CSA 2018 – Week 10: Home Canning—Preserving Summer with Bulk Deals

CSA 2018 – Week 10


Home Canning—Preserving Summer with Bulk Deals

Home food preservation, an activity that was once necessary to get through the winter, has gone from being a dead art to being revived once again. More and more people are trying their hand at food preservation, whether it be canning, freezing, drying, or fermenting. Although we don’t need to preserve food to make it through the winter anymore, food preservation is one of the best ways to get high quality organic produce for the lowest price, and it can be super fun.

In addition to being incredibly cost effective, larger food projects can be a great activity with friends and family. Everyone gathers around in the kitchen to share in a simple task, such as coring tomatoes, snapping green beans, or chopping herbs, all the while just hanging out.

Also, food preservation doesn’t have to mean canning. Canning can be intimidating even if you’re experienced with it. It takes a lot of time and everything has to be sanitary. Most people are worried about getting botulism from their canning projects, but this is a concern that is often blown pretty far out of proportion. The vast majority of botulism cases in the US are related to a particular fish product common in Alaska, and potato salad that has sat out too long at picnics. Approved canning recipes have already gone above and beyond with regard to safety. So, while sanitation is still important, there’s no need to feel like you’re in a life or death situation as you make your sauce. Where’s the fun in that? But even so, I often time make big batches of sauces or jams and simply split up the bounty with friends to enjoy fresh or freeze it in ziplock bags. The freezer is an especially attractive option when your sauce-making takes longer than intended and you don’t feel like canning into the night.

For the next few couple weeks, we will be selling 20 lb. cases of Canning Tomatoes for $30, which comes out to $2.00/lb., 33% lower than our lowest market rate. If you would like to make a special order for canning tomatoes and other ingredients at discounted rates, please call our office at 541-929-4270 or email us at gtf@gatheringtogetherfarm.com with Special Order in the subject line. For smaller food projects, simply visit us at one of our booths at the farmers’ market.

Best, Laura Bennett


Table of Box Contents

  • Watermelon Surprise— GTF is known for its multi-colored watermelon. We have crowds surrounding our sample table all summer long, all waiting to taste the difference between red, orange, and yellow watermelon. People at market often ask us what we did to the melons to make them different colors. The reality is that there are multiple varieties of watermelon, kales, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and all crops, that are different shapes, sizes, and colors, yet only a few make it into mainstream grocery stores. Red watermelon is simply the most common. This week our CSA members are getting an assortment of watermelon, so you’ll have to wait to cut your melon open to see which color you got!
  • Green Beans—As always, our Crockett green beans are incredibly tender, eaten both raw or cooked. And as always, my favorite way to enjoy them is to remove the stems, and stir fry the beans with onion, garlic, and tamari.
  • Sweet Bell Pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Moss Parsley
  • Red Beets with Greens
  • Willamette Sweet Onions
  • Purple Majesty Potatoes—these are purple all the way throughout and will maintain their color best roasted rather than boiled.
  • Garlic—this is the best garlic year the farm has had in years. We’re loving those fat cloves!
  • Persian Cucumbers
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Lettuce Surprise

Recipes

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Ajvar - Roasted Pepper & Eggplant Spread

“There aren’t too many rules when it comes to ajvar recipes and uses, including the way it’s served. I’ve had it as a condiment with grilled fish and meats, in a sandwich for some oomph, or slathered on a cracker with a drizzle of olive oil and a crumble or smear of whatever goat or feta cheese I can get my hands on. Then I daydream and forget about car troubles, sticky summer heat, and dream of the next time I can get back to those gorgeous seas and summers of Croatia.”—adapted from http://saltandwind.com/recipes/370-ajvar-roasted-pepper-and-eggplant-dip-recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Colored Bell Peppers
  • 1 small Eggplant
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 small handful Chives or Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Cane Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 450°F and arrange racks in the upper third. Halve each pepper, discarding stems and seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and drizzle it with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt and place it, cut-side down, on the baking sheet. Roast the peppers and eggplant until they are blackened, blistered, and the eggplant collapses when you press on it, about 30 minutes.

  2. Remove the eggplant and set it aside to cool slightly. Remove the peppers, place them in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until the peppers have slightly cooled, at least 5 minutes. Use a spoon to remove the pulp of the eggplant from the skin and discard the skin. Put eggplant in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the garlic. Pulse the eggplant a few times so that it’s roughly chopped.

