CSA 2015 – Week 17

Next CSA Pickups: October 6 & 8

In your share this week:

  • Napa Cabbage
  • Daikon Radish
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Mustard Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Scallions/Leeks
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Bok Choy/Yukina Savoy

Fall is certainly in full swing, with the cooler weather, dark mornings, and changing foliage. I continue to try to live into the season, exploring produce and fiddling around with recipes for heartier soups and other warming dishes. I’ve been reading up on cruciferous vegetables, or crucifers, which include arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radishes, and turnips. What I didn’t know (and which now seems obvious) is that they get their name because all of these plants produce flowers with four petals, in the shape of a cross. Brilliant! These vegetables contain plenty of antioxidants and are rich in vitamins A & C, calcium, and folate. In a long-ranging investigation at Johns Hopkins, broccoli in particular was discovered to be a powerhouse of sulforaphane, a natural compound in crucifers that helps guard the body against a wide variety of chronic diseases. Check out this fascinating article for more info: More Reasons to Eat Those Veggies.

While you’re pondering that and dreaming up wonderful ways to get more sulforaphane in your diet, check out these recipes, using this week’s produce!
Daikon Radish with Chicken Korean Style
Recipe adapted from Food.com

1 medium Daikon radish
2 boneless chicken legs with thigh (may substitute chicken breast but taste might be less rich)
1⁄2 tsp chili flakes
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tsp sesame oil

Cooking sauce

2 cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp sugar
1⁄4 tsp mirin

Peel Daikon and cut into 1/2 inch half moons. Cut chicken into 1/2- 1 inch pieces. Heat oil. Add Daikon and chicken and sauté over high heat. Stir in crushed garlic and chili flakes/pepper. Add all ingredients for the cooking sauce. Cook over medium heat, constantly skimming. When the sauce has nearly evaporated, sprinkle sesame oil. Remove from heat and serve.

The author notes: Great with rice. Even better the day after!

Pasta Ribbons with Peppers
Recipe adapted from The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman.

1 onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced prosciutto
6 red, green, yellow, or purple bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb fresh fettuccine, cut into 4-inch pieces
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano

Combine the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and sauté until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto and sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft. Stir in the basil and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the bell pepper sauce. Toss and add the reserved cooking liquid as needed to make the pasta moist. Sprinkle with grated cheese, and serve.

Roasted Leek Tart
Recipe adapted from The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman

6 leeks, white parts only, trimmed and cut into ½-inch wide slices
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 8 ounces)
1 egg, slightly beaten with 1 Tbsp water
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup grated Gruyere

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a large sheet pan or shallow roasting pan with oil. In a large bowl, combine the sliced leeks and oil, and toss to coat. Spread the leeks in a single layer on the prepared pan. Roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time for even cooking, until the leeks are tender and lightly browned; remove from the oven and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to an 8½-inch square, about ¼ inch thick (for most brands, this just means unroll the frozen pastry). Cut and remove a ½-inch square from each corner of the pastry. Fold a ½-inch edge of pastry over toward the center of the pastry, to form a lovely raised border. Transfer the pastry to an ungreased cookie sheet. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork (at about ½-inch intervals). Brush the egg over the bottom of the crust, then brush the mustard over the egg. Sprinkle the cheese in the pastry shell, and spoon the roasted leeks over the cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Can be served hot or at room temperature.


Yukina Savoy Greens and Mushrooms
Recipe adapted from A Savoury Life

3 bunches of Greens (feel free to mix and match your favorites)
1 lb of mixed baby bellas and oyster mushrooms (or use your favorites here as well)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp butter, split, plus a little piece extra to finish
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
smidge of sea salt

Sauté the mushrooms in half the butter with a little sea salt. Use the salt sparingly, as the soy and tamari are very salty. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Remove from pan and cook the greens in the remaining butter in batches so it wilts evenly. Put the veggies in a bowl. Add the liquid ingredients to the pan with a bit more butter and sizzle for a moment then add to the greens.

The author notes: Serve as a side dish, an appetizer or as a base for your favorite protein whether it’s tofu, tempeh, chicken or whatever! You could also top it with some creamy goat cheese for a nice twist.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 16

Next CSA Pickups: September 29 & October 1

In your share this week:

  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Turnips
  • Beans/Peas
  • Scallions
  • Mustard
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Daikon Radish
  • Herbs
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Shallots
  • +

Stacy Hendrie FitStop
At last week’s Thursday CSA pickup, I had the great pleasure of seeing Stacy Hendrie, owner of FitStop Delivers, who was serving up some scrumptious samples from her menu at the farm. Even though I’ve had them all before, I delighted in savoring each flavor anew. I’m happy to take this opportunity to tell you more about my friend, and all of the great work she is doing. Stacy is committed to providing delicious, healthful meals to busy people, delivered right to your door! Her food combinations are always satisfying, often surprising, and have inspired me to be more adventurous in my own cooking. See below for a great recipe for spaghetti squash from Stacy, and check out her website at fitstopdelivers.com.

In addition, Stacy is hosting the next Healthy U event on Tuesday, September 29 from 6-9pm. This FREE event will be held at the Somers Community Center in Shenorock. The event will feature an awesome group of local businesses who focus on natural methods to improve your health and wellness. It’s a great opportunity to learn what is available locally to help you be the Healthiest U. There will be many hands-on opportunities and demonstrations, many great raffle prizes, and plenty of food to sample. Check it out on Facebook and then plan to attend on Tuesday!

