Large shares: carrots, red potatoes, red onions, summer squash, Italian parsley, beets, cauliflower, tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic
Small shares: carrots, red onion, summer squash, Italian parsley, cauliflower, 1/2 pint sungolds and 1 heirloom tomato, or 1 pint heirloom tomatoes, arugula
Dear CSA members,
The final week of August already! As I have iterated in the last couple of weeks – the bounty of the harvest season is here. We are starting to have mature sweet and hot peppers as well as more quantities of eggplant and tomatoes. We eagerly await the arrival of sweet corn and watermelons in the next couple of weeks to come. We are a little later on those crops this year as there were early on problems with mice eating the seeds as well as cooler overall temperatures.
Fruit trees around the farm are loaded with apples, pears, grapes and plums in an amazing way that I can’t say I have seen before. Trying to imagine attempting to process it all makes my head spin! It seems every year I wait non-chalantly until the excitement to preserve sets in, and then I cant seem to stop myself! Interestingly, my canning and preserving fervor seems to set in just as my kids head back to school and I have a little more free space in my brain.
Fall is certianly in the air and we have gorgeous cauliflower and broccoli again. Last year we had very little of either of these crops with the excessive hot and dry conditions so we are glad to have them back in abundance.
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.
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.
Hopefully, small shares will get sweet pepper and eggplant next week!
Have a great week,
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.
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
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.
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).