summer csa share – week 15

csa share week 15

Welcome to the 15th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix – The mix this week has a little mizuna.  Fun with greens!
  • Bunching Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Shishito Peppers – Best served blistered in hot oil with salt just like this recipeBeware: 1 in 10 is hot!  It’s a game of pepper roulette.
  • Liebesapfel Pimento Peppers – Meaning “love apple” this pimento pepper has thick sweet flesh that makes a great stand in for bell peppers.  Use fresh or dehydrate them and grind them into paprika!
  • Sweet Corn
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Honey Orange Melons – Technically a honeydew, these melons are orange on the inside and taste similar to cantaloupe.

summer colors

Without much fanfare last week we passed the halfway point of the Summer CSA.  In some ways it’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the season.  Where did June, July, and August go?  Those months are all just a hot, dry memory now.  And can you believe we still have half the season in front of us?  What vegetable adventures will the autumn months bring us?  Only time will tell.

corn and cabbage

In an effort to beat the rain this past weekend, we set the weeding aside for our Tim-time on Friday morning and instead focused on harvesting the somewhat neglected popcorn and flour corn from our back field.  Every spring we revel in the possibilities of dry corn and then we proceed to plant it and ignore it for much of the season.  It’s just never a very high priority in the middle of summer.  However, our harvest was better than I’d expected it to be and you’ll be seeing both varieties in future shares because we got it in before the RAIN!

This weekend’s stormy weather was just what we needed.  The farm appreciated a good dousing and we appreciated a reason to take a day off from field work.  Jeff even went on an overnight canoeing adventure in the rain thanks to the serendipitous overlap of stormy weather and the start of bow hunting season.

The arrival of the first blustery fallish storm has us thinking more about the season ahead.  September is here, so winter can’t be all that far off.  We’ve been planting overwintering crops for a month and a half and we’re feeling good about the prospects for the Winter CSA shares.  The field crops like cabbages and sprouting broccoli are sizing up.  The storage crops like winter squash and potatoes are looking plentiful.  We’re ready to begin accepting members for the Winter CSA and we’d like to give current CSA members a first shot.  You can see all the Winter CSA details on our website here: http://pitchforkandcrow.com/wintercsa/.  Check your weekly CSA member email for more information.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Green Beans with Bacon and Red Bell Peppers

  • 6 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut in half
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips (use the Liebesapfel pimentos here)
  • 1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel and drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add green beans and bell pepper to skillet. Toss vegetables over medium-high heat until coated with drippings, about 1 minute. Add broth. Cover and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Gertrude Burnom, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-beans-with-bacon-and-red-bell-pepper-104723

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Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes and Basil

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, tomatoes, basil leaves, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, stirring and tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-beans-braised-with-tomatoes-and-basil-232101

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Grilled Lime-Curry-Rubbed Hanger Steak with Fresh Melon-Cucumber Chutney

For chutney:

  • 2 cups chopped firm-ripe honeydew melon (10 ounces)
  • 1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño including seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

For steak:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 pounds (1-inch-thick) hanger steak or chuck blade steaks

Make chutney:
Stir together honeydew, cucumber, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with spices and let chutney stand while grilling steak.

Grill steak:
Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .

Stir together lime juice, oil, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Coat steak with curry mixture.

Oil grill rack, then grill steak, covered, turning once, 9 minutes total for medium-rare. Let rest on a cutting board 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain. Serve steak with chutney.

Serve with:
basmati or jasmine rice

Cooks’note: Steak can be cooked in a lightly oiled 2-burner grill pan, 14 to 16 minutes total for medium-rare.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-lime-curry-rubbed-hanger-steak-with-fresh-melon-cucumber-chutney-353669

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summer csa share – week 14

csa share week 14

Welcome to the 14th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Kale Mix – young & tender, this kale mix would make for a tasty salad or lightly saute if you prefer your kale cooked.
  • Sweet Onions
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Golden Beets – rumor is, if you think red beets are a little too ‘earthy’ tasting, the milder golden beets might be your ticket to loving beets.  We like them roasted int he oven or grated on salads.
  • Sweet Peppers – A mix of two types of red and orange sweet peppers this week.  Both varieties make great stand-ins for bell peppers!
  • Eggplant
  • Summer Squash
  • French Fingerling Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers – Slicers and picklers all around
  • Green Beans
  • Muskmelons – aka cantaloupes!

There’s been a welcome hint of fall in the air this past week.  Although we had some warm days, the temperature has dropped overnight, resulting in some relief from the seemingly endless heat.  There’s even rumor of rain this weekend!  We’re ready for it!  Or we we will be by Saturday.

Looking around the farm there are a few things we need to take care of before the rain arrives.  Tools need to be brought inside, tarps need to be secured, and fruit needs to be harvested.  Similarly, there were seed crops waiting to be threshed.  Though they were stored in a greenhouse, plastic houses sometimes have unnoticed holes in them that can mean ruin to dry seeds when a rainstorm hits.

chicory seed

This past week I spent some time threshing and winnowing the chicory  and kale seed crops we had grown out over this past winter and spring.  The photos above show much of the seed production process for the chicories, but here’s a little more explanation:

  1. We transplanted out the chicory starts last October and by March they had grown to the size of  a small lettuce head.
  2. By the end of May they’d begun bolting, and by mid-June they were in full flowering mode.
  3. Chicory flowers are a striking periwinkle color and they only open during the morning hours, closing by midday when the sun is brightest.
  4. The bees and other local pollinators enjoyed the flowers as much as we did and as the flowers began to fade, seed began to develop.
  5. When the birds took a real interest in eating the seed, we harvested the dry stalks onto a tarp and stored it in an empty greenhouse to finish drying down.
  6. The seeds of chicories are difficult to thresh out from the base of the flower and they’re difficult to quickly distinguish from the dried plant material as they look like tiny sticks.  Our friends let us borrow their altered chipper that works wonders for breaking up the dried stalks and knocking the seeds free from the flowers.
  7. At this point we’re left with a big pile of chipped plant material mixed with the seeds.  After some winnowing with a box fan to blow off the lightest plant material, I screened out the larger pieces of dried stalks.
  8. We now have a bin full of seeds and stems.  We’ll use successively smaller screens to continue to remove the stems, eventually leaving us with clean chicory seed ready to plant again.

The seed cleaning process is similar for other seed crops, though it varies slightly depending on the crop.  For the kale seed, instead of putting it through the chipper we beat the dried seed pods with a stick to break the pods open and release the seeds.  It all depends on how the seed is held onto the plant.  The screening and winnowing process will also vary depending on what the dried plant matter is like that’s mixed in with the seed.

Our seed crops are now half processed, and out of danger of any rains that might come our way anytime soon.  A rainy day might even serve as a good excuse to stay inside and clean them further.  Until then, we’ll be focusing all the other tasks on the list.  The plums still need to be harvested, the next round of apples are beginning to fall, the popcorn is ready to be harvested.  And of course the weeds and irrigation and planting etc all continue to need attention.  But the weather feels like fall, and everything seems a little easier in the cooler temps.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Beet Salad

  • 4 medium red or golden beets (4 ounces each), stems and root ends removed
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower-seed oil
  • 2 ounces lowfat goat cheese

Heat oven to 400°F. Wrap each beet in foil. Roast until soft, about 1 hour. Cool slightly; remove foil. Rub off skins; cut into wedges. Toss with nuts and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Add oil; toss. Divide among 4 plates; crumble cheese on top.

From Epicurious via SELF by Lesley Porcelli, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beet-salad-238644

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Eggplant Fritters with Honey

  • 2 eggplants (about 1/4 pounds)
  • About 2 cups milk
  • Flour for dusting or dredging
  • Salt
  • Olive or sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • Orange blossom honey or other aromatic runny honey

Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Put them in a bowl, add enough milk to cover, and put a small plate on top to hold them down. Let soak for 1 to 2 hours; drain.

Cover a plate with plenty of flour mixed with a sprinkling of salt. Working in batches, turn the eggplant slices in this so that they are entirely covered with flour, then shake them to remove the excess. Deep-fry in sizzling but not too hot oil, turning the slices over as soon as the first side is brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with a dribble of honey, and let people help themselves to more honey if they like.

Variation In Córdoba, I had the eggplant slices dipped in batter. The coating was crisp, the eggplant was moist, and they were served with molasses.

From Epicurious via The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/eggplant-fritters-with-honey-366230

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Spanish-Style Grilled Vegetables with Breadcrumb Picada

On the grill

  • 3 large red bell peppers (about 1 1/2 pounds), stemmed, seeded, quartered
  • 4 large Japanese eggplants (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 3 slices
  • 4 medium green or yellow zucchini (preferably 2 of each; about 1 pound), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for grilling)

For the dish

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • *Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Arrange vegetables on baking sheets. Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill peppers, skin side down and without turning, until blackened and blistered, moving occasionally for even cooking, about 10 minutes. Enclose in plastic bag. Let stand until skins loosen, about 30 minutes. Grill eggplants and zucchini until charred and tender, turning and rearranging for even browning, 5 to 6 minutes. Place on foillined baking sheet. Peel peppers. Transfer to sheet with eggplants and zucchini.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add breadcrumbs; stir until golden, about 3 minutes. Season breadcrumb picada to taste with salt; scrape into small bowl.

Place vinegar in another small bowl; whisk in 3 tablespoons oil. Mix in parsley and oregano. Season to taste with salt.

Arrange vegetables on platter. Spoon herb dressing over; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Tori Ritchie, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spanish-style-grilled-vegetables-with-breadcrumb-picada-238806

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summer csa share – week 13

csa share week 13

Welcome to the 13th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Bunching Onions
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers – These guys may look hot, but they shouldn’t have much if any heat to them.  Some of our favorite sweet peppers!
  • Summer Squash
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers – Slicers or picklers, you choose!
  • Green Beans
  • Plums
  • Muskmelons – aka cantaloupes!  This variety is called Pike and was bred in the Monmouth area in the 1930s and 40s!

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harvests

Somehow it’s become mid-August and we’ve found ourselves smack in the middle of another growing season.  This year’s especially dry conditions have continued to make the landscape look later in the season than the calendar would suggest.  The leaves on some of the earlier apple trees are beginning to turn yellow and the familiar fall crunch of dry leaves already accompanies a walk through that orchard.  The onions are curing in the prop. house and Jeff’s tobacco is curing in his tipi.  Our thoughts are turning to big harvests and we’re beginning to wonder if all the potatoes and apples and plums and winter squash will fit into the available storage space.

This hot, dry season has had me thinking some about the seasonality of crops.  Obviously some crops are suited to cooler seasons and some to warmer seasons, but in a hot year are we expecting too much from summer kale or cauliflower for instance? Jeff recently came across the following chart put together in the early 1800s by President Thomas Jefferson:

jefferson vegetable chart

It’s called ” A statement of the vegetable market of Washington, during  a period of 8 years 1801-1808″ and as the title suggests, it details the vegetables and fruits found throughout the year at markets in Washington DC during Jefferson’s time as President.  I find it to be a fascinating look at a growing season in terms of availability of crops throughout the year.  Broccoli was only available in April but peas made an appearance from May through mid-November.  It’s also interesting to see crops listed that aren’t as well known these days such as salsify and corn salad.  It would be interesting to know more about the varieties of these vegetables.  How many different types of peas were they sowing for instance?

