WEEK 20: September 28 – October 4, 2009 CSA Newsletter

This Week’s Share:  Potatoes, Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Pepper Medley, fresh Fagioli Beans, Spigarello Greens, and “Farmer’s Choice”.


Recipes, Information and Suggestions….

New to the share this week we have fresh cranberry shelling beans a.k.a  Fagioli Beans. Some of you may remember them from last year. They are somewhat labor intensive as the fava beans were. Shelling beans (a.k.a. soup beans), as opposed to pole beans like green beans and wax beans, can be dried and stored for later use. You are recieving green or fresh shelling beans that are harvested while the pods are full size and the beans are big. Fresh shelling beans do not require soaking. Cranberry beans, pictured here and so named for their brilliant scarlet pods (the beans cook up a dull brown color), are the most commonly available shelling beans.  Fresh shelling beans are one of the great treats of local eating. Shell them, then par-boil if necessary to remove thin-skin, and then cook them in soups or simply braised as a side dish – they have an extra creamy texture and wonderful clean but earthy flavor.


shelling beans 38

 Fresh Shelling Bean Salad
About 2 cups (250 g)

Recipe  by David Lebovitz

You can use a favorite vinaigrette(about 1/4 cup, 60 ml) and perhaps include a chopped shallot to mix with the warm beans, too. A handful of fresh herbs is delightful, but  wait until the beans are cool to add them so they don’t lose their oomph. I enjoy them often tossed with good summer tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, which is pretty much a favorite summer salad. They’re also insanely-good tossed with thin spaghetti, steamed green beans, a swirl of pesto stirred in, then topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

3 quarts (3l) of very lightly salted water
1 pound (450 g) shelling beans, shucked
optional: a bay leaf, a few branches of thyme or savory, half a small onion

1. In a large covered saucepan, bring the water to a boil.

2. Add the beans and any, or all, of the optional seasonings.

3. Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for 25-30 minutes with the lid ajar, until the beans are tender. But be careful not to overcook them. You may need to add more water while they’re cooking.

4. Drain the beans, then toss with while warm with vinaigrette and a peeled and minced shallot, or a drizzle of walnut or hazelnut oil and sea salt.

To serve, add a handful of fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, or basil. Toss well, and mix with tomatoes, par-boiled green or yellow beans, or serve on their own, alongside roast pork loin or something else fabulous.

Also try this fresh shell bean soup. We haven’t yet, but it sounds interesting… http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Late-Summer-Tomato-Soup-with-Shell-Beans-Squid-Rings-and-Parsley-243585

The beans are also delicious with pasta. The meal in Italy, simply known as  Pasta e Fagioli   is an integrated routine in their kitchens. Pasta e fagioli – meaning “pasta and beans,” is the traditional meatless bean soup that is now a popular worldwide gourmet item. Like many other Italian favorite recipes, pasta e fagioli was a peasant food dish, due to cheaply available, stomach-filling beans and pasta. Casca a fagiolo, is the Italian saying that literally describes how something happens just at the right moment. This soup for example.

  • 2 1/2 cups (500 gr ) dried cranberry beans, or about 3 cups fresh
  • 1 garlic clove, whole
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary needles, minced (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz (60 gr) pancetta or prosciutto
  • 1 – 1/4 cups (250 gr) good quality dried tubetti pasta
  • Salt & pepper to taste

If you use dried beans instead of fresh, sort them to remove stones or damaged beans and loose skins, soak them overnight and change the water at least once. Cook the beans in 2 liters (8 cups) of water, with the pancetta, garlic, rosemary and salt to taste until done—they should be quite soft. Remove half the beans from the pot with a slotted spoon and puree them through a food mill and toss them all back into the pot.  Simmer the soup until it takes on a creamed velvety texture, with the whole beans bubbling along. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook the pasta in the soup until it is al dente. Adjust the seasoning, let the soup rest covered for a few minutes, then ladle the ambrosia into individual bowls, and serve drizzled with a thread of raw olive oil, paired with a nice red wine like a Chianti Classico. Delicious!!!!

Returning to your share’s this week you will find  Spigarello Greens. These delicious braising greens very closely resemble kale and can be substituted as such. Its wonderful, slightly sweet, almost familiar flavor is like a cross between kale and broccoli rabe — it lacks the bitterness of many leafy greens — and is perhaps most similar to broccoli leaves or broccoli sprouts. It is considered a primitive broccoli. To prepare spigarello, first pull the leaves from the stems, much as you would strip the needles off a stem of rosemary. Then cook the leaves as you would other leafy greens such as chard or kale. Here is a nice link on the tasty greens… Enjoy!  http://passionatepalate.blogspot.com/2007/07/broccoli-spigarello-bruschetta.html

The  “Farmer’s Choice”   item for you this week may be melons, eggplants or a broccoli/cauliflower blend. We hope you enjoy whatever you take home.

