CSA August 14, 2013

This Week’s CSA

Bountiful seems to be the best adjective to describe this week’s share.  You will find your box full of red cabbage, purple fleshed potatoes, golden beets, romainezucchini, broccoli, sweet onions, Swiss chardparsleymarjoram, basil, and garlic seed heads.

Storage Notes

The garlic seed heads will do well stored in a cool, dry spot,

Usage Notes

All around this world, various food cultures make pickles as a way to preserve the garden harvest and provide a flavor balance to a meal.  Pickling has become trendy again in the American food world but the technique of preserving fresh vegetables in vinegar or brine is well established in many countries.  The type of vinegar and spices used depends on the country, while the mix of veggies typically consists of what is ready in the garden/field at the time.  The recipe included is for a Middle Eastern-style garden pickle, but by changing the spices and type of vinegar, you can create a pickle the shows off the flavors of your favorite international cuisine.  For example, an Italian-style pickle that is seen on many antipasto trays, needs the addition of fresh thyme, oregano, marjoram, fennel seed, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and the addition of a little sugar to the brine.  If you have any other ideas and are not sure where to start, please get in touch with any questions.  This recipe is for a fresh refrigerated pickle, but it can also be used for canning, which provides longer storage.

As for the other veggies, ’tis the season for the grill!  Please do not be afraid to grill any vegetable.  Grilled romaine and grilled chard are a great new way to eat your greens. A recipe for grilled kale can be found on our website, but for those of you who want a completely different take on cooking, look at this amazing recipe for grilled romaine.  (But please be forewarned: this food blog uses adult language and raunchy humor, which may be offensive to some.)   Cabbage can also be grilled with great results to produce a perfect side dish for bratwurst.  Generally, all you need for grilling greens is salt, pepper, and olive oil for a delicious side dish.

The garlic seed heads are perfect for adding to pickles or for grilling.  To grill, wrap the entire head in aluminum foil with a little oil and grill until soft to touch.  Grilled garlic goes well with anything.  Once cooked, push the small garlic bits out of the skin, or if using raw in pickles, make sure to remove the peel first.


Middle Eastern-Style Garden Pickle

(yield:  about 8 cups)

Adapted from Quick Pickles: Easy Recipes for Big Flavor by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby, and Dan George

Some folks believe vinegar pickles originated in the Middle East, which may be true since there are entire stores devoted to pickles in Istanbul, Turkey.  These pickles are part of a traditional spread known as mezze.  Serve them with several kinds of olives, fresh tomato wedges, cucumber slices, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, or grilled meat.

8 cups, total, of the following vegetables in any proportion you want:

carrots, peeled or scrubbed very well and cut lengthwise into strips about 3-4 inches long

bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips

green beans, whole or halved

radishes, halved

cauliflower florets, cut lengthwise into 2 or 3 slices

green or red cabbage, outer leaves removed and cut into bite sized pieces

red or golden beets, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick into half-moons

5 to 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

2 cups white or red wine vinegar

2 1/3 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

In a large nonreactive bowl or jar, combine the vegetables, garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. Mix well.

In a large nonreactive pitcher or bowl, combine the vinegar, water and salt, whisking well to dissolve the salt.  Pour this mixture over the vegetables, mix gently but well, and cover the container with a clean cloth or napkin.  Allow to stand at room temperature for 3 days, then cover and refrigerate.

These pickles can be eaten right away but their flavor improves over several days.  Pickles will keep covered and refrigerated for at least 1 month, if not longer.