Of course there are caveats to be made.  Growing practices have evolved over time; we have the use of greenhouses that I wouldn’t imagine most market growers in the 1800s would have had for example.  Also, our climate is different from Washington DC where winters are often snowy and cold and summers are hot and humid.  And of course as tastes and market demands shift, growers are influenced to grow new or different crops.  But this chart does make me wonder why we feel the need to grow cauliflower all summer instead of just enjoying the heck out of winter cauliflower like they seemed to in Jefferson’s time given that it was only available December through March.

rows covered

We’re ready to transplant our overwintering cauliflower this week, along with the next successions of lettuce and beets.  As the market growers in Jefferson’s era must have known, the key to year-round availability is well-timed succession planting.  As we head deeper into this season, our plantings are getting smaller and the work is shifting to maintenance and harvest.  We’re appreciating Tim’s help more than ever as we continue to tackle the weeds each week.  And we’re still pondering where all the winter squash, potatoes, apples, and plums are going to go.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Heirloom Tomatoes with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Basil

  • 6 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/4 lb sliced bacon (about 5 slices)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 4 assorted medium heirloom tomatoes (2 lb total), cut into 1/4 to 1/3 inch-thick slices
  • 30 small fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 oz blue cheese (preferably Maytag Blue), crumbled, at room temperature
  • Very small heirloom cherry or currant tomatoes (for garnish)
Cut 1 round from each bread slice with cookie cutter. Cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until crisp, then transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off bacon fat from skillet and reserve fat (do not clean skillet). Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then toast 3 bread rounds, turning over once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes total. Transfer toasts to a rack to cool and season with salt and pepper. Toast remaining 3 bread rounds in 1 1/2 tablespoons more oil in same manner.
Cook shallot in 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer, whisking, until emulsified, about 1 minute. Season dressing with salt and pepper and keep warm, covered. Crumble bacon.
Arrange bread rounds on 6 plates and divide tomato slices among them, stacking slices and sprinkling some basil and bacon between slices. Sprinkle cheese and remaining basil and bacon over and around tomatoes. Spoon some of warm bacon dressing over and around tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Toasts can be made 3 hours ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Dressing can be made 1 hour ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat before proceeding. Tomatoes can be sliced 1 hour ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.
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Macaroni, Tomato, Corn, and Basil Salad

  • 3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thin slices halved English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

Cook macaroni in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Drain well. Transfer macaroni to large bowl. Add tomatoes, green onions, cucumber and corn.

Blend basil, yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic in processor until basil is finely chopped. Add basil dressing to macaroni mixture and toss to blend. Season salad with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/macaroni-tomato-corn-and-basil-salad-101962

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Savoy Cabbage and Lemon Slaw

  • 8 cups finely sliced savoy cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup low-fat (2%) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Combine cabbage and basil in large bowl.

Whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, grated onion, lemon juice, lemon peel and thyme in small bowl to blend. Add dressing to cabbage mixture; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/savoy-cabbage-and-lemon-slaw-2160

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summer csa share – week 12

csa share week 12

Welcome to the 12th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Chard
  • Salad Mix
  • Onions
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Shishito Peppers – Best served blistered in hot oil with salt just like this recipeBeware: 1 in 10 is hot!  It’s a game of pepper roulette.
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatoes – A big heirloom slicer and your choice of cherries or small sauce tomatoes.
  • Cucumbers – Slicers or picklers, you choose!
  • Green Beans
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – These are the same variety of apples from a couple of weeks back.  They make great sauce, which in turn makes great applesauce cookies!
  • Watermelon – Tasting these in the field this week we came to the conclusion that we may have overwatered them.  Sad but true.  They’re still tasty though.

twilight

For better or worse, the long work days of summer leave quite a bit of time for listening to podcasts and audio books.  There’s a new farming podcast taking the small farming world by storm that I’ve been enjoying to no end.  It’s called the Farmer to Farmer podcast and though it may be a little too farmy technical for non-farmer listeners, there are a lot of great non-technical concepts discussed too.

This week’s episode of the podcast was CSA-centric and the host and interviewee spent a good deal of time discussing the CSA concept and how it has evolved over the years.  The interviewee runs one of the oldest CSAs in the country and was adamant that the idea of ‘shared risk’ was the number one tenet of the CSA model.  In the interview he also differentiated between risk associated with unavoidable natural occurrences and risk associated with poor management.  He thinks CSA members have signed up to help shoulder the former but not the latter.

As CSAs have increased in number and competition has created more consumer choice it seems like the practical implementation of this concept has fallen away from most CSAs.   We agree that ‘shared risk’ is an important component of the CSA and in retrospect we’ve confronted it in a similar mindset, though we discuss it here very rarely.  For example, when a winter storm killed the majority of our overwintering field crops a couple years back, we were honest with the CSA members about the situation and winter shares were filled with more storage crops than usual for several months.  That event provided a unique opportunity to see how many members understood that they’d signed up for ‘shared risk’ along with their allotment of vegetables for the season.

As current CSA members I wonder if you think about this concept too, or if you did when you signed on last spring?  What does CSA mean to you as a member?

tiller and birds

Perhaps the podcast episode I just rambled on about really caught my attention because this past week has been filled with some subtle ups and downs.  For starters, a couple weeks back we broke our tiller, which is not something you want to face in the beginning of August with a propagation house full of transplants ready to find a home in the field.  After spending time taking the tiller to the shop, hearing about the $4000 repair cost, realizing the thing only cost $1500 4 years ago when we bought it, deciding to buy a new (used) tiller, and traveling to McMinnville to do so, the rest of the week just felt a little off kilter.  But really the whole thing was fairly smooth and thanks to you all, we had the money in the bank to buy the new implement and get back to work ASAP.

Highlights from this week include seeing hummingbirds in the pole beans, the weeding of the sweet potatoes/seed crop celery/trial peppers/leeks/overwintering brassicas (think cabbage, broccoli etc) with Tim, the homemade apple pie Tim brought to share at break (that guy knows how to bake a pie!), catching the gopher that’s been eating celery plants, several amazing sunsets, pushing through to get caught up on planting, and a brief visit by some other inspirational farmers.  It all evened out in the end and we’re on to the next week!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Tomato and Watermelon Salad

  • 3 or 4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh
  • 1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, tarragon, chives, and cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. In a spice grinder, grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder. Add the ground coriander to the tomato mixture and toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

From Epicurious via Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition by Gerald Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tomato-and-watermelon-salad-352389

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Summer Vegetable Succotash

  • 1 lb small (1-inch) yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (preferably corn oil)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears; preferably yellow and white)
  • 8 oz baby pattypan squash, trimmed and quartered
  • 8 oz frozen shelled edamame (fresh soybeans) or baby lima beans (1 1/2 cups), cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until foam subsides, then sauté potatoes with salt and pepper to taste, turning once or twice, until nicely crusted, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Sauté corn and squash in remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans and sauté, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and add to potatoes with onion and chives, stirring to combine.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-vegetable-succotash-105227

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Green Bean, Corn, and Coconut Stir-Fry

  • 3/4 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 small fresh green chile, such as serrano, Thai, or jalapeño, slit lengthwise with stem end intact
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 15 to 20 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 pound green beans, thinly sliced crosswise (1/4 inch)
  • 3 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs

Stir together coconut, cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, chile, garlic, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook mustard seeds and red pepper flakes until mustard seeds begin to pop and/or turn gray. Add curry leaves (if using), covering skillet immediately as they crackle for a few seconds.

