Monday, August 31, 2009

CSA News, Week 17

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed.

Brussels Sprouts – organic
Store refrigerated and try to use within a few days if possible. As we told you last week, you will need to remove any loose or discolored leaves. The easiest way to do this is to slice off the elongated stem. A few of the outer leaves will then fall away more easily.

Chard, Swiss - organic


Herbs, Fresh – organic – Cilantro
Use fresh in recipes or add to fresh salsa. Store refrigerated.

Okra - organic

Yellow Onions – organic

Peppers, Bell
The weather has finally allowed the bell peppers to begin turning from green to red. You may already know, but we get regular questions about the red bell peppers (cost and less availability), so to clear up the confusion: there are many varieties of peppers. Green bell peppers, if not harvested and left on the plant, will eventually turn yellow, red, orange, chocolate brown, or maybe just rot – it depends on the variety grown. During these weeks of the pepper changing color (and the flavor becoming much more sweet), the plant does not continue setting blooms for more peppers. Production is reduced, more peppers are lost to insects, disease, or wea-ther, and costs to grow each pepper increase.

Roasting red bell peppers is an easy process. The final peppers can be frozen for use anytime.

To roast peppers: Over a gas range top or outdoor grill, place fresh peppers directly onto the flame. Char the peppers all the way around each side; the pepper skins should turn black and blistered. After the peppers are charred, place them in a paper or plastic bag and allow steaming for twenty minutes. Steaming allows the skins to be removed more easily. After the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bag and peel them. Discard the seeds and the charred skins, remember to save the pepper juice, it has a lot of flavor. You can also roast peppers in the oven, lightly oiled on a sheet pan. Roasting in the oven works well if you do not have a gas range, but the end result is not quite as good. Save whole strips or chop into desired pieces.

Raspberries – organic

Squash, Spaghetti
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds. Fleck out strands with a fork and enjoy with ‘spaghetti’ sauce, pesto, or butter and seasonings. This is a great substitute for those on a pasta-free diet.

Tomato, Heirloom – Red Slicing – Yellow Slicing - organic
Your salad heirlooms include Black Plum and Chadwick Cherry. We try to pick our tomatoes often to let them ripen as much as we can on the vine, but some of the blacks or pinks you may want to ripen a little more on the counter at home. The thin skins make transporting and boxing super ripe ones difficult. Do not refrigerate for best flavor.

Garlic – organic

Potatoes – organic
This week find a popular gold flesh all-purpose potato. Store these out of light to prevent the skin from greening.

Cooking Radish, Spanish Black - organic
This root vegetable grows for the cooler fall season and is meant to be enjoyed cooked rather than eaten raw as a salad radish. The greens keep less time, so try to utilize them in a few days as they wilt rather quickly. View the week of 6/30/08 newsletter for a nice recipe shared by a CSA member that works well for the radish tops – Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes (they turn out more like fritters).

Recipes to Enjoy

Cross Creek Shrimp and Okra
recipe from Greene on Greens, serves 4

4 T unsalted butter
2 whole green onions, bulbs and green tops, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined
½ pound okra, cut into ½ inch thick rounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt 2 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the green onions; cook until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Add the remaining 2 T butter to the skillet. Add the shrimp and cook, tossing constantly, 3 minutes. Add the okra and cook, tossing constantly, 3 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard

from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply In Season, serves 4

1 pound Swiss Chard
1 medium onion
¼ C dried cranberries or raisins
2 cloves garlic
3 T white or cider vinegar
1½ T sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry chard. Remove stems and chop diagonally into small pieces. Stack leaves, roll up, and slice in 1 inch strips; keep separate from stems and set aside. Sauté onion about 2 minutes in deep fry pan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients and chard stems to pan, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Place chopped leaves on top of the mixture, cover and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir and serve.

Cilantro Vinaigrette
from Cooking with Nora. This can be used over a green salad, for roasted vegetables, or as a marinade for items for the grill.

