Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Greetings From Morning Song Farm 11/12/08

















For identification purposes, above are images of Arugula, Passionfruit, Passionflower, and Kale. I made a simple salad for lunch today with an entire bunch of arugula and about a quarter of the bunch of cilantro; no lettuce at all. I added a few crushed macadamia nuts, and thinly sliced radishes. I used a whole lime, squeezed over the greens with a little California Olive Oil dashed across the serving with a pinch of the crushed Kung Pao dried chili pepper you've been getting in your baskets each week. As a finishing touch I crumbled a little dried mint over the whole plate. Delicious!




We Pause Now for a Word About Kale

Remember that Kale can be eaten cooked and served hot like you would Swiss Chard, or can be chilled after cooking and served as a salad ingredient. Kale is among the most nutrition-packed vegetables a farmer can grow. It is an excellent source of carotenes, vitamins C and B6, and manganese. One cup of kale supplies more than 70 percent of the RDI for vitamin C, with only 20 calories. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber and many minerals, including copper, iron and calcium. Kale has almost three times as much calcium as phosphorus, and has demonstrated effective imune-boosting properties. Kale should be stored in the refrigerator crisper wrapped in a damp paper towel or placed in a perforated plastic bag. Do not wash before storing, as this will cause it to become limp.


*Use cut raw kale as salad green
*Lightly sauté kale with fresh garlic and sprinkle it with lemon juice before serving.
*Braise chopped kale and apples, then sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped macadamias just before serving.
*Combine chopped kale, chopped macadamia nuts, and feta cheese with whole-grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.
*Use steamed kale as topping for homemade pizza.
Purée cooked kale and potatoes together and season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin for a delicious soup. Add vegetable stock if required.


Passionfruit

Also, some subscribers may have never seen a passionfruit. You'll see the incredible flower of the passionfruit vine above, as well as a photo of the fruit. The fruit is either purple or a little yellowish. I cut as small a cap off the top of the fruit as I can and still allow for a spoon to get inside. I sprinkle a little stevia inside, and scoop out and eat just like that, as a dessert. The seeds are edible like tomato seeds.




You'll see plenty of feijoa guavas in your baskets this week; it's a fairly short season so enjoy them while you can. I eat them like an apple, but some people don't like the skin, which I think is the best part. Suit yourself, but at least try the skin which has a minty/tropical taste.




Here’s this week’s pick ticket:
Limes
Lots of Feijoa Guavas
Dried Kung Pao Hot Peppers
Arugula
Basil
Radishes
Macadamias
Mint
Apples
Sage
Head Lettuce
Cilantro
Green Beans
Kale
Passionfruit

And in large baskets only:
Culinary pumpkins
Carrots
Baby Lettuce

Little Known Potato Fact


Conventionally grown potatoes are almost certainly doused with chlorprohham (CIPC) which is the most effective post-harvest sprout inhibitor registered for use in potatoes in the U.S. While spraying your food, workers are required by safety regulations to don respirators and wear protective clothing. There is an inevitable and legally allowable accumulation of residue at the moment of consumption of even the peeled tuber.

Another Reason to Buy Organic

From Vegetable Growers News, this just out: “The EPA has registered Syngenta Crop Protection’s Voliam Xpress insecticide. Voliam Xpress is approved for use on head and leaf lettuce, fruiting vegetables, head and stem brassicas and cucurbit vegetables.” …Voliam Xpress utilizes two modes of action to protect crops from chewing and sucking insects as well as lepidopteran pests. It contains chlorantraniliprole, a new mode of action from the diamide family of insecticides, and lambda-cyhalothrin, a third-generation phyrethroid insecticide. The two active ingredients are combined in an enhanced solution that provides fast knockdown and long-lasting residual control…”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Greetings Morning Song Farm Supporters


Below is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. The blue culinary pumpkins you have been receiving in your baskets are grown specifically for this recipe. Crack open your pumpkin on the driveway or other hard surface, scoop out the seeds and bake at 350 degrees until soft enough to scoop out. You can save that beautiful pumpkin for Thanksgiving if you like. It can be stored for months, unlike the Halloween pumpkins you may have purchased at the grocery store, these pumpkins are specifically grown for their storage and culinary uses.

We have opened another drop off site in Costa Mesa at the organic leaning Coastal Children's Learning Center. The address is 2245 Orange Avenue, Costa Mesa 92672. Their website is http://www.coastalclc.com/. Host Kristin Bryson can be reached at 949-722-1005.


