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A Run on Tomatoes and Basil

Clagett Farm Recipes~A Run on Tomatoes and Basil
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Farm Recipe Talk
Sometimes I like to explore what other farms are producing and cooking up around the country. It can be inspirational to see what our farm buddies may be doing with their tomatoes on the other side of the country. So you will find a smattering of different viewpoints.


Creamy Polenta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Local Goat Cheese
-developed for The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Locally Grown Lunch
Serves 8
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Polenta never tastes this good naked or that means without all of the butter, cream and cheese the resaurants normally add. This polenta is so light, so fluffy, so creamy, it should be a dessert. To serve this dish to a crowd, it can be layered and baked as a casserole or for smaller portions, build individual plates. (Polenta recipe from the Wall St. Journal).

4 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream cheese
Fresh Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated. Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Finish by stirring in the cream cheese and salt to taste.

If preparing in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 5 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, about 3 large tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste

In a food processor, combine garlic, tomatoes with juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and basil. Pulse quickly to chop roughly.
Pulse more for a smoother sauce, if desired. Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper and let stand to marinate for about 20 minutes.

To Assemble:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grease the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish. Spread the polenta evenly to make a 2-inch thick layer. Spread with a nice layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with goat cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Breakfast Tomatoes

Broil halved or sliced tomatoes under the broiler (sprinkle with garlic and olive oil if you like) until they are pleasantly browned. Serve with eggs or just eat on a piece of toast. A great way to get a vegetable serving into your first meal of the day.


Tomatoes in Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

The tomatoes are warmed, not fully cooked, in the sauce, leaving their softly solid texture intact. Serve them alongside broiled, grilled, or steamed fish and be sure to have plenty of rice to soak up the sauce.

8 ripe but firm tomatoes (about 2 pounds. total)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

garnish cilantro sprigs


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes and set near the pot. Put tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds each, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to ice water. Drain tomatoes and pat dry. Core and peel tomatoes (leave them whole). Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over high heat. When hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and reduce heat to medium-high. Cover and cook until seeds start to pop, about 2 minutes. Remove cover and add butter. When butter is melted, add turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic, chiles, and salt. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Add yogurt and stir in one direction until smooth. Add tomatoes. Gently stir to coat with sauce. Cook until tomatoes are just warm, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm, with plenty of sauce.


Tomato Conserve
Yield: 8 eight oz. jars
Keep this on hand in your pantry for summer freshness year ‘round.

18 cups tomatoes, cut in chunks

3 teaspoons ginger

6 cups sugar

3 lemons (thinly sliced)

In a large Dutch oven cook tomatoes 45 minutes. Add sugar, lemon and ginger. Cook until thick and smooth. Pour into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in Boiling Water Bath 10 minutes.


Julia’s Gringa Sopa
Serves 6-8

This is a direct recipe from the female half of the team for Marquita Farm in central California
"Sopa" is what we know as ‘spanish rice' here in the US. The traditional Mexican sopa you see here in Watsonville is barely pink, usually made with just a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, rice, oil, and "knorr swisa", or powdered chicken bouillon. I like to make my own version of sopa, with more tomatoes and no bouillon. Here's my recipe:

2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered and then pureed in the blender. (I've been known to leave the seeds and skins on....)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 medium/large cipolline or other onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raw rice
2 3/4 cups boiling water

Cook the onion in the oil in a large Dutch oven with a lid that fits well until it's soft but not too brown. Add garlic and rice, cook another couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and salt, stir well, then add the water and cover and cook, covered, over low heat for 20 or so minutes.


Tomates Concassées
As the French term for chopped, seeded, and peeled tomatoes this dish is perfect to top grilled seafood, poultry or meat. Go ahead and use it to top pasta, rice or potatoes.

