This Week’s CSA
Beets are a versatile root which can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed, grilled, or boiled. Their natural earthy sweetness pairs well with olive oil, sour cream, vinegars, citrus, mustard, horseradish, dill, tarragon, onions, apples, and goat cheese. Red beets bleed and tint everything they touch but leaving the skin, tail, and at least 1 inch of the stems intact while cooking will help keep all those juices locked inside. Once cool to touch, beets are very easy to peel. Beets store best if the greens are removed. With a sharp knife, remove greens just above the stem and store separately in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The beet root will keep well for weeks in the refrigerator in a paper bag or perforated plastic bag, while the greens are best used within a few days.
As they sit, slicing cukes tend to soften, so they are best eaten fresh. Sliced thin, cucumbers are a treat on any sandwich or salad, served on a veggie platter or just eaten fresh with a sprinkling of salt. For a twist on a refreshing summer drink, add very thin slices of cucumber to sparkling water or as a garnish to gin and tonics. Cucumbers also make a refreshing, light salad or can be added to coleslaw.
Making sure they are free of dirt and dry, cucumbers can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or longer. Too much moisture can cause them to mold, so make sure they are exposed to air. Once cut open, wrap cut end in plastic wrap.
Although native to parts of western Asia, dill weed is usually associated with Russian and European cuisine where it is paired with fish (gravlax), pickles, yogurt, sour cream, and potatoes. Dill also goes well with beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggs, cream sauces, and salmon. Typically the feathery fronds are used and taste best if added fresh at the end of cooking.
Store dill in a plastic bag in the refrigerator
Store unwashed fresh bean pods in a plastic bag kept in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days.
Just prior to using the green beans, wash them under running water. Remove both ends of the beans by either snapping them off or cutting them with a knife.
Green beans are a classic ingredient in Salad Nicoise, a French cold salad dish that combines steamed green beans with tuna fish and potatoes. Sautéd green beans are great with shiitake mushrooms. Or prepare the perennial favorite, green beans almondine, by sprinkling slivered almonds on healthy sautéed beans.
Carrots are great both raw and cooked. If scrubbed well, you won’t even need to peel them. If cooking carrots, try to cut into even sized pieces so they cook at the same rate. Carrots pair well with thyme, chervil, dill, cumin, ginger, mint, sesame seeds, chili, mustard, honey, butter, olive oil, and sesame oils.
Carrots are best stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Remove any tops before storage so the carrot stays crisp and sweet.
The trick to storing salad greens is to place them in a container (or plastic bag) with a paper towel in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. You can wash and spin dry the salad mix first for easy use. Change the paper towel regularly if needed.
In addition to traditional salads, greens can be roasted, used as a topping for pizza, or added to green smoothies!
This versatile veggie can be sautéed, baked, stuffed, grilled, added to soups, and grated for baked goods. Zucchini partners well with butter, yogurt, Parmesan cheese, garlic, dill, basil, marjoram, mint, lemon, walnuts, tomatoes, and peppers. Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator; excessive moisture will cause molding.
Wash summer squash under cool running water and then cut off both ends. You can then proceed to cut it into the desired size and shape for the particular recipe.
Unlike winter squash, summer squash are more fragile and cannot be stored for long periods of time unless frozen. Summer squash is very fragile and should be handled with care as small punctures will lead to decay. It should be stored unwashed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about seven days.
Braised Green Beans and Summer Vegetables
makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano , or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup white wine , or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 medium summer squash , or zucchini, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes , or grape tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and oregano and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine (or broth) and bring to a boil. Add green beans, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add summer squash (or zucchini) and tomatoes and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread
¼ cup cacao powder
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla stevia
¾ cup zucchini, grated
Pulse in salt and baking soda.
Pulse in eggs, coconut oil and honey, stevia, then zucchini.
Transfer batter to a greased 6.5 x 4 inch baby loaf pan, dusted with almond flour.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.
Cool for 2 hours.