1/3 C cilantro leaves, tightly packed
2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small green jalapeno pepper
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 T tamari
1 T rice wine vinegar
3 T water
3 T oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put garlic and onion in non-reactive baking dish. Add 1 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 30-40 minutes until soft. After roasted, put all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Eggplant Caviar, an Alice Waters recipe, makes 2 cups, can reduce ingredients to meet the quantity of eggplant you have on hand

2 medium eggplant
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 T olive oil
fresh-ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and pounded into a puree
2-4 T chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut in half lengthwise 2 medium eggplants. Sprinkle the cut surfaces with salt, fresh-ground black pepper, and olive oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until soft. Test for doneness at the stem end; eggplant should be very soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape the flesh out of the skins into a bowl and stir vigorously to loosen into a puree. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well, taste for salt and lemon

Master Recipe for Braised Radishes
Recipe adapted from Perfect Vegetables by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated

1 T unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 pound radishes, leaves and stems removed, cut into bite sized pieces
½ C organic chicken broth
2 tsp minced fresh herbs (thyme or chives are great but feel free to try other favorites)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the onion and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the radishes and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add the broth, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the radishes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer until the liquid thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 16 CSA

In Your Share . . .
Items may vary in shares depending on your harvest day and share size. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Beans, Green- organic
Enjoy another harvest of snap beans this week. You can top with a few new potatoes and throw in a little onion too for some flavoring to jog your tastebuds of childhood memories in grandma’s kitchen!

Brussels Sprouts – organic – new this week!
We always enjoy when the delicious and nutritious Brussels sprouts are ready for harvest. Fresh sprouts have so much flavor and can be prepared various ways. Store refrigerated and try to use within a few days for the most tender results. You will need to remove any loose or discolored leaves from the little sprouts. The easiest way to do this is to slice off the elongated stem. A few of the outer leaves will then fall away more easily. Depending on your preparation technique, you can then score an “x” in the bottom of the sprouts for faster cooking. Think of sprouts as tiny cabbages. When you last had cabbage, we removed several of the discolor-ed outer leaves for you here at the farm. Your sprouts will keep longer with the outer leaves intact, so allow a little time when ready to cook for this step. We agree with the author of a popular web site, forget boiling! Her golden-crusted version of sautéed sprouts will “turn around the most vigilant sprouts-hater.” We shared her recipe last season in the 8/8/08 newsletter. Find another recipe below.

Garlic – organic – new this week!
You have a whole head of organic garlic this week harvested from cloves we planted last fall. Garlic is one vegetable that needs attention for about ten months of the year. That may be why you don’t see a lot of farms growing it. This year the garlic was ready for harvest right during our many days of rain and wet conditions. We waited as long as we could, but eventually had to go ahead and dig up the heads while the soil was really too wet. As a result, the heads had more soil clinging to the wrapper skin and did not clean up as nicely as in past seasons. Also, by keeping the garlic waiting in the field for more dry conditions to harvest, we have less wrapper leaves on the heads. It doesn’t affect flavor or usage, just appearance and possibly reduces long-term storage time. Store garlic in a dry, airy place, preferably your pantry, not refrigerated.

Herbs, Fresh – organic – Rosemary or Thyme, and Sage
Use fresh in most any recipe, store refrigerated.

Yellow Onions – organic

Potatoes – organic
This week’s freshly dug potato is the Cranberry All-Red variety with red skin and a whitish, pink striped flesh. They have a higher moisture content than a storage potato and will keep well for you refrigerated in the dark. Find a new recipe below for these all-purpose tasty potatoes.

Raspberries – organic
This is our first season of harvesting from the fall-bearing raspberry plants we put in last spring. They seem to be doing well in the organic production system this season. We are trying to not pick them too early so you experience full sweetness. This does mean they have a very short shelf life. Refrigerate as soon as possible, and rinse and eat within 2 days.

Squash, Spaghetti
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water ntil done; remove seeds. Fleck out strands with a fork and enjoy with ‘spaghetti’ sauce, pesto, or butter and seasonings. This is great substitute for those on a pasta-free diet.

Tomato, Heirloom – organic
Heirloom varieties are grown from seeds that are pollinated naturally and are non-hybrid cultivars. Seeds can be saved (and passed down through generations) and will reproduce true to the parent. Some well-known varieties may be a hybrid, but act like an heirloom with their open polli-nation, thin skin, cracking tendency and won-derful flavor. Varieties we are harvesting right now include: Black Plum, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Purden’s Purple, Chadwick Cherry, Green Zebra, Arkansas Traveler, Pink Rose, and Striped German. We try to pick often and let them ripen as much as we can on the vine, but some of the blacks or pinks you may want to ripen a little more on the counter at home. Their thin skins make transporting and boxing difficult. If tomatoes become over ripe: try freezing whole, cooking into sauce, or making juice and then freezing or canning.

Tomato, Red – organic

Tomato, Yellow Slicing - organic

The watermelons seem to have handled the recent rains better than cantaloupe and other melon varieties. We have lost loads of those melons to cracking in the field. This week you should have a pink flesh or yellow flesh (we are getting reports that the yellow are sweeter right now!) watermelon. Store either on the counter or in the refrigerator.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
This Gourmet July 2006 recipe is great for using really ripe tomatoes or those that are a little misshaped since you don’t need the perfect round slice. Try various color tomatoes for a striking and beautiful result.

1 small garlic clove

3 lb tomatoes
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 lb dried angel hair pasta
½ C chopped fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil for dressing

Mince the garlic and mash it into a paste using a pinch of salt.

Core and roughly chop two thirds of the tomatoes. Halve the remaining tomatoes crosswise then rub the cut sides of the tomatoes against the large holes of a box grater. Remember to use the largest holes possible. Grate into a large bowl, reserving pulp and discarding the skin. Toss the pulp with the chopped tomatoes, garlic and salt paste, lemon juice, salt, sugar (optional) and black pepper. Let stand until ready to use, at least 10 minutes.

While the tomato sauce is standing, cook your pasta in boiling salted water, uncovered until al dente, 2 minutes or so. Drain in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine, Sprinkle with basil and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt before serving.

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe

1 ½ lbs potatoes, scrubbed, dried, cut into pieces
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary. Add the potatoes and toss well. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife. Serve immediately or chill them if you prefer.

Sesame Garlic Brussels Sprouts
From Asparagus to Zucchini, makes 6 servings, can reduce depending on your needs

¼ C soy sauce
3 T toasted sesame oil
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ T minced garlic
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4-5 T peanut oil

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed pepper, garlic and 3 T water in a large bowl. Blanch the sprouts in boiling water until partially tender, about 3-4 minutes (do no overcook here). Drain well. Heat wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add a small amount of the peanut oil, swirl the pan to coat the surface, and add about a third of the sprouts. Stir-fry until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain on paper towels. Stir-fry the remaining sprouts similarly, in batches. Add cooked sprouts to soy sauce mixture and toss well. Can serve immediately or allow to marinate one or more hours before serving.

Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this unusual but tasty salad. With yellow watermelon, and pink and black tomatoes, it will really liven up your meal! Recipe for 2 entrée-size salads.

2 large or 3-4 smallish heirloom tomatoes, washed and cut into wedges
1 pint small salad tomatoes, rinsed and halved if necessary for bite sizes
1 small watermelon, seeds removed and cut into small wedges or slices, about 8 slices per plate
1 C crumbled fresh chevre goat cheese
1 small bunch fresh basil, washed and dried and smaller leaves kept whole, large leaves torn
good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)

Arrange watermelon slices on plate as desired to form the base of your salad. Scatter heirloom tomato slices over the watermelon and place smaller tomato halves across the plate. Sprinkle basil leaves over the entire plate and add dabs of goat cheese, to taste. Drizzle the plate with a thin stream of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you want to take this more into the realm of a Caprese salad, you can add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the salad. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CSA News, Week 15

In Your Share . . .
Items may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Basil, Sweet – organic
Time to enjoy with fresh sliced tomatoes, a nice mozzarella or goat cheese, and a drizzle of good olive oil or fresh vinaigrette. Also, you have enough this week for pesto making. Our 8/13/07 newsletter has a couple of quick, easy recipes. Try the roasted tomato and basil pesto for something a little different; or the easy traditional basil, garlic, cheese pesto is always a favorite.

You can also process basil leaves with a little olive oil, freeze in ice cube trays. Pop out when frozen and store until ready to use this winter in sauce, soups or add your cheese then to finish the pesto.


Okra – organic
Find a new okra recipe below – you can also add to your tomato pie!

Onions, Yellow (mini shares) or Cipollini Sweet Onions (larger shares) - organic
You will have either a freshly dug round yellow onion, or the flatter round Cipollini onions. We really enjoy growing the specialty Cipollini onions and once you have them, we hope you appreciate their special flavor compared to a traditional onion. Not as sweet as a “candy” type, these Italian onions are excellent cooked whole in liquid, they retain the juicy goodness until you cut or bite into them. We suggest the Gourmet magazine recipe found in 8/18/08 newsletter (or on the site). It is difficult right now to get all the onions dry enough to store in your pantry – high humidity and frequent rainfall prevents the dry conditions necessary to properly cure onions. You may want to store refrigerated or try to use fairly soon.

