Archive for August, 2015

Newsletter for August 25 (Stuffed Bell Peppers with Spicy Chard and Scallion Pilaf)

Although fall is right around the corner and school is starting up again, the CSA is only half over! We still have plenty of new fruit and vegetables to look forward to, including winter squash, baking potatoes, apples, pumpkins, and hopefully even melons. All of the summer favorites like beans, corn, and tomatoes will continue until we get a frost, and we will have fall raspberries to pick at both locations until a we get a hard frost as well.

Herbs and Greens

We are giving out chard again this week, and we should have chard and kale until close to the end of the season. Lettuce will be less common  now, though, since some of our later plantings didn’t do as well as our earlier ones (in one case some animal ate every single little seedling before we even got a chance to transplant). We still have lots of basil, parsley, mint and oregano, along with some thyme and sage (which I like to give out in the cooler months). Our early plantings of cilantro, dill, and arugula didn’t do very well, but we planted more a few weeks ago, so we should have these in weeks to come.

Peppers

We have lots of peppers available for CSA members this week. On the hot side we will have jalapenos and poblanos. Jalapenos can range from mild to pretty scorching, depending on the growing conditions. Since we’ve had a dry, hot August, these particular jalapenos are quite hot. If you’re making poppers or cheese stuffed jalapenos, make sure you remove all of the seeds and the white membrane inside or you will have some VERY hot snacks!

Poblanos are milder than jalapenos, but, like all hot peppers, the heat level can vary. I love poblanos in tacos, chili, salsa, and stir fries. They are also amazing roasted or stuffed (or roasted and then stuffed with cheese and then fried, as in chili rellenos.)

We will have some sort of sweet pepper available for CSA members as well. We will probably have green bell peppers, but we might also put out cubanelles, which are thin, light green, and sweeter than a bell pepper. We might even have Bosnian white peppers, which have thick walls and a mild flavor, making them ideal for stuffing.

Stuffed Peppers

You can stuff a pepper with pretty much any type of mixture and it will be delicious. Most people use some sort of seasoned mixture of meat (beef, sausage, lamb) and grain (rice, quinoa, cous-cous). The following recipe is a bit different, since it uses chard in place of meat and lots of wonderful middle-eastern spices. (If you wanted to you could always add some browned ground lamb or beef to the stuffing mixture).

Stuffed Peppers with Spicy Swiss Chard and Scallion Pilaf

(Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine)

1 1/2 cups short-grain (sushi) rice, rinsed and drained

3 cups water

3/4 pound Swiss chard, ribs removed and reserved for another use

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 medium scallions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 medium tomato, diced (or 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered)

2 tablespoons currants or raisins

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 bell peppers (1/2 pound each)

1 cup vegetable broth or water

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium saucepan, cover the rice with the water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and cook the rice over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil. Add the Swiss chard and cook over high heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the chard and let cool, then squeeze dry and coarsely chop.

In the skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the scallions and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the currants and chopped Swiss chard, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and rice. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.

Cut the tops off the peppers and reserve. Scoop out the seeds and ribs. Spoon the rice filling into the peppers and replace the tops. Pour the broth into a shallow baking dish that will hold the peppers snugly. Stand the stuffed peppers in the broth. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. Serve the stuffed peppers warm or at room temperature.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

Tomatoes (probably 1 pint of grape)

1/2 pint raspberries

2 pickling cucumbers or 1 bunch basil

Choose 3 options

1.3 lbs beets

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs pickling cukes

3 zucchini &/or summer squash

1 lb poblano peppers (large, mildly hot)

.75 lbs jalapenos (hot)

1.3 lbs sweet peppers (probably bell or cubanelle)

1 bunch chard

1 $3 PYO voucher

Possible other options: turnips, potatoes, cabbage, more tomatoes

Small Share

Tomatoes (probably 1 pint of grape)

1/2 pint raspberries

2 pickling cucumbers

1 bunch basil or 2 more pickling cucumbers

Choose 4 options

1.3 lbs beets

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs pickling cukes

3 zucchini &/or summer squash

1 lb poblano peppers (large, mildly hot)

.75 lbs jalapenos (hot)

1.3 lbs sweet peppers (probably bell or cubanelle)

1 bunch chard

1 $3 PYO voucher

Possible other options: turnips, potatoes, cabbage, more tomatoes

Large Share

Tomatoes (probably 2 pints of grape)

2 1/2 pints raspberries

2 pickling cucumbers

2 bunches basil or 4 extra pickling cukes

1 bunch scallions

Choose 4 options

1.3 lbs beets

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs pickling cukes

3 zucchini &/or summer squash

1 lb poblano peppers (large, mildly hot)

.75 lbs jalapenos (hot)

1.3 lbs sweet peppers (probably bell or cubanelle)

1 bunch chard

1 $3 PYO voucher

Possible other options: turnips, potatoes, cabbage, more tomatoes

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Corn and Black Bean Salad with Scallions, Lime, and Cilantro

We’ve had to make a few changes to the share this week. Paul says we’re going to be harvesting tons of corn over the next few days, since the new fields are yielding much more than the earlier fields (which were hurt by the heavy spring rains). Unfortunately, though, we’re still lighter than expected on ripe tomatoes, so we have to hold off a week on those for some of you. This means that everyone will be getting lots of corn as part of the share (more than we originally planned), but we’re going to replace the tomatoes with either scallions or radishes for the single and small shares. Since there will be tons of sweet corn, along with sweet and hot peppers and scallions, this would be a good week to make one of my favorite summer dishes: sweet corn and black bean salad with lime-cilantro vinaigrette (see recipe below). This is also a good week to give fried green tomatoes a try — they are a wonderful late summer treat, and not nearly as complicated to make as many people assume. One option is ⅔ lb of green tomatoes (about one large tomato), but remember that it’s always fine to take 2 or 3 of the same option!

Scallions

Everyone gets scallions or radishes this week. I love radishes, but I know they aren’t for everyone; most people either love them or hate them. Scallions, on the other hand, are pretty hard to dislike. Mild and onion-y, they taste great in salads, stir-fries, soups, and pretty much anything you can think of that might go well with a hint of onion (you can chop the green part up and sprinkle it on anything from scrambled eggs to tacos to baked potatoes). If a recipe calls for raw onion, try replacing it with chopped scallions. I think scallions go particularly well in salads like the one below:

Corn and Black Bean Salad with Scallions, Lime, and Cilantro

I think I have probably included some version of this salad in a newsletter from a past year, but it’s so delicious I wanted to share it again. Along with some grilled chicken and maybe some rice this also makes a very easy and healthy dinner. The only slightly tricky part is cutting the corn off the cob; sticking the top of the cooked ear into a bundt pan (as seen here) and then cutting down so the kernels fall into the sides of the pan works really well, but if you don’t have a bundt pan it also works to cut off the tip of the corn and then stand the ear up on a large plate or cutting board.

Kernels from 4 ears cooked corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

1 chili pepper, chopped (optional)

Juice of 1 lime

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons or so olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Green Tomatoes

Besides making fried green tomatoes, you can also use green tomatoes in jams, chutneys, and relishes. Cooked green tomatoes taste a lot like cooked rhubarb, especially if you add sugar and spices.

 

As for making fried green tomatoes, people disagree about the best breading. Some folks use flour, some breadcrumbs, and some even crushed ritz crackers! I really like to use corn meal, as in this recipe. Whatever you choose, make sure you you eat the tomatoes right away; like all fried delicacies, they are crispy and wonderful right after cooking, but they can get a bit soggy if they sit around!

Berry Picking

There is good blueberry picking at our Colchester location, and good raspberry picking at both locations. The fall raspberries have started, and they are sweeter and bigger than the summer berries. Raspberries are $4.50 a pint and blueberries are $2.75 a pound (about $2.25 a pint). We will have PYO blueberries for a few more weeks, and PYO raspberries until first frost, but now is a good time to use any PYO vouchers you might have, since the berries are ripening fast in the heat!

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

6 ears corn

1 bunch of scallions or 1 bunch of radishes

1 large green bell pepper

2-3 hot chili peppers or 1 cucumber

Choose 4 options (options are small this week — you can always take two of the same thing!)

1 head lettuce

1 small bunch kale

1 eggplant

.75 lbs green tomatoes

1 $2 PYO voucher

2/3 lbs yellow beans

1 large bunch oregano

2 cucumbers

2 zucchini

Possible surprise option(s)

Small Share

9 ears corn

1 bunch scallions or 1 bunch radishes

1 lb green bell peppers

5 hot chili peppers or 2 cucumber (or 2-3 chilies and 1 cuke)

Choose 5 options (options are small this week — you can always take two of the same thing!)

1 head lettuce

1 small bunch kale

1 eggplant

.75 lbs green tomatoes

1 $2 PYO voucher

2/3 lbs yellow beans

1 large bunch oregano

2 cucumbers

2 zucchini

Possible surprise option(s)

Large Share

10 ears corn

1 bunch scallions or 1 bunch radishes

1.5 lbs green bell peppers

6 hot chili peppers or 2 cucumber (or 2-3 chilies and 1 cuke)

1 bunch carrots

Tomatoes (will either be 1 lb regular field tomatoes or 1 pint grape)

Choose 6 options (options are small this week — you can always take two or 3 or 4 of the same thing!)

1 head lettuce

1 small bunch kale

1 eggplant

.75 lbs green tomatoes

1 $2 PYO voucher

2/3 lbs yellow beans

1 large bunch oregano

2 cucumbers

2 zucchini

Possible surprise option(s)

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Newsletter for August 11 (Fresh Cranberry Bean Salad)

Good news! The share will include green beans and cabbage this week, along with everything I mentioned in the Sunday night email. This is a great week for coleslaw or pasta salad. It’s also a good week to try a bean salad with cranberry beans and steamed green beans and fresh herbs (see recipe below) or a broccoli and carrot stir-fry with beef or tofu.

Fresh Herbs

We will have fresh basil and fresh parsley this week. Parsley is a hearty herb, and does just fine in an open plastic bag in the crisper for 3 or 4 days. Basil is pretty sensitive, and doesn’t like to get too hot or too cold. For this reason it’s best to store fresh basil out of refrigeration. I remove the rubber band and then put the bunch in a glass of room temp water and leave it on the counter. You also want to be sure to add fresh basil at the very end of cooking or food prep — right before serving is best. Many people also tear the leaves rather than chopping them so they stay nice and green.

Shell Beans

The shell beans we grow are cranberry beans (also known as horticulture beans). Too cook them just take them out of their pods and cook them in simmering water or stock. You can add salt to the water if you’d like; the salt will make the skins a bit more tough but it will also make the beans tastier. Because they are fresh there is no need soak the beans before cooking, and they will cook much faster than dried beans. It should take 25-40 minutes to fully cook the beans — tasting them is the best way to make sure they are nice and tender!

Fresh Cranberry Bean Salad

(Adapted from Epicurious.com)

I like this recipe as a starting point. You can add all sorts of things to it: chopped and seeded cucumber, steamed green beans, chopped onion or scallions, chopped tomato, feta cheese, chopped green or black olives. . .

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh cranberry or lima beans in pods
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves
  • ground black pepper

Shell beans. In a large saucepan of boiling water cook beans with salt until tender and no longer mealy, 20-40 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to a bowl. While beans are still warm, toss with remaining ingredients and season with salt. Serve salad warm or at room temperature.

Discounts

We will have coupons for 50 cents off PA peaches per pound at pick-up this week. We will also still have $1 off VT cheese for CSA members. This week there are all sorts of VT Creamery and Grafton Village cheeses, as well as Brie from Blythedale Farm in Corinth.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

3/4 lb broccoli

1 bunch carrots (may be carrots or beets if we don’t have enough carrots)

1 head lettuce

1 bunch fresh basil OR parsley OR 1 cucumber

Choose 3 options:

1 lb green beans

2 small green cabbages

2 lbs new potatoes

1.3 lbs shelling beans (never tried them? Learn more here)

1 lb variety peppers (will probably be hot chilies, mild chilies, and sweet cubanelles)

1 head cauliflower

3 cucumbers (will substitute 1.5 lbs pickling cukes if we have enough!)

1 bunch chard

3 zucchini

1 $3 PYO voucher

Small share

1+ lb broccoli

1 bunch carrots (may be carrots or beets if we don’t have enough carrots)

1 head lettuce

1 cucumber

1 bunch fresh basil OR parsley OR 1 extra cucumber

Choose 4 options:

1 lb green beans

2 small green cabbages

2 lbs new potatoes

1.3 lbs shelling beans (never tried them? Learn more here)

1 lb variety peppers (will probably be hot chilies, mild chilies, and sweet cubanelles)

1 head cauliflower

3 cucumbers (will substitute 1.5 lbs pickling cukes if we have enough!)

1 bunch chard

3 zucchini

1 $3 PYO voucher

Possibly (fingers crossed!): beets, green beans, green tomatoes

Large Share

2 lbs broccoli

1 bunch carrots

2 heads lettuce (or you can just take one head and take an extra bunch of carrots)

1 cucumber

2 bunches parsley or basil or 2 extra cukes

1 pint grape tomatoes

Choose 4 options:

1 lb green beans

2 small green cabbages

2 lbs new potatoes

1 lb variety peppers (will probably be hot chilies, mild chilies, and sweet cubanelles)

1 head cauliflower

3 cucumbers (will substitute 1.5 lbs pickling cukes if we have enough!)

1 bunch chard

3 zucchini

1 $3 PYO voucher

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Newsletter for August 4 (Pesto, Kale Chips)

Good afternoon! I just got word that we were able to harvest 20 bushels of cauliflower a few hours ago, and that there are plenty more out in the field. This means that, along with cukes, squash, kale, and carrots, cauliflower will also be an option this week! We also have tons of beautiful basil, so we are giving some to everyone and also offering large bunches as an option. This is the week to make pesto, if you want to do it! One of my favorite summer meals is sauted green or golden zucchini tossed with hot pasta and plenty of pesto. Here’s how to make a basic pesto:

Basic Basil Pesto

(Adapted from The Food Network)

Ingredients

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is fantastic in pretty much anything. Curries, stir-fries, pasta salads, green salads. . . it’s also great tossed with olive oil and roasted or steamed and served with a creamy cheese sauce. Want to try something different? I’ve had more than one CSA member mention to me that they love to roast a whole head of cauliflower as in this dramatic recipe.

Kale

We give out kale every other week for most of the season. You never have to take it, but if you’d like to give it a try but are unsure where to start, here’s one of my favorite kale recipes. It’s great for people new to kale and for kids. Cooking the kale this way gives it a nice toasty flavor and makes it much less bitter. It still tastes like kale, just milder (and saltier and crunchier!)

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale

1 tbsp. olive oil or canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Wash kale and remove stems and thick center rib. Tear into “chip” sized pieces. Place kale on 2 baking sheets. Toss kale with oil until coated. Spread out on sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until kale is crisp but not brown (about 15 minutes).

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

½ pint blueberries

2 lbs new potatoes

1 cucumber

1 bunch basil or 1 extra cuke

Choose 3 options:

1 large head or 2 small heads cauliflower

1 bunch carrots

3 zucchini

1.3 lbs pickling cukes

1 $3 PYO voucher

1 bunch Kale

1 bunch Chard

1 large bunch basil

Possible: Lettuce, beans, shelling beans

Small Share

1 pint blueberries

4 lbs new potatoes

1 cucumber

1 bunch basil or 1 extra cuke

Choose 3 options:

1 large head or 2 small heads cauliflower

1 bunch carrots

3 zucchini

1.3 lbs pickling cukes

1 $3 PYO voucher

1 bunch Kale

1 bunch Chard

1 large bunch basil

Possible: Lettuce, beans, shelling beans

Large Share

2 pints blueberries

4 lbs new potatoes

2 cucumbers

2 bunches basil or 2 extra cukes

Choose 4 options:

1 large head or 2 small heads cauliflower

1 bunch carrots

3 zucchini

1.3 lbs pickling cukes

1 $3 PYO voucher

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1 large bunch basil

Possible: Lettuce, beans, shelling beans

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