Stacy and her colleagues, Daryl Moss and Lucy Diana, are the Synergy3, three amazing women who have dedicated their lives to “help people live the healthiest life possible in the most natural way.” I personally have done their 2-week cleanse 3 times, and each time has been an amazing and rewarding experience. It’s all real food, and I was never hungry – just the opposite, in fact. I mention this today, because the Synergy3 are getting ready for their Fall Cleanse, which begins Monday, October 5th. I can tell you that I was completely skeptical before I did my first cleanse in April 2014. I think I just didn’t like the sound of the word “cleanse”. I assumed it was just some other fad where you have to buy a bunch of expensive products and get by on half a grapefruit a day, while trying to convince yourself you’re not hungry. I could not have been more mistaken! Through the Synergy3 cleanse, I learned so much about how the body works and responds to different foods, and how I could greatly improve my life and health by simply being more aware and mindful about what I was putting in my body. I lost weight, identified a couple of food sensitivities I didn’t realize I had, and just felt fabulous and energized. It is all real food you can buy at any supermarket, and *bonus* you don’t have to cook a separate meal for your family. It is a commitment, but well worth it. And if I can do it, anyone can.

To learn more and to register, check out their website at www.thesynergy3.com/registration.

Spaghetti Squash with Arugula and Pistachios
Recipe adapted from Stacy Hendrie of FitStop Delivers.

1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled
1 small shallot
3 tablespoons lemon or EVOO
spaghetti squash
2 cups arugula
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scrape out all the seeds and seed membrane. Bake the squash cut side down until it pierces easily with a fork, 30-45 minutes (depending on size). Meanwhile, roast the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet for 8 minutes, then cool completely. Chop the pistachios and the shallot in a food processor, then place in your serving bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil or lemon, and the juice from the spaghetti squash to the pistachio mixture. Toss squash, arugula and nuts. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

spaghetti squash
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
Recipe adapted from Tastes Lovely

You know by now that I’m all about morphing favorite and familiar recipes and tastes to expose my family to more veg, and this is an awesome way to do it! The author also uses a great technique to minimize moisture in the spaghetti squash – she roasts it cut side UP. Give it a try and see how it changes the results.

1 2.5-3 pound spaghetti squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-1/2 cups marinara sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped spinach or other greens (if using frozen, thaw completely and squeeze out all moisture)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scrape out all the seeds and seed membrane. Put the spaghetti squash cut side up in a 9×13 baking dish. Roast uncovered for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
While the spaghetti squash is cooling, make the sausage marinara sauce. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the sausage to the pan and break it up with a spoon; cook for about 5 minutes. Add the onion to the sausage, and cook another 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the marinara sauce, and reduce the heat to low. Next, in a small bowl, make the spinach ricotta mixture by combining the ricotta cheese and spinach. Stir to combine, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the spaghetti squash are cool enough to touch, scrape the noodles out with a fork, and transfer the noodles to a medium size mixing bowl.
Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
To make the lasagna in the squash, layer the empty squash shell as follows: tomato sauce, 1/4 of the spaghetti squash noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 of the spaghetti squash noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the second squash half. Bake them uncovered in the same baking dish for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.
broccoli rabe
Broccoli Rabe with Spaghettini
Recipe adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.

1 lb broccoli rabe, hard stems removed
1 large sweet pepper (optional)
1/2 lb spaghettini
1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan cheese

Chop broccoli rabe into 2-3 inch pieces; set aside. If using, thinly slice the pepper. Break the spaghettini into 2-3 inch pieces. In a large sauté pan, cook the garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add pepper, cook slightly, and stir in broccoli rabe, spaghettini, and water or stock. Cover and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, for approximately 10 minutes, adding additional water if necessary. When broccoli rabe is tender, and spaghettini cooked, remove the cover, reduce and pan liquids, and stir in the butter. Season to taste and serve with Parmesan cheese.

To really make the most of your CSA produce, why not swap spaghetti squash for the spaghettini? Just roast the squash as noted in the other recipes, then add it to the pan once the broccoli rabe is just about tender.

Roasted Daikon Radish, Carrots & Peppers
Recipe adapted from Sarah’s Cucina Bella.

We have our first daikon radish this week, and while they’re great pickled or in salads, roasting takes the flavor to a whole new level. Give it a try, with other wonderful seasonal veggies.

1 bunch daikon radishes (3 daikons), scrubbed and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the daikon, carrots, red peppers, shallot and olive oil on a nonstick baking sheet. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice until tender. Drizzle the veggies with balsamic vinegar and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 5 minutes. Toss well and then transfer to a serving bowl.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 15

Next CSA Pickups: September 22 & 24


In your share this week:

  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Mustard Greens
  • Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Carrots/Beets
  • Arugula

It’s always hard for me to say good-bye to the summer, but the weather these past few weeks has been just divine. It’s perfect sleeping weather – windows open, blankets on. The morning air is crisp and energizing, the afternoon sun is warm, the breeze is uplifting… aaaahhh. And the harvest is just as plentiful and delicious as ever! If you’re looking for ideas for preserving the wonderful late-summer produce, check out this article: Freeze It, Dry It, Eat It Later

I realized I was getting quite a collection of scallions, so I started to look for some different ideas. I hope you’ll find these as tempting as I did!


Linguine with Creamy Scallion Pesto
Recipe adapted from Poor Girl Eats Well

Give this a try; the scallions really add a different dimension to the pasta.

1 8 oz. package linguine
2 bunches scallions, rinsed & coarsely chopped (about 15-20 stalks)
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 c olive oil
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Extra olive oil for drizzling

In a food processor (or hand blender cup), combine the chopped scallions, almonds, garlic, olive oil, cheese, lemon juice and seasonings, and purée until almost smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust according to taste. Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to package instructions. Drain & drizzle with a bit of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking. Gently fold about 1 cup of pesto into the linguine and stir until well-coated. Top with additional parmesan cheese, to taste.

Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Over the years, I have found that almost anything I make in muffin tins is devoured by my kids. This is no exception!

1 cup whole milk
4 oz soft mild goat cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 bunch scallions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter 12 muffin cups. In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp milk and the goat cheese, until combined. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Melt the butter and in another small bowl, whisk it together with the remaining milk and egg. Finely chop enough scallions to measure 1 cup. Stir butter mixture and scallions into flour mixture, until just combined. Divide half of the batter evenly among muffin cups and top each with about 2 Tbsp of the goat cheese filling. Divide the remaining batter over the filling. Bake the muffins in the middle of the oven until golden brown, and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Beet Soup
Recipe adapted from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups

Here’s a lovely soup from Brother Victor-Antoine; he swears by the delicious flavor combination of beets and onions.