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, any color

1 pound onions

3 garlic cloves

some olive oil

1 bunch of basil

juice from one large or two small lemons

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Make a 1-3 inch shallow slit in the bottom of each tomato. Lower the tomatoes, 2 or 3 at a time, depending on their size, into the boiling saucepan of water. They should only bathe for *5* seconds, no longer. Remove to a plate, rinse in cool water if you like. When all the tomatoes are done, remove peels and seeds, and roughly chop. (if you aren't the French perfectionist, skip the seed removal.)
Peel and chop onions and garlic. Saute the onions in a little oil over a medium heat in a wide largish soup pan for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Take care not to burn either. Remove from heat when both are soft and won't be raw and crunchy in the sauce.
Wash and chop basil, then mix it with the cooled onion mixture, and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Greek Salad Sanwich
Serves 4

As a salad, this recipe can be a sandwich filling or use it to stuff a vegetable such as zucchini or bell peppers.


12 ounces small tomatoes, cored, halved, thinly sliced

6 cups arugula, spinach leaves or other small greens, stems trimmed

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cucumber

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted black brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata)

16 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 large garlic clove, minced

(4) 5- to 6-inch-diameter pita bread rounds, toasted


Place tomato slices in strainer; drain 15 minutes. Combine tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, feta cheese, olives and herbs in large bowl.Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 teaspoons lemon juice and minced garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Cut pita bread rounds in half crosswise. Divide salad mixture among 8 pita halves and serve.


The effect of this drought on your crops

By Carrie Vaughn

It's been about a month and a half since the farm has had a good, soaking rain.  We've had a few frustrating weeks when most of your homes in DC and north of us in Maryland got heavy rains while the storms passed us by completely.  And every week it seems like we get an afternoon with heavy clouds and even a touch of sprinkling rain, but before the rain even gets the ground wet or soaks through our shirts, the storm dissipates and moves on.   

I don't mean to sound gloomy.  In fact, we all know it will rain eventually, and we're amazed that there is still so much to harvest when the ground is as hard and dry as concrete.  Where does the water come from that keeps filling these squashes and cucumbers? 

So here's the current status of your crops:
Your winter squash, melons and sweet potatoes are alive but aren't growing.  At best, we'll be harvesting them rather late.  Your tomatoes are heavily loaded with fruit but are ripening very slowly.  The eggplants are irrigated and doing better than we've ever seen eggplants on this farm in the last 9 years.  Wow! 

Beans have produced fewer than most years, but still amaze us when we get anything at all.  And cucumbers and squash seem to be plugging away pretty normally.  They're vulnerable to lots of pests and diseases, so even though the dry weather has cut into their production, there's always something that goes wrong with those crops, so we're pretty happy with what we're getting.  And have you noticed how you don't have to peel those yummy little baby lemon cucumbers?  Unfortunately, the young squash and cucumber plants that should replace the ones that we're harvesting now are very delayed by the dry weather, so we may end up with a few weeks that are very light. 

The okra don't seem to mind the dry soil one bit, and they're producing nicely.  We're not sure yet how the corn will fare.  Dry weather inhibits pollination, so even when the plants look good, the ears might not fill out.  We have our fingers crossed. 

We tried growing a mid-summer crop of lettuce under shade cloth and heavily irrigated.  We harvested it last week and it was magnificent--even better than our last crop of lettuce in June.  So we'll be expanding on that experiment next year. 

We have the capacity to irrigate more of our fields, and we have begun doing so.  But laying out the drip tape, repairing it as it breaks, and then pulling it up again at the end of a crop's life is extremely time-consuming, especially since we try to re-use the delicate drip tape rather than throw away all that plastic.  That's why we don't begin each field with irrigation every time it's available.  Labor isn't cheap these days!  Since most of our summer crops are relatively tolerant to dry weather, we don't irrigate them unless absolutely necessary. 

So we have our work cut out for us.  But as I said, we're amazed and grateful for what we still have, and we're eagerly awaiting that long, soaking rain, whenever it finally hits us. 


Bone Dry Down on the Farm – Just ask the dogs

Clagett Farm Recipes
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Farm Talk from Michael Heller

Bone Dry Down on the Farm – Just ask the dogs
 
Old Mr. Devaughn dropped by the farm the other day.  He’s 86, but hard work and tobacco have conspired to make him look older.  He brought with him two 5 gallon buckets of unshelled limas.  He’d picked them that morning starting at 7 “before it got so goshed darn hot”. Just being neighborly, and also one of his many thank yous for us letting him walk the farm with his young rabbit dogs from time to time. He grew up on the farm next door with his tenant-farming family.  But he doesn’t live there any more.  Coming here nurtures early memories, which he often shares with us.  This morning he talks about the drought.
        “I ain’t never seen it so dry – not even in the 30’s and them days was dry!   Snooky Catner over on Osborne is feedin’ hay to his cows like its winter.  Lots of others is doin’ the same. “Why heck there’s lots of years we had the fire department to bring us water, ‘cuz the well wazn’t but 35’ deep.  But this year! – why them dogs can’t even hunt.  I put ‘em out with a rabbit not 10 yards away, and they couldn’t pick up a scent it was that dry. I’ve gived up even runnin’ the dogs.” 

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Concia Zucchini with Mint and Vinegar from Cucina Ebraica by Joyce Goldstein

4 to 6 small zucchini, (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
2 large cloves garlic, minced 
6 tablespoons olive oil 
4 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices, or to prepare it Veneto fashion, cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and let stand in a colander for 30 minutes to drain off any bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the mint or basil, parsley, and garlic. Warm the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. In batches, add the zucchini and cook, turning as needed, until golden on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and sprinkle with some of the mint mixture and some of the vinegar. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini, mint mixture, and vinegar. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, basting occasionally with vinegar in the dish, before serving.

Food of the Week . . . Swiss Chard
Did you know that Swiss chard promotes healthy bones and vision? It is a very good non-dairy source of calcium and an excellent source of vitamin K, which plays an important role in maintaining bone health since it activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Swiss chard's rich supply of magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. Some helps give bones their physical structure, while the rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed. Swiss chard is also an excellent source of vitamin A and is rich in beta-carotene, two important nutrients for healthy vision. In a study of over 50,000 women, those who consumed the highest dietary amount of vitamin A had a 39% reduced risk of developing cataracts. Chard is also a concentrated source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that concentrate in the lens and retina to protect them from oxidative damage.Carotenoids have been found to reduce risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Mediterranean Swiss Chard
Serves 2

Swiss chard is one of the super foods rich in many nutrients, including anti-oxidants. We have created this recipe so you can eat it often with many meals. The simple dressing complements it very well. When the chard is fresh it needs nothing else to be delicious and satisfying. Don’t overlook the stems as they add extra fiber with close to the same nutrients s the leaves--just chop them into smaller pieces.
2 large bunches chopped Swiss chard
1 medium clove garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil to taste
salt and black pepper to taste

Bring lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a large pot. Cut off tough bottom part of stems.
Add the chopped stems and leaves to the boiling water and simmer for only 3-5 minutes, until tender.

Drain in a colander and press out excess water. Toss with rest of ingredients. Make sure you don't toss
chard with dressing until you are ready to serve. Otherwise the flavor will become diluted.


Okra with Coriander and Tomatoes

1 pound chopped tomatoes
1 pound fresh okra
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions thinly sliced
 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
salt and ground black pepper
 
Trim off any stalks from okra and leave whole. Heat oil in a saute pan and fry the onions
and coriander for 3-4 minutes until beginning to color.
 
Add okra and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Gently stir in the tomatoes and sugar and simmer
for about 15 minutes, until okra is tender, stirring onceor twice. Stir in lemon rind and
juice and add salt and pepper to taste, adding a little more sugar if necessary. Serve warm or cold.

 
Okra - Japanese style
This is a very general ethnic recipe where a pinch of this or a dad of that is up to you.

1. Boil okra - don't overboil too much because it gets stickier.
2. Wash it in cold water (to keep the color green).
3. Cut (bite size) in pieces.
4. Put them in a bowl.
5. If you can find Japanese dried bonito frakes (called katsuobushi, which is sold in any oriental store), put them on the okra.
6. Pour a couple of drops of soy sauce (don't over do it!) and a drop of mirin (which you can find in any oriental store)
7. Mix them lightly, and done!
 

