Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #12
Large share: Charentais melon, beets, purple potatoes, green beans, lemon cucumbers, red Russian kale, cabbage, sweet pepper, purple bell pepper, red onion, ¼ lb basil, garlic
Small share: Red Russian kale, arugula, green beans, basil, eggplant, red onion, cherry tomatoes
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of
Weather and autumn’s best
Helen Hunt Jackson
Dear CSA members,
It’s hard to believe we are already into September and on week 12 of the summer CSA! It is amazing how fast the season flies by when you are so busy. It feels freakishly like fall all of the sudden and I am on a mission to keep the summer crops on the harvest list as long as possible. We will have plenty of time in the fall CSA to hand out root crops, leeks, kale and winter squash! Though a field walk on Sunday revealed gorgeous leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and kale as well as the ripest looking winter squash I have ever seen in late August. I would like to hold on to tomatoes and basil just a little longer thank you very much!
We are all so grateful for the rain that has fallen since Friday. I think we have received 3 inches in total so far, with rain falling steadily as I type. Our river is looking so much better, and the soil and plants have been just soaking it up. It has been so dry for so long we are all sort of unaccustomed to dealing with mud at this point. It is funny and comes as sort of a shock to look down at your boots after you have already walked into your kitchen and see several pounds of mud clinging to them. After weeks of being able to get away with this when heading in for a quick snack, it is going to take a while to relearn bad habits.
Speaking of rain and mud I spent part of Monday harvesting our first round of Charentais melons! I am really excited to be able to offer these this year. I used to grow them for myself back when there is was time for such things, and have always loved them. The extra moisture we have received caused some of them to crack a bit around the stem end, but I assure you that extensive taste testing has revealed that these cracked ones are at the height of sweet, luscious flavor. This variety is known for slight cracking at maturity and it just goes with the territory of eating foods that are bred for flavor and not convienient packability for grocery stores. However, I would encourage you to refrigerate or eat them right away!
I can’t resist quoting this description directly from the Seed Savers Exchange catalogue:
Charentais melon (Cucumis melo) A true French cantaloupe that originated in the Poitou-Charentes region circa 1920. Considered by many to be the most divine and flavorful melon in the world. Smooth round melons mature to a creamy gray with faint ribs. Sweet, juicy, orange flesh with a heavenly fragrance. Typically the size of a grapefruit and weighing 2 pounds—perfect for two people. 75-90 days.
Ours are mostly quite a bit larger than 2 pounds! I also, want the small shares to know we hope to have them for you next week.
Large shares also received a ¼ lb of basil. This will make a nice batch of pesto or pistou to keep in your refrigerator or freeze. I will also just puree basil with olive oil and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then break it out and store in a sealed bag or jar in the freezer so I can grab a chunk easily when needed in the winter. Hope you enjoy!
Have a great week,
Asha, Joe and the Crew at Wobbly Cart
Charentais Melon Salad: In a small bowl combine 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Halve and seed a large Charentais melon, then slice into 1 inch thick wedges. Arrange the melon slices over 6 salad plates. Top melon slices with a slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele, scatter basil leaves on top and dress with the balsamic vinaigrette and freshly ground black pepper. From thecooksatelier.com
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
To make the pistou, pound the pine nuts and garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar. Add a few basil leaves and continue to pound. Alternating basil and olive oil, continue pounding until a smoothing past is achieved. Stir in any remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Makes about one cup. From thecooksatelier.com
Arugula Pesto: in a food processor combine, ½ cup walnuts, 1 large garlic clove, 2 cups packed arugula leaves, ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup olive oil and kosher salt to taste. Puree until smooth. You can also cut back the arugula and substitute in some basil leaves. From epicurious.com
Red Curry with Eggplant and Sweet Peppers:
2 cans unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 to 3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste (see recipe below)
1 lb Eggplant (cut into bite sized pieces)
12 lime leaves
2 Cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp salt
1 lb firm tofu cut into chunks
1 sweet bell pepper cut into 2 inch strips
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Shake the coconut milk can well. Spoon out 1/3 cup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and releases its sweet fragrance, about 3 minutes.
Add the curry paste and cook for about 3 more minutes, mashing, scraping and stirring often to soften the paste and combine it with the coconut milk. Add the eggplant and stir gently to coat it with the curry paste. Add the remaining coconut milk, half the lime leaves, the vegetable stock, sugar, soy sauce, and salt and stir well. Bring to an active boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, just until the eggplant is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the tofu, the sweet peppers, the remaining lime leaves to the curry and stir gently. Let the curry return to the boil and then remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the cilantro leaves, and serve hot or warm over rice.
Home-made Red Curry Paste:
20 Ring of Fire chilies
1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
10 white or black pepper corns
3 stalks lemongrass
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup coarsely chopped shallots
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
1 tbsp coarsely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp grated lime zest
1 tsp salt
Stem the chilies and shake out and discard a lot of the seeds. Break into large pieces. In a small skillet over medium heat, dry fry the coriander sees, until they darken a shade or two, shaking the pan often, 2 to 3 minutes. Tip out into a saucer. Toast the cumin seeds in the same way, until they darkens and release their rich aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the saucer along with the peppercorns and then grind the spices to a fine powder in a mini-processor or a mortar and pestle. Set aside. To prepare the lemongrass, trim away and discard any root section below the bulb base, cut away the top portion, leaving a stalk about 6 inches long, including the base. Finely chop the stalk. Combine the chilies with the lemongrass and the toasted spices and the remaining ingredients in a blender. Grind everything to a smooth puree’, stopping often to scrape down the sides and adding a few tbsp of water as needed. Makes one cup.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Core a cabbage and chop into large pieces, you will need about 4 cups. Add the cabbage to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, then drain in a colander. Let cool to room temperature. When cool enough to handle squeeze leaves to soften them and release some water. Meanwhile, combine3/4 cup vinegar, ½ cup sugar, and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, and pour into a bowl to cool. When cool, add the cabbage and toss to coat well. Pour all of this into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for 2 days, turning the jar occasionally to coat all the leaves with the brine. Serve cold.
Smoky Eggplant Raita:
Heat your grill t o 450 to 550 degrees with an area left clear or turned off for indirect heat. Peirce 1 lb of eggplant in several places with a knife. Grill Eggplant over indirect heat, covered, until very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to touch. Meanwhile, toast about ½ tsp of cumin in a small dry frying pan over med. Heat until fragrant and beginning to darken, 2 to 3 minutes. Pound fine with a motar and pestle. Warm 1 tbsp olive oil in pan over medium heat. Saute ¼ large onion for 3 minutes. Add 1 lg minced garlic clove and continue to sauté until both are softened, about 2 min more. Let cool slightly. Slit the eggplant lengthwise and scrape flesh from the skin. Chop flesh coarsely and set aside. Combine 1 cup whole milk yogurt, the onion mixture, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, ¼ tsp sugar. Add eggplant and stir gently. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and cayenne pepper. Garnish with a little more cilantro. From the September 2010 issue of Sunset
Peach and Tomato pasta:
Prepare 12oz of spaghetti or linguine according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the spaghetti cooking liquid. Drain spaghetti and return to pot. Keep warm. Meanwhile, in a 12 inch skillet cook 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic in 1 tbsp hot oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 1 pint cherry tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Add 2 lbs of pitted and sliced peaches. Cook for 4 minutes or more until peaches are just soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in ½ cup halved, pitted kalamata olives, 1/3 cup chopped basil leaves, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, 1/8 tsp black pepper; heat through. Add Peach mixture to cooked spaghetti along with reserved spaghetti cooking water. Toss to combine, season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperatiure garnished with slivered toasted almonds. From Better Homes and Gardens August 2010 issue.