Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day of the Dead Celebration!

Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
- John Muir

Thank you all for making this season such a bountiful one, filled with good will, friendship, healthy fruits and vegetables, and aimless love. "This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,/I fell in love with a wren/and later in the day with a mouse/the cat had dropped under the dining room table./In the shadows of an autumn evening,/I fell for a seamstress/still at her machine in the tailor's window,/and later for a bowl of broth,/steam rising like smoke from a naval battle./This is the best kind of love, I thought,/without recompense, without gifts,/or unkind words, without suspicion,/or silence on the telephone. AIMLESS LOVE, Billy Collins

Please join us this year at Lavender Lane as we celebrate Day of the Dead by making a huge, end-of-the-season compost heap in the middle or our autumn garden bed. No one escapes the yawning jaws of this decaying pile! Last year it was a fearsome being and when it was finished, there was music, dancing, food, a fire, and cheer. For we all knew, as the great biodynamic farmer, Alan Chadwick knew, "Life into death into life." We will begin putting the garden to bed a 3PM on Sunday evening, 1 November. Please bring a dish to share and friends and family!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch...

Dear Members,

Time is winding down. Don't forget our Day of the Dead Festival in the afternoon and evening of 1 November. We also want to put the garden to bed that day, so bring your work clothes! 

Thank you for all who have signed up for next year. We are filled up for 2010 and are happy to include any and all on our waiting list.

We have one more week for you to pick up the harvest. Please return any basket you might have then and we will give you a paper bag for your last harvest, if you need one. For this week we have 4 pounds of red potatoes, orange bell pepper, beets (with greens), collards and swiss chard, and a baking pumpkin. Here's a pretty good recipe.

For the crust:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, well chilled
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

1 baking pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and add them to the flour mixture. With your fingertips, quickly and deftly rub the butter into the flour to make a dry, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the mixture. Using a fork, rapidly stir the dough until it gathers into clumps. If the mixture seems dry, add more water to hold the dough together. Gently form the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, place the pumpkin halves in a pan, shell side up, and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender and exudes liquid and the shell starts to sag. Scrape the pulp from the shell and purée it with a fork or potato masher or in a blender. Measure 2 cups of the purée and set it aside. Reserve any additional pumpkin for another use.

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, starting from the center out, roll the dough to about 2 inches larger than the size of the pan. Loosen the pastry, fold it in half, lift it and unfold it into the pan. Press it into place, trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges.

Increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the purée and the remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Pour the mixture into the dough-lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Teeming autumn, big with rich increase"

So, of course, gloriously writes Shakespeare in Sonnet 97. Well, thought I, especially on this cold, drenchingly wet weekend, and when the need to strike up a furnace or fire is rumbling in our bones - what are we going to harvest during this harvest moon? Autumn's especial bounty never fails to astound me. It’s the mass of it, not delicate but weighty: cabbages, big squash, sunflower heads that resemble something unearthly, huge collard leaves, Jerusalem artichokes busting out of the soil, beets going berserk. My weekend fear has subsided, in other words. Wait until you see the Hubbard heirloom squash. These are so big, tough, and bulky that you need a saw or a hammer to break through the shell. But it’s worth the effort. This is purportedly the best kind of squash you can eat. But because they are rather homely looking, supermarkets barely touch them. You will. You will also receive a Bacalan De Rennes Cabbage. Listed by Vilmorin in 1867, this French heirloom was grown in the Saint-Brienc and Bordeaux localities. This late cabbage grew especially well in the mild, seaside climate along the west coast of France. These flavorful, green heads are still grown in France today, and, yes, Copley, Ohio! We’ll give you a break on the collards, give you some candy onions, and a great-looking gourd to grace your nature table.