Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #14

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Large Shares: Eggplant, Lettuce, Shallots, Fresh Basil, Chard, Cauliflower, Bulk Carrots, Hot Chili Peppers, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Cucumbers, Cherry tomatoes, Slicing and Heirloom Tomatoes

Small Shares: Lettuce, Shallots, Fresh Basil, Tomatoes, Chard, Cauliflower,Cucumbers, Garlic

Dear CSA members,

This week I have for you a poem shared with me by my good friend and fellow Wobbly Cart Farm founder Kate Brandy.

Vegetable Love

by Barbara Crooker

Feel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,
think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.
And carrots, mud clinging to the root,
gold mined from the earth’s tight purse.
And asparagus, that push their heads up,
rise to meet the returning sun,
and zucchini, green torpedoes
lurking in the Sargasso depths
of their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.
And peppers, thick walls of cool jade, a green hush.
Secret caves. Sanctuary.
And beets, the dark blood of the earth.
And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf, butter-
crunch, black-seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.
Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.
And spinach, the dark green
of northern forests, savoyed, ruffled,
hidden folds and clefts.
And basil, sweet basil, nuzzled
by fumbling bees drunk on the sun.
And cucumbers, crisp, cool white ice
in the heart of August, month of fire.
And peas in their delicate slippers,
little green boats, a string of beads,
repeating, repeating.
And sunflowers, nodding at night,
then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.

All over the garden, the whisper of leaves
passing secrets and gossip, making assignations.
All of the vegetables bask in the sun,
languorous as lizards.
Quick, before the frost puts out
its green light, praise these vegetables,
earth’s voluptuaries, praise what comes from the dirt.

Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Gratin: Preheat oven to 425. Brush a large oval baking dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Arrange 1 ½ lbs of Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick and 1 lb eggplant peeled and sliced into rounds ¼ to 1/3 inch thick, in overlapping concentric circles. Scatter with fresh thyme sprigs on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is barely tender and the tomatoes have exuded their juices. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes longer, or until juices have evaporated and vegetables are very tender. Sprinkle with ¼ lb coarsely crumbled goat cheese and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm. (I have made a similar recipe but made the addition of lots of minced garlic and thinly sliced summer squash and potato. The kids and family loved it!) (from foodandwine.com)

Curried Cauliflower Stir-fry: in a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp peanut oil, sauté 1 large onion, peeled and chopped, 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped, and 1 lb tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes, until the tofu begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 to 3 cups tightly packed, coarsely chopped kale leaves, ribs and stems removed. Sprinkle on 1 ½ tbsp curry powder and ¼ tsp ground cinnamon and stir in ¼ cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 large (2 lb) head of cauliflower, cut into small florets. 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced, and sprinkle on sea salt and/or tamari to taste. Add about ¼ cup more water. Cover, and continue to cook, stirring every minute or so, until the kale is tender and the cauliflower is tender crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add more water as needed to prevent scorching. Stir in ¼ cup minced fresh coriander or parsley. (you can also use pureed tomatoes for all or part of the water.)

Tomato, Red onion, and Purple Pepper Salad with yogurt dressing: Thinly slice 1 medium red onion, place in a salad bowl, sprinkle on 2 tbsp fresh lime juice and 1 tsp salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes. Slice 1 hot chile into matchsticks and add to the onion, cut one medium purple bell pepper into ½ inch wide strips about 1 inch long and toss with the onions and chile. Just before serving add 2 to 3 tomatoes cut into ½ inch pieces and ¾ cup full fat yogurt and toss gently to mix. Taste for salt and adjust, if you wish, and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Summer Harvest Pasta Salad for a Crowd: Cook 1 lb of your favorite pasta until tender but still chewy. Run under cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain thoroughly and set into a large serving bowl. Steam 1 1/2 lbs of summer squash until tender crisp, bout 3 to 5 minutes. (The squash will retain its flavor better if it is steamed whole). When it is cool enough to handle, halve the squash and cut in to ¼ inch slices. Toss the squash, 3 cups of cooked fresh corn kernels, 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 ½ cups tightly packed minced fresh basil, ¼ cup minced fresh chives, 1 cup small mushrooms, and ½ cup pitted kalamata olives into the pasta. With a whisk and a bowl, or in a food processor, prepare a dressing of ½ cup fruity olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 small clove of mashed garlic, 1 Tbsp of Dijon mustard, and 1 tsp sea salt. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss well. Add 2 to 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice to perk up the flavors and serve at room temperature.

Caramelized Shallots: Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium low. Thinly slice 6 to 8 oz of shallots and sautee them in the oil for about 2 min. add 1 tsp salt and sautee for 5 min more, or until soft. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent them from browning too quickly. Add 1 tsp sherry or apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp sherry or white wine, 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sautee for another 20 min, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to prevent sticking and burning, about a tsp at a time. Remove sprigs of thyme before serving.

French Shallot Soup. Prepare 2 batches caramelized shallots and/or onions (see above). Melt 2 tsp unsalted butter over med-low heat in a deep pan or dutch oven. Add the caramelized shallots and stir to warm through. Add 1 quart beef stock, at room temperature and 1 cup red or white wine. Simmer at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes. Near the end of cooking preheat the oven broiler. Divide the soup into 4 oven proof bowls, and stir in 1 to 2 tsp cognac into each bowl. Gently float a thick slice of day old baguette in each and top with 4 oz slices of Gruyere cheese. Broil until golden and bubbly about 3 to 5 minutes.

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