Friday, January 29, 2010

Silverlake - Jan 29 pick-up

Thank you for all the good vibes re: the Sunset Magazine article. In Sharon Cohoon's follow up story at, she offers a link to the website, where you can help change the law.

As I mention on my home page, it is illegal to grow flowers and fruit in residential gardens in the City of LA and sell them off-site, at farmers' markets for example. This makes no sense given that vegetables may legally be grown for sale.

It's been 7 months since the Food & Flowers Freedom Act came into being but the City hasn't made any changes yet. I think they need to hear from you. See Urban Farming Advocates for more details. If you've already written, thank you.

Here's what Farmer John had for us this week:

fresh garlic
mizuna (lovely mild mustard eaten raw)
red romaine lettuce
green romaine lettuce
italian parsley
baby bok choy
arugula aka rocket
green curly mustard (bit spicier than mizuna)

Try this week's recipe from cooking consultant, Shelley Marks. She says:

There's almost nothing better to do with fresh crispy romaine than make a Caesar salad. Though there are many versions, a classic Caesar is both simple and elegant; and once you assemble the ingredients, it's easy to make. I like using roasted garlic for its milder and and more subtle flavor. Roasted garlic keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or longer, so roast up a few heads of garlic at a time. Whatever you don't use immediately can be used in dips and sauces or spread on toast for a savory treat.

Classic Caesar Salad

2 heads romaine (one red, one green)
6 anchovy fillets
2 cloves roasted garlic*
1/2 inch piece green garlic bulb or 1 small clove fresh garlic
1 t prepared dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce (pronounced "whouster" in England)
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 coddled egg yolk** (substitute 1/2 C whipping cream if you prefer not to use an egg)
1/2 C olive oil
1 C croutons***
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse romaine well and dry well in a salad spinner or on towels. Break into bite-sized pieces. Toss the cores in the compost. You should have about 7-8 C loosely packed leaves.

2. Combine anchovy fillets, roasted garlic, green garlic, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, coddled egg yolk, and a pinch of salt in a food processor work bowl. Pulse to combine.

3. With the motor running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube in a thin stream until the dressing thickens.

4. Pour dressing over prepared greens. Add croutons and grated cheese. Toss well.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*To roast garlic, trim the top, rub lightly with olive oil, place on a baking sheet in a hot (400 degree) oven for 30-35 minutes until soft. Peel each clove before using.

**A coddled egg is not a raw egg, but it's barely cooked. Bacteria can grow in damaged eggs, so use the freshest egg and avoid any that are dirty or damaged. If you're lucky enough to have a friend or neighbor who has chickens you might be able to get a really fresh egg. To coddle the egg, place the egg in its shell in a heat-proof cup or bowl. Bring 2 C of water to a boil. Pour water over egg to cover and let sit for 3 minutes (or longer if desired). Crack open egg and discard the white or save it for another use. Place yolk in the work bowl and proceed with the recipe.

***You can use store-bought croutons, but it's easy to make your own. Heat 2 T canola oil and 1 T olive oil in a skillet. Cut your favorite bread into cubes and toss in the hot oil to coat. Turn down the heat and toss the cubes every few minutes until well-browned, about 20 minutes.

Have a great weekend and see you soon!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beachwood Canyon - what's in the box? + recipe

Pick-up #1 - Beachwood Canyon

The first round of veggie pick-ups at our second location - Beachwood Canyon - kicked off Tuesday in the pouring rain. It was chaotic and fun - so much positive energy. Farmer John arrived with the harvest, which Spencer, John and Laura helped distribute to shareholders. Thanks Team! Farmer John and Alex (pictured above), who owns the Beachwood Market, talked local veggies for a while. Will we see some synergy there? Visit the Beachwood Market and find out! And while you're in there, check out the Bonterra organic wine (Cabernet Sauvignon) from Mendocino County Their website is gorgeous.

Here's what Farmer John had for us this week:

red oak leaf lettuce
wildfire lettuce
mizuna (lovely mild mustard for adding to salads)
green garlic
baby bok choy (great for stir frying)
tatsoi (Chinese spinach - also great for stir frying)

And Shelley (also pictured above), our very own cooking consultant, has this quick and easy recipe for us this week. She says:

Broccoli is a great thing to eat because it's chock full of vitamins and minerals. Broccoli makes a simple side dish steamed or microwaved until just tender. It's even better tossed in olive oil and roasted in a hot oven. Here's a different way to use broccoli as the main ingredient in a tasty salad.

