In The Box 9: Farm Pickup and New Glarus Delivery
If we hadn’t had a freeze this week, it would be a shock to find we’ve come to the second-to-last box of the CSA season! We are now in the uncomfortable position of having to make decisions about what NOT to pack. We worked so hard all through the drought to insure we’d have enough to fill our shares, not just watering, but also starting second and third plantings of some failed crops to insure we’d have something late in the season. Well, now we certainly have something! I find cutting vegetables from the harvest list quite excruciating. And Fall is frankly my most favorite eating time of year – most veggies get sweeter and crisper as they are touched and changed by evening chill, so everything is great right now. Here’s what’s in the box:
Basil – This is it. We picked Monday and lost the basil Tuesday. So freeze pesto this week!
Head Lettuce – Can’t imagine a prettier lettuce. With a name like New Red Fire, it better be dramatic, and it is. This has just about every lettuce color you can get in one crisp, curly head.
Gorgeous from the bottom, and gorgeous from the top. Yummy, too!
Arugula – I love arugula in every season, but fall is to my taste the best time for these sweet/peppery leaves. Add to your salad, enjoy raw dressed alone, put on your sandwiches instead of lettuce, saute lightly and serve over pasta, or top a pizza.
Bok Choy – This beautiful vase-shaped Chinese cabbage is a crunchy taste treat and a nutritional powerhouse. The best use for it is in stir fry and it combines great with pork – see our recipe below. But I also found a great salad recipe for bok choy on cooks.com, which can also be used with the Savoy Cabbage. I put that below as well.
So pretty, so crisp, so bok.
Yard-Long Noodle Beans – These quite stunning red and green yard-long beans are the things on top of your box that maybe looked like snakes when you opened it! This Asian specialty item is a beefier veggie than a green bean and should be cut in one-inch-pieces and sauteed in oil until tender. Boiling in water will ruin texture and taste. We love this post on them at “Serious Eats.”:http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/seriously-asian-the-yardlong-bean.html
Tomatoes – These grow so round and perfect when the temperature eases up. Luckily we picked these just before the vines died in the frost. I think you’ll find these the prettiest and tastiest tomatoes of the year. This week in your box we are featuring a number of paste tomatoes – less juicy, more meaty varieties intended to be cooked down into sauce. A perfect activity for our cool evenings! Use the oblong Amish Paste, horn-shaped Opalka Paste and crumpled Striped Cavern to make sauce. The Striped Cavern has very little flavor in its flesh, but the seeds are nestled into a tasty heart in the middle of the fruit that is delicious – and it will add lots of body to your sauce. Here’s a great recipe and video for fresh tomato sauce from “Mark Bittman”:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/dining/06mini.html.
Melons (Shortie Shares Only) – We’ve been hauling these out of the melon patch every day until the frost. Hope you’ve gotten a few different varieties in your boxes this year. We haven’t been able to give everyone every kind, but we hope you got a variety!
Peppers – We had a panic this week on Tuesday when the forecast was for a possible frost. So among other tender veggies we quickly harvested, we ran out to the pepper patch and grabbed everything that was even thinking about turning red, yellow or orange – as well as the biggest green sweet peppers. Well, it DID frost! But we had a sprinkler on the peppers overnight and they made it thru. Counter-intuitive, yes. But water on plants protects them from a frost. You should have a few sweet peppers that taste ripe, even if they don’t quite look it yet, as well as a few hot yellow Hungarian Wax. The long skinny peppers are Jimmy Nardellos, the best tasting pepper in the world, to my taste. These are fryers. Slice up with some onion and saute in olive oil to put on your next brat.
Chives – Strong and crisp, these will keep in your fridge for weeks if you store them in a plastic bag.
