Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week 16

There was a point this season that we weren’t sure we’d get a corn crop. With all the rain and lack of sun the stalks just sat there through July and most of August, not growing. Then, suddenly, they shot off. Our 4-year-old daughter, seen here in perfect fairy form planting her giant pumpkin plants this spring, seems to have an eagle eye for such details and noticed this like a typical kid would notice a new display of balls at the local supermarket. “The corn has taken off!” she exclaimed. Indeed, it did. We planted 2 varieties with different growth cycles—one needing more time to grow than the other—so we’d have a few weeks worth of corn to harvest. Unfortunately, because the plants’ growth was so out of whack, they ripened simultaneously. This happened with a few crops we planted at different times; they matured at the same time because of this year’s poor growing weather. So this season's corn harvest will be a short-lived one. Here and, sadly, gone. Any leftover ears from dinner this week we’ve been slicing and freezing to make Ajiaco, a flavorful Colombian chicken soup we often crave (but just don’t have time to tackle this week!).

In this week’s share:
1 head of Pac Choi (also known as Bok Choy)
1 pound Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Yellow Wax Beans
2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
1 yellow onion
10-11 ears sweet corn
1 large Italian eggplant
1 head of Romaine lettuce
7 ounces salad mix

Pac Choi. Like the classic, white-stemmed pac choi (also known as bok choy or pak choi), the beautiful, green-stemmed version we grew this year, called Black Summer, is well suited to stir fries and Asian-flavored soups. If you’re stir frying, you’ll want to slice the thicker stem end of the leaves and cook separately from the leaves since they need more time to cook. Or, similarly, start stir-frying the stems and shortly before their being done, stir in the sliced or chopped leafy part, which should wilt pretty much immediately.

Brussels Sprouts. In our minds, brussels sprouts are a lot like beets. You need to know how to cook them to love them. Like beets, our favorite way to prepare them is to roast them. It brings out a nutty flavor that you may never have known Brussels sprouts to have if all you’ve done is steam them. You can simply toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast as is. Or you may like to branch out with this recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dijon, Walnuts & Crisp Crumbs by our friend Martha Holmberg, who is the editor of the food section at the Portland Oregonian and former editor of Fine Cooking magazine. This recipe for Creamy Brussels Sprout Gratin is a little more decadent but surprisingly simple to make.

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