Week 34, 2021｜Kristin Kimball｜August 27, 2021
We got through what might have been the last of the summer heat. The plants loved it. Animals and farmers, not so much. The mood out there is ripe. If you are in the neighborhood, come to Blockhouse Road and take a walk through the edible landscape. There are rows of fat red tomatoes, heavy ears of corn, peppers galore, and acres of fall broccoli, cabbage and kale coming to fruition. Now we just need the deer to find a new territory to browse, or else be transformed into venison.
We succumbed to the temptation to put a little air conditioner in the window of the kitchen to make cooking and eating more comfortable. I’m glad we did, because it was a really delicious week. We had lots of visitors around the table, which made it fun to put some effort in, and my friend Leslie, who is one of the best cooks I know, has been sending me copies of her favorite cookbooks. Their arrival, spread over the course of the week, made it feel like Christmas, and reading them gave me lots of inspiration. We ate sweet corn (of course); eggplant cooked with onion, tomato, garlic, and sweet peppers, seasoned with cumin and paprika; cucumbers peeled, seeded and grated then dressed with a tiny bit of sugar and vinegar, sprinkled with salt and sumac; and fennel braised in olive oil until it was melting. One night, our Jane and Barbara Kunzi both made tarts for dessert — Barbara’s her perfect well-rehearsed apple tart, and Jane’s a pear and almond tart she learned to make with her host family in France. A two tart night is hard to beat. The nice thing about being fifty is I know now with certainty that these nights of good food and good friends around our table are precious, that they are in fact what a good life is made of.
The house favorite this week was a spanish tortilla, not the latin american wraps but the silky potato-filled omelet. Our new potatoes are the perfect type and texture, and the skins are so thin they don’t need to be peeled. There’s a typically thorough Tortilla Espanola lesson and recipe at Serious Eats and a simplified one at Bon Appetit. If you make it, tell me how it goes. My own notes:
- Using a mandoline to thinly slice the potatoes and onion makes it fast and easy. We decided to spring for a good one a few years ago and like most high-quality tools I have never regretted it.
- I found it easier to use my giant skillet to cook the potatoes and onions in the olive oil, then transfer them with a slotted spoon to a high-sided 10” skillet.
- I chickened out on the mid-cook flip, choosing to finish it in the oven before inverting the whole thing onto a plate for serving. Not sorry about that.
A few bits of news from the vegetable team. Tomato production will begin to taper now from full blast to a steady stream. We hope that the stream will be steady for a long time, but it’s hard to say, given the unpredictable nature of fungal spores. Sweet corn is the new star of the field. All four plantings are producing now and will soon be at peak. Green beans are perfect and delicious right now too. Raspberries are available for local members to pick-your-own through Sunday.
Finally, a reminder that I’m doing a reading and book signing at the Mountaineer in Keene Valley this Sunday at 3:00. And we are so excited for Jake and Taylor Armerding’s fundraiser at the Grange on September 10th. See the attached flyer. Speaking of fundraisers, the Hub on the Hill supports food banks and food security in our region and beyond. The Hub is a nonprofit corporation and accepts tax deductible donations. Checks to support their work can be made out to Saranac Lake Rotary Foundation with “Hub” in the memo, and mailed to the Hub on the Hill, 545 Middle Road, Essex, NY 12936.
That’s the news from Essex Farm for this delicious 34th week of 2021. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, farmerkimball and kristinxkimball, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin and Mark Kimball