Week 17: Aug. 27, 2014

Remember:

  • This is the last CSA pickup until the quadruple fall pickup on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
  • You can join the Snead’s Farm CSA for 2015 by downloading the application here. Hard copies of the application are also available at the farm stand.

In this week’s box:

1 flat peaches

1 dozen eggs

1 dozen corn

1 quart okra

2 1.5-pound bags string beans

1 bag eggplant (4 eggplant)

2 bags tomatoes

2 2-pound bags potatoes

2 butternut squash

The following pick-your-own opportunities are for CSA members only

1 half-pint optional bonus pick-your-own raspberries, 8 a.m. until noon, Wed., Aug. 27

1 quart optional bonus pick-your-own Concord grapes, 8 a.m. until noon, Wed., Aug. 27

2 half-pints optional bonus pick-your-own raspberries, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $80

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $1,551.50 

Emily’s notes:

As usual, this summer sped by, and the advance of fall is evident in this box, with butternut squash and tomatoes and raspberries side-by-side. If you’re not quite ready to start cooking winter squash, don’t worry, you can hold onto butternut squash for months if you keep it in a relatively cool place. I’ll have lots of squash recipes coming before the fall pickup, but for one that feels more summer than fall, here’s a Mexican Butternut Squash and Corn Saute from Food52. You could use your CSA tomatoes instead of canned. Maybe add a dash of ground chipotle chili powder or red pepper flakes to make up for the fire-roasted element.

You could also combine your butternut squash and corn into a chowder, as this recipe from Martha Stewart does (no need for frozen corn, obviously).

We often think of okra as a Southern vegetable, but it also shows up a lot in Indian cuisine. I would sub in fresh diced tomatoes for canned in this recipe for Indian eggplant with okra and tomatoes. This would be delicious over rice, no meat needed! I can also now say that I highly recommend this recipe I linked to last week for okra and potato hash, although I would use a bit more salt. I might throw in an ear’s worth of corn kernels or maybe a diced eggplant this week.

If you’re looking for a new way to eat peaches, this recipe for blueberry peach oatmeal muffins makes a nice lower-sugar snack or breakfast option. A couple of additions I recommend are doubling the peaches and omitting the blueberries, since we don’t have those this week, adding about 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the dry ingredients and using brown sugar instead of white.

 

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Week 16: Aug. 20, 2014

Ready to join the 2015 Snead’s Farm CSA? Download the contract here.

In this week’s box:

1 flat peaches

2 quarts Concord grapes

1 quart okra

1 dozen eggs

1 spaghetti squash

2 bags tomatoes

small quantity of summer squash

4 watermelons

1 bag green bell peppers

1 bag cucumbers

2 2-lb bags white potatoes

1 bag yellow onions

The following pick-your-own opportunities are an optional bonus for CSA members only:

On Wednesday, Aug, 20, from 8am to noon:

4 half-pints PYO raspberries

2 quarts Concord grapes

On Sunday, Aug. 24 from 11am to 2pm:

8 half-pints PYO raspberries

2 quarts Concord grapes

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $143

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $1,471.50

Emily’s notes:

Let’s talk about Concord grapes. They are so much faster to pick than raspberries because they come in bunches, but unless you are into spitting seeds and chewing through their tough skins, they will take a little more time in the kitchen. Rest assured that the effort is well worth it, though, as these grapes taste a lot more grape-y than the seedless varieties you find at the supermarket. (As an aside, I was at the grocery store today and saw grapes that said on the package they were “cotton candy” flavor. What the…Well, these are not cotton-candy flavored grapes. They are grape-flavored grapes.)

What to do with them? Read this post from last year about the process of turning them into freezer jam. I just finished off the last of my 2013 Concord grape freezer jam a few weeks ago, and boy does it make a great PB&J. It’s also great on good bread for breakfast and in waffles.  You could also turn your grapes into pie filling to make a Northern classic, Concord grape pie. Find a recipe from Saveur here.

Spaghetti squash can make a quick meal that is kid-friendly. To cook, simply slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash face-down on a sheet pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until tender all the way through. Allow the squash to cool enough so you can handle them, and use a big fork or spoon to scrape out the flesh, which has a spaghetti-like appearance when cooked. Toss with marinara or, better yet, a rich meat sauce like a Bolognese (Try this recipe for a quick one, I make it with beef.).

With bell peppers, don’t forget one of my favorite ways to serve them: stuffed. This recipe for stuffed bell peppers recognizes what a forgiving dish this can be, incorporating whatever you have around. It will also use some of your onions.

As for okra, I am really intrigued this week by this Southern Living recipe for okra and potato hash. Happy eating!

Week 15: Aug. 13, 2014

In this week’s box:

2 pints blueberries

1 flat peaches

1 jar Snead’s Farm seedless blackberry preserves

half dozen eggs

half pint okra

4 watermelons

1 dozen corn

1 bag tomatoes

8 half-pints **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own raspberries, 8 a.m. until noon Wednesday, Aug. 13, CSA members only

8 half-pints **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own raspberries, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, CSA members only

Total retail value of items in this week’s box: $125

Total retail value of items distributed so far this year: $1,328.50

Emily’s notes:

Okra is new this week. Your okra, corn and tomatoes would work nicely in this recipe for maque choux from Southern Living. Every year, I make this recipe for Mediterranean Okra and Tomato stew from The New York Times. It is the first okra recipe I ever liked, and I find it hard to beat. Of course, another classic treatment for okra is to fry it, and for that I recommend this recipe from The Kitchn.

Peach basil pizza sauce

Peach basil pizza sauce

Last week, I put three peaches (sliced, not peeled) and a handful of basil in my food processor and whirred them into a simple sauce. I spooned this onto my homemade pizza dough (recipe here), then sprinkled on parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, a handful of corn kernels and some delicious leftover North Carolina barbecue. It made for a nice flavor combination, and you could do this with any good sausage or even rotisserie chicken in place of the pig.

With this many raspberries, you might want to find some recipes to use them so you make sure to consume them before they go bad (which happens FAST). Here is a simple recipe for raspberry sauce from Martha Stewart. This is great on waffles or pancakes, ice cream and chocolate cake. Speaking of cake, last week I made this raspberry chocolate chip cake using my Snead’s Farm raspberries to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

Have you been to Kybecca in downtown Fredericksburg lately? They use Snead’s Farm produce in their menu items, and recently challenged their bartenders to create a signature cocktail using watermelon. Read about it here on their online cocktail menu and get inspiration for your own home bar creations. If you’d like to make some watermelon syrup to stock your bar, here is a recipe. These watermelon-raspberry slushies would also make a nice summer refreshment, and would be great virgin or spiked.

 

Week 13: July 24, 2013

In this week’s box:

1/2 dozen eggs

1 quart of okra

1 eggplant

1 pepper

2 watermelons

1 heirloom cantaloupe

3 quarts of peaches

4 pints of grape tomatoes

1 bushel of corn

2 containers of berries

1 bag of italian peppers

Emily’s notes:

Is there a produce item that says “summer” more than watermelon? Since it’s July in Virginia, I’m craving something icy cold these days, and when I saw the watermelons show up on this week’s list I immediately started thinking about watermelon granita. All granita is is liquefied fruit and other optional flavorings that are frozen. Every few hours during the freezing process, you scrape a little bit of the ice crystals to loosen them so that the final product is the consistency of a snow cone. But it’s fruit. So it’s good for you. I’m going to send you to this post by the Pioneer Woman for a well-photographed tutorial on granitas. But don’t limit yourself to the recipe. Swap the sugar for honey if you like. Add some mint. Cantaloupe and peaches could be added to the blender to make a mixed-fruit granita. Go wild!

You have plenty of corn to experiment with this week, so here are a few ideas that go beyond the everyday:

Sweet corn ice cream from Cooking Light

Savory corn cobbler from Real Simple

Blueberry and corn clafoutis from Marcus Samuelsson (You could swap out the blueberries for the berries in your box this week.)

Summer Succotash from Smitten Kitchen (This recipe will also use some of your grape tomatoes.)

