From the Land 3/28

food for thought
full share: garlic, carrots, dry beans, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, choice of herb (dandelion, sorrel, shingiku, dill), I’itoi onions, curly green kale
partial: garlic, carrots, dry beans, romaine lettuce
PLUS: free garlic and onions starts!!

upcoming

Artichoke Festival at Crooked Sky
March 30 and 31 5:30-9:30pm
Member tickets only $20 – please let me know if you’d like any and I’ll reserve them for you

The World According to Monsanto
movie showing sponsored by GMO-Free Prescott
April 18 – 6:30pm
Yavapai Title conference room, 1235 E. Gurley

Prescott Farmers Market
opens May 12!
Yavapai College front parking lot – 1100 E. Sheldon St.

Prescott Valley Farmers Market
opens June 1
Tim’s Toyota parking lot – corner of Glassford Hill and Florentine

Chino Valley Farmers Market
opens June 7
BonnFire Grill Restaurant – 1667 S. Highway 89

veg of the week

beans: Phaseolus vulgaris

The common bean is known by many different names and varieties: the pinto, black, kidney, and white are the most common. They are eaten throughout the world both green and dry, occasionally as a leafy vegetable, and the straw used for fodder. The bean was domesticated independently in both Mesoamerica and in the Andes, and – along with corn and squash – provides the basis for Native American agriculture. Beans are legumes, and fix their nitrogen through bacteria called rhizobia. This means they are complimentary to other plants that use that nitrogen, reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizers.

Uses: Dry beans are usually soaked overnight and then boiled for 1-4 hours (depending on variety). Soaking is not always necessary, but reduces cooking time and produces a more even texture. Pouring out the soaking water a couple times reduces the hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause indigestion and gas (though regular bean eaters develop bacteria that helps them digest the sugars without causing gas). Dry beans can also be “power-soaked”, in which they are boiled for 3 minutes, then left to soak for 2-4 hours, then drained and boiled with fresh water.

Nutrition: Beans are high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and are an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid.

To store: Dry beans will keep infinitely, but lose nutrient value and flavor and require longer cooking time the longer they are stored.

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refried beans
adapted from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/refried_beans/

  • 2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans (about 1 lb)
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp (or more to taste) pork lard, bacon fat, or olive oil (for vegetarian option)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)

Rinse the beans in water and remove any small stones, pieces of dirt, or bad beans.

Cook the beans in water.
Regular method Soak beans overnight. Put beans into a pot and cover beans with at least 3 inches of water – about 3 quarts for 2 1/2 cups of dry beans. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. The cooking time will vary depending on the batch of beans you have. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is just beginning to break open.
Pressure Cooker method Put beans into a 4 quart pressure cooker with a 15 lb weight. Fill up the pressure cooker with water, up to the line that indicates the capacity for the pot. Cook for 30-35 minutes – until the beans are soft and the skins are barely breaking open. Allow the pressure cooker to cool completely before opening. If there is resistance when attempting to open the cooker, do not open it, allow it to cool further. Follow the directions for your brand of pressure cooker. (See safety tips on using pressure cookers.)

Strain the beans from the cooking water.

Add the onions and lard/fat/oil to a wide, sturdy (not with a flimsy stick-free lining) frying pan on medium high heat. Cook onions until translucent. Add the strained beans and about a 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan, while you are cooking them, until they are a rough purée. Add more water if necessary to keep the fried beans from getting too dried out. Add salt to taste. Add a few slices of cheddar cheese, or some (1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese if you want. When beans are heated through (and cheese melted) the beans are ready to serve.

skillet gnocchi with chard and beans
adapted from http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/skillet_gnocchi_with_chard_white_beans.html

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 16-ounce gnocchi
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 small bunch)
  • 15-ounce diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, including juice
  • 1 cup white beans, cooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

sweet potato, kale and black bean enchiladas
adapted from http://www.4seasonsoffood.com/2012/03/sweet-potato-kale-and-black-bean.html

  • 7 dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles
  • 28 oz. whole canned tomatoes, drained, with juice reserved
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup cilantro (packed)
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1/4 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb. sweet potato, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 1 large bunch kale, stems and ribs removed
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tbs oil
  • Spray oil
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt
  • Toppings/garnishes (optional): red onion, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges

Heat a heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat until hot. Toast chiles in batches, pressing down with a spatula to flatten the chiles, about 1 minute per side, until chiles begin to blacken. Transfer chiles to a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Weigh chiles down (I used a large can of tomatoes as a weight) and let them soak for 30 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving the soaking liquid, and remove stems and seeds. Roughly chop chile flesh.

