CSA Week 7

In your share week 7:

Cipollini Onion
Eggplant
Broccoli
Cilantro
Kale
Romaine or Baby Bibb Lettuce
Zucchini
Maxibel Green Beans
Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes

Full shares only:

Cucumber
Fennel

It’s that time of year where we have a hard time deciding what not to put in your share!  This week’s is a full one, especially for full shares.  A common question we get is how different full shares are from half shares.  Today’s is a good example of getting a couple of extra items (cucumber and fennel) but also larger quantities of lots of items (beans, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes).

The farm is exploding with produce right now, and we should continue to be at peak harvests for the next month or so.  The zucchini are overwhelming us to the point that I plan to remove some of the plants, we harvested hundreds of pounds of tomatoes last week and more coming every other day, the broccoli rotations are piling up, and the list goes on.  The one thing that we aren’t swimming in is carrots, since we had low germination on this week’s rotation.  But never fear, there are lots of beautiful beds coming as we head towards fall!  It was honestly a relief to have something to cross off the list today.

You can still order bulk basil for making and freezing pesto, we’ll have it at least until the end of August.  Basil is $14 per pound (1 pound minimum order) and can be picked up or delivered with your CSA share.  Get in touch with us by email, phone, or at market to order yours.

You all have one of my very favorite vegetables today: eggplant!  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 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 so.

Another new one today is green beans.  We grow 2 types, a French filet variety called Maxibel (these are long, round, and slender) and a Romano type (these are large and flat and often called Italian green beans).  The Maxibels are more sweet and tender and are especially good raw, while the Romanos have a wonderful, robust beany flavor that holds up well to grilling and cooking.  You can use both in just about any recipe calling for green beans.  I love to grill beans whole, especially the Romanos.  Toss them in olive oil and cook them over medium low heat for a few minutes a side: yum!  You can also eat them raw, slice them into salads, steam them with butter, use them in stir fries, pickle them, or whatever you like.  We are careful in our picking, so all the beans you get from me should be at prime eating stage without starchiness or bitterness.

Cilantro is back, and just in time for all those fresh tomatoes.  We’ve given everyone both tomatoes and cherry tomatoes today, and full shares get double.  Tuesday shares are getting pretty ripe tomatoes, so I’d eat them up or turn them into salsa pretty quickly.  Can’t say yet how Thursday’s tomatoes will look, but they’ve been abundant and really delicious this year so I hope you enjoy them.  Remember, tomatoes store best on the counter before being used, but store cilantro in a bag in the fridge.

We’ve got heads of lettuce for your salad green today.  Unfortunately, they’ve been getting damaged by birds so the tops are looking a bit lacy, but the heads are so crunchy and juicy I had to give them to you anyway.  We dunked these several times to get them as clean as we could, but I’d recommend a final rinse at home before you eat them.  Lettuce tends to hold soil down in the crevices, and with the rain we’ve had recently there’s a fair bit of dirt inside.

We’ve given fennel once already to full shares, but since I know its unfamiliar to many folks I’m repeating how to use it.  Fennel has a refreshing, sweet anise flavor and can be used just about anywhere you’d use celery.  I think of it as an aromatic vegetable, and it’s a great addition to soups, stuffings, and braises or roasted with potatoes and other veggies.  It’s also lovely raw, especially shaved on a salad, added to coleslaw, or made into a salad with orange and cinnamon.  The best part is the white bulb at the bottom, the stalks have good flavor but can be tough.  The leaves add color and contrast to a salad, but don’t have a lot of flavor in themselves.   Keep it in the fridge in a bag.


Layered Zucchini Eggplant Casserole

This recipe comes recommended by member Patty Morgan. From Food and Wine Magazine.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and brushing

3 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick

2 long, narrow eggplants (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large shallot, minced

1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/3 cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425°. Oil 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Put the zucchini slices on one sheet and the eggplant on the other. Brush the slices all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on each sheet in a slightly overlapping layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until slightly softened and bubbling, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Oil a large, shallow baking dish (about 10 by 15 inches). Lay half of the eggplant in the dish and spread one-fourth of the tomatoes on top. Scatter with half of the feta and basil. Layer half of the zucchini on top, followed by another one-fourth of the tomato and the remaining basil, eggplant and zucchini. Top with the remaining tomato and feta. Mix the panko with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot


Fennel and Orange Salad

The first time I had fennel was with my cousins in Italy, and we ate the delicious anise-flavored bulbs raw. Now I more often use it as I would celery, but this Moroccan recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian is a refreshing salad that features the fennel’s crispness. The flavor improves if you allow it to sit overnight. You can use the stems as well as the bulbs, although they can get tough the farther up you go.

 

Combine in a bowl:

2 fresh medium fennel bulbs, cut crosswise into paper thin rounds

            2 navel oranges, peeled and cut into skinless segments

            6 Tbp fresh orange juice

            2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

            1 tsp salt

            1 tsp sugar

            1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain lightly before serving.


Green Bean Broccoli Stir Fry

By Jenn Sebestyen at the Veggie Inspired blog, this is an easy but flavorful way to use some of this week’s veggies.  She recommends serving with baked tofu or pan fried tempeh over noodles or rice.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or 1/4 cup veggie broth or water for an oil free option)
  • 1/4 red onion (sliced)
  • 1 average head broccoli (chopped into florets)
  • 1 lb green beans (halved)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 minutes to soften.

  2. Add the green beans and broccoli. Stir. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook 7-8 minutes.

  3. Add the garlic, ginger, and coconut aminos. Sauté another 2 minutes, uncovered.

  4. Add the lime juice and sesame seeds just before serving.

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