Of course, we still have all the wonderful summer fruits and veggies you love: summer squash and zucchini, peppers, okra, chard, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, raspberries, peaches, and nectarines. The plums are coming to an end but we have them this week. We have lots of melons--cantaloupes and watermelons. We're getting into apple season: we're getting in more and more varieties of fresh apples every week!
Last night we had a delicious farm dinner cooked by Heather (we are so lucky to have her here this year! YUM). And we realized while chowing down that the recipes should be on the blog, and that the meal centered around corn. We've had corn at markets for almost two months now, but haven't done a blog post on it. And our corn is SO GOOD. Many of us apprentices will eat it raw straight from the cooler (or from the field!) because its so juicy and sweet and tender that it doesn't need any cooking at all. And, because of the varieties we use, and the way we harvest and handle it, our corn stays sweet and delicious for several days post-harvest. Many folks believe that sweet corn gets starchy or tough if you don't cook it or eat it immediately after harvest, and while that's true for many of the heritage varieties, our corn grown here at NMF is not like that. We often harvest it a day or two before market, and we guarantee that it'll still be great even if you don't eat it right away. We taste test it regularly just to make sure!
Critters like to taste test our corn, too. We usually have problems with groundhogs and other small animals in our corn patches, taking ears for themselves, but this year we have had a new problem: beavers! We have several of our patches near the creek, and a couple of very crafty, busy beavers have been working hard to take down corn stalks. Bill, our hunter, has been regaling us with the stories of the beavers: they scurry back and forth between the creek and the patch, gnawing off stalks and dragging them back into the creek. He's shown us their paths--they seem to get to a patch a couple days before we start harvesting out of it! Bill says the beavers are taking the stalks into the creek and burying them in the mud, to preserve them til winter when they'll eat them. Smart little buggers, those beavers.
We grow a lot of corn here, to last us through the season, and because it grows so tall, the movement of corn around the fields is a good indicator of the season. When most corn patches are mowed, that means the summer's almost over.
Now for the recipes...
Maple Skillet Cornbread (for an 8 in diameter cast iron skillet)
8 tbsp softened unsalted butter
1 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 cup unbleached white all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup fresh corn, cut from cob (~ 3 ears of corn)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Use tbsp of the softened butter to grease the cast iron skillet.
3. Combine all wet ingredient in one bowl and dry in another. Mix the wet and the dry ingredients together until just combined.
4. Pour the batter into the greased skillet and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean out the center. Enjoy!
* To make a gigantic cornbread like the one we enjoyed from our 16 in diameter skillet, double all ingredients and bake at 325 for about 30-35 minutes.
8 tbsp (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
juice of 1/2 small lime,~ 1 tbsp
1 2in jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed and finely diced (be careful!)
sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
2. You can just put the butter in the freezer OR for easily slice-able butter, spread on piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log. Wrap tightly and put in the freezer for an hour and then move to the fridge.
Whole Foods "Cookoff-Winning Veggie Chili"
adapted by Heather
3 ears of fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 small zucchini, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cayenne pepper, finely diced and seeds removed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt and black pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
3 lbs red zebra tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in jalapeño, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes, vegetable broth and lime juice. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.
2. In a large heavy skillet, roast corn kernels over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet over medium heat and cook zucchini with a pinch of salt, about 4 minutes. Set aside
3. Add the black beans, zucchini, and corn to the tomato mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until just melted. Season to taste.
4. Serve and enjoy! Serves 4-6
Maple Sweetened Sauteed Sweet Potato Greens
2 bunch sweet potato greens,
~1 1/2 lb 1/2 medium onion, medium dice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste.
1. Remove stems from the sweet pototo greens. Chop the smaller stems into 1/2 in pieces and keep separated.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and heat olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped stems and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the greens and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and season with the maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!