  3. Once peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them (reserving any juices that collect), discard the peel, and add the peppers and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pepper liquid to the food processor. Add the chives and pulse 5 to 8 times to chop coarsely. Stir in the lemon juice, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Taste and add more sugar if it is a bit sour, then add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired. 

Recipe Notes

Tip—Ajvar can be made up to 4 days ahead of time; store refrigerated in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before serving. Taste and stir in more vinegar, sugar, salt, or olive oil as desired.  You can also grill the peppers and eggplant.

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Broccoli & Pepper Jack Frittata

Adapted from Brassicas—Cooking the world’s healthiest vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Broccoli florets, bite size
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 6 Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the oil and garlic in a 10-12 inch non-stick frying pan and place over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the broccoli, stir to coat it with the oil, and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the water and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.

  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining ½ tsp salt and the pepper until blended. When the broccoli is ready, sprinkle the cheese evenly over it and then add the eggs to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the eggs are set around the edges.

  3. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the eggs are just set. A knife inserted into the frittata should come out clean. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the frittata out onto a serving plate.

 

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Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 20 lb Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Chopped Onion
  • 8 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice per hot jar
  • 7 pint jars (or 3 quart jars)

Instructions

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

  2. WASH tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters. Set aside.

  3. SAUTE onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. PUREE tomato mixture in a food processor or blender, working in batches. Strain puree to remove seeds and peel.

  5. COMBINE tomato puree and basil in large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until volume is reduced by half, stirring to prevent sticking.

  6. ADD 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot pint jar; Add 2 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice to each hot quart jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

  7. PROCESS pint jars for 35 minutes and quart jars for 40 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars and cool. check lids for seal after 24 hours; they should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

CSA 2018 – Week 9: Melons – the Queens of Cucurbidaceae

CSA Newsletter – Week 9


Melons – the Queens of Cucurbidaceae

We can’t believe it’s already week nine! You’ve got a fully-packed August box this week, complete with sweet corn, tomatillos, melons!, sweet bell peppers, and so much more. As always, I like to notice when we have multiple members of a plant family present in one box, and though Solanaceae may be the leading star of summer, including such gems as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, ground cherries, and tomatillos, Cucurbidaceae, home to melons, cucumbers, and squash, comes in at a close second.

Winter squash is beyond amazing, so dense and filling. Cucumbers are so refreshing, so crisp and full of sweet, summer life like nature’s water filter. Summer squash are so tender and buttery, so versatile in cakes or on the grill. But, as much as I believe in vegetable equality, let’s be real, melons are the best! Melons mean summer! You don’t do anything to them except impatiently wait for your body to slice them up so that you can finally devour the sweet fruit waiting inside. No cooking. No prep. They’re just perfect. They woke up like that.

This is the side of melons that most people enjoy—the tasty part. Here at the farm, we’re lucky to get to enjoy an entirely different aspect of what it is to bring melons into existence—the fun part!

For those of you who have driven past our farm during melon season, you may have seen the joy that is melon tossing. First, our select melon whisperers go out and harvest all the melons that are perfectly ripe, gently picking each one up for the first time. We’re all used to having to try to tap out a tune on melons at the grocery store in fear of buying a bland one, but at the farm our melon whisperers tap out a melody for us that only the most perfect melons sing. They stack the ripe melons in piles to await the toss.

Because our melons are picked ripe and full of sugar, they are quite fragile to transport. It is for this reason that we take as many as eight people out to a field, we stand in a line from the melon rows to the flatbed truck lined with bins, and we toss melons from one end to the other for hours.

The melon gets touched for its second time when pulled from the ripe pile and tossed to the next person, and depending on how far the row is from the truck, another seven people might gently catch and then toss each precious orb. We all talk and laugh as we toss melons in the sun, a task that feels much more like play than work. From harvest to consumption, melons are so precious, thus they receive the utmost care. Only the best for the Queen of Cucurbits.

