Week 17 – scrumptious summer solanums

IMG_2975.JPGYes the solanums are in full force: the peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are all members of the solanum plant family.  These heat-loving crops are now producing well in the field in addition to the hoophouse, thus you are starting to see some new varieties, like the asian eggplant (“ping tung long”) and the “jimmy nardello” skinny, long, sweet italian frying peppers.  This will probably be the last week for zucchini and summer squash.  The powdery mildew has had its way a little early with those plants this year.  Also in this share are the red torpedo onions (without tops this time), a bunch of beets (gold or red), cucumbers, and a bag of mesclun/braising mix.  This mix has “golden frills” mustard, “purple rapa pop” mustard, “mizspoona” (cross between mizuna and tatsoi), and arugula.  It’s a little bit spicy but too spicy for a nice lettuce-less salad.  But you could also use them as very tender cooking greens.  Filling out the share on the herb side is a bunch of parsley.

Most of the makings of pico de gallo fresh salsa are here:  chop up very fine tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, parsley (instead of cilantro), and some hot pepper if you like.  You can add cucumber to the mix too if you want to.  Mix all together with a bit of apple cider vinegar, salt, lime/lemon juice, and black pepper.  I just do it all to taste but I’m sure there are good recipes lurking out there.

Speaking of recipes, another good solanum-heavy dish is ratatouille.  Here’s Alice Water’s ratatouille recipe from food52.com:

(http://food52.com/recipes/14155-alice-waters-ratatouille)

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, tied in a bouquet with kitchen twine + 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • pinch of dried chile flakes
  • 2 sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 medium summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Toss the eggplant cubes with a teaspoon or so of salt. Set the cubes in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Pat the eggplant dry, add to the pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Add a bit more oil if the eggplant absorbs all the oil and sticks to the bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant when done and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, pour in 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, basil bouquet, dried chile flakes, and a bit more salt.
  4. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in peppers. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in summer squash. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in tomatoes.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes longer, then stir in eggplant and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until all the vegetables are soft. Remove the bouquet of basil, pressing on it to extract all its flavors, and adjust the seasoning with salt.
  6. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and more extra virgin olive oil, to taste. Serve warm or cold.

 

Week 16 – peppers and eggplant

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In this week’s share:

- various cucumbers & summer squash/zucchini – These are all slowing way down right now, especially the squash/zucchini due to powdery mildew, which always comes in late summer.
- walla walla sweet onions
- carrots! – nice bigger ones now – though some have a bit of carrot rust fly damage which you can find as brown spots or trails – just cut them out with a knife.
- lacinato kale – first harvest off a new planting – it looks and tastes so nice right now
- various tomatoes – mostly small ones from the field plantings.  The big heirlooms in the hoophouse have slowed way down.
- sweet peppers – red and/or gold
- eggplant (asian long “Ping Tung Long” from Taiwan and/or regular medium/large “Black Beauty”) – the asian variety are great in stir fries and curries.
- cut lettuce salad mix – Some of this is a little bitter right now due to the heat, but with a nice strong dressing I didn’t even notice and hopefully you won’t either.  
Tuesday’s share got more cukes and summer squash while Thursday ended up with more eggplant and peppers – that’s just how the harvest fell out this week.
 

Well, what is going on at the farm besides harvesting for CSA?  Harvesting for storage!  We’ve pulled all the rest of the onions out of the field and they are now drying down in the greenhouse.

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After a few weeks of that they’ll be ready to trim and clean and store in a cool place.  The garlic has already been cured and now we’re getting around to cleaning it up for storage.  Here’s Della peeling the dirty outer skin off a garlic head to reveal the nice clean skin underneath.

IMG_2889.JPGOther than that I’ve been seeding salad greens for the fall and trying to stay on top of the late summer weeds.  Here’s to another week of yummy CSA produce!

-Matt, director of weed pulling

 

 

 

 

Week 15 (and 14 in retrospect…)

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My apologies for the lack of a blog post last week – everything seemed to fly by.  With the full harvest season upon us, time is the one thing I don’t have a lot of.

So the share this week has: various cucumbers, beets, celery, zucchini and summer squash, Brooks plums (from my backyard tree), basil, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers (Hungarian hot wax is the variety), garlic, collard greens, and a head of lettuce.   Last week’s share was similar, though you had carrots instead of beets, and kale instead of collards.  The Hungarian hot wax pepper is similar in spiciness to a jalapeno, and seems to me to be perfect for pickling.  The collards are from a brand new planting and thus very tender right now.  The garlic is for combining with the basil for some pesto if you like.

Here’s farm baby Ayla helping with harvest.  This was on what was supposed to be my day off but you know why they call it the ‘harvest season’ right?IMG_2864.JPG

In field notes this week, Della and I got the leeks weeded and hilled up a bit.  You can sort of see that there is soil mounded up around the base of the leek plants.  This is to help blanch the stem to create a longer tender white part of the leek.

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And last but not least, here are your recipes for the week:

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, and Basil 

(http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/peppers.html)

4 sweet peppers
1 pint cherry tomatoes
(or try using your slicing or heirloom tomatoes!)
1 medium onion or one bunch green onions

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425F and lightly oil a large shallow baking pan.

2. Halve bell peppers lengthwise and discard seeds and ribs. Arrange peppers, cut sides up, in baking pan and lightly oil cut edges and stems.

3. Dice tomatoes and chop the onion and basil. Finely chop garlic and in a bowl toss with tomatoes, onion, basil, 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Divide mixture among peppers and roast in upper third of oven until peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

 

Beet Tabbouleh

(http://www.cookforyourlife.org/recipes/beet-tabbouleh)

1 cup uncooked quinoa or couscous
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 large beets, roasted or boiled, peeled and cut into a small dice
2 celery stalks, cut into a small dice
2 green scallions, quartered through the root end and diced
2 tablespoons chopped dill
¼ cup toasted almond slices
Sea salt, to taste

1. Cook quinoa or couscous. Fluff with fork and set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix the oil and lemon juice together with salt. Add the beets, celery, scallions and dill. Toss together until well mixed.

3. Add the quinoa or couscous a little at a time until the dish is about half quinoa/couscous and half vegetables. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve.

 

Week 13 – eggplant, romano beans

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The first eggplant from the hoophouse is in today’s share (try baba ganoush recipe below!).  Also Romano beans were given out last Thursday as well as today.  They are an italian heirloom green bean: flatter, longer, and meatier than your typical green bean.  Use them as you would a regular green bean or try the saute with tomatoes below.  Lots of tomatoes and cucumbers in the share as well today.  Beets and chard, summer squash/zucchini, and cut mixed lettuce fill out week’s offerings.  Remember to use those beet greens with the chard if you want more greens to cook with.  Get that lettuce mix in the fridge as fast as you can for best results.  Also, the lettuce is not completely dry so I recommend putting a clean cotton cloth in the bag with the lettuce to help soak up some of the moisture on the (or spin them dry in a salad spinner).

Simple Baba Ganoush (http://minimalistbaker.com/simple-baba-ganoush/)

Ingredients:

1 medium or 3/4 of a large eggplant
1 large clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp Tahini
Sea salt
Optional: 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, parsley or basil, chopped
Olive oil (for roasting)
 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to high broil (or medium if you have the ability) and position a rack at the top of the oven.

2. Slice your eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander in the sink to drain any excess liquid. After 10 minutes, rinse slightly and then pat dry between two towels.

3. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 5-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the eggplant is softened and golden brown. Remove from pan, stack and wrap the rounds in foil to lock in moisture – wait 5 minutes.

4. Peel away most of the skin of the eggplant (a little is OK) and add flesh to a food processor. It should be soft and tender and the skin should come off easy.

5. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, a pinch of salt and mix until creamy. Add herbs last and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with pita and/or pita chips and veggies. Will keep covered in the fridge for several days.

 

Green Bean and Tomato Sauté (http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Green-Beans-and-Tomatoes)

Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 whole tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled and crushed
2 lb. green beans, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until broken down and soft.

3. Add green beans and ½ cup water; cover pan with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft, about 8 minutes.

4. Remove from heat; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Week 12 – fingerlings, walla wallas, chicory…

20140806-102312-37392041.jpgKale is back in action in the share this week after a hiatus to recharge a bit.  The tomato harvest is larger this week, making it really feel like summer on the farm now.  Monday’s share had a head of lettuce in it.  Thursday will not, but may have some cut lettuce mix instead.  Cucumbers and summer squash/zucchini keep trucking along.  Carrots are back this week too.  Some new items this week: walla walla onions with tops, wild chicory greens, and fingerling potatoes.  The walla walla’s as you probably know are sweet onions and their tops can be used like scallions.  The chicory greens are similar to dandelion greens if you’ve had those.  They are a bitter salad green (nice with citrus or nuts and cheese), or can be cooked (see below for an idea).  Some of you may know that chicory root can be dried and ground for use as a coffee substitute, but did you know you can eat the tops?  These bitter greens are related to escarole, radicchio, and frisee, and are super good for your digestion.  The fingerling potatoes are the variety “Laratte” (same as last year) and I think they are about the tastiest potato I’ve ever had.  Let me know what you think of them.  Try cutting into thin slices, pan frying with oil and salt and eating with a few fried eggs for breakfast.  That’s what I did with them this morning and it was incredible.  Recipes recipes recipes!

braised chicory (from http://www.culinate.com/recipes/collections/Contributors/margarett_waterbury/braised_chicory)

Ingredients

1 bunch chicory or other leafy green (dandelion greens, escarole, kale, chard, etc.)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly or minced
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt

Steps

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while you wash and coarsely chop the chicory into ribbons. When the water boils, add the chicory and cook for a very short time, 1 to 3 minutes depending on the age and sturdiness of the green. When it is tender but not mushy, drain in a colander and let the greens cool enough to handle safely, then squeeze out all the water you can. Set them aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile flakes to the oil and cook until fragrant, just a minute or so. Add the greens and turn up the heat to medium-high. (The idea is to quickly raise the temperature of the pan so as to actually sauté the greens, rather than slowly steam them as the pan returns to temperature after their addition.) Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, again depending on the texture of your chosen green, until the greens are tender and just beginning to crisp or brown on a few edges. Add the juice of one lemon, stir again, and remove from heat. I like these with probably too much salt; trust your own judgment.

Baked Squash Fries (http://againstallgrain.com/2011/11/05/baked-squash-fries-with-marinara-sauce/)

Ingredients:
1 zucchini (cut into matchsticks)
1 yellow squash (cut into matchsticks)
2 eggs whisked
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
⅓ cup almond flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

2. Mix salt, pepper, almond flour, and Parmesan in a shallow bowl.

3. Put the flaxseed slurry in a separate shallow bowl.

4. Dip each squash stick in the slurry, then lightly shake off the excess. Transfer to the almond flour mixture bowl and turn until lightly coated.

5. Place the squash fries on prepared cookie sheet, then drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the fries over and bake another 10 minutes. The fries should be golden brown.