Transfer chopped chiles to a large heavy saucepan along with tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, 1/2 cup chile soaking liquid, and 1/2 cup reserved tomato juice. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, breaking tomatoes up with a spoon. Cover pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Add lime juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, smoked paprika, and sugar. Add salt to taste. Set sauce aside until needed.

Preheat oven to 425 deg F. Toss sweet potato cubes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast sweet potatoes in the bottom third of the oven until they are browned and can be easily pierced with a fork, tossing once halfway through, about 30 minutes total. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 deg F.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil kale leaves until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain kale, reserving 1/2 cup water, and chop leaves.

Place black beans in a small bowl with 3 tbs of the reserved water from cooking the kale. Coarsely mash the beans with the water. Add another spoon or two of water if desired and mix. Stir in 1/2 tsp cumin and chile powder and add salt to taste.

Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat with spray oil. Cook tortillas in batches, adding more spray oil as necessary, until tortillas are very dry (but still pliable) and golden in color (not brown), about 40-50 seconds per side.

Fill a tortilla with beans, sweet potatoes, and kale. Roll up tortilla and place it seam side down in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Repeat with other tortillas and the remaining filling (I was able to fit all 16 tortillas in a single pan). Pour 2 cups of sauce over the tortillas and top with shredded cheddar and crumbled feta cheese (you will have extra sauce).

Bake enchiladas at 350 deg F for 10 minutes, until cheddar is melted and enchiladas are just heated through. Add topping and garnishes as preferred. Serve immediately, with extra sauce if desired.

Leftover enchiladas can be stored in the fridge for a couple days. Just microwave or bake to reheat.

From the Land 3/21

food for thought
full share: carrots, grapefruit, cilantro, snap peas, onions, dandelion greens, swiss chard, and red beets
partial: carrots, grapefruit, cilantro, and snap peas

upcoming

The World According to Monsanto
movie showing
TONIGHT (Wednesday) – 6:30pm
Yavapai Title conference room, 1235 E. Gurley

Artichoke Festival at Crooked Sky
March 30 and 31 5:30-9:30pm
Member tickets only $20 – please let me know if you’d like any and I’ll reserve them for you

Prescott Farmers Market
opens May 12!
Yavapai College front parking lot – 1100 E. Sheldon St.

Prescott Valley Farmers Market
opens June 1
Tim’s Toyota parking lot – corner of Glassford Hill and Florentine

Chino Valley Farmers Market
opens June 7
BonnFire Grill Restaurant – 1667 S. Highway 89

veg of the week

dandelion greens: Taraxacum officinale

From the French dent de lion, meaning “lion’s tooth”, this edible plant is native to and grows wild in Europe and North America. It is used in gardening as a beneficial or companion plant, as its long taproot brings to the surface valuable nutrients needed by other vegetables. It attracts pollinating insects, adds nitrogen and minerals to the soil, and releases ethylene gas, which helps fruit to ripen.

Uses: The leaves are often blanched to reduce bitterness, but can also be eaten raw as in a salad. Saute it, boil it, or stir-fry it!

Nutrition: Dandelion greens are incredibly rich in vitamins A, C and K, and in calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. They have been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat infections, bile and liver disease, cancer, as a diuretic, and to treat UTIs (especially in women) due to the anti-inflammatory properties. Dandelion pollen can cause allergic reactions when eaten for some people. According to Rebecca Wood, they are the most nutritious salad green one can find, and are excellent for digestion support, reducing inflammation, and treating viruses, jaundice, edema, gout, eczema, and acne.

To store: Store in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

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dandelion greens
adapted from http://southernfood.about.com/od/collardgreens/r/bl30319f.htm

  • 1 pound dandelion greens
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 whole small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed, crushed
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Discard dandelion green roots; wash greens well in salted water. Cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook greens uncovered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile pepper in oil. Drain greens; add to onion garlic mixture. Taste dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve dandelion greens with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe for dandelion greens serves 4.

seared black bass with bitter greens, grapefruit, and feta salad
adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/seared-black-bass-with-bitter-greens-grapefruit-and-feta-salad-recipe/index.html

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Four 6-ounce black bass fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 to 6 cups dandelion greens (or substitute arugula, escarole, radicchio, endive or frisee)
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white grapefruit, juiced
  • 1/4 cup pitted gaeta or kalamata olives, slivered
  • 2 white grapefruits, supremed
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Coat the bottom of another smaller saute pan with olive oil. Sprinkle the fish with salt on both sides. When the large saute pan is screaming hot but not quite smoking, lay the fish fillets in the pan, skin-side down. Do not crowd the pan, you may have to work in batches. After you put the fish in the pan, place the other small saute pan directly on top of the fish fillets. This applies gentle pressure to the fish and forces the skin to have contact with the pan and will create crispy skin. Cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes and then remove the top pan. Shake the pan a little to unstick the fish. Use a fish spatula and flip the fish fillets and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan and serve or keep warm until the remaining fish is cooked.

In a large mixing bowl, dress the greens and onions with olive oil and grapefruit juice and season with salt. Toss in the olive slivers and grapefruit supremes.

Divide the salad among 4 serving plates and sprinkle with feta. Lean a fish fillet on each salad. Serve immediately.

cilantro pesto beet fettuccine with dandelion greens and cream dressing
adapted from http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-rockrec10b-2009jun10,0,6688200.story

noodles:

  • 1 large beet, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Use a spiralizer or saladaco to cut the beet into long fettuccine noodles. Place the noodles in a bowl and toss with the sea salt. Set the noodles aside for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow the salt to extract excess water and soften the noodles. Press the noodles gently but firmly in a strainer to extract excess moisture and set aside. (If you have a food dehydrator, you can lightly coat the noodles with olive oil, spread them on a nonstick sheet and dehydrate them at 100 degrees for about 30 minutes to soften even more.)

cilantro pesto:

  • 1/2 cup unfiltered olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts

While the noodles are softening, prepare the pesto. In a blender, combine the oil, vinegar and nutritional yeast and blend well. Add the cilantro and garlic and blend as needed for desired thickness and texture. Add the pine nuts and blend quickly to coarsely chop, giving the pesto a thicker texture. Makes about 1 cup pesto. Set aside.

greens with cream dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked at least 4 hours, then drained
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Water
  • 2 cups packed dandelion greens, gently torn

Prepare the cream dressing: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cashews, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt and process until smooth. Add the tarragon and thyme and, with the motor running, add enough water to achieve the desired consistency. (Add less water for a thicker dressing, more for a thinner dressing.) This makes about 1 cup dressing.

Place the greens: in a medium bowl and toss with enough dressing to lightly coat (you may not use all the dressing). Set the salad aside while you prepare the rest of the meal.

final assembly

Place the noodles in a large bowl. Stir in a few generous tablespoons of the pesto and mix well, making sure to coat all the noodles with the sauce.

Divide the noodles between 2 plates, leaving room for the salad, and spoon more pesto over each serving. Divide the arugula salad between the 2 plates. Garnish the pasta with a sprinkling of pine nuts and serve immediately.

From the Land 3/14

food for thought
full share: snap peas, chioggia beets, fennel, sorrel, green kale, red potatoes, romaine lettuce, and garlic
partial: snap peas, red potatoes, romaine, and garlic

announcements

We have tickets for Crooked Sky’s Artichoke Festival available for sale at CSA today! CSA member price is only $20 (half price!), and we’ll organize carpool arrangements. This is a great opportunity to see the farm, including a chef demo, dinner, an artichoke harvest, entertainment, and more! You can check out Crooked Sky’s website for more info: http://crookedskyfarms.com/csf/?page_id=1173

upcoming

Slow Food meeting
Tuesday, March 20 5pm
Prescott College Crossroads Center
Ariel Ruben will present a slideshow of her 2010 trip to Terra Madre, the annual Slow Food conference in Italy. Hosted dinner (donations requested) with dessert potluck.

Artichoke Festival at Crooked Sky
March 30 and 31 5:30-9:30pm

Prescott Farmers Market
opens May 12!
Yavapai College

veg of the week

snap peas: Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon

Known as mange tout (“eat all”) throughout Europe, sugarsnap peas are a round edible-pod pea that grows on a climbing plant often planted near fences or trellises. They are a cool weather plant, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, and can tolerate light frost. The entire pod is edible, and do not require the membrane to be pulled out when harvested young.

Uses: They are usually eaten raw in salads or eaten whole, and can also be stir-fried or steamed.

Nutrition: Snap peas are low in calories, high in fiber when eaten whole (which helps lower cholesterol, regulate weight, and prevent constipation), and rich in vitamin C (immune system support), folic acid, phytosterols (immune system), vitamin K (bone health, and reduces the risk of Alzheimers), and antioxidants (lowers risk of cancer).

To store: Store in a plastic container (bag or tupperware) and place in crisper drawer of your refrigerator. For optimal flavor and freshness, eat within 3 days.

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roasted beet and sugar snap pea salad
adapted from epicurious.com

  • 3 medium beets, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dillweed.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 2/3-ounce packages fresh arugula, trimmed.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Peel beets and cut into wedges.

Cook sugar snap peas in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Pat dry.

Mix mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually mix in oil, then dill and sugar.

Line platter with arugula. Mix beets, sugar snap peas and dressing in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon atop arugula.

hearty garlic and snap pea soup
adapted from http://www.grouprecipes.com/70882/hearty-garlic-and-snap-pea-soup.html

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 C chicken or veggie broth
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly slivered (fronds reserved)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh snipped fennel fronds
  • plain yogurt (optional)
  • olive oil (optional)

In a large saucepan cook garlic in 2 tablespoons hot oil over medium heat for 1 minute.

Add onion and cook until tender. Add potatoes, chicken broth, and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, covered, 15 to 18 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Cool soup slightly.

Using a food processor or blender, purée soup in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan. Add fennel and peas. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

Stir in salt and pepper. Top with fennel fronds. Spoon on yogurt and drizzle with olive oil. Makes 8 side-dish servings or 4 main-dish servings.

sorrel-wrapped goat cheese and beet stacks
adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sorrel-Wrapped-Goat-Cheese-and-Beet-Stacks-108157

  • 3 medium yellow or red beets, trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) log fresh mild goat cheese (herbed or plain; 4 ounces total), chilled
  • 15 fresh sorrel leaves (about 4 by 2 inches), leaves halved lengthwise and center ribs and stems discarded
  • Special equipment: a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (at least 1 inch deep); wooden picks

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Wrap beets in foil packages and roast in middle of oven until tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut off stems and root ends. Halve beets crosswise and arrange, cut sides down, on a work surface. Cut out a cylinder from each half with cookie cutter. Halve each cylinder lengthwise, then cut crosswise into generous 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Line a tray with plastic wrap and brush plastic wrap with some oil. Cut cheese logs crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices with an oiled knife, then halve slices. Arrange cheese slices in 1 layer on tray and brush with some oil, then top each with a slice of beet.

Arrange sorrel leaf halves, veined sides up, on work surface. Put a cheese and beet stack in middle of each leaf half, then wrap sorrel over stack and secure with a pick.

From the Land 3/7

food for thought
full share: butternut squash, choice of plant start (strawberries, summer squash, basil, tomatoes, or pepper), swiss chard, oranges, carrots, purple kohlrabi, I’itoi onions, and sweet potatoes
partial: butternut squash, choice of plant start (strawberries, summer squash, basil, tomatoes, or pepper), swiss chard, and oranges

announcements

It’s not too late to sign up for a Beef Share! Just shoot me an email and we can add it to your contract. As in the past, it’s $100 for about 16 pounds of beef, mixed cuts. It will come all at once frozen on March 28. Sign up now – there are limited shares available!

Please help me welcome Missy, our new CSA Assistant! You’ll see her in the afternoons at distribution, so please introduce yourself and make her feel welcome.

upcoming

Thrive
movie showing
Thursday, March 8
Prescott Public Library, Founders’ Room

Slow Food meeting
Tuesday, March 20 5pm
Prescott College Crossroads Center
Ariel Ruben will present a slideshow of her 2010 trip to Terra Madre, the annual Slow Food conference in Italy. Hosted dinner (donations requested) with dessert potluck.

Artichoke Festival at Crooked Sky
last weekend in March – more details to come
chef demo, lunch, harvesting, and more
CSA members only $20! Order special-priced tickets through PCCSA
see http://crookedskyfarms.com/csf/?page_id=1173 for more info

Prescott Farmers Market
opens May 12!
Yavapai College

veg of the week

I’itoi onions: Allium cepa

Also knows as the I’itoi Multiplier Onion, O’odham I’itoi Onion, or Papago Onion, this endangered vegetable is on the Slow Food Ark of Taste, and is believed to have been brought from Spain to the New World in the 17th century, where it was then grown by the O’odham people for centuries. Alternately, the O’odham people believe that the first I’itoi was harvested at I’itoi Mountain (or Baboquivari Mountain) – what they believe to be the “navel of the world”, the place where the earth opened and people emerged. Regardless of its history, the I’itoi onion is well-adapted to the dry desert climate, and is sacred to the culture and cuisine of the Sonoran Desert native peoples.

Frank Martin at Crooked Sky Farms loves the I’itoi and other desert-adapted or native plants, because they require less care and water, and are naturally more resistant to pests.

Uses: It multiplies rapidly, and can therefore be used as a multiplier, a small shallot, scallion, or as a substitute for chives. It has a sharp, peppery flavor that lends to well to southwestern cuisine. Don’t be intimidated: just slice them up and use the bulb as onion (while cooking), and the green as chive (as topping)!

