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 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 30, 2014

In this week’s box:

2 pints blueberries

2 half-pints raspberries

1 flat peaches

1 dozen eggs

2 ambrosia cantaloupe

3 watermelons

1 bushel sweet corn

1 bag tomatoes

4 half-pints OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own raspberries, 8 a.m. until noon on Wednesday, July 30

4 half-pints OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own raspberries, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3

Pick-your-own opportunities for CSA members only.

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $119

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $1,001

Emily’s notes:

Have you been throwing away your peach pits? Did you know that in the center of the pits are small, almond-like nuts referred to by the French as noyaux? These nuts, and even the stony pit that surrounds them, can in fact be used to infuse custards, liquors, vinegars and lots of other things. I recommend this post from the blog BraveTart for starters. It also discusses the rumors that eating peach pits will poison you. Also, take a look at these recipes from Bon Appetit for using all kinds of stone fruit pits. One more way to get more from your CSA! 

Speaking of using the whole fruit, our region’s very own Doctor Yum has a super-simple recipe for making whole-fruit popsicles that would work perfectly with this week’s box. Get yourself some popsicle molds and lightly place some sliced peaches, blueberries and raspberries into the empty molds. Puree some watermelon, or even a mixture of watermelon and cantaloupe, or any of the other fruits you’ve got this week, in a blender and pour the liquid mixture over the fruit in the molds. Freeze until solid and you’ll have a healthy treat come dessert time. Click here for a cute video demonstrating the method.

If you’re like me, you turn again and again to the same flavor profile when serving summer favorites like corn and tomatoes. For me, that’s a Mediterranean blend of salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil and maybe feta or Parmesan. If you’re looking to travel to a new region with your cuisine, try this recipe from Serious Eats for corn and tomato curry. I love the simplicity of it.

If you’ve frozen enough corn kernels or cobs, why not freeze some corn in muffin form? Then all fall and winter you’ll be able to go to the freezer for a homemade baked good to accompany stews and chilis. I usually just add a bunch of corn kernels to the corn muffin recipe you find on the back of your bag of cornmeal. However, here is a Dorie Greenspan recipe for “Corniest Corn Muffins,” adapted by Smitten Kitchen.

 

Week 12: Break even! July 23, 2014

Congratulations, CSA members! This week’s box brings the total retail value of goods distributed so far this year to $882. That means that you have now broken even on the price of your 2014 CSA, with more than a month’s worth of distributions still to go! As Emmett Snead said, “Everything from here on out is free.” Enjoy!

In this week’s box:

2 pints blueberries

1 half-pint raspberries

1 flat peaches

1/2 dozen eggs

1 bushel corn

2 bags tomatoes

2 ambrosia cantaloupes

3 seedless watermelons

2 pints cherry tomatoes

(Please note: all of the below pick-your-own opportunities are for CSA MEMBERS ONLY.)

4 half-pints OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own raspberries on July 23 (CSA pickup day) from 8 a.m. until noon

1 bouquet OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own sunflowers on July 23 (CSA pickup day) from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

4 half-pints OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own raspberries on Sunday, July 27 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

1 bouquet OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own sunflowers on Sunday, July 27 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $133.50

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $882

Emily’s notes

What a bounty of corn. If it’s more than your family can eat, remember that there are many others in our community who can use it. Consider your neighbors, co-workers, church food pantry, area food bank or other worthy kitchens if you find yourself with more than you need.

Corn also freezes well, if you’d like to save some for later in the year. You’ll want to dunk husked ears into boiling water for about 4 minutes, cool them in ice water for the same amount of time you cooked them for, and then cut the kernels from the cobs, to be sealed in airtight bags with as much air removed as possible. They’ll last for up to a year. For a nice illustrated step-by-step on freezing corn, click here.

While we’re talking about freezing, a flat of peaches presents opportunities for preservation, as well. First, you’ll need to peel the peaches. The method for doing this is the same as for peeling tomatoes, a task you’ll want to do if you plan to make sauce out of this week’s box. Using a paring knife, carve a shallow X in the bottom of your peach or tomato. Get a big pot of water boiling, and have a large bowl of ice water ready right beside the pot. Dunk the peach or tomato into the hot water for about a minute, then transfer to the ice water for the same amount of time, then to a dish towel to wait until all of your blanching is complete. You should then be able to pull off the peels by hand. Cut the peaches away from the stone and slice them. Place in a bowl with about a tablespoon of sugar per 4 peaches (or more , but you do need some sugar to help preserve the fruit), and a little vanilla if you like. Toss in this mixture and allow to sit for a few minutes, then lay the peaches out  in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze them like this until they are solid, and then place the frozen peaches into Ziploc bags. I have found this method makes it easier to remove the frozen peaches for later use than just spooning the entire peach-and-sugar mixture directly into a bag to freeze.