Potatoes – organic
This week’s freshly dug potatoes are a gold skin, gold flesh variety, one of the farm’s favorites. Like all new potatoes, they will have higher moisture than a storage potato, and you will want to keep out of the light to prevent the skins from greening. Find a new recipe below.

Tomato, Green
We’re not sure how long before the killing tomato blight arrives, so we added extra while we have them. Wrap in newspaper individually to let ripen. Use green tomatoes in salsa, fruit chutney, or oven/pan fry. See 7/10/06 news on Elmwood site for recipes.

Tomato, Heirloom – organic
The mid-season heirloom varieties of tomatoes are finally ripening the last several days. We try to pick often and let them ripen as much as we can on the vine. This means the cracks, slits, and other somewhat ugly attributes of heirloom tomatoes are front and center – however the wonderful flavor and taste are well worth it! Most all have a little discoloration on the stem end or inside the center core – uneven ripening is weather related and almost every heirloom grower we know is also experiencing it. Just cut away and enjoy the rest.

Generally these tomatoes are lower in acid and have a thinner skin than most hybrid tomatoes.

Tomato, Red – organic

Tomato, Yellow Slicing - organic
Enjoy sliced on a platter with other tomatoes for a colorful summer side dish.


Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Henkle’s Herbs and Heirloom’s Tomato Pie
We’ve shared tomato pie recipes before, but this one comes highly recommended by a CSA member and we thank her for sharing it. Recipe from Velvet Henkle, a local caterer who grows heirloom tomatoes with her husband and sells at the Lexington Farmers Market

4 large heirloom tomatoes
1 C mayonnaise
5 large leaves of fresh basil
¼ C pine nuts
1 9-inch piecrust
¼ C feta cheese
1 C grated mozzarella cheese
3 T Parmesan cheese
1 C grated cheddar cheese

Pre bake the pie shell for 8 minutes at 450, remove pie shell, and then lower the oven temperature to 350.

Slice heirloom tomatoes and place in a colander to drain. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Layer the heirloom tomatoes and basil into the pie shell, then top with pine nuts. Mix the grated cheese and mayonnaise together and spread them over the tomatoes. Top with feta cheese and Parmesan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to congeal for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Eggplant Fritters
Recipe from Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things, can adjust ingredients for quantity of eggplant desired to prepare

2 medium eggplants, peeled
1 T salt
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 C cold milk
1 T salad oil

Cut eggplants into fingers. Toss with salt. Let stand 20 minutes. Drain and dry.

Combine remaining ingredients. Dip eggplant in batter. Drop eggplant into hot oil a few at a time. It takes about 5 or 6 minutes to fry. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Potato Puffs
A Mark Bittman recipe originally from France, served as a side dish. You can omit the onion and dip in sugar to serve as a dessert, makes 4-6 servings.

1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
salt and black pepper to taste
½ C flour
1 egg
½ C minced onion
favorite cooking oil

Boil potatoes in salted water to cover until soft, at least 15 minutes. Drain, then mash them well or put them through a food mill or ricer. Combine with the remaining ingredients except the oil. (You can prepare this mixture several hours ahead if you like; cover and refrigerate.)

Put at least 1 inch, preferably 2 inches, of oil in a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the oil to a temperature between 325 and 350° F. Roll the potato mixture out on a floured surface and, using a cookie cutter or glass, cut into 2 inch circles; or simply roll into small balls with your hands. Fry the circles or balls until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Okra and Tomato Salad
Adapted from a Bert Greene recipe

¼ C olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1small clove garlic
1 T sour cream
¼ pound tender young okra, stems lightly trimmed, cut in half lengthwise or sliced into pieces
1 large ripe tomato, cut into ½ inch thick wedges

Combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a small jar. Seal the jar and shake well. Let it stand about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic clove. Add the sour cream. Seal and shake well again.

Place the okra halves and tomato wedges in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over, mix gently, and let stand 15 minutes. Serves 2.

Optional: Can be served over chopped fresh greens such as lettuce, spinach, or finely chopped cabbage.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 14, CSA News

Jeorg's Perspective on Eating Locally . . .

Nothing quite gives the full picture more than the voice of experience. We thank Elmwood CSA members Jeorg and Thomas for sharing their story . . .

