Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 10

 

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8-29-17

 

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 10

 

Large shares: Yellow doll watermelon, sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, lemon cucumber, kohlrabi, kale, basil, shishito peppers, bell peppers, eggplant

 

Small shares: Cherry tomatoes, green beans, carrots, shishito peppers, red onion, basil, cucumber, kale

 

Greens share: Chard, dandelion, green cabbage

 

Roots share: Purple potatoes, Cipollini onions, beets

 

Juicing share: 5lb carrot seconds, 5 lb beet seconds, fennel, kale, cucumbers, tomato seconds

 

Dear CSA members,

 

The heat and smoke have returned to our region this week. Many of you may have heard about the brush fire in Rochester last Tuesday that burned several hundred acres and several homes and structures. The fire was actually near one of the fields in the Grand Mound area that we are leasing. Thankfully we aren’t growing any crops there at the moment and have suffered no losses due to this burn.

 

Though I will be excited for cooler weather to return, the warm temps are making harvest for CSA pretty fun. I was surprised to find during our weekly planning that we would have watermelon and sweet corn for the large shares as well as a plethora of shishito peppers.

 

Shishito peppers are a Japanese frying pepper that is iconic to izakaya (Japanese tapas/appetizers/bar food). They are mild, and prized because they are thin, delicate and thin-skinned and thus blister and char easily in the pan. Occasionally one of the peppers may be spicy instead of mild, but there is no way to tell until you taste it. For many, this is part of the enjoyment, but you may want to taste carefully before you dig in. Usually, a small hole is poked to keep the pepper from bursting and then pan-fried whole in oil until wilted and slightly charred. Shishitos are often served as an appetizer with a dipping sauce. I think these would be great pickled as well.

 

The watermelon is a variety called Yellow Doll and has a bright lemon yellow flesh with a sweet, dense and crisp flavor and mouth-feel. This variety is good for our climate because they are small in size and mature quickly. I would store this melon in the refrigerator until ready to consume. Later in the season it looks like we will have tons of Charentais melons as well.

 

Sweet corn is best eaten asap! You can store it in the fridge but the flavor will diminish over time. This stuff looks really nice and we hope to have some for small shares next week.

 

Heirloom tomatoes for the large share this week. Again, we hope to have enough for the smalls next week. Store heirloom tomatoes out on the counter, they don’t have a huge shelf life so plan to use them up quickly.

 

Cipollini onions: The root share received these this week. These slightly flattened, disc like onions originate in the Reggio Emilia province of Italy, an area also known for “Prosciutto of Parma” ham and “Parmigiano Reggiano”. They are exceptionally sweet are great for roasting or caramelizing.

 

Thank you and have a great week,

 

Asha

 

 

 

Blistered Shishito peppers with lemon, garlic and salt: Heat a cast iron pan over med-high heat with a couple tbsp olive oil. Add a big handful of whole shishito peppers and pan roast them for a couple of minutes then add some lemon slices, a pinch of coarse sea salt and some crushed garlic. Roast the mixture until the peppers are blistered and mildly charred. Serve immediately.

 

 

Watermelon, Cucumber and Lime Salad

 

Watermelon, cut into small slices

Cucumber, sliced

Salad greens

Feta

Lime, zest and juice

Olive oil

Agave syrup

Salt and pepper

Thinnly sliced basil leaves

 

Toss watermelon slices, cucumber slices, salad greens and diced feta with lime zest, juice, olive oil, agave syrup, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Correct seasoning.

 

Watermelon Margaritas: bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water and 3 strips of orange zest to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved about 3 min. remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Place 2 cups peeled and seeded watermelon in a blender and pulse until pureed. Stir watermelon puree into a large pitcher with ¾ cup white tequila, the simple syrup and ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Place a small amount of salt or sugar on a saucer. Moisten glass rim with lime juice and press into the salt or sugar to coat the rime. Fill glasses with ice cubes and pour margarita mix over the ice. Serve with additional lime wedges.

 

Red chard and Rice: heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepot over medium heat. Add 4 slices bacon, finely chopped. Cook 2 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic and stir 1 minute. Add 1 small bunch red chard, stemmed and chopped, season with a little nutmeg, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika. When the chard is wilted add 1 cup white rice and stir 1 minute more. Add 1 ¾ cups chicken stock or water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot. Cook 15 to 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork and serve

 

Fried Squash Blossoms with Corn and Mozzarella: mix ¼ lb fresh mozzarella cut into ¼ inch dice, kernels from 1 ear fresh corn, 1 tbsp minced red onion, 1 tsp minced fresh garlic and ¼ tsp each sea salt and pepper. Gently stuff 18 zucchini or butternut squash blossoms with about 1 ½ tsp of the filling and twist ends of the petals closed. Pour canola oil into a medium, heavy pot or saucepan about 3 in deep. Heat over med-high heat until a deep fry thermometer registers 360 to 375. Put a ½ cup each buttermilk and rice flour in separate containers (loaf pans work well). One at a time dip each stuffed blossom into buttermild and let excess drip off. Dip in flour, coating lightly but evenly. Shake off excess flour and fry blossoms in small batches until golden brown, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Gently submerge blossoms with a slotted spoon to cook tops. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt, sprinkle with chives, parsley or basil and serve with lemon wedges if you like.  ( From Sunset August 2013)

 

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.

 

 

Baked Eggplant Sandwiches: Slice 2 eggplants into ½ inch thick rounds and lightly salt them. Set aside for at least 20 minutes. Mix together; 1-cup bread crumbs, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsely, and black pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set up a work station with a plate of ½ lb sliced provolone or mozzarella, a plate with the eggplant slices, a bowl of flour, a bowl of beaten eggs, and a bowl with the bread crumb mixture, and an oiled baking sheet. For each sandwich, place a slice of cheese between two slices of eggplant. Hold the sandwich firmly and coat the sides with flour. Dip the sandwich first into the eggs and then into the bread-crumbs to coat both sides. Place the finished sandwich on the baking sheet. Continue assembling the sandwiches until you have used all the eggplant slices. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. These are best served bubbly hot.

 

Roasted Tomatoes and Cipollini: Preheat oven to 375. Boil a small pot of water and blanche 1 lb whole cipollini for 10 seconds, then plunge them into cold water. Use paring knife to make a small slit in each, and slide them out of their skins and outer layer. Spread peeled onions and 1 lb chopped tomatoes in a roasting pan. Drizzle with ¼ cup olive oil and a few good pinches of coarse salt. Toss everything together until well coated and roast in oven for 45 minutes, reaching in every 15 minutes with a spatula to roll the tomatoes and onions around to ensure all sides get blistered. Just before you take the tomatoes and onions out, place 4 1-inch thick slices of country or ciabatta bread on the oven rack and let them toast lightly. You can rub the toasts with a halved garlic clove, if you like, while still hot. Use tongs to arrange the toast in one layer on a serving platter. Dump 1½ cups cooked white beans over the bread. You can also use 1 15 oz can of white beans rinsed and drained. Scrape the entire contents of the tomato- and -onion roasting pan, still hot, over the beans. Do not skimp on the juices that have collected, all of them – don’t leave any in the pan. Sprinkle the dish with a few slivered basil leaves and eat at once. Serves 4 as a small dish, 2 as a main. (From smittenkitchen.com)

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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Wobbly Cart Farm week 16

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9-29-15

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 16

Large shares: Jonagold apples, purple potatoes, red cipollini onions, garlic, arugula, beets, cherry or roma tomatoes, purple beauty bell pepper, shishito peppers, rosemary, green beans.

Small shares: Jonagold or Liberty apples, purple potatoes, red cipollini onions, beets, sweet pepper, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, romano beans or summer squash.

 

After Apple-Picking

 

By Robert Frost

 

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree

Toward heaven still,

And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill

Beside it, and there may be two or three

Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.

But I am done with apple-picking now.

Essence of winter sleep is on the night,

The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight

I got from looking through a pane of glass

I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough

And held against the world of hoary grass.

It melted, and I let it fall and break.

But I was well

Upon my way to sleep before it fell,

And I could tell

What form my dreaming was about to take.

Magnified apples appear and disappear,

Stem end and blossom end,

And every fleck of russet showing clear.

My instep arch not only keeps the ache,

It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.

I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound

Of load on load of apples coming in.