Baked Summer Squash with Pesto Crumbs
This can be served as a whole meal, over wild rice and garnished with toasted pecans.

3 pounds mixed summer squash
3 tablespoons. butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 teaspoon. salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 shallots, minced
4 scallions, finely chopped
½ cup Pesto Bread Crumbs Recipe (see below)

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 2 ½ to 3 quart casserole dish with cover. Trim squash and cut into large chunks (about 1 ½ inches). Arrange squash pieces in casserole and set aside. Melt butter and olive oil together in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, blending thoroughly. Pour sauce mixture over squash, tossing until squash is coated. Cover casserole and bake 40 minutes. Toss squash gently and spoon juices and seasonings from the bottom of dish over squash. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake uncovered for 10 minutes longer, until squashes are tender when pierced with a knife.
Adapted from More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden by Renee Shepherd.

Pesto Bread Crumbs
Makes 2 cups
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
3 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
1 ½ cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly blended. After using, refrigerate any leftovers.


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Squash Pancakes

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 medium summer squashes, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/3 cup each chopped fresh parsley, basil and cilantro
2 tablespoons minced shallot or green onion
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
Mix together eggs and milk. Add squash, herbs and shallots. Then mix in the cheese. Add slowly the bread crumbs and flour and mix well. In a large, heavy, non-stick skillet, melt 1T butter until it starts to brown. Spoon about 1/4C of mixture into the pan and flatten a bit with the spoon. You might be able to fit 2 pancakes into the same pan at once. When the edges show a little browning turn with a spatula. Cook the other side until it is also golden brown. Keep pancakes warm in the oven until they are all cooked.

Cream of Zucchini and Pernod Soup(CREME DE COURGETTES A L'ANIS )
Serves 6

This hot or cold soup with our most abundant zucchini is dressed up beautifully with the earthy flavor of anise from the fennel seed and the French liqueur, Pernod.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chopped zucchini (from about 6 medium zucchini) 
1 large onion, chopped 
2 cups water 
4 garlic cloves, chopped 
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds 
1 fresh thyme sprig 
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or whipping cream 
2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise_flavored liqueur 
Additional olive oil
fresh basil buds

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped zucchini and chopped onion and sauté until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups water, chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds and thyme sprig. Stir in 2 tablespoons crème fraîche and 2 tablespoons Pernod. Simmer soup uncovered 20 minutes. Remove thyme sprig from soup. Working in batches, purée soup in processor until smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Return to saucepan and rewarm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve. Garnish with basil.

Summer Squash with Toasted Garlic and Lime
Serves 4

1 pound zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 scant tsp salt, plus more to season finished dish
2 tablespoons vegetable broth for sauteing
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice (can sub fresh lemon juice)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

In a large skillet, saute the garlic in the vegetable broth until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove garlic and set aside. Raise heat to
medium-high. Add squash to pan and saute for 8-10 minutes, until tender but a little crunchy.

Stir in lime juice, oregano, parsley, pepper, roasted garlic, and salt to taste. Mix well.


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Paul's Zuke Soup
Serves 6-8

This yummy soup makes use of much of the Clagett bounty.

1 onion, sliced 
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
3 pounds zucchini (8 or so medium ones), chopped 
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock 
2 cups water 
1/2 cup parsley leaves 
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
4 strips bacon, fried, drained and crumbled 
salt and pepper 
freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
homemade croutons 
Additional chopped basil for garnish

Place onion, garlic, zucchini, stock, water, parsley, basil, bacon and dashes of salt and pepper in a large stockpot. Simmer until zucchini is very tender. Process in a blender until very smooth. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, croutons and additional chopped basil.

Vegetable Kebabs with Mustard Sauce
Serves 4

Add shrimp if you like since they cook as quickly as the vegetables.

16 baby carrots (about 8 ounces), peeled
16 baby yellow scallop squash* (about 8 ounces) or 3/4 pound yellow squash
16 baby zucchini (about 6 ounces) or 3/4 pound zucchini
16 red or white pearl onions (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 large red bell peppers (about 9 ounces), cut into sixteen pieces
2-by-3/4-inch pieces
eight 12-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water to cover 1 hour

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook carrots 1 minute. Add yellow squash and zucchini and cook vegetables 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking and drain well in a colander. Transfer vegetables to a bowl. (If using larger yellow squash and zucchini cut them into a total of thirty-two 3/4-inch pieces.) In boiling water remaining in pan cook onions 4 minutes and transfer with slotted spoon to bowl of ice and cold water. Drain onions well in colander and peel, leaving root ends intact.
Vegetables may be boiled 1 day ahead and chilled in sealable plastic bags.

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Basting sauce can be made 1 day ahead.

Prepare grill.

Thread vegetables, alternating them, onto skewers. Brush one side of kebabs with about half of sauce and grill,coated side down, on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 5 minutes. Brush kebabs with remaining sauce and turn. Grill kebabs 5 minutes more, or until squash is tender.


We Think the Tractor's Sexy!

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Clagett Farm Recipes~ We Think the Tractor's Sexy!
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Farm Talk
...just couldn't resist that darlin' tractor who works so hard! (Have you heard the song?)

Don't forget to check out same time LAST YEAR for some great (and different) recipes on the same harvest from 2006.

Rockfish with Fresh Tomato Relish
Serves 4

4 rockfish fillets (6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large chopped tomato
1/3 cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon drained capers
Prepare grill or heat oven to 450 degrees F. Tear 4 large sheets of aluminum foil. Put each fillet on one half of each sheet. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the lemon juice evenly over fillets; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold half the foil over each fish fillet to make 4 rectangular packets. Fold the remaining 3 edges over several times to seal.

For relish, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes, olives, basil and capers; set aside.

Place packets on grill over medium –hot coals or on a baking sheet in the oven. Grill, covered, or bake 6 to 10 minutes, or until fish is opaque in center. Carefully open packets; transfer to plates and top with relish.


Raw Tomato & Herb Salad Dressing
Yield: about 2/3 cup

1 ripe medium tomato
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
In a blender, mix these ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Pasta with Zucchini, Lemon, Pine Nuts, and Herbs
Serves 4

Although penne is called for here, feel free to choose your favorite.

1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs: Italian parsley, marjoram, basil, chervil, hyssop, oregano, lemon thyme and others. (No tarragon for this dish) 
1 lemon, zested FIRST and then squeezed for the juice
6 tablespoons virgin olive oil 
5 tablespoons pine nuts 
1/c cup cluster onions or scallions, thinly sliced then roughly chopped 
4 teaspoons tiny capers, rinsed in water 
3 tomatoes, cut into narrow strips
8 ounces small, firm green or golden zucchini
1 pound penne pasta 
salt and pepper 
freshly grated Parmesan

Slice the zucchini diagonally into pieces about the same thickness as the pasta (matchstick size, 1/8" or so). Line up the slices and cut them into narrow matchsticks. Each one will be tipped with green or gold.

Choose your fresh herbs from those suggested. Pull the leaves off the stems and chop them, but not too finely. Include any flowers, such as the purple flowers of the basil or pink thyme blossoms.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small pan and add the pine nuts. Cook them until they begin to color; then add the onions or scallions. Cook the two together over medium low heat until the the pine nuts are brown. Transfer them to a wide bowl and add the rest of the oil, the capers, lemon peel, tomatoes and herbs. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon or so lemon juice to taste.

Add salt to the boiling water, drop in the zucchini and cook it about 1 minute. Scoop it out, drain and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients. Next, cook the pasta, scoop it out and add it to the bowl as well. Toss with a pair of tongs, so that the pasta is coated with the oil and herbs. Serve with the cheese.


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Thyme-Braised Zucchini in Creme Fraiche 
Serves 4
Braising zucchini brings out their subtle, delicate flavor.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium zucchini, about 1-1/4 lbs., trimmed and thinly sliced Salt and freshly ground black pepper Zest of one lemon and juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh thyme
3/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

Melt butter over low heat in skillet. Add zucchini, salt, pepper, lemon juice and thyme. Cover skillet and braise over low heat for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender. Uncover skillet. Gently fold in crème fraîche and just heat through. Adjust seasoning and serve at once.


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Clagett Exotic Okra
Serves 4

This makes use of many of the items for the current harvest. If you don’t consume it all at 1st seating it is absolutely delish the next day as a salad. Notice a mortar and pestle is used.

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted until fragrant, then ground in a mortar and pestle
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound young tender okra, trimmed of stem
1/2 cup cluster onions (finely sliced)
2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste

Put oil in a medium skillet and heat over medium high. When hot add the okra, onions and tomatoes. 
Saute until okra is tender-about 4-6 minutes. Lower heat and add the remaining ingredients. Toss just briefly-Do not cook long as you want the ginger and garlic to remain fiesty! Serve immediately.

Jazar wa Kusa (Zucchini and Carrots, a recipe from Egypt)
adapted from Mediterranean Vegetables by Clifford Wright 

2 large fat carrots, sliced diagonally about 1/4 inch thick (you can substitute baby carrots if your family haven’t already eaten them up as snacks) 
2 zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced diagonally about 1/4 inch thick 
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds 
salt and pepper to taste 
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots and zucchini together with the cumin and seaon with S & P. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-low heat and cook the carrots and zucchini until crisply and tender, 25 to 30 minutes, tossing frequently. Serve hot.


Curried Roasted Okra
Serves 6

1 pound fresh okra
curry powder of choice

Slice okra into half inch pieces.
place curry powder (or some other spice mixture you like) in a bowl stir okra pieces around until they are well dusted

Grease a shallow roasting pan and place prepared okra on it. Roast okra until tender and a little crisp.

Pickled Okra

5 pounds okra
8 cups vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup kosher salt
8 cloves garlic
8 or more dried or fresh chiles
lots of dill seed

Wash okra, leaving top cam and removing excess stem. Combine vinegar, waterand kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Drop okra into boiling mixture (and chilesif you're using fresh chiles) and bring to a rolling boil. Place in hot, pint-sized sterilized jars. Add one clove of garlic and, if you're using
dried instead of fresh chiles, one or more dried hot chiles (depending on how hot you want them) and the dill seed to each jar. Seal while hot. Let stand 8 - 10 weeks before serving.
 
 
Layered Baked Okra
Serves 2 generously

This dish doubles well using a 9x13 casserole dish, or can be make in smaller amounts in individual ramekins.

butter
3/4 lb large okra, cut into 1/2" thick slices
1 large ripe tomato, peeled, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 to whole jalapeno pepper (personal taste) seeded and minced
4 slices bacon, diced and fried until not quite crisp, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp dried
Splash (scant 3 oz) dry white wine
1/4 cup grated Local Monterey Jack, colby, or mild cheddar cheese
 
Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter a small casserole dish (9x9 is about right)
Layer half the okra in the casserole. Top with half the tomatoes and then half the onions. Sprinkle with half the jalapenos and top with half the bacon. Season vegetables well with salt, pepper and half the age. Repeat the layers, then pour the wine over all.
 
Cover the casserole with foil and bake until tender about 30 - 40 minutes.

Remove the foil and spread the cheese over the vegetable. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand a
few minutes before serving.
 


New Ideas for Old Favorites

Clagett Farm Recipes~ New Ideas for Old Favorites
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007
Tips & Tidbits
So have you found the catnip at Clagett? I certainly have and here you see my best buddy, Coley foraging for his treat from the weekly share. WOW, what a week it was!

Further down you’ll see a cutie photo of Dakota holding a big ol’ bunch of Lamb’s Quarters.Dscn1961_9

Herb Talk from the Farm
Carrie planted some winter savory at Clagett she said because she’ll try most any perennial. However, it seems the strong character has us stumped on how to use it. Below is the overview.
Savory
Description:
An herb that has summer and winter varieties. Both have a strong, slightly peppery taste but the winter variety has a stronger, sharper and spicier flavor.
Look For:
Fresh leaves and crumbled dried leaves.
Best Uses: 
It's a special touch in bean dishes and is also good with most meats, in stuffing, or in tomato and onion dishes.

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Food of the Week . . . Summer Squash
Did you know that the powerful antioxidants found in summer squash, like vitamin C and beta carotene, have potent anti-inflammatory properties? Antioxidants help combat free radical activity, which can damage cell structures including DNA. By doing so, antioxidants boost immunity and help reduce risk of cancer and heart disease. To maximize the nutrients you derive from different types of summer squash, such as zucchini, purchase organically grown varieties whenever possible, so you can enjoy the entire squash—skin, seeds and flesh—without concern over pesticide residues. Summer squash can be served lightly cooked or raw with your favorite dip.

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One of Those Sublime Summer Salads
Serves 4

For the vinaigrette
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large shallot, minced (to yield 3 Tbs.)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons capers
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
2 heads butter lettuce, such as Bibb or Boston (about 6 oz. each)
1 6 ounce can tuna, drained
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or other bean of choice)
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh summer squash
1 cup fresh sprouts (of choice)
shredded basil lleaves
fresh radishes
sliced tomatoes

Make the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk togetehr the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard and then gradually whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Add the tarragon and capers; season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving time.
Make the salad:
Tear the lettuce and greens into bite-size pieces.

Place the tuna,chickpeas,squash and sprouts in a salad bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange the greens on plates and top with the tuna mixture. Garnish with tomatoes and radish and serve immediately.

Grilled Summer Squash with Olive Oil and Mint
Serves 4

12 ounces yellow summer squash, such as zucchini or crookneck
12 ounces green zucchini
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1/8 teaspoon salt
about 1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons slivered fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice


Prepare barbecue grill and preheat for direct-heat cooking (the charcoal or gas flame is directly under the food ).

Rinse and drain squash. Cut each in half lengthwise, then into 1-inch pieces. In a bowl, mix vegetables with oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

If cooking over charcoal, use a grill skillet or basket; if cooking over gas, use a grill sheet or basket. Pour vegetables into grill skillet, sheet, or basket.

Place skillet or basket on grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or mediumhigh heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand just above grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Keep charcoal grill uncovered; close lid on gas grill. Cook, gently shaking skillet once or twice to turn vegetables, until tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove vegetables from grill and return to bowl. Add mint leaves, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


Steamed Vegetable Medley
Serves 2

This dish is one of those gems that is easy, delicate, and delicious, giving you a way to have the benefits of fresh vegetables in your diet with little effort. Because it is steamed it gives you a healthier way to enjoy these vegetables without using heated oils. For a wonderful variation try steaming a piece of salmon or chicken on top of vegetables for a 1 dish meal that is quick, clean, and healthy.
• 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
• 2 cups chopped collard greens or other greens, stems removed
• 1 medium onion sliced thick
• 1 cup cubed zucchini (quarter lengthwise and slice about ½ inch thick)
• Dressing
• extra virgin olive oil to taste
• 1 medium clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• salt and cracked black pepper to taste
• *optional 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a steamer with a tight fitting lid. Add carrots, cover, and steam for 3 minutes. Without removing carrots add collard greens, and steam for another 3 minutes. Then add onion and zucchini and steam for another 3 minutes.

Remove from steamer and place in bowl. Toss with dressing ingredients.

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“Talk Talk” from the Farm
Just to keep the anticipation high...I have come up with the most marvelous dish combo-Humma-ghanoush!!! Stay tuned for eggplant harvest!
At the classic Food & Wine presents their hand-picked, 2007 "Best New Chefs" from across the nation to critics, chefs, and serious eaters. Here are some of their most tightly held secrets which are helpful tips to consider.

Take Your Time
Johnny wants people to feel that they are eating in his home so he slows it down and lets people enjoy themselves. "It's not unusual for a meal to take three hours," he said. 

Matthew Dillon - Sitka & Spruce, Seattle, Washington
When I asked Matt what his secret is, he smiled devilishly and replied "if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret." Good point Matt. Finally, he gave it up and said, "Have close relationships with farmers and purveyors. Learn from them. It's through these relationships that you can trust you're getting the best."

Ian Schnoebelen - Iris, New Orleans, Louisiana
Citrus Salt 
Add citrus salt to seafood for a nice lift. Take lime, lemon, orange peels or zest, and blend them in a food processor with some kosher salt and you're done. 
Paul  Vivrant - Vie, Western Springs, Illinois

Pickling Juices
Use quality ingredients (Vivrant recommends good champagne vinegar, Meyer lemons and sea salt) to pickle vegetables and get two for the price of one: You can use the pickling juices as a vinaigrette or a marinade for fish and meats.
April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig, New York, New York

Acidity
Add acidity in everything to bring out the flavor in food. Lemon, orange, tomatoes, lime, aged balsamic vinegar or cherry vinaigrette makes every dish brighter.
Sean O' Brien - Myth, San Francisco, California

Make Your Own Salt
Ditch the iodized salts and make your own flavored kind - take herbs like Rosemary from your garden and crush them up with some salt for an enhanced flavor.
Gavin Kaysen - El Bizcocho, San Diego, California

Pimente d' Espelette (a ground red chile pepper)
Season fish with pimente d' espelette instead of using pepper. Pepper adds a bittery taste while pimente de espelette makes fish sweeter. Superb in ceviche.
Steve Corry - Five Fifty Five, Portland, Maine

Taste Your Food
Taste it when you buy it. Taste it when you bring it home. Taste it as you cook it and taste it before you serve it. His motto: "Go for it, even at the farmers market. You won't get arrested."

Gabriel Bremer - Salts, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Go Global
Always research new techniques. Gabriel looks to Spain, Italy, and even old Japanese techniques to discover ways to add something new to his cooking.
Johnny Monis - Komi, Washington DC

 

Cold Cuke and Carrot Soup
Serves 4-6  

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons each toasted cumin and coriander seeds, ground
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
6 cups peeled and chopped fresh cukes
2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 1/2 cups good quality sherry (fino or amontillado)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish: light sour cream or yogurt and either one or a combination of the following fresh herbs: chives, parsley, basil, tarragon

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the onion, garlic and carrots. Cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
Add the spices and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the cukes and 2 cups of stock.

Cool the mixture slightly and puree in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the sherry and more stock if the soup seems too thick.Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Serve garnished with a dollop of light sour cream and chopped fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, basil, tarragon or a combination. Can be made 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Yellow Gazpacho with Smoked Salmon "Spheres"
Serves 6

For the yellow gazpacho:
1 3/4 pounds very ripe, yellow or orange tomatoes
3 medium (1 pound) charred, peeled and seeded yellow bell peppers
1 medium (1 1/2 cups) chopped onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/8 teaspoon (big pinch) saffron threads
1 teensy dragon chile or 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fruity white wine such as Gewurztraminer or Riesling
1 cup rich shrimp, chicken or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground white pepper
fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/4 cup each diced, seeded cucumber, sweet red onion and avocado
Smoked Salmon Spheres
Garnish: fresh basil

For the smoked salmon spheres:
3/4 pound good quality smoked salmon, very coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet red onion
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (or a mixture of fresh basil and mint)

In a food mill or blender, puree the tomatoes and peppers and strain, pressing down hard on the solids. Set aside. You should have approximately 3 cups of puree.
In a saute pan over moderate heat, saute the onions, garlic, saffron and chile in olive oil until softened but not brown.Add wine and the stock and continue to cook uncovered for another 6-8 minutes until vegetables are very soft.

Puree in a food processor or blender and add to the tomato juice mixture and season to taste with salt, pepper and drops of lemon juice. Chill.

Mix salmon, onion, garlic, zest and cilantro together and season lightly with salt and pepper. Form into even heaping teaspoon size meatballs and set aside, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.To serve, ladle the soup into chilled bowls and scatter the diced cucumber, onion and avocado on top. Divide the Smoked Salmon Spheres among the bowls. Sprinkle basil over the top and serve immediately.