Add green beans and corn and stir-fry 8 minutes. Add coconut mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. If mixture becomes dry and begins to stick to bottom of wok, add a few tablespoons water. Season with salt.

From Epicurious via Gourmet Live by Maya Kaimal, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-bean-corn-and-coconut-stir-fry-em-thoren-em-394669

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summer csa share – week 11

csa share week 11

Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Lacinato Kale
  • Salad Mix
  • Torpedo Onions
  • Beets – The tops weren’t the happiest so we went ahead and topped them for you.  Enjoy the roots and look forward to beet greens next time.
  • Poblano Peppers – These are classic stuffing peppers but are tasty no matter how you choose to use them.  Check out the recipes down below for inspiration.  Note that they may be on the hot side of the pepper heat scale.
  • Summer Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes – A big heirloom slicer and your choice of cherries or small sauce tomatoes.
  • Cucumbers – Lemons or picklers, you choose!
  • Green Beans
  • Plums
  • Watermelon

CSA Members: Did you choose the 2-payment option?  Please remember that your second payment was due by August 1st.  Feel free to bring a check or cash to the pick-up or drop it in the mail.

Bulk Tomatoes:  We’ll have 15lbs of small sauce tomatoes available for purchase at today’s pick-up in Salem.  Let us know if you’re interested!  They’re $1.50/lb, take them all for $20.

farming

Over the last week our neighbor has been combining his clover seed crop.  This field surrounds us on two sides and it’s hard not to be aware when there’s activity next door.  We’ve watched this crop with interest all winter and spring as it’s a new-to-us variety of clover called Arrowleaf.  After having cut the clover into windrows and let it fully dry down, he’s been slowly driving the combine in circles along the strips of dried clover.  Simplified, the combine grabs up the dried plants, threshes out the seed for storage in a tank inside the combine,  and then spits the excess chaff out the back.

It’s an impressive process to watch, and a stark reminder of the differences between our farming and our neighbor’s farming.   Last Friday while we weeded the carrots, our neighbor drove the combine.  Saturday while we weeded the leeks and picked apples and mowed various things that needed mowing, our neighbor drove the combine.  Yesterday while we harvested the beans and beets and cucumbers etc., our neighbor drove the combine.  Our small scale and huge diversity is hard to miss in contrast with the neighbor’s single crop in a field twice the size of our farm.

Soon we’ll be buying bags of cover crop seed for fall sowing, including clover seed.  We’ll be lucky to buy Oregon-grown seed, much like the seed grown next door.  We’re glad to support the local seed economy, but also glad someone else is willing to drive the combine day after day.

flowers

As part of our highly diversified farming efforts, we’ve endeavored to plant more flowers around the farm this season.  We’ve heard that having flowers mixed in with vegetable plantings increases the benefits derived from beneficial insects.  The various types of bees seem to especially appreciate the flowers.  And we have so many bees!  At this point in the season I imagine flowering is limited and bee forage is harder to come by than earlier in the summer.

When I walk the length of the farm and see the colorful splash of flowers in our fields, I can’t help but appreciate the beauty of the flowers and bees busily working away in them.  It makes me think we’re doing something right.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Keilbasa with Onions and Poblanos

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 poblano chiles or green bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds kielbasa sausages, cut on a diagonal into 4-inch pieces, halved lengthwise
  • Mustard, sauerkraut, and crusty bread

Place a 16×12″ sheet of heavy-duty foil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss onion and chiles with oil in a large bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Mound vegetables in center of prepared baking sheet; top with sausages. Place another large sheet of foil over. Fold and crimp all edges tightly to form a sealed packet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before continuing.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Alternatively, build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Bake or transfer packet to grill and cook until onions and peppers are softened (open the packet carefully to check; steam will escape), about 25 minutes.

If using an oven, turn on broiler. Carefully cut open packet. Arrange sausages on top if necessary. Broil until sausages are browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. If grilling, remove sausages from packet and grill until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Serve with mustard, sauerkraut, and bread alongside.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/keilbasa-with-onions-and-poblanos-395899

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Green Bean, Spinach, and Beet Salad

Dressing

  • 2 fresh poblano chiles
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves

Salad

  • 2 small beets
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 small white onion, sliced paper-thin
  • 5 large radishes, sliced paper-thin

For dressing:
Char chiles directly over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop chiles.

Combine chiles, orange juice, oil, vinegar, and garlic in blender. Blend until mixture is smooth and thick. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Cover; chill until dressing is cold, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

For salad:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap each beet tightly in foil; place directly on oven rack. Roast beets until tender when pierced with knife, about 50 minutes. Unwrap beets and cool completely, then peel. Coarsely grate beets into medium bowl. Toss with lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour.

Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; transfer to large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and pat dry.

Toss green beans, spinach, onion, and radishes in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide salad among plates; top with beets.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-bean-spinach-and-beet-salad-108034

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Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium plums, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
  • 12 large or 16 small curly kale leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta

Whisk 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, thyme, and honey in a medium bowl. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Add plums and toss to coat; transfer plums to a plate.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush kale leaves with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt. Grill kale, turning once, until crispy and charred at edges, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a work surface; let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove large center stems with a knife and discard (just trim the tough ends from smaller, more tender kale stems).

