What's in the Farm Share Box(es)

So Mary over at Community Farm Kitchen has been cooking up wonderful sounding food from her member's shares of the beautiful Community Farm of Ann Arbor (the oldest CSA farm in our area - and one of the first CSA farms in this country).  Kate and Sarah have been posting about what they're doing with the shares from Tantré, and the Annarbivore is sharing the love from Our Family Farm.  Local food is seasonal food and we're not used to cooking just with what's available any more. So, it's both fun and edifying to see what people do to get creative with what they have.  And of course it helps the cause of using up all the damn greens to, uh, borrow other peoples' great food ideas too. 

When I saw Mary at the SELMA breakfast, she mentioned that she was curious about what other CSA shares have in them and the amounts. So I thought I'd list  what's in our Tantré box this week and what's coming up on the menu:

Week 3 - June 13th, 2009

- 1 bunch onions
- 1 bunch pink radishes
- 1 bunch Hakurei turnips
- 3 heads lettuce (2 red, one green)
- 1 bunch mizuna
- 2 bunches spinach (plus optional extra bunches up to 4 - so 6 total!)
- 1 quart strawberries
- 1 bunch garlic scapes
- 1 bunch herbs (which I forgot to take)

On the Menu This Week:

- Red beans and rice with incredible Andouille from Archie (with onions, garlic scapes, and my own sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers) and turnips on the side
- Sauteed kale (from my yard!) and turnip greens with garlic scapes
- Saag paneer (with the spinach) and Indian potatoes, and mango lassi (with my own yogurt!)
- Salad with radishes, herbs, and flowers
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake (a new favorite at our house)

I'd like to mention this new Strawberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake recipe I've made a few times lately - much like a cobbler, but even easier to make. So last weekend I saw Archie Jennings of Jennings Bros. Stone Ground Grains at the AA Farmer's Market. (Aside: Archie is such a big joker - you should stop by and talk to him some time. He's from North Carolina, and they're much bigger on teasing than we dour Midwesterners.  He's always telling me the sheriff is looking for me in Barry County.)  Archie used to be a hog farmer, but switched in the last few years to growing heritage grains and growing organically. I think he said they have about 400 acres, over near Nashville, Michigan.  Archie's got these amazing grains that you can't find in any store. And he gives out samples of things his wife has baked with them - great cornbread, this amazing spelt grape-nuts thing, super crunchy and delicious, all of it.  I've been buying their spelt flour and Bloody Butcher cornmeal - both of which Archie grinds fresh for the market.  When you bake with grains like this, it's a whole new ball game - real flavors.  Amazing flavors. You don't want to cover them up. You get hungry for them when you're not eating them. 

Anyhow, I made this strawberry rhubarb pudding cake with Archie's spelt flour (spelt is an ancient wheat, low in gluten, high in protein) and it's fantastic!  You take the pudding cake out of the oven and the fruit has disintegrated into a warm, tart sauce while the top has baked into a tender biscuit-y cake with a dense crumb and a warm, nutty flavor. Take a drift of whipped cream and just float off to heaven. It's wonderful as a dessert, but also lovely with coffee in the morning.  

So, that's a long way to go to say that I'm looking forward to doing some exploration of the incredible heritage grains that Archie sells.  Except for the free samples, he's not much on marketing.  And he seemed discouraged last time I saw him - he said people love his grains, but no one bakes any more.   Perhaps he needs to start a heritage grain CSA?  And perhaps we need some heritage grain baking classes around here....

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake (adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1/3 cup, plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb stalks (or however much you have)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (or however much you have)
  • 1 cup spelt flour (or 1/2 C. whole wheat and 1/2 C. regular flour)
  • 1  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk (or sour milk)
  • 5 T.  (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Butter an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.

Bring rhubarb to a simmer with a little water and 1/3 cup of sugar. Cook until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in strawberries and some orange flower water if you have it.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.

Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Add fruit mixture to buttered baking dish and pour batter over it, spreading evenly.  Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean, 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes before serving.

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