Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CSA Newsletter, Week 9 - July 27 and 30

Here we are at the forefront of climate change! The farm experienced the hottest day in 16 years this week, and then buckets of rain fell-- tumultuous conditions for the plants. We're really hoping the drying onions survive an untimely four storms. The extreme heat has stifled the flowering of many of the tomatoes, peppers, and zukes; however, our succession plantings should allow us to fill in gaps. Now it's nearly time to begin planting fall lettuces and brassicas.

** High summer is also a time when many people leave town for trips and vacations. In the past two weeks Farmer Derek has been flooded by requests from CSA members to switch their pick-up days. Though he can usually accommodate requests, at this time of year they tend to come all at once, bringing chaos into normally hectic but manageable weekly and daily picking schedules. Our farmers would greatly appreciate you keeping your scheduled pick-up day if at all possible. If you have to miss a pick-up day, have a friend pick up for you. Or, trade off pick-up days with another CSA member. **

On the table this week:
  • Leeks
  • Candy onions
  • Basil. If you have too much basil for your weekly cooking needs, you can freeze cubes to have on-hand for making sauces, post-season. Chop fresh basil and then process with just enough olive oil to make a paste-like consistency. Freeze in ice-cube trays, then transfer to freezer bags for storage.
  • Zucchini. If you are tired of zukes in savory entrees and side dishes, try the sweet recipe below.
  • Cucumber. Make a delicious cold salad with seeded and chopped cukes, fresh sweet corn, chopped tomatoes, and finely chopped candy onion. Nice tossed with a dry mustard-cider vinaigrette and feta crumbles, cheese curds, or paneer.
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage. Yummy stir-fried with carrot in fennel seed-infused oil, and topped with fresh chopped tomato.
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant. Plus basil, delicious in a green curry. Soup recipe offered below. Ratatouille recipe also below, though probably not enough eggplant this week to fill out the whole recipe.
  • Carrots
Recipes

Creamy, Spicy Eggplant Soup
  • 1 lb eggplant
  • 2 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tsp salt, pepper
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 3 T sour cream
  • 2 T tahini (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on your preference)
  • fresh parsley for garnish, chopped
Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes face down on an oiled tray. Cool and scoop out flesh. Saute garlic and onions in some oil with salt and pepper, until onions are soft. Puree with food processor or immersion blender the eggplant pulp, water/broth, onion and garlic. Pour puree into a heavy saucepan. Add sherry, cover and heat gently. When soup has become hot, whisk in tahini (or soy sauce), sour cream and cayenne, until smooth. Cover and keep warm, serve garnished with parsley. Each serving could also be topped with yogurt, chopped tomatoes, or peppers.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil makes these divinely moist)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (the more zuke, the moister the cupcake)
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Set up a 12-cup muffin/cupcake pan(s) with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes for an electric mixer. Using a large spoon, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in zucchini, then chocolate chips.

Divide evenly between lined muffin cups. Fill cups almost to the top, because these cupcakes don’t rise much. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool and enjoy! Makes 12 cupcakes.

Ratatouille

  • 2 lbs. eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 1 3/4 tsp plus 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed, chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs. onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 lbs. zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into ½-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Place a single layer of paper towels on 2 large plates. Place the cubed eggplant onto the plates and sprinkle with 1 and 3/4 tsp salt. Allow the eggplant to sit for 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, cook the tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, basil, and parsley, uncovered, over medium heat. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and bell peppers in a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned vegetables to the tomato mixture. Pat the eggplant dry with a fresh paper towel and add it, along with the zucchini to the tomato mixture. Cover the pot and stew over low-medium heat for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the white wine and 3/4 tsp salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve over a bed of quinoa.

--recipes adapted from those published by Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Long Island, Hilltop Farms in Willow Springs, NC, and http://straightouttachocolate.wordpress.com.

***

Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!
echocsa@gmail.com
(319)325-3910

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