Posts Tagged ‘cucumber’

Two Recipes

August 29, 2010

Cooking from a CSA is deceptively difficult.  After all, you get a beautiful bounty every week of the sort of high-quality ingredients you can’t go wrong with.  But they rarely come in familiar combinations.  We now have a stable of stand-bys (and you can find most of them in old blog posts).  Sometimes we make things up.  But when we’re stumped or making something new, we often look on-line or in cookbooks, find something close to what we want, and improvise from there.  Here are two such recipes from this summer:

July Scafata

We needed to use fava beans.  We get them one or two weeks each summer from our CSA.  We didn’t want to let them go moldy in our refrigerator again, but we couldn’t remember what we’d done with them before, nor whether we’d liked it.  Looking on line, we found that scafata was the best match for our ingredients.  It was definitely tasty enough to repeat.  Aside from shelling the fava beans, which would have to happen no matter what cooked with them, it’s easy enough to repeat, too.  I couldn’t tell you whose website the original came from, it shows up in multiple places, but if they give a source, it’s La Cucina Delle Regioni D’Italia: Umbria, by Antonella Santolini.  Here’s our version, which modified both ingredients and cooking times:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 10 minutes:

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T minced garlic (would have been 1/2 C onion if I could eat onion, because that was in the original recipe and we got onions from our CSA, we just didn’t take them home)
  • 2 lbs fava beans, shelled and peeled (you could easily substitute a 10 oz box of frozen lima beans)

Add and cook about 5 minutes more:

  • 5 medium carrots, sliced

Add and cook about 10 minutes more:

  • 2 small or 1 large bulb fennel, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Add and cook about 5 minutes more:

  • 1 large can (28 0z) diced tomatoes (canned because we made this in July when we had fava beans and had run out of frozen tomatoes from last year, rather than waiting until August when we get more tomatoes)
  • Water as needed to make stew (I don’t remember whether we needed any)

Add and cook until wilted:

  • 1 bunch beet greens (because that was what we had, although we often have chard, which is what the original recipe called for)

Serve with some sort of starch.  Enjoy!

Refrigerator Sour Pickles

Because we needed something to do with lots of cucumbers, when we weren’t getting any other salad ingredients.  This is very loosely based on the recipe for 48-hour Sour Pickles in Putting Food By (see my References and Resources page for the full listing).

Mix together for brine:

  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 3 C water
  • 1/4 C salt
  • 1/4 C sugar

Pour enough brine to cover (but it won’t because the cucumbers will float) over:

  • 3 large cucumbers, sliced
  • garlic: 1 heaping tablespoon of jarred, or a few cloves pressed or chopped

Cover and refrigerate.  Best about 2 days later.

Advertisements

Weeks 46-47: April 8 – 21

April 22, 2009

As I typed the title, I noticed we’re closing in on the final stretch, only five more weeks to go!  We’ve learned a lot this year about where and how to get local foods.  When we started the year, we were planning on eating only local vegetables.  Then it became local fruits, too, over the summer, when they were readily available at the farmers market.  By the time apple season hit, we were determined to store apples to get us through as much of the year as possible.  Then the Eat Local Challenge in October pushed us to the next level.  For the month, we were pushed to not eat it if it’s not local.  Going forward, that segued into don’t buy non-local if we can buy a local alternative instead.  That means we now buy only local eggs and most dairy.  We also buy local maple syrup and honey.  Trying to keep eating well through the winter, we signed up for a winter CSA, but it was regional.  We backpedalled a bit, but only a bit, and  I enjoyed every bite of those organic, tree-ripened Florida grapefruits.

Passover was last week, and hosting a seder (cooking for 10) was a bit challenging given the season.  We still had a few butternut squash, so two of them got mashed with maple syrup and fresh ginger (from a jar), and got rave reviews.  Potatoes, celeriac, carrots, and cheddar cheese became a casserole, something like scalloped potatoes but much harder to cut into squares.  Unfortunately, our potato supplies were running low enough (especially bu the time the eyes all get cut out) that I actually bought a 5 pound bag of Prince Edward Island organic potatoes at the supermarket.

Salad was a fun challenge.  We boiled whole beets for about ten minutes to get the texture right, then sliced them.  Luckily, our winter CSA had provided us with both red and yellow beets.  Some of the red and Chioggia (striped) beets may have been left from our summer CSA.  We don’t segregate in our refrigerator.  The salad started with winter CSA Florida lettuce, topped by slices of red beetsyellow beets, Florida cucumbers, and feta cheese, and served with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  It was very pretty and very tasty.

For haroses, a traditional Passover food made of chopped apples (local of course), nuts, wine, honey, and cinnamon, I needed more honey than I had.  I went to Harvest Co-op hoping to find some local honey.  Sure enough, there was honey from Reseska Apiaries in Holliston, MA.  And it had a bright yellow “local honey” sticker on it!

Week 29: December 8 – 14

December 16, 2008

We haven’t been cooking very much.

We made enchilada verde casserole again.  It didn’t work as well as last time. I think we didn’t use enough cheese, salsa, or salt.  The casserole is easy to make.  It’s layered, like lasagne:  first corn tortillas, then a layer of mashed beans with some cheese and spices, then another layer of tortillas, then homemade tomatillo salsa and shredded cheddar cheese.  The tortillas are Cinco de Mayo, from Chelsea, MA.  The cheese is Cabot, from Cabot, VT.  The salsa verde came out of our freezer.  It was made with tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, and hot peppers.  We started with dried beans, which use much less energy to transport than canned beans, and soaked and simmered them in lots of water, which is from the Quabbin Reservoir, MA.  We baked sweet potatoes to eat with the casserole. 

I made a big pot of split pea soup, with big chunks of turnips, potatoes, and carrots.  I should have used some of the fresh thyme, but I forgot about it until too late. 

I used some frozen kale in a quick supper because I was too lazy to prep the fresh.  The meal itself was uninspiring, but the ease of getting just a bit of kale was notable.  We had frozen it as flat as possible in a gallon zip-lock bag.  That made it easy to break off a corner, since I was only heating up food for myself. 

The biggest meal of the week was with the friends we’re sharing our winter CSA share with.  They invited us to stay for dinner after we brought over the week’s vegetables.  The entree they made was a delicious casserole of six layered root vegetables under a bechamel sauce.  Our share for the new week included one bunch of arugula, one cucumber, one pepper, and a box of grape tomatoes.  Rather than try to divvy that up, we made a salad that we all ate together.   The arugula was from a Massachusetts greenhouse.  The cucumber, pepper, and tomatoes were from Florida.  I’m having some trouble with this whole-coast CSA idea.

We also got kale, cabbage, and apples from Massachusetts; garlic, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes from North Carolina; and oranges and corn from Florida.  (There was also a squash and some onions from Massachusetts, but we left all of those with our friends.)   Next week we anticipate some holiday extras:  cranberries and pecans. 

It’s time to make applesauce again, but I used the big pot for split-pea soup.  On days that we haven’t had oranges, we’ve had homemade McIntosh apple rings with lunch.  They are delicious!

Week 14: August 25 – 31

August 30, 2008

The summer seems to have flown by.  It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been 14 weeks since I’ve turned to a grocery store to get my produce.  Next week, I’ll be back to school.  Because I teach, I have extra time in the summer to prep and freeze food.  The academic calendar, that now seems to anachronistic and obsolete for being based on an agricultural schedule, has been ideal for my local food endeavor.  (For a bit more on the connection between school and agriculture, see this 2006 article about a school break for potato harvesting in northern Maine.   (There is also a link from my articles in the Boston Globe page.)

I’ve been making so much tabbouleh that I ran out of bulgur.  Whole Foods sells organic bulgur in their bulk section, so I can buy lots of it relatively cheaply in a paper bag.  It’s become sort of a game to see how few plastic bags I can acquire.  The one I went to didn’t have any organic bulgur in their bulk section, so I didn’t get any.  But they were having a special event with lots of their local suppliers giving out tastes.  One of the supplers was Highlawn Farm, and all-Jersey dairy in Lee, Massachusetts (in the Berkshires, between Springfield and Albany).  They’re better than organic in most ways, but certification is too expensive.  One of their products is heavy cream.  Good cream means good ice cream, so I bought a pint.  Remember the strawberries we sugared for ice cream and froze back in week 5? My husband used one of those pints to make strawberry ice cream in our electric ice cream maker. Between the extra-good cream and the extra-good strawberries, it was by far the best strawberry ice cream I have ever tasted.

