White Russian Kale
Notes from the Farm
I never really know what it's going to feel like after the summer members finish up for the year.
On the one hand, the CSA member total goes down a little bit, making it somewhat easier to harvest for the shares... there is physically 40% less to pick each week... and this comes at a good time when, collectively, the entire farm crew is permagazed into the middle distance... we're a bit run down... but it's a good run down, and we have a good sense of humor about it.
On the other hand, it becomes a little less festive... there are physically less people at pickup... saying goodbye to the summer members is just one step towards saying goodbye to the fall members, the farmstand customers, farmers' market customers... it's one step towards the dark isolation of winter.
I rely on the structure of the farm season to ensure that I don't drift off into astral obscurity... a lone cosmonaut floating through time...
The structure of the farm is grounding... in community, cycles, seasons, relationships... and it's become a crutch, like any crutch, that I rely on, and take from, selfishly.
From one point of view, farming is an inherently selfish act... using resources, heritage, and fairytales to draw in the masses, surround myself with acquaintances, boost my self worth... and I don't think that it's necessarily bad, and I like to think there are other points of view more classically associated with farming... the stewardship stuff and all that... but I don't think it's bad to acknowledge the personal benefits we receive.
Everything Farms, Everything is Farming. Just like I intentionally select and plant, hoe and harvest my crops, I also am cultivating a social environment that feeds me, that Helen Toddian impulse for bread and roses...
And in that, I'm so glad to have the rest of you with us through the fall of the year... we have some fun food to come, and I can't wait to share it with you.
8ounces (3 or 4 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
Fresh hot green chile (start with 1 serrano or ½ jalapeño), stemmed, white veins and seeds removed (if you wish) and roughly chopped
A small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped (stems and all)
1ripe avocado, cut in half, pit removed, flesh scooped from the skin and roughly chopped
About 1tablespoon finely chopped white onion
In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, chile, cilantro and 1/3 cup water. Pulse until the mixture is reduced to a coarse puree (I think its best when it still has a little texture).
Scoop in the avocado and pulse until it is thoroughly incorporated. Scoop into a salsa dish and stir in enough water to give it an easily spoonable consistency, usually about a tablespoon.
Scoop the onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water, shake off the excess and stir into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon.
Different fresh chiles will change the character of this salsa—especially ones that are light green and yellow (I’m thinking about hot banana peppers and the little lemon drop peppers I like to grow). And, of course, you can range away from cilantro as the herb here. A handful of arugula is good, as are mint, basil, hoja santa, and fennel tops.
Creamy Chicken and Greens with Roasted Poblano and Caramelized Onion
I know this doesn't work for my vegetarian and vegan friends, but you all know how to make the adjustments...
2 fresh poblano chiles
3tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
3medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves OR about 1 1/4 pounds shredded rotisserie chicken
1medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
5cups (lightly packed) coarsely chopped, stemmed greens (about 1 inch pieces is good)—you’ll need about 6 ounces spinach, 4 ½ ounces Swiss chard, 3 ounces wild lamb’s quarters (quelites)
1cup chicken broth
A littlefresh thyme if you have it
1cup Mexican crema, crème fraiche or heavy (whipping) cream
Roast the chiles. Roast the poblanos directly over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes for a flame, about 10 minutes for the broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel and cool until handleable. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull out the stem and seed pod. Briefly rinse to remove any stray seeds or bits of skin. Slice ¼ inch thick.
If using, brown the chicken. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Generously sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt on both sides and lay them into the pan in a single layer. When browned underneath, about 4 minutes, flip them over and reduce the heat to medium. Cook on the other side until browned and medium-rare (a little slit in the thickest part will reveal a rosy interior), 5 or 6 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Finish the dish. To the skillet (still over medium heat), add the onion. If there isn’t enough oil to lightly coat the onion, add a little more. Cook, stirring regularly, until richly browned and sweet, 8 or 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the chicken into ½-inch cubes.
Add the garlic to the skillet and cook 1 minute, then add the greens, broth and thyme (if you have it). Raise the temperature to medium high. Cook until the liquid is nearly gone and the greens are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and cook until it is noticeably thicker (it’ll be a rich glaze) and the greens are fully tender, about 5 minutes more.
Taste and season the mixture in the skillet with salt, usually ¼ teaspoon. Stir in the chicken, let heat through for a minute to two, scoop into a serving bowl, and enjoy without hesitation.
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse salt
lime wedges for garnish
1 cup watermelon puree (see Cooks' Note)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup premium 100 percent agave tequila
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier or triple sec)
1 cup ice
In a medium saucepan, combine the lime zest, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature. (Can be made in advance; keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Chill a margarita glass in the freezer for 30 minutes. Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt, coating the top edge.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled lime syrup with the watermelon puree, lime juice, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least 1 minute. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.