Well we certainly can’t complain about the drought-like conditions anymore! While it means we are going to have to be careful to not let the additional rainfall spread disease, we are grateful to stop having to spend so much of our days on irrigation.
We hope you all enjoyed the first of the tomatoes last week – with any luck they will be in constant supply for a while. This week we are continuing to progress into the summer crops, with a larger diversity of tomatoes available – the CSA has a total of nine different varieties, including the Black and Sungold Cherry Tomatoes. You’ll find that each has a unique (and delicious!) taste, so hopefully you’ll try them all out in coming weeks. Here is our brief taste guide:
Purple Cherokee – deep and meaty, light acidity, slightly sweet aftertasteYellow Brandywine – citrus-y, low acid, less meatyGreen Zebra – a little tart, as a green tomato should be, but still has that mellow red tomato tasteCosmonaut Volkov – Red tomato-y with a hint of sweetnessRose de Berne – bright, slightly salty, almost nutty aftertasteBlue Beech – less watery (since it’s a paste variety), sweet and meatyPruden’s – similar to a purple cherokee, but with a hint of green pepper
This week, your share will include:
- Summer Squash
- Green Beans
This summer classic comes to us from Arabic tradition – for those wondering what to do with this week’s parsley, consider assembling this delicious treat! While it is customarily made with bulgur, it can easily be made instead with quinoa, couscous, or even brown rice. Here is a recipe that uses quinoa, but feel free to substitute. And while this combination of veggies is delightful, it’s fine to leave one or two out, or add something different in. Remember to prepare the grain well ahead of time, since you want it to cool down before digging in!
- 2 cups water
- pinch salt
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (be careful if substituting in regular salt, since you’ll want to use less)
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 bunch green onions (or chives), diced
- 2 carrots, grated
- Optional 1/4 cup mint, chopped
1) To prepare the quinoa, bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil, add quinoa, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow the quinoa to cool, then fluff with a fork.
2) Combine remaining ingredients, then stir mixture into the cooled quinoa. Serve as a cool, refreshing way to beat the heat!
SUMMER SQUASH LASAGNA
Thanks to Kathy Hamel for this idea! We made this last week, and naturally ate an entire 9 x 12 pan in one sitting. The idea here is more important than the recipe—the veggie filling can really be almost whatever you like, just cooked down in a saucepan before you put it in the lasagna configuration. While most lasagna recipes call for tomato sauce, now’s the time to use a few of those fresh tomatoes from your share!
- One large zucchini or a few smaller patty pans
- 1 pound ground beef (optional!)
- black pepper
- onion, diced
- garlic, minced
- fresh tomato, diced
- tomato paste
- red wine, splash (optional)
- chopped fresh basil
- 1 egg
- 1 container (15 oz or so) ricotta cheese
- chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups kale, chopped finely
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- grated Parmesan cheese
1) Preheat oven to 325F.
2) Prepare the squash by slicing it into ¼ inch slices, then lay it out and sprinkle it with salt so that the squash will “sweat” out its water. This takes about 10 minutes, and you should do each side and dab with a rag or paper towel. With a zucchini, the cutting is easy, since you can just slice it the long way. With the patty pans, you’ll have to be a little more creative, but it’s totally do-able. Smaller slices of squash layered in the lasagna make for easier serving, anyhow.
3) If you’re using meat, now’s the time to cook it in a skillet with a little black pepper. After about 5 minutes, add in the onion and garlic. When the meat is no longer pink, splash in some red wine, stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, kale, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is as thick as you prefer.
4) Stir egg, ricotta and parsley together in a bowl until well mixed.
5) To assemble the lasagna, lightly grease a baking dish. First scoop in some of the meat/vegetable sauce, then add a layer of sliced squash, followed by the ricotta and mozzarella. Top with Parmesan.
6) Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.
Just in case you were feeling sick of cabbage, here’s a great summery way to enjoy this week’s bounty!
- 1 head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup butter (or less, if you prefer)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- Optional several cloves garlic
- Optional cayenne powder, to taste
1) Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.
2) lay out sheets of tin foil and place cabbage wedges on top. Put a portion of butter on each and season to with remaining ingredients. The simplest way to do this is to do the entire cabbage in one piece of foil, but doing wedges in individual sheets allows for customizing each for personal tastes.
3) Fold the foil over and wrap the edges up to seal. Then wrap the entire unit in a second sheet of foil.
4) Grill for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Turn the packages every 10 minutes.