Week 8: June 25, 2014

In this week’s box:

3 half-pints raspberries

2 half-pints black raspberries

1 dozen eggs

1 bulb fennel with fronds

2 bags red new potatoes

2 bunches spring onions

2 bags green beans

2 heads cabbage

1 bag zucchini

1 bag yellow squash

**OPTIONAL BONUS** up to 4 half-pints pick-your-own raspberries, between 9 a.m. and noon, CSA members only.

Total retail value of goods distributed this week: $54.50

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this season: $529.50

Emily’s notes

With both green beans and potatoes in this week’s box, I highly recommend this recipe I shared last year for Southern-style green beans and new potatoes. It’s a good reminder that bacon makes everything better.

With spring onions and cabbage, I will definitely be making this recipe for cabbage salad with ramen noodles. It works just as well with regular cabbage as with the Napa cabbage called for in the recipe. I find it’s best to use a food processor to shred the cabbage if you have one.

What to do with fennel? You could slice it very thinly and toss it with thinly sliced apples and some of the chopped greens from the spring onions, along with a vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, some walnuts and blue cheese for a cool summer salad. I would also finely chop some of the green fronds from atop the fennel bulb to add to this. Some folks don’t like raw fennel, though, and in that case, I would just toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic and throw it on the grill or into a 450-degree oven to roast until tender. It becomes sweeter and a bit less licorice-tasting when cooked.

Looking for a new way to serve zucchini and squash? I always love the way the Bavarian Chef in downtown Fredericksburg treats these vegetables. Try mixing green and yellow squash in this recipe from The Kitchn for Potato, Squash and Zucchini Gratin with Goat Cheese. I am always hesitant about gratins, because so many recipes seem to call for enough cream to cancel out all the virtue of the vegetables, but I like that this one is much lighter, and very easy to pull together with this week’s box!

I would also recommend substituting 1-2 shredded yellow squash for the carrots called for in this recipe for Healthy Morning Muffins from Martha Stewart. Please share your favorite summer squash and zucchini recipes if you have them!

 

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Week 7: June 18, 2014

In this week’s box:

3 half-pints raspberries

2 pints blueberries

1 dozen eggs

1 kohlrabi with tops

1 bag zucchini

2 bags yellow squash

2 bags pickling cucumbers (small cucumbers)

1 bag slicing cucumbers (larger cucumbers)

2 bunches beets with tops

4 half-pints pick-your-own raspberries 9 a.m. to noon only, for CSA members only

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $58

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $475

Emily’s notes:

If you want to make pickles, but are watching your sodium intake, here is a recipe from Eating Well magazine that I made a couple of CSA seasons ago. It makes a nice crisp pickle with a sweet-salty flavor.

Quick Pickles

1.25 pounds pickling cucumbers, trimmed and cut into quarter-inch slices

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup slivered onion

2 cloves garlic, slivered

1 teaspoon dill seed

1 teaspoon mustard seed

Place cucmber slices in a colander set in the sink. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. Let stand 20 minutes. Rinse, drain and transfer to a large heatproof bowl.

Meanwhile, combine apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, brown sugar, onion, garlic, dill and mustard seed in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers; stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to bring to room temperature. Refrigerated leftovers keep for up to 10 days.

Back when we had kohlrabi earlier in the season, a CSA member submitted the following recipe for a shaved kohlrabi salad. Originally from Epicurious, this recipe has been adapted to reflect this week’s quantity. However, I encourage you to adapt it further to fit what is in your pantry (i.e., don’t go looking for white wine vinegar if you already have apple cider or even red wine vinegar). Similarly, you could throw in some thinly sliced summer squash to make better use of what you have this week.

Shaved kohlrabi salad

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven and coarsely chopped

1 kohlrabi, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline

1 tart apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced on a mandoline

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (remember to zest the lemon before you slice it to juice)

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon white wine or white balsamic vinegar

kosher salt, to taste

1/4 cup torn mint leaves

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 oz.  shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese (about 1/8 cup)

Toss the kohlrabi, apple, lemon zest, juice and vinegar in a large bowl to combine. Add mint and toss again gently.

In a small bowl, combine hazlenuts, oil and salt and stir to combine.

Place kohlrabi mixture on plates and top with hazlenut mixture, cheese and more mint, if desired.

Don’t forget that you can bake with shredded yellow squash in the same way you would bake with zucchini. Last week I made this recipe for squash and blueberry bread that turned out very nicely. The coconut oil added a nice nutty sweetness and good moisture.