Divide ricotta among plates; season with salt and pepper. Stir vinaigrette again. Tear larger kale leaves into pieces (leave smaller leaves whole). Place leaves in a large bowl and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Divide leaves among plates. Top with plums and drizzle some vinaigrette over.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-kale-salad-with-ricotta-and-plums-51104400

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summer csa share – week 10

csa share week 10

Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Green Cabbage
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Onions
  • Mountain Rose Potatoes – Red both inside and out, excellent baked, mashed or fried!
  • Iko Iko Bell Peppers – These purple and yellow bell peppers are equivalent to green bell peppers.  Their bell pepper smell is intoxicating!
  • Summer Squash
  • Corn
  • Dill
  • Cucumbers – slicers lemons, and picklers for everyone
  • Green Beans
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – Our earliest apples to ripen, these soft yellow apples make for excellent apple sauce!  They’re not great for storage, so use them up quickly, and note that they bruise easily. 
  • Tomatoes –  cherries and slicers!
  • Strawberries – The berries keep ripening.  We keep picking them.  You keep eating them in your car after the pick-up.

CSA Members: Did you choose the 2-payment option?  Please remember that your second payment is due by August 1st.  Feel free to bring a check or cash to the pick-up or drop it in the mail.

apples and weeding

Early last week some friends asked if we wanted to do a river float on Sunday.  It sounded like a wonderful idea, but in reality could we give up a whole day off the farm?  It’s a perpetual question, especially in the summer.

The  “To Do” list keeps growing and leaving the farm for a day seems impossible.  But of course  it’s not really sustainable to work every day for months and expect to remain excited and engaged with the work at hand.  Our conversations routinely come back to our hope to find some balance in this farming life.  It’s not a reality just yet, but I think we’re moving in the right direction with our recent decision to hire that first employee.

As I thought about our friend’s suggestion of a river trip I made a deal with myself that if we worked hard all week and accomplished the most pressing tasks, then come Sunday I’d be ready to take a day off.  This week we could have been found transplanting kale and rutabaga and lettuce and basil, or starting the next round of lettuce and beets, or weed-eating the orchard aisles, or harvesting and delivering an order for LifeSource Natural Foods, or invoicing new CSA members, or weeding the watermelons/beets/celery/celeriac/carrots with Tim, or trellising the pole beans, or harvesting apples, or prepping fields for cover crop, or moving pipe and irrigating crops, or feeding and watering the pigs and chickens….you get the idea.

As the weekend approached I felt good about our progress, but the weather wasn’t cooperating.  Floating the river in the rain and 70 degrees suddenly didn’t seem like the best plan.  Not to be discouraged we rallied and settled on a hike instead.

east side

We met up with our friends and headed just over the Santiam Pass to hike up to Canyon Creek Meadows and the base of 3 Fingered Jack.  This crazy summer weather meant we had long missed the peak of wildflower season but it was a great hike nonetheless.  A walk through the woods with friends was just what I needed after a long week on the farm.  The ripe huckleberries we discovered along the way were just a bonus.

Back when I was in college I spent two summers roaming the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness as a Forest Service Wilderness Guard.  It was amazing to experience the wilderness for days at a time back then and although I don’t get there very often these days, it always feels a little like going to visit an old friend.  As we hiked toward 3 Fingered Jack on Sunday I was reminded how hard that job had felt way back when.  I have fond memories of my wilderness guard experience, but when I was in the midst of it I felt unprepared and overwhelmed by the physical and mental stamina needed to spend days alone in the wilderness.  How similar that feeling is to this farming life.

Perhaps because we didn’t learn to farm from an older generation or because we jumped in with everything we had before we knew better, we often feel unprepared and overwhelmed in farming.  There’s a lot of balls to juggle and so many of them come down to our own personal physical and mental stamina.  Looking around the farm this year, I think we’re getting better at the juggling act though.  For the moment anyhow.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Smoked Salmon and Dill

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
  • 1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large fresh dill sprigs plus 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) salt
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 3 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add cucumbers and potato; stir 1 minute. Add broth, dill sprigs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cucumbers and potato are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in processor until smooth. Return to pot. Cool 15 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup crème fraîche and 4 tablespoons minced dill. Cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Taste soup, adding more salt if desired. Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Place dollop of crème fraîche in center of each bowl; sprinkle with smoked salmon and remaining 2 tablespoons minced dill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chilled-cucumber-soup-with-smoked-salmon-and-dill-108433

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Black Bean and Zucchini Chilaquiles

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • One 28-ounce can crushed or puréed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • One 16- to 20-ounce can black beans or 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans (from about 1 cup dried)
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas, torn or cut into several pieces
  • 8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese or Cheddar-style nondairy cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or 2-quart round casserole.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté until it has softened and the onions are golden. Stir in the tomatoes, seasonings, beans, zucchini, and chile pepper. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

3. Layer as follows in the prepared pan. Half the tortillas, half the tomato black bean mixture, and half the cheese. Repeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.

From Epicurious via The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/black-bean-and-zucchini-chilaquiles-355944

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Haitian Coleslaw

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 small serrano chilies, seeded, minced (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 8 cups (packed) shredded cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 cups (packed) shredded carrots (about 2 large)

Whisk mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, chopped dill, sugar, chilies, garlic and celery seeds in medium bowl to blend.

Toss cabbage and carrots in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Coleslaw can be prepared ahead. Let stand at room temperature up to 1 hour or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.) Serve cold or at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/haitian-coleslaw-103771

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summer csa share – week 9

csa hare week 9

Welcome to the 9th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Chard
  • Salad Mix – Brand new round of salad mix!
  • Overwintered Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli or Green Beans –  We had a some broccoli from the latest succession to pair with the first of the green beans.  You decide which you prefer this week.
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes –  cherries and slicers!
  • Plums – We don’t know what this plum variety is.  If I had to guess I’d say Methley.  Jeff says they taste like summer.  I think they taste like a sunset.  Either way they’re tasty and juicy and amazing.  Some of them may need to sit on your counter to ripen u a bit. 
  • Strawberries – The berries keep ripening.  We keep picking them.  You keep eating them in your car after the pick-up.