 

Kale Tabbouleh (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2852682/kale-tabbouleh)

Ingredients:
    11/2 cups bulgar wheat
    3 cups kale
    1 bunch mint (roughly chopped)
    1 bunch spring onions (sliced) [NOTE: you can use the walla walla tops instead]
    1/2 cucumber (diced)
    4 tomatoes (deseeded and chopped)
    1 pinch ground cinnamon
    1 pinch ground allspice
    6 tbsps olive oil
    1/2 lemon
    2/3 cup feta (crumbled)
    4 lettuce (to serve)

 

Directions:

1. Tip the bulgar wheat into a heatproof bowl and just cover with boiling water, then cover with cling film and set aside for 10-15 mins or until tender

2. Put the kale in a food processor and pulse to finely chop

3. Stir the kale, mint, spring onions, cucumber and tomatoes into the bulgar wheat

4. Season with the cinnamon and allspice, then dress with the olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Scatter over the lemon zest and feta. Scoop into lettuce leaves and serve.

Week 11 – toe-maters, red torpedo onions… oh my

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Cucumbers galore this week!  Summer squash continue as well.  The newbies this week are tomatoes and red torpedo onions.  Chard is back along with beets.  Basil needed to get chopped so you got a long big bunch, along with a head of fresh garlic for those who want to pesto it up.  Two heads of lettuce fill the salad bowl this week.

The red torpedo onions are great for any red onion task you may ask of them, as well as grilling.  Their tops are fine to use as well.  Aren’t they pretty?  I’ve realized that the fresh garlic is less potent than cured garlic, so use more than you would normally use.  The basil has some tough stems and flowers so you’ll need to go through it to get the good tender leaves off.  The tomatoes are coming out of the hoophouse right now.  There is the slicer “New Girl” which are the regular red round ones, and then three heirlooms — “Black Krim” is pink/green/purple, “Vintage Wine” is red and yellow striped, and “Old German” is yellow/orange/red.  So far I’m pretty happy with all of their flavors.  You may notice that I’m harvesting some of them a little on the firm side.  This is so that they can travel from the harvest bin into your bag and back home with you without disintegrating into a mushy mess.  If your tomato is a bit firm and you want it fully fully ripe, just leave it on the counter for a day or two and it will get there.  But leave it too long and it will start melting and turn into a fruit fly feast so watch out.  Tomatoes keep their flavor better when kept at room temperature instead of the fridge.  But if they are getting past their expiration date or you want them to last for a while, I’d put em in the fridge anyway.  It’s an exciting time of year when tomatoes start coming on!  Caprese salad and bruschetta time!

Here’s great way to get your produce home…20140729-225447-82487677.jpg

Some of you may be wondering why you’re getting cucumbers and zucchini/squash in every share now.  I have an answer for you:  they have to be picked at least 2-3x/week in order for them to keep producing well.  And yes they do continue throughout the summer.  I try to vary the contents of each week’s share as much as possible so you don’t get sick of things, but some crops such as the cucumbers and summer squash must be picked!  If I get a big restaurant order of either I may leave them out here and there, but in general, you can expect to be receiving at least some each week through September or so.  Della has found some more recipes to help you use them at the bottom of this blog post.

What goodies are coming down the pipe you ask?  Well, let’s see here… romano beans, more tomatoes, more onions, fingerling potatoes, and eggplant are probably on tap for next week.  Celery will probably make another appearance fairly soon as well.

What else is going on at the farm?  Garlic harvesting is underway.  We pull out the bulbs with stalks attached and have laid them out to dry on screens in the shade as you see here.  If rain threatens they will be covered or moved inside.  After about 2 weeks they will be fully cured and ready for cleaning and storage.20140729-225449-82489722.jpg

On to the recipes for this week!:

Vibrant Beet Hummus

http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/02/vibrant-beet-hummus/

Ingredients:
4 medium beets, cooked, peeled, and cubed

2 tablespoons sesame tahini
5 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 large pinch sea salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

 Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

 

Tuscan Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash

http://food52.com/recipes/265-tuscan-grilled-zucchini-summer-squash

Ingredients:

  2 
zucchini, cut into 1 inch cubes
  3
 summer squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2 
red onions
  5
 garlic cloves, minced
  4 
sprigs rosemary, chopped
  1
 sprig oregano, chopped
  ½ 
tablespoon crushed red chile flakes
  3 
lemons
  1/2
 cup red wine vinegar
  2
 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  Salt & pepper to taste
Sturdy skewers, soaked in hot water for an hour if wooden

 Directions:

1. Make Marinade: Combine garlic, herbs, chile flake, lemon juce and zest, and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in oil.