Also, we are actively trying to start a new drop off near UCI in Irvine. The address is in a residential neighborhood at the corner of University Drive and Goldenglow Street, Irvine. Please tell your Irvine friends about us!

Many of you don’t know what to do with the herbs you’ve been receiving, so I’d like to give some general suggestions. We grow a lot of mint, partly because I like herbal tea, and secondly because the mint patch keeps getting bigger (mint will do that). I don’t eat much fresh mint, although small pieces can really wake up a green salad. I toss my bunches into an herb bowl on my kitchen counter until they’re completely dried. Then I crumble in the palm of my hand, throw away the stem portion and save in a little Tupperware or plastic bag for my teas. I also often make a limeaide, toss in a baggie of the crumbled mint (or get lazy and just throw in the dried bunch as is) and let sit overnight. I sweeten with the herb stevia, I get in powedered form from Traders or a health store. Make sure you get the good stuff that isn’t cut with dextrose or other forms of sugar. Look for 100% pure stevia. Strain your beverage the next day, and you have a sugar-free, minty limeaide that is super simple to make and quite unusual.

The basil is still going strong in our fields, but don’t expect to see it for much longer as it’s a warm weather crop. I really enjoy the mild basil we’re growing this year fresh in salads. You can also dry just like the mint above, and use later. I also make a quick and easy pesto:
Quick And Easy Pesto
I'm intentionally not putting measurements here because it's not necessary and you'll enjoy working with herbs more when you see how easy it is sans the nuisance of measuring everything.
Put all leaves of one bunch in a cusinart or blender with a good California olive oil, couple of garlic cloves (or more), tiny bit of dried hot pepper (you've been getting an heirloom dried pepper in your basket for weeks--save these for occassions like this), a quarter cup or so of walnuts, salt and pepper, a little bit of water to get the consistency right. Blend. I then add a sprinkling of more walnuts to the puree for texture. Serve over pasta, chicken, or as an amazing salad dressing.

Rosemary is another herb you’ll see plenty of, and I usually use this herb dried. Bunches get tossed in the herb bowl, and then I crumble, same as the mint into dishes as I prepare them. I like a simple pasta with butter or olive oil (Temecula Olive Oil Company in Temecula is a local provider of incredible, local olive oil; they have a CSA for their olive oil. Here’s their website: http://www.temeculaoliveoil.com/
tossed with rosemary, crushed garlic and a little salt. I use rosemary in many of my simple stir fries and add to a basic buttermilk biscuit, turning the biscuit into a Rosemary Biscuit.

I can’t get enough cilantro, and it will grow and harvest it most of the year. I enjoy a salad dressing made of cilantro, nonfat plain yogurt, salt, a couple garlic cloves and a tiny bit of dried hot pepper. Blend in a cusinart or blender and store in the refrigerator.

We’ve spent the week planting our strawberry plants which are slated to begin harvest in January-February. We’re mid-harvest in the macadamia grove, and should have macs back in your baskets next week. Just harvested, they don’t crack out well, so although we have plenty of harvested nuts, we didn’t have enough this week to crack out.


Pumpkin Pie
Line a pie pan with pie dough: you can get a decent, chemical-free dough already rolled out from Trader Joes, or follow this simple recipe: One cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift together. Then add 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon chilled butter to flour mixture, half at a time. Use a pastry blender, or work butter in lightly with tips of fingers until it has the grain of cornmeal. Then add the remaining butter into dough until it is pea size. Sprinkle dough with 2 Tablespoons water. Blend water lightly into dough. Gather dough up into a little ball, chill a little, then roll out into your pastry shell.

Preheat oven to 425. Mix until well blended: 2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin. 1 1/2 cups cream.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice.
1/4 teaspoon grated cloves
The above spice quantities make a strong, spicy pie. If you like it milder, reduce by half the above spices.
Two slightly beat eggs.
Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Bake 15 min. at 425. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 45 mins., or until a knife inserted, comes out clean.

Top with sweetened whipped cream, and serve.


Baked Apples
Preheat oven to 375. Wash and remove core to 1/2 inch of bottoms of 4 tart apples. Combine: 1/4 cup brown sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 1/4 teaspoon allspice, tiny pinch of grated cloves. Fill centers of apples with your mixture. Dot filled cores with butter. Drizzle juice of half lime or tops of all four applies. Put applies into an 8x8 inch pan with : 3/4 cup boiling water and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake about 30 minutes--or until tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices. Should juices be runny, remove the apples to a serving dish and reduce the juices by cooking down a little, then return to serving dish.