When I start harvesting winter squash I know for sure it’s fall, whether I like it or not. Typically I harvest winter squash right after the first light frost, usually in mid-september. It has happened here every year for the last 6 years, so I figured this year would be the same, but I guess not. This is both a blessing and curse.
This moist bread is best fresh from the oven, but it can also be made ahead and reheated.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
1 medium poblano chile* (about 3 1/2 ounces)
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Char poblano chile over open flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and finely chop chile.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and black pepper in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs, milk, and sour cream in medium bowl to blend. Mix in poblano chile and oregano. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and fold in with rubber spatula; do not overmix.
Melt butter in 10-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium heat, swirling to coat bottom and sides of skillet. Remove from heat. Spread batter evenly in skillet. Bake until corn bread is golden brown around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool bread 15 minutes in skillet. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cool completely in skillet. Rewarm in 350°F oven 15 minutes.) Cut bread into wedges and serve warm from skillet
It’s been a short week because of Labor Day. We actually took the weekend off to go to the State Fair on Monday. For us, it was pretty special because we were part of an exhibit on local foods at the Eco-Experience. Basically an organization called Renewing the Countryside did a series of profiles of local growers which they turned into an exhibit for the fair. You can check out our profile and pictures at http://communityofaplate.org/2009/08/17/lida-farm/ The kids really got excited seeing a picture of us there.
If you noticed I missed last week’s newsletter. This is the first time in the four years doing a CSA. Sometimes in the season, about this time, you “hit the wall” in much the same way a marathon runner “hits the wall.” When thinking about this, in many respects we CSA growers are like long-distance runners–we need to be consistent and steady to produce a good box each week for 16 weeks.
The lack of heat is still the weather story around here. This is the second week for melons. We’re glad to have them, but they are late. Some things you may not even notice, like the okra that never comes to market because the plants just sit there doing nothing. I’ll complain about it, but my sympathies are with other farmers out there like the one I talked to last week: 600 acres of soybeans and he doesn’t see them making a harvest. Boy, that makes my 2 acres where some things are good and some bad not too bad a problem really. This is why sustainable ag types highly appreciate diversity in crops…if one thing “crashes and burns”, there may be another which does well. In many respects, we’re trying to bring back a tradition on farms where many things were produced from a couple hogs and a steer to garden produce, grains, hay. Even if the growing season went to pot, at least you could feed yourself.
In the box:
Leeks: keep refridgerated and cut lengthwise to clean out before using…dirt gets into the leaves.
A couple tomatoes
Dill: This is for using the frawns, not the seed head like in pickling. See recipe below.
Cherry Tomato mix
Corn: mostly a white variety called Silver Queen. It’s pretty mellow and I love the name. Last week’s yellow variety is called Bodacious, which is another cool name.
A red onion
A couple peppers: The small slender one is an Anaheim (slightly hot, really mild) and the other is a Cubanella (sweet, not hot).
Cantaloupe: most of you got a variety called Athena, others got an “eastern type” called Halona, which has prominent ribs
A couple cukes
Cucumber, Mustard, And Dill Salad
From Gourmet | October 2004
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 large seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped; 1 lb), peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar in a bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.
Halve cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds with a small spoon, then cut halves crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
Add cucumber and dill to vinaigrette, tossing to coat.