Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CSA Share Week 14

Farm letter
We are loving the salad tomatoes that you are seeing again in this week’s share. It’s a variety we haven’t grown before this year.
From a farming perspective, we’re pleased because it has been prolific and disease resistant (tomatoes are highly prone to disease, such as blight). They also hold well in their travels from the farm to your countertop (reminder: refrigerating makes a tomato mealy.)
From the standpoint of our appetites, we love the bright, tart flavor of the salad tomatoes and their versatility. They slice up into neat wedges for salad (perfect for this week when we have salad mix, arugula and beautiful oak leaf bib-style lettuce to work with). We nosh on them for an on-the-fly snack. We use them to make a fresh salsa—perfect with this week’s cilantro and garlic. This past week we’ve especially taken to roasting them (see recipe). The time in a hot oven concentrates the flavor, like a sun-dried tomato but better/brighter and without a leathery texture.
Roasted tomatoes go great on pizza or polenta, mixed into a pasta dish, or as a condiment for chicken, fish, eggs or beans.

In this week’s share:7 ounces arugula
7 ounces salad mix
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch White Lady turnips
3 heads of garlic
1 head of oak leaf bib lettuce
1# salad tomatoes
1 slicing tomato
1 bunch cilantro
 Fruit share:2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds yellow nectarines
1 quart Concord grapes

About this week’s fruit:

Maynard Farms’ nectarines have been so juicy and flavor-concentrated that we practically whooped at the news that the farm had some available for us. (We figure there’s plenty of time ahead for apples.) As with peaches, let ripen on the countertop in a bowl and then refrigerate.

The puckery tart and sweet flavor of Concord grapes is a fall gem. Yes, you have to put up with the seeds, but we think they’re worth it. Just pop them into your mouth fresh. If the seeds bother you or anyone you are feeding, halve the grapes and pry out with the tip of a paring knife.
There are also a lot of ways to cook with Concord grapes…

For the aspiring baker: grape focaccia with rosemary
For someone looking for an excuse to make a cocktail: Concord Crush
For a savory slant: Concord grape reduction sauce with pork (or chicken),0,6679011.story
For the gourmet cook: Duck Breast with Saba and Grapes
For a simple dessert (if you have an ice cream maker): Concord Grape Sorbet (adjust amount of sugar according to weight of grapes in quart container)

How to Roast Your “Salad” Tomatoes:

Heat an oven to 375° F.

Using a medium-sized baking sheet with raised edges, pour enough extra-virgin olive oil to lightly cover the pan bottom.

Halve the tomatoes and place cut-side down on the pan.

Roast on the center rack of the oven until the tomatoes begin to look wrinkled and some have begun to brown on their undersides, 20 to 30 minutes. Using a metal spatula, flip the tomatoes and continue to roast until the tomato halves are collapsed and any juice inside the tomato is cooked off, 10 to 15 more minutes.

 Note about this week’s turnips:

This week’s white lady turnips are an “eating” turnip, meaning they are mild enough that you can slice them and serve them in a salad. These turnips, however, are slightly more turnip-y in flavor than the small, white Japanese salad turnips we had earlier this season. Turnips are also a natural in braises, such as beef stew, and roasting them brings out their sweetness.

Don’t forget your turnip greens: this power green is a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and lutein. These are bitter greens, like mustard greens. A quick way to cook them is to briefly sauté in olive oil, stirring in minced garlic towards the end.
If you have a favorite way to cook turnip greens, please share with the farm and your fellow CSA members.

Don’t worry about not immediately getting through the garlic….Unlike most supermarket garlic, this garlic holds. Store it out of direct sunlight—in a place in your home that’s cool, dry and dark—and it will wait for you to eat for months. If stored right, it will hold until May.

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