Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 16 or 19

Share contents:  2 and 1/2 pounds of potatoes ( a mix of Nicola and Red Maria), 1 pound of yellow onions, 1 Italian eggplant, 3 pounds of Opalka paste tomatoes, sweet peppers (1 round of Hungary pimento, 1 sweet Italian, several Jimmy Nardello), 1 cantaloupe.
those of you who pick up on Saturday got your melon last Saturday
Storage:  Potatoes should be refrigerated if you're not going to eat them this week.  Onions can be kept out but will burn your eyes less when chopping them if you keep them refrigerated.  Melon should be eaten within 2 days or refrigerated.  Peppers, eggplant and tomatoes can be kept on your counter.

We are in the part of the season where there is not much green to eat.  Kales and chard are growing.  There will be baby beets with tops again soon and radishes in September.  We just planted lots of head lettuce.  So, feast on these hot weather veggies and know cooler crops are on the way!

Eggplant, Tomato, and Onion Gratin
From Chez Panisse
3 onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 globe eggplant or 3 Japanese eggplant
3 ripe tomatoes

Peel and chop the onions and garlic very fine.  Stew them over medium  heat for about 5 minutes, until soft, in half the butter and olive oil, with the leaves of the thyme, the bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Slice the tomatoes slightly thicker.
Preheat the oven to 400.  Butter a shallow gratin dish.  (Or pyrex or pie pan.)
Remove the bay leaf from the onions and spread them over the bottom of the dish.  Cover with overlapping rows of alternate tomato and eggplant slices.  Each slice should cover 2/3 of the preceding one.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, cover, and cook in the oven until the eggplant is soft enough to be cut with a spoon, about 45 minutes.  Uncover for the last 15 minutes or earlier if the tomatoes are giving up too much liquid.  Brush or spoon the juices over the top occasionally to prevent the top layer from drying out.  This gratin should be moist but not watery.  Serves 6 to 8.
 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 9 or 12 CSA

Your share this week includes:  1 yellow bell pepper, 1 antohi romania sweet pepper, 1 pound of red onions, 1 bunch of parsley, 2 small bulbs of fennel, 1/2 pound of okra, 1 head of garlic, 2 acorn squash, 3 pounds of a mix of japanese black trifele and garden peach tomatoes.
(You'll be weighing out your own tomatoes at the market pick-ups...those of you picking up elsewhere will have a paper bag with the tomatoes in it.)

Storage: fennel and parsley in bag with the air squeezed out in your refrigerator.  Okra in your fridge.  If its going to be a few days until you eat the okra, transfer it to a bowl or a paper bag...it will get moldy quicker in the plastic bag.  All other things can be kept on your counter.

Acorn squash is the first of many winter squashes you'll get the rest of this CSA year.  They do not keep well so eat them soon.  There will be other varieties later that you can keep for longer.  Both of the peppers are sweet.  If you want hot peppers, you are welcome to take a few from the market stand.  If you want a large quantity for hot sauce or such, let me know and we'll give you a discount price. 

Pepper and Onion Salad
from Chez Panisse Vegetables
Seed and slice thin some peppers of different colors and varieties.  Slice a small to medium red onion very thin and toss together with the pepper slices, some pitted nicoise olives, and a spoonful of capers rinsed of brine.
Make a vinaigrette with red wine vinegar and good olive oil, and season with chopped garlic and jalapeno pepper(or another hot pepper variety) and red pepper flakes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Cut basil leaves (or parsley) into a chiffonade and sprinkle over the salad.  This salad should be spicy and robust; taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

An Okra Recipe on Epicurious
The share this week also has just about all the ingredients for a good gumbo.  Or you can just oven roast the okra in a hot oven for about 20 minutes tossed in olive oil and salt.

This week is the 14th box of 22.  Over the next few weeks we'll be harvesting all the winter squash varieties and you'll see those in your share.  There will be sweet potatoes in the last couple of boxes.  Pole beans are on their way. Greens and lettuce will return in September.  Carrots and beets and radishes are sprouting in this cool and wet weather...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How can it be August 2 or 5 already?

If anyone is interested in a box of tomatoes for canning or freezing, this is the week!  We have 20 pound boxes of heirloom paste tomatoes for $30 to the CSA only.  Let me know if you'd like to get one and I'll pack it up for you.
This weeks' share:  2 pounds of beets, 1 head of flat dutch cabbage, 2 pounds of desiree potatoes, 1 bunch of leeks, 1 celeriac, 1 quart of cherry tomatoes, 1 bulb of garlic.
Storage:  all but cherry tomatoes and garlic in the fridge.

The beets are without tops because the tops look terrible right now and you would to want to eat them.  The celeriac tops are great for making a stock or broth with but not great for eating whole because they are difficult to chew.

Following is a recipe for cabbage.  You could make borscht thought too with the beets and cabbage...
Cabbage in Vinegar
1head of cabbage
1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter
1 bay leaf
1/2 lemon
1 to 3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Boil cabbage 10 minutes in lightly salted water.  Drain and shred.  heat oil in skillet, add bay leaf and garlic and brown.  Add shredded cabbage, half lemon, salt and pepper and cook 15 minutes.  Pour water, vinegar and sugar over the cabbage, cover skillet and cook 10 minutes longer.  Serves 4.  (adapted from The Talisman Italian Cookbook)

Those of you who have been in our CSA for years have seen this recipe before...it is a favorite from "Farmer John's Cookbook".
Creamy Celeriac Soup
3 Tablespoons butter
1 bunch of leeks, quartered and sliced
1 celeriac, peeled, roughly chopped
3 to 5 potatoes, roughly chopped
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth/ stock
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
1/2 cup cream or coconut milk or almond milk
salt and pepper to taste

1.Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks; cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the celeriac, potatoes, stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 25 minutes.
2. Let the soup cool slightly and then puree in a food processor or blender.  Return to the soup pot; stir in the cream, salt, and pepper to taste and heat on low until heated through.
This soup is good cold too.

The other day I cooked made a good beet salad of steamed beets cut into quarter sized chunks with a dressing of sour cream, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, fresh mint leaves and nasturtium flowers.  We liked it...


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 26 or 29 CSA

Share contents:
2 pounds of heirloom sauce tomatoes, 1 pink brandywine, 2 garden peach (tomatoes), 2 heads of garlic, 1 pound of red onion, 1 head of red celery, 2 pounds of orange carrots, 1 pound of zephry squash, 1 purple bell pepper.
Storage:
Garlic, pepper, and tomatoes on the counter (onions too if you'll eat them within the week).  Celery in a bag with the air squeezed out in the refrigerator.  Carrots and squash in refrigerator.

These are the last carrots for awhile...we lost a lot of our last planting and the next one is a ways off.  These carrots are surprisingly sweet for a July crop.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we are!
The red celery is an unusual character.  The flavor is strong and the texture is dense.  My favorite ways to use it are in an Italian style sofritto or in soup stock/ broth.  The very heart of it is tender and good chopped small and used in salads.  You can also dice the celery and freeze for use this winter in soups and sauces.

Sofritto
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large onions, diced
1 pound of carrots, diced
4 to 6 celery stalks (leaves too), diced
In a large heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over low heat.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and caramelized, about 1 hour.  Let cool, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.

You can then add to this sofritto the tomatoes and let cook until desired consistency along with some fresh oregano, basil, or parsley and use as a pasta sauce.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19 or 22 CSA

Share contents:  3 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, 1 bunch of Italian parsley, 1 pound of yellow onions, 1 pound of a mix of yellow wax beans and green snap beans, 1 head of summer crisp lettuce, 2 pounds of Masquerade potatoes, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes.

Storage:  Yellow onions do not need to be refrigerated.  Tomatoes will taste better if they aren't refrigerated.  Everything else will keep best in a refrigerator drawer.

We pick our tomatoes vine ripe so they need to be eaten within a couple days or else store them in the refrigerator.  Those of you that pick up at market will be weighing out your own tomatoes.  Amy will have it all set up for you Wednesday and I will on Saturday.  Catawba and farm pick-ups will have a paper bag that contains them.  Also, there will be a crate of potatoes there for you to grab a 2nd pound from.  We had a miscommunication about how many to put in the boxes yesterday.  Those picking up at Catawba or the farm will have 2 pounds in your share already.

Tomato Pie, tomato salad, tomato sandwiches, tomato sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice, salsa...
A Recipe for Tomato Pie

The Masquerade potatoes have thin skin so there is no need to peel them.  They are great roasted, made into home fries, or boiled and smashed and fried.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12 or 15

Share contents for this week:  1 bag of basil, 2 heads of garlic, 1 bunch of fresh shallots, 1 celeriac, 1 head of savoy cabbage, 2 shintokiwa cucumbers, 2 pounds of romano beans, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes.

Storage:  garlic can be kept out of the fridge.  Cherry tomatoes too, if you'll be eating them within a couple days.  Basil is sensitive to cold and will turn black if not kept properly.  If you're going to keep it a few days before using or turning into pesto, put it into a cloth bag or roll it up in a cloth before refrigerating.  Everything else needs to be kept in the refrigerator.

