In The Box 5, Madison Delivery
Halfway through the CSA season! Have you learned anything new? Come to love something different? We’ll be asking for your opinions in our Mid-Season Survey next week. In the meantime, let us know how it’s going. Here’s what’s in the box:
In order of most to least perishable:
Basil – Peak season for basil! Enjoy. Store in a cool spot, preferably not in the fridge. To wash, fill a bowl or sink with cold water, then swish each stem individually. Use quickly. We’ve provided some not-so typical recipes below, but use your imagination for the bounty of basil at this time of year. Great infused in tea – terrifc twist in lemonade. Great in cocktails.
Summer Squash/Zucchini – You’ll notice we tend to pack mostly small summer squash and zucchini. That’s just the way we like ‘em. Soft skins, small seeds, sweet and tender. Just slice, saute in olive oil/butter, salt and pepper and enjoy! Something we always add to our squash sautes is Brewer’s Yeast. Not sure why, but it makes squash wonderful! Shortie Shares did not get zucchini this week, but you will next time around.
Tomatoes – We’ve got 14 varieties of heirlooms out there, but those that ripened first this year are the multi-colored cherries, little Ida Gold two-bites and a smattering of German Green and Black Prince. Just a little taste of things to come! We tried to give you each some very ripe and some that will last a few days. To gauge ripeness, don’t look at color! Gently squeeze instead. A ripe tomato gives slightly.
Our tomatoes are lush, beautiful and covered in fruit. And so they should be. We baby them like crazy! First, we start all of our own plants from organic seed in the greenhouse in March. Then we put them out in holes fortified with compost, kelp and calcium. We erect strong trellises divided by black plastic to suppress weeds. We lay drip tape irrigation along the trellises and a heavy mulch over that. Finally – we tie the plants up to the trellis every few days. At last the effort is paying off…
Swiss Chard – So shiny and colorful. We just love picking in this part of the field. Try these nice big leaves in the Chard Sushi recipe below.
Baby Kale – We always hope to have something in your box you can eat as salad. Our salad mix has petered out, but this little kale is arguably even tastier! Mix with chard and feta cheese for a lovely salad.
String Beans – Full Shares only. These bags are little, but we absolutely had to scour the plants in order to get them. Loss of the string bean crop is a big concern for organic growers this year – apparently when the temperature is consistently over 90 degrees, the blossoms drop before they form pods. We are watching the plants and hoping they will produce now that the days are at least out of the 100s, but for now, this is it! We are planting another round of beans and hope to have some for the boxes in September. These would be nice sliced into 1-inch pieces and added to a summer squash saute.
Cabbage – Full Shares got large Napa Cabbages. Shorties mostly got mini heads of Early Jersey Wakefield. Both very mild, very crisp and very young. We picked these before they were totally mature because the cabbage moths have found them, even under their floating row covers, and now it is just a matter of time before the baby cabbage worms eat them up. These are fabulous for slaw at this age. Try the Napa with some roasted sesame oil and garlic infused vinegar (Check out Vom Fass on University for some fantastic oil and vinegars for your summer slaws.) Cooked, the Napa is nice in Asian stir fries and the Wakefield is best for stuffing or sauteeing in butter.
Kohlrabi – My favorite veggie of the year! Do I say that all the time? This time I mean it. Kohlrabi is like a cabbage that you can eat like an apple. These should be peeled, though, since the skins get tough in heat. Slice into sticks and eat like carrots, or cut in slices and bake in gratins with potatoes. Also wonderful diced and sauteed in butter, then salted and peppered. Farm Member Roberta says some in a chicken soup changes the dish entirely.
Red Shallot – Our germination was unfortunately poor on these lovely red shallots, so ya’ll only get two a piece. Save them for some fresh eating! Great minced in salad dressing.
Cippolini Onions – These sweet Italian flattened-disc-shaped onions are exceptionally sweet when roasted or caramelized. Usually they are small, but all of our onions went nuts in the field this summer, so these are in fact huge. Instead of roasting whole, try quartering them. See what The Kitchn has to say about them “here”:http://www.thekitchn.com/sweet-and-mild-whats-the-deal-121431
Walla Walla Sweet Onions – Fresh, mild and round. Great for burgers.
Summer Savory – In a bag. This little-leafed herb is a spicy summer version of Thyme. I can hardly think of something I wouldn’t put it on. Rinse, then pull the leaves from the stem and add to eggs, soup, sauce. Try pairing with roasted tomatoes. Excellent with summer squash and zucchini sauteed in olive oil.
Carrots – These robust summer carrots are not just lovely but have a lot of flavor. Shred into a slaw with the cabbages, or boil medallions and serve with a little butter, salt and summer savory.
Veggie Stock This is a great time of year to start thinking about assembling ingredients for veggie stock. This is basically a little bit more controlled than your compost – and you’ll made soup base you can use through the winter. Save those carrot tops, onion leaves, cabbage cores and herb stems! “Here’s”:http://fromscratchclub.com/2012/07/27/community-voices-homemade-veggie-bouillion/ how to do it.
Chocolate Basil Cake
A million thanks to farm member Pat, who passed this recipe on to us years ago. We’ve published it multiple times since, and made it even more.
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and dust with rice (or regular) flour. Place the sugar and basil in a food processor. Process until basil is chopped fine and is uniformly green in color – will look wet. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, cocoa powder and basil sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until blended and smooth. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour, stirring just to blend. Add hot water to mixture, stir just to blend. Bake 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool before frosting.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (even better if you add whiskey where noted)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons sour cream ( or 3 TBSP sour cream and 3 TBSP whiskey)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa. In separate medium bowl, beat sour cream and melted chocolate on low speed of mixer. Gradually add sugar mixture. Add vanilla and beat well for 1 minute until very smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled cake and garnish with extra basil leaves.
2 cups vegetable stock
8 leaves chard, stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small onions, minced
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup short-grain rice
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
Bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Toss in the chard leaves, a few at a time until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove and set aside. Do the same with the rest. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat through. Toss in the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the rice, parsley and mint. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Lay chard leaves flat on a table. Place some rice mixture down the center, lengthwise. Roll up tight, like a cigar, and place on a steamer tray. Steam, covered, over the top of the stock until the rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove and cut into 2-inch long pieces. Mix the tahini with the lemon juice and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled over the chard bundles.
A nice twist for the middle of summer.
3 cups packed basil leaves, or a combo of basil and mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
coarse salt and fresh pepper
2/3 cup toasted pistachios, chopped
Pulse leaves in a food processor until finely chopped. Add shallot, lemon juice, cheese, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and oil. Blend til well combined – about 45 seconds. Add pistachios, and pulse until combined but still chunky. Refrigerate 30 minutes and up to 1 day, bring to room temp before serving. Great to dress pasta, or use as a dip for veggies.
Recipe for “Roasted Cipplinis!”:http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/roasted-cipolini-onions/
Summer Squash Gratin
From Willy Street Reader, July 2012
Slicing the potatoes as thin as possible essential to the success of this dish. They will turn luscious and creamy but if sliced too thick they’ll take longer to cook than the zucchini.
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1 1/2 pounds summer squash cut into 1/6th inch slices
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/4 cup oregano leaves, fresh
1/4 cup Italian parsley, fresh
1 large garlic clove, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs, homemade is the best
1/2 pound waxy potatoes, sliced transparently thin (a mandoline is great for this)
3/4 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9″x9″ baking dish with olive oil, sprinkle with the lemon zest, and set aside. Put the summer squash in a colander in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and allow to drain for 10-15 minutes. Using a food processor or a hang blender, puree the oregano, parsley, garlic 1/4 tsp. salt, crushed red pepper flakes and olive oil. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it turns brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes, then add the bread crumbs and stir until they’re well coated. Put the drained squash in a large bow, add the potatoes and tow-thirds of the oregano-parsley sauce and toss to coat. Stir in the cheese and half the bread crumbs. Taste and add more salt or crushed red pepper if needed. Transfer the squash and potatoes to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the bread crumbs. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve warm from the oven drizzled with the rest of the oregano-parsley sauce. Makes six servings.
Carrot Salad With Parsley and Spring Onions
Adapted from Martha Stewart, July 2012
It is best to make this salad an hour ahead so the flavors come together.
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks (2 cups)
1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onions or scallions (white and pale-green parts only)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine carrots, onions, and parsley in a large bowl; toss well. Whisk together oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Let sit 1 hour. Before serving, squeeze lemon over the top.
Asian Cabbage Coleslaw
2 1/2 cups Napa cabbage (thinly sliced)
3 onions (cut into thin matchsticks)
1 cup shredded carrots
3 ounces Ramen noodles (flavour)
1/3 cup peanuts (roasted, coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive or wok oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Mix vegetables into large bowl. Reserve seasoning packet from Ramen noodles soup mix for another use. Coarsely crush noodles. Add to vegetables along with the peanuts; toss lightly. Stir together vinegar and oils, drizzle over veggies. (You can also just use a prepared Asian-flavored salad dressing for the vinegar and oil.) Salt and pepper to taste.
Got plans for this weekend? Take the first annual Soil Sisters Farm Tour on Sunday, August 5. Visit seven southern Wisconsin farms primarily led by women. All are sustainable small operations and all have lots of fun activities planned for visitors of all ages, with an emphasis on kid-friendly fun at each site. 11 am to 4 pm. Circle M is on the tour, and we’ll have lots of fun wool activities, yarn spinning demos, a Nibble Tour of the gardens and live bluegrass music. Itâ€™s FREE and open to the public. No registration is needed. Pack your boots and bring a cooler! There will be opportunities to purchase farm fresh produce and meats. See more info “here”:http://soilsisterswi.org/.