For I have had too much

Of apple-picking: I am overtired

Of the great harvest I myself desired.

There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,

Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.

For all

That struck the earth,

No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,

Went surely to the cider-apple heap

As of no worth.

One can see what will trouble

This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.

Were he not gone,

The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his

Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,

Or just some human sleep.

 

 

Dear CSA members:

Week 16 brings another busy week on the farm! We’re loving these crisp cool nights and warm gorgeous days that’s for sure. The eclipse of the full blood moon was something else on Sunday night if you got a chance to see it. The whole Wobbly Cart crew was together for the Chehalis Farmers Market Harvest dinner during the eclipse, which was pretty cool, since I believe it was a harvest moon as well!

Despite some very chilly nights, we haven’t had a substantial frost in the fields yet and so our summer crops are still giving it their last hurrah. I wanted to get tomatoes, peppers, beans and summer squash into the share at least one more time, as this time of year they could be gone literally overnight!

I spent a good amount of the weekend harvesting apples for CSA. I was lucky enough to inherit a small orchard of Jonagold apples, and a few other varieties, with the property I live on. So, every year I prune and care for the trees in the winter and harvest and sort the apples for CSA in the fall. They are ready extra early this year and haven’t been quite as prolific due to the drought. The large gold and red apples are Jonagold. It is a very crisp, sweet tart balanced apple that is excellent in flavor when ripe and fresh. The smaller red apples are Liberty which is firm but not as crisp with sweet /sharp flavors. Both are great eaten fresh, in a pie, or in a salad. Hope you enjoy! All the apples that didn’t make the cut for CSA will be pressed for cider, made into apple butter or dried for my family.

Large shares got a taste of our shishito peppers. These are a Japanese frying pepper that are often used as appetizers and snacks. I like to fix them like the below recipe, and wonder how they would be pickled like a peperoncini. This is our first year growing these and we find them to be tasty and prolific!

Cipollini onions are Italian varieties that are small and flat. They have high residual sugars that make them excellent for roasting and caramelizing. The red variety seems to be an excellent keeper and in my mind, lends itself to warming, sustaining, meals during cold weather. I find that my palette starts to shift during mid September away from sweet fruits and light salads towards nourishing fare such as root vegetables, hearty greens, cabbages and the like. It makes sense to me that when you are connected to the seasons, to a piece of land that provides your food, that your needs/tastes would shift naturally along with the changes the land undergoes throughout the year.

Have a great week,

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart.

 

 

 

Fall Salad with Apple Dressing: prepare the dressing: combine 2 small apples, peeled and chopped, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup good cider vinegar, and ½ cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until apples are translucent, 25 minutes. Puree in a blender, slowly adding 1 ½ tbsp St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Adjust with more vinegar or liqueur to taste. Chill. For the salad: toss 4 cups loosely packed fall greens (arugula, escarole, kale, frisee, lettuce) with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and ½ tsp kosher salt. Spoon dressing onto plates, divide salad among plates and top with 1 large apple that has been cut into thin wedges, 6 tbsp shelled pecans and 1 ½ oz shaved Pecorino cheese (divide amongst the plates). Serves 8

 

Apple Pie: For the crust: place 1 cup all purpose flour in a large bowl. Grate in ½ cup frozen unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt. Gradually drizzle in up to 1/3 cup ice water, and mix gently just until the dough comes together to form a ball. To much mixing will make the crust tough. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator. Heat oven to 425 degrees. For the filling: peel, core and slice into thin slices enough apples to make 6 cups. Gently stir into the sliced apples, 1/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, a dash of salt. Divide your pastry in half and roll out one half. Place in a 9 inch pie pan. Turn the filling into the pie pan. Either dot with additional butter and over with the other half of the pastry, or prepare this topping by mixing ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup cold butter, and 1 cup flour. Cover the pie with this crumble. Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in the crust, 40 to 50 minutes. You may need to cover the pie with foil to prevent excessive browning during baking.