This week our CSA share consisted of two pints of cherry tomatoes (we took one red, one yellow), three pounds of tomatoes,three small eggplants, three green bell peppers, one pound of broccoli, one scant bag of mixed baby lettuce leaves, ten ears of corn, one bunch of beets, one bunch of onions (which we gave away to friends) and one bunch of tatsoi.

Some of the vegetables were already getting soft in the wrong ways, so I made a batch of gazpacho.  Into the blender went most of a bell pepper (the yucky soft part, and half an inch around it, went into compost), cut into chunks.  It was followed by about 3 inches of Armenian cucumber, skin and seeds included, quartered and thickly sliced.  Friends gave us half an Armenian cucumber from their garden, and it’s so big that the half spanned the full width of a refrigerator crisper drawer, and the amount I put into gazpacho was about the same as one whole normal cucumber.  I added a generous spoonful of minced garlic (we buy it jarred, it’s our one vegetable laziness), a generous splash of white vinegar, a few drops of Tabasco, some dried basil and oregano, and some salt.  When I blended it, it was a lovely pale green with darker green flecks, and had a lovely spicy flavor.  It would have been fine simply as green gazpacho.  But I had tomatoes that needed to be used, so the two softest tomatoes went in, and the gazpacho turned sort of coral-colored, which is not very appetizing.  Luckily it tasted delicious.  Two tomatoes, one bell pepper, and one normal-cucumber-equivalent yielded four bowls of the cold soup.  For a fancier presentation, reserve some of the cucumber and bell pepper, dice them, and sprinkle some atop the pureed soup in each bowl.

We brought four ears of corn with us to dinner at a friend’s home, and she did somethind delicious with them.  First she had us husk them enough to see how the corn was and remove any damaged tips.  Then she pulled back the husks and put butter, salt, and herbs directly onto the corn, then pulled the husks back over.  She then roasted the ears in her oven for about 25 minutes.  It was so much tastier than our usual boil-and-butter!  We nibbled cherry tomatoes while waiting for dinner to be ready. 

The other six ears of corn went with me on a visit to my grandmother, along with two tomatoes and a salad made of all the lettuce, two very large radishes (sliced thinly into pretty circles), one bell pepper, and all the remaining cherry tomatoes.  All of it was very, very well received.

Two of the tomatoes (slighly less, one had a bad spot that got composted instead) and two of the eggplants went into chana masala, an Indian chickpea dish.  It doesn’t usually have eggplant, but it should.  Lazily, I use MDH boxed spice mix to season it. 

The broccoli and tatsoi are bound for a stir-fry with tofu, maybe with the third eggplant.   The beet greens will be a side dish by themselves.  The beets themselves will wait, the way root vegetables do.

I sent my husband to buy fruit at the midweek farmers market, and he came home with six peaches, six Ginger Gold apples, and four Gravenstein apples.  Ginger Gold is a relatively recent hybrid (1989), with respectable Winesap lineage on one side of the cross and a random sapling from Virginia on the other.  I’ll need to remember next year that Ginger Gold apples are lovely for eating out-of-hand, delightfully crisp and slightly tart.  Gravenstein apples, on the other hand, are an heirloom variety with a flavor that reminds me of apple pie, and a texture that suggests they should be cooked.  I plan to make maple syrup baked apples with the remaining Gravensteins, but I’m not sure what to stuff the core with (well, the space where the core is removed before baking) because I have neither raisins nor walnuts on hand.

Happy Labor Day!

Week 12: August 10 – 17, CSA

August 19, 2008

While we were away, my parents picked up our CSA share. We received one bunch of arugula, one bunch of onions (that looked more like scallions to me), one bunch of radishes (with nice greens), three green bell peppers, three tomatoes, two Asian eggplants, twelve ears of corn, four pounds of red potatoes, and one pound Kentucky Wonder green beans

My parents helped to prevent waste by eating the arugula, most of the corn, some of the green beans, one of the tomatoes, and one of the peppers. 

I made a ratatouille with one and a half tomatoes (the other half had to get tossed), both Asian eggplants (they’re fairly small), one bell pepper, and a can of chickpeas.  Another tomato would have made it even better, but the ratio was just about right.  I diced the veggies and put them all in a saucepan along with minced garlic, salt, basil, oregano, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  I served it over polenta for an easy, attractive, and tasty supper.  It made four eating-healthier-after-vacation servings, which I think translates to three more normal servings. 

