Cecilia Nasti came out to the farm on the same evening that our crew was shooting skeet after work. She wasn’t ruffled, however, to hear gunshots at an organic farm. Her “real job” at Texas Parks and Wildlife has her covering hunting issues as well as natural places of beauty for their radio pieces about Texas Parks. She recently did a story on nothing other than… skeet shooting. It was a true pleasure to hang out on the back deck with this Austin original and our one-time neighbor. Her love of food, gardening, and cooking is evident: her Field and Feast show, which airs on KUT every weekend and took the place of Growing Concerns, is her own baby. She does it to spread the good word about farm-to-table connections. Her podcast about Tecolote is airing on KUT this Saturday, April 28, at 11:55 a.m., or Sunday, April 30, at 11:01 a.m. You can also hear the podcast anytime from her website.
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We have a fantastic farm crew this season, and we are so grateful. They are smart, engaging, curious, dedicated, funny, and reliable. They have been logging many 9 and 10 plus hour days, yet still they bring smiles and great attitudes to the farm day after day. The Farm Crew of Destiny this spring includes many return farmers. The returnees have wisdom and encouragement to share with the first-time farmhands, or those new to Tecolote’s quick pace and attention to detail.
The crew has been working so efficiently that post-work happy hours are well-deserved and promising to be frequent. Teamwork, cooperation, group responsibility, and communication are thriving, and it shows. It doesn’t hurt that new manager Lorig has a relentless dedication to smooth sailing and positive feedback, or that Meche has been with us for so many years.
We started the season with an Orientation Day in late March, complete with greenhouse cooling system briefings, doggie distractions,a full “parking lot” of mini-trucks, a few riveting volleyball games, and finally, more time on the porch.
From Monday basketeer Stephanie Johnson.
Hi Katie, Here’s the recipe for the souffle. It was really good; cheesy and tangy! I love sorrel. I had never even seen sorrel before I got my first Tecolote bunch however many years back it’s been. It was actually quite easy to make, I hope lots of people will try it! Love, Stephanie
Sorrel Soufflé (Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Cheese Soufflé in How to Cook Everything)
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick butter), plus 1 teaspoon
¼ cup flour
1½ cups milk, warmed until hot to the touch
6 eggs, separated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dash cayenne or 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese, like aged asiago, Pecorino Romano
I small shallot, minced
1 cup sorrel puree (1 bunch, stemmed and sautéed in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until it becomes a puree
Preheat the oven to 400°. Use the teaspoon of butter to grease a 2-quart soufflé dish or other deep baking dish, such as a Corningware-type dish. If you want to make individual soufflés, use a little more butter and grease four 1 ½ – to 2-cup ramekins.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining butter. When it foams,add the flour and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring, until the mixture darkens a bit, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time to avoid lumps, and then cook until the mixture is thick, just a minute or two longer.
Turn off heat and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, cayenne or mustard, cheese, shallots
and sorrel puree. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt, just until they hold soft peaks. Stir a couple of spoonfuls of the beaten whites into the batter, and then very gently—and not overly thoroughly—fold in the remaining whites using a rubber spatula. Be as gentle as possible.
Turn the batter into the prepared dish(es) and bake until the soufflé has risen and is browned on top, about 15 to 40 minutes (the lower timing is for smaller, individual soufflés; a single soufflé will take 30 minutes or more.) Use a thin skewer to check the interior; if it is still quite wet, bake another 5 minutes. If it is just a bit moist, the soufflé is done. Serve immediately.
Read Addie Broyles’ Food section cover story from April 11, 2012: After long battle over water, Tecolote Farm finally moving on! It has been a long four years since our wells dried up here at the original farm. Statesman writer Addie Broyles tells the tale of how we keep on keepin’ on.
Love this recipe from CSA basketeer and cooking master Kristin Schell, of The Schell Cafe
4-6 cups fresh spinach
1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tbs fresh lemon juice (appx one lemon)
4 – 5 tbs extra virgin olive oil *
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Squeeze the lemon into the bottom of a large serving bowl. Add olive oil and wisk until emulsified. Taste and add more lemon or olive oil to taste. Add salt and pepper.
