Friday, October 29, 2010

Yellow Coconut Curry

From Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, there was:
Yellow seedless watermelon
Kabocha squash
Japanese turnips
Yellow carrots
Romaine lettuce
Red chard
Green cabbage
Green peppers
Baby pumpkins
Red cherry tomatoes
Pink and yellow Brandywine tomatoes

Tierra Miguel Foundation provided biodynamically grown:
Orange carrots
Green chard
Flat leaf parsley
Yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes

Grandpa Weiser and Weiser Family Farms provided onions, mixed heirloom potatoes, and parsnips.

One of our choices at pickup today: turnips or parsnips. Brent says add a little brown sugar to turnips to sweeten them up a bit. Parsnips are sweet enough on their own.

Winnetka Farms provided beautiful Italian salad greens: Three kinds of Cicoria: Treviso, Mantovano, and Castel Franco; Cornetto di Bordeaux endive; and Riccia rossa or Curly Red lettuce. Craig gave us a recipe as well; posting it pronto.

But first, Tara says: Loved having Winnetka Farms contribute to the harvest today. Craig and I have had many conversations on the phone. Finally we met in person last weekend at Artisanal LA. He is such a passionate grower. A dream to have for our CSA. Those amazing pumpkins were his as well. Huge Italian heirlooms, dopey happy and orange and plump, and sort of hungover. Kate? I hope yours made you smile.... It sure had character.

At Silver Lake Farms, our little microgreens department - Bruce and Rachel - scored a major breakthrough this week, conquering arugula. We'd been having trouble getting it to germinate and take off well. Now we know the trick. Arugula at pickup soon ! Today it was radish microgreens and pea shoots, grown with biodymamic compost. We love love love our compost pile as you can see above.

David Davis and his lovely lady, Flora Ito, provided the gorgeous avocados today. They have huge trees producing on an amazing piece of land in Glassell Park. We're talking about having me grow there. Very exciting! A third growing ground...

Back in the kitchen, and today's recipe from Shelley is inspired by Thai cooking and uses many of the vegetables in today's box. There are many complex and wonderful flavors in Thai cuisine. However, this simple and delicious coconut curry is super easy to make.

What I like best about this recipe is its flexibility. You can make it with many different kinds of vegetables and/or meats. Sometimes, I use just onions, carrots, celery, and chicken. In the summer, when zucchini squash is over-running my garden, I'll add zucchini to the mix.

My favorite way to make this curry is with five or six different vegetables and no meat. And while I vary the ingredients frequently, I always start with onions and include carrots. From there, you can be creative. You'll want to start with 5-6 C of chopped vegetables in addition to the onion.

As for the curry spice: You can mix up your own curry powder if you'd like. I simply use a very generous amount of pre-mixed sweet curry powder. If you prefer hot, you can use that instead. Let your taste be your guide.

Yellow Coconut Curry

1 onion
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin coins
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced lengthwise
2-3 parsnips, peeled and sliced into coins
1/4 green cabbage, coarsely chopped into large pieces
1 kabocha squash, scrubbed, seeded, partially peeled and chopped into 1" cubes**
1-2 spring Thai basil (optional)
1-2 T oil
2-4 T prepared curry powder, or more to taste
1 can (about 14 oz) coconut milk + 1/2 can water
salt to taste

1. Slice the onion lengthwise and set aside.

2. Prepare 5-6 C chopped vegetables and set aside. Use the vegetables listed above or substitute (or add) others to your taste, such as broccoli, zucchini or other summer squash, red pepper, eggplant, Thai eggplant, potatoes. Most vegetables work, but tomatoes tend to disintegrate with long cooking. If you want to use tomatoes, add them when the curry is nearly cooked through.

3. Heat the oil in a large saute pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the curry powder and toast slightly.

4. Add the onions, cover and cook until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the remaining 5-6 C chopped vegetables, Thai basil (if you're using it), 1 can coconut milk, 1/2 can water and 1/2 t salt.

6. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender - 10 to 20 minutes depending on the type of vegetables and how you chopped them.

7. Uncover, check seasoning, adding more curry or salt, if desired. I sometimes add 1-2 t sugar, honey, or agave syrup. If the sauce is too watery, cook uncovered for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. If it's too thick, add a little water.

I like garnishing this curry with cilantro sprigs and serving it over brown rice, but Jasmine rice is also delicious. You can skip the rice altogether and eat it like a soup if you prefer.

If you're so inclined, you can add some peeled and sliced mango. Pick a firm, but ripe mango and add it when the curry is nearly done.

**The kabocha squash skin may be too tough to eat even after cooking, but keeping the skin on prevents the squash from turning to mush during cooking.



Monday, October 25, 2010

Artisanal LA

Artisanal LA was so much fun this weekend with Christina Wong and Graham Keegan, and the hundreds and hundreds of people who stopped by our stand. 400 CSA flyers flew out - whoosh! Cool!

Lindy & Grundy, female butchers, are today's "it" girls in my book - the stars of the show, embodying where everything's at today in terms of street culture, food and the local movement. They should be on the cover of Time! Pure joy meeting this rockin' duo. Butcher shops are making a comeback! I love it! I'm looking forward to collaborating with Lindy & Grundy on super cool things for our CSA.

More highlights: Christina paired Fuji apple with biodynamic tomatoes from Tierra Miguel and Booya! Caramel-tasting treats. Who'd a thunk?

I saw jaws drop, eyes widen and cameras click at Graham Keegan's display of madder plant roots, backlit to accentuate their color red. Graham dye-designs natural fabrics using plant materials he grows and forages locally. I'm growing indigo and madder for him, adding these extraordinary plants to the cotton and loofah sponges in the garden. The stories these plants tell....!

Loved meeting Gloria Putnam and seeing Nysha Dalhgren and Amelia Saltsman again. And super excited about meeting Cast Iron Gourmet and Cafe De Leche.

Shawna: thanks for organizing such a super event. Artisanal LA rocks!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple Crisp

Four farms contributed to today's bountiful box:

Underwood Family Farms provided:
Organic fuji apples
Valencia oranges
Yellow zucchini
Round carrots
Curly kale
Bok choy
Sweet corn

Weiser Family Farms provided:
Butternut squash

Tierra Miguel Foundation, a biodynamic grower provided:
Biodynamic carrots
Mixed summer squash
Yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes
Biodynamic chard

And Silver Lake Farms provided delicious microgreens: pea shoots and radish greens.

It's fall and apple season is upon us. I grew up in Michigan with a cider mill practically in my back yard. From September to December, I could smell the sweet aroma of apples being pressed into pure, unfiltered cider. There's nothing quite like it here. It's one of the few flavors of my childhood I can't quite replicate in sunny southern California.

Fortunately, there are many other wonderful apple treats that are just as easy to make here as anywhere else. And apple crisp is one of them. I've been making my own apple crisp since I was a teenager. It's much easier than apple pie and just as delicious. It's great hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If there's any leftover, it's also delicious at breakfast with a hot cup of coffee.

Here's my recipe that I've been making for years:

6-8 apples
1 C sugar
1 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
1 stick (1/4 lb) cold butter, cut into pieces

1. Butter a glass baking dish such as a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or an 8-inch square. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the apples into quarters lengthwise. Peel and core each quarter and slice each quarter lengthwise into 2-3 pieces. Put cut apples into prepared dish.

3. Using a pastry cutter or a food processor, blend the other ingredients together until it resembles a very coarse meal. Sprinkle on top of the apples.

4. Bake at 375 degree for 45-60 minutes until the crumb crust is well-browned and the apples are bubbling.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Here's what Tara brought down from Underwood Family Farms today:

Butternut squash
Fuji apples
Dragon carrots
Sweet corn
Red leaf lettuce
Yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes
Pink Brandywine tomatoes
Pickling cucumbers

And Silver Lake Farms provided pea shoots this week.

When the weather turns cool, I think of soup; and one of my fall favorites is roasted butternut squash soup. It's delicious and so easy to make - simply roast the squash, puree it, and thin it with the liquid of your choice: water, stock, milk and/or cream. Season it with salt and pepper and you've got a wonderful starter; add a nice salad and/or some grainy bread and you have a lovely meal.

If you want to get fancy, you can add some flaked Dungeness cake or shrimp. You can cut the kernels off the ears of corn from today's box and add them, too. I like to add a little freshly ground nutmeg to my soup; squash seems to love that sweet spice.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
3-4 C chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 C cream (more or less to taste)
3/4 C flaked Dungeness crab
3/4 C fresh corn kernels
freshly ground salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and compost them. Place squash, cut side down on a lightly greased baking an and roast in oven until very tender.

3. Remove from oven and set squash aside until cool enough to handle. Then scoop out squash; compost them skin. [You can roast the squash in advance and refrigerate it for several days before making the soup.]

4. In a blender or food processor (or with a fork), puree the squash. Pour it into a stock pot and add 3 C stock. Heat to a simmer, stirring often. Turn down heat, add remining stock and/or cream, if desired.

5. Stir in crab and corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CSA Shares Available Now !!

CSA shares are available for Round 6 of our program.

Pickups are in Silver Lake near the corner of Rowena and Hyperion between 3pm and 7pm every Friday.

It's a 10-week program starting Friday October 15, ending Friday December 17.

As a shareholder you can pick up every week (weekly share) for 10 weeks - $250.

Or you can pick up every other week on Track 1 starting Friday October 15.
5 pickups = $125.

Or you can pick up every other week on Track 2 starting Friday October 22. Also $125.

Payment is required upfront as a show of commitment.

There are three local farmers involved: John Sweredoski grows all sorts of vegetables and greens, which he is famous for, in Bell Gardens. You might know him from the Echo Park Farmers' Market. He is pesticide-free. John also supplies fruit - mostly citrus and avocados.

Craig Underwood in Moorpark: Always great. (see previous blog posts for the full list). Great quality, consistent quantity, and plus they are really nice people.

Silver Lake Farms: I supply the CSA with micro-greens grown by Rachel Klein and Bruce Chan, both shareholders also.

All the produce is freshly picked for CSA pick-ups on Fridays.

Fresh local bread - the best in LA says Tasting Table - is also available, baked by local artisanal baker, Mark Stambler, on Friday mornings. It's a separate program.

Shoot me an email at if you want to sign up or have any questions.

Please indicate full share or half share - and which Track (1 or 2).

Thank you !!



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lovely CSA birthday !

What a great Friday! Teamwork, productivity, harmony and kindness. Beat did the honors and drove to Moorpark to pick up the veggies. Bruce and Rachel harvested radish microgreens to the sound of some great tunes while Ruby, who just moved in, helped clear up the mess in my office. Thank you everyone!! It feels so good to be part of a team, to be growing again, get organized and create space for new and exciting things ahead.

The lovely Danielle, aided by Willow and Sophia, distributed veggies at pick-up today. Thank you so much!

This CSA just turned a year old. What a big milestone! We started with only veggies but now we have fruit, bread and microgreens as well. And a pig is on the way! Next spring, I'll offer flowers. Yay!

Thank you shareholders past and present for your support, and a big extra thank you to shareholders who've been members since the start. It is so wonderful to be a part of this small community that comes together every week, making Fridays so special. I feel honored to be a part of your life.

Thank you for the handmade gifts! Jennifer and Barry brought pickled beans and cukes, Vi and Dieu brought soap made with one of my loofahs, and Mariana brought a beautiful hand-sketched thank you card that Carolyn made. I am so touched by your kindness. Thank you!

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

bag of baby lettuce (red oak, green romaine)
bunch of dill
bunch of dandelion greens
bunch of mixed herbs (thyme, sage, sweet marjoram)
bunch of basil
celery head
broccoli head
bag of green beans
green bell peppers

And here's what Beat brought back from Underwood:

bunch of mizuna
bunch of japanese turnips
romaine lettuce head
bunch of carrots
Kobacha squash
green zucchini squash
green bell peppers
bi-color ears of corn
yellow Brandy heirloom tomatoes
bunch of Easter radishes
acorn squash
mini pumpkins

Have a wonderful weekend and see you next week for Round 6!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Fresh Quick Sweet Cucumber Pickles

Pickling Cucumbers. See Shelley's recipe below for how to pickle them.

Spaghetti Squash. (In my fuzzy head it was a watermelon, sorry! Best I get back to flowers... Tara)

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

Brown onions
Patty pan squash
Iceberg lettuce head
Green chard
Green peppers
Dandelion greens
Mixed herbs: sage, thyme and sweet marjoram
Garlic chives

And here's what Tara picked up from Underwood Family Farms today:

Sharlyn melon
Valencia oranges
Candy beets
Yellow zucchini
Green leaf lettuce
Purple carrots
Red peppers
Pickling cukes
Pink Brandywine tomatoes
Spaghetti squash (err, sorry, i called it a watermelon before Mr. Loewen straightened me out. Thank you Bret! Tara)

Fresh pickles, also known as quick pickles, are quite the rage now and for good reason. They're super easy to make and delicious to eat. They're quick because they don't involve any canning. This cuts the time it takes to make them, but also means they don't last for months on the shelf and they require refrigeration.

You can pickle many different vegetables, but cucumbers are among the most common. You can pickle some fruits, too, just make sure you select something that can stand up to the process without turning to mush.

Here's a simple recipe that I modified to use with the four cucumbers we got in our CSA box today. You'll probably get more brine than you actually need, but it's important that the cukes are covered with the brine during the pickling process. if you want to add more cukes, be sure to get pickling cucumbers, as the regular, eating variety don't work quite as well.

Fresh Quick Sweet Cucumber Pickles

Prepare the cucumbers:
4 pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 T kosher salt
1 C ice cubes

Place sliced cucumbers in a non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Add ice cubes and enough cold water to cover. Let stand 2-3 hours at room temperature.

Prepare the brine:
2 C white vinegar
1-1/4 C granulated sugar
1 t each turmeric, whole cloves, yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all brine ingredients in a non-corrosive pot and bring to a boil. Drain and rinse cucumbers. Add to hot brine. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Turn off the heat and allow cucumbers to soak in the hot brine until they reach the desired pickled-ness. I like to let mine soak about 45 minutes. When done, drain and chill uncovered in the fridge until cold. Cover and keep in fridge up to 1 week.


Silver Lake Farms would be happy to host a class on pickling, either quick pickles, canned pickles, or both. We would need a minimum of eight people (though we'd happily accommodate more). The cost would be $48 per person. Let Tara know if you're interested. Home-made pickles look great on a holiday table and they make beautiful and delicious holiday gifts.