Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week 17

In this week’s share:
Bunched fresh red onions
1 bunch kale
1 bunch leeks
7 ounces salad mix
7 ounces spicy greens mix (mesclun)
1 lb. green beans
3 green bell peppers
1 bunch beets

Beets. Don't like 'em? Then maybe you haven't tried them roasted:

1 bunch beets, trimmed, peeled*, and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick wedges
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, optional

Heat the oven to 450° F. On a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, mound the sliced beets in the middle and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat generously. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper, and toss again. Evenly spread the beets cut side down in a single layer across the baking sheet.

Roast until they've begun to brown (or turn a darker red) on their undersides, 15 to 20 minutes. Flip and roast until tender, about 15 minutes more.

Transfer the beets to a serving bowl. Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also add a squirt of lemon juice or toss with a balsamic vinaigrette and top with crumbled goat cheese.

*If you're short on time or big on shortcuts, you can skip the step of peeling the beets. After roasting, the skins will have loosened and will slip right off on your plate with the help of a fork.

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.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 15

In this week’s share:
1 honeydew melon
1 bunch carrots
1 large green pepper
1 head of broccoli
1 pound green beans
1 bag of arugula
1 bunch of leeks
1 pound shallots
1 cooking onion (cured; will hold in pantry)

One of our members splits her share with her adult daughter who lives and works about 50 minutes away. She recently told us how her daughter travels to her house every Wednesday night so that they can cook a meal together from their share. Then they have fun figuring out how to divvy the rest. We LOVE hearing these stories: how our food brings people together, challenges people to cook something new or with greater spontaneity, provides them fresh, organic ingredients they can't find in the stores, inspires their kids to eat more healthy... Thanks to everyone who shares these tidbits with us. They go a long way.

There are no great mysteries to the ingredients in your share this week. Lots of fresh, practical produce we hope you will enjoy. If you have potatoes left over from last week, it's feeling like just the right weather for some leek and potato soup.

Before slicing into your melon, make sure it is truly ripe. It should give a little when you press into the dimple end with your thumb. If it feels too firm, let it sit on your countertop for a few days until it reaches proper ripeness.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Week 14

In this week’s share:
1 honeydew melon
1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes
2-3 sweet Italian red peppers
1 bunch carrots or beets
2 pounds red potatoes
1 pound edamame (see last week’s share info.)
2 or 3 bulbs of garlic
1-2 mild cured onions
Bag of mixed young salad greens
1 bunch radish
1 bunch swiss chard