2 quarts water
1 bouillon cube
4 beets, peeled and diced
2 onions, finely sliced
3 celery stalks, finely sliced
6 tsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
mixed herbs (dill and scallion tops)
croutons (optional)

Pour the water into a soup pot and add the bouillon cube, beets, onions, celery, oil, and sugar. Begin to cook slowly. After 30 minutes, add the salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook slowly for another 10 minutes. Let the soup stand for 15 minutes, then blend the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Reheat the soup for 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the mixed herbs and ladle the soup into individual bowls. If using, add a few croutons in the middle of each serving as garnish.

Festive Beet Salad
I don’t remember where I got this recipe originally, as it is not noted in my files. But my thanks to the original author, as I’ve had it for years, and it’s ideal for a nice salad using early fall’s freshest produce.

2 cups washed, peeled and finely grated red beets
3 cups washed and chopped parsley
1 cup washed, peeled and finely grated carrots
2 cups washed, peeled and grated apples
About 1/3 cup of your favorite Italian dressing, homemade or prepared
About 4 Tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice (to prevent apples from browning)

Put the first three ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed. Cover and place in the fridge to chill. Put the apples in another bowl, mix in lemon and orange juice, then cover and place in the fridge to chill. Just before serving, add dressing and toss gently to mix. Fold in the apples and transfer to a nice serving bowl, ideally one that will showcase the colorful salad.

The salad is best when freshly prepared; the flavors keep beautifully, but the longer it sits, the more the entire salad will take on the color of the beets.
Change it up by dicing the vegetables and apples instead of shredding, for the size/texture you prefer.
The original author’s notes suggest adding celery, pears, nuts, and/or mint for variety.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 14

Next CSA Pickups: September 15 & 17

In your share this week:

  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Squash/Tomatoes
  • Carrots/Beets
  • Scallions
  • Arugula
  • Kale/Collards
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Mustard Greens
  • Broccoli Rabe


This week we have our first member of the winter squash family, spaghetti squash. As I mentioned earlier in the season when we started to see summer squash, the main contrast between these two sub-categories stems from when they are harvested. Summer squash are picked while still relatively immature, the skin, flesh and seeds are all edible, and they can be eaten raw; they should be stored in the fridge and eaten with a couple of days. In contrast, winter squash ripen later in the season, they’re picked when more mature, so they have hard outer rinds, and need to be cooked. Winter squash should be stored on your counter, not refrigerated. They will keep for weeks, and if kept at around 50 degrees, they can keep for months!

The most popular way to prepare spaghetti squash is to pretend it is actually spaghetti, and smother it with tomato sauce and cheese. This is delicious, easy and fabulous, and you should most definitely give it a try. Simply split it in two and remove the seeds, roast the halves cut side down till fork-tender, scrape out the flesh with a fork, and it will look just like spaghetti. After you try it this way, give this a whirl:


Spaghetti Squash Tacos
Recipe adapted from Lemons and Basil

The author recommends using the squash instead of shredded pork or chicken, but I wouldn’t get away with that with my carnivores. We generally create a taco bar so everyone can choose what they like (but the squash is non-negotiable)!

1 lb marinated chicken thighs or breasts, chopped or shredded, whichever you prefer
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp sea salt
Sixteen 6-inch tortillas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup tomatoes, finely diced
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup finely diced onion (red, white, or yellow)
crumbled or shredded cheese of your choice
cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped, if desired
favorite salsa

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray pan with cooking spray. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and roast the halves face down on baking pan for 35-40 minutes or until flesh is soft. Once the squash is cooked, remove and allow to cool 5 minutes, then scrape the flesh with a fork to loosen and separate the strands. Place the strands of flesh in a medium bowl and discard skins. In a separate bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt, whisk in lemon juice and pour over squash strands. Gently toss to mix seasonings throughout, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and warm tortillas one at a time until slightly blistered on each side, about 30-45 seconds per side. (Alternatively, heat the tortillas in the microwave, with damp paper towels on top and on the bottom of the stack.) To assemble the tacos, transfer warmed tortillas to platter and add a spoonful of black beans, a scoop of seasoned squash, scoop of chicken, dollop of Greek yogurt, tomatoes and avocados. Top off with some diced onion, cheese, a sprinkle of cilantro, if desired, and your favorite salsa.


Indian-Style Mustard Greens
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

1 1/4 pounds mustard greens, stemmed, or broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
1/2 pound cleaned spinach
2 tablespoons cornmeal
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 red onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mustard greens and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the greens, transfer to a food processor and puree. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the greens and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer the pureed greens to a bowl. Add the garlic, jalapeños and ginger to the food processor and finely chop. Add the onions and finely chop. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic-onion mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the pureed greens and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally; add about 1/4 cup of water if the greens look dry. Season with salt and serve.
tomatoes for roasting
Roasted Tomatoes
Recipe adapted from Saveur

This a simple and delicious preparation for your tomatoes.

6 medium tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly crushed
5 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 425°. Place tomatoes, garlic, and thyme on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake, brushing tomatoes occasionally with the oil, until tomatoes soften and their skins split, about 25 minutes. Transfer tomatoes, along with juices, to a serving dish and serve warm with crusty bread.
Eggplant Caponata
Recipe adapted from Prevention

Caponata is a very popular Italian dish, and almost all of the ingredients are in your share this week!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb eggplant, cubed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1½ cups zucchini, chopped
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
12 oz chopped tomatoes (about 1½ cups)
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, red bell pepper, zucchini, red onion, and thyme. Sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and vinegar, and cook 4 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 12

Next CSA Pickups: September 1 & 3

In your share this week:

  • Arugula
  • Turnips/Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Kale/Collards
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Shallots

What have you been doing with your lovely tomatoes? I have to admit, we haven’t been cooking them yet; instead we’re just enjoying them in their most natural state. I picked up some tomato “seconds” to make a quick sauce: Simply chop up the tomatoes into a bowl large enough to hold them, trimming off any rough or undesirable spots. Meanwhile, put on a big pot of water for pasta, and while you’re waiting for that to boil, heat some olive oil in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, add some chopped or minced garlic and sauté just until fragrant, but not brown. Add the tomatoes, a spoonful at a time, allowing them to break down little by little. By now the water for your pasta should be boiling, so put in the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Keep checking the sauce, adding the tomatoes little by little until they are all in the pot. Stir gently, add some salt to taste, and simmer covered over medium-low heat until the pasta is ready. Just before you drain the pasta, add some chopped fresh basil to the sauce. Drain the pasta, season with the sauce, and enjoy. Delicious!


