July 15, 2015

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Beefsteak Tomatoes – The star of this week’s recipe!
  • Cippolini Bianca di Maggio– Their name literally means “little onion” in Italian!  They’re thin-skinned and have translucent white flesh with more residual sugar than your average yellow or white onion, which makes them incredible for roasting or caramelizing. Roasted whole in the oven or cooked in a little butter on the stove top, cipollinis become soft and practically melt in your mouth. Those residual sugars caramelize and concentrate, leaving behind none of the astringent raw onion flavor.  For getting the thin skin off, you can use a paring knife to pull off strips from root to stem. You can also boil the onions for a few seconds to loosen the skin. 
  • Nelson Carrots – These fresh market Nelson carrots are a different cultivar from the Imperator bulk carrots you’ll find at the store. 
  • Marketmore Cucumber –  Cucumbers are over 90 percent water. Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to retain moisture.  They will keep for a week to 10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.
  • Gypsy Peppers - Stuff them with quinoa, black beans, fresh herbs, and cheese.  Yum!

 

Egg Shares include eggs from our certified organic, pasture-raised, happy hens. 

 

Vegetable Forecast

Tomatoes, Melons, Cucumbers, Squash, Onions 

 

News

Summer is here!  Finally, tomatoes, squash and peppers galore.  Remember to store certain items on your countertop: tomatoes, onions, even eggplant and cucumber if you’ll be using them within a day or two.   And we’ve transitioned to the smaller summer box to adjust to the lack of leafy greens and try to keep the produce from rolling around. 

We harvested the first of the melons today.  Expect to see them in next week’s share!

 

Recipe 

Easy French Ratatouille (Serves 8-10)  

We feel compelled to offer a ratatouille recipe, as we can include almost every veggie in this week’s box (except cucumber) - how exciting!  This dish is easy to make, but takes a little longer; it’s great for a summer weekend afternoon.  And, the longer you wait to eat it - an extra hour allows the flavors to meld and become more delicious - the better it is.  It’s worth the wait!  Thank you to The Kitchn for the recipe!

  • 2 large eggplants or equivelant
  • 2 yellow onions or throw those cippolinis in there!
  • 3 gypsy peppers
  • 6-8 medium summer squash
  • 4 Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 c loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons
  • Extra basil for garnishing
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the eggplants, if desired, and chop them into bite-sized cubes. Transfer them to a strainer set over a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Let the eggplant sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Dice the onions and roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep each one in a separate bowl.

Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large (at least 5 1/2 qts) Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and peppers to a clean bowl.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the pot and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions and peppers.

Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the cubes gently with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm two teaspoons of oil in the pan and sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables.

During cooking, a brown glaze will gradually build on the bottom of the pan. If it looks like this glaze is beginning to turn black and burn, turn down the heat to medium. You can also dissolve the glaze between batches by pouring 1/4 cup of water or wine into the pan and scraping up the glaze. Pour the deglazing liquid into the bowl with the vegetables.

Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, whole sprigs of thyme. As the tomato juices begin to bubble, scrape up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan.

Add all of the vegetables back into the pan and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. Shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables in larger, more distinct pieces; longer cooking times will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before taking the ratatouille off the heat, stir in the basil. Sprinkle the extra basil and a glug of good olive oil over each bowl as you serve.

Leftovers can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to three months. Ratatouille is often better the second day, and it can be eaten cold, room temperature, or warmed.  Delicious with crusty bread!

Notes:

  • Making a Smaller Batch: This recipe can be cut in half and adapted to use whatever vegetables you have.
  • Flavor Extras: For something different try adding a tablespoon of smoked paprika, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a quarter cup of red wine, or a splash of vinegar to the ratatouille.

 

Pics of the Week

After maturing in the field, onions need time to cure in a well ventilated, shaded space like these racks in our barn.  This allows the skins to set and tops to dry down for better storage and flavor.