CSA Members: Did you choose the 2-payment option?  Please remember that your second payment is due by August 1st.  Feel free to bring a check or cash to the pick-up or drop it in the email.

printing

Many thanks to everyone who made it out to the farm for the CSA member potluck on Saturday!  Somehow even with temperatures in the high 90s we had a good turn out.  There was great food, farm tours, and screen printing fun.  Shout out to CSA member Autumn for wrangling our screen printing project and making it both awesome and fantastic!  Somehow we accidentally skipped the tomato tasting.  I blame that on the heat.  I think the kids would likely agree that the highlight was the stock tank full of water that acted as an impromptu swimming hole.  If you missed out but want to see the farm, we’ll have another event in October!

We love the opportunity to welcome CSA members to the farm.  We often say we couldn’t do this without you, and of course we couldn’t!  But “this” is more than just our weekly meet-ups for the vegetable exchange.  “This” is the farm property, and the vegetables in the field, and the work that goes into growing those vegetables.  “This” is also an ideal we’ve all bought into as a group, that locally grown organic food and local organic farms are important.  And “this” is a unique community of supporters that have chosen to support our farm.

We currently have 75 shares we fill each week.  About a quarter of the shares are split between multiple households, which brings us up to 94ish families participating in the CSA this summer season.  That’s a lot of amazing support from folks for our little farm.  Our members are teachers and artists and lawyers and accountants and parents and social workers and computer geeks and musicians and entrepreneurs and secretaries and doctors and writers and students and the list goes on.  I often think about this community of diverse people, brought together by the CSA concept, and feel thankful to be a part of it.  Thanks for joining us.  It wouldn’t be the same without you.

plums

We spent Sunday morning harvesting the first wave of plums.  We inherited all of our fruit trees on the farm when we bought the place and we haven’t brought an expert out to help us identify the different varieties.  If pressed, I’d say these are Methley plums.  What we do know is that they are delicious and juicy.  We lost a lot during the past weekend’s heatwave so we went ahead and harvested the remaining fruit.  Some of these plums will need a little more ripening on your countertop.

We’re excited to share plums with you this year.  Last year’s plum crop was dismal and we’ve been glad to watch the fruit grow and ripen this year.  Soon we’ll be harvesting and sharing  the first of the apples too.  July is slipping away just as quickly as it seemed to arrive.  We hope you’re enjoying your summer, and enjoying the bounty of the CSA this season!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Gazpacho with Jalapeno and Cilantro

  • 3 1/2 cups (or more) tomato juice
  • 8 plum tomatoes (about 18 ounces), seeded, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 7 ounces)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño chili
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine 1 cup tomato juice, half of tomatoes, half of cucumber, and half of bell pepper in blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into large bowl. Stir in remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper; add onion, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, green onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Transfer 1 cup mixture to blender. Add 2 1/2 cups tomato juice to blender and puree. Pour back into large bowl and stir to combine. Thin with additional tomato juice, if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

Serve cold.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/gazpacho-with-jalapeno-and-cilantro-105154

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Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Yogurt Salad

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon picked-over split skinned urad dal*
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Stir together cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and yogurt. Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook mustard seeds, cumin, and urad dal, stirring, until mustard seeds begin to pop. Pour oil mixture over vegetables and stir until combined. Stir in cilantro and salt to taste.

*Dals are dried legumes.

Cooks’ note: · You can make pachadi 6 hours ahead and chill, covered.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-tomato-and-onion-yogurt-salad-102948

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Grilled Ratatouille Salad with Feta Cheese

  • 1 12- to 14-ounce eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 strips
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons purchased garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Grill vegetables until tender and tinged with brown, turning frequently, about 6 minutes for eggplant and zucchini and about 10 minutes for red bell pepper and onion.

Divide vegetables between 2 plates; drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle cheese and basil over and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-ratatouille-salad-with-feta-cheese-103770

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summer csa share – week 8

csa share week 8

Welcome to the 8th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Red Cabbage
  • Head Lettuce
  • Bunching Onions
  • Shishito Peppers – Best served blistered in hot oil with salt just like this recipeBeware: 1 in 10 is hot!  It’s a game of pepper roulette.
  • Corn – Just a couple bits this week.  More ears headed your way soon!
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Cucumbers – picklers and slicers and lemons for everyone!  It’s a continued cucumber extravaganza!
  • Basil
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries – The berries keep ripening.  We keep picking them.  You keep eating them in your car after the pick-up.

Want to see the farm in its summer glory?  We’re hosting the Summer CSA On-Farm Potluck this Saturday from Noon-5pm.  Come visit your vegetables on their turf.  Check your weekly member email for the official details.  Don’t see the weekly member email in your inbox?  Check your spam folder and then shoot us an email to make sure you’re on the list.

thankful

The cooler temperatures this past weekend brought a little relief to these farmers.  Field work is just so much easier in the 80s than in the 90s.  We keep saying “this is what summer should be like!”  As we search for a rhythm this summer amidst the heat and drought and weeds, I can’t help but point out the things I’m thankful for too.  Here’s a few of them:

  • That lettuce in the photo above is amazing.  In a summer when the various beetle pests are devouring all things leaf shaped and the record setting temperatures have only just subsided, that lettuce says “Bring it!”  I think I can learn a lot from that lettuce.
  • Sunshine.  Every season is unique and although I appreciate the cooler weather, I know that a summer full of rain and clouds and cold is not the best for growing good food.  I appreciate the sunshine and the amazingly early summer produce it’s making possible.
  • All things seeds.  I’m generally in awe of the seeds we sow that eventually grow into the vegetables we bring you each week.  This past week we harvested a couple of seed crops of our own, which is always an amazing reminder of the seed cycle and all the hard work that went into getting the seeds to us that we grow out for food.
  • Farmer Jeff.  I would be remiss if I didn’t include Jeff in this list.  He is the workhorse of this farm and I just try to keep up most of the time.  We are a team but this farm wouldn’t exist without him.
  • An employee!  After much discussion and budgeting and reading of employer regulations and frustration in the field, we hired our first very part-time employee this past week.  In a single day we went from deciding to mow weedy beds of carrots in a fit of frustration, to choosing to try to hire someone and writing and posting a Craigslist ad, to meeting with a potential candidate, to saying “Can you start tomorrow?”  And then he showed up and we weeded some of those carrots the next day!  Woah!

tim

So yeah, we welcomed the first very part-time employee to the farm this past weekend.  Tim is a local guy who has worked on farms in the past and isn’t afraid of weeds.  In fact he’s willing to help us tackle our weeds for 10 hours each week in exchange for some money and some vegetables.  Who knew?!

