Monday, August 4, 2008

Week 13, CSA News

News from the farm . . .

It should be obvious after the last few weeks that this is the time of year that your shares are overloaded. Several of the items will keep in your refrigerator or pantry, so don’t feel overwhelmed to use that last clove of garlic or make that cabbage cole slaw right away. It is also a good time in the season to take a few extra minutes and put some extras away in the freezer. Corn and tomatoes can be blanched in hot water, put into an ice bath to stop cooking, and then put into a freezer bag whole, as is. Or, you can cut the corn off the cob first and remove the skins of the tomatoes if you have a few more minutes. We are happy to offer you tips, however, it seems that you can find a recipe or preparation technique for almost every combination of food on the internet. A quick search will pull up popular websites or listserves with very detailed recipes. Just let us know if you need some references.

We did get over 1 inch of rain last week and it was very much needed. We have been fortunate this season compared to last with good spring rains that allowed us to get through May and June with better plant growth and vegetable production. July did turn a little more dry and hot, but it seems that only a few items have been affected so far – beans began to fill out about the same time the pods began drying; our last two sweet corn plantings began kernel development when their only water source was overhead irrigation resulting in a little irregularity in appearance; we had to irrigate the potato field in order to begin digging as the soil was so dry.

As harvesting, cultivation, and irrigation continue, planting is also underway for the fall crops. Some items were planted in the spring, as they have a long growing season and are not ready until fall, while others prefer a cooler climate and will not grow until air and soil temperatures drop. Generally things look good!

In your share . . .
Items in the shares may vary depending on share size and harvest day. Every share may not have every 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 shelled 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

Sweet Corn

This week’s harvest is a white kernel variety, but there may be some bi-color ears in the patch. We did see some cross-pollination in the first few rows. Either way, we think it is one of the best tasting of the season. After having corn for four straight weeks, you will have a break for a while as the next planting is a few weeks away from harvest.

Hard Neck Garlic – organic

Eggplant or Asian Eggplant

Your Asian style eggplant or any various color eggplant can be used in recipes as any traditional dark globed eggplant. With a slender shape, moisture evaporates quickly from the Asian, so keep refrigerated and try to use within 4-5 days. It is not necessary to peel as it has a thinner skin, and you should find smaller seed. White and rose color skins are not as bitter as the darker purples. Popular ways to prepare include halving lengthwise and grilling.

Sweet Mild Onion – organic

Yellow Onion - organic

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.

Bell Pepper – organic
The purple or brown bell peppers are varieties that ripen earlier than other colors. They both tend to be less tart than a green pepper, and not quite as sweet as the red bell. You can use in any dish that asks for a green bell and store refrigerated.

Potatoes – organic – new this week!
This week’s share includes the Russet potato variety called Butte. As you probably know, different potatoes have different qualities, some moist, some dry, some firm, some waxy, all differing in amount of starch. Butte is a mealy dry potato with outstanding flavor and is best baked, mashed or fried. When baked, it will be fluffy rather than firm. It can also be boiled, but will tend to fall apart and not hold its shape as well as other varieties. As a freshly dug new potato, store refrigerated.

Sage – organic – new this week!
This week’s fresh cut herb is the soft leafed gray-green pleasant smelling Sage. Use leaves fresh or dried with meat dishes of all kind, in stuffing, marinade, fish, cheese and as a complement to cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, potatoes, squash, tomatoes and eggs. Dry as any herb and store in airtight container -- the flavor will intense when dried. Serve with your fresh potatoes in a new recipe below.

Heirloom Slicing Tomato and Heirloom Salad Tomatoes – organic

Red Slicing Tomato - organic

Recipes to enjoy . . .

Cole Slaw
recipe from Virginia Celebrates

1 C finely chopped onion
1 C finely chopped green pepper
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 C sugar
1 C vinegar
¾ C vegetable oil
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt

Combine onion, pepper and cabbage in large bowl. Combine rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour hot dressing mixture over cabbage mixture. Cover well and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Keeps well for days, serves 8-10.

Thanks to a CSA member who recently found this recipe in her collection that she enjoyed making years ago. The pan-fried or grilled battercake can be frozen and eaten later, from the Tassajari Bread Book.

1/2 cabbage
1 large carrot
1/2 onion
3 celery stalks
1/2 C. cooked meat (if wanted)
2 C. (or more) flour (whole wheat or unbleached)
1 egg, beaten
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
1 tall can evaporated milk
enough water to make a batter

Chop, shred, dice, or thinly slice vegetables and meat. Mix together remaining ingredients to form batter. Fold vegetables into batter and grill.
Good with soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

Sage and Butter Sauce
recipe from Farmer John’s Cookbook by John Peterson and Angelic Organics. This sauce can be tossed with pasta and seasoned with Parmesan cheese. Can go with cooked carrots & potatoes.

7 T butter
10 large fresh sage leaves
freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Monitor closely until the foam subsides and the color is a rich gold. Do not let the butter brown.
Add the sage leaves (they should sizzle, if not, your butter is not hot enough). Cook the leaves in the butter, turning them once, for 15 seconds. Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and serve.

Chilled Corn Soup
recipe from Gourmet, August 2008

3 ears of corn, shucked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 T unsalted butter
4 ½ C water

Cut kernels from cobs with a sharp knife, then cut cobs into thirds. Cook onion and garlic in butter with ¼ tsp salt in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softeneed, about 5 minutes. Add corn AND cobs, water, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper and simmer, uncovered 20 minutes. Discard cobs, then puree corn mixture in batches in a blender until very smooth. Force soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, disarding solids. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour, can be chilled up to 3 days. Thin with water if desired and season with salt. Recommended garnish is chopped chives, but try chopped sage.