Thursday, August 7, 2008

Week 10; August 6, 2008

Farm stuff:
We’re planning an open house Aug. 12—Tuesday afternoon/early evening for CSA members to see the farm, learn more about how we do things differently from a conventional farm, and why that might really matter to you, our environment, and, thus, the world at large. (We’d also just be glad to meet members face to face!)

There will be one or two fixed tour times. Children are encouraged to come. Stay tuned for info. on tour times and directions to the farm.

In this week’s share:
½ pound yellow wax beans
1 head of broccoli
3 Walla Walla onions
½ pound mixed baby lettuce leaves
3 cucumbers
3 zucchini
1 large eggplant
4 tomatoes
1 bunch of carrots
1 head of Napa cabbage (good for stir fries)

Ideas from Maryellen on eggplant:
While roasting eggplant is pretty sensational, grilling is a delicious alternative to turning on your oven in August. If the idea of grilled eggplant is new to you or you just feel like you could brush up on how to get it right, here are some basic instructions from someone who used to work at Chez Pannise, a Berkeley-CA restaurant founded by Alice Waters, a goddess in the movement to eat fresh, in season and local:

If you received Japanese eggplant, which are more slender than bulbous, slice them at a diagonal so that they are more oval in shape than round and, thus, less likely to fall between your grill’s grates.

Alice Waters has a new book out called the Art of Simple Food that I have only had time to browse through. It’s refreshingly, well, simple in terms of approaching cooking and keeping the focus on quality of ingredients.

If you’re entertaining this week or just want to surprise the family with an appetizer before dinner, this recipe for bruschetta with grilled eggplant and Vidalia onion is a fun way to make use of some of those sweet Walla Wallas and the eggplant and last week’s garlic:
The author, Jessica Bard, is a friend of mine who lives on a former family dairy farm in the Hudson Valley. She teaches classes at Warren Kitchen Tools ( in Rhinebeck. It’s a store that a lot of Culinary Institute of America students go to for their knives and for knife sharpening. I’ve been wanting to get down there to have my knives sharpened for the last year or so (gulp). After seeing what the nearest sharpening service did to our knives for butchering chickens, I vowed I’d make a trip and have someone who deals only in kitchen knives--not also lawn mower blades—take care of these all-too-important tools. Besides, I’m dying to drool over their knife selection.
If you’ve never had your knives sharpened, do it—even if they aren’t anything special. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to prep foods. Also, the sharper they are, the safer. Knives that cut more easily are less apt to slip while in action. Just make sure you take them to someone with experience sharpening knives. I believe Warren Kitchen Tools will even accept knives for sharpening through the mail. You’ll have to pay for shipping, but the actual cost of sharpening is really inexpensive. If you go this route, ask them for advice on how to safely package your knives.

Other tips: If you’re not home to cook as much this week and want to use as much of your veggies as you can, try a stir-fry with the cabbage, yellow beans, broccoli, zucchini, and walla wallas. You could also throw in carrots. They are just so good raw, that I have a hard time extracting them from my 3-year-old’s fists to use for cooking. If you’re one of our Cooperstown members, Cooperstown Natural Foods sells really good quality ginger, a staple in stir-frying. Make the stir fry extra big and enjoy leftovers for lunch. Just remember to cook the vegetables in batches—you don’t want to overcrowd the pan or cook vegetables simultaneously that end up cooking at a different rate.

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