Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 14

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9-26-17

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 17

Large share: beets, carrots, cipollini onions, garlic, yellow finn potatoes, lettuce, radicchio, sweet peppers, sweet corn, rosemary, heirloom tomatoes, bell pepper

Small share: beets, carrots, cipollini onions, garlic, yellow finn potatoes, lettuce, bell pepper, rosemary, heirloom tomatoes

Greens share: lettuce, lacinato rainbow kale, chard

Roots share: parsnips, red carrots, shallots

Dear CSA members,

This is going to be a quick letter this week. Our big potato harvest is in full swing on this gorgeous fall day! Joseph is digging the rows with the potato digger attached to the tractor and the crew is out picking them up and bagging them. We will place them in temperature-controlled storage for the rest of the year so they won’t rot or start sprouting again. Last week we harvested all 6 tons of our winter squash and placed it in storage at our big barn!

This is likely to be our last round of heirloom tomatoes for the year. Large shares got sweet corn, and smalls should get it next week! New this week we have sweet peppers, cipollini onions, radicchio, and parsnips for the roots share

Radicchio: This hardy winter green is in the chicory family, it has a bitter taste that mellows with the onset of cold weather and also when you grill or roast it. Raddichio is an excellent addition to salads particularly when paired with cheese, fruits and toasted nuts. I liked this article from the New York Times  http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/21/garden/radicchio-tasty-but-so-misunderstood.html?pagewanted=all

Cipollini onions:  Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee, this is a smaller, flat, pale onion. The flesh is a slight yellowish color and the skins are thin and papery. The color of the skin ranges from pale yellow to the light brown color of Spanish onions. These are sweeter onions, having more residual sugar than garden-variety white or yellow onions, but not as much as shallots.

The advantage to cipollinis is that they are small and flat and the shape lends them well to roasting. This combined with their sweetness makes for a lovely addition to recipes where you might want to use whole caramelized onions.

Parsnips: parsnips are a root vegetable member of the carrot and parsley family that has been eaten in Europe for centuries. These sweet white roots are excellent served mashed, baked, boiled, roasted, made into fries, and cooked into soups and stews. You can store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for quite some time to come if desired. We plant parsnips very early in the spring in order to have them ready for harvest when the cold weather sets in as they sweeten up with the cold and frosty weather.

Have a great week,

Asha

Quick Pickled Beets: Combine 4 medium beets, scrubbed, trimmed, halved, and cut into ¼ inch slices. 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced. ¾ cup apple juice or water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, and a pinch of sea salt in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid into place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat by running cold water over the cooker in your sink. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. To serve, lift the beets out of the liquid with a slotted spoon. Serve warm or chilled. (from Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass).

Grilled Radicchio: heat grill to high heat. Slice your radicchio vertically, and discard any bruised leaves. Brush the greens with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with good sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Turn grill down to med-low. Place the greens on the grill and cook turning every 1 to 2 minutes until the leaves turn a rich crusty brown on both sides. 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the greens into 4 to 6 servings and serve warm or at room temperature with additional vinaigrette.

Radicchio salad with pear, goat cheese and hazelnuts: In a large bowl whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar and season with salt and pepper. Tear up about 1 pound radicchio into bite sized pieces, add 1/3 cup blanched and toasted hazelnuts (almond and walnuts would work too) chopped. Serve salad topped with 1-cup goat cheese and diced pear.

Parmesan Potato Gratin: preheat oven to 325. Brush the bottom of a 3 quart baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil; set aside. Shave 4 cups parmesan cheese into thin strips; set aside. In a small bowl combine 4 slices of crisp cooked and crumbled bacon, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives. In the prepared baking dish place 2 lbs peeled and finely sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with ½ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, half the bacon mixture and ½ tbsp snipped fresh rosemary and ½ tbsp snipped fresh thyme. Top with half the parmesan (2 cups). Dot with 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Repeat layers using 2 more lbs potatoes, and additional fresh herbs, and 2 additional tbsp butter. In a small bowl whisk together ¾ cup whole milk, ¾ cup heavy cream, and 3 tbsp all purpose flour; pour evenly over potatoes. Bake, covered, for 1 ½ hours. Increase temperature to 400. Bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown.

Pepper, Cucumber, and Chickpea salad: Toast 2 tsp cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour from pan into a large bowl. Stir in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, zest from one large lemon, 1tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp kosher sea salt, and black pepper to taste. Seed 1 lb bell peppers and or sweet thin skinned frying peppers and cut into ¼ inch rounds. Slice 4oz of peeled cucumber into ¼ inch rounds and cut in half again if large. Add peppers, cucumbers, and 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas to the salad dressing and toss to blend well. Let stand about 1 hour, then stir in 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley. ( from Sunset Magazine September 2017 issue)

Grilled pepper and herb relish: Heat grill to medium-high. Grill 1 ½ lbs bell, sweet frying or pimento peppers, covered and turning occasionally, until softened and lightly charred, 7 to 12 minutes, transferring to a medium bowl as done. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Pull skins off the peppers, pull off stems and swipe out seed with your hand, working in a strainer over a bowl to catch juices. Finely chop peppers, then return to the bowl with the juices. Stir in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp sherry or wine vinegar, and 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh marjoram, oregano, or basil leaves. Smear this spread over bread with goat cheese, as a topping for grilled fish, chicken or steak; even pasta sauce. (from Sunset Magazine September 2017 issue)

Corn Chowder with Wild Rice: remove the kernels from 4 ears fresh sweet corn, reserve. In a stock pot over medium heat, combine the halved cobs of the corn and 7 cups of water, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove cobs with tongs and discard; reserve stock. In a stockpot over medium heat, cook 6 slices diced thick cut bacon, stirring often, until cooked through but not crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Add 1 peeled and diced large carrot, 1 large red onion, diced. And 3 tbsp butter. Season with ½ tsp salt and cook until carrot and onion soften, about 15 minutes. Add 4 minced cloves of garlic and 2 tsp fresh minced rosemary, and cook for 1 minute. Add corn kernels, 5 cups of reserved corn stock, ¼ tsp pepper,  and 1 tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Transfer half a cup of soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a fine mesh sieve, transfer pureed soup back into stock pot. Stir in 3 cups cooked wild rice and reserved bacon into soup. Serve immediately.

Kale Caesar Salad: Preheat oven to 300. For croutons, mince 2 garlic cloves, in a medium saucepan warm ¼ cup olive oil and the minced garlic over low heat; remove. Add 4 cups bread cubed into 1 inch pieces. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Stir to coat. Spread bread pieces in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, stirring once. Cool completely. Meanwhile, for the dressing, in a blender combine 4 cloves garlic, ½ cup olive oil, 6 anchovy filets, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, and 2 egg yolks. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove stems from 3 large bunches of lacinato kale and thinly slice the leaves. Add the dressing, and using your hands work the dressing into the kale. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. To serve, sprinkle with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese and top with croutons.

Fall Potato Salad: Toss 2 lbs cubed potatoes with salt and olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Combine with various fall vegetables of your choice; onion, shallot, garlic, carrots, roasted winter squash,celariac or parsnips for example. Toss with fresh tomato wedges, basil, thyme or other herbs of your choice. Dress with ¼ cup olive oil whipped with 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.

 

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Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 13

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Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 13

9-19-17

Large shares: Charentais melon, romaine lettuce, summer squash, carrots, mixed fingerling potatoes, Romano beans, red onions, garlic, basil, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers  

Small shares: Charentais melon, Red Russian kale, cucumber,green beans, eggplant, red onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, heirloom tomatoes  

Greens share: Daikon radish bunch, kale, mustard greens  

Roots share: beets, carrots, Yellow Finn potatoes  

Juicing share: carrots seconds, beet seconds, tomato seconds, fennel, perpetual spinach, cucumbers

Dear CSA members,

We are really taking a turn towards fall this week! It’s finally raining again and we even had a very light frost last Thursday. Weather like this wreaks havoc on our tomatoes, melons, and peppers but will start to bring out the sweetness in the root crops and hardier greens. I’m still hoping to see more fully colored sweet peppers before we lose them to a frost! With our late start to the planting this year it seems we are running up against the clock to ripen peppers!

We’re loading you up with heirloom tomatoes again this week. Just by the lateness of the season and weather factors these tomatoes may not hold as long. It’s the time of the year to savor these while we still can. This is likely the last week to order tomato 2nds for delivery with your CSA box. web store Despite any cultural practices we may implement, eventually all our tomato vines face the dreaded late blight.

Late blight of potatoes and tomatoes, the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the mid-nineteenth century, is caused by the fungus-like oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. It can infect and destroy the leaves, stems, fruits, and tubers of potato and tomato plants. Before the disease appeared in Ireland it caused a devastating epidemic in the early 1840s in the northeastern United States.  

P. infestans was probably introduced to the United States from central Mexico, which is its center of origin. After appearing in North America and Europe during the 1840s, the disease spread throughout most of the rest of the world during subsequent decades and had a worldwide distribution by the beginning of the twentieth century.

