What’s in the box this week?
Standard Shares include
Mountain Magic Tomatoes- This variety is superb in bruschetta, whip some up with these deliciously sweet, flavorful tomatoes.
Yellow Onion- Onions are divided into two categories: sweet onions and cooking onions. Sweet onions are best suited for fresh eating as they have higher moisture content equaling a shorter shelf life and a tendency to mold. Cooking onions have a longer shelf life. These are the storage onion varieties that can be stored at room temperature in a dry dark location. Yellow onions are the most common cooking onion utilized in cuisines throughout the world. Fresh eating should be avoided as Yellow onions’ pungency will linger long in raw form and dominate any companion ingredient. Yellow onions are the ubiquitous soup and stock onion. They can also be dry-roasted, sautéed, grilled, caramelized and braised.
Hot Pepper Mix - Basic method for drying chili peppers: Wash your chili peppers thoroughly after picking to remove any dirt, then dry. Place on a plate or a wire rack in a dry, well ventilated room. You can also string the chilies up on string or thread and hang to dry. Within several weeks, you will have dried chili peppers and you can grind them up or use them as ornaments as desired. What can you do with your dried chili peppers? Grind them up to make your own chili powder, which is like cayenne powder, or keep them whole and use them as you might use a sun dried tomato. They can be rehydrated with hot water and go great with many recipes!
Traviata Eggplant - While it may look a whole lot like the standard globe eggplant you find at the grocery store, this Italian eggplant variety is distinct. It's slightly smaller, but still quite large and fat, and the flesh tends to be more tender. Use it in any preparation, but of course it's wonderful used in Italian dishes like caponata (see this week’s recipe!)
Clemson Okra - For roasted okra, a quick and easy dish that doesn’t require a lot of forethought: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse 1 lb okra, and drain on a kitchen towel. The okra should be dry. Trim away the stem ends and the tips, just the very ends, and then place the okra in a large bowl. Salt to taste, and toss with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until coated. Lift the okra from the bowl, leaving behind any excess oil. Place on a sheet pan in one layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes (large okra might take a little longer), shaking the pan every five minutes. The okra should be lightly browned and tender, with a nice seared aroma. If you don’t want it to brown as much, set the oven at 400°F. Remove from the heat, toss with fresh thyme, if desired, and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a platter. Serve hot.
Lunchbox Sweet Peppers- Don’t forget to include these peppers in your next stir-fry!
Egg Shares include eggs from our certified organic, pasture-raised, happy hens.
Caponata (Yields about 2 quarts) Some call caponata a sweet and sour version of ratatouille, but this cornerstone of Sicilian cuisine, made well, is a dream that needs no comparison to other dishes. And, it uses several items in this week’s box! Thank you to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe! The levels of sweet and sour in caponata vary from household to household, so experiment with what balance works for you...
Enough olive oil to deep fry
2 pound eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
1 large yellow or sweet-variety onion, chopped medium-small
1 to 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1⁄4 cup water
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes (or use fresh, see directions up top)
6 ounces (about 1 cup) green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup white wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup golden raisins (I used half for a less sweet caponata)
1⁄4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (I used 1 tablespoon, but sweeter is more traditional)
1⁄2 cup finely slivered basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted until golden and cooled
In a large skillet (12 inches is ideal), heat oil over medium-high heat. Once very hot, working in batches, fry eggplant cubes in one layer at a time, stirring and turning occasionally until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to drain eggplant over skillet, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Transfer drained and mostly cooled eggplant to a large bowl.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons olive oil, and reserve the rest for another use. Cook onions and and celery with salt and pepper over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add tomato paste and water and cook, stirring, until caramelized and almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add crushed tomatoes; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to bowl with eggplant, along with basil and pine nuts, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and let cool to room temperature before serving.
Do ahead: If you have time to spare, covering your cooling bowl of caponata with plastic and letting it sit for at least 2 hours gives an even more developed flavor. It’s even better on the second day. Keep it in the fridge and bring it out an hour before you plan to eat it to take the chill off. Caponata keeps for one week in the fridge.
Pic of the Week: