Week 18: August 28, 2013

In this week’s box:

1/2 dozen eggs

1 flat of peaches

4 heads of garlic

1 pint of blackberries

2 pints of raspberries

4 eggplants

4 peppers

3 pounds of butter beans

*Optional Pick-your-own between 9am-12pm only*

2 pints of raspberries

1 quart of grapes

Total retail value of this week’s box: $100.50

Total retail value of goods distributed this year: $1,117

Emily’s notes:

It’s hard to believe this is the last pickup before October!

One possibility for your eggplants and peppers is a caponata. This is a Sicilian dish made of chopped cooked vegetables dressed with olives and capers. You can alter this recipe to suit your taste, but here’s the basic idea:

Eggplant and pepper caponata

2 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lemon

one garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

handful pitted olives (kalamata would be nice) optional

juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)

Place the eggplant and peppers on a roasting tray. Sprinkle on oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until all vegetables are coated. Roast in a 450-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are cooked and slightly browned.

When vegetables have cooled slightly, toss them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Just in case you have trouble getting though your berries before they begin to spoil, here is a recipe I adapted last week from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. It’s a great way to get a little more mileage out of your berries, as these muffins will keep for about a week in the fridge, or you could freeze them for longer storage.

Summer Berry Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

3 cups flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 all-purpose)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk (substitute any mix of yogurt, sour cream and milk if you are running low on milk)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups sugar

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Throw in the salt (if you use kosher salt it usually won’t go through a sieve). Stir this mixture lightly to ensure all the ingredients are mixed.

In another bowl, combine milk, eggs and butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix by hand to incorporate but don’t overmix. This batter will have lumps.

Add berries and sugar and stir gently until combined.

Spoon into lined muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean (A cake tester in my house is a dry spaghetti noodle.).

If you’ve only ever had canned butter beans, you are in for a treat. The fresh version is much better! This post from the blog A Taste of Carolina has some helpful tips and recipes for cooking fresh butter beans. It also tells you how to freeze them to eat later in the year.

Enjoy this last boxful of summer. I’ll be back later for some tips on using fall vegetables!

Advertisements

Midweek recipe: greens and beans (and whatever else) soup

photo-8

If your Memorial Day weekend was like mine, you came home from a few days on the road to a refrigerator drawer full of CSA vegetables you still needed to use. My kohlrabi were still rolling around in there, and my Swiss chard was starting to look tired. I woke it up with a soak in cold water, and then got started on one of my favorite vehicles for using the produce that threatens to go bad on us before we can use it: soup.

The recipe below is not the product of repeated fine-tuning in a test kitchen (though it is tasty). It is offered as an example of how you don’t always need a recipe to concoct tasty, economical dishes that will make the most of your CSA share.

A couple of notes:

  • I used a small amount of water in this soup. It came out thicker than most of my soups, and I kind of liked that, but you could use more water to give it a more traditional soup consistency. I also think that pureeing a bit of it, with the chickpeas included, and then pouring the puree back in with the rest of the soup would enhance the texture.
  • You could use chicken stock in place of water. A little wine wouldn’t hurt, either.
  • One of the things I like about soup for CSA cooking is that you can freeze it. Package it up in plastic containers or bags in portions you will use later on.
  • You will see CSA items from two different weeks in this recipe. Beet greens would work in this recipe (I usually prefer the whole beets on their own rather than mixed with a lot of other things in soups, but you could also use them in the same way the kohlrabi is used here.)

CSA drawer soup

1 green garlic plant, bulb and neck chopped finely

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch Swiss Chard, plus the greens from 4 kohlrabi, plus the greens from one beet, washed and chopped into small pieces (I kept the stems with the greens for this.)

2 kohlrabi, peeled and diced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

the empty can’s worth of water

2 cups chickpeas

In a Dutch oven or other large lidded pot, saute garlic and pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium heat until the garlic parts soften.

Add greens a few handfuls at a time and allow them to cook down. Salt them lightly as you add them. It helps to use tongs to toss the greens and garlic to make sure everything cooks evenly.

Add the kohlrabi, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes. You want to make sure the kohlrabi cooks to a pleasant texture.

Add the chickpeas and cook until warmed through. Serve now or freeze for later. This would be great with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and some crusty bread.

 

Week 5: May 29, 2013

529board

Emily’s notes:

Last week, CSA members received garlic scapes, the flower stalk portion of the garlic plant. Today, you’re receiving the rest of the plant–two of them. Think of this as the garlic version of the green onions you’ve received earlier this CSA season. Every piece of this plant is edible, from the green tops to the young garlic bulbs. Green garlic is generally milder than mature garlic, and you can use it in any recipe where you’d normally use regular garlic. For a very detailed overview of how to store, cut and cook with this vegetable, see this helpful post on the website Food52.

Sugar snap peas are in full force this week. I like to substitute raw snap peas for chips in my lunches and snacks when I have so many of them in my house, but they also cook up into a variety of tasty side dishes. One basic technique is to blanch the trimmed snap peas by plunging them into boiling water for about  a minute, then throwing them directly into a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. You can actually do this a day ahead of time and store the prepped peas in the fridge. When you’re ready to make dinner, saute the peas in some butter over medium heat just until warmed through, and add some salt, pepper and lemon zest as they cook. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

When you get your beets home, be sure to separate the greens from the roots before storing them. Beets will keep for much longer this way. The greens can be used in any recipe that calls for Swiss chard, kale or other hearty greens. It’s like getting two vegetables in one. The roots can be used raw, grated into salads. I plan to roast mine using the technique below. Once roasted, beets will keep for a week in the fridge. Once you’ve roasted your beets, they are a lot easier to toss into salads throughout the week. Toss them with salt and pepper, vinaigrette and goat cheese for a chic salad that’s shown up on a lot of restaurant menus lately. They would also be great tossed with feta cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and quinoa or any other grain of your choice. To take advantage of the intense color of beets, try this recipe for summer borscht, a cold soup that will dazzle your table with its hot-pink color. I’m working on a slightly unorthodox use of beets that should appeal to the vegetable-phobic in your house. Check back laster this week to see how it turns out.

Roasted beets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim beets of greens and scrub well. Wrap each beet loosely in aluminum foil.

Place beets on a rimmed baking sheet or dish to catch the red juices. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes. Beets are done when a fork goes in without resistance.

Allow beets to cool until you can handle them, then rub the outer skin off with your fingers or with a paper towel. If it doesn’t come off easily, the beets aren’t cooked enough. Store cooked and peeled beets in the refrigerator.