Monday, September 5, 2011

2011 CSA Week 15

I have already used the Fourth of July as an excuse for a foreshortened update; may I do the same for Labor Day? Our calendars are not attuned to such holidays, but the roads were quiet as I biked to and from the farm, the mail was not delivered, and the prevailing atmosphere was of a second consecutive Sunday. On the farm we performed the weekly pre-harvest and prepared for imminent days of undesired rain. It was a typical workday, so please consider reduced attention to this paragraph as my way of involving myself in the the three-day weekend. And if I'm eliding the fact that, as on the Fourth of July, I may have attended an after-work cookout and eaten a hamburger and played some clumsy ping-pong, and in so doing left myself with a deficit of time to spend in front of the computer, you'll forgive me. Look at that garlic!

The share this week:

Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers
Sweet Corn
Mixed Herbs: Cilantro or Dill or Lemon Basil
You-Pick Husk Cherries

Notes about the food:

* You may have noticed that color has been creeping into the peppers. We began harvesting green peppers several weeks ago to lighten the load of each plant, and since then we have watched the remaining peppers become splotched, then streaked, then fully overtaken by color, and we are now able to offer red peppers alongside green, and those alongside yellow and orange. Purple is well represented too, and we are growing one variety of sweet pepper that is ripe when brown. It's not a color of the rainbow, but it's delicious, and I was pleased to recently overhear Joshua rightly ennoble its appearance by describing the coloration to a customer not as brown, but as mahogany. The following recipes, both from Gourmet, are a good way to try different varieties in one dish.

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, and Basil

4 sweet bell peppers
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 and lightly oil a large shallow baking pan.

Halve peppers lengthwise and discard seeds and ribs. Arrange peppers, cut side up, in baking pan and lightly oil cut edges and stems. Halve tomatoes and chop onions and basil. Finely chop garlic and in a bowl toss with tomatoes, onion, basil, 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide mixture among peppers and roast in upper third of oven until peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

Roasted Peppers, Onion, and Eggplant

3 large sweet peppers
2-3 small Italian eggplant, about 1 pound, halved lengthwise
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, halved through root end and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Place whole peppers in one third of an oiled, large 1-inch-deep baking pan. Brush cut sides of eggplants with 1/2 tablespoon oil and arrange next to peppers in pan. Toss onions with 1 tablespoon oil and place in remaining third of pan.

Roast vegetables, turning peppers occasionally, until skins of peppers blister on all sides, about 40 minutes. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover, and let steam for 10 minutes. Continue roasting eggplant and onion until tender and browned, about 20 minutes more, and keep warm, covered.

Peel peppers and cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips, discarding stems and seeds. Season vegetables with sea salt and pepper. Serve eggplant topped with peppers and onion. Drizzle with remaining oil and season with sea salt.

* A CSA member sent us a recipe that makes prominent use of tomatillos. Well timed, because it also includes cilantro, an option among the herbs in this week's share:

Chicken with Tomatillo and Cilantro Sauce

1 pound tomatillos
3 serrano or jalapeno peppers
2 skinless chicken breasts, about 2 1/2 pounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Set broiler to medium-low. Place tomatillos in broiler and turn twice ever five minutes. Once the are blackened, remove from oven and puree in food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Set broiler to high. Broil chicken until brown, approximately 9 minutes, then turn and broil the other side.

Heat oil in pan and saute onion and garlic until golden and soft. Add tomatillo sauce and simmer 2 more minutes. Add cilantro and salt.

Place chicken in pan and simmer 20 minutes, until chicken in cooked through.

CSA Notes:

* We have been growing flowers on the farm, and although we have sold some at the farmstand and made them available to a few CSA members who have asked for cut flowers, they have mostly served to add beauty to our workplace. This week we'd like to invite all of you to cut a few stems while you are collecting your share. We'll provide scissors at the distribution stand-- If you're interested, ask us for details and we'll point you toward the flowers.

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