlight jogs and the beautiful Mandeville flowers blooming on my deck have me grateful for living today.  Take a sip.  Savor.

What Are You Grateful For Today?

Organic Apple Note

We are very fortunate to work with Oyler’s Organic Orchard this fall.  Oyler’s Organic Farm is a 6th generation farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is one of just a handful of certified organic orchards on the East Coast.  Why is Organic special or important in apples?  Truly, because it is hard to grow organic fruit here in the east.  While fruit quality does not need to be organic to be high, you can trust that Oyler’s fruit is safer from pesticide residues than conventional fruit.  Apples are one of those, “organic may not be as pretty but it sure does taste good” crops. 

You will see a price difference between the organic fruit and non-organic fruit, to be sure.  We want this fruit to be accessible and we are passing on the best price we can.  I do think that you’ll taste a difference, and you can feel comfortable that you are eating safe, healthy fruit.  The Oylers take a holistic approach to their orchard and raise nice produce.

If you would like any of these items in quantity we can help make that happen.  We will also have “No. 2s” – apples that are less perfect in appearance but are excellent for making applesauce, juice or cider yourself.  Contact us for more information.

Here’s what we are offering the next two weeks, with descriptions from Katrina Oyler:

  • GOLDEN DELICIOUS: Our Golden Delicious is sweet, mellow, and juicy! It is less crisp then a Golden Supreme, but is still a firm apple. Makes for a perfect snack!
  • LIBERTY: The Liberty apple has a white flesh. This crunchy, mildly tart apple is similar to the McIntosh apple. It’s a great fresh eating apple.
  • APPLE CIDER: Our apple cider is run by a UV light (not heated or pasteurized), which allows enzymes, vitamins and minerals to remain intact giving it a superior taste. Health conscious customers value the single ingredient in our apple cider, just apples (no preservatives). The cider is pressed on our farm in our new PDA and PCO inspected cider room. Our cider has a shelf life of 2 weeks and must be kept refrigerated. It is available in plastic pints, quarts, ½ gallons, and gallons. Our cider has a new label this year with a UPC.
  • APPLE JUICE: Our certified organic apple juice is made with our fresh, local, certified organic apples. It is pasteurized juice from 100% Certified Organic Fresh Pennsylvania Apples. This product is a, natural unfiltered old fashion cloudy juice. No additives, artificial ingredients or sweeteners are added. Apples are the only ingredient. The apple juice is packaged in glass ½ gallon jars. It is shelf stable for two years.
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