 

Celariac and Apple Slaw: Trim, peel, and cut into 1 inch matchsticks, 1 12oz Celery root. Cut 1 large apple into matchsticks (2 cups). Combine together with 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh cider, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp dijon mustard, and 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

 

Honey Balsamic Beet Salad: place 2 lbs trimmed and scrubbed baby beets in a baking pan. Combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, and 1 tbsp olive oil; pour over the beets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender. On a platter combine ½ cups cooked quinoa, 2 cups watercress or arugula, and the beets and roasting juices. Top with chopped fresh tarragon.(from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine November 2012)

 

Caramelized Onions: Heat 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat until the butter is melted. Add 3 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Cook stirring constantly, 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and brown, about 40 minutes. Add ½ cup dry white wine or water. Stir and scrape the pan to dissolve the browned bits. Remove from heat and season well with salt, black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Fall Green Salad with Apples, Nuts, and Pain d’epice Dressing:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put ¾ cup walnut halves in a pie pan. In another pie pan, toss 2 cups cubes of rustic multigrain bread with crusts removed with 1 tbsp walnut oil. Bake walnuts and bread, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are golden and croutons are golden and crisp, 12 to 25 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop nuts. Whisk together, 3 tbsp walnut oil, 1 tsp orange zest, 1/3 cup orange juice, ½ tsp each cinnamon and ground cloves and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently with 2 qts lightly packed small lettuce leaves or pieces, 2 cups lightly packed escarole, 1 thinly sliced tart-sweet apple, the nuts and croutons. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like. (from October 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine)

 

Roasted Tomatoes and Cipollini: Preheat oven to 375. Boil a small pot of water and blanche 1 lb whole cipollini for 10 seconds, then plunge them into cold water. Use paring knife to make a small slit in each, and slide them out of their skins and outer layer. Spread peeled onions and 1 lb chopped tomatoes in a roasting pan. Drizzle with ¼ cup olive oil and a few good pinches of coarse salt. Toss everything together until well coated and roast in oven for 45 minutes, reaching in every 15 minutes with a spatula to roll the tomatoes and onions around to ensure all sides get blistered. Just before you take the tomatoes and onions out, place 4 1-inch thick slices of country or ciabatta bread on the oven rack and let them toast lightly. You can rub the toasts with a halved garlic clove, if you like, while still hot. Use tongs to arrange the toast in one layer on a serving platter. Dump 1½ cups cooked white beans over the bread. You can also use 1 15 oz can of white beans rinsed and drained. Scrape the entire contents of the tomato- and -onion roasting pan, still hot, over the beans. Do not skimp on the juices that have collected, all of them – don’t leave any in the pan. Sprinkle the dish with a few slivered basil leaves and eat at once. Serves 4 as a small dish, 2 as a main. (From

smittenkitchen.com)

 

Blistered Shishito peppers: heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook peppers, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides. Add a bit of chopped garlic, sautee for a minute more. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #7

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7-28-15

Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #7

Large shares: chard, new potatoes, salad cucumbers, purplette onion, cilantro, purple bell pepper, snow peas, red tomato, eggplant, garlic, oak leaf lettuce

Small shares: chard, carrots, new potatoes, purplette onions, Italian parsley, ½ pint sungold cherry tomatoes, garlic, shishito peppers

 

Bread and beauty grow best together. Their harmonious integration can make farming not only a business but an art; the land not only a food-factory but an instrument for self-expression, on which each can play music to his own choosing.

Aldo Leopold A Sand County Almanac

 

Dear CSA members,

The week has seemingly flown by as I find myself sitting down to write this weeks’ newsletter! We have certainly enjoyed some cooler temperatures, and crystal clear blue skies this week. The way the grasses and landscape have dried out in the drought I keep thinking this is September… The seasonal fast forward has been a perpetual problem for me this whole season with the unusual weather patterns.

A lot of fall planting got done this last week. We have been transplanting thousands of brassica starts such as cabbage, kale and kohlrabi, as well as seeding the final successions of carrots, beets, turnips and other root crops. I have also seeded a lot of raddichio and endive in the greenhouse, and will continue to seed successions of lettuce for a while yet. It has been nice to bust out all this work in the more reasonable temperatures we have been experiencing.

If you are interested in continuing your CSA share to enjoy these abundant fall harvests we have a fall CSA option available for sign up if you haven’t already done so. The fall share will begin Tuesday October 20th and last for four weeks. The large share is #115 and the small $80. The fall share is great because most of the produce is hardy and will keep for some time so you can enjoy it for several weeks after the deliveries end. Think root crops, leeks, hardy greens, and winter squash.

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 going to market 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.

Meanwhile, the summer harvests are coming on strong as the weather looks like it is going to heat up again this week. The tomato, pepper and eggplant crops are starting to fill up the back room of the cooler. As well as seemingly endless mountains of summer squash and cucumbers! Large shares will get their first tastes of cilantro this week. Normally, we would have plenty of cilantro in the early season, but we had a mix up with old, poorly germinating seed this year so the early plantings were a failure. We also have eggplant, red tomato and bell pepper for the first time.

Small shares will get Sungold cherry tomato and Shihito peppers as new items this week. Shisito peppers are a Japanese frying pepper that is iconic to izakaya (Japanese tapas/appetizers/bar food). They are mild, and prized because they are thin, delicate and thin-skinned and thus blister and char easily in the pan. Occasionally one of the peppers may be spicy instead of mild, but there is no way to tell until you taste it. For many, this is part of the enjoyment, but you may want to taste carefully before you dig in. Usually, a small hole is poked to keep the pepper from bursting and then pan fried whole in oil until wilted and slightly charred. Shisitos are often served as an appetizer with a dipping sauce. I just had some for lunch and they were delicious!

That’s all for this week, enjoy!

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

 

Blistered Shishito peppers: heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook peppers, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Eggplant Caponata: peel and cut into cubes 1 medium (1 lb) eggplant. Sprinkle generously with salt, place in a colander, and let stand for 30 to 60 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about four minutes. Add 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 1 garlic clove, minced, and cook, stirring often until onion is soft and lightly colored, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a bowl; add to the skillet 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the eggplant cubes and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the celery mixture, along with 1 ½ cups canned plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped, 12 green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, 1 ½ tsp drained capers, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp minced fresh oregano or ¼ tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with additional salt, pepper, and or vinegar if needed. Remove to a serving bowl, let cool and garnish with 2 tbsp minced parsley.

Cucumber Salad with caramelized onions and herbs: slice onions into ¼ inch thick slices (enough to yield 1 cup) and toss to separate into rings. Have a slotted spoon and double layer of paper towels ready. Heat 2 cups vegetable oil to 275 in a small, deep heavy saucepan and drop in onion rings. Cook onions, stirring often, until they turn a uniform light brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. They’ll brown faster toward the end, so be careful. Lift onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tsp onion oil for vinaigrette; let cool. For the vinaigrette: whisk together 1 tbsp each champagne and rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tp salt, and ½ tsp pepper together in a bowl until salt and vinegar dissolve. Add reserved onion oil and 1 tbsp minced onion and whisk well to blend. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice. Slice several fresh cucumbers into ¼ inch thick slices with a knife. Toss cucumbers and 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, and 1 tbsp roughly chopped red or green shiso (optional). Arrange salad on a platter and top with finely diced mild cucumber pickles and fried onions.

Moroccan Carrot Dressing: In a blender, process 2 cups carrots, chopped, 2 tomatoes, 1/3 cup flax oil, 1 peeled orange, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp black pepper until smooth and creamy

Tabbouleh: Cook 4 cups coarse bulgur or quinoa, and cool slightly. Combine bulgur or quinoa, 1 large grated carrot, 2 cups tightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and 2 tbsp dried currants. In a jar combine, 3 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 large clove roasted garlic, 1/3 cup fresh mint, minced, 1 tbsp lemon zest, and ½ tsp sea salt. Shake well to blend. Pour the dressing over the bulgur mixture and toss to thoroughly coat the grains. Taste and add more olive oil, lemon juice, mint or salt as needed.

Swiss chard with lentils and feta cheese: heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic, and 2 purplette onions chopped. Sauté until tender. Add in 1 cup brown or green lentils and stir. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 min. meanwhile, wash 1 bunch of chard and trim off the stem ends. Chop the stems into ¼ inch pieces, and the leaves into bite sized pieces. In another sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add the chard stems and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until tender, about 5 min. add the chard leaves and cook until wilted, about 2 min. stir in 4 tsp red wine vinegar and the reserved lentil mixture. Sprinkle with about ½ cup feta and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.