CSA Week 6

In your share week 6:

Austrian Crescent Potatoes
Zucchini
Cucumber
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Onion
Green Onion
Basil
Romaine Lettuce
Tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes

Full shares only:

Italian Parsley
Eggplant

We have SO. MUCH. PRODUCE. coming off the farm right now.  And that’s reflected in your shares, which are again full to the brim.  We’re unusually light on leafy greens, with just a head of romaine lettuce and a bunch of basil (and parsley for some).  The consistently warm, dry weather has been great for most of our crops, except for the salad mix.  We’re working through a couple weeks worth of stressed greens, but hopefully we’ll be back into some nicer rotations by the end of the month.  In the mean time, we have lovely heads of romaine lettuce, which I’d rather use for salad in the summer anyway!

Our cauliflower is the most prolific it’s ever been, so we’re giving it to you for the 3rd week in a row.  Personally, I’d love that, since it’s one of my favorite vegetables and I eat it several times a week.  But I’ll try to give you a break next week if I can.  If you haven’t tried roasting it yet, that’s my favorite use for it.  I also used a huge head in a tuna casserole this week, and a few members have suggested cauliflower purees, kind of like mashed potatoes.  I’ve also meant to try making fermented pickles, I’m told it’s easy (just add salt and water and wait), but I haven’t done it yet.  There’s lots of instructions on the internet for making ferments with things you already have in your kitchen.  Here’s one.

This week’s broccoli is our more standard hybrid type.  These are beautiful, fresh heads great for all kinds of things.  We’ve got lots of other well loved veggies this week, including zucchini, cucumbers, a lovely fresh yellow onion, and basil.  We’re also getting into bigger picks of tomatoes, so we’re including more of them for everyone this week.

Our potatoes this year are not the prettiest.  They have a lot of scab and scurf, which cause the black spots and brown scarring on the skin.  These don’t usually go more than skin deep, and they can be easily peeled off if you like.  They are fine to eat, though the texture can be unappealing.  Unfortunately, all of our potatoes so far seem to be affected, and we’re having to cull out a lot of ugly ones.  The ones you’re getting are the prettiest we have, and at least they are delicious.

Full shares have an extra delicious treat: eggplant!  Eggplant is one of my absolute favorite vegetables, and I love its 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.  Last night we made eggplant and cabbage crepes with fresh tomatoes and basil, and they were delicious.  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 cut them into cubes.  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.


Savory Crepes

I love crepes, both sweet and savory.  I like to make a batch of batter and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days to make crepes with whatever I have around.  This is a simple savory crepe recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking, and you can fill it with whatever you like!  I make mine by putting all the ingredients in a large jar and using the immersion blender, but you can whisk them in a bowl too.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

To cook, heat a large flat pan over medium heat and add 1/2 tsp butter (or use the stick to lightly coat the pan).  Using a ladle or small measuring cup, pour in about 1/4 cup batter.  Quickly tilt and rotate the pan to spread a thin, even coating of the batter, then return it to the heat and cook until the crepe bubbles and the bottom in lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.  Turn the crepe with a spatula, your fingers, or with a butter knife.  Cook the second side until browned, another minute or 2.  Serve immediately, or store in a stack on a plate wrapped tightly in plastic.

Filling ideas:

  • Eggplant, cabbage, basil, and tomato
  • Roasted zucchini, caramelized onion, and goat cheese
  • Bacon, lettuce, and tomato
  • Chimichurri, Manchego cheese, and grilled broccoli

Cauliflower Tuna Casserole

Albacore tuna is in season right now and available fresh!  I canned some last weekend, and a few jars didn’t seal.  I combined them and some fresh tuna with cauliflower and other veggies to make a super tasty casserole.  You could make this with canned or fresh tuna.  This is enough for a very large dish, you could cut it down if you like.  The sauce recipe is a simple white sauce from The Joy of Cooking.

Chop and combine in an 11 x 17 baking dish:

1 large head cauliflower
1 large fresh onion (including the tops)
1 bunch Italian parsley
5 cloves garlic
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds tuna, fresh or canned
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375.  Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Melt 1 stick butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.

Whisk in 1/2 cup all purpose flour until smooth and well blended, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 quart (4 cups) milk.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.  Continue to cook, whisking, until the sauce is smooth and hot and has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the veggies and tuna in the baking dish.  Stir until everything is evenly distributed.  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.  Remove the casserole from the oven, top with 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese and return to the oven.  Bake until veggies are soft and cheese is browned, another 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

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