 

Week 6: June 11, 2014

In this week’s box:

2 heads cabbage

2 heads broccoli

2 bags yellow squash

1 bag zucchini

2 bags string beans

2 pints blueberries

1 dozen eggs

7 pints snow peas

6 pints sugar snap peas

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $68

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $417

Emily’s notes:

Welcome to summer! The season itself is still a couple weeks off, but this box has summer written all over it. Enjoy the sugar snaps this week, because this is probably the last we will see of them until next spring. As for snow peas, they’re great in stir-fries. You can find more ideas for snow peas in this post from last year’s CSA blog. I also used snow peas earlier this season in a Thai-style salmon recipe I found in Dinner: A Love Story, one of the few cookbooks I have left in my collection after years of trying to winnow it down. This recipe is versatile, and could use a handful or two of any of the vegetables in this week’s box. For squash, I would probably cut them into matchsticks to use them here. Here’s my very slightly adapted version:

Thai-ish Salmon

recipe from Dinner: A Love Story

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 salmon fillets of just under 1 pound each

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh lemongrass (the white part of the stalk), which you can find in the fresh herbs section at Wegmans and other local stores

1 tablespoon chopped scallions (white and green parts)

2/3 cup light coconut milk

juice of one lime

1.5 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

handful cilantro, chopped

handful basil, chopped

1 good handful snow peas, de-stringed

1 good handful broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil.

Place salmon in skillet flesh-side down and cook 3 or 4 minutes, until browned. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add lemongrass and scallions, stir for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, lime juice and curry paste. Whisk together and let simmer about 3 minutes.

Add salmon back in, skin side down, nestling into the sauce. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add cilantro, basil, snow peas and broccoli.

Simmer another 7-8 minutes. Serve with jasmine rice, more cilantro, scallions and lime wedges.

For a cozy weekend meal, try pairing stuffed cabbage with green beans cooked with bacon. For stuffed cabbage, I’ve had this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa on my to-do list for a while. As for the green beans, I’d start by chopping some raw bacon into small bits and cooking it in a Dutch oven. Remove the bacon when it’s crisp and then put your prepped green beans in the pot. Give them a quick saute in the hot bacon fat, then add water or chicken stock just to cover. Put the lid on and cook until the green beans are the texture you like them, adding more stock if necessary. Serve with the cooked bacon added back in. I’d go easy on the salt with these, because bacon adds a lot of salt, but some red pepper flakes added in with the beans would be nice.

A couple of quick salad ideas that will use some of these vegetables raw. Use your vegetable peeler to slice long, thin slices of zucchini or yellow squash. Place them in a bowl and douse with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some pecorino cheese chunks just before serving. Similarly, finely chop green beans, snow peas or sugar snap peas to give them a different texture. Toss with the same ingredients as above and serve nice and cold.

 

 

Week 5: June 4, 2014

In this week’s box:

6 pints of blueberries

2 bunches of beets w/tops

2 bunches of onions

5 cucumbers

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $45

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $349

Emily’s notes

A lot of people think pickles are intimidating and require getting out all the sterile canning equipment. In fact, “icebox” pickles can be made very easily and have a fresh crunch to them that can add a truly satisfying element to backyard cook-out meals. Here’s a recipe from this month’s issue of Southern Living, adapted for the quantity of pickles in this week’s box

Icebox Cucumber Pickles

recipe from “Fun Food and Flowers,” cookbook of the Thomsasville, Ga., Garden Club

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup canning and pickling salt

1/2 tsp celery seeds

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

5 medium cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 small onion, cut into 1.8-inch slices

Cook first six ingredients in a saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and sugar dissolves. Do not boil.

Place cucumbers and onions in a 2-quart airtight plastic container. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers and onions. Cool 30 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate in airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Cucumber slices also make a nice addition to a summer pitcher of ice water. Keep one in the fridge to encourage your household to hydrate on hot days.

Beets are another one of those two-for-one veggies. Use the tops as you would Swiss chard, sauteeing them or adding to egg dishes and similar fare. If you trim the tops off the roots as soon as you bring them home, both will last longer. The roots will actually keep a couple weeks in the fridge. For recipes, I’m going to send you to the beets page from last year’s blog, which includes recipes for a beet and goat cheese tart, simple roasted beets and beet chocolate “cake.”

Berries are not something I’ve ever had trouble using up in my house, but this week’s bevy of blueberries calls for some celebration. I love the combination of blueberry and lemon, so my pick for the week is this Blueberry Bread recipe from PBS’s Fresh Tastes blog, created by food writer Jenna Weber. If need be, you can always freeze extra blueberries in a single layer on a sheet pan and then package them in zip-top bags in the freezer for future smoothie, muffin and pancake making.