CSA 2017 – Week 7: “Don’t Spoil Them Rotten”

CSA 2017 – Week 7


“Don’t Spoil Them Rotten”

Even I am guilty of just tossing a bunch of beets in my fridge completely unprotected, only to find the greens wilted and roots shriveled the next day. It’s a fast-paced world we live in, so hopefully the following excerpt from The CSA Cookbook will help everyone eat more of the food that they’re bringing home.

“Did you know that vegetables are composed of primarily water? Even something as solid as zucchini is made up of 95% water, and white potatoes—which have the lowest water content—are still 79%. When a vegetable is pulled out of the soil or picked from a plant, depriving it of precious water, the cell walls start to lose moisture and eventually collapse, causing wilting.

The key to preventing vegetables from going limp is to create a breathable barrier between the moist vegetables and the dry air of your fridge; that means creating an environment that ‘s airy and damp, but not stifling and wet. Plastic bags and kitchen towels work wonders for this; I like to reuse produce bags and repurpose clean rags, as they are thrifty, take up little space, and can be tucked into any available nook in the fridge. I tend to store all my vegetables this way on the shelves, where I can see them (forgetting what you have is often the first cause of wilted produce).

If you are anti-plastic, you can also roll up your vegetables in flower sack towels or linen tea towels before storing them in your crisper drawers. In general, keep vegetables and fruits in separate drawers, and keep leafy greens in their own drawer if you can. The tender greens are most susceptible to wilting if kept in close proximity to ethylene-emitting produce.

A good rule of thumb for determining how to store a vegetable is to visit the produce section of a supermarket. Vegetables that are kept chilled and damp with overhead misters need cold and humidity. Vegetables that are kept dry in the middle of the produce section thrive in the same environment as your kitchen.”

-Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Fresh Shallots—Shallots are a cross between garlic and onions, which you can see from the way they often bulb up in twos or threes. Their flavor is a perfect balance, much stronger than onion, yet not tricky to peel like garlic. I use them in everything!
  • Gold Beets—Gold beets are lovely because they have a much milder beet flavor with the extra added bonus of not turning everything red in your dish.
  • Purple Haze Carrots—Absolutely gorgeous and delicious sliced lengthwise and roasted.
  • Radicchio—Radicchio is perfect for cutting in half lengthwise and grilling for a hot salad. Try balancing out the bitterness with other ingredients, like vinegar, garlic, or cheese.
  • Green Bell Pepper—I recently thinly sliced little stars of green bell pepper fried in a cornmeal flour, and it was AMAZING.
  • Mint—Mojitos!!! Or, try out adding mint into your everyday salads and beverages.
  • Sweet OnionsHigh sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing, and they’re great roughly chopped in Pico de Gallo.
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • New Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

Recipes

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Perfect Crisp Roasted Potatoes

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, by Francisco J. Robert. “After weeks of testing, we discovered the secrets to the crispiest, creamiest roasted potatoes: the right spud, the right shape, and—surprisingly—a not-so-delicate touch.”

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • Cold Water
  • 5 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

Roast

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 450F. 

  2. Place potatoes and 1 Tbsp salt in dutch oven and add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat. 

  3. Reduce heat and gently simmer until exteriors of potatoes have softened but centers offer resistance when pierced with paring knife, about five minutes. Drain potatoes well and transfer to large bowl. 

  4. Drizzle potatoes with 2 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Using rubber spatula, toss to combine. Drizzle with another 2 Tbsp oil and ½ tsp salt. Continue to toss until exteriors of potato slices are coated with starchy pate, 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp oil oven surface. Carefully transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer (skin side up if end piece). Bake until bottoms of potatoes are golden grown and crisp, 15-25 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes.

  6. Remove baking sheet from oven and, using spatula and tongs, loosen potatoes from pan carefully flipping each slice. Continue to roast until second side is golden and crisp, 10-20 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed to ensure that potatoes brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Perfect Potato Principles

Disks, Not Chunks—half-inch rounds require only one flip, making it far easier to ensure that each side gets equal time face-down in the pan.

Parcook—Simmering the potatoes brings the starch to the surface, jump-starting the crisping process. The potatoes should be just under-cooked when they are removed from the boiling water to ensure that they don’t overcook while baking.

Preheat—A hot, rimmed baking sheet gives the potatoes a head start when placed in the oven, a step that guarantees crispier results.

Toss Vigorously—Roughing up the parboiled potatoes with salt and oil damages the surface cells, which speeds up evaporation. This creates a layer of fluffy potato goodness that keeps the outside crispy and the inside creamy.

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Shaved Raw Beet Salad w/ Warm Pecan Dressing

Adapted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 2 gold beets, thinly sliced or matchsticks
  • 2 purple carrots, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 2 cups beet greens, thinly sliced
  • feta cheese, crumbled for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, combine the oil, shallot, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar and honey until well blended, then add the pecans, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and keep warm. 

  2. In a large serving bowl, toss the beets and beet greens with the warm dressing. Serve with a sprinkle of feta on top.


Recipe Notes

*Beet greens are right in between chard and spinach and should always be enjoyed when you have them! They’re great on sandwiches too.

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Chicory Greens with Cheesy Pasta

Here's hat to do if you want to get kids on board w/ chicory greens—pair them with cheesy pasta!

Because I grew up on boxed pastas and have only found a love for vegetables in the past five years, I used to make some pretty wacky dishes during my transition to farming. Those who love veggies may think that dish is a disgrace to the vegetables in it, and those who don’t know vegetables well yet tend to be put off by the veggies that are in it. So if you happen to be in a middle ground like I was, try out sautéing your chicory greens and mixing it in with cheesy pasta! It’s a great way to fall for chicories.

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • radicchio
  • garlic
  • shallot
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • box of cheesy pasta

Instructions

  1. Prepare packaged pasta per box instructions. 

  2. Sauté shallot, garlic, and radicchio with olive oil and salt.

  3. Mix veggiesd together with prepared pasta. Serve.