Several years ago, Thomas, my husband, read a book - the book really. The bible of eating locally. Being a person who does not read a lot of non-fiction, I only knew that he was reading this book about an experiment in food. Little did I know that it would change our lives forever. While we were living in Paris, he explained to me why we were going to do this, eat locally and how it would make us better people and enrich our lives. I said yes; we were in Paris after all.

We started going to the farmer's market, we joined a CSA and really, I could not complain. I love vegetables and would eliminate most meat from my diet very easily. Economically, the advantages are great. It supports the local economy, a farm or many farms that supply what I would have bought at the grocery store anyway for the same price. I feel a stronger connection to the food that I eat since I know when it is in season and how crops are doing based on weather. At first, it was not so bad, however, I married a man who goes all in on the first day. I slowly noticed that this eating locally thing was no easy task. It meant careful planning for the winter months, it meant arguing about "luxury" items such as coffee, tea, and candy. It meant negotiating with eating habits, cooking styles and cookbooks. But it has been worth it.

My perspective has remained steadfast through this whole thing. I love supporting the local farms where we get our veggies and our meats. I love digging around the co-op to find local products and knowing that the meals we make are almost 100% local and organic (I cannot give up almonds, lemons, or olive oil...). I love knowing what it is that I eat and where it came from. Best of all, I love encouraging others to start buying local too and supporting the farms by making that connection with their food. We still eat out, we still buy lemons and olive oil, and we still buy candy. But this experiment has changed my life- I now put my money where my mouth is, eats, and lives.

In Your Share . . .
As always, items may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

Cabbage, Green – organic
Find your last head of summer cabbage this week. Enjoy in fresh cole slaw, sliced thinly and sautéed, or oven baked with butter. It will keep refrigerated for you for a couple of weeks if desired.

Celery – organic
The celery needs to be harvested and will keep better for you in your refrigerator than out in the field with the heat that has moved into the area. We are glad to get your positive feed-back on this flavorful vegetable. You can enjoy it chopped into tuna, potato or chicken salads; oven roasted with potatoes along side chicken or beef roasts; or in vegetable soup or cold gazpacho. The outer stalks with a darker green color are best used in cooked recipes, while the inner more pale portions can be enjoyed raw, as the texture is less tough than the outer stalks more exposed to the sun. Store in your crisper area of the refrigerator. Find a new recipe below.

Okra – organic
Store your okra in the refrigerator before preparing. You can pan fry, oven roast, or stew with tomatoes for Cajun style. You only need to remove the stem end. You can also lay out on a cookie sheet either sliced pieces or whole okra and freeze. Once frozen, bag it up to use in gumbo or soups during the winter season.

Sweet Onions and/or Red Onions - organic
As we mentioned to you last week, the sweet onions do not store as long as dry storage onions. With this season’s rains, sweet onions should be used within a couple of weeks. If your refrigerator is below 45°, the sweet onions will keep best for you there. If it is warmer, then it will only encourage the onions to sprout and soften. You can also store in your pantry. When cut, the sulfur of an onion reacts with the water in your eyes resulting in sulfuric acid that causes the tears in your eyes. Remember to rinse your cutting board after onion cutting, as it will retain the onion flavor.

Green Bell Pepper

Potatoes – organic
This week’s potato is the blue skinned bluish-white flesh variety or a red skin white flesh variety. You can use either as a baking potato, or for most all purposes as they each hold their shape when cooked.

Squash, Spaghetti
Store in your pantry until ready to use, this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole or halve and bake with flesh side down until done. Remove seeds, fleck out strands with a fork and enjoy with ‘spaghetti’ sauce, pesto, or just butter and seasonings.

Squash, Acorn
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds. Enjoy the acorn squash with butter, seasonings, and honey or maple syrup.

Squash, Yellow Summer

Tomatoes, Green
We’re not sure how long before the killing tomato blight arrives, so we added extra while we have them. Wrap in newspaper individually to let ripen. Use green tomatoes in salsa, fruit chutney, or oven/pan fry. See 7/10/06 news on website for recipes.

Tomatoes, Heirloom - organic
Find a mixed selection of varieties; more details next harvest but generally our heirloom varieties have lower acid, thinner skin, ugly sometimes, but very much worth it!

Tomatoes, Red - organic

The dark green melons should have a red flesh and are said to be seed-less. Seedless melons will have small white seeds that are edible and from time to time they will have regular black seeds like a traditional watermelon. The striped skin melons have a yellow flesh, and you should have one or the other.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Cabbage Pie
A Mark Bittman recipe adapted from old Russian recipe

2 T butter plus more as needed
1 medium or ½ large head cabbage, cored and shredded, about 2 pounds
1 medium onion, sliced
salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 C chopped fresh dill leaves
6 eggs (3 hard boiled)
1 C whole milk yogurt or sour cream
3 T mayonnaise
½ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ C flour

Preheat oven to 375°. Put butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is quite tender, about 10 minutes; do not brown. Remove from heat, add dill, taste and adjust seasonings.

Meanwhile, hard boil 3 eggs if not already done. Peel and coarsely chop. Add to the cooked cabbage mixture and let cook while you make the batter.

Combine yogurt, mayo, and remaining 3 eggs. Add baking powder and flour and mix until smooth. Lightly butter a 9 x 12 inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Spread half the batter on the bottom, then top with the cabbage filling, smear the remaining batter over the cabbage, using your fingers or a spatula to make sure there are no gaps in what will be the pie’s top crust.

Bake for 45 minutes until shiny and golden brown. Let pie cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. Eat warm or at room temperature, serves 4 to 6.

Celery Puree
Barbara Kafka reports that celery used to be served as a specialty item, even having its own dishes just the length of a trimmed celery stalk. She advises to peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler to remove any strings before steaming. Her recipe makes 1-½ cups and takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

1 pound celery, peeled and cut across into ¼ inch pieces
2 T chopped celery leaves
1 potato, cooked, peeled and riced
½ C heavy cream
3 T unsalted butter, softened
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the celery in the top of a two-part steamer or on a steaming rack. Fill the bottom of the steamer pan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place the celery on top, cover and steam for 7 minutes or until very tender. Transfer to a food processor, add celery leaves, potato, cream and butter, process until well combined. Season to taste.

Broiled Tomatoes
Recipe from local cookbook, Bluegrass Winners

6 fresh tomatoes, unpeeled
6 T sherry
½ tsp dill (or other favorite herb, fresh preferred)
1 tsp black pepper
6 T mayonnaise
8 T Parmesan cheese, grated

Remove core from each tomato and cut in half. Place cut side up on a cookie sheet or glass baking dish. Pierce each tomato several times with a fork. Sprinkle each half with sherry, herb, and pepper. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Top each half with a mixture of mayo and Parmesan and return to broiler for 1 minute. Serve immediately. Serves 12.

Monday, August 3, 2009

CSA News Week 13

In Your Share . . .
Items may vary depending on your share size and day of harvest. Each share may not have each item listed below.

Celery – organic
We are excited to have the celery ready for harvest this week – its fresh vibrant taste puts to shame the more bland supermarket celery that has traveled cross-country to reach us in Kentucky. West coast celery plants are hilled with soil, blanching the stalks white, while local celery is grown without the hilling – it results in a more green and flavorful vegetable. Taste it when preparing to realize you may not need as much in some recipes to get an excellent flavorful result. It really adds to tuna, egg, or chicken salads when used raw – use the more tender inner stalks, and save the outer stalks for your cooked recipes, oven roasted with meats, braised as a side dish (see Joy of Cooking), or cream of celery soup (see the index at right, 8-27-07, for wonderful soup recipe). Leaves can be chopped for use as a fresh herb (see the herb dressing recipe below). Store refrigerated and it will keep for up to two weeks.

Swiss Chard – organic
The Rainbow Swiss Chard is still yummy this time of the year. Use as you would spinach in quiches, pies, lasagna, for wraps, or in soups. You can also sauté with your fresh onions for a quick and easy side dish.

Several new types of eggplant are ready this week along with the traditional type. Larger shares may have a solid white or purple and white stripe. Store and prepare as you would the dark purple eggplant. Large eggplant will store up to a week, smaller ones less time.

Fresh Herb Bundle – Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme – organic
Store refrigerated or in a water vase like flowers to keep fresh. Can be left out at room temperature to dry (put inside paper bag to keep herb leaves dust-free).

Specialty Melon
We have several varieties ready for harvest right now. Two are Pixie and Sensation. They both will not be as dark orange as commercial cantaloupes and have a thinner rind. You may have cracking at one end (which in a drier season indicates perfect ripeness for these types of melons, and actually ones with cracks are the first choice of restaurant chefs who realize the difference). Sometimes cracking is caused by lots of rain where the fruit retains its moisture and the inside of the melon grows faster than the outside skin. Store refrigerated.

