CSA Newsletter – Week 7
Diversity in Translation
What an abundant box this week, wow! The value of this week’s box is nearly double what you have paid for it. But with great abundance comes great responsibility. Now you have to figure out how to eat all of this deliciousness.
At peak of the season which is soon approaching, we will have nearly a hundred different items sprinkled about our farmers’ market booth. On the consumer end of things, this is an opportunity to maximize on diversity in diet. Market goers can choose from hundreds of different fresh produce options here in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in diversified diets that represent a nutritive spectrum rather than being dependent on “superfoods” disguised as silver bullets when really no such thing exists.
However, on the producer end of things, this diversity of product first and foremost means that a diversified skillset and seed bank is needed in order to support it. Being on the harvest crew at the farm provides such a unique window into the specialized care taken for each crop. You cannot harvest poblanos the same way as eggplant or green beans or carrots. Each item grows differently, makes seed differently, fits into your hand differently, is cut or snapped or pulled from the plant differently. Within each item each variety behaves differently. And within each planting and each season even the same variety will need specialized care to match the moment.
In this way diversity translates from one mode to another. In one moment, you can feel it in the diverse flavors marrying in your mouth in a dish you just prepared. In that same moment the flavor you taste is the embodied diversity of harvest practices, of cultures and climates, and of the people who worked to bring the food from farm to table. In this moment, diversity has a flavor.
Best, Laura Bennett
Table of Box Contents
- Poblano Pepper—Poblano peppers are, in my opinion, one of the tastiest peppers on the planet. Their seeds are spicy, but once removed their flesh retains only the flavor of the heat intermixed with the complex rich, savory flavors that it also possesses.
- Green Bell Pepper
- 1 Jalapeno
- 1 Eggplant—Many people, myself included, have struggled to cook eggplant well. It can act as a sponge and soak up impressive amounts of oil and getting the texture right is intimidating to master. I have provided y’all with three eggplant recipes this week. One of my personal eggplant cheats is to mince it. Eggplant minced and sautéed with onion and garlic can be an excellent pasta sauce or pasta filling, topped with fresh basil and tomatoes.
- 1 lb. Green Beans—Our Crockett Green Beans are one of my absolute favorite products that we grow. The entire time that they are in season I eat them almost every day, both raw and cooked. They are consistently tender, sweet, and crunchy.
- 1 head Broccoli
- 1 bu. Carrots
- Zucchini—excellent grilled whole! A few of you got Cocazelle zucchini, which are striped and have thicker skins, great for holding up on the grill.
- Persian Cucumbers
- Dill—A favorite summer snack of mine is a fresh cucumber dill salad. I simply slice cucumbers, chop up some dill, throw them both in a bowl, douse them with some rice vinegar and sesame oil and salt, and toss around. Sometimes I add in radish slices, or tarragon, or whatever I feel like that moment. Additionally, it’s always delicious to mix dill with cream cheese and salt and dip cucumber and carrot spears into it.
- Purple Potatoes
- Lettuce Surprise—this week’s box contains a mix of different lettuce types.
- Semi-Sweet Dried Onion
Rishta bi Betingan—Pasta with Eggplants
The eggplants are usually fried, but for those who want to broil them, that can be done, as they are then cooked further in a tomato sauce.
- 2 lbs Eggplant, sliced
- 1 Large Onion
- High Heat Oil (coconut, sunflower, veg.)
- 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Ground Chili Pepper or Flakes
- 1 lb Tagliatelle (or any pasta)
- 1/3 cup Parmesan or Gruyere, grated
Sprinkle the eggplant slices, if you like, with salt, and leave them in a colander for at least ½ hour to allow the bitter juices to drain. Rinse, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
Fry the onion in 2 tablespoons oil until soft and golden. Add the garlic and stir for a moment or two. Then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and the chili pepper or flakes.
Fry the eggplant slices very briefly in about ½ inch of very hot oil, turning them over once until lightly colored, then drain on paper towels. Alternatively, brush the slices with oil and broil them under a preheated broiler, turning them over, until lightly browned. They can be slightly undercooked. Add the eggplants to the tomato sauce and cook for 10 minutes more.
Boil the tagliatelle in salted water until slightly underdone and drain.
Grease a large baking dish. Fill it with alternating layers of pasta and the eggplant mixtures, starting and finishing with a layer of pasta and keeping a little of the sauce to pour over the top. Sprinkle, if you like, with grated cheese.
Bake in a 350° F oven for 20-30 minutes. The pasta will absorb the flavors of the sauce.
More Eggplant Recipes:
Spicy Eggplant Pasta— http://food52.com/recipes/24001-spicy-eggplant-pasta
Eggplant Parmesan— http://food52.com/recipes/431-eggplant-parmesan
Tamari Green Beans with Garlic
Adapted from my Vegucation Station at the farmers’ market; link to our blog: http://blog.gatheringtogetherfarm.com/2016/08/21/august-20th-market-recipes-ft-crockett-green-beans/
- 1 lb Green Beans, stems snapped off
- 1/4 Onion, sliced thinly
- 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped/minced
- Olive Oil/Coconut Oil
Pre-snap the stems off of your green beans. Either leave your beans long, or snap them in half, whichever you prefer.
Coat the pan in oil and heat up to medium high. Meanwhile, chop up your onion and add them into the oil once it’s up to temp.
Add about 3-4 tablespoons tamari to the onion in the pan and let cook about 2 minutes.
Add in your snapped green beans and stir around to coat in oil, adding more tamari if more liquid is needed. Cover and let cook about 6 minutes, as the green beans take a while to cook through. Meanwhile, mince garlic. Stir a couple times during the cooking process, adding a splash of tamari each time. The tamari will reduce and make a thick glaze over the beans.
Remove the lid from the pan and add in the garlic, 2-3 pinches of salt, and 2-3 more tablespoons of tamari. Let cook another 5-10 minutes to your preferred softness with the lid off.
This is a great dish as it is so full of protein it can be eaten solo, but it is also wonderful served with a side of rice next to chicken or tofu.
Poblanos & Potatoes with Eggs
Adapted from Laura Bennett's Vegucation Station at the farmers’ market, http://blog.gatheringtogetherfarm.com/2016/09/25/september-24th-market-recipes-ft-poblanos-with-purple-potatoes/
- Poblano Pepper(s), seeded and chopped
- Green Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
- Potatoes, sliced thin
- Oil & Salt
- Eggs, pan-fried
- Optional: Cheese
Chop your potatoes ahead of time to let them dry a bit, then chop poblanos and garlic.
Heat up oil in pan to medium-high and put potatoes in, stir around and let cook a few minutes. Add in poblanos and stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Add in garlic and a bit more oil and continue to cook uncovered until vegetables are done, preferably with some a bit of golden brown-black charring on edges. Sprinkle with salt after done cooking. Serve with fried eggs on top, and cheese on top of that if so desired.