The First Heat Wave

9:28 PM Adrian 0 Comments

...and it hasn't come a moment too soon...literally.  None of us here would have thought the summer would have dealt us these blistering temperatures this late.  It really is quite peculiar.  But we are taking our blessings, and glad that earlier this summer and the first weeks of August were as sweet, calm and cool as they were!  Doubtless if it weren't for such weather we wouldn't be procuring such excellent squash and tomatoes for y'all.

The heat does not discourage us...we are still hard at work raking in the pounds upon pounds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and squash that this season's bounty has bestowed.  Such heat does call for perhaps a slight change in schedule....time for earlier mornings and a mid-day siesta!

Despite the heat, CSA will still be bringing it to your table.

This week:
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Candy Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes (mixed varieties)
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Apples!

Yes that's correct: apples!  Not sure which variety they are exactly, but they remind me of Pink Lady or Fuji; incredibly tart, deliciously crisp, with a pleasing sour that balances the sweet.  We have plenty of them,  and this week they started dropping like nuts.  No better time to pick them!

We hope to release more details soon in regards to Fall CSA 2013 but we are still scratching our heads as to what we will be planting to include in those deliveries...we have daikon radishes already in the ground, and the plumpest of our winter squashes are well on their way to ripening....some of them surprisingly early!  There will be enough onions to last our CSA members (as well as us) through the winter.  As for when and how to plant our leafy fall greens, we are chomping at the bit yet hesitant in the midst of such dry, brutal heat to be confident in sowing anything.  So we are waiting in the meantime, and shuffling through our ideas and plans for this year's season extension.


We will keep you updated...in the meantime enjoy our generous helping of the harvest to you!  We are proud and happy to be successfully keeping your CSA share wide and diverse.

See you at market!




Recipes

Fresh Apple Salsa (www.myrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced peeled apple (about 3/4 pound) 
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro $
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 hot pepper, seeded and minced

Preparation

  1.  Combine all ingredients, stirring well.



Cucumber Mint Gazpacho (www.food52.com)

Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds thin-skinned cucumbers 
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
  • 5 garlic scapes (or 2-3 cloves regular garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon tightly packed mint leaves (about 30)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (skinned)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (not the fancy stuff)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup stale bread, cut into cubes. I've found challah or ciabatta to be best. You can keep on some crust, but too much and the soup will come out less creamy, more gritty
  1. Rough chop the cucumber and add to the blender jar with the cold water. Puree until smooth. Rough chop the onion and scapes and add to the blender jar with the mint leaves. Puree again. Then add the almonds. oli, and vinegar, and keep pureeing until the entire mix is smooth.
  2. Add the bread cubes and let them soak up the liquid for at least 30 minutes. When they have softened up, puree again until very smooth. Add salt to taste.
  3. You want to serve this cold, so refrigerate for at least an hour (straight in the blender jar) before serving. The soup with thicken a bit, so you may need to add a little cold water and blend until it's the consistency you want.
  4. Garnish as much as you'd like (see recipes below). Drizzle with olive oil, mint oil, and/or garlic scape oil. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and/or chopped cucumber.
Garnishes (optional)
  • 1.5 cups grapeseed (or other mild oil), divided
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 15 garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup almonds (skinned)
  • 1 small cucumber
  1. Make mint oil. In a food processor, puree 1/2 C oil and mint. After letting the oil sit for a day, you can strain out the solids (or not...I didn't). Drizzle over soup.
  2. Make garlic scape oil. In a food processor, puree 1 C oil and garlic scapes. After letting the oil sit for a day, you can strain out the solids (or not...I didn't). Drizzle over soup.
  3. Toast the almonds until they just start to darken. Let them cool and then pulse in a food processor a few times (or chop). Sprinkle over soup.
  4. Cut cucumber into tiny cubes. Sprinkle over soup. 



Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad (allrecipes.com)

Ingredients 
  • 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar


Directions

  1. In a small bowl or cup measure, mix together oil, apple cider vinegar, herbs, salt, and sugar.
  2. Pour dressing over cherry tomatoes in a serving dish, and gently stir to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours. Gently stir from bottom to top, coating all tomatoes, before serving.


