Wobbly Cart CSA Box #9 August 16th 2011
In this week’s box:
Carrots Fingerling Potato: Austrian Crescent/French Red
Red Chard 1 lb Green Beans
Bell Pepper or Eggplant Mixed Summer Squash
Red Onion Yellow Onion
Arugula Red Cabbage
Kohlrabi Chesnook Red Garlic
Hello and welcome to week 9 of the Wobbly Cart CSA,
Another great week and another great box! Quite a few new items to introduce this week; Yellow Onion, Red Cabbage, Arugula, Austrian Crescent and French Red Fingerling Potatoes, and some of you will get an Eggplant, Purple Beauty Pepper, or a Green Bell Pepper. I have been reviewing some of last year’s CSA letters and have been finding it interesting to note how the boxes are matching up. We seem to be running one to two weeks behind last year in getting hot season crops like Eggplant, Peppers and Tomatoes to ripen. I know last years weather wasn’t great, But this year the sun seems even more rare to me! In the field and hoop-houses, the plants are looking robust and healthy, but just aren’t ripening much fruit yet. Hopefully, we’ll have a long warm and dry September to push these crops into mega-production. We have to a lot of extra work to grow Peppers, Eggplants and Tomatoes in our Maritime climate, and we really like to see the effort pay off!
New to you this week will be a Yellow Onion. This variety is called New York Early… and I think it was the first crop I sowed this spring, way back in early March! It’s nice to see the harvest starting to come in! This is a pungent storage type onion, though these are not yet cured so you’ll want to use it up within a week or two and store loosely wrapped in your fridge. The same goes for the Red Onion.
The Red Cabbage is a variety called Red Express. It forms a smallish head, but has a nice dense texture. A lot of customers like these for their beautiful color and small size… you don’t have to commit to a huge cabbage! This cabbage is great for salads, slaws, stir-fries, garnish, filling for spring rolls, making kraut… you name it. It is also on the list of the healthiest vegetables around, like most of the Brassica family. They are all high in anti-oxidants, vitamins, fiber and all kinds of cancer fighting compounds. This will keep a long time wrapped in plastic in your fridge. If the outside leaves start to look yucky due to long storage, you can always peel them away and find the beautiful and fresh looking interior. Can you tell I like cabbage? It is such a great vegetable!!!
Arugula is a lovely little green, also known as “Rocket”. It has a spicy and slightly nutty flavor that can add punch to your salads and sandwiches. Some people love it, some people not so much. I love it for adding extra flavor, when lettuce salads start to get dull, and for growing in cold conditions when other fresh greens aren’t always available. See the recipe page for more ideas. This is one green that won’t keep for long, so it is best to use it up soon.
For those of you who get them: Eggplant or Purple Beauty Pepper. The Purple Pepper is just like a Green Pepper but prettier. The Eggplant, now that is interesting. In Italian it is known as “Melanzana”, which originates from it’s Latin name which translates to “Apple of Madness”. Whoa! Small to medium Eggplant weighing 1 lb or less are the choicest. Refrigeration is not recommended, but it should be used as soon as possible. Salting and then draining the cubed, sliced or halved fruit will help it to absorb less oil in cooking. According to the Joy of Cooking Eggplant goes well with lamb, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, cheese, cream sauces, oregano, marjoram, soy sauce and garlic. Now I’m getting ideas.
The Potatoes are both fingerling varieties. Austrian Crescent is an Heirloom fingerling variety. They have a light yellow skin, yellow flesh and a firm texture. The French Red, another Heirloom, is just plain beautiful! It is slender, smooth and rose colored on the outside, with a pink and ivory marbled interior that is succulent, firm and waxy. These potatoes are best; roasted, grilled, in soups, stews and gratins. The flavor has been described as robust, buttery and earthy.
On to the recipes!
French Fingerling Potato Salad: Place 2 ½ lbs fingerling potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Run under cold water to cool slightly, then drain. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp Dijon Mustard, 2 tbsp sherry vinegar, 1 small minced shallot, 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley, and 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme; season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes and ¼ of a sliced red onion and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature. (To store, refrigerate, up to overnight.) Makes 6 servings. From Everyday Food.
Ratatouille Provencale: Heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat; ¼ cup olive oil. Add and cook, stirring, until golden and just tender, 10 to 12 minutes: 1 medium Eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks, and 1 lb zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks. Remove the vegetables to a plate and reduce the heat to medium high. Add and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly softened: 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 ½ cups sliced onions. Add a cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender but not browned, 8 to 12 minutes: 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks, 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add: 1 ½ cups peeled, seeded, chopped fresh tomatoes, or one 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained. 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook until everything is tender, about 20 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in ¼ cup chopped fresh basil and chopped pitted black olives if desired. From the Joy of Cooking.
Hot Slaw: Cook 6 slices thick-cut bacon over low heat until crisp. Remove and drain, then crumble the bacon. Add to the fat in the skillet: 3 tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp caraway or celery seeds, and salt to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and stir in 3 cups shredded red cabbage and 1 large cooking apple peeled, cored, and grated. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve hot, garnished with the crumbled bacon.
Lamb Chops Crowned with Mint-Arugula Pesto: For the pesto: Combine in a blender or food-processor 4 oz of arugula (stems and leaves), 1 cup fresh mint leaves (without stems), 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 5 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp dry white wine, 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp freshly ground pepper. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the processor as necessary. For the Lamb: Preheat the oven 350. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for 2 min. Add 8 rib lamb chops (1 1/3 to 1 ½ lbs total) do not crowd the skillet or let them overlap. Cook until golden brown, 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake chops for 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare, being careful not to overcook. Spread the center of each chop with some of the pesto and serve at once. Pass around the rest of the pesto. Makes 4 servings. From Cooking in Cast Iron.
Algerian Carrot Salad: Thinly slice 2 lbs fresh carrots. Put the carrots and enough water to cover by 2 inches in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over mediums-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve until ready to use. Heat 2 tbsp of walnut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 medium chopped yellow onion, 3 cloves of crushed garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved carrots and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing in a small bowl; whisk together ¼ cup walnut oil, 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper, 1/8 cup minced fresh cilantro, 1/8 cup minced fresh parsley until well blended. Combine the carrot mixture, dressing and 1 cup finely chopped pitted dates in a serving bowl, toss until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once or let cool to room temperature and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings. From Cooking in Cast Iron.
Chorizo, Red Pepper, and Potato Gallette with Arugula: Preheat oven to 425. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper, unroll 1 sheet of refrigerated pie dough on top, and roll into a 13 inch round. Set on a rimless baking sheet. Leaving a 2 inch border, scatter over dough 1/3 lb Basque-style sheeps milk cheese (or use Manchego), thinly sliced; 3 oz Spanish-style Chorizo, thinly sliced; ½ lb cooked and thinly sliced fingerling potatoes; and ½ cup thinly sliced roasted red bell peppers, patted dry. Fold dough edges over filling, then bake until crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Toss 2 cups baby arugula with 1 tsp sherry vinegar and ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil. Scatter arugula over galette. Cut galette in wedges and serve immediately. Srves 4 to 6. From Sunset Magazine April 2011.
Mini Zucchini-Dill Pancakes: Toss ½ lb grated zucchini with ½ tsp salt in colander. Let sit 20 min. Squeeze out all excess liquid from zucchini. Toss zucchini with 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, 1 tbsp grated Parmesan and 1 lg egg white. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Drop 8 1 tbsp portions of zucchini mixture into pan and cook, turning, until golden brown. 4 min. Divide 2 oz smoked salmon, 4 tsp sour cream, and 1 tsp dill among pancakes. From Prevention Magazine August 2011.
Fried Green Beans: In a medium saucepan whisk ½ cup Dijon Mustard, ¼ cup honey, 2 tsp hot sauce, 1 ½ tsp soy sauce and a pinch of dried mustard, cook over low heat until warmed. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. In a medium dutch oven fitted with a thermometer over medium high heat, heat 4 cups canola oil to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 large egg whites to soft peaks, add in 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, and 1 ½ cups club soda. Working in batches, dip 1 lb green beans with ends trimmed, one at a time into batter, and then drop into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with dipping sauce. From Country Living Magazine July/August 2011.