You may notice as you come down the driveway at the farm that the CSA plots are changing rapidly. (Or, if you are in Garrison, check out our blog banner that changes every week with a new photo of the farm.) We are getting ready for fall by harvesting our onion crop, ripping out our first crop of green beans, seeding fall crops, and transplanting fall greens in the empty spaces. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t in the height of summer though. This week we have a wide variety delicious summer vegetables. To follow our vegetable list is a Second Wind CSA Recipe Resource Guide.
Expect in your shares this week:
1 small green cabbage
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch beets
Tomatoes (between 1-2 pounds)
1 head garlic
Unfortunately our cucumbers seem to be waning, but hopefully they will continue to trickle in over the next few weeks. Sam’s favorite time of year is right now, when tomatoes and cucumbers are in season at the same time. There is something about having those two vegetables together that just means summer. But perhaps that is how it is with any vegetable paired with tomato! We enjoy tzatziki sauce on summery salads and pita wraps for dinner. Tzatziki sauce pairs extremely well with falafel, tomatoes and onions. It is very easy, and you can adjust the proportions to your taste.
2-3 small/medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1/3 cup strained yogurt (either strained in cheese cloth at home or purchased, aka Greek yogurt)
1 clove garlic, minced
handful mint, dill or parsley
generous amounts of fresh ground pepper
Place the diced, peeled cucumbers in a blender and blend on high until well blended. (You can also strain the cucumbers at this point for a super thick sauce. I never do because I enjoy it fine without the added step.) Add the garlic, yogurt, mint and pepper. Blend on high until well blending. Taste and adjust as you like. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
Join the NOFA Challenge
NOFA-NY (North East Organic Farming Association of New York) is a USDA accredited organization that provides organic certification for farms here in New York. The Four Winds Farm is certified organic through NOFA-NY. This year, they are launching their first annual Locavore Challenge. As the website states, the goal of the challenge is three fold,
NOFA-NY is hosting its first ever Locavore Challenge to run throughout the month of September 2010. The Locavore Challenge serves multiple functions for NOFA-NY and for the organic movement in NY State. The first is as a general awareness builder, the second is as a membership recruitment initiative and the third is as a major annual fundraiser for the organization. The goal is to have more than 4,000 participants throughout the state involved in this event.
Interested members can download this CSA and Coop Newsletter Article, or check out the information we have at the distribution site.
2010 Second Wind CSA Recipe Resource Guide
Well folks, I am giving away my secrets here! I am a self-taught-cookbook-hoarding-home-cook. When I want something delicious and exciting for dinner, I browse the following websites and books for inspiration. I used to rarely follow a recipe. However, now that I write recipes on a weekly basis for this newsletter, I do pay much more attention to proportion and size so that the better recipes I make can be recreated. And, there’s always something to be learned from the experts.
The resources I have chosen are the one I feel are most CSA worthy. There are many cookbooks out there, and believe me, I wish I could have them all, but they are not all suitable to eating locally and sustainably here in the Northeast.
Internet resources are certainly overwhelming these days. I have been using the following three sites for literally years. They all have pretty huge databases of recipes, and have all proven tried and true over the past few years for our kitchen.
101 Cookbooks is a great recipe resource for whole grains and lots of veggies. The author, Heidi Swanson, lives in California, so the seasonal produce doesn’t always match up but I often manage to find something quite inspirational on her site within five minutes of searching. Her food is simple but quirky and might inspire you to use an herb or a spice in a way you never thought of before. Heidi is also a photographer and her photos of food are quite delicious.
Epicurious.com is a conglomeration of Conde Nast food magazine recipe archives. (Miss Gourmet? Well, there’s tons of Gourmet Magazine recipes on Epicurious.) Epicurious has an awesome search engine, as well as compilations of recipes featuring certain ingredients or themes (can you say tomato recipes?) My favorite aspect is the review section of each recipe. Not sure about the recipe you are attracted to? There’s probably at least 20 people who have reviewed it. Browse the reviews and see if it’s worth trying. To use the search engine, simply type in the ingredient you want to feature, and then sort the results based on what comes up. I like to sort by whether or not there is a photo because I am a visual person, but you can also sort by review rating or relevancy.
Saveur.com is not as all-encompassing as Epicurious, but I love it for its seeming authenticity. Saveur scours the world for real, traditional cuisine, which I highly value. Their search engine also contains recipes from buzzed about food blogs, so you can also use this site as a resource to find more recipe resources on the web.
I always browse the cookbook section of used/new book stores, libraries and thrift stores before anything else. In spite of my love of different and new books, I turn to the same ones on my shelf time after time.
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison, Broadway Books, 1997. This book is literally for everyone, all seasons. Deborah Madison is a farm market frequenter chef who creates simple, delicious vegetarian food featuring vegetables. I have never encountered a bad recipe. The main section of this 800-page cookbook is organized by vegetable. Each section begins with a description of the vegetable followed by flavor and food pairings and preparation ideas. Plus, there are great sauces, condiments, soups and stews that are usually spot-on with vegetables and herbs that would be in season together.
Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone, Alice Waters, Tango Rose, Inc, 1984. This book was suggested to me by an extraordinary chef and baker back in Santa Fe when I asked for advice on making pizza dough. It went on to inspire me to make my own pasta as well. The nice thing about this book is it is organized my season. (Alice Waters is a huge food activist who has been working the past few years on getting fresh, healthy seasonal produce into the school systems.) This book turns ordinary weeknight dinner into an occasion. It reads like prose an has inspired many a delicious meal in our kitchen.
The Italian Country Table, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Scribner, 1999. These are recipes from farms across Italy; traditional, simple and delicious. Since the recipes focus on farmhouse cooking, there are vegetables at the center of almost every dish, making it quite easy to peruse the book with one vegetable in mind.
Wild Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz, 2003. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It has changed our lives. Not for germaphobes, those interested in wild yeasts and bacteria and getting more of them into their diet should definitely get a copy of this book. Those interested in making sauerkraut, kimchi, sour pickles, cheese, bread and more should get a copy of this book. This book is a great first step into crafting live-culture foods in your own kitchen. The recipes are are quite “wild,” very loose and forgiving, and invite experimentation as well.
Next on My List
The book, Mediterranean Harvest, by Martha Rose Shulman has been recommended to us with rave reviews from one of our members. I have looked into this book and am very anxious to receive it through inter-library loan (I always preview cookbooks before purchasing.)
What are your favorite cookbooks to turn to with your CSA produce? We’d love to hear from you. Please post a comment below if you have a cookbook you can’t live without.
Have a great week!