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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! 


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You Say Tomato....

6:21 PM Adrian 0 Comments

....we'll say: "Tomato?  Oh yes we have tomatoes!"

Get ready for what will probably be the biggest unloading of our tomato varieties on you (our CSA members) this season....with the caveat of "who knows, maybe next week we'll have even more tomatoes!"  Our vines are fruiting like crazy....it could happen!

CSA this week:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Zucchini 
  • Yellow Zephyr Summer Squash
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes (a LOT!)
  • Leeks
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Basil
  • Carrots

And we thought last week was the peak of the season.

Fresh this week will be basil, brought to you in a neat little bunch.  Yes, finally you can make your winter pesto!  We have planted a basil crop this year, but it has been somewhat scarce on the land to make room for other things (haha, like tomatoes, for example).  And we have carrots (yes, they are back)!  We've been selling them at farmer's market and have received a lot of feedback that they are pretty darn good, some of the best tasting carrots around!  We'll have to thank our carrot-farming specialist, Forrest Kelly, for his good work.

In Echollective farm news, we have been hard at work flipping the farm over into Fall mode, while maintaining the last of our summer crops as they reach the peak of production.  Kale has been consistently plentiful, beautiful, and healthy throughout the hot months; our squashes are still going proverbially crazy (we pull upwards of 50 pounds of squash in from the fields per day); and if you haven't seen them at the New Pioneer Co-ops yet, our leeks are HUGE.  We are so proud of our leek yield this year: it took much care, watering, and thinning of smaller leeks out of the field to give these monsters the room to be the glorious gods amongst vegetables that they are.

But with Fall nearing, it's time to think about cooler-weather crops, which begins with getting the fields prepped and ready before anything can even grow.  As we head into the less-hot months of the season, we are doing a clever tilling method called "stale bedding."  No, it's not a passive way of making your bed in the morning so it at least looks good from the hallway.....stale-bedding is a protracted, useful extra step to tilling many beds and procuring them in a way that yields as little weeds as possible!  How does this work?  (And this could be useful to you in your own garden or yard, so listen up!)  Well, first you till your desired plot until it is just bare soil.  Then, you water it.  Water it real, real good.  In time, all the weed seeds on the top soil that you so dread...they will begin to germinate, their seeds will just crack open a little bit as they are watered.  Can you guess what you do next?  You till the bed again!  Or dig or fork it, whichever method you choose, just as long as those seeds are broken up and reburied once more.  The sprouting seeds are killed instantly by being pulled back under the earth, or at least a very big chunk of them are.  And what do you know....you're having to deal with a lot less weeds in the coming weeks!

So, we are currently watering around 1 to 2 acres with the intent of stale bedding and getting ready for our upcoming crops.  What is there to look forward to?  Well, all sorts of cool leafy greens!  Our daikon radishes are already sprouting out in the field as we speak.  Before you know it, we'll have a lot on the way, ready for Fall....speaking of which, keep your eyes and ears open for our upcoming Fall 2013 CSA.  Details on the way soon!

Now, all we need is the rain we had earlier in the Spring!  All the crops we tend to grow in the Spring will be reappearing for Fall and the drenching was more than welcome.  The past few weeks have been the typical dryness expected of the summer, and we have had to do a lot of the watering of our crops ourselves. 

With that said, we hope you're looking forward to your biggest CSA share so far this season.  Enjoy, and we'll see you at market!



Recipes

 Watermelon-Peach Salsa and Tomatoes (www.myrecipes.com)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups seeded and diced fresh watermelon $
  • 1 cup peeled and diced fresh peaches $
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

Preparation

  1. Whisk together pepper jelly, lime zest, and lime juice in a bowl; stir in watermelon and next 3 ingredients.
  2. Season halved baby tomatoes with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; spoon into cocktail glasses. Top with salsa. Garnish, if desired.


Basil Gelato (www.saveur.com)

MAKES 1 QUART

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 egg yolks

Instructions

Combine basil, milk, cream, sugar, zest, salt, and yolks in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a 2-qt. saucepan and heat gently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer; chill in the refrigerator. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.



Fresh Cucumber Carrot Salad (www.foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 small or 1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 small or 1/2 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Halve and thinly slice the cucumber. Then place into a medium bowl with the grated carrots and shallots. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, Sriracha and soy sauce. Toss with the vegetables and season with salt and pepper only if needed. Serve.

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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!
 
 

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Peak of the Season

7:00 PM Adrian 0 Comments

Greetings readers and CSA'ers!

As summer begins winding down to a close, the introduction of new summer veggies into our CSA cast and crew isn't over!  We are at the peak of the season, and the heat continues to ripen even fresher fruits off the vine:

  • Garlic
  • Onions (Alisa Craig variety)
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Zephyr Summer Squash
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash
  • Potatoes (Kennebecs)
  • Tomatoes
  • Leeks
  • Eggplants
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers

This week you will be receiving Alisa Craig yellow onions, a "Spanish-type" onion which is much like Candy except it is more elliptical in shape somewhat.....these are one of our "fresh" types of onions,  they are not "storage" types, the ones that you dry and hold onto for a while.  So eat them up quick!  Candies, though a bit more well-known, are the same way and are not meant for long-term storage, but taste great.  Alisa Craigs taste delicious too, though!  Soon we will be opening up to our CSA members our storage type onion varieties that we have on hand....it will only be a matter of time!

Patty Pans in action
We also have for you a new, unique, and somewhat strange-looking variety of summer squash that you may have encountered and taken for your share last week at the farmer's market: Patty Pan summer squash!  They are also called Sunburst squash, or Cajun French squash (although if I were to have named the variety, I would have called them "elf nipples").  Some say they look like flying saucers.  Picking the squash from the plant is interesting, as the plant releases an intriguing, appetizing variety of smells when you pull off the fruits, breaking the stem and releasing the juices....one of them was quite similar to a less-sweet banana.  We'll be including a recipe to accompany this interesting fruit!  (yes....squash are technically fruits.)

They look pretty devilish.

As part of your tomato share this week you will be reaping the harvest of our San Marzano Roma tomato crop!  And boy, do we have a lot of them!  San Marzanos are unique Romas in that they are somewhat longer than the average, with a more distinct point at their bottom tip.  Talk to any well-traveled, knowledgeable chef....San Marzanos are almost unanimously considered to be the best sauce or paste tomato in the world!  So, we will of course be including a catchy sauce recipe for you to enjoy!

And last but not least, we've got for you sweet peppers and hot peppers aplenty!  Our pepper, eggplant, and tomato field looks simply elegant this year, meticulously trellised and cared for by a limited handful of our farmers here at the Echollective: namely Randall, Louie, and Derek.  Biggest thanks for the beautiful peppers you'll receive is due to them!

We hope you enjoy the fresh produce this week, and we'll see you at market!


Recipes
  
Pretty-in-the-Pan Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (ohsheglows.com)

If you can find some Patty Pan Squash you will love this dish, perfect for the summer months! It is extremely flavourful, has a great texture, and is very light. You will not feel loaded down after eating this meal! I purposely made it tonight because I am going for a run later and didn’t want to be weighed down.

Inspired by Susan’s PP Squash Stuffed with Cajun White Beans.

Ingredients:
  • 10-11 Patty Pan Squash
  • 1 zucchini (sliced in half with one half scooped out)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large green onion stalk (or 1/2 sm. sweet onion will work)
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups (or a bit more if necessary) vegetable bouillon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, poked with a fork
  • 3 tbsp (approx) tomato paste
  • 1.5 tbsp Earth Balance (or margarine/butter of choice)
  • Pinch or two of sea salt
  • Freshly Ground black pepper
  • Dried or fresh parsley, to garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to garnish

Directions: (Please don’t be intimidated by the long directions, I just wanted to be detailed! It was actually very easy and took under 45 minutes start to finish).
1) Take a medium sized pot and bring 2 cups of vegetable bouillon + sea salt + poked garlic cloves to a boil on high. Add 1 cup short grain brown rice and stir well, checking often. Add more bouillon if it gets too dry. After about 10 minutes reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 20-25 more minutes over medium heat. Check it often as it can burn easily. [By ‘infusing’ the garlic in the rice, I was able to add a bit of garlic flavour without actually having the raw garlic in the dish!].
2) While the rice is cooking, take a large pot and fill it with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place patty pan squash in the pot and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and allow to cool.
3) While the above is cooking, prepare the stuffing. yes, you are a multi-tasking goddess for this recipe! Take the carrot, 1/2 a zucchini (plus insides from other half), and green onion and process in a food processor until fine.
4) In a small bowl, mix the sauce for the rice. Take the earth balance in a small bowl and heat until soft. Now mix in the tomato paste until smooth.
5) When the rice is done cooking remove garlic cloves, add the tomato paste + Earth Balance mixture, and stir very well. Taste. Add salt and black pepper if necessary. This rice + tomato mixture BLEW MY MIND. It tasted so good!!! Addicting.
6) Take your cooled squash and chop off the heads and remove the insides carefully with a spoon. Take the flesh that you remove and add it to the processed mixture of carrots, onion, and zucchini.
7) Take the processed mixture (carrots, zucchini, onion + squash insides) and dump it into the rice pot. Stir well and taste for any adjustments you need to make.
8) Stuff the Patty Pan squash with your rice + veggie mixture. Take any remaining leftover rice mixture and scoop it onto the pan around the squash. Bake in the oven at 375F for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, serve and enjoy!
Serves about 3.
This rice + tomato paste + Earth Balance + sea salt + fresh ground pepper mixture will blow your taste buds away. It is SO good it hurts.


Organic Fresh San Marzano Tomato Sauce (www.blackgirlchefswhites.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds fresh San Marzano tomatoes, or other ripe summer tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or pot.
  2. Cook the onion 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, salt, basil, oregano, thyme and pepper. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is very fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes and wine, stirring to mix well.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and let cook for 50 minutes to one hour. Stir the sauce occasionally to make sure the sauce is not reducing too quickly.
  6. Pass the tomato sauce through a food mill, or puree in a food processor. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 15 minute(s)
Makes 3 cups of tomato sauce.


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 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! 


0 comments:

Eggplants and Peppers!

7:40 PM Adrian 0 Comments

Greetings everyone!

Going to be brief in our newsletter this week....not much is different here at Echollective!  Still pulling and processing garlic in the heat of the summer day, bringing it in by the truckload!

New this week for CSA will feature eggplants and green peppers!  Of course, we will be including recipes.  The full gamut of summer veggies is finally here!  Yeah!!!

That and more to look forward to:
  • Kale
  • Mint
  • Garlic
  • Candy Onions
  • Leeks
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Green Peppers

Enjoy the summer before it's over, which will happen before you know it!  See you at market!


Recipes

Grilled Leeks (www.theravenouscouple.com)

  • 2 medium sized leeks (*Echollective suggestion: or a large handful of smaller ones!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs chopped mint
Cut off the leafy green end of the leek and keep the slightly green and white portion. Split lengthwise, then halve again across. The leaves of the leek will be tightly packed so split them apart to wash as there are lots of dirt and grit in between. Blanch in boiling water. Drain, dry, drizzle with olive oil and grill. Finish with sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, splash of white wine vinegar and finely chopped mint. In the meantime, the steak was pan seared and finished in the oven.


 Stuffed Eggplant with Tomatoes (southernfood.about.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs

Preparation:

Wash eggplant and cut in half. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell. Dice the scooped out pulp. In a skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes; add eggplant pulp, tomatoes, bread crumbs, and salt. Mix well; fill eggplant shells. Bake at 375° until browned, about 30 minutes.
Eggplant Recipe serves 4.

Muhammara (www.nytimes.com)

"Muhammara is a hot pepper dip originally from Aleppo, Syria but also found in Palestinian and Lebanese cuisine[1] as well as other places in Anatolia and the Levant." -Wikipedia

Ingredients
  • Bell peppers
  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Cumin
  • Red-chili flakes
Preparation
Combine  peppers, a handful of walnuts, olive oil, chopped garlic, lemon zest and a pinch of ground cumin in a food processor; pulse until pasty. Add red-chili flakes and lemon juice to taste.








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 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! 
 

0 comments: