Large shares: lettuce, chard, arugula, walla walla onions, cauliflower, eggplant, summer squash, cucumbers, basil
Small shares: chard, purplette onions, carrots, cauliflower, summer squash, cucumber, basil, garlic
Greens shares: 2 heads lettuce, lacinato kale, arugula
Roots shares: red carrots, gold beets, red beets, walla walla onions
Juicing shares: carrots 2nds, beet 2nds, green cabbage, lacinato kale, cilantro
Dear CSA members,
The week has really flown by as I find myself back at the computer writing this week’s letter. Our summer harvests are getting to be in full swing and the back room of the cooler is filling up with seemingly endless mountains of summer squash,cucumbers, basil, and the beginnings of the tomato harvests.
The last of the years plantings are pretty much behind us now. We have transplanted thousands of brassica seedlings ( brocoli, cabbage, cauliflower and more) that will be harvested in the late fall and early winter. We have also seeded the last of the carrots, beets, and beans and most of the winter root crops such as turnips, rutabagas, and winter radishes.
Soon we will be also transplanting the last of the lettuces, raddichios, and kale to wrap up the transplants within the next week or so.
In the years when we first began farming, our season was essentially over by late October. We didn’t have the land, nor did we plant crops that would last us through the winter months. These days, we are farming and marketing year round, barring a flood or a long stretch of super cold (single digit temperatures) weather! It is kind of awesome to be out in the field harvesting carrots in the dead of winter with just a few folks, often with supplemental light from tractor mounted LED’s and a lot of slippery mud! But it is just so great to be able to produce crops year round.
Green beans: our first harvest of green beans was quite plentiful and so small shares will get 3/4 lb and large a full lb this week. The first pickings of the planting are always has the best, most tender beans. I hope you enjoy!
Some of the small share carrot bunches contained red carrots. Orange carrots are actually a relatively new breeding development in the history of the cultivation of carrots. Orange carrots were apparently developed in Holland in the 17thcentury, while carrots in general have been cultivated since around 900 and probably originated in the Middle East. Originally carrots were probably yellow, purple and red like these carrots. Red carrots are higher in vitamins and lycopene than orange carrots, are slightly less sweet and have stronger flavor than what we know as regular carrots. They are excellent roasted and cooked into stews as they are more robust and hold up very well to cooking.
Large shares received Arugula this week. Arugula is an aromatic salad green often found in Italian cuisine. It has a peppery and nutty flavor and is quite delicate, use it up as soon as possible!
Large shares also received Eggplant. In Italian it is known as “Melanzana”, which originates from it’s Latin name which translates to “Apple of Madness”. Whoa! This terminology is believed to have originated with the poisonous nature of some members of the nightshade family – which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. I assure you none of what is in your box is poisonous however! Eggplant and and like have been eaten around the world for hundreds if not thousands of years. Believed to have first been cultivated and eaten in India or China, with written accounts of it dating to the 5th century, Eggplant didn’t make it to Europe until the 1500’s and wasn’t recognized as an edible food until the 1600’s. I love learning about the histories of our different foods.
Store Eggplant at room temperature and use up 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.
Fresh basil: I recommend using the basil up asap and avoid putting it in the refrigerator as it has a tendency to turn black with the cold.
Have a great week,
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
Creamy Cauliflower Soup: In a soup pot saute in olive oil for 5 minutes: 1 chopped Walla Walla onion, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 large head cauliflower that has been broken into florets, 3 to 4 medium potatoes, cubed, 3 chopped carrots, 1 tsp caraway seeds. Simmer the veggies in just enough water to cover them, and cook until soft. Puree the mixture until smooth. Return to the soup pot and add 1 cup milk, 2 cups grated sharp cheddar, salt to taste, and several tbsp chopped fresh dill. simmer very gently for 5 to 10 min more. Serve with toasted sourdough rye. (adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook)
Eggplant and Zucchini Fries with Roasted Tomato Dip: Heat oven to 375. Toss 1 cup chopped heirloom tomato in 1 tsp olive oil and roast on a sheet pan for 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree with 1 cup greek yogurt, 2 tsp cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and chill. Place 5 large egg whites in a bowl and beat, then place in a separate bowl and mix 2 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs and and additional 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Cut 1 medium yellow squash, 1 medium zuchinni, and 1 small eggplant into 1/2 inch fries. Dip in egg whites, roll in bread crumbs, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve with Roasted Tomato Dip.
Green (or Romano) Beans on the Grill: put 1 lb of green beans on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fold and seal. You may need to fold two sheets together. (you can also use one sheet of foil to set the pouch on. This way if any liquid seeps out or it pulls apart it dosen’t leave a mess.) drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the beans. Add 2 – 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Toss beans with tongs until well coated. Add 1 to 2 tbsp water and fold aluminum foil together at the top and pinch the sides closed. Cook the green bean pouch on the grill until the beans are tender. (food.com)
Roasted Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Break 1 2 lb head of cauliflower into bite sized peices. Toss the cauliflower with 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 chopped cloves of garlic, and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2 tsp kosher salt and 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves and toss again. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Ratatouille Provencal: 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.
Arugula, Onion and Citrus Salad: wash and trim a large bunch of arugula. In a medium bowl drizzle the arugula with ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, gently toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 salad plates and top with the divided segments to 2 oranges or grapefruits and thinly sliced red onion to taste. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of additional olive oil.
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
Cucumbers Wedges with Chile and Lime: Wash 2 8 to 10 inch cucumbers and slice off the ends. Halve each crosswise and then slice each half lengthwise to make wedges. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Halve a lime and discard any seeds. Squeeze lime juice over the cucumber wedges and toss gently to coat, dust with salt and a spicy flavorful chile powder such as Chimayo. Serve immediately.
Summer Squash and Arugula Pesto Pasta: boil water for pasta and make a batch of pesto (see above). Saute I medium chopped onion and 3 + cloves of chopped garlic. Add 3 cups cubed summer squash and sauté until tender. When pasta is done, pile a generous helping on your plate and mix with the vegetable sauté and pesto.
Refrigerator Dilly Beans: place 2 pint sized canning jars and their lids in a pot of boiling water and heat for 1 minute. Lift out, drain and place on the counter. Divide 1 bunch fresh dill, 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp dill seeds, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed between the 2 jars, packing beans in lengthwise. In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 1 1/3 cup water, 2 tbsp kosher salt, and 1 tbsp sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour boiling liquid over the green beans and seal. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate for 2 days before serving.
Braised pearl onions: remove tops from pearl onion bunch and drop into boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and cool slightly, then trim off ends and slip off skins.
Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large heavy saucepan and sautee the onions in one layer until slightly browned. Then add chicken or vegetable stock , until it comes halfway up the onions in the pan, add salt to taste and 1 tsp sugar. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 minutes, or until tender. Uncover and boil off excess liquid, add 1 more tbsp butter if desired.