2. Pour marinade over zucchini and allow to marinate for at least 30 min, preferably for a few hours

3. Preheat grill to high. Remove zucchini and squash from marinade and skewer.

4. Cut unpeeled onions in half and place on grill, turning occasionally. Allow to char on outside. Remove and place into a bowl, covered with plastic wrap to steam.

5. Grill skewers until tender, 5-6 minutes total, turning occasionally.

6. Peel and slice onions. Pull zucchini and squash off skewers, toss with onion, season with salt and pepper. Serve.

 

Greek Salad

Cucumber
Tomatoes
Red Onion
Green Pepper
Feta Cheese
Kalamata Olives

Combine ingredients, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, then salt & pepper to taste. For a greener salad add some fresh lettuce or basil!

 

Week 10 – spuds

We finally took a picture of the darn share this week (photo credit Della!):20140722-124752-46072462.jpgYou’ve got green onions, potatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, zucchini and yellow summer squash, either Boothby’s Blonde or Diva slicing cucumbers, green beans, White Russian kale, and a head of lettuce.

The spuds are the new exciting addition this week.  These are ‘new potatoes’ meaning that their skins have not hardened or cured yet, so they fall off easily and won’t store for too long like cured taters.  So use them fairly quickly.  Ideal storage is in a paper bag in a cool (not cold) place like a basement.  Potatoes kept in the fridge convert their starches to sugar more quickly, which affects their flavor, texture, and cooking….  though if you have no other cool place, the fridge will do.  These spuds are the variety “Carola” — with sweet yellow flesh good for baking and frying.  They are similar to Yukon Gold.  Here is a shot of the potato beds I dug for you yesterday with the broadfork.  Della and Michael are harvesting kale in the background…20140722-124754-46074483.jpgAll right and now for some recipes, thanks to Della again!

Kohlrabi Carrot Fritters with Avocado Cream Sauce

From: http://www.acouplecooks.com/2013/01/kohrabi-fritters-with-avocado/

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)

* Adding one of your many zucchinis to these might be tasty too!

What To Do

  1. Cut the leaves off of the kohlrabi, and peel the bulb. Peel the carrot. Shred the vegetables in a food processor (quick and easy!) or using a grater (slow method). Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove moisture, then add to a bowl with 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and mix to combine.
  2. Place ½ cup oil in a large skillet (enough for ¼-inch depth). Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place balls 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.
  3. In a small bowl, mix ½ avocado, ¼ cup plain yogurt, juice from ½ lemon, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to make the sauce (or blend together in a food processor).
  4. Serve fritters with avocado cream sauce and sliced green onions, if desired.

 

Kale and Potato Gratin

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-kale-and-potato-gratin-63094

makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds potatoes

1 bunch kale
1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 /2 teaspoon pepper

Between 1/3 and 2/3 cup bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

OR 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as thyme or sage

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Get a pot of water boiling large enough to accommodate the potatoes. Also prepare an ice bath.

2. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes 1/4-inch-thick. Set aside. Remove and discard the spines from the kale then chop the remaining leaves in 1/2-inch-thick ribbons by stacking the leaves and slicing in the direction of the veins. This doesn’t need to be exact, as long as you end up with a pile of roughly 1/2-inch-thick shreds of kale.

3. When the water is boiling, add a dash of salt and gently drop in the potatoes, cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes, until tender, but not cooked through. Drain and plunge into the ice bath. Drain again and dump onto a dishtowel and blot.

4. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the kale and rub the olive oil mixture aggressively into the leaves. Layer the kale and potatoes alternately with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a 9″x12″ rectangular casserole or glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, until top is crispy.