Nutrition: All onions are delicious and nutritious!
Contains: potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B6. Onions contain substantially the same amount of vitamins and minerals when cooked.
Properties: diuretic, antibiotic, antiscorbutic, stimulant and expectorant. It is used to treat flu, intestinal parasites, gallstones, diarrhea and rheumatism.

To store: Store in a cool, dark place (you know, your refrigerator). I use a plastic bag and use them within a week.

Crooked Sky Farm

On 300 acres spread over a couple locations in Phoenix, Waddell and Glendale, Crooked Sky Farms specializes in citrus, seasonal vegetables, and some grain and chicken eggs. With 20 full-time employees, they attend 11 farmers markets per week (depending on the season), and supply 13 CSAs from Tucson to Flagstaff, including the Prescott Farmers Market and the Prescott College CSA.

Frank Martin’s experience as the child of migrant farm workers influenced his farm ethic, his farming philosophy and the treatment of his employees. He experienced and saw first-hand the effects of farm chemicals, and was soon drawn to organic gardening. After years of driving truck and working on farms, he wanted to own his own land. “How do you get into farming?” he asked his boss, who replied, “You either marry into it, or you inherit the farm”. Frank decided to prove him wrong.

He began with 2 acres of basil that he sold to a specialty market in Phoenix, until he was approached by the Prescott College CSA. While initially hesitant, the CSA model allowed him to slowly increase his land without taking out loans, because he had a guaranteed market and payment at the beginning of the season. 12 years later, Crooked Sky Farms in one of the largest CSA farms in the United States and supplies 1300 families with vegetables throughout the year through the CSA model. Crooked Sky owes its success to its many CSAs, and Frank is glad to be able to give back to the community through CSA member “farm days”, at which members harvest their own vegetables and learn new food preparation techniques.

Please join us for the Artichoke Festival later this month at Crooked Sky! Tickets are only $20 for CSA members (order through me), and we’ll carpool down. Reserve your spot today!

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onion and bacon gratin

  • 2 T + 1/2 T butter
  • 3 large yellow onions
  • 2 oz bacon, cut into 1/4: x 1″ pieces
  • 1 bunch I’itoi onions, cut into 4-6 pieces each
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 T freshly-grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 T freshly-grated Comte (or substitute Gruyere or Asiago mixed with a little Parmegiano-Reggiano)
  • 1/2 C medium-course bread crumbs
  • 1/2 C heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large saute pan, melt 1 T of butter of medium-high heat. Add onions and bacon and cook until onions are soft, 10-15 min. Transfer to collander or paper towels to drain.

Place i’itois in the pan, add a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining 1 T of butter, and 2 T water. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook until glazed, 5-7 minutes.

Rub the bottom and sides of a 10″ gratin dish with the garlic. Scatter the onion/bacon mixture on the bottom and season with salt and pepper. Top with a layer of the I’itoi wedges. Scatter the grated cheeses evenly over the onions, then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top. Pour the cream in along the edges of the gratin and dot the top with a little extra butter (if desired).

Bake until the gratin is golden and the cream is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

savory bread pudding with butternut squash, chard and cheddar
adapted from kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com

chard:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, washed well, stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

custard:

  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1-1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons good mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper

to assemble:

  • 1 butternut squash, washed well, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound whole-grain bread, crusts on, cut into half-inch cubes (see Kitchen Notes)
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut in 1/3-inch cubes
  • The set-aside cooked onions

CHARD In a large skillet, melt the butter til shimmery. Add the onions and cook until just soft. Set aside half the onions. Add the chard a big handful at a time and stir to coat with fat. Let it cook a minute or two, then add another handful. When all the chard is added, let cook until soft. Add salt and set aside.

CUSTARD Mix all custard ingredients together.

ASSEMBLE Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine the squash, bread, cheese and cooked onions. Transfer HALF the mixture to a lightly buttered baking dish about 8×11 or 9×13. Arrange the cooked chard evenly on top, then the remaining squash-bread-cheese mixture. Gently pour custard mix over top, being careful to wet all the bread pieces, especially.

BAKE Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. If any pieces of butternut squash are still firm, gently push them into the custard. Cover and bake for another 15 or so minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes or so before serving. Reheats well.

curried lentils with sweet potatoes and swiss chard
adapted from nytimes.com

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch I’itoi onions, chopped, bulbs and greens separated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (available at natural, ethnic and gourmet foods stores)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped tamari almonds, for garnish (optional), available in health food stores

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add I’itoi bulbs and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeño. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and I’itoi greens.

Yield: 8 to 10 side-dish servings; 6 main-course servings.