Notes from the Farm
Our big news this week is that our pasture got flooded from a neighbor’s irrigation, which basically drowned most of the onion crop. You will be receiving a few of the survivors in this week’s share. Please accept our apologies if they’re not the prettiest onions you’ve ever seen. Also, please remember to return your empty boxes when you pick up each week’s share. We’re completely out. Thank you!
This Week’s CSA
Celeriac can be eaten both cooked and grated raw for salads. For cooking purposes, this root vegetable takes well to soups, purees, and gratins. The root needs to be scrubbed well and peeled. To peel the root, cut the top and bottom ends off to create a stable surface and then using your knife, cut away the peel in a downward motion. If you have a heavy duty peeler, you can try using that if the root is not to knobby. Cut pieces turn brown quickly, so place cut pieces in a bowl of water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer to use the entire vegetable, any pairings from peeling can be put in a vegetable stock. Take time to remove and save the green ribs before storing, which can be added to stocks or soups.
A delicate member of the onion family, chives provide a discreet onion flavor that works well with egg dishes, mild cream based sauces, or as a garnish to salads or soups. Chives are best used fresh and added at the end of cooking. Snip them with scissors or cut with a sharp knife straight across. Store fresh chives in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
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.
Nardello peppers are an heirloom variety that hails from southern Italy and named after the man who brought the seed to the United States. These sweet peppers are mild and sweet with a crinkly green exterior. Sweet peppers go well with tomatoes, eggplant, onions, summer squash, olives, capers, mozzarella, Fontina, goat cheese, basil, garlic, and olive oil. If not using right away, store peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for a week or more but too much moisture in the bag will cause them to mold.
Red onions, sometimes called purple onions, are cultivars of the onion with purplish red skin and white flesh tinged with red. These onions tend to be medium to large in size and have a mild to sweet flavor. They are often consumed raw, grilled or lightly cooked with other foods, or added as color to salads. They tend to lose their redness when cooked. Red onions are available throughout the year. The red color comes from anthocyanidins such as cyanidin. Red onions are high in flavonoids. They can be stored 3 to 4 months at room temperature.
Store potatoes in a cool, well ventilated place. Colder temperatures lower than 50 degrees, such as in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked. If you do refrigerate, letting the potato warm gradually to room temperature before cooking can reduce the discoloration. Avoid areas that reach high temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the countertop). Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending shelf-life. Keep potatoes out of the light. Don’t wash potatoes (or any produce, for that matter) before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage.
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.
Store tomatoes away from direct sunlight with the stem scar facing up to reduce softening and darkening of the fruit. For short term storage it is best to keep tomatoes in a paper bag at the coolest possible room temperature. Keep out of direct sunlight.
Add a pinch of sugar to tomatoes when cooking them. It enhances the flavor.
To keep baked or stuffed tomatoes from collapsing, bake in greased muffin tins. The tins will give them some support as they cook.
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!
4 servings, about 1 cup each
1 large celery root (celeriac), about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 apples, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Toss celery root with oil, pepper and salt and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add apples, toss gently and continue roasting until the apples and celery root are tender, 6 to 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just crispy. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; discard all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat. Add maple syrup to the fat in the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Add the cooked bacon and thyme (or rosemary). When the celery root and apples are tender, gently toss them with the maple-bacon glaze and roast for about 5 minutes more.
Source: Eating Well September/October 2012
1 1/2 lb. Jimmy Nardello Roasted Peppers
3 ears of corn with kernels removed
3 T white balsamic vinegar
3 T olive oil
1/4 t black pepper
2 T chopped fresh basil
Remove the stems and seeds. Preheat the broiler. Put the peppers, skins up, in an oiled, shallow baking pan. If you wish you can lightly oil the peppers as well. Broil them 2 inches from the heat until softened. You do not need to remove the skins after roasting. Cut the peppers lengthwise into ¼ inch strips. Add the uncooked corn kernels. To complete the salad, toss together the remaining ingredients and let stand, covered, 1 hour for flavors to develop.
Recipe from Full Belly Farm.