Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CSA Week 6

I mentioned last week that it has been hot, but I'd like to acknowledge the fact that compared to this week's temperatures last week might as well have been January. We're hot, our crops are hot, everything in the region is hot. In these conditions we take precautions to ensure that what we harvest isn't shocked to death shortly after being removed from the ground or from the plant: we get the crops out of the sun and into cool water as soon as possible, and we continue to soak them until they are arranged at the distribution stand. By the time you arrive to collect your CSA share, the crops will have been harvested at most only a few hours ago, but in this heat, even with our efforts to keep them cool, that is a long time. You may notice--especially if you arrive closer to the 6:30 end of distribution--that some of the vegetables are wilting. Don't panic--place any of these crops in cold water when you get home, and they'll revive. You can store them in a dish of water in the refrigerator, or leave them in water on the counter until they are refreshed and then refrigerate them as you would any vegetable. All greens--including the lettuce and kale--will benefit from having their stems cut before you put them in water. The leaves will draw water through the fresh cut, and this will aid the refreshment of the plant.

This week's share:

Kale, red russian
Radishes, easter egg
Beets, golden -or- chioggia -or- red
Summer Squash, zephyr
Sugar Snap Peas
Raspberries (pick your own)

Notes about the food:

*Summer squash can be abundant at this time of year, as anyone with a home garden can attest. The plants produce a large amount of fruit, and in the heat they grow fast. I've heard of hot-weather climates where squash needs to be harvested twice a day. That said, we feel lucky to have any summer squash at all this year. Our crop was beset by cucumber beetles as soon as we put the plants in the ground, and for a while it looked like they might be fully decimated. The cucumber beetle is a voracious eater with a strong preference for squash plants (squash are cucurbits--the same family as cucumbers). We spent some hours plucking bugs from the plants and crushing them, but it didn't feel like we made a dent in their population. It is thanks only to the plant's perseverance that we have any crop at all, and we're relieved to be harvesting it now. Try this summer squash soup from Fresh From a Vegetarian Kitchen:

4 cups yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise, then in 1-inch slices crosswise
2 cups water (to barely cover squash)
3 tbsp light miso (such as white or corn miso)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp fresh dill or basil
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tbsp cool water

Bring first 3 ingredients to boil, then slow boil covered until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender, add miso, garlic, and herb, and puree until creamy. Mix arrowroot and cool water and add to soup. heat through, stirring until soup becomes thick and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Or try this recipe for squashamole, a classic from the farm where I worked in North Carolina:

3lbs tender squashes of any size or shape
about 1/2 head fairly large garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp corn oil
1 cup tightly packed basil, mint or parsley leaves (feel free to use one or all of these herbs to make up the one cup)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375. Scrub squashes with vegetable brush. Halve large squash lengthwise, then cut so they are about the same size as the smallest squash.Spread cut side down in a single layer in an oiled roasting pan.

2. Separate but do not peel garlic and distribute among squash. Quarter and peel onion and add to the pan. Sprinkle with salt, then drizzle over oil.

3. Bake until squashes are very soft, 1- 1 1/2 hrs. Using a brush baste several times with cooking juices. Remove from oven.

4. When garlic is cool enough to handle remove skins. Place basil and parsley in food processor. Add the warm vegetables and garlic and whiz to a smooth puree, scraping down side as needed. With motor running, add 2 tbls lemon juice, then slowly drizzle in cream, stopping to taste and adjust the amount for flavor and thickness. Add salt pepper and more lemon juice as needed. Chill to serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment