In your share week 11:
Turnips or Radishes
Romaine lettuce or Onion
Tomato and/or cherry tomato
Full shares only:
Well, we made it to September and we are getting tired! Harvests are still going strong, which is a good thing but means lots of work for me and the crew. I keep looking around the farm for crops I can eliminate or put to bed, but I think it will be a few more weeks before we see the work load start to back off. At least we seem to be past the enormous, 100-plus pound green bean harvests; we still have more coming but shouldn’t have to spend 8 hours picking anymore! I’m finally recovered enough from last winter to be looking forward to some fall weather, or at least enough rain to get my cover crop germinated and growing. I’ll be relieved once I have at least part of our field winterized.
Not much new today, except eggplant for some of you. I will repeat what I wrote a couple weeks ago here, since eggplant is a mystery for many. I love eggplant’s succulent texture. I tend to like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj. Ours are the long slender Japanese type, and I always eat the skin. To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or chunks. Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that. Store eggplant in a bag in the fridge, though they’ll be all right on the counter for a day or two.
You have either a savory, yummy red onion or a beautiful head of romaine lettuce. This is a new variety of romaine, and it seems to be bolting (flowering) more readily than our usual. I will probably switch back next year, but in the meantime your lettuce might have a few flower buds starting at the center of the heart. Lettuce flowers are fine to eat, though they do tend to be a bit bitter. These romaine will still make a lovely salad, though, especially since we haven’t included any salad greens for a few weeks. We’ve been too busy picking tomatoes and green beans and cucumbers and all those good summery things to focus so much on salad greens. They are also a little less happy with all this heat, so haven’t been as abundant as they were earlier in the season.
Our cucumber harvests are finally picking up, largely because the lemon cucumbers are finally hitting full production. If you aren’t familiar with lemon cukes, they are round and yellow and typically around baseball size. They are called lemon because of looks, not flavor. Their flavor is that of a sweet, delicious cucumber and they can be used interchangeably with the other green slicers we grow. You can even pickle them, though I wouldn’t recommend canning them because they will become mushy. Our lemon cukes are bigger than you usually see them, and this is because of the way we prune and trellis them. Pruning the cukes makes them have better pollination and fruit quality, easier harvests, and higher yields overall. I used to hate growing cucumbers, but since we switched to growing them this way I love them! Pruning the cucumbers in the greenhouse is a job I’ll save for an evening by myself, a treat at the end of the day where I get to spend some quality time with these beautiful plants. And you benefit by getting to eat the results!
I know we’ve been giving lots of basil, but it really is the most beautiful I’ve ever harvested right now. And I used to harvest 600 pounds a week! On Sunday, I used about 4 pounds to make and freeze lots of pesto. It’s not too late to order bulk basil if you want to do the same! We have lots, and it really couldn’t be any more perfect. Soon, colder nights will slow it down and decrease the quality, but for now we’ve still got lots of heat and perfect basil. Contact me if you want to order bulk basil: $15 per pound.
A classic that will be delicious with our fresh heads of romaine. This version comes from Bon Apetit’s May 2013 issue.
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 small garlic clove
2 large egg yolks*
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
3 cups torn 1″ pieces country bread
Leaves from 1 head romaine lettuce
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing, chop together the anchovy, garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt. Use the side of a knife blade to mash into a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard. Adding drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, then 1/2 cup vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
Toss 3 cups torn 1″ pieces country bread with 3 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 375°F, tossing occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes.
Use your hands to gently toss the lettuce, croutons, and dressing, then top off with the shaved Parmesan.
Radish and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Mint
This is from The Complete Vegan Cookbook, by Susann Geipskoff-Hadler and Mindy Toomay. The original recipe calls for soy milk, but I would recommend coconut milk or else adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of water. A crisp and refreshing summer salad. Also works great with turnips! Serves 4.
2 Tbsp coconut milk (or 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp water, or 2 Tbsp soy milk)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp honey or agave syrup
Salt and pepper
Combine in a bowl:
1 bunch radishes or turnips, thinly sliced
1 ½ c thinly sliced cucumber
1 medium tomato or 1 c cherry tomatoes, finely diced
Toss dressing with vegetables and
¼ c minced fresh mint (or basil)
Serve at room temperature.