The Frost is on the...Squash
Greetings once again from Ffynnon Farm. It's been a very busy week here on the farm (that always sounds like the start to a Garrison Keillor monologue, but I'm keeping it anyway). The dry weather has been a true godsend for us as we continue to harvest this year's crops, clean up the debris, and plant and plan for next year as well. We put in about 180 row feet of garlic yesterday, and we have beds ready to receive the elephant garlic, leeks, and overwintering onions that we're getting in the next couple of days. We also have added eight new chicks to our flock of hens, and we will likely be adding even more so that we may open the egg shares to everyone who wants one.
The big surprise has been the frost we got both Wednesday and Thursday mornings, about two weeks early. The first frost was light, but it did nip the pepper plants and our row of Delicata squash. Knowing what was coming next, Michael and I (and our houseguests Lee and Finnian) spent most of Wednesday harvesting everything we could. Delicatas are a winter squash, but as their name implies, they don't really stand up to the same treatment as, say, a Hubbard. We also had to bring in stuff that we didn't have in amounts to get to you--the last of the beans and basil, for instance. Anyhow, the squash are busily curing in our shed, next to the onions, and we'll get both of them to you soon.
Anyhow, back to this week. The kale in your baskets was harvested this morning, and it had a light coating of frost on it as I was cutting it. That's supposed to enhance the flavor, making it sweeter. Your peppers were harvested yesterday in the frost-induced frenzy. Everyone gets green bell peppers. The long, very skinny ones are Italian roasters. The others, long and contorted, are more of the NuMex Joe Parkers. The garlic is Italian Late. You also get more of the Russet potatoes, and the Red Ace beets that we harvested a week or so back. I can think of a lot of ways to combine all of these things in recipes, perhaps the easiest being sheet pan roasting. just chop everything to roughly the same size, toss with olive oil and whatever seasonings you like to coat, spread on a sheet pan (or a big lasagna pan) and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Or, you could make a one-pan brunch or supper dish. Start with a clove or two of garlic, chopped fine and sautéed in olive oil in a large pan (with a close fitting lid). Add chopped peppers, any of them, and let them sizzle a minute. Then add all of the kale, washed, dried and chopped, and cover with the lid. When the kale has lost its volume, make small indentations in the vegetables and crack an egg into each of the "nests"--you can fit six into a ten-inch pan. Cover with the lid and let the eggs steam until done, about two minutes. You can take this dish in any direction you wish. For Asian flavor, add sesame oil with the kale and toasted sesame seeds with the eggs. Italian? Oregano and Parmesan cheese. Mexican? Chili powder, cumin, Cotija cheese. Allow me to make a plug here for sesame oil as kale's best friend. The two "earthy" flavors just seem to be made for each other and seem to bring out the underlying sweetness. You could make a beet-and-potato hash to go with this. Just remember that it will be pink.