Best,
Laura Bennett


Table of Box Contents

  • Melon!!!— August is officially here when melons come in. There isn’t yet enough of any one type to give you all the same kind, but Sally likes to make sure our beloved CSA customers are the first to enjoy our specialty items, so you will be receiving one of two types.
    • Charentais Cantaloupe— Charentais is a true French cantaloupe, sought after by chefs and foodies alike. It has an intensely sweet, floral flavor.
    • Honey Orange— Though these may look like a white dinosaur egg on the outside, they are bright orange inside! They have the texture of a honeydew with the extra sweet flavor and color of a cantaloupe.
  • Sweet Bell Pepper— You’ll receive either a red, orange, or yellow sweet bell pepper this week.
  • Serendipity Sweet Corn—We grow this variety for its high sugar content. We grow bicolor corn that is a mosaic of yellow & white kernels that makes for a particularly beautiful corn on the cob.
  • Tomatillos— Tomatillos are more closely related to ground cherries than they are to tomatoes. Most people blanch them before blending them into a salsa verde, however they are quite versatile in other dishes.
  • Yellow Potatoes—These potatoes are a buttery yellow all the way through, waxy and perfect for roasting, baking, or fried into hash browns.
  • Jalapeno
  • Sierra Blanca Superstar Onions
  • Bunched Carrots
  • Persian Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Mixed Summer Squash
  • Lettuce Surprise

Recipes

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Raw Green Salsa

“The raw vegetables in this salsa are full of enzymes that kick-start your immune system. A great sauce for a completely raw meal or a perfect salsa on top of tostadas or eggs..."

Servings 1 cups
Author adapted from Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing, p.174

Ingredients

  • 8 large Tomatillos
  • 1 Small White Onion, quartered
  • 1 clove Garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 Fresh Serranos or 1 Jalapeno, stems & seeds removed
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and seeded

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until small flecks of cilantro are scattered throughout the salsa. 

  2. This salsa is raw, so it should be refrigerated and used within 2 days.

 

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Pepper, Corn & Black Bean Quesadillas

Adapted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil, and more oil/butter for greasing
  • 1/2 Onion, minced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Sweet Pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 ears Corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1/2 Jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 cups cooked Black Beans
  • 4 10-inch Flour Tortillas
  • 2-3 cups Shredded Cheese of your choice
  • Sour Cream for garnish
  • Pico de Gallo for garnish (rough chop some tomatoes, onion, and cilantro, add salt and lemon juice and you're good to go!)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onions and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the eggplant, jalapeno, sweet peppers, salt, and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and corn and heat through for 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

  2. Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Grease the surface with butter and place a tortilla in the skillet. 

  3. Layer the cheese (a heaping ¼ cup, or more if you’d like) and vegetables (a heaping cup) over half of the tortilla, then top with more cheese. Fold the tortilla in half, press down lightly with a spatula, and toast for about 2 minutes per side until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings. (If you can’t load up the tortilla that fast, you can assemble it on a plate before transferring it to the hot skillet.)

  4. To serve, slice each quesadilla into halves or quarters and add sour cream and pico de gallo on top.

 

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Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta

Adapted from Fork Knife Swoon:
http://www.forkknifeswoon.com/lemony-orzo-pasta-salad-with-cucumber-and-feta/ 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Dry Orzo Pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil, or enough to lightly coat the pasta
  • Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 Cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper to taste
  • Recommended Addition: Tomatoes!

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo al dente according to package directions (about 9 minutes). Drain the pasta, let cool for a couple of minutes, and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, cucumber, herbs and feta.

  2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve chilled or at room-temperature. Can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

CSA 2018 – Week 8: Beyond Nutrition- On Food, Flame, and Friends

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 8


Beyond Nutrition- On Food, Flame, and Friends

Each of us has our own personal food history, the progression of our eating habits that changes throughout time. Currently, I cook almost all of my meals in a hole in the ground in the backyard, as strange as that seems in this country. I like to make whole-roasted vegetables to dip into salt and oil or aioli, maybe throw on a couple sausages, and throw together a salad. Simple, yet complex. But it’s more than the food itself, and it’s even more than the flame—what really nourishes me in these moments is how I get to hang out outside with my friends by the fire as day turns to night. My body and soul are so nourished by these meals in a way that nutrients alone cannot accomplish.

But this dreamy existence is not how my eating habits have always been. I grew up eating mostly processed foods, always at the couch and never at a table, and usually mealtime was a solo event. Food was good when it was affordable and gave you instant gratification, the reality of many that processed food capitalizes on. It was necessary to eat this way, but I didn’t feel like I was suffering for it at the time. On the contrary, I loved eating these foods as I watched tv. Many of us who value organic food have turned a cold shoulder to processed foods and television, but for me, I like to sprinkle them both into my mostly-organic lifestyle. Things are not always all good or all bad.

Food anthropologists who study the eating habits of consumers for food corporations have found that Americans increasingly prefer to eat alone over sharing meals with other people. Mostly, this is because people want autonomy with their food. It’s common now for each person in a household to eat a different food at mealtime, and to eat that meal by themselves. Even though I remember eating this way somewhat fondly, I can’t help but feel that eliminating the element of time and flame, as well as the social element from eating deprives us of something supremely nourishing that makes us human.

As someone who grew up eating food that lacked in physical nutrition as well as social nutrition, I so appreciate the good food that I now get to share with the people that I love. I often think about how privileged I am to have such good food from this farm, good friends from this farm, and to have a backyard and the time that it takes to cook with fire, especially when I only had access to an electric stove in an apartment for the majority of my life. And yet in so many other places in this world people are still cooking outside together with fire out of pure necessity. What is a privilege in this country is a necessary way of life in another, but in both places the simple act of cooking and eating together is one way that we can express our humanity despite all else.

Food can be so much more than the components outlined on a nutrition label. I don’t believe that a “healthy” diet consists solely of “healthy” food. For me, I strive for the following trifecta—mostly-healthy food, cooked simply over a flame, and enjoyed in loving company. But that’s just me. What makes you feel healthy? What makes you feel nourished? What makes you feel human?

Best, Laura Bennett


Table of Box Contents

  • Purple Majesty Potatoes—These potatoes are a deep purple all the way through and have high antioxidant levels to show for it. I love roasting these whole, as their color seems to be best preserved this way compared to steaming or sautéing.
  • Anaheim Peppers—Anaheim peppers can be quite spicy, much more than a poblano. This time of year they don’t have as much heat as they will later in the season when they start turning red.
  • Bunched Beets w/ Greens
  • Italian Parsley— We grow Peione Italian parsley, a Giant-of-Italy-type that has a strong, sweet flavor. I once had a parsley sorbet that completely changed how I felt about parsley. It really has a unique flavor, enjoy!
  • Sierra Blanca Superstar Onions—These white bulb onions are the first fresh digs of the season as far as bulb onions go! They have a mild yet semi-sweet flavor, perfect for salads or fried into onion rings.
  • Bunched Carrot
  • Sweet Slice Cucumbers
  • Heirloom Tomato
  • Mixed Summer Squashexcellent grilled whole! All squash can be cooked similarly, however each type does have unique qualities.
  • Green Leaf Lettuce—these heads of lettuce have large leaves, perfect for making wraps

Recipes

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Simple Couscous Salad

I love throwing this salad together quickly on hot summer nights. It’s a great way to utilize a variety of vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or veg. broth
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 head lettuce, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
  • 3-5 carrots, grated or sliced into matchsticks
  • 1-2 beets, grated or sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • A good pile of minced fresh parsley
  • Some tomato, sliced up and tossed in last
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • Other flavor additions to play around with: toasted sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, spicy chiles, avocado!

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool slightly. 

  2. In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, carrot, beet, onion, parsley, and lettuce. Stir in couscous. 

  3. Toss in cooked vegetable sauté, if applicable

  4. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Pour over couscous mixture; toss to coat. Add more of anything to taste. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled 

  5. I like to serve this with cheese, more fresh parsley (or whatever herb is on hand), and sunflower seeds on top

Recipe Notes

Optional-- Stir in a cooked vegetable sauté:

Zucchini stir fried in oil with garlic added a few minutes before the zucchini is done. Salt zukes after cooking process is over, otherwise they’ll turn to mush in the pan. Or, the same thing but with Anaheim pepper instead of zucchini.

