Beets, Oh BOY!
Little Leighton Leeks
Ailsa Craig Sweet Onions
Flatleaf Italian Parsley
Green Bell Peppers
Notes from the Farm
This time of the year, the vegetables seem to just swing in, like a surprise visit from a neighbor... oh, hey Brussels Sprouts, how you doin'? Yeah, sure, we'd love to have you in the share this week...
When I started growing food, before the farm years... in the homesteadish years, the large gardens and heritage fruit trees, with the bantam chickens and hand split wood... in those days, food was like a warm blanket. I'd prep and plant in the spring, minimally tend through the summer, and spend the rest of the time laying out in that Western Maine Mountain Sunshine... when I'd think of it, I'd swing into the garden for something to eat... a pepper or radish, green beans like I'd never had in my life, tomatoes for miles... it was always just kind of there, food fit for the Dionysian life I was living. And at a certain point the garden would break, like a giant wave, swelled up and cascading down, and I'd start to put up food for the winter... shredded zucchini, tomatoes, oil packed peppers, dry onions. Those were lovely days.
These days, we take a different approach... we're still doing this for the love of it, but we're also muscling the ever loving life out of it. The hard push from April to the end of August takes a toll... we're squeezing as much nutritive calories out of this dirt as our wills can manage... we're not surprised buy the production of the farm, it's there because of the blood we left in the field... and then, just like that, there's really nothing left to push... we have what we have... and in a wonderful collapse of time and space, we're back at those old homesteading days... we're not pushing anymore, I'm not sure we could push if we had to... Now, in September, in the low filtered light, it's easier to walk slowly, smile with a greater sense of satisfaction, and open ourselves to farm we built before us... and it's the ruins of a farm really, the last remnants of a shoulder-to-the-wheel season, where we can whoa up a bit, take in that light, and look over to see that, as it turns out, the leeks are about as ready as they're going to get... and, you know, Brussels Sprouts would be good with leeks I think... I think they'd be great together.
Lean back, this is the last push, none of us have anything to prove anymore... time to slack ourselves into appreciating the twilight of the farm season... it's been a good one... but, really, aren't they all?
Brussels Sprouts with Maple and Cayenne
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil; season with salt. Roast until brussels sprouts are browned in spots and tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine syrup and cayenne pepper. Drizzle brussels sprouts with maple syrup mixture, stir to coat, and roast 1 minute.
Leek and Brie Bruschetta
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 medium leeks, (about 2 1/4 pounds), whites and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, cleaned
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large slices (1/2 inch thick) hearty country bread
8 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced crosswise
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are very tender and just beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat broiler with rack set 4 inches from heat. Arrange bread on a broilerproof baking sheet. Dividing evenly, layer bread with Brie, cooked leeks, and sliced tomatoes; drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Broil until cheese has melted and tomatoes start to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.
Sauteed Kohlrabi with Onions and Cream
Cubes of peeled kohlrabi
Thinly sliced white onion
Finely shredded kohlrabi leaves
Salt and pepper
1. Cook kohlrabi and onion in butter over medium-high heat until almost tender. Stir in kohlrabi leaves, and cook until wilted. Add a generous splash of heavy cream, and cook for a few seconds to reduce. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve with chicken, pork chops, or steak.