Week 13 – Sweatshirts, anyone?

Hello, everyone!

Bryn lovingly holding the mutant giant tomato we found growing amongst the rest

Thank you to all of you fine members who took the brief mid-season survey. If you haven’t yet, you can here.  We’re hoping to get a little feedback on some specifics about the shares to see what changes we should consider.

This week, we see a hint of changes to come, with the return of some cooler-season greens. Over the last month or so, we’ve been trying to produce quality greens for you all, but with the heat that transforms lettuces into little bolted Christmas trees in a matter of days, we were humbled mightily.  Beetles destroyed most of our recent arugula, an early planting of fall broccoli (don’t worry, we had backup transplants) and a whole bed of radishes. We’ve had to keep everything they like to eat under floating row cover, which protects the plants, but also holds in heat, thereby risking bolting and the possibility of rapid vertical growth, which is not always desirable. We hope the weather stays as cool as it’s been, so these plants suffer little stress.  And we relish donning sweatshirts early in the morning—an indescribably satisfying act after the hottest July on record.  In the mean time, we are excited to have the first batch of salad mix ready to eat!

Quick notes about eggs: Remember, you can sign up to receive eggs next week by writing EGGS on the sign-in sheet in the box for Tues 8/28 or Wed 8/29 in the row for your name (but don’t write it in the box for this week, because that is confusing!).  Also, we will gladly take back your empty egg cartons for re-use.

In your share this week:

  • Big Heirloom Tomatoes (note: member Marie Samples pointed out that it’s best to store tomatoes in a single layer, resting on their “shoulders,” which is the side where the stem was removed–this is how we store our tomatoes, and it allows them to last longer and prevents bruising)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Salad Mix
  • Tri-color Beans
  • Beets
  • Eggplants/Peppers
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Saute Mix
  • Basil
  • Cilantro

EGGPLANT, HEIRLOOM TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA STACKS (from finecooking.com: here)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices heirloom tomatoes (from 3 to 4 medium)
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices eggplant (from 1 medium eggplant)
  • 2 balls buffalo mozzarella (5 to 7 oz. each), cut into 8 slices

Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, thyme, marjoram, lemon zest, red pepper flakes (if using), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.

Brush the tomato and eggplant slices with 1 Tbs. of the herb oil. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Marinate the mozzarella in the remaining oil.

Grill the eggplant, flipping once, until nicely browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, put a tomato slice on four plates. Top each with a slice of eggplant, then a slice of mozzarella. Repeat, ending with a tomato slice. Drizzle with any remaining oil and serve.

CILANTRO SALSA

  • 4-5 small to mid-size tomatoes (ideally skinned, although if you’d prefer to skip this work, that’s fine too)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup peppers (adjust ratio of sweet to hot depending on your taste)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice (lemon works as well)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Chop tomatoes, cilantro, sweet peppers, and onions.  Mince the garlic and hot peppers.  Combine and add lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Taste and adjust according to your preferences (we like to add more garlic usually).  Refrigerate for several hours before serving (this isn’t completely necessary, but it does allow the flavors to blend).

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING (from the “Barefoot Contessa” website)

  • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, mixed colors and sizes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound Roquefort cheese, divided
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Core the tomatoes and cut the large ones into thick slices; halve or quarter the small ones. Arrange artfully on a platter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

For the dressing, place half the Roquefort cheese, the mayonnaise, heavy cream, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in the bowl food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until combined but still chunky.

Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes. Crumble the remaining blue cheese over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve at room temperature.

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS (from simplyrecipes.com: here)

This is perhaps the tastiest way to consume bell peppers, and the purple bells look especially artistic prepared this way.  We are leaving as many peppers as we reasonably can on their plants until they turn red, but it’s not happening yet, and we have a lot.   Soon enough we’ll have more colors represented in our pepper basket.

  • 2 bell peppers, any color
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and choopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. of lean ground beef (***or for a veg version, substitute with corn and kidney beans)
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of tabasco sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Remove skillet from heat, add meat, rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well. (You may find it easier to put the ingredients at this point into a large bowl and mix together with your hands.)

Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside the peppers. Arrange the cut side of the peppers up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes (or longer, depending on how big the peppers are that you are stuffing), until the internal temperature of the stuffed peppers is 150-160°F.

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