Your  Potatoes  are Yukon Golds or German Butterballs. Their skins are more seasoned and firm and they will store longer now than when we first started to dig them. The flavors of these varieties are as tasty today as they were in the ‘new’ stage, roasted, baked or fried. Hope you continue to enjoy them.  All the various heirloom  Tomatoes  continue to flourish in the fields. Hopefully we can continue to have them for you to the end.  Here is a fabulous looking Marinara recipe sent to us by our member Debbie at our Monday Farm pick-up. I haven’t tried it yet, but she knows her stuff….

Marinara Sauce
In a crock pot on low, mix:
 1 ½ cups dry red wine (I use Chianti or Valpolicella)
2 Tbsp. sugar (I use turbinado)
 Stir until sugar dissolves
2 Tbsp. olive oil or (grapeseed oil)
1 Tbsp. red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 12 oz. can tomato paste (or does it come in 10 oz.?)
 Stir until a thick liquid.
 In a food processor, chop:
1 bulb roasted garlic
2 jalapenos (or more, if you like the spice)
Flat leaf Italian parsley
Add to the crock pot.  Stir.  Turn crock pot to high.
In a food processor, chop:
 ½ onion
3 beefsteak or 6 smaller (Roma or vine ripened) tomatoes – heirloom or orange tomatoes are fantastic!!!
2-3 bell peppers
 Add to the crock pot.  Stir. Allow to cook on high for 1 hour.  Reduce to low and let simmer until ready to use, up to 8 hours.  Chill after that. ENJOY!!!!

Cucumbers  are back again…. try the lemon, green apple and the sweet hairy Egyptian ones. The various pepper’s making your  Pepper Medley  will consist of the sweeter Bell’s and Italian’s, the medium heat Pablano’s and milder Banana’s, and/or also the hot Serrano’s and jalapeno’s. Here is a great recipe we tried, passed on to everyone from our member Chanda at NW Natural….Fabulous with banana, Pablano or the jalepeno pepper’s!

Pepper Poppers
Banana (or other skinny) peppers
Cream cheese
Shredded cheddar, or crumbled bleu or gorgonzola
Bread crumbs
Season to taste
Egg whites – to stick the bread crumbs
Measurements are at your discretion…..Just “smoosh” the cream cheese with the other ingredients (some of the bread crumbs), and stuff into halved (the long way) peppers.  Dip in egg whites, and roll in more bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes – until soft and golden. ENJOY!!!

Lastly, we hope you’re not weary of the  Sweet Corn. Please remember that in the winter months there is no farm fresh sweet corn. If you are tired of eating it now, simply blanche the cobs and scrape it off into freezer bags to later be enjoyed, assuming there is still space in your freezer! You will definitely welcome it like little warm rays of sunshine appearing in the cold rain and snow that lies ahead….

FARM NEWS:  It is hard for me to believe we are at week 20 with only 3 more weeks remaining for the 2009 season. It has gone by very fast for us, likely due to the new addition in our family. We are already looking ahead to next season and what we may want to change or definitely keep as is. Do you have suggestions for us? Let us know your thoughts.

We are very pleased to announce that Jen Warnock and family have agreed to continue to be our NE pick-up site hosts. Thanks! The SW Garden Home pick-up and the Farm pick-up will also remain the same. We certainly hope that our ‘Wednesday’ member’s will return with us next year as well. For those of you who do not know, we are very proud to deliver our farm fresh food to local Portland businesses on Wednesday. Thank-you Portland Development Commission, Oregon Environmental Council and NW Natural for your support this year! Here’s a link to a very nice article we were proud to read…   http://www.portlandtribune.com/sustainable/story.php?story_id=125201814803520200   We are looking forward to hopefully meeting some of you ‘Wednesday’ members at the Harvest/Work Party coming up. As for next season, CSA 2010, we will send an email out after the first of the new year reminding folks to think about membership with the farm again. We hope to see you all back next year!

The  Harvest/Work Party  is weekend after next, October 10th. We are of course dreaming for a beautiful day, but even if it rains we will be out planting garlic and then warming our hands by a soggy fire……hope to see you here! Here again are all the details…..Save the date!….October 10th, Saturday from 10 am – 4ish pm.  We want to start the day with garlic planting. Our fall garlic order is in and our field preparation is currently underway.  We’ll start with the garlic ‘work’  for an hour or two and then head to the woods for our potluck and party. We’ll have a grill there and some meat and veggies for grilling, and some beverages with and without alcohol. Please bring a dish to share and/or drink to share, and your outdoor chair and come hang out! Your gloves if it’s raining are another good thing to bring for planting. Of course foods and beverages hand made with farm fresh ingredients are lovely! Please don’t hesitate to bring the kids, but dogs should probably stay home. Woods tours and farm tours will be arranged for those who want. We are hoping for good weather and a very nice afternoon with all of you who can join us…….please do let us know if you’re expecting to come so I can get an idea of how may cookies to bake. We’d love to see you, and always love to have the help from our members. It is your farm afterall!

Looking back on the year I found some photos that made me smile.  Here’s a couple for now….

Isabella...the Blueberry charmer

Isabella...the Blueberry charmer

Ava in the Black-caps

Ava in the Black-caps


Cole on Grandpa Love's old tractor

Cole on Grandpa Love's old tractor


Farm Pick-up

Farm Pick-up


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