We have a greenish melon ready for harvest right now called Napoli. Although similar in appearance to a honeydew this is an Asian melon with a different flavor – it also can keep several days for you before using unlike some types of cantaloupe. The Asian melons also experience the cracking indicating either sweetness or possibly due to the fast absorption of water. Also store refrigerated after cutting.

Sweet Onions – organic
The sweet onions do not store for you as long as regular yellow onions. And, with this season’s rain, onions will store even less time than last year. This means you should use them within two to three weeks rather than storing them for fall or winter use. You can store in your pantry or on the counter, but once cut, store refrigerated.

Green Bell Pepper
It’s the season for stuffed peppers – find a new recipe below. Peppers have high nutrition in Vits. A, C & E.

Potatoes – organic
This week’s potato is the red skinned, white flesh variety called Sangre, a little larger size potatoes than last week. You can use as a baking potato, or for most all purposes as they will hold their shape. Remember to store organic potatoes refrigerated and covered from light to prevent the skins from greening.

Radishes – organic
Your handful of summer radishes can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Thinly slice and add to a sandwich or wrap or salad. To cook, cube and oven roast with potatoes or other root vegetables, add to a stir-fry, or steam and enjoy with an Asian style vinegar-soy-sesame dressing. When cooked, the radish loses a little of its bite.
Store refrigerated.

Tomatoes, Red – organic
You may have seen or heard a recent news story about the presence of late blight in this area – including Kentucky. We are experiencing early blight on some of the tomatoes, which kills the plant, leaves and exposes the fruit to the potential of sunburn. If late blight settles in, we will lose the entire plant including all fruit within a matter of days. There are fungicides to try to combat, but not any we would want to use and not any for organic production. So far, no late blight found close by – let’s hope it misses us this season!

The dark green melons should have a red flesh and are said to be seed-less. Seedless melons will have small white seeds that are edible and from time to time they will have regular black seeds like a traditional watermelon. The striped skin melons have a yellow flesh, and you should have one or the other. Some of this season’s melons may have a little hollow spot in the middle – we see this more in rainy years.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Braised Celery with Vermouth-Butter Glaze
Recipe from Perfect Vegetables, a best recipe classic authored by editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

½ C dry vermouth
3 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp celery seeds
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 head celery, leaves trimmed and reserved; stalks separated, rinsed, and outer fibers removed with a vegetable peeler; each stalk halved lengthwise and cut on the bias into 2 inch lengths
2 T minced celery leaves
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)

Bring 1 C water, the vermouth, butter, salt, celery seeds, pepper, and celery to a boil in a medium sauté pan. The liquid should come about three quarters of the way up the celery pieces. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stirring several times, until the celery is tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and stir in the celery leaves. Continue to simmer until the broth reduces to a light glaze, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, if using, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Stuffed Peppers
Recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini, makes 8-9 peppers; double, halve or quarter ingredients depending on how many or few peppers you want to stuff

Your favorite oil for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
3 C raw brown rice6 C water, chicken or vegetable stock (or tomato juice½ tsp allspice
½ C almonds, chopped
1 C chopped tomatoes
¾ pound cheese, cheddar (or your favorite), grated
salt and pepper
8-9 large peppers, tops cut off, seeds removed

Heat oil in large skillet, add and sauté garlic and onions. Add rice and brown about 5 minutes. Add desired liquid and allspice. Cover and cook until rice id done, about 40 minutes. Toast almonds in dry skillet or hot oven several minutes, tossing often. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, almonds, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook peppers in boiling water 2 minutes. Drain and stuff peppers with rice mixture. (Can be frozen at this stage). Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
Adapted from a Sally Fallon recipe. Use this all-purpose vinaigrette as a salad dressing for lettuces, bean salads, potato salads, or as a marinade for grilled vegetables.

1 tsp Dijon-type mustard
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T + 1 tsp red wine vinegar
½ C olive oil
½ tsp fresh thyme
½ tsp fresh rosemary
½ tsp fresh sage
1 tsp fresh parsley or basil or celery leaf

Chop all herbs until fine, either by hand or in food processor. In smallish bowl, whisk together mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Pour in oil and whisk until combined. Add chopped herbs, makes about ¾ cup. Store in a jar or bottle in refrigerator up to 2 weeks, bring to room temperature to allow oil to reblend, and shake when ready to use.