Thursday, July 31, 2008

Week Nine; July 30, 2008

At last, tomatoes!!! We really wanted to get you tomatoes, so we picked them a little under-ripe. Just let them sit on your countertop, and they’ll ripen. Don’t refrigerate. Bleck! They’ll just get mushy.

We are hoping this is just the beginning of a generous tomato crop, but all that rain we’ve had wasn’t such a good thing for tomatoes. For one thing, bees don’t care for rain. So they have not been busy cross pollinating—bopping from blossom to blossom—so that the plants are more prolific. (We’re noticing this too with our summer squash; production is now down.) Also, all this rain encourages blight—“the scourge of tomato growers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states and Midwest,” notes our seed supplier. And no matter how much we dust the plants with copper (an organic method for discouraging blight), with so much moisture, there’s little that can be done. We are seeing blight on the leaves of our tomato plants but, so far, not the tomatoes themselves. We’re just trying to keep our fingers crossed, since we planted our largest tomato crop ever—about 1,500 plants among which are 15 different varieties.

The variety you have this week is called New Girl. It’s an early variety that, as far as I can tell, is relatively all-purpose. Use it sliced, in salads or in a quick sauce.

Here’s what was in this week’s share:
3 tomatoes
3 green peppers
2 big fresh onions—1 red, 1 Walla Walla
fresh garlic
½ pound salad mix
3 cucumbers
1 bunch of basil
2 large eggplants
1 pound of green beans
1 head of green cabbage

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Week Eight; July 23, 2008

This week we included our newest onions—Walla Walla Sweets. That name kind of says it all. They’re a mild, juicy variety not meant for storage (keep in your fridge).

They may look huge and overwhelming, but if you slice relatively thin and slow cook over medium to medium-low heat in olive oil and/or butter, stirring occasionally, they melt down into a perfect portion of caramelized onions to add to a pasta dish or bruschetta. We used them last night in a pasta dish with broccoli, green onion tops, chicken and a parmesan-cream sauce. I just kind of winged the sauce with heavy cream, a dry white wine and parmesan cheese. The next time I make it, I’ll write down the recipe.

Here is what was in this week’s share:
Green Beans
Green cabbage
fresh garlic
½ pound salad mix
Walla Walla Sweet onions
Beets with tops

If there’s anything else in your share that you’re wondering what to do with or would just like a fresh different idea for, write us or post a comment soliciting input from others.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Week Seven; July 16, 2008

In this week's share...

Purple Green Beans
½ pound salad mix
1 bulb of fresh garlic
½ pound arugula
1 large bunch of spring onions

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Week Six; July 9, 2008

In this week’s share:

Bunch of Broccoli
1 head of green cabbage
4 zucchini
bunch of medium-sized beets
Swiss chard
½ pound salad mix
1 head of Romaine
1 bulb of fresh garlic

Cooking notes:
I highly recommend making use of the beet greens. They’re flavorful and also really good for you. For weeknight purposes, I usually sauté them over medium-high heat in extra-virgin olive oil until well wilted. Either way they go great with garlic and balsamic vinegar and goat or blue cheese.

Storage notes:
Fresh garlic can either be stored in the refrigerator or on the countertop. On the countertop, the exterior layer on the bulb will begin to dry some. So you may need to peel that away. The garlic has not been cured, so it’s still more sweet and delicate in flavor than after it’s been hung to dry for a few weeks. Use as much of the garlic as is tender, not just the formed cloves. The outer and inner skin layers of the bulb and up the green stalk, provided it is yields to a knife. You'll likely know when it's getting too tough. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

If you have a salad spinner, wash and spin your salad mix and then store in there. It holds for up to a week that way. The spinner also protects the delicate lettuce leaves from getting squashed in the fridge.

Beet greens hold well if cut from the beets and stored in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel. You can also store the beets right in there. That’s also a good way to hold lettuce. Wash and spin the leaves first. Swiss chard holds well this way too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Week Five; July 2, 2008

Yes, we’re still in the season in which greens abound. It doesn’t last forever. Try mixing the lettuces and frisee to give some dimension to a salad.

July 2
In this week’s share:

Zucchini and Pattypan squash (the latter is great cut into wedges and roasted, grilled or sautéed so that the cut sides brown, bringing out its natural sweetness)
Green onions (use it all, bulb bottoms and green tops)
1 bunch of basil
1 head of escarole (not to be confused with lettuce; see June 11 posting for cooking advice)
1 head of Romaine
1 head of Red Lettuce
1 head of Frisée

For a quick weeknight use of the arugula, try this pasta dish by Tony Rosenfeld: