Spring Growth

Spring Growth

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is it fall?

Hello all,
Here is the veggie forecast (remember, this is a forecast only, and I'm no weather-woman). Don't miss out on a bunch of recipes that CSA members have sent in listed below. Send me one, I'll put it in the weekly update. Also below, if you are interested, there is information about the remaining Harvest Dinners (yes there are quite a few of them).

hot peppers - around til frost
sweet peppers - ditto
beets, carrots, potatoes, onions - around til spring
tomatoes - not around much longer, it's just cold out there folks, and tomatoes don't like that! They are a tropical plant, originally from the rain forest. 40 degree nights aren't tropical. They just stop ripening when it gets cold, drastically reducing the amount you get in your share.
head lettuce, salad mix
CAULIFLOWER!! - It's the hot item right now. This is the best crop of cauliflower we've ever had. Make some cheesy cauliflower soup.
collard (kale's southern cousin, no kidding, eat it with bacon, the new health food)
escarole - let some bitter in your life besides coffee and chocolate, your liver will thank you.
basil - this will last until the first frost, and then it's all over
celery - try this in soup or stew. I use it in all of our soups.
cabbage - here til spring
note - the summer squash is finished. We had a good run of it, and our employees aren't so sad to see it go.

U-Pick: All Unlimited
paste tomatoes - pick these with any tiny amount of color and they'll ripen inside in the container you picked them in in a week or so. This is how I picked pastes for our family - I harvested about 3 of those yellow tomato lugs one day and them let them sit in the shed for a week or so. Now they are all dark red and ready for sauce. The tomatoes probably won't ripen on the vine this fall - too cold. There are TONS of paste tomatoes out there. Go get them!!
cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, flowers, mint
chard and kale - steam these and freeze for greens all winter. The chard will die with frost, so if you want to put some up, now is the time. The kale will last until the end of the CSA, go frost hardy winter kale!!
basil - very unfrost-hardy, so make pesto and be rewarded all winter long.
hot peppers - Paul and I made a gallon of lacto-fermented hot sauce this weekend. That'll keep us hot this winter!!
Berries - there are still plenty of unripe berries on the plants (and some ripe ones), so they will continue to ripen til the frost. Keep checking them.
Green beans - This is the last patch of the season.

CSA member recipes:

Here's the recipe I was telling you about:

tomatoes field paste


This recipe does not need exact measures. If I have left over filling, I use it for pizza topping, huevos rancheros, or toss it with fresh pasta.

6- 8 small, thin Italian eggplants

2 large onions, quartered and sliced

3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced.

3-5 Roma tomatoes, diced

Parsley, chopped - divided

salt and ground pepper to taste.

½ cup olive oil

Wash eggplants, dry and remove stems. Peel in strips. In medium hot oil, fry them whole, turning occasionally, until slightly golden and softened but NOT fully cooked. Remove to a plate and set aside.

To the oil remaining in pan add onions, saute until translucent and golden. Add tomatoes, garlic, seasonings and cook another 3 minutes. Add chopped parsley. Cool a little to handle.

With a spoon and a fork, part each eggplant lengthwise in the middle to open a slit. Do not go all the way down to the bottom. Into these "boats" spoon as much filling as possible, pushing gently and pulling the sides over on the filling. Repeat until all are done.

Place stuffed eggplant "boats" in an oven-proof casserole and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not add any liquid as the liquids exude during baking. Cool. Before serving, sprinkle with more finely chopped parsley. Store in the refrigerator for upto a week.

There is a more step by step pictorial version of this recipe in a recent post here if you are interested.

Pasta With Let-My-Eggplant-Go-Free! Puree

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter, or, like 1 if you're as into it as me


Eggplant pasta

  • 1 pound eggplant, cut into ½ inch slices (Bigger is ok)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed (I mean just flatten them, don't take out your aggression on them)
  • 2 springs thyme or oregano, chopped, or a sprinkling of the dried stuff
  • 1 cup liquid -- stock? water? Whatever. I had some water leftover from cooking lentils, so I used that.
  • 2 tablespoons dried tomatoes, minced -- sun-dried? oven-dried? Your call. (See below)
  • 6 leaves basil, cut fine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound long pasta -- spaghetti, linguini, whatever floats your boat

Oven-dried tomatoes

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Eggplant Pasta

  1. Lightly salt the slices of eggplant, stack them back together and let them hang out for about 20 minutes. This will season them and water will drip out, allegedly removing the bitterness, if it's there. They also say to choose eggplants that are dense and heavy for their size to make sure they're not bitter. But you know how I got mine to not be bitter? I ask the person that sells them to me, which, for me, means that I have to buy my eggplants from farmers' markets. Maybe you don't have quite the same amount of emotional work to do in readjusting your eggplant relationship. I'm glad for you.
  2. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a wide, heavy saucepan, add the garlic cloves, and set over low heat. You're just trying to get them friendly with one another, so don't worry if it just sits there and looks like nothing's happening.
  3. Dry off the eggplant, cut it into chunks. When you start hearing the garlic sizzle a little and can smell it, drop in your eggplant and stir to coat it all with oil. Turn the heat up to medium high, add thyme or oregano and stir. When the eggplant is turning translucent and softening, add the liquid, let it come to a boil, and turn it back down to medium-low. Let it bubble for a bit and cover it, leaving a crack for steam to escape. Stir once in a while so that the bottom doesn't stick.
  4. Meanwhile, bring water to boil, salt it, and cook your pasta.
  5. Check on your eggplant. Is the liquid mostly absorbed or reduced? It should after about 20 minutes or so. Does it look good and mashable? Great. Mash it up with a spoon, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Isn't it great? Silky smooth and garlicky and eggplanty and humming with oil? And totally stress-free! Amazing.
  6. Drain your perfect al dente pasta and toss with the eggplant puree. Stir in your minced tomatoes and basil and gild the lily with some more oil. Celebrate your new friendship.

Oven-dried tomatoes

  1. OK, I'm going to keep this short, because it's the easiest thing in the world. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Slice your tomatoes about a 1/4-inch thick. Lay them out, on one layer, on a tray, salt them lightly and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil.
  2. Pop them into the oven and check on them after 2 hours, then every 15 minutes after that. You want them to be dried out, almost like fruit leather, but they're going to taste great -- they'll spark up anything with a punch of tartness, sweetness, and some real umami. It'll make so-so tomatoes great, and good tomatoes amazing. They'll last like this, wrapped up in the fridge, for weeks

This Epicurious.com recipe: Salt-and-Pepper Edamame (Soybeans in the Pod)
has been sent to you by a friend.

You can view the complete recipe online at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/102723?mbid=ipapp

Salt-and-Pepper Edamame (Soybeans in the Pod)
1/2 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns
4 (1-pound) bags frozen edamame (soybeans in the pod)

Toast salt in a dry, small, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until salt turns light tan, about 7 minutes. Transfer salt to a bowl. Toast Sichuan peppercorns in skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer toasted peppercorns to a sheet of wax paper to cool. Using paper as a funnel, pour toasted peppercorns into an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar. Add pink peppercorns and pulse or pound with a pestle until finely ground. Pour through a coarse sieve into bowl of salt and stir together.
Cook edamame in 4 batches in salted boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes, and immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Return water to a boil between batches. Drain in a colander and pat dry.
Toss edamame with some peppered salt to taste and serve with remainder on the side.

Cooks' notes:
• Peppered salt may be made 1 week ahead and kept in an airtight container at cool room temperature.
• Edamame may be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before tossing with peppered salt.
December 1999

Want to see how other cooks rated and reviewed this recipe? Go to http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/102723?mbid=ipapp

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