Now that we’ve dipped our toe into the river of employer-land, we’re pretty excited about the possibilities.  Figuring out how to afford more Tim-hours is the biggest obstacle.  For now, we’re excited to have an extra pair of hands for 10 hours each week.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Macaroni, Tomato, Corn, and Basil Salad

  • 3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thin slices halved English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

Cook macaroni in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Drain well. Transfer macaroni to large bowl. Add tomatoes, green onions, cucumber and corn.

Blend basil, yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic in processor until basil is finely chopped. Add basil dressing to macaroni mixture and toss to blend. Season salad with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/macaroni-tomato-corn-and-basil-salad-101962

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Bratwurst and Red Cabbage

  • 1 pound uncured bratwurst
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Pilsner or other lager, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red beet, peeled, coarsely grated
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • Freshly grated horseradish (for serving)

Prick bratwurst in several places with a knife and place in a large skillet. Add oil and half of beer, then add water until liquid comes a little over halfway up sides of sausages. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, turning once, until just barely cooked through, 12–15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; cook until liquid is evaporated, 5–10 minutes. Roll sausages to edge of skillet and add onion to center. Cook, turning sausages often and stirring onion occasionally, until sausages are browned and onion is soft, 5–8 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate.

Add cabbage and beet to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, and remaining beer. Cover; cook until tender, 20–25 minutes. Serve sausages with cabbage mixture, topped with horseradish.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bratwurst-and-red-cabbage-51263820

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Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts

  • 2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Epicurious by Drew Ramsey, M.D., & Jennifer Iserloh, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-pesto-with-toasted-walnuts-51207810

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summer csa share – week 7

csa share week 7

Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix
  • Head Lettuce
  • Fava Beans – This is the last of the fava beans this season.  It’s been a good year for favas and we hope you enjoyed them!
  • Yellow Onions
  • New Potatoes – The last potatoes you got from us were from storage but these are freshly dug this week.  Can you taste the difference?
  • Cucumbers – picklers and slicers and lemons for everyone!  It’s a cucumber extravaganza!
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes – Choose one big slicer or a pint of cherries or mixed small slicers this week.
  • Strawberries – This might be the week you want to make ice cream or smoothies.  The heat from this past week means these aren’t the sweetest but they are still tasty for July strawberries.
  • Blueberries –  In an effort to diversify our fruit offerings, and because blueberries are amazing, we u-picked these for you at Springbank Farm, a local farm here in Lebanon.   Please note that they are not certified organic but are transitional and haven’t been sprayed. 

potatoes and cukes

Can we start by agreeing that it’s been awfully hot this past week?  We’ve slogged through the heat as best we could, but I’m sure glad the forecast suggests we’re at the end of this heat wave.  After so many days with high temps above 90 degrees, a week in the 80s will seem like a dream.

In the heat of summer it can sometimes be hard to want to fire up the oven for roasted roots or baked anything.  As I mentioned last week we’ve been digging late night salads and tortillas stuffed with lettuce and eggs or tuna salad.  Simple, light, summer food.  We often listen to podcasts on the farm and last night while we were harvesting cucumbers I listened to an episode of Burnt Toast, the new Food52 podcast, about “How to Cook a Little Smarter Every Week”.  They covered some good topics like what to do with extra herbs and what staples they suggest keeping around for quick and diverse last minute meals.

I’d be curious to hear from CSA members about go-to meals, kitchen staples, and even how you tackle meal planning.  How does your commitment to the CSA effect how you approach those topics?  Share your thoughts with other folks over in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group.

blueberries

On Sunday evening we headed across town to Springbank Farm to u-pick blueberries for this week’s CSA shares.  While we know we’re lucky to have established apple, pear, and plum trees on the farm, we hope to invest in some fruit expansion efforts soon and blueberries are at the top of the list.  Until then we’re happy to take advantage of the amazing u-pick operations in the area.

In the past we’ve headed up to Salem to pick blueberries in the Minto Island Growers blueberry u-pick fields.  It’s always been a good excuse to see our MIG friends, something that doesn’t happen all too often in the summer months.  However, the heatwave had us wanting to stay closer to our walk-in cooler so we could rush the berries into the cold space as quickly as possible.  Luckily the berries were prolific and the folks at Springbank Farm were great.  We would definitely suggest local folks to head out there to stock your freezers full of berries.  Plus, for a big enough order they’ll deliver throughout the valley!

future food 4

As I’ve mentioned in recent newsletters, it feels much later into summer here on the farm.  The summer crops are soaking up the recent heat and things continue to ripen ahead of schedule.  This week we noticed watermelons beginning to size up, corn tasseling and forming ears, plums coloring from green to pink to purple, and those ever-early Yellow Transparent apples seem like they might begin falling off the tree any day.  We wait all year for the fruits of summer, and this year they aren’t disappointing us.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chopped Salad

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped (4 to 6 cups)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved (suit yourself whether you prefer the medium California black olives—a 6-ounce can—or Kalamata olives)

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking until combined well.

Toss remaining ingredients with dressing.

Season salad with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chopped-salad-388791

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Fresh Ricotta and Fava Bean Bruschetta

  • 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 1/2 pounds) or 1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans
  • 8 4x3x1/2-inch slices country-style bread, cut in half crosswise
  • 8 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
  • 15 ounces fresh ricotta cheese or whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook fava beans or lima beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes for fava beans or about 4 minutes for lima beans. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Peel fava beans if using; set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange bread pieces on baking sheet; toast in oven until light golden, about 12 minutes. Rub 1 side of each bread piece with cut side of 1 garlic half, pressing firmly to release juices into bread. Top each bread piece with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta cheese, then fava beans, dividing equally. Place 2 bread pieces on each of 8 plates. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with sliced basil and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fresh-ricotta-and-fava-bean-bruschetta-104925

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Turkey Roll-Up with Blueberry Salsa

  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Kiwifruit, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 butter lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices deli turkey

Combine mayonnaise and curry powder in a bowl. Place blueberries, jalapeño, kiwifruit, lime juice, red onion and salt in bowl; stir to combine. Top each of lettuce leaves with 1 tablespoon mayo mixture, 1/2 slice deli turkey and 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon blueberry salsa. Roll up to serve.