While I am a little sad that summer is winding down, I have to admit that I am excited for the return of fall produce. Soon we’ll start seeing more greens and root vegetables in our shares. Speaking of greens, I discovered something very yummy by accident. A few weeks ago, I had forgotten about the collards and kale that I had picked up in our share. This is what happens when my kids help me put away groceries and produce… half the time I don’t remember what’s there! Anyway, I had to cook them quickly. I normally cook collards with a little bit of bacon or other meat to flavor the broth for my carnivores, but this time I didn’t have anything on hand. So, I had my son help me strip the leaves off the stems of both the collards and kale. We washed them well, and then roughly chopped them all together. As usual, I started the cooking with my trusty olive oil and garlic. Once the garlic was fragrant I added the chopped greens to sauté for a few minutes, then added a couple of cups of chicken broth (bouillon and water this time) so I could simmer and soften the greens a while (maybe 15-20 minutes). Well, the greens were delicious over pasta, and the broth was too! I ended up using the broth as the cooking liquid for some rice the next day, which packed an extra nutritious punch when served with the leftover greens. Give it a try in the coming weeks. I think you may be surprised at how flavorful it is. Here’s a similar and more erudite-sounding preparation from the folks at Food & Wine:

Braised Greens with Tomatoes
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large jalapeño, seeded and sliced
2 lbs sturdy greens, such as chard, mustard greens, kale or young collards—stems and inner ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the greens, season with salt and pepper and toss to wilt. Stir in the tomatoes, water and vinegar, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the tomatoes are soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Bacon, Potato & Swiss Chard Gratin
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

This is a delicious dish with chard (my favorite), but any of the other greens will do. Use what your family likes best.

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb Swiss chard (or spinach, kale, young collards, or beet or radish tops)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into approximately 1/8-inch slices
1/4 lb Gruyère, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 lb sliced Canadian bacon or other bacon
2/3 cup chicken broth or stock, homemade or canned

Heat the oven to 425°. Remove the large stems* of the Swiss chard, and cut the leaves crosswise into approximately 1-inch ribbons. In a medium frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over moderately low heat. Add the Swiss chard and cook until starting to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and 1/8 teaspoon each salt (if using) and pepper. Cook until no liquid remains in the pan, about 2 minutes. Butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan or similarly sized gratin dish. Layer one third of the potatoes in the dish and top with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper, a third of the cheese, and half the Canadian bacon. Spread the Swiss chard in a single layer. Top with half the remaining potatoes and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread half the remaining cheese and the remaining Canadian bacon over the potatoes. Add the remaining potatoes to the dish, sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and top with the remaining cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the chicken broth over all. Cover the gratin with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before cutting.

I use the stems in recipes like this. Simply chop the stems very fine, and saute them ahead of the greens (they will take a few more minutes to soften). Once the stems are soft, continue on with the recipe by adding the Swiss chard to the pan as noted above.
Also, I personally do not think the added salt is necessary in this recipe, but I left in the instructions FYI.


Costa Brava Egg-and-Tuna-Filled Tomatoes
Recipe adapted from Twelve Months of Monastery Salads by Victor Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette.

Having lived in Spain for a couple of years myself, I am a big fan of Spanish cuisine. Tomatoes, tuna and eggs are a very common—and delicious—combination.

One 6-oz can tuna, drained
1 small celery heart, thinly sliced
1 medium-size cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 medium-size red onion, finely chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
10 pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
A few sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
8 medium-size ripe tomatoes
1 head leafy lettuce of your choice, separated into leaves

Put the tuna in a deep bowl and flake it with a fork. Add the celery, cucumber, onion, eggs and olives, and mix well. Add the mayonnaise and dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to blend all the ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until ready to serve. About 1 hour before you are ready to serve, core the tomatoes and cut them into perfect halves. Scoop out their insides, taking care not to puncture the skins. Reserve the insides for sauce on another day. Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain out all of the remaining liquid. Fill the tomato cavities with the egg and tuna mixture, heaping it a bit high. Place 3 lettuce leaves in the form of a shamrock on each of 8 salad plates. Place 2 tomato halves in the center of each. Serve immediately.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 11

Next CSA Pickups: August 25 & 27

Hakurei turnips (aka Japanese salad turnips)

Hakurei turnips (aka Japanese salad turnips)

In your share this week:

  • Kale/Collards/Chard
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Herbs
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes


Have you tried the beautiful Hakurei turnips yet? I was very surprised by their sweet, mild flavor when I had them for the first time. We primarily ate them in salads at first, but have since learned how wonderful they are cooked, either with or without the greens. Hakurei turnips, or Japanese salad turnips, are part of the Brassica family, along with broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, and other turnips. They are full of wonderful nutrients: the roots are high in vitamin C and rich in dietary fiber, and the beautiful greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, fiber, calcium and iron, among many others. As with other root vegetables, you should remove the greens ASAP, and store them separate from the roots in your crisper. The leaves stay fresh only a couple of days, while the roots can last weeks if properly stored in the fridge. See below for a great frittata recipe, using both the turnips and the greens.
My kids could not believe that I had written anything about tomatoes and not included our most favorite summertime pasta dish, pasta alla cecca. This is absolutely our go-to preparation when tomatoes and basil are fresh. We actually eat it all year long, but nothing beats seasonal ingredients. As with most traditional recipes, every household has its own take on this dish—in fact, even the different members of my family of origin make it differently!—but it’s practically impossible to mess up, and should be adjusted to your family’s preferences and tastes. I give you the basics here, and hope that you will make it your own.
Pasta alla cecca (loosely translated “blind woman’s pasta”, pronounced “CHECK-ah”)
I usually make this with at least 2 pounds of pasta, but it is very easily adapted for the number of servings you desire. These amounts are approximate:
2 lbs pasta of your choice (any shape is wonderful, from spaghetti to orzo; shells are our favorite)
1 lb mozzarella (but you can easily use 1 lb of cheese for each 1 lb of pasta)
2-3 large tomatoes or 4-6 medium tomatoes
a large bunch of fresh basil
salt to taste
2-3 cloves garlic (optional)
olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. When you put the water to boil on the stove, begin to prepare the other ingredients. Chop the mozzarella and tomatoes into similar-size pieces, about 1/2 inch cubes, and place in a large serving bowl. Chop basil and add to the bowl. Lightly season with salt, and drizzle with good quality olive oil (this is not the place to skimp on the olive oil). Toss to combine. When the pasta is al dente, drain and pour directly from the strainer into the serving bowl, on top of the cheese and tomatoes. Toss very well to combine and distribute all of the ingredients. Add more olive oil if needed. If desired, sauté some minced garlic in olive oil and add to the bowl just after the pasta is added, again tossing well to combine.

Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Vegetable Kabobs
Recipe adapted from bettycrocker.com

A friend shared this recipe with me; apparently, it’s all over Pinterest, but I’ve traced the origins back to Betty Crocker. It’s simple, healthful, and delicious, and makes great use of our fresh produce!

Rosemary-Lemon Marinade
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 (or more) cloves garlic, finely chopped

Chicken and Vegetables
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (we use boneless thighs)
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)

In a shallow bowl or resealable plastic bag, mix all marinade ingredients. Add chicken, stirring to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes but no longer than 6 hours.
Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Thread chicken, bell pepper, zucchini and onion alternately on each of four 15-inch metal skewers, leaving about 1/4-inch space between each piece. Brush vegetables with marinade. Cover and grill kabobs over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with marinade, until chicken is no longer pink in center. Discard any remaining marinade. Sprinkle feta cheese over kabobs.

Alternatively, you can prepare the kabobs first, and set the completed skewers on a long, shallow platter. Pour some of the marinade over the kabobs, cover and refrigerate, and rotate the skewers a couple of times to distribute the marinade. Then grill and continue to brush with marinade, as noted in the above preparation.

Potage Crécy
Recipe adapted from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Victor-Antoine D’Avila Latourrette.

Even though we don’t have carrots in this week’s share, I had to post this recipe from our pal Brother Victor-Antoine, who writes, “According to an old tradition dating back to the 14th century, loyal Britons should eat carrot soup or “potage de Crécy” on the anniversary (August 26, 1346) of the battle of Crécy, a legendary victory of the English over the French in the Hundred Years’ War.”

10 carrots
1 potato
1 onion
8 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1 cube vegetable bouillon (if stock is not used)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Slice the carrots, potato, and onion, and place into a large soup pot. Add the water, bouillon, tomato paste, butter, and sugar. Stir well and cook slowly, covered, over low heat for about an hour. When the soup is done, pour it through a strainer, gently rubbing the vegetables through it. (Or blend in a blender.) Reheat the soup. Add salt, pepper, and heavy cream (if using), and stir thoroughly. Serve the soup immediately, garnishing the top with parsley.

Kale and Turnip Frittata
Recipe adapted from Early Morning Farm CSA

2 large turnips shredded
1/2 bunch of greens like kale, mustard greens, or arugula sliced into shreds
8 fresh local eggs
1/4 cup whole milk, cream, or 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 cup (large handful) shredded white cheddar or other mild cheese
2 minced cloves garlic
1/2 minced onion
2-3 Tbsp butter

Prepare the turnips: Preheat the oven to 425. Start by shredding two turnips with a box grater or food processor with a shredding blade. These turnips have a lot of moisture so the first step is cooking them down. I started with 2 tablespoons of butter. (you could use less) Melt the butter over medium heat. Add half a minced onion, the shredded turnips, about a 1/2 tsp sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix evenly then use a spatula to flatten, cook for two minutes, turn over, and flatten again. Repeat this 2-3 times until there is a lot of water surrounding the turnips. Carefully pour the water off. Flatten the mixture one last time and cook until it starts to brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Prepare the greens: Wash leaves thoroughly. Remove stems, roll into a tight bundle, and slice finely into shreds. In the same pan the turnips were in add a dash of olive oil or butter and briefly sauté the garlic over medium heat, then add the kale. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover 3-5 minutes until the kale starts to break down. Remove from pan.

While the kale is cooking: Beat the 8 eggs with the 1/4 cup of milk. Add a sprinkle of salt + pepper (this flavors the whole dish and table-side salting should not be necessary).

Cook the frittata: Add a smidge more butter to the pan (about 1/2 tablespoon), melt over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring briefly, until beginning to set, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Spoon the turnip mixture evenly over the eggs. Top with kale, then the cheese. Bake at 425 degrees until egg is set, about 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, cut into wedges and serve.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 10

Next CSA Pickups: August 18 & 20

OK, be honest: How many of you actually made it home from the farm last week with any tomatoes left?


In your share this week:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Summer Squash
  • Kale/Collards/Chard
  • Onions
  • Herbs

There is much excitement and rejoicing around the farm, now that the beautiful tomatoes are ready! As with many of the vegetables from the farm, my family often cannot resist just giving a quick rinse and enjoying the produce practically straight from the bag. This will certainly be true with tomatoes, as it was last week with the, er, 10 or so sungold tomatoes that made it home with me from the farm! Should you have any left to save for later, here are some things to keep in mind about tomatoes:

Picked tomatoes do best at room temperature, 55-80 degrees. To keep them as fresh and great-tasting as possible, they should be stored on your counter, stem side down and out of direct sunlight. The refrigerator is not the tomato’s friend; the colder temperature toughens the skin and dampens (some even say ruins!) the beautiful, fresh flavor. If it’s a real heat wave like we’re expecting this week and you feel you must refrigerate the tomatoes to prevent spoilage, bring them back to room temperature before serving. (Or, just eat them more quickly!) Down the road, if you’d like to preserve your tomatoes for later use, check out this link for three simple ways to preserve garden tomatoes.

I know that many people feel strongly about peeling and seeding tomatoes before cooking, but I confess that I never, ever do this. Perhaps it’s because at this time of year, I really don’t cook tomatoes long enough for this to be an issue. Even so, I honestly don’t mind the skin and seeds. However, if you’re interested, there are several fairly simple techniques you can use. Check out this link and this one for simple instructions and pictures on a variety of methods.

Growing up, when the tomatoes were ripe in my Mom’s garden, it was time for my Dad’s fabulous triple-decker tomato sandwiches. I was mystified by this decadent treat for many years, and I remember being very surprised when I realized it was simply sliced tomato sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil, layered on slices of delicious, crusty Italian bread. The. Best. I highly recommend you try it!

Whatever preparations you choose, I hope you will enjoy these amazing tomatoes at the peak of freshness.

Rice Salad Caprese
Recipe adapted from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

Here’s a fun take on the wonderful Caprese salad, combining the traditional tomato, mozzarella and basil with rice. The author also suggests adding shredded grilled chicken and arugula, among other variations. Divine!

2 cups rice
2 large or 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 generous cup)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook rice according to package instructions for al dente, tender but firm. Drain the rice and spread it out on a clean baking pan or tray to cool. When the rice is cool and feels dry, toss it in a bowl with the tomatoes, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, whisk the oil and lemon juice together, and pour over the salad. Toss gently until all the rice is coated and the ingredients are mixed well. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour. Just before serving, toss in the shredded basil, check the seasoning and adjust to taste.

Tortellini with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Peppers
Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

I make this with meat tortellini, just to pacify my carnivores.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound tortellini (cheese or meat, fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, bell peppers, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and tortellini. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the tortellini are cooked through and most of the broth is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley and ¼ cup of the Parmesan. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan.


Halibut with Grilled Eggplant Salad
Recipe adapted from Real Simple

2 Tbsp canola oil, plus more for the grill
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
4 6-ounce pieces skinless halibut or other white fish
kosher salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the oil and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Brush the eggplant and fish with this mixture and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Oil grill.* Grill the eggplant and fish until the eggplant is tender and slightly charred and the fish is opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side for both. In a second small bowl, combine the vinegar, ginger, jalapeño, cilantro, and remaining soy sauce. Drizzle over the fish and eggplant before serving.

*Here’s a great tip to oil your grill: Use an onion! Slice an onion in half, stab it with a long BBQ fork, dip in oil and rub over the grates. This trick gets the job done, and you will end up using less oil.

Colorful Potato Salad
Recipe adapted from Melissa’s Great Book of Produce by Cathy Thomas.

This is a fun way to use the different types and colors of potato in your share, as well as a variety of the fresh herbs.

4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
2 medium cloves garlic
1-1/2 lbs potatoes, different colors
1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more for dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks celery, trimmed, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp minced parsley
2 green onions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced

Place thyme, rosemary, white wine, and garlic in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes, leaving skin intact. Add to the pan. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add salt. Bring to boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and boil gently until the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil, little by little. Drain the potatoes and discard the herbs. Gently toss the warm potatoes with enough dressing to coat them evenly. Add the celery and toss, then allow to cool. Add the parsley and green onions, and gently toss again. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Best served at room temperature.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 9

Next CSA Pickups: August 11 & 13

Did you try the adorable “Minnesota Midget” cantaloupe last week? We did, and they were so juicy, sweet, and delicious that they were devoured right away.

minnesota midget melon minnesota midget melon_3

In your share this week:

  • Kale/Collards
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions

We’re beginning to see carrots in our shares, and a wide variety of them at that. These young carrots are so fresh and sweet, often the best way to enjoy them is to just scrub and eat them raw! Check out this article for information about different color carrots. Carrots generally keep very well, but the closer to harvest that you eat them, the sweeter they will be. If you won’t get to them right away, simply remove the tops and store in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Did you know? It is believed that carrots were first cultivated in the Middle East in the 900s. They are said to have come to Europe in the 1100s from the East and Northern Africa through Spain. In Europe, “Charlemagne cultivated carrots in his garden, but the vegetable—always yellow at that time—was not very popular, until the Dutch cultivated an orange carrot in the seventeenth century.” (Vegetable Harvest, by Patricia Wells)

I read today that August 8 is “National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day”. Of course, none of our esteemed CSA members would ever dream of doing such a thing… but just in case the impulse starts to come over you, here are a couple of different preparations for you to try, to gird yourself against the temptation:

Baked Zucchini Chips
Recipe adapted from aspicyperspective.com

4 large zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
Dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, garlic, rosemary, sage, etc.)
Grated parmesan cheese

Trim the ends from the zucchini, and slice evenly and thinly, about 1/8 inch thick. (Using a mandolin helps keep the slices consistent.) Lay the zucchini slices on paper towels in a single layer. Cover with more paper towels and set a baking sheet on top of the zucchini slices. Press down on the baking sheet, applying slight pressure, to help squeeze out some of the moisture. Preheat the oven to 235 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush the parchment paper lightly with olive oil. Lay the zucchini slices in a single layer on the parchment paper. Fit as many on each baking sheet as possible (the slices will shrink as they cook). Then lightly brush the top of the zucchini with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and any seasonings you are using. Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until crisp and golden. Remove the crisp chips and place any damp chips back in the oven for a few more minutes. Allow the zucchini chips to cool on the paper towels to absorb any extra oil. Store in an airtight container.

For variety, try using seasoned salt instead of the Italian flavors, or paprika and cumin. Or, make up your own seasoning combination to suit your family’s tastes.

Healthy Zucchini Soft “Taco” Shells
Recipe from whiteonricecouple.com

I received this recipe from a friend. I have not tried these yet, but they sound awesome!

4 cups (950ml) zucchini, coarsely grated
1 large egg
1/2 cup (120ml) grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (60ml) bread crumbs
1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove as much moisture as you can from the zucchini. Add zucchini to large bowl and mix in remainder of the taco shell ingredients (egg, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cumin). Cover baking sheets with parchment paper or oven proof baking mat. Scoop about ¼ cup of mixture and press down on baking pan into a thin circle, about 5” wide. Repeat for remainder of mixture. Bake shells for about 25 minutes, or until the shells look “crisp” and brown around the edges. We like to bake the shells a little longer for a more charred texture and flavor. Just be careful to not bake too long or else the shells dry out and are hard to peel off. After zucchini soft taco shells are cool, gently peel them off the parchment paper.


Neopolitan Zucchini Soup
Recipe adapted from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

Brother Victor-Antoine delivers another hit with this recipe!

7 small zucchini, finely sliced
3 Tbsp butter
6 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
bunch of parsley and basil, finely chopped
croutons (optional)

Place finely sliced zucchini in a good-sized soup pot. Add the butter and cook slowly over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until the zucchini are tender (about 20 minutes). Cover the pot. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the cheese, chopped parsley and basil, and mix it all thoroughly. Add the mixture to the soup and stir. Allow it to cook for another 4-5 minutes maximum. Serve hot, adding some croutons on top as garnish, if desired.

Beet, Fennel, and Carrot Salad
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

This is a great and colorful preparation to enjoy three wonderful fresh ingredients from your CSA share.

1 fennel bulb, trimmed
5 medium carrots
2 large beets, trimmed and peeled

For the Vinaigrette
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, halved and very thinly sliced
Coarse salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Make the salad: Quarter fennel bulb lengthwise, and cut out core. Very thinly slice fennel lengthwise into strips using a mandoline or sharp knife. Cover with a damp paper towel in a glass dish. Grate carrots, then beets, on the large holes of a box grater. Arrange side by side with fennel. Keep covered with damp paper towel, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the vinaigrette: Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl, and add orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, and 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in oil.
Toss fennel, beets, and carrots with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve immediately.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 8

Next CSA Pickups: August 4 & 6


In your share this week:

  • Melons
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Pearl Drop Onions
  • Chard/Lettuce (tentative)

How about that gorgeous pepper display last week! We will see many varieties of pepper in our weekly shares, from mild to hot. Peppers are part of the Capsicum family, and the degree of hotness depends on how much capsaicin is contained within the pepper. When you pick up your share, take note of the posted signs for each pepper variety, which will give you an idea of their intensity and the preparations for which they are best suited. If you’re experimenting with the hotter varieties, good for you! Just be aware that the seeds and internal white membranes are where most of the capsaicin resides. Removing these parts from the pepper can greatly reduce the amount of heat. **BE CAREFUL** when handling hot peppers – wear gloves and do not touch your eyes or face. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in pepper spray, so take care not to have any inadvertent accidents!

Because it was my son’s birthday this week, he requested a simple pepper salad we make often. We simply seed and chop the peppers into a serving bowl, season with coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, and oregano, then cover with olive oil and toss. It’s excellent to dip in, or spooned onto your favorite bread or sandwich. This time, he chose mainly mild peppers, all but one, which adds an excellent kick to the salad when you least expect it. Which varieties did you choose?

Roasted Bell Peppers and Eggplant Dip
Recipe adapted from tusconcsa.org

Here’s another interesting dip or spread to try; again, many of the ingredients are in your share.

2-3 bell peppers
1 large or 2-3 small eggplant
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut eggplant, onions and bell peppers in cubes. Add to a large bowl with oil, garlic and cumin, and toss until well coated with oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender and browned, tossing once for even roasting. (If you are using already-roasted bell peppers, omit them at this stage and add them at the next stage.) Let cool. Add vegetables to a food processor with tomato puree, and salt and pepper to taste, and blend to obtain a slightly chunky puree.

Red Pepper and Zucchini Salad
Recipe adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.

This is a great way to combine two of our most copious CSA ingredients. Enjoy!

2 lbs sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-3 lbs zucchini or summer squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic (I use more)
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Wash and trim the zucchini. Quarter lengthwise and then cut into 1-inch pieces. Salt* and drain the zucchini, and pat dry. Heat the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Toss with the vegetables, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 6 hours. Serve cold tossed with the sesame seeds, if using.

*To salt zucchini: Place zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit over a bowl or in the sink for 15-30 minutes, to draw out extra moisture. Drain and pat dry, then proceed with the recipe.

potatoes summer squash_2

Veggie Meatballs
Recipe adapted from Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Bastianich

If you’re feeding suspicious carnivores like I am, the trick is to ease into the all-veggie preparation. Start by serving these in your family’s favorite tomato sauce, side by side with your regular meatballs. Or, include some ground turkey or ground beef in the mixture with the zucchini and potatoes, and then you can gradually reduce the amount of meat each time you offer it.

4 medium-small potatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs)
3 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 large eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup chopped scallion
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes in water and boil until tender. Drain, cool until easy to handle, peel, then pass through a potato ricer into a large bowl, or grate using the smallest holes on an upright grater. While the potato continues to cool, shred the zucchini into a kitchen towel and wring out the extra moisture over the sink. Add the zucchini, eggs, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, scallions, basil, and salt to the potatoes, and mix well. Form the mixture into balls or patties, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle with salt to taste before serving.

Alternatively, these can be pan-fried. Add a small swirl of olive oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the veggie balls/patties in batches until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Drain on paper towels and season with salt before serving.

