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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