CSA (8/27/2015): And it just keeps coming
We’re in full harvest mode on the farm these days. All our fall planting is all done, the weeding imperative has begun its slow decline and the summer crops are approaching their peak. More than half our time is now spent hauling in produce, exhausting but so satisfying.
As you can tell from your boxes, the cherry tomatoes and eggplants are our big performers right now. We doubled our planting of eggplant this season and the results are showing. The big shower this year is Beatrice, a variety we’re trying for the first time. Mildly flavored, with a spectacular purple color and creamy white texture, it’s great for slicing thick and throwing on the grill or roasting in sandwiches. That’s been our lunch all week — roasted eggplant, sliced tomato and cheese thrown on some thick bread. Just perfect.
Also this week, we’re offering bunches of broccoli raab, also known as rabe or rapini. This member of the cabbage family tastes a bit like turnip greens, slightly bitter and earthy. Americans don’t typically like bitter flavor in their foods, but rapini is common in Italian cooking, typically sauteed with garlic and chilli pepper and (sometimes) cured meats. That’s a great and simple preparation, but if bitter isn’t your thing, it can also provide a nice counterpoint in sweeter dishes. Farmer Angie used some in a curry this week with coconut milk and sugarcane and the flavors balanced beautifully.
What to do with all those sweet orange sungolds? We made some canned jam last week using this pretty simple recipe. It calls for way more sungolds then you have in your boxes — 4 pounds! — but it’s easy enough to scale it down. Start by halving the tomatoes, mix with sugar (roughly 3/4 of a cup) and let sit for an hour. Then bring to a boil and add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice — this is important if you’re going to can the jam, but you can skip it and just keep the jars in the fridge. Boil for 30-35 minutes until the texture thickens, add some chopped basil and lemon zest. If you’re going to can, pour into mason jars with fresh tops and boil for 10 minutes, or put in fridge and use within the week.
Chermoula eggplant with bulgur and yogurt
This is another great one from Yotam Ottolenghi. Start by making chermoula, a North African paste, combining 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. chili flakes, 1 tsp. sweet paprika, 2 tsp. finely chopped preserved lemon peel, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut eggplants lengthwise, score the flesh with deep diagonal crosscuts and spoon the chermoula over then. Roast for 40 minutes at 400, cut side up. While that’s cooking, cover 1 cup of fine bulgur wheat with 2/3 cup of boiling water. Add 1/3 cup of golden raisins, some chopped herbs, olives and/or sliced almonds if you have, then spoon over the eggplant and top with yogurt and a drizzle of olive oil.