Thursday, August 9, 2012

CSA Week 9

An eggplant, is an eggplant, is an eggplant…

We grow a few different kinds of eggplant—the traditional, plump Italian eggplant, a deep purple, long, narrow Japanese eggplant, and a striking burgundy and white striped variety (see pic). Market customers often ask the difference. While we’ve never eaten them side by side (maybe we should!), we have never noticed a difference in how they taste.
What we notice is a difference in how we cook them. The Japanese eggplant we like to slice into coins or oval shapes, grill or roast and serve with pasta. The smaller shape holds together nicely, so we can serve it in whole pieces without having to use excessive amounts of oil—as you do if you cube and sauté Italian eggplant.
The Italian and striped eggplant is great grilled too, but it’s plump shape makes it prime for roasting. Cut lengthwise in half, roasted eggplant is ridiculously simple and takes on this stunningly creamy texture that makes it worth turning on the oven. For a recipe see:
This link has a few other tasty ideas for what to do with eggplant.

In this week’s share:
2 Japanese eggplant
2 light green or traditional green peppers
1 bunch Thai basil
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch leeks
1 bunch Swiss chard

Encore Fruit Share
1 pint Adirondack blueberries
2 - 2 1/2 lbs. fresh yellow peaches from the Hudson Valley

Tip for cleaning leeks:
Leeks are notorious for trapping dirt, and it didn’t help that we got a smattering of rain before they were harvested—spreading the dirt more (but not making enough of a difference in our thirsty fields). If you don’t know how to clean a leek, there’s a simple trick that you can watch on youtube
It makes all the difference to know how to do this.

8 Ways to Use This Week’s Leeks:
1.    Leek and potato soup
2.    Leek tart
3.    In a stir-fry (along with this week’s basil and carrots)
4.    Re-fried rice (along with this week’s basil and carrots)
5.    Creamy Baked Leeks
8.    And, lastly, one we’re all sure to be making this week: Pan-seared Rattlesnake on Braised Leeks

Asian Slaw
With all these humid, 90-degree days we’ve been having, we don’t feel like eating much more than fruit and raw vegetables (and maybe an occasional hit of chocolate). But at this point in the growing season, lettuce doesn’t grow well. It’s too hot and will bolt—growing into a triangular, torpedo-like shape and taking on a bitter flavor. So, we’ve decided, if we’re craving raw foods, it’s time to pull out those flavorful carrots! Last night Maryellen used her julienne peeler to make an Asian-style slaw with the carrots we seem to have in abundance (maybe you’ve noticed…) as well as some zucchini. 
Julienne peelers are a veggie peeler that turns vegetables into delightful, little matchsticks. They’re affordable and worth owning.
Here's a recipe with a dressing that's similar to what was used for this slaw.

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