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.