Late blight is favored during moderate (60 degree) wet weather and the spores can travel on the wind for several miles. It reproduces rapidly and can completely devastate potato and tomato crops relatively quickly if conditions are right. It’s always sad to see a crop that has been tended for months mercilessly and quickly taken down by disease. It is one of the difficult inevitabilities of farming.

Any small black specks you may see on fruit are likely the aforementioned late blight. The flavor of the tomato won’t be compromised at this point, I would just prioritize the use of these tomatoes.

Later this week we plan to harvest all our winter squash and potatoes and get them into storage. We’re talking about several tons of each! Winter squash and potato harvest is kind of a fun event where everyone works together to get a big job done. It can be hard work but satisfying once complete to have all this great food harvested for the fall and winter.

New this week:

Charentais Melon: 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 or golden with faint ribs. Sweet, juicy, orange flesh with a heavenly fragrance. Store dry on the countertop until ready to eat, they don’t hold for long and so asap is best. . Small cracks are ok and just represent true ripeness. These are heirlooms that have been bred for flavor and not convenient pack ability for grocery stores.

Fingerling potatoes:   Fingerlings are potato varieties that naturally grow long and narrow, they often have a firm, waxy texture and a rich, distinctive flavor.

Thank you and have a great week,

Asha

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

Melon smoothie:     1 (1-1/4 pound) Charentais melon 1-cup low fat vanilla yogurt 1 teaspoon lemon juice ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon or nutmeg) Peel and seed melon. Chop into large chunks. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (don’t freeze completely). Place the yogurt in a blender. Place the chilled melon chunks on top of the yogurt. Add lemon juice and cardamom. Blend until frothy. Chill until ready to serve.

Spicy Cantaloupe Salad adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat   1 medium and very ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into strips 2 limes, zested and juiced 1-2 tablespoons sugar 2 drops Asian fish sauce Dash of cayenne pepper, or 2 dashes if you’re serious Salt and pepper to taste. Put everything in a bowl. Stir! Refrigerate for an hour or so to let the flavors meld.

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 temperature garnished with slivered toasted almonds. From Better Homes and Gardens August 2010 issue.  

Sautéed Daikon Greens with Onion, Garlic and Lemon 2 tsp sesame oil 1/2 onion, cut in thin half-moons pinch of sea salt 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped small 3 bunches daikon greens (1 bunch is the amount from 1 radish), washed and chopped a few slices of fresh lemon 1.  Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the oil. Add the onion and sea salt as soon as a little piece gently sizzles in the oil. Sauté, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until onion starts getting translucent.   2.  Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. 3.  Add the daikon greens and stir until the greens get coated with the oil and onions. Add a Tbsp or two of water. Cover and let cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. 4.  Remove from heat. Add squeezes of lemon juice when serving.

Parmesan Potato Gratin: preheat oven to 325. Brush the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil; set aside. Shave 4 cups Parmesan cheese into thin strips; set aside. In a small bowl combine 4 slices of crisp cooked and crumbled bacon, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives. In the prepared baking dish place 2 lbs peeled and finely sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with ½ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, half the bacon mixture and ½ tbsp snipped fresh rosemary and ½ tbsp snipped fresh thyme. Top with half the parmesan (2 cups). Dot with 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Repeat layers using 2 more lbs potatoes, and additional fresh herbs, and 2 additional tbsp butter. In a small bowl whisk together ¾ cup whole milk, ¾ cup heavy cream, and 3 tbsp all-purpose flour; pour evenly over potatoes. Bake, covered, for 1-½ hours. Increase temperature to 400. Bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown.

Holiday Kale Salad: Preheat oven to 375. Line a 15x10x1 inch baking pan with foil or parchment. Place 2 cups fresh cranberries and 4 to 5 cloves unpeeled garlic cloves on a pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil; sprinkle with ¼ tsp , each salt and ground black pepper. Roast, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until garlic is browned at the edges and wrinkled. Cool slightly. Remove garlic peels; finely chop garlic cloves. For dressing, in a screw top jar combine garlic, remaining 3 tbsp olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard, and 2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel. Cover and shake well. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. In a large bowl combine cranberries, 4 cups chopped kale, 2 cups cooked wild rice, 1 small bulb fennel, cored and shaved into thin wedges, 1 cup chopped walnuts, ½ thinly sliced red pepper, and ½ thinly sliced onion. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Makes 9 cups (about 12 servings).

