CSA 2016 – Week 11

CSA Pickups: August 23 & 25
 
Did you choose a melon or sungold last week?
mini watermelons

In your share this week:

  • Herbs
  • Flowers
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Chard
  • Tomato
  • Sungold/Blueberry Pint
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Eggplant

 
How are you making with all your late summer produce?

Now that tomatoes are here, let’s review some basics. Picked tomatoes do best at room temperature, 55-80 degrees. Tomatoes are best when stored on your counter, stem side down and out of direct sunlight (not the refrigerator!). This helps to preserve freshness and taste. The cold temperature of the fridge will toughen the skin and takes its toll on the fresh flavor. Refrigerated tomatoes should be brought back to room temperature before use.

I looked for the whackiest tomatoes I could find last week, and these are the ones I chose:
heirloom tomatoes_1

I decided to make a quick tomato sauce with them, as I thought the colors would mix in an interesting way, especially with the fresh basil. So I sautéed some garlic in olive oil, chopped up the tomatoes, and just put them directly into the oil. As they started to cook, I chopped in the fresh basil and some salt. I stirred from time to time, but basically let them cook gently on medium-ish heat. This is what happened over about 20 minutes:
 
sauce_1 sauce_2 sauce_3 sauce_4 sauce_5 sauce_6
 
It’s so simple and was so incredibly delicious. I was chatting with my sister while I was chopping the tomatoes. She explained she prepares her fresh tomato sauce by throwing the cored tomatoes into her food processor, then she cooks that down. She says the puree is very watery when you take it out of the food processor, but you just cook it down until it’s the consistency you want. Or, if you’re short on time, just get it started, freeze it, and cook it down when you’re ready to use it.

Now, I personally prefer a chunky sauce with lots of texture, but that is not so for everyone in my house. How do you like your tomato sauce? And what about your soup?
 
tomatochilegazpacho

Gazpacho Andaluz (Andalusian Cold Tomato Soup)
Recipe adapted from Saveur

1 slice country-style bread, about 1″ thick, crusts removed
2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 lb. very ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt

Optional Garnishes
1/2 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 cup (1/2″) croutons
1/2 small white onion, peeled and finely diced
1 small tomato, seeded and finely diced

Soak bread for 1/2 hour in a small bowl in water to cover. Squeeze out moisture with your hands. Purée bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and 1 cup water in a food processor until very smooth. Season to taste with salt. Chill gazpacho in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Adjust seasoning. Serve in individual glasses, or in soup bowls with garnishes on the side.
 
Herb, Chard, and Feta Soup
Adapted from Bon Appétit

Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb Swiss chard leaves (center ribs and stems removed) or spinach, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp dried mint
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnishes
5 oz plain Greek-style yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, and mint), divided
4 oz feta, crumbled, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Olive oil (optional)

To make the soup, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft (do not brown), 7–8 minutes. Stir in chard, broth, parsley, cilantro, fresh and dried mint, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm soup before continuing.

Optional: If you are looking for a smoother soup, simply purée it. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pan.

Garnishes
Place 1/3 of yogurt in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm soup; whisk until smooth. Repeat process twice more, adding a total of 1 cup more soup. Whisk yogurt mixture into soup in saucepan. Stir 1/4 cup herbs and half of feta into soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup herbs and 2 oz. feta. Drizzle with oil, if desired.

 
Summer Garden Soup
Adapted from Family Vegetarian Cooking by Good Housekeeping.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups water
3 medium zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, coarsely chopped
2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
sliced fresh basil leaves for garnish

In a 5-quart stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add water, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, fennel seeds, salt, and black pepper; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove 4 cups of soup from the pot. In a blender with the center part of the lid removed to allow steam to escape, blend the 4 cups soup in small batches, until smooth. Return pureed soup to the pot. Reheat the soup to serve hot, or refrigerate to serve cold later. Garnish with basil.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 10

CSA Pickups: August 16 & 18
 
The tomatoes are here! The tomatoes are here!

FIRSTTOMATOESSTILL

In your share this week:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Chard
  • Shallots
  • Celery
  • Herbs

 
Remember all those warnings I shared about making sure to wear gloves when cutting hot peppers? And how I said this is a mistake you only make once? Well, apparently, it is a mistake I make more than once. I cut several hot peppers yesterday afternoon to include in a chopped pepper salad. I didn’t have gloves, so I just decided to be very careful: I would only touch the peppers with my left hand; I had a wet paper towel on hand to use on my face with my right hand; and I was very, very careful while removing the seeds and white membranes from inside the peppers. I even washed my hands with dish soap, knowing that the oil-based pepper juice is the real troublemaker. I think I was feeling a little self-righteous about the whole exercise, to be honest. Within about 20 minutes, however, that was the last thing I felt. It was more like a whining, crying, pity party for myself. My left hand literally felt like it was being held over flames. It was a horrible tingling burn, and guess what? It’s about 24 hours later and it still hasn’t stopped burning!! It eased a little last night, and was ok this morning until I got out of the shower, then the fire was back.

I decided to check out online resources to see what could be done for other cocky wimps like me, and I came across this informative piece by (who else?) Cayenne Diane. The information and tips all make sense and I wanted to pass them along so that we can all have more fun and less suffering with these fabulous hot peppers from the Farm! Stay safe and wear gloves!

But now let’s move on to a happier theme: this week’s recipes! Our first comes from CSA member Ilene in Yorktown Heights. She shares a delicious recipe that she has tried and enjoyed, and which fits perfectly with this week’s share. Tell us what you think!

ZucchiniBoats-700
Jersey Fresh Zucchini Boats
Recipe from Jersey Fresh, submitted by Ilene M. from Yorktown Heights.

2 medium Jersey Fresh zucchini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and pepper
10 Jersey Fresh grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/8 cup of Italian bread crumbs
16 mozzarella balls
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Jersey Fresh Basil, julienned

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise (if needed, trim bottom so it sits still in baking dish). Scoop out the center where the seeds are with a spoon. Mix the crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush surface of zucchini with the mixture. Arrange the tomato halves into the grooves, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Remove and place 4 mozzarella balls in between the tomatoes of each zucchini boat, place in broiler until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese then top with basil.

 

zucchini ravioli
Ilene’s recipe reminded me of another one I received from my friend Diane (not a CSA member, but a great cook!). You can always use some meat in the filling to appease your carnivores, as I must often do, but the below preparation is vegetarian. Enjoy!

Chard & Ricotta-stuffed Zucchini Ravioli
Adapted from The Healthy Maven.

3 large zucchini
4 cups chard leaves, washed and chopped, or baby spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 container (475 grams) light ricotta
1/2 cup tomato sauce of choice
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a peeler, peel zucchini into strips. Discard ones that are too thin. In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté chard or spinach in olive oil until wilted. Add in garlic and sauté for one more minute. Stir in dried basil. Take two pieces of zucchini and place one on top of the other to create a “T”. Add 1 tablespoon of ricotta to the center of the “T” and top with 1 teaspoon of spinach. Take one side of the bottom strip and fold over center. Take the other side of the bottom strip and fold over the other piece covering the center. Take one side of the top piece and fold over the center (tucking in if possible) and then fold the other side of the top piece and fold it over the other side covering the center (tucking in if possible). Repeat until all zucchini, ricotta and spinach has been used (mine made 20 ravioli). Place zucchini in a large oven-proof pan and top with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and top with tomato sauce or sauce of choice.
 

grilled eggplant with heirlooms
Grilled Eggplant with Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Pesto Vinaigrette
Adapted from Salad for Dinner: Complete Meals for all Seasons by Jeanne Kelley

1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
Extra virgin olive oil
4 cups mixed greens
4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 to 2-1/2 pounds), sliced
12 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds
Pesto Vinaigrette (see below)

Preheat a grill or stovetop grill pan to medium heat. Brush both sides of the eggplant rounds with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until browned and tender, turning once, about 8 minutes. Let the eggplant cool to room temperature. Line a platter or 4 individual plates with the greens. Arrange the eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella slices attractively over the greens. Drizzle the vinaigrette over and serve.

Pesto Vinaigrette
2/3 cup Pesto (homemade or store bought)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp white balsamic dressing

Whisk the ingredients to blend in a small bowl. Season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 9

CSA Pickups: August 9 & 11
 
I love the look of the white and pale purple eggplant.
pale eggplant

In your share this week:

  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Potatoes
  • Celery
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Hot Peppers
  • Chard
  • Purslane
  • Flowers/Herbs

 
A word about squash…
summer squash variety
 
Around this time of year, many people begin developing what has now come to be known as squash-o-phobia or zucchini-itis. Rest assured that for some, this is a perfectly normal response to the overabundance of summer squash in our gardens (or our neighbors’ gardens!), and it is completely treatable… with great recipes!

Remember, when it comes to the summer varieties, the different types of squash are all interchangeable. Even the adorable pattypan squash can be chopped and used in your recipes in the place of any of its other summer cousins. Summer squash is so versatile and absorbs other flavors so well, the options are limited only by your imagination and willingness to experiment. So chop, shred, roast, and sauté any or all of them to your heart’s content. You may find that the shape or coloring of each type offers the particular thing you’re looking for in a specific recipe, and that’s great! It’s all part of the fun. But if you find you only have yellow or pale green squash on hand when the recipe calls for zucchini, never fear – you have exactly what you need. Enjoy the variety and let us know how you’re putting all the bounty to good use!

Here are a couple of preparations that highlight the sweeter side of summer squash:

Zucchini Cobbler
Adapted from Taste of Home

Will your guests be able to tell it’s not apple?

8 cups chopped, seeded, peeled zucchini (from about 3 lbs)
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Crust:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups cold butter, cubed
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook and stir zucchini with lemon juice for about 15-20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and set aside. For the crust, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup into the zucchini mixture. Press half of the remaining crust mixture into a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread the zucchini mixture over the top and crumble the remaining crust mixture over the zucchini. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

 
Zucchini Chocolate Cake with Orange Glaze
Adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup fat-free milk
3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp grated orange peel

GLAZE:
1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-in. fluted tube pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in the zucchini, walnuts and orange peel. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over cake. Yield: 16 servings.

 
Soft Zucchini Spice Cookies
Adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed dry
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar; add the egg and mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini, nuts, raisins and orange peel. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set. Yield: about 4 dozen.

 
summer squash boxes
This soup uses many of the ingredients in this week’s share – go for it!

Thai Mushroom, Eggplant & Zucchini Soup
Adapted from Vegetables by James Peterson

1/2 lb very small mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant, preferably the long, pale purple Chinese variety

Basic Broth:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 shallots or 1 medium red onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-4 Thai or jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
4 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2-4 Tbsp Thai fish sauce, or more to taste
2, 2×1/2-inch strips lime zest
4-inch length lemongrass, finely sliced (optional)
3 1/8-inch slices fresh ginger (optional)
14-oz can coconut milk (optional)
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (optional)

If the mushrooms are larger than 1/2 inch across, cut them into quarters vertically. Cut the ends off the zucchini, and cut it into quarters lengthwise, then cut the quarters into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel the eggplant and cut into chunks in the same way as the zucchini.

To make the basic broth, heat the oil in a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in the shallots, garlic and chiles. Stir the mixture every couple of minutes for about 10 minutes, until you smell the fragrance of the onion and garlic. Add the water to the onion mixture and bring to a slow simmer. Add the lime juice and chopped tomatoes to the broth and add the minimum amount of fish sauce, lime zest, lemongrass and ginger. Add the vegetables to the soup and simmer gently until they are soft when poked with a knife, about 10 minutes. About 1 minute before serving, stir the herbs and coconut milk (if using) into the soup. Taste the soup; if it needs more salt, add a little more fish sauce (go slowly!). If it isn’t sour enough, add a little lime juice. Serve immediately.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 8

CSA Pickups: August 2 & 4

corn

In your share this week:

  • Shallots
  • Potatoes
  • Celery
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Chard
  • Hot Peppers
  • Purslane
  • Herbs/Flowers

 
Let’s talk about hot peppers!
hot peppers colorful peppers hot_peppers_3 hot_peppers_2 hot_peppers

The farm offers a wide variety of peppers, from mild to hot. Check out the posted signs for each variety when you pick up your share; they offer helpful information about each specific type of pepper, including how hot they are and how best to use them. Peppers are part of the Capsicum family, and the degree of hotness depends on how much capsaicin is contained within the pepper. Keep in mind that the seeds and internal white membranes are where most of the capsaicin resides. Removing some or all of these parts from the pepper gives you some control over the degree of heat. If you’re wary about hot peppers, this is a great opportunity to give them a try (baby steps!) but please **BE CAREFUL** when handling hot peppers! Wear gloves if you can, and do not touch your eyes or face. From my experience, this is a mistake you only make once… capsaicin is the active ingredient in pepper spray, and you don’t want to accidentally do that to yourself or a loved one!

 
Baked Jalapeño Poppers
Adapted from All Recipes

I love that these are baked, not fried. The preparation is easy, and really lets the flavor of the pepper shine through. Enjoy!

cooking spray
12 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Fill each jalapeno pepper half, with cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, and bread crumbs, respectively, and arrange peppers on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the bread crumbs with a little more cooking spray (to create a yummy crunch). Bake in the preheated oven until jalapenos are tender and cheese melts, about 20 minutes. If you wish to brown them a little more, broil for 30-60 seconds at the end – but keep an eye on them!

 

Summer Garden Soup
Adapted from Family Vegetarian Cooking by Good Housekeeping

Note: The original recipe calls for 4 cups of the soup to be removed and pureed in a blender; I do not do this as I prefer a very chunky texture, but I include the instructions here in brackets so you will have the option. Enjoy!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups water
3 medium zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, coarsely chopped
2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
sliced fresh basil leaves for garnish

In a 5-quart stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add water, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, fennel seeds, salt, and black pepper; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. [Remove 4 cups of soup from the pot. In a blender with the center part of the lid removed to allow steam to escape, blend the 4 cups soup in small batches, until smooth. Return pureed soup to the pot.] Reheat the soup to serve hot, or refrigerate to serve cold later. Garnish with basil.

squash6
 
Zucchini Halves with Couscous and Corn
Adapted from Family Vegetarian Cooking by Good Housekeeping

Cooking spray
3 tsp olive oil
4 small zucchini, stems trimmed and each cut lengthwise in half
2 medium shallots, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups corn kernels, cut from 3 medium ears of corn
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1-1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
diced tomatoes and sage sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray broiler pan with cooking spray. With spoon, scoop out flesh from each zucchini half, leaving the shell about 1/4-inch thick. Coarsely chop the zucchini flesh and set aside. Place zucchini halves, cut side down, in broiler pan; set aside. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tsp of oil over medium heat until hot. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes, stirring. Increase heat to medium-high; add reserved chopped zucchini and salt, and cook until liquid evaporates and zucchini begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add corn and cook 2 minutes, stirring. Transfer mixture to small bowl. To same skillet, add couscous and remaining 1 tsp oil. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add cumin and cook 1 minute longer, stirring. Add broth and water; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, place zucchini halves in the oven and roast until tender and edges are browned, about 15 minutes. Return corn mixture to skillet with couscous, stir in parsley and heat through. Place zucchini halves on platter; fill with couscous and corn mixture. Sprinkle with tomato and garnish with sage sprigs.

 
Chorizo and Kale-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Zucchini-Arugula Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Here’s a fun recipe, which includes instructions to make your own (lighter) chorizo! Enjoy.

4 (8-ounce) sweet potatoes
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
10 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 lb ground pork
6 cups torn curly kale
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
3 cups baby arugula
8 oz zucchini, shaved into long ribbons

Scrub sweet potatoes under cold running water, and pierce them all over with a fork. Place the 4 potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for about 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Test for doneness by poking them again with a fork. If needed, microwave for an additional 1-3 minutes, 1 minute at a time. (Alternatively, you can bake the sweet potatoes at 400° for 1 hour). When they are finished and your desired tenderness, remove potatoes from the microwave and allow to rest and cool for about 5-10 minutes. Combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, paprika, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and garlic in a bowl. Combine turkey and pork in a bowl, mixing well with hands. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey mixture to pan; cook 7 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Drain any excess liquid from meat mixture in pan; return to medium-high heat. Stir in vinegar mixture; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Place chorizo in a bowl. (NOTE: According to the original recipe, you will have an extra 3 2/3 cups chorizo left over, which can be saved for another use. Try it in the Frittata with Chard and Chorizo from Week 5!)

Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add kale; cover and cook 4 minutes. Stir in 1 1/3 cups chorizo, 1/4 teaspoon salt, raisins, and 1 1/2 teaspoons juice. Cut a lengthwise slit in each potato; gently squeeze at both ends to open. Spoon about 3/4 cup kale mixture onto each potato; top each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon juice in a large bowl. Add arugula and zucchini; toss. Serve with potatoes.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 7

CSA Pickups: July 26 & 28

purple&green peppers

In your share this week:

  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Swiss Chard
  • Celery
  • Purslane
  • Herbs or Flowers

 

Our family reunion was a great success this past weekend, filled with lots of laughter and wonderful food. Over the past couple of years, we’ve incorporated grilled vegetables into the menu (which previously was definitely carnivore-centric). This year I was thrilled to include a variety of items from the farm, which we found in our CSA share last Thursday. Along with the mushrooms, broccoli, and red peppers I bought at the store, you may spot in this colorful pic the fairytale eggplant, striped summer squash, and wonderful purple peppers from your share:

grilled veg

The marinade was a simple combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped fresh garlic, sage, rosemary from the farm, plus some basil from my own plant. I wish I could share measurements, but we were just eyeballing it this time. Give it a try with whatever herbs you may have on hand. The grilled veggies were divine, and you will not be disappointed!

This week I’m sharing a couple of great ideas for the grill, including a recipe from Good Housekeeping that gives more precise instructions for grilled vegetables:
 
Grilled Vegetables Vinaigrette
Adapted from Good Housekeeping

2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon, sage, rosemary, basil, or other fresh herbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
2 medium yellow peppers
2 medium red peppers
4 small zucchini (6 ounces each), sliced lengthwise in half
4 baby eggplants (4 ounces each), sliced lengthwise in half, OR 8-10 fairytale eggplant, whole
2 medium-size portobello mushrooms (4 ounces each) or 8 jumbo mushrooms, tough stem ends trimmed
Tarragon and/or rosemary sprigs, for garnish

In large bowl, mix olive oil and all remaining ingredients except vegetables and garnish. Once well-mixed, add the vegetables and toss thoroughly to coat. Grill the vegetables over medium heat (use a grill basket, if you have one), turning occasionally, brushing with some vinaigrette remaining in bowl, until vegetables are browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Garnish with fresh tarragon sprigs.

 
Grilled Eggplant with Feta and Fresh Mint
Adapted from Good Housekeeping

1 large eggplant
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices; brush each slice with olive oil. Place on hot, ridged grill pan over medium-high heat; cook eggplant slices 4 to 6 minutes per side or until tender. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with feta cheese, mint, and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with lemon wedges.

 
Grilled Portabellos with Potato and Swiss Chard
Adapted from Family Vegetarian Cooking by Good Housekeeping.

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
2 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 shallot
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems diced small and leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In 3-quart saucepan, place potatoes with enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Remove 1/2 cup potato cooking water; reserve. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan; add pepper, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and reserved potato cooking water. With potato masher, mash potatoes until almost smooth. While potatoes are cooking, in nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add shallot and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add half of the crushed garlic, and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Increase heat to medium high; add Swiss chard stems and cook about 5 minutes until stems are crisp-tender, then add the leaves and cook until they wilt, stirring occasionally. Stir in mashed potatoes.

To prepare the mushrooms, in a cup, mix remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the remaining garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place portobello caps on a plate, stemmed side up. Brush inside of mushrooms with oil mixture, and grill over high heat for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Spoon one-fourth of potato mixture into each portobello cap; sprinkle with Parmesan.

 
And in case you missed it in your email, check out this note and recipe from Michelle Graham, Retail Manager at the Farm:

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“You may have seen the above pictured plant growing alongside your house or in your garden, you may have always viewed it as a pesty weed, but it is actually a super food: purslane. It is rich in dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. The fresh leaves contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant and has one of the highest amounts of Vitamin A among leafy green vegetables. Please enjoy this healthful, tasty vegetable in your CSA bounty this week!”

Purslane Salad with Grilled Corn, Red Onion, and a Creamy Avocado Dressing
Adapted from Brooklyn Supper

Ingredients for Salad Dressing:
1 avocado
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon Italian parsley or cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sriracha (optional)

Preparation:
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Check salt and acid levels and adjust as needed. Refrigerated, dressing will keep for several days.

Ingredients for Salad
1 bunch purslane
2 ear corn, grilled
1/2 red onion, sliced paper thin
pinch of sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Wash the purslane, and trim of any large stems. Tear the stems into bite-sized lengths.
2. Meanwhile, husk the grilled corn, if needed, and cut the kernels off the cob.
3. Toss the purslane, corn, and red onion together with a pinch of sea salt in a large salad bowl.
4. Drizzle with dressing, and turn to coat. Drizzle a bit more on top, and finish with lots and lots of fresh ground pepper.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 6

CSA Pickups: July 19 & 21

herbs

In your share this week:

  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Spring Onion
  • Leeks
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Herbs
  • Chard
  • Red Potatoes
  • Corn

 
Meredith_Somers_week5-2016
 
I got this great pic and a nice note from CSA member Meredith in Somers. She writes, “I made this with all stuff from CSA this week: leeks, garlic, pattypan yellow squash, thyme, chard stems and leaves. My 5 year old and 2 year old loved it and asked for more! Very simple.” Thanks for inspiring us with your creativity, Meredith! It looks wonderful.

This weekend we will be celebrating our annual family reunion, so I thought I’d share another pickle recipe from my husband’s stash, plus a couple of easy dishes to share at your next potluck BBQ. Enjoy!
 
Bread & Butter Pickles
Recipe from Scott Palmer

We double/triple/quadruple this recipe (or more) but these pics will give you an idea of what the stages look like.

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Plan ahead: The vegetables need to stand in the brine for about 3 hours.

6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers, unpeeled (about 6 kirbys)
1 lb onion, thinly sliced
1/2 each green, red, and yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced (for color – you can just use 1 bell pepper of any color if that’s what you have)
1/4 cup salt
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed (or more if desired)
2 cups cider vinegar

Mix cucumbers, onion and bell peppers in a large bowl, and cover with cold water. Add the salt, and let stand for 3 hours.
In a pot large enough to hold all the vegetables, mix the sugar, cloves, mustard seed, celery seed and vinegar. Bring slowly to boiling and boil 5 minutes. Drain the vegetables thoroughly in a colander, and rinse well with cold water. Add them to the pot with the hot syrup and heat slowly to just below boiling (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Pour into sterilized jars. Makes 2 quarts.

 
Tomato, Cucumber & Corn Salad
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman for the New York Times

1 to 1 ¼ pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in small dice
½ European cucumber, 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber, peeled if waxy, seeded if the seeds are large, and cut in small dice
2 ears corn, steamed for 4 minutes and kernels removed from the cob
1 to 2 serranos or jalapeño pepper, minced (seeded for a milder salad), or 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
Salt to taste
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 1 ounce feta, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

Mix together all of the ingredients. Let sit in or out of the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving, then toss again.

 

(Photo credit: Emma Christensen)

(Photo credit: Emma Christensen)


 
Potatoes, Green Beans, and Corn in Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce
Adapted from thekitchn.com.

1 lb small red potatoes
1 lb green beans
3 ears sweet corn (3 to 3 1/2 cups kernels)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp lemon juice, from 1 lemon
Salt
Black pepper, to taste

Scrub the potatoes clean and then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a medium-sized pot with 1 tablespoon of salt, and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop the potatoes out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a mixing bowl.

While the potatoes are cooking, trim the green beans and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Once the potatoes have finished, bring the cooking water back to a boil (adding more water if necessary), and blanch the beans until they are bright green and tender, but still have some bite to them, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl with the potatoes.

Microwave the corn for 3 minutes. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, cut off all the kernels and transfer them to the bowl with the potatoes and green beans.

Meanwhile, cook the onions and make the brown butter dressing. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onions until they are soft and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the cooked onions into the bowl with the potatoes and beans.

Place the empty skillet back over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Continue cooking, occasionally swirling the butter in the pan, until the butter darkens and begins to smell nutty. Remove from heat and let the butter cool slightly, then whisk in the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Note: If the butter is still very hot, be aware that the lemon juice will make it sizzle up and sputter. Be careful!

Drizzle the lemon-brown butter sauce over the vegetables and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and add salt and pepper to taste. This side dish can be served warm or room temperature. It will keep for 1 week refrigerated — the butter sauce will solidify in the fridge, so the author recommends letting the salad come to room temperature or briefly heating in the microwave to warm it up again.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 5

CSA Pickups: July 12 & 14

I loved the beautiful flowers in last week’s share, and we anticipate having more this week.

flowers_1

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Lettuce
  • Chard/Kale
  • Carrot/Turnip
  • Herbs
  • Flowers

 
Maybe I jinxed us last week when I waxed poetic about the lovely, non-humid weather we were having! Still, it’s summer in New York, so it’s all part of it.

This week, let’s talk about my favorite leafy green: Swiss chard.
rainbow chard_3

I grew up eating chard directly from my mother’s garden, and have always loved them. There was something about the distinct earthy flavor that just felt like it was bursting with stuff that’s good for you. Of course it turns out that’s exactly right – chard is often described as a nutritional powerhouse. A member of the goosefoot family along with beets and spinach, chard is an excellent source of vitamin K (300% of RDA!), A, and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, and several cancer-fighting antioxidants. In addition, chard does wonders for the blood, helping to regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risks of heart disease, while strengthening the immune system, bone health and even brain function. It improves digestion and is a natural and gentle detoxifier. What’s not to like?

Chard is best eaten within a couple of days (although just last week I found an extra share of chard I had forgotten which had been there much longer than a couple of days, and it had kept beautifully). Store chard in your crisper drawer in a plastic bag, and make sure the leaves are covered to prevent wilting. I read an interesting cooking tip today that I had not heard before: cook the leaves like you would spinach and the stalks like asparagus.

Personally, my favorite way to eat chard is sautéed in garlic and olive oil, so I don’t make that distinction. I chop the stems and sauté them first, and once they are softened a bit, I add the chopped leaves.
chard stems
I don’t dry the leaves after washing, so they go into the oil still with a little water on them, which helps in the cooking process. Once done to my liking, I add salt and some fresh olive oil, and voila. Note: this method is great for any of the leafy greens you will get in your share.

That said, there are so many wonderful ways to enjoy this versatile and delicious green. I’ve included some here, and I encourage you to look back at past issues of this blog for additional inspiration. What’s your favorite way to enjoy chard?
 
Swiss Chard with Lentils & Feta
Adapted from chowhound.com

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup small-dice yellow onion (from about 1/2 medium onion)
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup brown or green lentils
2 cups water
12 oz Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils, stir to combine, and add the water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender and the water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile, trim the ends from the chard stems and discard. Cut off the stems at the base of the leaves and slice the stems crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a small bowl and set aside. Stack the leaves, cut them in half lengthwise, then coarsely chop into bite-sized pieces; set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large frying or straight-sided pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the reserved chard stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped chard leaves, measured salt, and measured pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the red wine vinegar and reserved lentil mixture until evenly combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the feta and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 
Slow Cooked Salmon with Turnips & Swiss Chard
Adapted from Bon Appétit

4 6 oz pieces skinless salmon fillet
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1-1/2 lbs small turnips, scrubbed and halved (quartered if large)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches Swiss chard
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place salmon in a large baking dish; drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, and gently rub into flesh. Season with salt and scatter garlic around. Bake until salmon is medium-rare (mostly opaque, but still slightly translucent in the center), 30-35 minutes. Meanwhile, combine turnips, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 cup water in a large skillet; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until turnips are fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Uncover and cook, tossing occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and turnips are golden, about 5 minutes. While the turnips are cooking, remove the ribs and stems from the chard leaves. Thinly slice ribs, stems, and leaves crosswise. Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in another large skillet over medium high heat. Cook shallot and chard ribs and stems, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook, tossing often, until leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes. Toss in parsley and lime juice; season with salt. Drizzle the salmon with sesame oil. Serve salmon with chard and turnips, topped with sesame seeds, if using.

