CSA Week 5

In your share week 5:

Salad Mix
Cherry tomato or Tomato

Half Shares Only:
Sugar Snap Peas

Full shares only:

Purple Viking Potato

Tomatoes are here!  We start our tomatoes in February and plant them into the greenhouse starting in April, and they are finally now beginning to fruit in abundance.  Tomatoes don’t love our climate, but we’ve found varieties that are happy here in our greenhouses.  Some of you have Sungold cherry tomatoes, which are one of our most popular crops.  These little orange beauties are the taste of summer, so sweet and tangy.  Our slicers are a mix of a few different varieties, including a couple of Russian heirlooms, some Oregon originals, a pink Swiss heirloom, and more.  After getting feedback last year that the tomatoes were a bit past ripe by the time they got home in your share, we are picking them a little firmer this year.  If your tomatoes still feel firmer than you’d like, leave them out on your counter to ripen for a couple of days.  Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are best stored at room temperature, a bowl on the counter or table is a good way to keep them.

Zucchini and carrots are really coming into their own now, so we’ve loaded you up on both.  There will be lots more where those came from!  Salad mix is going strong too, we’ve included a bag for everyone.  Full shares get a bunch of tatsoi from the salad mix patch as well.  Tatsoi is similar to bok choy, with a succulent stem and mild, nutty leaf.  It’s great raw in a salad or cooked in a stir fry; it’s both Mike’s and my favorite green in the salad mix.  I’ve had mixed success with it in the past, but last year we found a new variety that has been a stellar performer, so we’ve been enjoying it in abundance this year.

Radishes are new for everyone today, most folks have a round pink type, but a few have the long, white-tipped French breakfast.  Our radishes are typically not too hot, though the warm weather of the last week has given them a bit of a bite.  Radishes are great raw for snacking or sliced and served French style on a baguette with butter and salt.  They’re also good to roast or grill or mixed in a stir fry.  If you don’t like the heat, cooking them mellows the flavor.  I like radish greens as well, the texture is a bit unappealing raw so I prefer them cooked in soup or stir fry.

I know we give a lot of herbs, I personally love them and they grow amazingly here at the coast.  If you are having trouble keeping up with the volume in your share, herbs are easy to preserve for later use.  You can dry them in a dehydrator or by chopping them up and leaving them out in a sunny spot with a fan running on them.  I usually freeze parsley or basil by making pesto or by simply combining them with olive oil in a food processor.  Many people put their pesto into ice cube trays to freeze small portion sizes; once frozen, the cubes can be kept in a ziploc bag or other airtight container.

Another new item for full shares is fennel.  Fennel has sweet, crunchy, anise-flavored bulbs.  I use fennel anywhere I’d use celery.  I love it roasted with potatoes, used in a flavor base for soup, or thinly shaved for salad.  I mostly eat the white bulb part, but you can also eat the stalks and leaves if you like.  Fennel should be stored in the fridge in a bag.

Peas have started their inevitable decline; we’ll still get a couple of good weeks out of them but there will be fewer going forward.  Their season is short and sweet, so I hope you’re enjoying them while they are here!

Thai Noodle Salad

From Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant by The Moosewood Collective, this recipe can be made with whatever combination of vegetables you wish. They recommend blanching the vegetables briefly in boiling water, then running under cold water to drain, but here I suggest leaving them raw.

Cook 1 pound rice or soba noodles in plenty of salted boiling water, then drain and cool.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine in a bowl:

     3 Tbsp basil, minced

            ¼ c spearmint, minced

            8 ounces coconut milk

            2 Tbsp dark sesame oil

            1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated

            1 Tbsp garlic, minced

            ¾ tsp salt

            2 Tbsp lime juice

            1/8 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

            2 Tbsp scallions, minced

Choose any of the following to equal 4 cups:

Carrots, julienned 1 inch long

            Red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch strips

            Sugar snap peas, strings removed and cut in half

            Green beans, tops removed and cut in half

            Mung bean sprouts

            Napa cabbage, shredded

            Radishes, quartered

Combine noodles, vegetables, and sauce, refrigerate until cool, and serve. Garnish with chopped peanuts and a wedge of lime.

Zucchini Frittata

When I was a kid, one of my favorite dishes was “zucchini pie”, which was more or less a zucchini quiche. This is a similar dish, but a little simpler, as it lacks a crust.  

Preheat oven to 350. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 12” oven safe skillet. Add:

½ onion, chopped

            1 clove garlic, minced

            1 tbsp fresh oregano (or ½ tsp dried)

Cook about 5 minutes, until onions start to soften, then add:

            4 medium zucchini, cut in half and sliced into half moons

Cook about 5 more minutes, until zucchini starts to soften. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together:

            6 eggs

            1 ½ c milk or cream

            1 Tbsp stone ground mustard

            salt and pepper

            ½ c grated cheese, such as cheddar, swiss, or mozzarella

Pour this mixture over the zucchini onion mixture in the skillet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until egg is firm. Garnish with ribbons of fresh basil.

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