Ginger, Carrot, Daikon radish salad: Use a mandoline shredder to shred 1 lb daikon radish and 2 large carrots into 4 cups total. Mix together 1 clove shredded garlic and 1 tbsp shredded ginger with the grated vegetables in a medium size bowl. Meanwhile, whisk together 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp rice vinegar and 1/2 tsp Sriracha or chili sauce or diced Czech black pepper. Toss the dressing with the salad and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Spanish omelet: heat ½ cup olive oil in a 8 to 10 inch skillet. Add 1 cup peeled thinly sliced potatoes. Turn them constantly until well coated with the oil. Reduce the heat and turn them occasionally, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat in a large heavy skillet: 2 tbsp olive oil, add and cook about 5 minutes ½ cup thinly sliced onion and ½ cup julienned strips bell pepper. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 1/3 cup chopped peeled , seeded, and drained tomato, and salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to cook about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes to the onion mixture and keep hot. Beat 8 eggs with a fork, add ½ tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper. Melt 1 tbsp butter in an 8 to 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. For each omelet pour in ½ cup of the egg mixture. Add about 2 tbsp of the vegetable filling for each one. Also top each omelet with 2 additonal tbsp of the vegetable filling. Serves 4.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #13

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9-8-15

 

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #13

Large shares: Sweet corn, summer squash, fingerling potatoes, Walla Walla onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi, cucumbers, Italian parsley, carrots, lettuce

Small shares: Charentais melon, carrots, sweet or bell pepper, cherry, heirloom or roma tomatoes, garlic, lettuce, lemon cucumbers

 

Dear CSA members,

I was a little surprised this morning at just how dark and cold it was when I got ready to head down to the barn for CSA. Fall is most certainly in the air! We have a nice selection of our late summer crops this week, but look for a transition to occur in the next couple of weeks. We will be moving away from cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, and on to broccoli, cauliflower and leeks!

Harvest of the peak summer crops has dropped off dramatically with the rain, clouds, shortening days, and cold nights. I for one am happy to have the hot dusty summer behind us. While I will miss the corn, tomatoes and melons a bit, I am certainly a big fan of comfortable working temperatures and all those hearty fall veggies! . Our late plantings of kale, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are looking great with the extra influx of moisture as well as the reduced pressure from insect pests that the cooler weather brings. It is encouraging to see that we have so much more great produce out in the fields to carry us through the fall and even into the winter.

We are thinking now about preparing ground for garlic planting, cover-cropping bare spots in the field, and the big winter squash and potato harvests that will be right around the corner. We must harvest these crops and get them into storage before we have any major cold snaps, or prolonged wet periods that will turn the ground into soup and rot the crop.

Have a great week,

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

 

Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw

Serves 4-6

1 large kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated

1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 red onion, grated

4 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Combine the kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, onion, cilantro, and raisins (if using) in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the dressing over the slaw, and mix until fully coated. Chill for several hours before serving.

 

Melon smoothie:

  1 (1-1/4 pound) Charentais melon

1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon or nutmeg)

Peel and seed melon. Chop into large chunks. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (don’t freeze completely). Place the yogurt in a blender. Place the chilled melon chunks on top of the yogurt. Add lemon juice and cardamom.Blend until frothy. Chill until ready to serve.

 

Spicy Cantaloupe Salad adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper From: http://two-kitchens.blogspot.com/2009/05/spicy-cantaloupe-salad.html

1 medium and very ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into strips 2 limes, zested and juiced 1-2 tablespoons sugar 2 drops Asian fish sauce Dash of cayenne pepper, or 2 dashes if you’re serious
Salt and pepper to taste. Put everything in a bowl. Stir! Refrigerate for an hour or so to let the flavors meld.

 

Kolhrabi Carrot Fritters with Avocado Cream Sauce

by: a Couple Cooks

Serves: 8 fritters

What You Need

  • 2 kohlrabi
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil (enough for ¼-inch depth in a large skillet)
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Green onions (for garnish)

 

Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi and peel the bulb. Peel 1 carrot. Shred the vegetables in a food processor, or by hand using a grater. Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove moisture, then add to a medium bowl with 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Mix to combine.

Place ½ cup oil in a large skillet (enough for ¼-inch depth). Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil. Fry on one side until browned, then fry on the other side. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.

In a small bowl, mix ½ avocado, ¼ cup plain yogurt, juice from ½ lemon, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to make the avocado cream (or blend the ingredients together in a food processor). Serve fritters with avocado cream and sliced green onions.

These fritters are best eaten warm the day of making; they don’t save well. Like anything made with avocado, the avocado cream sauce will become brown after exposure to air. Make sure to cover the surface with plastic wrap when storing.

 

 

 

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #12

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9-1-15

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

of cheer.

 

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

 

Pistou:

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

3 garlic cloves

sea salt

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.

 

Pickled Cabbage:

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.