Savoy Cabbage (Full Shares Only) – These lovely wrinkled English cabbages are just the prettiest things. To fit them in the boxes, I had to pull off most of the outer leaves, but sitting in the garden they are open to their fullest glory – like giant 3-foot green roses! Use these just like a regular European cabbage, in slaw or cooked, or substitute for a Napa Chinese cabbage in stir fry or slaw. We’ve included our families absolute favorite dinner recipe for you below – Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles.
Bagged Herbs: Bronze Fennel and Sage – Oh, these are some of our favorite herbs of the year – and both are terrific with your new potatoes. Both also dry easily on your kitchen counter. In particular, you will want to dry that sage and save it for he winter squash coming next week and for your Thanksgiving feast.
Walla Walla Onions – These sweet round globes are one of the benefits of a freakishly hot summer.
New Potatoes – These uncured All Red potatoes have fragile, flavorful skins and a rich flesh you don’t get in storage potatoes. Enjoy cooked just until tender, and plainly seasoned – we’ve given you chives, sage and fennel to experiment with – and let the flavor shine through.
Fresh Tomato Cream Sauce
4 large paste tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 minced onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of whipping cream
Fresh basil, ribboned
salt and pepper to taste
Skin tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then removing to cold water. Squeeze the skins off and chop, discarding only the hard core. Heat oil in a sauce pot over med heat and add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is soft. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 min. Add cream, reserving 2 tbsp. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes until slightly reduced. Add the last 2 tbsp of cream at the last minute. Remove from heat and add 1 TBSP vodka. Sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve over fusili or linguine pasta.
Bok Choy in Spicy Garlic Sauce
1 large head bok choy
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Trim off just the ends of the bok choy ribs and chop, keeping the white parts separate from the green as they will need to cook longer. Rinse and spin or pat dry. Set aside. In a small bowl or cup, stir together the vegetable oil and sesame oil. In a separate larger bowl, stir together the water, ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Set this aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy stems first; stir fry for a few minutes or until the pieces start to turn a pale green. When stems are almost cooked, add the remaining oil and leaves; cook and stir until leaves are wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the bok choy to a serving dish. Pour the sauce into the skillet or wok, and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour over the bok choy and toss lightly to coat. Serve over rice.
Bok Choy Salad
1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 bottle of sesame seeds (1 oz.)
2 pkgs. Ramen noodles (broken up), do not use flavor packet
1 sm. pkg. slivered almonds
2 lbs. bok choy lettuce (chopped coarsely)
5 to 6 green onions, tops and all chopped
In large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add sesame seed, noodles, almonds and sugar. Stir all the time until lightly browned. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Toss bok choy and onions together, mix and chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, break up the crunchy mixture, add to bok choy, pour dressing over, mix and serve.
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
Mix well and chill until ready to use.
Alton Brown’s Gazpacho
Farm Member Marc reminded me last week that I hadn’t published a gazpacho recipe yet. Here’s a nice one.
1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup.
Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with chiffonade of basil.
Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles
This is a favorite family heritage recipe at our house.
1 head cabbage
1/2 stick butter
1/2 lb egg noodles
1 lb smoked polish sausage
salt and pepper
Start water boiling in a deep stockpot. Quarter and core cabbage. Shred or thinly slice quarters. Melt butter in deep skillet and add cabbage. Salt and pepper liberally and saute until cabbage is soft, with a few browned bits. Cook noodles in boiling water, al dente. Don’t over cook! While noodles are cooking, slice sausage in 1/2 rounds and fry in shallow skillet until browned. When noodles finish, drain. Add cabbage and stir. Salt and pepper again to taste. Serve with sausage on the side.
SAVE THE DATE!
Our Annual Homestead Harvest Festival is less than one month away. We hope you’ll all come and bring friends to chill on the lawn and celebrate the conclusion of a wonderful season of fresh eating. Tours, crafts, stuff for sale and a potluck dinner with live bluegrass music at 6. October 13, 2pm til 10pm. See the Tentative Schedule “here.”:http://184.108.40.206/~circlemf//visit-us/lambs-and-lettuces-festival/