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Roasted Veg. w/ Parsley Aioli

This is my new favorite summer treat! At the end of the day, it’s so easy to just roast up vegetables whole, make an aioli in a quart mason jar with an immersion blender, slice up my roasted veg on a platter, dip and consume. Aioli is just mayo with a fancy name, don’t let it intimidate you. At home, I make a fire in a hole in the ground in the back yard, throw my veggies on a grate whole over the coals, and turn them as they cook until they’re done. So, whether you’re using a grill, an oven, or a hole in the ground, you can’t mess this one up! It’ll be delicious no matter what.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg—most people just use the yolk; however, I use the whole egg when I make it at home and have never had a problem
  • Oil—a mixture is nice, all olive oil can be overpowering
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic, minced
  • Parsley, minced (or whatever herb, basil is great!)
  • 1-2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Roasted Vegetables—out of the veggies you have in your box this week, the following are great roasted and dipped into aioli!
  • Carrots, Beets, Peppers, Potatoes, Zucchini

Instructions

  1. There are lots of ways to make aioli, but the basic thing that you need to do is emulsify eggs and oil together. The following link is a great walk through to make aioli by hand, however I always use an emulsion blender at home and it turns out great.

  2. Manual: https://food52.com/blog/8097-how-to-make-mayonnaise-or-aioli-without-a-recipe 

  3. Electric: Crack an egg into a quart sized mason jar, add in salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice. Start pouring in oil slowly as you blend. Your aioli should start to thicken after you get a significant amount of oil in there, so don’t worry if it stays thin at first. Add your parsley in once you’ve added all your oil, adding a bit more oil to blend it in thoroughly if needed. I don’t measure the oil, but rather stop when the consistency and flavor seems right.

  4. Roast your vegetables whichever way you like to roast vegetables. I like roasting whole in a hole. But you could roast them sliced in the oven and they’d be just great.

CSA 2018 – Week 7: Diversity in Translation

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 BeansOur 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
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 bu. Carrots
  • Zucchiniexcellent 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

Recipes

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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. 

Author Adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, p. 388

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Eggplant, sliced
  • Salt
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Boil the tagliatelle in salted water until slightly underdone and drain.

  5. 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.

  6. Bake in a 350° F oven for 20-30 minutes. The pasta will absorb the flavors of the sauce.

Recipe Notes

More Eggplant Recipes:

Spicy Eggplant Pastahttp://food52.com/recipes/24001-spicy-eggplant-pasta

Eggplant Parmesanhttp://food52.com/recipes/431-eggplant-parmesan

 

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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/

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Green Beans, stems snapped off
  • 1/4 Onion, sliced thinly
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped/minced
  • Olive Oil/Coconut Oil
  • Tamari
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Pre-snap the stems off of your green beans. Either leave your beans long, or snap them in half, whichever you prefer.

  2. 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.

  3. Add about 3-4 tablespoons tamari to the onion in the pan and let cook about 2 minutes.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. 

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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/

Ingredients

  • Poblano Pepper(s), seeded and chopped
  • Green Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Potatoes, sliced thin
  • Garlic
  • Oil & Salt
  • Eggs, pan-fried
  • Optional: Cheese

Instructions

  1. Chop your potatoes ahead of time to let them dry a bit, then chop poblanos and garlic.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

CSA 2018 – Week 6: The Art of Noticing

CSA Newsletter – Week 6


The Art of Noticing

Though not many of us work on a farm these days, there are still things that we notice about the changing seasons. This past week we all experienced this summer’s first major heat wave. Many of us respond by packing away sweaters and thick pants and turning our attention to clothing that is light and/or able to survive a jump into the river. Some of us may feel a craving to eat lighter, cooler foods as opposed to the heavier, hotter foods that we glom onto in the winter months. Though we may be far removed from our subsistence-farming lives, we cannot escape the need to  respond and adapt to our changing environment.

On the farm the heat wave produced a thousand new things to notice. The crops seem to be doubling in size every few days, but that means that the weeds are doing the same thing. Suddenly the hoop houses that have been giving our hot-weather crops the head start they need are holding more heat than the plants can withstand. Within just one week, the amount to harvest has pretty much doubled, the weed pressure seems to have tripled, and the need to shade all of our hoop houses with hand-thrown mud one Nancy’s yogurt cup at a time has become immediate.

The more energy the sun gives us in a day, the more the plants capture, and the more work there is for us all to do. It is known that we will not get to everything on the to-do list every day, and so a highly educated triage of tasks must be done to decide what must be done when. The weeds in the salad field may be five times taller than the lettuce, but that field will get tilled in next week so it’s a better use of our time to weed the winter squash that has tiny weeds but will be in the field until October.

