VOLUME VI, JOURNAL X
AUGUST 22, 2011
BLUE HERON FARM JOURNAL
SO WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FARM THIS WEEK?
Week 10- Happy Monday! When we got up this morning, it felt like fall. I grabbed a hoodie and went outside – it smelled like fall. Then it warmed up – September is next week. What a rollercoaster growing season..
There is nothing like crunching down on a crisp cucumber just picked in the field – not bitter – nice and full, crunchy, with the slippery seeds and water filled flesh – nothing beats that taste. I eat probably 3 or 4 whole slicers in a morning while doing chores, picking veggies, weeding – feel a bit of a tang for a little snack – CRUNCH! into one of those cucumbers and the hunger goes by and feel refreshed – even a little bit flush in the cheeks with all that greeness. I think cucumbers are the one vegetable I look forward to eating straight from the field and mourn their passing when their time is done with us. Don’t get me wrong – I love tomatoes and eat my fill of cherry tomatoes, sun ripened and hot field heirloom tomatoes – but I can can that freshness – I can’t do that to the cucumber – now you may say – what about those crunchy delicious bread and butter pickles or their sour dilly cousins? Nope doesn’t do it for me – it is that freshness from that Marketmore Slicing cucumber that can only be had when you take that big bite and CRUNCH into it. The nice crunch from the skin, the little bit of resistance your teeth have and then swoosh into the soft flesh. You cannot can, freeze or preserve that. I love snapping one in half – and sharing it with Sadie and Delia. Sadie is now taking one every time we are in this field and she snaps one open for her and her sister. Delia loves the coolness on her swollen gums, working hard on that cucumber to help get her teeth to break through. Sadie likes using all those teeth in her mouth and the feeling of accomplishment when she finishes hers. Last Monday, I did not believe Sophie when she told me that a red sweet pepper was actually hot and I took a big fat bite – why wouldn’t I believe her – she’s never lied to me – but nevertheless my face was burning, tears and snot running down my face – guess who came to my rescue – my crunch friend the cucumber – snapped it in half and placed both ends to my lips and tongue to cool the heat. Needless to say I think I ate 6 or 7 cucumbers that day.
The other night on Netflix, I watched “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” – a documentary about a farmer who brought his multigenerational farm from the brink of doom to a flourishing nearly 1800 member CSA north of Chicago. This doc was quite poignant and real. The words that were coming out of his mouth are similar to what Adam and I say about farming – the farm is a living organism – when he said this – I smiled – this is how we explain what our farm is to our interns, to people come visit, to folks who come and volunteer. With farming, there is no punch clock, no 9-5, the farm is ever growing and changing and twisting and we as farmers need to dance with the farm as it does this – to go with it – we have found that whenever we try to lead the dance without listening to the farm – the farm puts us in our place. We have to grow and dance with the farm not against it. Right now the farm is a lot of work, it needs lots of attention while it produces all this food to feed all of us. If we keep picking, tending and weeding this farm will feed us all. We will be hosting a foodie documentary soon in conjunction with Food For thought – an heirloom tomato tasting and cheese and movie (yum)in the middle of September. I enjoy documentaries – especially foodie/farming ones – I am a bit of nerd with these kinds of films, conversations and books. I was joking with my sisters and Adam the other night that I would be a awesome customer (if I was not a farmer) at a farmers market:) I appreciate all this great food – I may not have paper wealth – but we are wealthy in food and love.
Have a great week! Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia and our Interns Ashlynn, Adora and past Intern Sophie
WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BASIL, GARLIC, Cucumbers, New Red Potatoes, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, summer squash, Heirloom TOMATOES, PYO Cherry tomatoes and maybe a few other things from the mystery box(like melons, ground cherries, tomatillos) Lettuce mix next week!
EGGS FOR SALE
We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown, green and blue – with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen. The eggs are $5.00 a dozen.
Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color “Island Oatmeal.” Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 220 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont. Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. ALso available wool roving, white, brown, oatmeal – $9 for 4 ounces.
My sister Sue made this dish the other night – Tortilla Espanola – OH. MY. Goodness. My sister Sue spent a semester in Salamanca, Pain and they made this dish all the time – it was their go to dishe for lunch, dinner, breakfast or whenever. I love this recipe – I highly recommend making the fried tomato sauce to go with it. Great as leftovers, it is also yummy with added local organic pork, bacon, or sausage from Cochran Family Farm from right up the road on Hyde Rd, Grand Isle (734-8334)
Spanish Omelet Recipe – Tortilla Espanola http://spanishfood.about.com/od/tapas/r/tortilla.htm
No doubt about it, the Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelet is the most commonly served dish in Spain. It is also called Tortilla de Patata or Potato Omelet. Bars and cafés serve it as a tapa or appetizer, but it is often served as a light dinner in Spanish homes. Because it is easy to transport, the Spanish make bocadillos or sandwiches by placing a piece between two pieces of a baguette. There are lots of variations of tortillas or omelets and a few are listed at the bottom of this recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Yield: 6 Servings Main Dish
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled (please don’t peel the new potatoes though)
1 whole yellow onion
5-6 large eggs
2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
Salt to taste
Preparation: This tortilla espanola or tortilla de patata makes 8-10 servings as an appetizer, or 6 servings as a main course.
Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8″ thick. If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook. Peel and chop the onion into 1/4″ pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture. In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn.
Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and allow oil to drain.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon.Pour 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil into a small, non-stick frying pan (aprox. 9-10”) and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot because the oil will burn – or the tortilla will! When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and “pour” into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.
When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 pieces like a pie. Serve sliced French bread on the side.
If you are serving as an appetizer, slice a baguette into pieces about 1/2 inch think. Cut the tortilla into 1.5” squares and place a piece on top of each slice of bread.
It is simply delicious served with sofrito2, fried tomato sauce that is made all over Spain. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers and olive oil sautéed in a frying pan.
It is not necessary to slice the potatoes paper thin, and it is best not to use a food processor because most will slice the potatoes too thin, and they stick together.
How do you know when oil is hot enough to fry the potatoes and onions? Drop a single piece of potato or a bit of bread into the oil. It should sizzle. Remember to watch the heat while frying. If the oil is too hot, the potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside, but will be raw on the inside. After frying potatoes, place the potato and onion mixture in a colander for a few minutes to allow more oil to drain. If you do this, place a plate underneath to catch the olive oil and you can use it again. If you aren’t sure how to flip the omelet, watch How to Flip a Spanish Tortilla3.
The following are a few of the most popular variations to the classic Tortilla Espanola.
Green Pepper – Add 1 green or red bell pepper (chopped) to the potatoes and onions and fry.
Chorizo – Slice a Spanish chorizo sausage and add to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Or, simply slice Spanish chorizo and combine with beaten eggs in the frying pan.
Ham – Using a couple thick slices (1/4″) ham, finely chop them. Then add the pieces to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Canadian bacon or smoked ham that you buy in a deli work well for this variation. Be careful to adjust the salt accordingly, since ham may be salty!