Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 7: July 24, 2012

Cauliflower, Carrots, Potatoes, Rainbow Chard, Leaf Lettuce, Shelling Peas, Snow Peas, Green Onions & Basil

            Last Tuesday evening, after rushing around getting a record number of CSA bags made up and delivered, we loaded seventy six meat birds into the stock trailer and took them to be butchered.  It was hot and the chickens were all panting, but comfortably tucked into the shavings while we rushed through my Mom’s birthday dinner; finishing our cake before dashing out the door.  Adam and I decided to take chickens to Pritchard by ourselves, and leave the apprentices at home, our first “date” in months.  I have not done any exploring around Pritchard, and it is quite lovely, with lots of horse acreages tucked into the hills. 
            We met the lady who runs the facility and she showed us where to unload all the birds. Someone had cancelled their delivery and she had space for more birds, so we decided to unload and return in the morning.  Adam had to catch each chicken and pass it to me so I could load it into a two level trailer with wooden sides.  These are big chickens, probably twelve pounds live, and I had trouble holding onto them.  Feathers were flying, and I was trying not to bruise the birds or get scratched by their surprisingly wicked claws.  What a date. 
            Wednesday morning Adam got up and went to work at four am, and I went out to catch another fifty chickens with the apprentices at six.  This time we were able to herd the chickens from one trailer to the other by backing them together.  Then it was back to the farm to clean out the big fridge and the freezers.  By three pm all our beautiful chickens were butchered, bagged and ready for the table; all we had to do was go pick them up.    
Fresh roasted chicken for dinner, yum yum.  J

Speaking of chicken, please contact me if you want to order chickens.  The summer birds are almost all sold and Adam and I are trying to decide if and how many we need to raise this fall. 

Simple Gratin of Greens
Onion, garlic, salt, pepper
Greens such as spinach, chard, kale, cabbage, turnip tops, kohlrabi leaves... even broccoli or cauliflower will work.   
1) Wash your greens, and chop them coarsely.  Sauté the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the greens and cook until wilted.  Season the greens with salt and pepper and whatever herbs you wish. 
2) Rub a generous film of olive oil around the inside of a shallow baking dish to prevent the greens from sticking.  Press the cooked greens into the dish and sprinkle the top with a generous quantity of dried bread crumbs. 
3) To ensure the gratin browns evenly, dribble olive oil over the surface or mix the bread crumbs with melted butter before you spread them on the greens.   A sprinkle of parmesan cheese is a great finishing touch. 
4) Put the dish in a preheated oven at 375 F.  Cook for 10 – 20 minutes until the bread crumbs have browned and are crispy.  Serve
This recipe is really simple and delicious.  Last night Lisa made it with a mix of chard, kale and cauliflower, topping the crumbs with cheddar cheese.  Delicious! 

Jen’s Seasonal Salad
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
generous handful of snow peas, stems removed
 2 – 3 carrots, julienned
* Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, broccoli, shell peas, sugar snaps, and zucchini will all work.  I added leftover boiled potatoes last time I made this salad and it was delicious. 
¼ cup of olives
3 – 5 green onions, chopped
Dressing:  1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
several fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the vegetable mix.  Boil a pot of water, add the cauliflower florets and blanch for 2 or 3 minutes until translucent but still crisp.  Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and chill in cold water.  Once the water is boiling again, add the snow peas and cook for less than a minute, just until they are bright green.  Repeat this process with the carrots and any other vegetables you have on hand, chilling them in cold water and draining them well.  When you have enough to serve the crowd you are feeding make the dressing.  
Dressing:  Mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, garlic and basil in a bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste.  The dressing should be a bit sharp.  Mix the chilled veggies with the olives and green onions, and toss in the dressing.   This salad really improves with age, so make it a few hours ahead of time if you can.   Serve it cold or warm.  

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