Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jacob Pilarski's Early Autumn Three Bean Salad

Joe and I went to an awesome pop-up dinner at Happy Girl Kitchen Co. last week in Pacific Grove featuring vegetables from our farm. The chef for the meal was Jacob Pilarski who worked at Manresa Restaurant for the past 4 years and is currently the Chef de Cuisine at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn. He made a delicious three bean salad that he's agreed to share with us. We will still have fresh shelling beans, green beans and yellow wax beans at the markets for the next couple weeks so it is a great way to enjoy them while they last!

Jacob at Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

Romano beans, haricot verts and yellow wax beans

Early Autumn Three Bean Salad

1 lb. Green beans
1 lb. Yellow wax beans
1 spoonful Chevre
1 spoonful Basil pesto
1/2 lb. Tongue of Fire shelling beans, fresh
2-3 Tomatoes, very ripe
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Soak Tongue of Fire beans for 2 hours in water prior to cooking. After two hours, drain and rinse. Place beans in cooking vessel and cover with cold water by 2" (veggie stock or 1/2 veggie-1/2 water is even better). Add aromatics to beans, such as a whole peeled onion, a few garlic cloves, a few pinches of nutritional yeast, a stick of kombu, and/or herbs. Simmer beans for around an hour and a half, making sure beans remained covered by liquid (add water to cover, if needed). Salt the beans 3/4 of the way through cooking period. Check on beans periodically... if they're done earlier, great. If they need a little more time keep checking every ten minutes or so (time varies based on amount of heat applied). Adjust seasoning when beans are tender and let beans cool in pot at room temperature.

Pare stems off of fresh beans. Saute bean types separately (green and yellow might be "cooked" at different times) over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Salt pole beans just before taking them off the heat. Add finished beans to mixing bowl with chevre and pesto, tossing to coat. When all pole beans are added, adjust seasoning.

To finish: Cut tomatoes in half. Using a box grater, grate the tomatoes (cut side applied to the grater) into the shelling beans, stopping when you reach the skin. Adjust seasoning and add vinegar to taste- this is now the dressing for the pole beans. Spoon Tongue of Fire beans and some liquid over the pole beans. Drizzle a little more olive oil over top.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sarah Henkin's Radicchio with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, Mozzarella, and Herby Vinaigrette

Sarah Henkin has been a friend of our farm for several years. She's a regular chef/shopper at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and she's the market's former Market Chef in charge of coordinating programs and events. These days Sarah works at Square Meals, a restaurant-shop which specializes in wholesome prepared meals for eat-in, take-home or delivery, using ingredients from local farms, ranches and artisans. Sarah's delicious radicchio salad recipe is so perfect for early fall, and we have lots of beautiful radicchio at the DGP stall right now.

Joe and Sarah at the Dirty Girl Produce stall on Saturday

Radicchio with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, Mozzarella, and Herby Vinaigrette

Dirty Girl Produce radicchio, leaves separated and torn in half, washed and dried
1 small butternut squash, peeled with a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup plus more extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
Handful walnuts
Handful fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro & chives, coarsely chopped
A tablespoon or so Sherry vinegar
High quality walnut oil if you have it, otherwise olive oil is great
1 ball best Mozzarella cheese you can find, torn into pieces

1.  Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 400°. Slice in half and scoop out seeds.  Dice squash into large cubes and toss in a bowl with a good glug olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss well to coat all the cubes and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 min. or so until squash is tender and edges are starting to brown. Remove and set aside.

2.  Walnuts: turn oven down to 350°. Put walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 or so minutes, until walnuts are toasted, being very careful not to burn. Remove, coarsely chop and set aside.

3.  Dressing: Add chopped herbs to a bowl with Sherry vinegar.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Drizzle in a scant tablespoon walnut oil if you are using it and whisk vigorously.  Drizzle in olive oil (probably about 1/2 cup or a little more- you'll have dressing left over), whisking continuously until you have desired consistency.  Taste and add more olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper as needed.  Set aside. 

4.  Assemble: Add radicchio leaves to a salad bowl.  Toss with butternut squash, walnuts, and mozzarella.  Add just enough dressing to coat all the ingredients, toss well, taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Chioggia radicchio

Thursday, October 4, 2012


It is now early October and we are just coming up for air after an especially abundant tomato season. Don't worry tomatoes are not gone! We still have plenty at the markets and they are fabulous.

But September's warm, long days are now behind us and things are slowing down slightly. In August and September the farm was running at full throttle and the DGP stall at the farmers markets were jam-packed with customers (our dear customers: we LOVE you! thank you.) With Joe so busy with the farm I was completely absorbed by the adventures and responsibilities of small children/laundry/making-dinner/etc. In the middle of tomato season I also had a knife v. thumb accident that many of you home cooks can probably relate to (ouch!) and which kept me from tomato canning and even cooking for a couple of weeks. I'm sharing these details because I had intended to write several long, lovely September blog posts full of recipes for cooking and preserving our Early Girl dry farmed tomatoes and, well... it didn't happen. Instead here are some highlights of the tomato-mania that was the last month or so at Dirty Girl Produce:

FARM VIDEO TOUR: This is a video of our family at the farm in the tomato fields. It's pretty good example of what happens when you try to get your kids to "be professional."

Dirty Girl Produce Tomato Farm from miranda schirmer on Vimeo.

AWESOME PRESS: The August edition of SUNSET MAGAZINE featured an interview with Joe and included a full page photo of him in front of our tomato field. Here's the photo and bit from the article:  

"Joe Schirmer, a former competitive surfer, earned celebrity status in the San Francisco Bay Area with his dry-farmed Early Girl hybrid tomato. His coastal farm near Santa Cruz, Dirty Girl Produce, is warm enough to ripen a tomato, but cool and foggy enough that no irrigation besides rainfall is required."

THE SECRET TO A GREAT TOMATO: We only grow one variety of tomato and we only grow it one particular way: Dry-farmed Early Girls. What is "dry-farming"? When tomatoes are in season this is the question we get asked most often at markets. Thanks to a really cool project with the Oliveto Community Journal (of Oliveto Restaurant) we have a video of Joe explaining what dry-farming is:

More on Dry Farming from Dirty Girl from Oliveto Community on Vimeo.

THANK YOU! It's been a wonderful, sunny year for tomato farming -- which we are especially grateful for after the last two cold (stressful) summers -- and we are so thankful to our customers for coming out and buying our tomatoes and supporting our farm and our family!