CSA Newsletter – Week 3
Feasibly Delicious Foods
Hello everyone, it’s the official first CSA box of summer, woo! With all this sunshine production is really picking up. Your boxes will be fuller by the week until you can hardly carry them home.
I wanted to take a moment to let you all know what my intentions are with the CSA Newsletters this season. Though my life revolves around vegetables, it certainly has not always been that way. Pretty much the only vegetable that I ate growing up was baby carrots, and the rest of my diet was processed food either from a box or from a drive through (there’s nothing quite like instant mashed potatoes, is there?). Needless to say, this city girl had no idea what she was doing when she started working at a farm!
Throughout my years with this farm, I have gotten to know and fallen in love with the vast variety of vegetables that can be grown in the Willamette Valley, most of which I had never laid eyes on let alone tasted. Many of you are experienced cooks and for you I will be sure to include some more intricate recipes that will wow your guests and offer more complex flavor combinations.
But what I intend to focus on is what I like to call feasible deliciousness. Even as a farmer, it nearly impossible to find the time to cook a meal at home these days, and so if we want to eat lots of veggies and stay healthy, the simpler the better. I want to help you all learn more about the lesser known veggies, learn easy and quick ways to make them delicious and filling, and hopefully inspire you all to love and appreciate vegetables as much as I have come to.
First and foremost, never feel like you have to follow a recipe exactly. I encourage you to eyeball measurements, replace ingredients with whatever you have on hand, and use a spice not listed if it calls to you. Always have fun, and don’t take anything too seriously. Feel free to contact me with cooking or farming questions any time! But please remember to send all logistical CSA questions to firstname.lastname@example.org , thank you!
-Laura Bennett, email@example.com
Table of Box Contents
- Beets—Sweet, earthy, and beautifully bright. If you or some of your family members are in the I-hate-beets club, look into different ways to prepare them. It’s rare that we actually don’t like something, we often just don’t like the way we’ve had it before.
- 5 lbs New Potatoes—Newly dug potatoes are very high in water content, so make sure if you’re making a crispy potato dish that you find a way to remove some of the water, either via pre-boiling, pre-baking, or by pressing with a cloth.
- Dill—A little dill goes a long way, and provides such a delicate freshness and texture to any dish.
- Spinach—Our spinach is at its prime right now; it doesn’t like the heat of summer much, so it’s just in the edges of summer that it is particularly beautiful.
- Lettuce—Various varieties
- 2 Sweet Onions—High sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing.
- 4 Cucumbers—Eat fresh like an apple or slice into salads for a nice, sweet crunch. We have two varieties coming this week, you can taste and decide which is your favorite!
- 2-3 Zucchini—Make sure when you cook zucchini to salt at the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t turn to mush!
Beet Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins
This recipe is from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden, head chef at Ava Gene’s in Portland, a wonderful restaurant that our farm sells produce too. Enjoy!
“The pistachio butter underneath the slaw is like an Asian peanut sauce, bringing a much fuller nut flavor than the pistachios could offer alone. As you eat the dish, the juices from the slaw dissolve the pistachio butter and make a crazy good sort of vinaigrette. Serves 4”
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 ¼ lb. beets; use a mix of colors if you can
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (substitute dill, since that’s what you have)
- ¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves
- ½ tsp dried chili flakes
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Pistachio butter
Combine the garlic, raisins, and vinegar in a large bowl and let sit for 1 hour.
Grate the beets on the large holes of a box grater or cut into fine julienne. Yes, your hands will get stained, but the color fades quickly.
Remove the garlic from the raisins and discard. And the beets, lemon juice, most of the parsley and mint (save the rest for finishing), and chili flakes. Season with 1.5 tsp salt and lots of black pepper and toss. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then taste—the slaw should be tart, spicy, peppery, and sweet. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then add ¼ cup olive oil. Toss and taste again.
To serve, plate and top with the slaw. Finish with reserved fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
Crispy Buttery Smashed Potatoes
-Portland Farmers Market Cookbook by Ellen Jackson
- 5-2 lbs. potatoes, unpeeled
- Salt and pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted and divided
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp finely chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, dill, etc.)
Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover them with cold water by several inches. Generously salt the water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until just before they are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Lightly coat a baking sheet with the oil. Evenly space the boiled potatoes out across the sheet and, using a small glass or a fork lightly coated with oil, gently flatten each potato by pressing down until it mashes into an oblong shape. Brush the potatoes generously with 2 Tbsp of the melted butter, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste, and bake them for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs to the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, brush the potatoes again, and bake until they are golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes more.
Simple Cucumber Salad
I make this all the time at home for munching, usually to get me through to my next big meal. This cucumber salad takes hardly five minutes to prepare, and is a wonderful snack or side dish on a hot summer day. In a large bowl, mix together the following ingredients, and add more of anything to taste.
- 3-4 Cucumbers, sliced into discs
- 1/3 bunch Dill, finely chopped
- Lemon juice to taste (I often use vinegar if I don’t have any lemons on hand.)
- Salt to taste, 2-3 pinches