Crunchy Broccoli Salad

3 C broccoli florets* broken or cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 C toasted cashews or almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 C raisins
1-2 T finely chopped red onion
2 small oranges, peeled and seeded
4 T mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

1. I like to blanch the broccoli florets but this step is optional. To blanch the broccoli, bring a pot of water to a boil. Have another pot with ice water set aside. Toss the florets into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Scoop out the florets with a long-handled sieve and toss them immediately into the ice water until cool. Drain.

2. Cut the peeled and seeded oranges into chunks, collecting any juice that oozes out. You'll get juicier orange pieces if you cut the orange as opposed to breaking it into segments. Cutting around the membrane that separates the segments will result in the juiciest pieces.

3. Mix the broccoli with the nuts, raisins, red onion, and orange pieces.

3. Stir a few tablespoons of the collected orange juice into the mayonnaise to make it pourable. Pour this mixture over the salad and toss until it's lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This salad is equally delicious with a vinaigrette dressing instead of mayonnaise, so feel free to substitute your favorite mixture of olive oil and a light vinegar such as rice vinegar, if you'd prefer. Don't forget to stir in a little of the orange juice into the vinaigrette if you go that route.

*A floret is the flower part of the broccoli with just a small amount of the stem. You can use the broccoli stems in this salad, but they'll be more tender if they're peeled and blanched.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What's in the Box? + recipe

Pick-up #3 - Silverlake

Skies are blue today but with so many farmers' markets rained out last week, it was a super tough week for Farmer John. Rain saves the water bill but it can be a mixed blessing for small farmers like John. This is why your support, your investment as a shareholder at the top of the season is so valued, and why CSA's are so crucial to small scale farming. I know I've said it before but I have to say it again: Thank You shareholders for supporting this CSA!

Here's what Farmer John had for us this week.

There was a lot in the box. Mostly because it had to be harvested, and had to find a home. After the list, read on for Shelley's recipe this week.

Green curly mustard (top pic)
Mizuna (bottom pic)
Red oak leaf lettuce
green oak leaf lettuce
wildfire lettuce
fresh green / young garlic
baby bok choy (middle pic)
Negi long Japanese onion
Italian parsley

Shelley Marks - our very own cooking consultant suggests:

Radishes are such a beautiful vegetable, bright red on the outside and white on the inside with a spicy and juicy crunch. I love to throw them into a mixed seasonal salad or eat them with a thick slice of dark whole wheat bread and butter. Here's a different way to use radishes that's easy and fun.

Quick Pickled Radishes

1 bunch radishes
2 C white vinegar
1/2 C white sugar
2 generous tablespoons pickling spice mix
1 large clove of garlic, smashed

1. Wash the radishes and remove the leaves, leaving about a 1/2" piece of stem on each radish.

2. Cut the radishes in half length-wise getting a piece of the stem on each half, if possible.

3. Arrange the radishes in a single layer in a shallow glass, ceramic, or other non-reactive dish that's just big enough to hold them.

4. Stir all the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

5. Remove from the heat and pour over the radishes.

6. Wrap tightly with clingfilm and set aside at room temperature.

7. The radishes will be done when the liquid has cooled to room temperature. Strain and serve. If you'd like to save these for later, refrigerate the radishes in the pickling liquid and strain before serving.

If you happen to have a sprig or two of wild fennel, adding it to the pickling mixture gives the radishes a more complex flavor. If you love fennel, but don't have any fresh sprigs, you can substitute 1 T of dried fennel seeds.

Don't worry about the white sugar in this recipe. It's in the pickling liquid which is not consumed. If anyone would like to experiment substituting agave syrup or honey for the white sugar, be sure to use a little less, and let me know how it turns out.



Tara says: Radish leaves are edible. Stir fry them with the tatsoi, baby bok choy, mustard greens and Negi onions.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What's in the box?

Pick up #2 - Silverlake

Before listing this week's veggies, let me tell you about some exciting things happening at the farm.

First, Jessi arrived! I met her at beautiful Windrose Farm near Paso Robles. This young lady's a dynamo. She's from Maine originally and after graduating in Environmental Studies and Dance at Oberlin College she has spent the past six months working on organic farms up and down the coast of California. Jessi's staying with us for a month to help us get through the transition from flowers to vegetables. Afterwards, she's going to Costa Rica to study permaculture design. Go Jessi! But you better come back soon!