The celeriac tops are great for using in stock or broth or diced very fine and used in tomato sauce.  They are quite fibrous and can be hard to chew but do a hold a lot of celery flavor.  The bulb is the good stuff for eating.  It needs to be peeled and then can be added to soups, mashed with potatoes, shaved raw into salad, or blanched and used in a salad I'll give a recipe for below.
Fresh shallots tops can be used liked green onions raw or sauteed or added to a stock.  The red part is what we use when a recipe calls for shallots.  They have a flavor that is more intense than sweet onions and at the same time less hot.  They are a great ingredient in vinaigrettes and sliced thinly and added to salads.
Savoy cabbage is great for slaw and also makes wonderful cooked dishes including creamed cabbage and braised cabbage.
Shintokiwa cucumbers are a Japanese variety that tastes amazing despite their underwhelming looks.  They are our favorite this year for salads.
Romano beans are a green snap bean with sweet flavor.

Celeriac and Cucumber Salad
Remove the tops from the celeriac and peel.  Cut the celeriac into 1/8 inch thick slices and place in a pot with enough water to cover.  Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the water.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the celeriac form the water and cool with cold water of ice cubes.
When the celeriac pieces are cool enough to handle, cut them into long, narrow strips and place in a bowl.  Thinly slice the 2 cucumbers and add to the bowl.
Thinly slice 1 shallot and add to the bowl.
Make a dressing of:
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1 dill pickle diced fine
2 teaspoons of capers
a few sprigs of parsley chopped fine
a squeeze of anchovy paste, about 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
a few leaves of mint or anise hyssop
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of ume boshi vinegar (or salt to taste)
black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients well and add to the bowl with the vegetables.  Let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
This is also great with thinly sliced savoy cabbage and becomes a slaw. 

 Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
From Chez Panisse by Alice Waters
1 pound of green beans
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Optional:  basil or other herb
Top and tail the beans, and parboil them in slated water until tender.  Drain and immediately spread them out to cool.  (The beans retain more flavor if you avoid shocking them in cold water.) Cut he cherry tomatoes in half.
For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot fine and put in a bowl with the vinegar, salt and pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed.  Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while.  Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinegar.  For variety, the salad can be garnished with basil or some other fresh herb such as parsley, chervil, or hyssop.

 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 5 or 8 CSA

Share contents:  1 bunch of King Richard Leeks, 3 pounds of Satina Potatoes, 1 bunch of sorrel, 1 bunch of chiogga beets, 2 pounds of summer squash ( combo of patty pan, zephyr, and yellow straightneck), 1 pound of lemon cucumber.

Storage:  everything in the refrigerator.  Beets and leeks in bags or wrapped in a cloth.

Sorrel is a tangy green.  You have 1 bunch in your share this week.  It tastes like lemons and is awesome in pesto as well as in the soup recipe below.Chiogga beets are an heirloom Italian variety, known for their beautiful 2 toned interior.  Their flavor is slightly less intense than the dark red varieties.  Lemon cucumbers are so called because of their round, yellow appearance.  They taste like cucumbers and are great for eating alone or adding to salads, water, juice.  Satina potatoes have a smooth texture and great flavor for soup, roasting, or mashing.

We made a simple and delicious squash casserole the other day with layers of thinly sliced squash and onion, sprinkled with salt and pepper and a little oregano, topped with cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs.

Roasted Beets in Salad
Preheat the oven to 400.  Remove the tops, leaving 1/4 inch of stem.  Wash thoroughly and put them in a baking pan with a splash of water.  Cover with a tight fitting lid or foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until they can be easily pierced through with a sharp knife.  Uncover and let cool.
Peel the beets and cut of the tops and tails.  Cut them in half or quarters and dress.  Here are some dressing suggestions:
Beets, sherry vinegar, citrus zest, tarragon, a little crushed garlic.
Beets, white wine vinegar, shallots, fennel, sorrel.
Beets, balsamic vinegar, shallots, toasted walnuts.

Potato, Leek, and Sorrel Soup
2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 medium to large leeks, cleaned and chopped, using all of the whites and at least half of the greens
3 cups chicken broth or water
4 oz. sorrel, taken off the stem and chopped roughly
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream or milk, to taste
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil and butter. Add the leeks and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the stock or water. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the sorrel. If you have a hand blender (I hope you do, because it will make you happy), stick it in the pot and blend until smooth. You can also transfer to a regular blender in batches if you prefer, or haven’t followed my advice about the hand blender. When the soup is all blended, add the milk or cream and rewarm gently, taking care not to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with the creme fraiche that’s sitting in your fridge.