Gently tear spinach and add to the bowl. Top with toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.
*The general rule of thumb for making a vinaigrette is a ratio of 3:1. 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, in this case lemon juice. I like this dressing lemony, so I use a more equal ratio.
Why I’m returning
by Lorig Hawkins, Tecolote Farm Manager-in-Training
On the last day of 2011, I proudly put my first full farm journal on my bookshelves. I was so giddy and proud at the fact that I have been farming, or rather, learning how to farm, for a year! You see, from the moment I knew this work was for me I have documented every moment I have spent farming. For all you super geeks out there you will be happy to note I have gone one step further and after re-reading my notes I have indexed everything into topics that I can then reference in a larger notebook. Whether it was at Urban Roots, Tecolote Farm, or any other farm I’ve visited, I’ve made a point to write down everything I could remember from that day, as small as it seemed. Because believe me, if you listen closely, are aware, and work really hard to see the bigger picture and make connections, you learn something extremely valuable every time you step foot in the fields. And I couldn’t be more fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from David and Katie at Tecolote. He may say it flippantly or in passing but David will make comments that will guide you forever as a farmer; you just have to be listening. And guys, I’m listening and writing it all down!
And as I shelve that first year notebook I eagerly pick up the next one, labeled 2012. This year I will continue at Tecolote for their regular spring/summer CSA season. I am returning for more, hungry to learn, hungry to work and sweat and ache, and hungry to continue meeting people who care about their food, and their farmers, and care about making it all accessible. I am so excited about days of tying square knots on every single tomato plant down multiple rows in the dead of afternoon. I can’t wait to pick up ungodly heavy black crates full of sweet melons, only to have to carry them in sand, where with each step you will yourself to hold on for just a bit longer. I look forward to grubbing for potatoes and the way it burns your knees because the sand is so hot and you have to kneel. I look forward to cracked and cut hands and bruised elbows and knees because it’s all part of the job. I am eager to take on more responsibility and learn as a manager how to lead and keep people excited about farming, how to encourage our team to work hard because it’s us versus the big guns and we need all the committed help we can get. I look forward to my team helping me grow as a person and challenge me to be better every moment of every day that I step out to lead and work. I am so thankful to get another chance to grow food for wonderful people and feel proud of our work. And I can’t wait to learn more, and continue to learn everyday for the rest of my life, for I will be farming for the rest of my days. So here’s to another year of farming, and another notebook for my shelf.
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- 4 cups (packed) baby arugula
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Cover; chill up to 3 days. Combine arugula and tomatoes in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat.
Now taking 2012 CSA sign-ups!
2012 CSA Subscription Agreements coming soon (within the next two days)- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org beforehand to reserve your spot for our award-winning, long-standing vegetable delivery service!
Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson at the Paramount Stateside Theater last night was a lovely way to end a weekend full of a slow, soaking, stuck-in-the-mud kinda rain. I’d like to pay tribute to both of them and the poem which Edible Austin’s Marla Camp asked Wendell to read last night:
Water from Farming: A Handbook by Wendell Berry
I was born in a drouth year. That summer my mother waited in the house, enclosed in the sun and the dry ceaseless wind, for the men to come back in the evenings, bringing water from a distant spring. veins of leaves ran dry, roots shrank. And all my life I have dreaded the return of that year, sure that it still is somewhere, like a dead enemy’s soul. Fear of dust in my mouth is always with me, and I am the faithful husband of the rain, I love the water of wells and springs and the taste of roofs in the water of cisterns. I am a dry man whose thirst is praise of clouds, and whose mind is something of a cup. My sweetness is to wake in the night after days of dry heat, hearing the rain.
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- Roasted Turnips & Kohlrabi in Wine
- Sorrel Soufflé
- Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad
- Pan-Fried Squash Fritters
- CSA Tagine with Romano Beans
- Spring Greens Pesto
I think this is year 9 for me; I have learned so much about the beautiful bountiful variety of plants that the earth produces with your love and cultivation. Thank you for this tasty adventure and for being connected to so many people who honor the earth. And thanks for sending all the innovative recipes.Martha S.