 
Frittata with Chard & Chorizo
Adapted from Bon Appétit

8 large eggs
1-1/2 oz Manchego cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz dried chorizo, thinly sliced (or bacon, chopped)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 small onion, cut into 1/2″ pieces
6 fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped

Heat broiler. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in cheese and herbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook chorizo in a 10” broiler-proof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat, stirring often, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate. Heat oil in same skillet; add onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add potatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring often, until chard is wilted; season with salt and pepper. Mix in chorizo. Pour in egg mixture, tilting skillet to evenly distribute. Cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes, then transfer to oven and broil until egg is cooked through and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Run a heatproof spatula around edges of frittata to loosen, then slide onto a plate. Serve in wedges.

 
Fingerling Potato-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard & Eggs
Adapted from Cooking Light
My Mom used to make something similar to this recipe, but with spinach and without the potatoes. It’s quite delicious. Enjoy!

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced leek (about 2 large)
12 oz fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise (about 4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/4 tsp Spanish smoked paprika, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
4 cups Swiss chard (about 1 bunch), trimmed and thinly sliced
4 large eggs
1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add leek; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and garlic; cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chard; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Using a spoon, push potato mixture aside to make 4 egg-size spaces. Crack 1 egg into each space; sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon paprika over eggs. Cover and cook 3 minutes; sprinkle cheese over potato mixture. Cover and cook 2-4 minutes or until egg yolks are set to your liking. Can be enjoyed immediately or even at room temperature, depending on your preference.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 4

CSA Pickups: July 5 & 7

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In your share this week:

  • Summer squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Leeks
  • Spring Onion
  • Garlic
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Lettuce
  • Chard/Kale
  • Beets/turnips/radishes
  • Possibly celery

 
I guess there’s no denying it – summer is in full swing. After all of the chaos around the end of school, this was the first week it really felt like summer for our family. The weather has been amazing, just the way I like it: cool at night, warm but not too hot in the day, no humidity… divine! That said, there are reports that our area is in a moderate drought, so please be mindful when watering your own vegetable or flower gardens. Despite this news, the farm continues to bring forth amazing produce, under the watchful eyes of our dedicated farmers. How have these first few weeks of the CSA gone for you and your family? Please do drop me a line at quijotelangserv@gmail.com to share your experiences, pictures, challenges, recipes, whatever you like. I will share what I can in the blog.

This week, let’s talk about leeks. Leeks are part of the allium (“garlic” in Latin) family, which also includes onions, scallions, garlic, shallots, chives and many other flowering plants. Unlike their most popular cousins, leeks do not form an underground bulb. However, they are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, many cancer-fighting antioxidant polyphenols, vitamins A, C, E, and K, carotenes, folate and much more. Alliums have been shown to reduce overall heart and blood-related diseases, diabetes, several cancers, and even allergic airway inflammation. In general, you can substitute one member of the allium family for another in your recipe, depending on what you have on hand. They have different levels of intensity and textures, but in a pinch you can use them interchangeably.

When you get the leeks home, wrap them in a paper towel and store them in your fridge. They will stay fresh for about a week or so. When you’re ready to prepare your leeks, make sure to clean them thoroughly. Each layer accumulates sand and grit, so rinse very well by swishing in a large bowl of water. Generally, the darker green parts at the top are considered too tough to eat, but they can be used to add wonderful flavor to homemade vegetable stocks.

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Braised Leeks with Corn and Chipotle Vinaigrette
Adapted from America–Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers by Mario Batali

This first recipe makes great use of several members of the allium family. Give it a try and see how each one adds to the overall flavor of the dish. Can you distinguish between them in the finished product?

6 leeks
3 Tbsp plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups white wine
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced shallots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (4 ears)
1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more according to your taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chipotle flakes (crushed red pepper may be substituted)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 scallions, minced

Trim the roots of the leeks, leaving the root end intact. Trim the tops on an angle, leaving 2 inches of green. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise (the root holds the leeks together while cooking). Clean very well by swishing in a large amount of water, to remove any sand or grit. In a 15-inch sauté pan, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Lay the leeks in the pan, cut side down, without crowding them. Add the wine, butter, thyme, garlic, shallots and 1-1/2 cups water. Season with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover the pan and gently cook for about 30 minutes, until fork-tender.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Place the corn in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1 Tbsp salt, and set over medium heat. Bring to a steamy simmer and cook for 4 minutes, then drain and allow to cool. (Alternatively, you could put the corn in a glass bowl just covered with water and microwave for 90 seconds.) Combine the corn, mustard, pepper flakes, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and then pour in the olive oil. The vinaigrette should not be creamy and emulsified, it should look broken with rivulets. Transfer the leeks to a side towel to drain a bit, then place them on a platter. Stir the scallions into the vinaigrette and spoon the vinaigrette over the leeks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

leeks1

Chicken with Creamy Braised Leeks
Adapted from eatingwell.com

Here’s another method for braised leeks, cooked in the oven then partnered with chicken.

8 medium or 4 large leeks
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, halved
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim roots and dark green tops from leeks, leaving 5 to 6 inches of white and light green parts. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise (or in quarters, if large); rinse well. Place the leeks in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, on their sides if necessary, nestling them together. Pour in broth; submerge the garlic and thyme in the broth between the leeks. Bake the leeks for 40 minutes. After about 30 minutes, sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat. After 40 minutes, remove the leeks from the oven and nestle the chicken into them. Add cream and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the hot skillet (but do not turn the burner back on). Stir up any browned bits and let the cream heat up from the warmth of the pan. Pour the cream mixture over the leeks and chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the chicken with the braised leeks, spooning the sauce over both.

 
Hot & Sour Greens
Adapted from Dr. Weil

This is a nice way to use all manner of greens from your CSA share. Make it as hot or mild as you like to suit your family’s tastes.

1 lb greens (bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, collards, etc.)
2 tsp canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar

Wash and drain greens, remove any tough stems, and slice leaves into 1/2-inch shreds. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir fry for one minute. Add the greens along with the mustard and stir to coat with the spices. Combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and add to the greens in the skillet. Cook covered over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

BEETS

Beets & Greens with Yogurt Dressing
Adapted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein

This recipe calls for some pungent salad greens but it can be made with any tender greens you like. It offers a great way to incorporate new flavors and textures into your family’s diet. If your crew is new to strong-flavored greens, mix it up by using more of a mild lettuce or salad green that is more familiar, while introducing smaller amounts of bolder-flavored greens. Over time, you can gradually shift their experience. Give it a try!

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup yogurt dressing (see below)
6 large or 12 small beets, cooked and diced
1 large bunch watercress, arugula, or other pungent salad green, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
3 Tbsp walnuts, toasted, for garnish (optional)
Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish (optional)

Add the cinnamon to the yogurt dressing. In a large bowl, toss the beats and greens with the dressing. Top the salad with chopped dill and with walnuts and/or crumbled feta if you like. Serve at room temperature.

Yogurt Dressing
2 cups thick yogurt (Fage brand is recommended, as it does not need to be drained)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
2-3 tsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh mint or dill, chopped

In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, then fold in the garlic and herbs. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 3

CSA Pickups: June 28 & 30

herbs

In your share this week:

  • Garlic scapes
  • Herbs
  • Summer Squash
  • Chard or Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Beets or Turnips
  • Mizuna

I recently discovered a lovely book titled Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein. It is full of wonderful ideas for all manner of produce, and I’m happy to share several of them with you this week. It’s a great opportunity to think beyond just lettuce and tomatoes and expand our experience of salad. I also like the various dressings that are introduced, that particularly challenge me beyond my usual oil and vinegar. Posts from past years include a variety of dressings as well, so go ahead and stretch your salad imagination this month!

Reminder: This blog’s archives go back several years and provide a wealth of information and recipes about most of the CSA ingredients you will be receiving. They are sorted by month, and are a great resource. Check them out!

beets

Beets, Oranges & Greens with Tapenade Vinaigrette
Adapted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein.

Cooked beet greens from 2 small bunches of beets
About 1/2 cup Tapenade Vinaigrette (see below) or Mint Vinaigrette (see above)
4 large or 8 small beets, cooked and sliced
2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments, or cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
Toasted slivered almonds (optional)

Toss the greens with 1/4 cup dressing and arrange on 4 salad plates. Top each serving with alternating beets and oranges, and drizzle the remaining dressing on top. Garnish with almonds if using, and serve immediately.

Tapenade Vinaigrette
1 cup pitted black olives (Kalamata)
2 Tbsp salt-packed capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tsp chopped anchovies
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp freshly grated lemon or orange zest
4-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp mild white wine or Champagne vinegar

Combine the olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Gradually add the olive oil; you can make this a very smooth puree or keep some texture, depending on your preference. Add pepper to taste. Put about 1/2 cup of the tapenade into a bowl, and thin it out by adding the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and vinegar. Again, the texture and thickness are dictated by your family’s preferences.

BEETS

Spinach Salad a la Greque
Adapted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein.

This salad should be made immediately before serving, but it is still worth sharing at your next gathering. The combination of flavors and textures is just wonderful.

1 small red onion, thinly sliced
About 1 1/2 cups Mint Vinaigrette (see below)
2 cups cooked white beans (or 1 15-oz can cannellini beans)
6 large or 12 small beets, cooked
1 lb cooked shrimp (optional)
6-8 large handfuls of baby spinach or assorted lettuces, well washed and dried (about 1/2 lb)
1/2 lb feta cheese, coarsely crumbled, for garnish
1 cup Kalamata olives, for garnish

Marinate the onions in 2-3 Tbsp of the mint vinaigrette for about 15 minutes to soften them and lessen their bite. Toss the beans in 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette to marinate for about 30 minutes. Cut large beets in half and then into 1/4-inch slices. (If beets are small, cut them into quarters or eighths.) Toss with a few Tbsp of the vinaigrette. If using shrimp, toss them with a bit of dressing as well. In a large salad bowl, combine the marinated onions, beets, and beans (and shrimp, if using) with the spinach and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Distribute the salad among individual salad plates and sprinkle with feta and olives. Serve immediately.

Mint Vinaigrette
The dressing is delicious as written, and the infusion adds an extra punch. That said, if you don’t want to bother with the infusion, you can just whisk together the other ingredients for a delicious vinaigrette. The author notes that the dressing goes very will spooned over cooked fish, and also makes an excellent spread for chicken or lamb sandwiches, when mixed with mayonnaise. Give it a try!

Infusion
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tightly packed chopped fresh mint
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 cups mild and fruity olive oil

To make the infusion, combine the lemon juice and chopped mint in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Let steep for about 10 minutes. Strain into a mixing bowl, pressing the leaves against the strainer to extract all of their liquid. There will be about 1/4 cup. Note that it will not be green because of the lemon juice. To make the dressing, whisk together with the remaining ingredients. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

 
Green Beans, Beets & Fennel with Walnut Cream Dressing
Adapted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein.

1 lb slender green beans, ends trimmed
1 small bunch beets, cooked and sliced
2 small bulbs fennel
1 head lettuce
About 1 cup Walnut Cream Dressing (see below)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, for garnish

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat and add salt. Drop in the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Drain the beans and shock them by dropping them into the ice water. When the beans are cold, drain them again and pat dry, then place in a large bowl. Cut the bulbs of fennel in half and cut away the cores. Discard any tough or discolored outer leaves. Slice the fennel very thin and add to the bowl with the beans. Add the beets to the beans and fennel, and gently toss to combine. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter. Drizzle the beans, beets and fennel with dressing, and toss to coat evenly. Place the vegetables on top of the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve immediately.

Walnut Cream Dressing
1/2 cup toasted walnut oil
1/4 cup mild olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, cream, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 1-1/3 cups.

 
Spanish Orange & Fennel Salad with Mixed Citrus Dressing
Adapted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein.

4 Valencia or blood oranges
3 small bulbs fennel, trimmed, cored, and very thinly sliced
1/2-3/4 cup Mixed Citrus Dressing (see below)
6 large handfuls of assorted greens, like baby spinach, mizuna, whole mint leaves, watercress, etc.
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
4-6 slices prosciutto or Serrano ham, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

Working with 1 orange at a time, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright and remove the peel in wide strips, cutting downward and following the contour of the fruit. Make sure to remove all of the white pith. Holding the orange over a bowl, cut along both sides of each segment, releasing the segments from the membrane and allowing them to drop into the bowl. Using the knife tip or a toothpick, pry out any seeds. Once done, squeeze the membrane over the bowl to release extra juice, which can be added to the dressing at serving time. Place the fennel in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of the dressing, and toss to coat evenly. In another bowl, toss the greens with most of the remaining dressing. Divide the greens and fennel evenly among individual salad plates. Using a slotted spoon, remove the orange segments from their bowl and distribute evenly over the fennel. Top each serving with almonds (if using) and strips of prosciutto, and serve immediately.

Mixed Citrus Dressing
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Freshly grated zest of 2 oranges
2 Tbsp sherry or aged sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer

 

CSA 2016 – Week 2

CSA Pickups: June 21 & 23

A real treat this week: Garlic Scapes! Get 'em while they last!

A real treat this week: Garlic Scapes! Get ’em while they last!

In your share this week:

  • Fennel
  • Escarole
  • Beets/Turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Lettuce
  • Bok Choy/Mizuna
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Herbs (maybe)

Sorry for the delay in this week’s posting… we’re still working out the kinks, but I think we’re all set now! How did it go in week 1? I got a wonderful and inspiring email from Cassandra & Frank of Bedford Hills, including this pic of their creativity with last week’s share:

CSA 2016 - week 1

Cassandra writes: “We used the basil to make pesto sauce. Our salad had arugula, beets, escarole, winter kale, blueberries, almonds, and goat cheese.” Way to go! This is a great example of how you can get creative with your CSA produce and transform your typical fare into something extraordinary. Weeknight pasta and salad becomes a celebration of the farm’s beautiful bounty.

Please keep those notes coming! Email quijotelangserv@gmail.com

Let’s talk about Fennel

fennel_2

Part of the apiaceae family (along with parsley, carrots, celery, hemlock and much more), fennel comes to us from the Mediterranean region and is hugely popular in Italy. Fennel is loaded with vitamin C (1 cup = about 17% of your RDA of vitamin C), dietary fiber, and many other nutrients, some of which are thought to help prevent cancer growth. In Ancient China, many medicinal uses were also discovered for the essential oils and tea made from fennel seeds.

I confess that despite my Italian heritage, fennel is one of those CSA items that used to give me great pause. All that frilly green stuff on top… eek! But did you know that every part of the fennel is edible, bulb, stalks and fronds? Fennel has a mild licorice flavor that complements a variety of dishes, particularly fish. I read a tip to lay a few stalks and fronds alongside the fish (no matter which method you are using to cook it), and it will be gently infused with the fennel flavor. When cooked, the flavor will mellow considerably, and the bulb will soften, which makes roasted fennel a great side dish for your protein of choice (see below for a recipe idea).

When you get the fennel home, chop off the stalks and fronds from about 1 inch above the bulb, and store the fennel in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper for 3-4 days. One way to prepare the bulb for use raw in salads and other dishes is to remove about half an inch from the root end, then stand it on that cut end and thinly slice, vertically. You can also use a mandolin, if you have one. The stalks can be used instead of celery in soups and stews or, if you are using the stalks raw, chop them finely because they can be tough and fibrous.

Use fronds as you would dill or parsley, as a garnish or to add a gentle anise flavor to salads and your other favorite dishes. Or, see below for a great and creative way to use all those tender, frilly greens!

Fennel Frond Pesto
Adapted from Diner’s Journal in The New York Times

1 cup roughly chopped fennel fronds
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the fennel fronds, garlic, nuts and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture is chopped up. Add oil and process/blend until the mixture becomes paste-like. (You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl.) Serve pesto at once, refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

4 Tbsp olive oil
4 fennel bulbs, cut horizontally into 1/3-inch thick slices, fronds reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange the fennel in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then with the Parmesan. Drizzle with the oil. Bake until the fennel is fork-tender and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 2 teaspoons, then sprinkle over the roasted fennel and serve.

 

Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer