August 17, 2016

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Painted Serpent Cukes -  It is also known as the yard-long cucumber, snake cucumber, or snake melon.

  • Shallots - Onions tend to store better in a slightly cooler, darker area, although the fridge is not recommended. The onion smell has a tendency to spoil the flavor of other foods in the fridge.

  • Globe Eggplant - Eggplant slices act like oil-slurping sponges. Even salted, gently hand-pressed slices will soak up plenty of oil. To reduce the amount of oil you’ll need, try brushing olive oil onto one side of eggplant slices; then lay them oil-side down in a hot skillet without crowding (a crowded pan will cause the slices to steam rather than fry). Brush the up-side only just before turning. If you brush both sides at the start, the oil will simply soak into the flesh. Fry until the slices are nice and brown.  You can also deep-fry eggplant slices and cubes. The super-hot oil immediately surrounds the flesh and seals in the moisture as it quickly browns the surface, leaving slices that are not noticeably greasier than the pan-fried kind.

  • Gypsy Peppers - The star of this week’s recipe!

  • Charentais Melon -  For a melon smoothie: Peel and seed your melon.  Chop into large chunks.  Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes but don’t freeze completely.  Scoop 1 c yogurt (plain or vanilla depending on how much sweetness you desire) in a blender, and add the chilled melon chunks in as well.  Add 1 tsp lemon juice and ⅛ tsp ground cardamom, or cinnamon, or nutmeg.  Blend until frothy.  Chill until ready to serve.

  • Galia Melon - Double down on that melon smoothie!  A cold melon is super refreshing on the dwindling hot summer days.

 

 

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

 

 

Vegetable Forecast

Zucchini, Mixed Sweet Peppers, Padron Peppers, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Onion

 

 

 

 

News

 

Our winter squash field has set fruit and is ripening up. For our CSA this year we’ll have: butternut, buttercup, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha, and a “cheese wheel” variety.  Look for these in your box late October.

Elsewhere on the farm, we’re planting and preparing for more fall/winter crops.  This week we transplanted cauliflower, romanesco, and chicories.  

And we’re finishing up the solarization of the over-wintering carrot beds.  Solarization is a process where we cover the soil in a translucent plastic, wet it, and create a greenhouse effect during the four weeks of exposure to the hot summer sun.  The high temperatures “cook” any weed seeds and help to destroy certain diseases, like some of the southern blight we’ve had in our fields.  Carrots are a particularly difficult crop to direct seed and grow organically without solarization and/or flame-weeding to create a “stale bed.”  Carrots take a long time to sprout and then a long time to get up to size, making mechanical cultivation a challenge.  But as those of you who have had our carrots know, they’re so worth the effort!

 

 

Recipe

 

Chickpea Stew with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peppers (Serves 4)

Don’t quite feel like putting together a ratatouille?  Serious Eats comes to the rescue with a delicious alternative that includes several items we’re enjoying in this week’s box! It’s relatively easy to put together and highlights summer’s flavors in their peak...

  • 1 1/2 lbs eggplant, stems removed, cut into 1-in chunks

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 6 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-in pieces

  • 3 gypsy peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into strips

  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1-in thick rounds

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 c tomato sauce

  • 1 c water

  • One 15-oz can chickpeas, drained

  • 8 sprigs cilantro, stems discarded, leaves chopped

  • 8 sprigs parsley, stems discarded, leaves chopped

  • Harissa, to taste

Pour 4 tbsp of the olive oil into a large skillet set over high heat. When just starting smoke, add the eggplant cubes. Immediately, reduce heat to medium, and stir well. Cook until eggplant pieces are golden and tender, about 10 minutes. When done, turn off heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, heat the remaining two tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add the onion, peppers, and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until onion is starting to brown around the edges, 8-10 minutes.

Add the paprika, turmeric, and garlic. Stir well, and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Then add the tomato sauce and water. Scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Add the eggplants, chickpeas, and one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and add the cilantro and parsley. Stir in a little harissa if you'd like. Then serve in bowls with white rice on the side.

 

 

Pics of the Week:

Our winter squash field at sunset.

Solarization of our over-wintering carrot beds.