Another exciting thing: I'm finally getting a weekly recipe blog together, calling on experts like Shelley Marks to contribute on a regular basis. I'm hoping Shelley will teach some cooking classes for us soon, too. More news on that later...

Here's what Shelley sent in today:

It's that time of year when spicy winter greens are at full ripeness and peak flavor. One of the best and easiest things to do with them is make a very simple salad that highlights the delightful flavors of these greens. Here's a very easy salad that you can enjoy tonight:

Spicy Winter Greens Salad

1/2 bunch mizuna
1 bunch arugula
1/4 or 1/2 bunch of chicoria
2-3 teaspoons fine olive oil
1-2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the greens well by swishing them gently in a bowl in your kitchen sink filled with enough water to cover the greens. You can do this a couple of times (recycle the water) to make sure the greens are clean of any dirt or grit.

Spin greens dry in a salad spinner or use whatever method you prefer for drying.

Tear the greens into bite sized pieces, pulling leaves off any woody or hard stalks. Throw the stalks in the compost.

Pour 2-3 teaspoons of your best olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of white balsamic vinegar over the greens. Add more to taste, but use a light touch. These greens are best lightly dressed.

Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Toss until the greens are very lightly coated with oil and vinegar.

This simple salad will serve four people as a side dish.

Turn this salad into something more substantial by topping with a poached or fried egg. The yolk should be at least a little soft, or softer to taste. Carnivores can add some crumbled bacon, too.

Tip: If the greens have become a little limp, add a cup or two of ice cubes to the final water bath and allow the greens to sit in the super cold water for 3-5 minutes before draining.

Thank you Shelley!!

Here's what Farmer John had for us this week:

chicoria (Italian dandelion)
tat soi
baby bok choy
chard mix
fresh garlic

Monday, January 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

CSA'er Christina sent this amazing recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna to share with fellow shareholders. Thank you Christina!

I'm working on a plan to post ideas and recipes for what to make with the veggies each week. I'll include storage tips and nutrition information as well. Look out for more on this in the coming few weeks. I'm excited about making this a regular thing.

Meanwhile, if you would like to share ideas, tips, anything about the veggies each week for our CSA community to enjoy, please, send them along.

Here's Christina's recipe:

She says: It's pretty simple and you could probably add all sorts of veggies to it to give it an extra boost. My recipes don't have measurements because I just eyeball it and make it up as I go. :)

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ricotta cheese
Shredded mozzarella (or other Italian cheese blend)
Lasagna pasta
butternut squash
butter or olive oil

Squash portion
1. Put entire butternut squash in the microwave for 2 minutes
2. Take out and slice in half lengthwise (microwave makes it easier to cut without the mess of boiling or risking chopping my fingers off)
3. Scoop out the seeds
4. Brush the inside with butter or olive oil
5. Put on a pan in the oven and roast on 350 F for 30-40 minutes or until soft and you can easily poke with a fork
6. Let it cool a bit and then scoop out the insides and put into a bowl
7. Smash and mix the squash, add dash of salt, pepper and other seasonings you like to taste (I like adding a dash of nutmeg, or garlic salt. I even used garlic bread sprinkle I had laying around.) Set aside.

Ricotta mixture
1. Mix a cup of ricotta cheese with one egg, set aside

Lasagna pasta
1. Cook the lasagna pasta as directed (i just bought some dried pasta from the store). Make enough for 3 layers. Depending on the size pan you're using you may need different amounts of the pasta.
2. Cut the size of the pasta to fit your pan. The pan I use is too short so I always have to cut off the ends of the pasta to fit.

Assembly and cooking directions
Get a pan and do layers of pasta, butternut, ricotta and shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle the top with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Cover the pan with foil and put in the oven to bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Check on it during the 10 minute mark and remove the foil to let the cheese brown. When the cheese is bubbling and golden brown it's ready! If your cheese isn't brown yet, switch to Broil on Low for a few minutes. Watch the oven and turn it off as soon as the top layer of cheese is brown and bubbly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What's in the box?

Pick-up #1 - Silverlake

Bree and I had a blast today distributing Farmer John's veggies to such a lovely group of people. Positive energy, support and smiles from new and returning shareholders. I'm really touched too that some of you remember my flowers. Thank you.

Here's what John had for us today:

romaine lettuce
fresh garlic (a little goes a long way)
mizuna (looks a bit like dandelion but lighter in color)
red onion

Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

Send me recipes!