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Late June Update & Summer Recipes
Welcome to the Carters' Farm Newsletter, where you can find information on farm events and produce, our favorite recipes, and reflections from the family. We hope you enjoy!
It’s the height of summertime in the Minnesota heartland, and that means that a host of fine produce is already here or on its way. The cucumbers and lettuce are coming in strong now, and are as delicious as ever. And the sweet corn is also over knee-high. But perhaps even more exciting, our tomatoes are coming in early this year—thanks to the warmth of the late springtime—and we already had on offer our first tomatoes of the year last week! Therefore, we will have tomatoes at the farmers’ markets this coming July 4th Weekend. The tomatoes are coming on strong—and are looking beautiful. There will be an abundance come July and August.
Speaking of July 4th, it’s a time to not only look back at the history of America, but it’s also a time for community bonding and family gatherings. As always, we’ll be participating in the Park Rapids Parade that goes down through Main Avenue in Park Rapids. At the parade, we will also be revealing the theme for this year’s fall festival!
With that, here are two wonderful recipes offered by Anna Kvale (granddaughter of Russell & Maxine Carter).
LAMAE’S RHUBARB CAKE
“Grandma” LaMae James is a dear family friend who has always lived just downriver from the farm. We have fond memories of canoeing from the culvert down to LaMae’s landing on Labor Day, where we feast on burgers, Carter’s sweet corn, a bountiful spread of hotdishes, and plenty of cookie salad – and enjoy some banjo-picking if we’re lucky. LaMae’s warm, simple hospitality and care has encouraged our family through weddings and funerals, births and deaths. When I was a kid, I knew I could expect fudge whenever we visited her house. When I graduated from high school, she brought over 50 servings of her homegrown rhubarb cake, “just in case.” When my grandma died, she made her famous potato salad to help serve all the visitors. Before my wedding, she got out her well-worn recipe books and talked me through her favorite recipes while I took furious notes; even though she couldn’t see well enough to read them, she knew the good ones by heart. When I called her to tell her I was expecting my first baby, and that I had a hankering for rhubarb, she reminded me that she hadn’t given me her rhubarb cake recipe yet. This cake is a Straight River township classic, worth an extra trip to the farmer’s market (or your backyard patch) to snag some rhubarb before it’s gone till next year!
1 c white sugar
1 c buttermilk (or regular milk curdled with 1-2 T lemon juice)
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ c white flour
2 c chopped fresh rhubarb
⅔ c brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts
freshly whipped cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine sugar, buttermilk, and beaten egg. Sift in flour and baking soda, then gently fold in rhubarb. Don’t overmix!
Pour into prepared pan.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and nuts. Sprinkle on top of cake.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Serve warm with lots of whipped cream.
FAVORITE PANTRY VINAIGRETTE
It’s that time of the summer when it is all too probable to find myself peering into a fridge full of salad greens, perhaps a cucumber, and … not much else! If you, like me, are holding out for next month’s bounty of summer vegetables, but are looking for a way to make that lettuce or kale something to get excited about, try this simple vinaigrette. The key is to toss the dressing in the greens shortly before serving, to ensure that each bite bursts with flavor!
INGREDIENTS & METHOD:
Add the following to a pint Mason jar, then shake vigorously (with the lid on…) until emulsified:
⅓ c olive oil
⅓ c red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar is also good)
1 T dijon mustard
1 T honey (see variation below)
1 t each of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic, finely grated or minced
If desired, thinly slice half a red onion (or a scallion), add to the jar of dressing, and shake vigorously again. Arrange onions on dressed salad shortly before serving.
This recipe makes enough dressing for two heads of romaine, or a full bunch of kale (~10 stems, chopped). For a kale salad, massage the dressing (and onions) thoroughly into kale until tender. I like to do this about 20 minutes before serving.
VARIATIONS & SALAD IDEAS:
Instead of honey, use about 2 T jam of your choice. I love using seeded raspberry jam!
Add any fresh herbs you have handy, chopped coarsely. Chives, basil, and parsley go especially well.
Substitute all or part of the vinegar with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
My favorite topping combination is fresh sliced strawberries, sliced cucumbers, a handful of crumbled goat cheese, chopped almonds or pepitas, and of course the pickled red onions.
Another surprisingly excellent combo includes about 1 c each of grated or julienned carrots, salted sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, and thinly grated parmesan or aged white cheddar.
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