I made tabbouleh with radishes and cucumbers that had been to Lake Placid and back.  I had to toss the two smallest pickling cucumbers – they were getting soft and slimy.  Because pickling cucumbers are less sweet and more bitter than regular cucumbers, I changed the process a bit.  While the bulghur and spices (garlic powder, parsley, and mint) were soaking, I salted the vegetables in a separate bowl.  I used more salt than usual, and stirred it into the quartered-and-sliced cucumbers and the thinly sliced radishes.  After letting osmosis happen for an hour or two, I mixed everything into one bowl and added olive oil and lemon juice.    

I need to find ways to save more vegetables for winter.

Week 12: August 10 – 17, Vacation

August 18, 2008

We spent last week on a lovely vacation in Lake Placid, in the Adirondacks.  I did my homework ahead of time, and found farmers market listings for New York State.

We brought a large cooler with us that contained, among other things, the corn salad and what was left of the Costa Rican slaw that I made in Week 11, along with chicory, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, red cabbage, green bell pepper, potatoes, and two tiny yellow squash, all left over from the previous week (or even earlier). We ate some of the salads for lunch on the Lake Champlain ferry.

Our first night in Lake Placid, my mother-in-law made the chicory, mushroom, and roasted pepper pasta dish from Greens, Glorious Greens and it was colorful and delicious. (Yes, we brought the cook book with us. If you’re looking for it, look under escarole, not chicory.) While she cooked that, I made a colorful if odd salad of lettuce, radishes, yellow squash, green pepper, the largest cucumber, and some knife-shredded red cabbage leaves. It was a lot of food, even for four adults.

We went to the Keene Farmers Market on Sunday.   The highlight was a local dog-and-owner square dance troupe.    The dog and its owner were a couple, and the dogs had to be very, very good at accepting “stay” commands from each of the owners in the square, while lots of other interesting activity was going on, both human and canine. 

We were at the market with my in-laws, who were with us for the entire weekend.  Between all of us, we bought a dozen ears of corn, two zuchini and two yellow squash large enough to make burger-size slices to grill without falling through the slats, one incredible tomato, one bunch of beautiful rainbow chard, two pints of raspberries, a quart of mixed plums and Saturn peaches, and a dozen free-range eggs.

Everything about a free-range egg is sturdier than in a conventional store-bought egg – the shell is harder, the yolk is brighter and stands taller in the pan, even the whites are better, although I can’t describe how.  It was $3 for the dozen and worth every penny!

We hadn’t intended to buy peaches, because we get those around home (Boston area) often enough. Plums were more interesting, and we couldn’t decide between the two varieties being sold. When we asked for a mixed quart, the farmer looked around for an empty quart container to fill for us. Not finding one, he picked up one that already had peaches in it. Instead of completely emptying it out before putting in plums, he left some peaches explaining that they’re very sought-after, costing half again as much closer to New York City. (He lives much closer to New York City than to Lake Placid, but comes up to the Adirondacks to fish, and pays for gas by selling at the farmers market.) They’re strange looking fruit, because the flesh makes a doughnut around the pit, with dimples on the top and bottom where the pit is shorter than the fruit. They were, in fact, tasty, but we liked the plums better.

We grilled the squash and zucchini, and ate leftovers all week. Leftover corn we cut off the cob and diluted the overly spicy corn salad that I’d made the week before. Leftover wine and mushrooms inspired a yummy chard side dish: we cooked the mushrooms in some olive oil until they started to release juices, then added minced garlic, then red wine. It all cooked together for a bit while the rest of supper heated. When everything else was nearly ready, coarsely chopped chard went in, and was pushed around until it all wilted. The mushrooms were purple from simmering in wine so long, but the colors of the chard stems still showed through.

We visited the Cornell Maple Research Station where we learned about the many ways they’ve found to increase yield and reduce energy needed. We bought a half gallon of dark (grade B) maple syrup while we were there.

We had picked 8 blackberries before going away. When we got home again, we harvested a relatively-whopping 19 blackberries. More had ripened and then gone past during the week, so we left those for the birds.

Week 11: August 3 – 9

August 6, 2008

Yesterday my husband picked the beginning of our blackberry crop:  four delicious berries.  There are a lot more on the bushes, still not ripe.  I’m amazed at how productive our three blackberry bushes are, given that we only put them in last year (so this is their second summer).  We never got any more blueberries beyond the eight in week 7, and we never got raspberries at all.  There had been just a couple berries on the bushes (only two raspberry bushes survived of the three that we planted), but then we had what seemed like a week of heavy rains, and by the end of the week there were no raspberries to be seen.

I went to the grocery store yesterday to buy lemon juice, so I could make the Costa Rican slaw of cabbage and cilantro that I described in my previous post.  Today I made the slaw.  I used a whole head of green cabbage, cored and knife-shredded.  I mixed in about 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, which wilts the cabbage some as it macerates (letting me fit more cabbage into a bowl that wasn’t really big enough), along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.  When the cabbage had softened enough, I mixed in the entire bunch of cilantro, chopped up, even the stems.  It will be our salad tonight, rounding out a meal of black beans and rice. 

This week from our CSA we got one head of lettuce, one head of chicory, one bunch of red Russian kale, one bunch of orange carrots, one bunch of mizuna, one bunch of radishes with lovely greens, one pound of pickling cucumbers (six), two pounds of green beans, four pounds of potatoes, and eight ears of corn

That list includes an awful lot of greens, which are the hardest to store for any length of time:  lettuce, chicory, kale, mizuna, and radish greens.  Kale is the only one of them that will freeze decently.  Radish greens are the first greens on that list to get yellow.  I’ll chop them coarsely and mix them into our black beans tonight, just before serving, so they have time to wilt but not to over-cook.  Mizuna is first on that list to go slimy, so tomorrow night’s dinner should be built around them.  It will probably a mizuna and tofu stir-fry, seasoned with ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and maybe wasabi.  Lettuce and maybe chicory will make nice green salads over the weekend, when temperatures are higher again. 

This is the first time we’e gotten chicory.  It’s a strongly-flavored salad green, but I don’t know what else can be done with it (if anything) and I’m a little scared of it.  I’ll see what Greens, Glorious Greens and Joy of Cooking have to say about it. 

It was cold and rainy today, so it was good weather to blanch vegetables for freezing.  I froze the kale and all of the green beans.  (See freezing instructions in week 4.)  I had to do the green beans in two batches and the kale in three, just because it’s so fluffy.  With the green beans, I tried for the first time freezing them on a tray and then putting them into a tub to keep them from freezing into a solid block.  It seems to have worked.  The tray I used was a cookie-sheet-with-sides (technically a jelly roll pan), covered with a sheet of wax paper.  The beans weren’t completely frozen when I moved them into quart-size yogurt tubs, and I went back and shook the tub a couple of times later to keep the beans separate.  I won’t really know how it worked until winter, when I cook the frozen green beans.  One pound of cut green beans fit in each tub. 

To make space for the added veggies, I did some organizing in my freezer.  I generally try to keep the oldest items in front, or on top of a pile, so we remember to use them first.  While I was organizing, I took an inventory to see how well we’re doing at getting ready for winter.  I was disappointed.  I know, though, that we’re only about halfway through the harvest season and a lot of what’s still to come are foods that will store well.  We still have a quart tub of tomato sauce and a quart tub of vegetable stock from last fall.  From this year we have frozen a pound of beets, a pound and a half of carrots, a bunch of broccoli (roughly a pound, filled one quart tub), four pounds of green beans (including one pound of Kentucky Wonder beans), four bunches of kale, one bunch of mizuna, and three small zucchini (probably a bit more than half a pound).  We also have two pints of sugared strawberries for making ice cream, and two cups of raspberry conserve.

Week 10: July 27 – August 2

August 1, 2008

This week was almost entirely things that will not freeze well. We got two bunches of arugula, one bunch of tatsoi, three yellow summer squash, two cucumbers, two bunches of beets (well, one of beets and one of onions that we traded for more beets), two small red cabbage, and four pounds of potatoes.

We stir-fried the two bunches of tatsoi (one from this week, one from last week) with tofu, in a sauce of hoisin, tamari (soy sauce), garlic, and ginger.  It was delicious.  Tatsoi has a cabbage-y flavor similar to bok choy, but the leaves are sturdier and don’t wilt down as quite as much.  The stems are very tender and edible and are very attractive, light on dark, cris-crossing in all directions.

The beets this week had unusually long, thin stalks with unusually sparse leaves.  The beet stems-and-greens, therefore, were mostly stems.  I chopped the leaves coarsely and cut the stems to one-inch pieces, maybe shorter.  I cooked them in my usual way, sauteed with garlic in olive oil, then tossed with lemon juice and salt.  They made a meal paired with cheesy polenta – my husband mixed in shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, garlic powder, and pepper. 

I finally made the potato salad I’d been meaning to make since I bought dill for it in week 8.  I did by best to re-create the yummy salad a friend makes based on her grandmother’s recipe.  I don’t know how similar my potato salad was to my friend’s grandmother’s, but I’m very pleased with how it came out.  Here’s what I did:  Cut two pounds of potatoes into large bite-sized pieces.  In a saucepan, cover the pieces with water.  Bring to a boil.  After the water reaches a boil, continue boiling for seven more minutes.  (Test with a fork to be sure the texture is right.  Potatoes cut a different size will need a different length of cooking.)  Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water.  Dress with a mixture of 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola), 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, and a half dozen or more grinds of black pepper,  Mix in one bunch of dill, chopped.

I want to make a color-switched cole slaw with red cabbage and yellow carrots.  I hope the red color doesn’t run, because then the carrots wouldn’t still be yellow.  When (if) I make it, I’ll have to post a photo.

While we have arugula (or when we had lettuce), various veggies go into green salad. Tonight’s supper, for example, included a salad of arugula, cucumber, and beet roots.  The beets were boiled for 20 minutes (which was a bit too long for the small size of our beets this week), then cooled and sliced.  They’re sweet, colorful, and (if not over-cooked) crunchy, which makes them a wonderful addition to a salad.  Be careful, though, because they stain hands and could probably stain countertops if you don’t wipe them down promptly and thoroughly.

We at the salad with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. I use a Good Seasons cruet, and add balsamic vinegar past the -v- line all the way up to the -w- line, then olive oil up to the -o- line.  I put in salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano, and black pepper.  I have no idea what quantities.  Just sort of to taste.  Sometimes when I make a fresh batch, I’ll dress my salad and then get up from the table to doctor up the dressing.  Usually my problem is not enough salt.  Kitchen chemistry hint:  it’s easier to dissolve the salt in the vinegar before adding the oil.  It’s about polarity.  That will have to be its own post sometime soon. 

When we don’t have leafy greens for a salad, some of those same good-for-eating-raw vegetables become crudites (vegetable sticks) with dip.  We did that recently with carrots, cucumbers, and kohlrabi.  My homemade vegetable dip is very easy:  start with plain yogurt, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dill, all “to taste.”  Because the base is plain yogurt (as opposed to sour cream and mayonnaise, which is the more typical dip base) it’s very healthy, aside from the salt.  I use lowfat plain yogurt.  I buy Stonyfield Farms, which is based in southern New Hampshire only about an hour north of Boston, so it’s a local food.  And tasty local food, at least on this blog, is the whole point.

Week 9: July 20-26

July 25, 2008

We just ate an incredible, gourmet-looking dinner. We had a zucchini-polenta torte (or was it a casserole?) and a salad. The salad was arugula, cucumber, Gorgonzola (blue cheese), and black raspberries, with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  The torte was in 3 layers:  seasoned polenta, sliced zucchini, and cheddar cheese.  For the polenta layer, I simmered together 1 cup of fine cornmeal (sold as polenta), 1 quart of water, about a tablespoon each of cumin and minced garlic, about a teaspoon of salt, and maybe half a teaspoon of chili powder (I wasn’t measuring anything).  I arranged it in a 9×13 pan, and baked it at 350 for maybe 45 minutes.  The arranged circles of two large zucchini made it look very pretty.   The spiced polenta layer made it very tasty.  We accompanied the meal with another local agricultural product:  perry (hard pear cider) from a farm in northeastern Massachusetts. 

This week’s CSA drop-off left us with one bunch each of arugula and tatsoi,  two zucchini, two yellow summer squash, four smallish cucumbers, one head of cabbage, one pound of Kentucky Wonder beans, two pounds of green beans, and two pounds of potatoes.  We were also supposed to get one bunch of spring onions, but I gave those away to someone else at the pick-up. 

Tatsoi is new this year, and looks like dark green arugula, but Greens, Glorious Greens says it’s flat cabbage and good for stir-fries, which is probably what we’ll do with it.  The zucchini and summer squash would be good grilled and in sandwiches (or just plain), but we’ll probably just sautee them and tossed with pasta. 

A couple of salads have made use of last week’s lettuce, this week’s arugula, a couple of cucumbers, and (as mentioned above) all the black raspberries we hadn’t simply eaten already.  Beets would have gone very well, but to get the right texture they have to be boiled and cooled before slicing into salads, so we didn’t put beets in. 

The weather finally broke.  We had a couple of cool days this week.  Finally, I did some blanching and freezing:  the pound of Kentucky Wonder beans and a pound and a half of slender little carrots, yellow and orange mixed.  The beans blanch and shock for about 3 minutes, and the carrots get 5 minutes.  I had intended to do the two pounds of green beans, too, but ran out of time.

What’s still in our fridge?  Some beets and carrots, all four pounds of potatoes that we’ve gotten so far, the bunch of dill I bought to make potato salad with, one kohlrabi, two zucchini, two summer squash, three cucumbers, one head of cabbage, one bunch of tatsoi, and two pounds of green beans.  I wonder what else we can freeze.

Week 8: July 13-20 (Part II)

July 20, 2008

This was a 3-farmers-market week.  In addition to buying apples and zucchini early in the week, I bought dill (intended for potato salad) at the mid-week market and tomatoes and lettuce at the end-of-week market.  The lettuce is just for salads, because it’s so hot and we have so many good things to put on top of lettuce in salad.  The tomatoes were for a family reunion picnic, and were sliced and put on sandwiches. 

The family picnic took care of some of our vegetable glut.  We made cole slaw, using the shredder attachment for our stand mixer.  We used the slicing blade for the cabbage and the shredding blade for the carrots, mostly orange and some yellow for color.  Because of the heat, I didn’t use the normal mayonnaise-laden dressing.  Instead, I made an Asian dressing of rice vinegar, canola oil (sesame oil gives too heavy a flavor), tamari soy sauce, grated ginger (I buy it jarred), and lots of sesame seeds (cheapest at an Indian grocery).

Also for the picnic, we made a big batch of tabbouleh (using 3 cups of bulghur wheat), and put in the entire bunch of parsley, three cucumbers, three orange carrots, and three yellow carrots.  The carrots are on the small side, the kind you buy at the farmers market not the kind you buy at the grocery store. 

We finally did some freezing.  It’s been very hot, so standing over boiling water to blanch vegetables is thoroughly unappealing.  We boiled about two pounds of beetroots.  The larger ones are good for grilling.  The smaller ones are good for freezing.  It works out very nicely.  We boiled the beets for half an hour, but probably should have given them only 25 minutes.  After boiling, many of the skins came off easily, but if they didn’t come off I didn’t worry about it.  Skinning beets involves pushing at the skin, trying to slide it sideways over the inside part.  We sliced a few of the beets for putting on salads (cold).  The rest we cut into wedges and froze. 

We also froze some zucchini and green beansPutting Food By says that only small zucchini freeze well.  Of our six zucchini, I judged that three were small enough to freeze.  We cut them into thick slices, blanched them for three minutes, shocked them for three minutes, and put them in our freezer.  The green beans were also three minutes to blanch and three minutes to shock.  I cut them to lengths somewhere between one and two inches.  Unfortunately, sitting on the top shelf of our refrigerator for nearly a week caused many of the beans to freeze and become weirdly translucent and have to go straight to compost. 

In other food news, we tried kohlrabi finally.  I knife-peeled one of them, and cut it into sticks maybe half an inch on a side.  It’s delightfully crunchy.  It reminds me of the inside of broccoli stems, which isn’t surprising, because kohlrabi is also a stem. 

Finally, the inventory:  The non-roots still to be used are one bunch of dill, one bunch of lettuce, three large zucchini, one cucumber, and one kohlrabi.  The roots still to be used are lots of carrots, some beets (mostly chioggia), and two pounds of potatoes.  The fruits still to be used are most of two pints of black raspberries.

I forgot to mention the raspberries.  We went berry picking today with friends, and brought back two pints of purple raspberries and two pints of black raspberries.  Well, that’s how many there were before we started the car ride home.  There were fewer when we arrived.  The purple raspberries I tried to turn into conserve.  I hope the boiled berry-sugar soup will firm up.  After a night in the refrigerator it will move into the freezer, in one-cup containers, to be moved to the refrigerator as needed during the year.