Want to save your blueberries? Wash them and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bag them after they are frozen and you’ll have some delicious, icy smoothie ingredients ready for months to come.

If you have an ice cream maker, there’s nothing like peach ice cream in the summer. Here is a recipe I made a few years ago that worked well. Don’t throw the egg whites out when making this. You can freeze them in a Ziploc bag and use them later, like when you are really craving macaroons.

PEACH ICE CREAM

recipe from Epicurious.com

  • 2 pounds ripe peaches
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cut an X in bottom of each peach, then blanch in boiling water 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel peaches and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with lemon juice and 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar in a large bowl. Let macerate, covered and chilled, at least 8 hours.

Whisk together cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Add cream and milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Add to yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly, to temper, then pour mixture back into saucepan.

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl and stir in extracts. Chill custard, its surface covered with parchment paper (to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least 4 hours.

Transfer 2 cups peaches with slotted spoon to a bowl.

Purée remaining peaches and liquid in a blender until smooth. Add purée to custard and freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to a bowl and stir in reserved peaches.

Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, about 2 hours.

Another peach recipe I’m excited to try is this delicious-looking recipe for grilled peach “splits” from Smitten Kitchen.

If you’re grilling, don’t forget that corn can be great cooked on the grill. There are several ways to do this, and I like this post from Serious Eats comparing them.  You might also want to place some of your cherry tomatoes on a skewer, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them alongside your meat for 6-8 minutes, just enough to heat through and absorb some smoky flavor and char.

Week 11: July 16, 2014

In this week’s box:

2 pints blueberries

1 dozen eggs

2 dozen ears corn

1 flat peaches

2 bags tomatoes

1 bag cucumbers

1 bag yellow squash

1 bag zucchini

1 bouquet **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own sunflowers, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

4 half-pints **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own raspberries 8 a.m. until noon

4 half-pints **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own raspberries on July 20, noon until 3 p.m.

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $95

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $748.50

Emily’s notes

When I start to see tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer, I always think of gazpacho. Summer in a bowl (or cup), gazpacho is one of the easiest soups you’ll ever make, and it’s perfect for these hot days, because there is absolutely no heat involved (unless you choose to add some hot peppers, which are nice). Let’s think of gazpacho this week not as one single recipe to be followed in exact detail, but as a concept that will allow you to use your summer vegetables with ease in your kitchen. Here are several ideas to work from:

– Traditional gazpacho – When I studied in southern Spain, people would drink this almost as a beverage at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s refreshing and a delicious way to consume vegetables. If you are trying to cook as much as possible with only things from your CSA box, I would place 4 tomatoes, 1 peeled cucumber, one of the smaller onions leftover from last week, if you have one (if not, add scallions, a garlic clove or red onion), salt, pepper, olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar to a food processor or blender (all the vegetables should be cut into chunks that this equipment can handle). Whir them all together and adjust for seasonings, then chill for a few hours before serving. I would consider adding fresh corn kernels and a dollop of sour cream when serving. Garden herbs including basil, chives and parsley also make a nice addition. Now, if you want a really nice recipe that really mimics the gazpacho I remember from Spain, try this one. The bread adds a nice thickness and body to the soup.

– Gazpacho with fruit – Don’t forget that peaches can be a great addition to savory dishes, including gazpacho. Try this recipe from Epicurious for Peach and Tomato Gazpacho.

– Deconstructed gazpacho – You could make endless summer salads by chopping tomatoes, cucumbers and other summer vegetables and throwing them in a bowl with olive oil, seasonings and maybe a little cheese. The New York Times offers this recipe for Tomato, Cucumber and Corn salad. I say who needs a recipe? If you have good vegetables on-hand, experiment with different combinations of no-cook side dishes like this. Squash and zucchini can be used raw if sliced thinly enough. Or grill them and mix with your raw ingredients for a hot-cold salad with great texture.

The August issue of Better Homes and Gardens has a great spread on recipes for corn, green beans and squash. A few that caught my eye (Note: Their website will ask you to enter your e-mail address and create a password to see these.):

Tomato-Topped Corn and Feta Casserole

Garlicky Zucchini Noodles

Peaches and blueberries are a great combination. Take the recipe I shared in this post last year for peach and blackberry crisp and sub in blueberries instead. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream! When you’re slicing those peaches, it probably helps to know that this week’s peaches are clingstones, meaning the flesh clings to the pit inside. Clingstones ripen earlier than freestone peaches, which you can expect to see in the coming weeks. The fact that they are somewhat harder to separate from the pit and slice is all the more reason to eat them bite by bite standing over the sink!

Do you have great summer vegetable recipes you’d like to share with the group? E-mail me and let me know!

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!

Week 17: Aug. 21, 2013

Concord grapes

Concord grapes

In this week’s box:

1/2 dozen eggs

2 watermelons

1 flat of peaches

14 ears of corn

1 pint of blackberries

1 1/2 pints of raspberries

2 eggplants

2 peppers

3 lbs of string beans

*Optional*

Pick-your-own bonus available only between 9am – 12pm

2 pints of PYO raspberries

1 pint of PYO blackberries

1 quart of PYO grapes

Total retail value of this week’s box: $105.50

Total retail value of goods distributed this year: $1016.50

Emily’s notes:

What a feast of watermelon we have had this year! If you’re looking for a new way to serve it, try pairing it with corn in a salsa. Simply chop the watermelon into a small dice, add an ear or two’s worth of corn kernels (No need to cook them, but sometimes it makes it easier to cut them from the cob if you zap the unshucked ear in the microwave for a couple minutes.). Throw in chopped red onion, some minced jalapeno pepper if you have it, olive oil, lime juice and chopped cilantro, parsley or basil (My rule on herbs is to use whatever’s growing best.). Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. This would be great with some hearty blue corn tortilla chips, and would make a pleasingly colorful appetizer at a party.

Turn your peaches and blackberries into a quick and relatively healthy crisp for dessert. For this recipe, I would use two peaches and about a half dozen of these giant blackberries. It’s fairly forgiving, though, so adjust it as you see fit.

Peach and blackberry crisp

2 peaches, peeled and cut into 8 slices each

half-dozen (or so) of Snead’s giant blackberries

cooking spray

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour (All-purpose is fine, but I feel like I can pile on more ice cream if I use “healthy” whole-wheat.)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/8 cup chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)

Spray a 1.5-quart baking dish with cooking spray and arrange peaches and berries in dish.

Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, salt and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until just about all of the dry ingredients feel coated with butter. Lightly mix in the nuts, if using. Spread this mixture over the fruit and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the top is browned. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Those grapes are something else. Such strong, true grape flavor. It’s hard to eat grocery store grapes after this. But they do have a lot of seeds. Last week I made freezer jam out of mine. It took about an hour, and I did it after the kids were in bed, but it was worth it. I have made a lot of freezer jams that haven’t jelled, but this one worked. I think that’s because grapes contain a lot of natural pectin. I have three jars in my freezer, but kept one in the fridge to eat right away. It was great on buttered toast and, of course, in peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. If I have time this week I’d like to take it to the next level by putting the jam between two layers of peanut butter shortbread crust and making PB&J bars. Like I said, if I had time. Here is the process I used to make jam out of my grapes. I highly recommend doing this, so that you can go enjoy a great big spoonfull of that glorious grape-y goodness without stopping to spit seeds.

Concord Grape Freezer Jam

Ingredients:

2 quarts Concord grapes, washed

3 8-oz canning jars made specifically for freezer use (I used Ball plastic freezer jars with green lids), plus one more container for the jam you will use right away and store in the fridge (This does not need to be canning-quality. I used a recycled glass jelly jar).

2 tablespoons instant pectin (I used Ball RealFruit Instant Pectin)

2/3 cup sugar

*You’ll also need a food processor, a medium saucepan, a medium mixing bowl and a fine sieve or strainer.

jamMethod:

Set up the counter so that you have your sauce pan and your food processor right next to each other.  Skin the grapes by holding them, one by one, with your fingers so that the stem end is pointing into the sauce pan. Squeeze so that the flesh and seed pop into the saucepan, then throw the skin in the food processor. This takes a while. Maybe put your setup in front of the TV so you can stay occupied.

Place the saucepan of grape flesh over medium heat until it starts to boil. Cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 1/3 cup of the sugar to the grape skins and whir them in the food processor until smooth. 

When you’re finished cooking the grape innards, place your sieve over your mixing bowl and pour in the hot grapes. Use a wooden spoon, a ladle or a potato masher to mash the grape pulp until most of the pulp and juice is in the bowl and you are left with just the seeds in the sieve (It is nearly impossible to separate all the flesh from the seeds, so don’t sweat it.).

Mix the remaining 1/3 cup sugar with the pectin in a small bowl. Add the strained grape pulp back into your sauce pan, along with the pureed grape skins and the sugar and pectin mixture. Place over medium heat and stir for about 3 minutes. 

Pour this mixture into your clean jars. Leave 1/2 inch of space at the top of the freezer jars to allow for expansion. This should fill the three freezer jars, plus leave a little extra to store in the fridge for immediate use. Let the jars sit uncovered on the counter for 30 minutes. The jam will seem very runny when you put it away, but after a night in the fridge it will thicken.

Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, freezer for up to a year.