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.