Remember that corn is easy to freeze. You can freeze whole ears with or without the husks, or you can remove the kernels from the cob and bag them. I do not think it’s necessary to blanch the corn before you cut it from the cob to freeze it. I froze some using both methods last year and found I liked the un-blanched corn much better when it came out of the freezer.

Okra is a Southern favorite, but some folks just aren’t that into it. I thought I was one of those folks until I got okra in last year’s CSA share. My favorite way to cook it is to stew it in tomatoes using this recipe from the New York Times. Another technique: Simply toss the okra with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. Really, there aren’t too many vegetables that don’t respond well to this technique (Peel and cube your eggplant and add garlic and lemon juice to the olive oil toss. Roast at 400 degrees until soft and slightly charred, and you’ve got a flavorful salad topper.).

Speaking of eggplant, it’s great on the grill. In fact, looking at this list, I think you could throw together a visually pleasing and appetizing grilled side or main dish by placing grape tomatoes and 1-inch chunks of  pepper and eggplant on skewers. Marinate these in salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice (add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes or other seasonings as desired). Grill until the eggplant has softened. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a few peach chunks to these.

Italian peppers are a sweet pepper variety that’s great for frying, grilling or oven-roasting. If you roast or grill them, then stick them in a paper bag to steam, you will be able to remove the skins, then slice them into thin slivers to enjoy on sandwiches, salads or all by themselves with olive oil, salt and pepper as a side dish. You can also stuff them. One recipe I have my eye on for this week is this one for sausage-stuffed Italian peppers. I’ll probably modify it quite a bit to leave out expensive ingredients like pine nuts (almonds would probably work) and spinach (I’m going to use chard from my garden, but this could be omitted.).

Sliced or chunked eggplant and pepper can be seasoned, grilled and then stored in the fridge for a few days. If I’m cooking meat on the grill on a Sunday, I like to grill extra vegetables to use later in the week. Their smoky flavor is a great addition to sandwiches, quesadillas, salads and pizzas.

Which reminds me, this week’s box has so many great pizza toppings. Corn, tomatoes, pepper, eggplant (Grill or roast it first.) and peaches (Great with barbecue sauce and chicken on pizza.) are all great examples. And making the dough is a lot easier than you probably think. Below is a recipe used once a week or more in my house. It requires no equipment fancier than a bowl and a wooden spoon. I have replaced up to half the flour with whole wheat or white whole wheat flour with good results. This can be a crowd-pleasing way to serve a lot of vegetables at the dinner table.

Weeknight pizza dough (adapted from Jim Lahey)

Serves four generously

1 1/3 cup hot tap water

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry or rapid rise yeast (I have used both, with results that didn’t differ much)

3/4 teaspoon sugar

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method:

In a small mixing bowl (preferably one with a spout), combine the yeast and the sugar. Pour the hot tap water over this mixture and whisk briefly. If your yeast is good, a foam head will develop on this mixture as you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

In a really large mixing bowl, combine flours, wheat germ, salt and herbs (if using). Pour in olive oil, then give your yeast slurry one last whisk and pour it over the flours. Give this mixture a few good turns with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula, then get your (clean) hands in there and get everything good and incorporated, kneading the dough lightly for about 30 seconds once everything is mixed.

Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave at room temperature for at least two hours, but it will be fine if you leave it for much longer.

At least 30 minutes before you want to make the pizza, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. At the same time, turn out the dough onto a floured surface and cut it in half. Shape each half into a ball and let sit under a dish towel on the floured surface until the oven has pre-heated and you’ve assembled your toppings. Cover a standard baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.

When the oven is ready, gently shape one of the dough balls with your hands or a rolling pin until it fits in the prepared baking sheet. If you are only making one pizza, you can place the leftover dough in an oiled zip-top bag and freeze it, or refrigerate it if you plan to use it within the next three days.

Top your pizza as desired and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes, then dinner’s ready.

One last quick note: as of last week, the total retail value of produce distributed this year was $612. We’re still researching retail value for this week’s box.