From Epicurious via SELF by Jennifer Iserloh, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/turkey-roll-ups-with-blueberry-salsa-354770

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summer csa share – week 6

csa share week 6

Welcome to the 6th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix – This stuff saved us this week.  Big salads with shredded carrots and creamy dressing and tuna salad wraps stuffed full of lettuce made multiple appearances on our plates.
  • Cabbage
  • Fava Beans
  • Bunching Onions
  • Fennel – Check out the fennel pickle recipe down below.  You’ll be glad you did.
  • Cucumbers – Hey, something new!  Picklers and slicers all around.  Not interested in pickling the picklers?  Then just treat them like slicers!
  • Beets
  • Summer Squash
  • Strawberries or Tomatoes – Choose your fruit!  Sweet strawberries or tangy tomatoes, you choose this week.
  • Dry Beans – These beauties have been hanging out in storage since the end of last season.  Like dry beans from the grocery store, these should be rinsed to let any debris we missed float to the surface to be discarded.

long days

During January cold snaps I sometimes try to remember back to the heat of summer.  I imagine the overwhelming heat of the summer sun, the longest days ever, the constant thoughts of iced beverages and river swimming and sweet fruits.  In a blink we’re here, in the midst of an early summer heatwave, struggling to keep hydrated and wondering why it’s still so hot at 8pm.  These 90 degree days have me trying to conjure memories of cold and rain.

This week we borrowed a friend’s undercutter bar implement for our tractor to get our garlic harvested.  In the past we’ve always spent far too much time using a digging fork to loosen the garlic from the soil.  As I mentioned last week, our garlic was hit by rust fungus this spring and was not looking particularly healthy.  We think the combination of the heat and the rust was just too much for the plants.  Anyhow, we weren’t looking forward to spending a lot of time harvesting a sad garlic crop.  Luckily the offer came to borrow this implement just in time.

The tool consists of a sharp bar that digs down 8 inches or so into the ground and is pulled along the bed under the roots of the garlic plants, loosening them as it goes and making pulling them a lot easier.  I didn’t get a photo, but here’s a video if you’re interested to see it in action.  As expected, the harvest was slim, but it’s done!  Now the garlic is curing in the rafters of the barn and we’ll begin sharing it with you shortly.

potatoes

On Saturday, while we were harvesting garlic, a couple of graduate students from Washington State University dropped by to sample insects in various crops.  Their main focus is sampling in broccoli plantings but they’ve expanded since last year’s sampling to look at lettuce and potato plantings too.  They do visual scans and take notes but also set pit traps for overnight sampling and use a backpack vacuum (think leaf blower, but it sucks instead of blows) to take samples.  It’s an impressive operation and was super interesting to see the different insect populations for each crop sampled.  Crops that are near each other have very different pest pressures, which is something we knew but hadn’t ever really contemplated.  Seeing the insects in mesh bags from each crop side-by-side was a handy visual for understanding what we’re up against.  It’s a complicated world out there in the field.

As we look ahead this week it looks like we’re in for more of the same hot weather.  We’ll be planting up a storm, and of course weeding, and irrigating, and dreaming of winter rain.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Many thanks to Chris A. for sharing this Fennel Pickle recipe with us in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group!

Fennel Pickles

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon cut into 4 or 5 slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb with 3 inches of stalk and fronds
  1. Toast all the seeds in a pan till fragrant
  2. Place water, vinegar, toasted seeds, sugar, salt, and lemon slices into a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the stalks and fronds off the bulb. Trim the stalks and use a vegetable peeler to remove the more fibrous outer skin, then slice them in half. Reserve the fronds.
  4. Slice the bulb down the middle from top to bottom. Remove the core.
  5. Separate the fennel by it’s natural layers, then slice each layer into 1-inch wide strips. I also like to take a vegetable peeler to the outermost layer since that can also tend to be a little more fibrous than the tender inner layers.
  6. Once the brine is boiling, remove it from the heat. Add the fennel and fronds.
  7. Allow to cool, uncovered.
  8. Once completely cool, store the fennel and brine (being sure to keep all the seeds but remove the lemon) in a jar or air-tight container and place in the fridge. Wait 24 hours before eating. I don’t know how long they stay good for, they never last long enough for me to find out.

From Food52, http://food52.com/recipes/21353-fennel-pickles

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Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 16 ounces (about 4) medium golden and/or red beets
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly shaved
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets loosely in foil and roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then remove skins. (You can rub them off with a paper towel.) Slice beets into thin wedges. Make dressing: Blend grapeseed oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and sesame oil in a blender on high until frothy; season with salt and pepper. Combine beets, arugula, tomatoes and fennel in a bowl; add 2 tablespoon dressing (reserve the rest); toss. Top with goat cheese.

From Epicurious via SELF by Merritt Watts and Chef Hari Pulapaka, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-and-goat-cheese-salad-360349

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Seared Mahi-Mahi with Green Gazpacho Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped English hothouse cucumber (about 1/2 large)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more) white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded serrano chiles
  • 4 7-to 8-ounce mahi-mahi fillets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6 ounces small red and yellow cherry, pear, or grape tomatoes, halved

Combine cucumber, onions, cilantro, 4 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, and chiles in processor. Using on/off turns, blend mixture until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Season with more vinegar, if desired, and salt and black pepper.

Sprinkle fish fillets on both sides with salt, pepper, and cumin. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook 5 minutes. Turn over, cover, and cook until fish is just opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes.

Divide gazpacho sauce among 4 plates. Top each with 1 fish fillet. Scatter tomatoes atop and around fish and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seared-mahi-mahi-with-green-gazpacho-sauce-354849

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