Cucumber Melon Salad with Mint
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman on nytimes.com

4 cups mixed diced watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe
2 cups diced cucumber, seeded if there are seeds
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
¼ to ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder (to taste), or 1 serrano chile, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss, and serve immediately.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 7


Next CSA Pickups: July 28 & 30

In your share this week:

  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Leeks
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Herbs
  • Swiss Chard
  • Potatoes
  • Pearl Drop Onions

As we move into eggplant season, here are some things to keep in mind. Once picked, eggplant’s optimal storage temperature is 50 degrees, so it should not be stored in the refrigerator unless it is extremely hot out. After just a day or 2 in the fridge, eggplant will start to get brown spots and become bitter, so if we have another heat wave and you must refrigerate your eggplant, wrap it well and keep it in your vegetable drawer. Either way, plan to use eggplant within a couple of days for optimal taste, freshness and nutritional value. The flesh of the eggplant will begin to oxidize quickly when cut, so if you’re not cooking them immediately, you can sprinkle the cut pieces with a little lemon juice to ward off the oxidation. The skin of the eggplant is full of fiber, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants, so leave it on whenever possible.

In your CSA share, you will see several different varieties. You’ll recognize the traditional globe eggplant, with its smooth, dark purple or black skin, which is great cut into big slices for grilling, and also roasted, baked or stuffed. The long, slender eggplants are different Asian varieties, which are generally very tender and just wonderful in a simple stir-fry. And of course, we have the fairytale eggplant:

fairytale eggplant

Just as I did with the pattypan squash, at first I dismissed these adorable fairytale eggplant as simply too cute to eat. When I finally got up the nerve to cook them, I simply halved them lengthwise and sautéed them in olive oil with garlic slices. And yes, as you may have guessed by now, my go-to trial recipe for basically any vegetable is to sauté it in olive oil and garlic! Well, it didn’t fail me with these little cuties, and they are so delicious and buttery in texture that they never seem to make it to the dinner table; everyone just “picks” while the rest of the meal is being prepared. One other thing to note, as we saw with those stunning purple string beans, the gorgeous coloring on the fairytale eggplant will fade (and may even disappear) with cooking.

Here’s a nice variation prepared on the grill:

Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant with Rosemary Garlic Oil
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

1 lb. fairy tale eggplant, halved lengthwise, stems intact
Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil; more for brushing
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Lightly season the cut halves of the eggplant with salt and let sit while the grill is heating. In a 1-quart saucepan, cook the oil and garlic over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the rosemary, and set aside. Brush the eggplant halves all over with some of the oil mixture. Place them on the grill grate, cut side down. Grill, covered, until grill marks appear, 1 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip the eggplant and grill, covered, until completely tender, 1 to 3 minutes more. Arrange cut side up on a serving platter. Whisk the lemon juice into the remaining oil mixture and drizzle over the eggplant. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and serve.


Eggplant Caviar
Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Try this as an appetizer at your next party, as an alternative to hummus or sour cream-based dip.

1 large eggplant (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (1⁄4 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (optional)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
Pumpernickel bread and cut up vegetables, for serving

Heat oven to 400° F. Using a fork, prick the eggplant all over. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin. Finely chop the flesh and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oil, vinegar, mayonnaise (if using), salt, and pepper and mix to combine. Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve with the bread and vegetables, if desired. Makes 1-1/2 cups.


Ratatouille – Two ways to prepare a classic
Recipe adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

The main recipe gives a straightforward and delicious way to prepare this classic dish, but the Note below gives the more traditional approach. It may take longer to prepare each vegetable separately, but combining everything just before serving is most traditional. Both are excellent, and just about all of the ingredients are fresh as can be, in your CSA share!

1 large eggplant, or several small
3 onions, peeled
3 red bell peppers
4 summer squash
5 tomatoes
6-12 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 large bunch basil (about 1/2 pound)

Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Salt it liberally and leave it to drain in a colander for 30-60 minutes. Press down on the eggplant or squeeze gently to extract excess moisture, and pat dry. (Note: In this recipe, the salting step is not done to remove bitterness, as is sometimes done with more mature eggplant; rather it is used here to help the eggplant absorb less oil in the cooking process.)

Meanwhile, peel and cut up the onions, and cut up the peppers, squash, and tomatoes, keeping them all separate. Everything should be cut into pieces about the same size as the cubed eggplant. Smash and peel the garlic and chop it coarsely. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat some of the olive oil and gently fry the eggplant until golden. Drain and reserve. Add more olive oil to the pot, and over medium-low heat start sautéing the onions. When they are soft and translucent, add the garlic, optional hot pepper flakes, and a bouquet garni consisting of the bunch of basil wrapped tightly with string, reserving a handful of the basil leaves for a garnish. Stir for a minute, toss in the peppers, and cook for a few minutes; next add the squash and cook a few minutes more, and then add the tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the eggplant, and cook 15-25 minutes more, until everything is soft and the flavors have melded together. Remove the bouquet of basil, pressing on it to extract all of its flavors, and adjust the seasoning with freshly chopped basil leaves, salt and a bit of fresh extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped garlic, if needed. Serve warm or cold. The dish tastes even better the next day. Serves 8.

Note: Another method of making ratatouille is to fully cook all the vegetables separately, and to combine them with the tomatoes, herbs and seasonings just before serving. This makes for a very beautiful dish; the vegetables don’t break down, and the shape and color of each remain intact.


Photo: Simply Recipes

Photo: Simply Recipes

Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

This cool and refreshing drink is doubly wonderful: it is refreshing and soothing on a hot summer night, and also helps use up your cucumber bounty!

1 lb of cucumbers (about 2 good sized cucumbers), ends trimmed, but peel still on, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice from fresh limes (from about 1 pound of limes, or 5 to 10 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
1 1/4 cup packed (spearmint) mint leaves (about a large handful), woody stems removed
1/2 cup sugar
Approximately 1 1/4 cup of water

Put ingredients in blender, add enough water to fill 3/4 of blender. Hold the lid on the blender and purée until smooth. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour the purée through it, pressing against the sieve with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid out as possible. Fill a large pitcher halfway with ice cubes. Add the juice. Serve with sprigs of mint and slices of lime. Makes about 1 quart.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer