2013 CSA week 10August 28, 2013
2013 CSA week 10
In The Box:
2 heads Lettuce Lolla Rossa or Iceberg
1 bunch Basil
4 ears Sweet Corn
2 lb Cherry Tomatoes
1 bunch Spring Onion
3 lb Beefsteak Tomatoes
1 lb Carrots
It is said that a watched pot never boils. The same appears to be true of a ripening melon. Now that the corn is on I have switched my obsession to the melons. While I’m usually patient enough to wait for later in the summer for that first juicy bite of Charentais or Butterscotch melon, the season so far would suggest I should be starting to see the subtle cues of ripeness. No amount of row pacing, fruit tugging, thumping or general fondling seems to help and the frequency with which I find myself in the patch is becoming a little unsettling. Perhaps it is the lack of sleep or the heat but I seem to wander over there almost unconsciously. These are after all the automaton days of summer, the dog days, the weeks where the tasks and harvests loom before the crew with daunting repetition. Harvest, wash, pack, weed, water, harvest (wait didn’t we just do this?) It sometimes reminds me of the early glassy eyed Disneyland animatronics, robot characters going through the motions unaware of the pleasurable outcome of their actions on an audience unaware of what really goes on behind the scenes. The turnstile clicks the mechanism resets and the motion is repeated again….Harvest, wash, pack, weed water harvest.
It’s easy to lose sight sometimes for farmer and farm crew alike. We love this! Well maybe not when you spend hours weighing and bagging carrots only to have your delirious boss stumble out of the melon patch and into the packing shed mumbling something about an ‘issue’ with the quality.
While re-sorting, re-weighing and re-bagging may have felt like digging holes for the army, the rest of the crew was pulling neck deep pigweed and smartweed from the winter squash patch so there were worse places to be than re-tasking in the shade of the packing shed. The ‘issue’ was some minor carrot rust fly damage to the roots, if any snuck through the sort it’s nothing a little scrub or scrape can’t deal with. The next round of carrots are planted in a different field so hopefully we wont see any damage in the coming rotations.
The tomatoes continue to put out record breaking harvests and I get the feeling some of our chef customers are going to start blocking my email address to put an end to the late night pleas to buy more tomatoes. The season for a field ripened tomato is so short here, we find ourselves eating tomatoes with just about every meal trying to make the most of it before the nights cool and it’s time for a round of fried green tomatoes as the plants crash.
I’m starting to get a handle on what we’ve done to ourselves by buying an ornamental tree nursery in the middle of the growing season and am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the business of trees. After almost twenty years of vegetable farming I would never have thought I would simultaneously become a nurseryman. I think part of it is the challenge of being surrounded by thirty plus acres of crops I’ve never grown before. Part of it is almost certainly the fact that I am completely (insert expletive of choice) nuts, but perhaps that’s something for the men in white coats to ponder while I wander back through the melons mumbling to myself again?
Dave, Lori and the crew.
Cherry Tomato and Olive Relish from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 or 2 yellow or other tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
24 nicoise olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped marjoram (I use oregano when I don’t have marjoram available)
5 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper
Put the tomatoes in a bowl with the olives, capers, and herbs. Moisten with the oil, then season to taste with the S & P & lemon juice. Serve right away, or at least within the hour of making it.
Marinated Cherry Tomatoes 4 servings
2 baskets Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Finely chopped basil
1 Tablespoon Finely chopped rosemary
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix tomatoes, onions, parsley, rosemary, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and let tomatoes marinate at room temperature at least 1 hour, but preferably 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally. Enjoy with crostini or as a side dish.
Cherry Tomato & Avocado Salad
1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tablespoons chopped scallion or other mild onion
1 cup (approx.) chopped avocado
2 tablespoons chopped herb (such as basil, parsley, cilantro, dill….)
optional vinaigrette to coat (whirl 2 T lemon juice or vinegar, 1 small clove garlic, 1 t mustard, pinch salt and pepper, with 1/2 cup olive oil in blender.) Gently mix all ingredients. Serve. (The avocado is optional but delicious)
Scallions and Carrots
1 bunch scallions, roots trimmed and white part cut into a 4″ length
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/4 t sugar
2 T soy sauce
Chinese Scallion Pancakes
recipe by Elsa Chen
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for flouring the rolling surface
1 cup water
2 teaspoons oil
A bunch of green onions, green and white parts, chopped medium-fine
A few tablespoons of oil to brush on pancakes (a mix of canola or corn oil and sesame oil is good) some salt A few tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
Mix together the first three ingredients by hand or in a food processor. Flour a surface and knead the dough. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes before continuing.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a well-floured surface into a big, flat square or rectangle 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Brush the pancake with a bit of oil, and sprinkle with spring onion pieces and a little salt. Starting at one short end, roll up the dough tightly, jelly-roll style, so you have a “snake.”
Cut the “snake” crosswise into 8 – 10 pieces. Then flatten each piece again gently with your palm and rolling pin to make a little rectangle. Don’t flatten it too firmly, because you want a little air to remain trapped between the layers of the pancakes so they’ll puff up a bit between the layers and be lighter.
Press one or both sides in sesame seeds (optional).
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large skillet. Shallow fry the pancakes until both sides are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Serve plain or with dipping sauce. An easy sauce can be made by mixing soy sauce with a little minced garlic, scallion, and rice vinegar.
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