Those who have been farming for their entire lives have spent their lives honing in the art of noticing required to adapt and respond to the changing seasons. Farming is so beautifully complicated, so realistically chaotic just like the weather that it depends on. All we can do is continue to hone in our own art of noticing so that we know how best to ride the ups and downs of the seasons year after year.

Best, Laura Bennett


Table of Box Contents

  • Gold Beets—If you already love beets, then you’ll definitely love these gold beets. For those who struggle to enjoy beets however, gold beets can be an excellent first step into appreciating a milder version of beet flavor that is particularly sweet. Out in the field, we’ve come to call these “mangos,” because when you peel them the inner color looks just like the tropical fruit.
  • Summer Cabbage
  • 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 as an onion substitute in everything!
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchiniexcellent grilled whole! A few of you got Cocazelle zucchini, which are striped and have thicker skins, great for holding up on the grill.
  • Sweet Slice Cucumbers— These cucumbers may have thicker and more rumply skins, however their flavor is by far the sweetest out of the other cucumbers that we grow. Thinly slice into salads to avoid the skin’s texture, or peel if desired. If you have a mandolin or a spiralizer, thinly slice long strips of cukes and season with toasted sesame oil, vinegar, and salt for a delicious fresh salad
  • Nicola Potatoes—their waxy and buttery flavor makes these perfect for roasting as they hold their shape well.
  • Lettuce Surprise—this week’s box contains a mix of different lettuce types.
  • Semi-Sweet Onions
  • Blueberries!

Recipes

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Beet Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins

“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. 

Servings 4 people
Author Adapted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (or any acid)
  • 1 1/4 lb beets; use a mix of colors if you can
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • pistachio butter (or any nut butter)
  • Suggested Additions: cabbage & fennel, sliced thinly

Instructions

  1. Combine the garlic, raisins, and vinegar in a large bowl and let sit for 1 hour.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. To serve, plate and top with the slaw. Finish with reserved fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

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Cucumber-Fennel Fizz

“Imagine it’s 100°F with 90 percent humidity; the air is still and sodden. You are hot and sticky, and even breathing requires effort. What you need is a nice, cold drink. Cucumber Fennel Fizz is the perfect blend of tangy and refreshing. The cucumber is the standout flavor with a hint of fennel in the background. The lime juice and vinegar add a nicely sour edge. The fizz makes everything livelier. You feel invigorated; you can once again face the world.”

Servings 2 drinks
Author Adapted from Food52

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 inch fresh fennel bulb
  • 1 can club soda or ginger ale
  • 2 short stalks fresh fennel for garnish
  • 10 (frozen) blueberries
  • 3 oz gin (optional)

Instructions

  1. Skin cucumber, cut into 4 chunks, and toss into blender.

  2. Add lime juice, apple cider vinegar, ice, and 1-inch fresh fennel bulb. Add gin if using. Blend until smooth and foamy, about 1 minute. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid unless your cucumber is exceptionally dry and it refuses to blend. (In which case add a dash of soda.)

  3. Split the cucumber mix between two glasses, adding either club soda or ginger ale in a 1:1 ratio. Add 5 frozen or fresh blueberries to each glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh fennel.

Print

Zucchini Pancakes

— adapted from Food52 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 pinch breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or yogurt

Instructions

  1. Grate your zucchini and potato using the largest hole on your grater. Let stand in a colander for at least 30 minutes to drain. They will hold together better when you drain out maximum moisture. Salt generously

  2. In a bowl, beat egg, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Add pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Roll and squeeze zucchini/potato mixture in a towel to soak up moisture. Add pinch of breadcrumbs to soak up any leftover wetness.

  4. Combine zucchini/potato mixture with egg mixture. Stir well and coat.

  5. Turn on oven to 200°F and place cookie sheet with foil in there to keep your pancakes warm as you make them. 

  6. Heat 13” skillet on medium high heat. Melt 1 Tbsp of butter. You can use olive oil if you prefer, but butter is delicious. When foam subsides, drop a spoonful of your pancake mixture in. You don’t really need to form it in advance, but pat it with a spatula and try to flatten it out as much as possible—it’ll be more crispy that way.

  7. Cook 2 at a time until golden brown on each side, then place in oven to keep warm to make additional pancakes. Serve as soon as possible, with a dollop of sour cream or (drained Greek) yogurt on top for extra richness.