Monday, July 28, 2008

Eat Local Challenge

CSA, Week 12

The Central KY cooperative grocery store, Good Foods, is promoting the month of August as a good time for the Eat Local Challenge. We shared information about this concept last season, but thought it a good time to refresh each other on the activities and helpful resources available. By joining a CSA, you already are seeking out healthy food that comes from a farm in your local area grown by people that you come to know. Many of you attend local farmers markets or grow a few items in your own backyard. Several of you have used some share items to freeze, can, pickle and preserve for your use later on in the year. And, a lot of you seek out thought-provoking and influential writings and conversations on food, health, the environment, our economy – all part of the local food system.

Other suggested actions from the Eat Local Challenge folks include:
· taking a field trip to a local farm, orchard, or vineyard;
· finding out what restaurants use locally produced foods and patronize them;
· commit to preparing and eating one local-only meal each week;
· share with family, friends, and co-workers your finds and experiences;
· keep track of your food sourcing and meal preparing as it becomes a valuable resource; &
· start simple and small by replacing one food item each week with a local item.

You can visit the site for tips and links to other experiences:

Other sites include:

In Your Share
As always, share sizes and harvest days may vary. Each share may not have each item listed below.

Heirloom Green Beans – organic – new this week!
These fat runner beans are an heirloom variety and the seed is saved from year to year for replanting. This first harvest of the season should offer enough to prepare a small bean side dish. Store in the fridge, and be sure to allow time to remove the strings and break before cooking. Start at one end, pulling the string down one side completely; also remove the string from the other side. When breaking into bite-sized pieces, check for an additional hidden string. Any white pod that may be tough can be discarded and the beans added to your pot. Be sure to simmer in water long enough until tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours depending on quantity.

Savoy Cabbage – organic - new this week!
The Savoy type green cabbage is one of the farm favorites. It has a smooth flavor and crisp taste. Savoy contains more Vit. A, calcium, potassium, and iron than other cabbages. Chop with carrots and onion for a mayonnaise or vinaigrette coleslaw. Chop wedges, steam for 5 – 8 minutes and eat with butter and a pinch of salt and pepper. Our blog online has a wonderful recipe for Cabbage Pancakes from Bert Greene, look for the newsletter of 6-18-07. Properly stored in your refrigerator, cabbage can keep for a month or more.

Carrots – organic

This week’s harvest is our second planting, direct seeded in early spring. An earlier patch was transplanted from the greenhouse. It had a more octopus–like appearance, although the row was just a few feet away from this later planting. Enjoy raw, or steam, sauté, bake or puree. Keep refrigerated.

Sweet Corn
We are harvesting from two patches this week: the white kernel sweet corn you have enjoyed already, and the bicolor white and yellow kernel supersweet. The white ears are a little odd in shape and size, and may have some open tips from birds or earworms, but we decided to include them rather than put less ears in your share. Just cut off any damaged area. The bicolor is a little smaller kernel as this is the first harvest from this new patch. Lack of rainfall is affecting later plantings, however we are happy to continue having sweet corn for the third straight week. Enjoy boiled, grilled, or cut off the cob for your freezer.

Hard Neck Garlic – organic – new this week!
Our first garlic harvest of the year and the first week you have a head in your share. Store in your pantry or a cool, dark place. We hope you enjoy the flavor of this heirloom hard neck garlic bulb – it is from old seedstock grown for a long time here in KY.

Okra – organic – new this week!
Okra is an item often found on a traditional KY summer menu. Sliced into bite-sized pieces, lightly rolled in corn meal and cooked in oil, it makes a nice addition to other summer veggies. Other options include heating with tomatoes and fresh corn into a succotash-type dish. Store refrigerated and use fairly soon to keep longer spears from be-coming tough.

Sweet Mild Onion – organic


Summer Squash and Zucchini

Heirloom Slicing Tomato and Heirloom Salad Tomatoes – organic
Your salad tomatoes are varieties called Black Prince, Big Cherry, and Yellow Pear. With lower acid and a thin skin, they ripen quickly to become one of our favorites.

Red Slicing Tomato - organic

Specialty Melon – new this week!
We have only a few types of melons in an early planting that are ready to harvest. The bright yellow skin one is a Canary melon with a greenish interior similar to a honeydew-type. The one with orangey color is a Sensation melon having a whitish interior, cousin to a cantaloupe. Chefs and food publications often refer to these varieties as “dessert melons.”
Wash well before slicing.

Recipes to Enjoy

Pressed Chicken with Yellow Squash and Tomatoes
Recipe from new Gourmet issue, August 2008

Notes state that “ under the weight of a second skillet, the “pressed” chicken releases its fat and juices into the pan and ends up cooking in all that sumptuousness. The result is almost unbelievably moist meat.” Try Elmwood’s organic pasture raised chicken breasts.

4 chicken breast halves, with skin, bone-in
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
¾ lb yellow squash, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 lb tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tsp chopped marjoram, divided

Pat chicken dry and season with ¾ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add chicken, skin side down.
Cover with a round of parchment paper, then a heavy pot or skillet, followed by a 3 to 5 lb weight (such as two 32 oz cans or a brick wrapped in foil). Cook 10 minutes, then remove weight, pot, and parchment.

Turn chicken over, and recover with a clean round of parchment, pot, and weight, then cook until just cooked through, about 8 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm, covered.

Add squash, tomatoes, garlic, 2 tsp marjoram, and ¼ tsp salt to fat in skillet. Cover over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until squash is just tender and tomatoes have become saucy, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in any juices from plate and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon over chicken. Sprinkle chicken and vegetables with remaining tsp marjoram. Serves 4.

Honey-Glazed Carrots

4 ½ cups carrots (about 2 lbs)
1 tbsp butter
1 ½ tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Arrange carrots in steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 4 to 8 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from steamer and keep warm.

2. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add honey and lemon juice, stirring until smooth.

4. Add carrots, tossing gently.

Summer Squash Fantasy
From Notably Nashville

5 medium yellow squash
5 medium zucchini
½ C thinly sliced or chopped onion
½ C sliced celery
½ C tomato chopped, or cherry tomatoes halved

Cut squash and zucchini into very thin slices. Combine with onion, celery and tomato in a bowl. Mix well. Add vegetable marinade (recipe below) and toss to coat. Marinate, covered in refrigerator for 2 – 12 hours. Drain the marinade to serve.

Vegetable Marinade - Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.

1/3 C canola or light olive oil
2/3 C cider vinegar
½ C sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly ground pepper