Monday, July 16, 2012

This Week's Share and Notes from Nikki

This week's share starts the transition to the summer vegetables--eggplant, peppers, and hopefully tomatoes within the next two weeks.  New this week is the inclusion of baby eggplants, okra, and a few green beans into the share.  

The green beans are definitely not at their best.  I have learned over the years that beans do not like it too hot and they also need plenty of water.  Plus their insect enemy,the aptly named the bean beetle--which looks like a copper lady bug--has been quite prolific this year,  destroying a couple of plantings already.  Hopefully this weekends glorious rain will usher in a slightly wetter weather pattern and the late season plantings of beans will be much better.  In the meantime we can enjoy a little taste of summer. 

This Week's Share:
Zephyr Squash
Patty Pan
Baby and Asian Eggplant
Bush Beans(green and purple)
Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers

Last week Nikki sent me three fantastic recipes and I am just now getting them up.  Hopefully you still have some beets laying around the kitchen so you can take advantage of her beet soup recipe.  The squash and potatoes in this week's share are prefect for the second two recipes.    Enjoy these delicious suggestions.

Roasted Beet Soup
I must admit, there is nothing prettier and tastier to me than a roasted beet. As soon as I pick up a bunch of them from the Inverbrook Distribution Shed, I head home to trim and roast them so that I have them at the ready for salads, soups, or just plain snacking on. The following recipe is super simple and easy to whip together in no time flat, especially if your beets are already roasted and hanging out in the fridge waiting to be used. Perfect summer lunch or dinner fare. You could easily half this recipe. As is, it serves 6-8.


16 small-medium beets, tops removed, trimmed, and roasted in a 400 degree oven until fork tender, skins slipped off, halved or quartered, depending on size
4-6 C chicken or vegetable stock

juice of 1 large orange

several sprigs of thyme

1 small onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced

glug of olive oil or generous pat of butter

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Sour cream, creme fraiche, plain whole milk yogurt, or crumbled feta

chopped chives for garnish

1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil or butter over medium heat until the onions are soft.
2. Add in the beets, along with a bit of sea salt and pepper.
3. Add in the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer.
4. Cover and simmer until the thyme sprigs become completely limp and the leaves start to fall off.
5. Turn off the heat, fish out the thyme stems, and add in the juice of the orange.
6. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, or crumbled feta cheese, and a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Summer Squash Pancakes

It wouldn't be summer without summer squash pancakes (or bread, muffins, cookies, etc). Summer squash is one of those vegetables that never has a bad year. Always prolific and abundant, despite the weather. This pancake recipe is easy to whip together. It can be halved or doubled. Feel free to throw in any number of additions. Believe it or not, my boys topped their griddle cakes with maple syrup. They loved it. I stuck with the savory theme and doused mine with plenty of lemon and sour cream. It's hard to mess this recipe up. Add more flour if the batter seems too wet, add more eggs or summer squash if it seems too dry. You get the point. ;-) Enjoy! Ingredients

2 large summer squash, grated and placed in a colander to drain, and ultimately squeezed to remove excess moisture
handful of chopped chives
4 large eggs
1 C white whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose will work too)
2 tsp baking powder
lemon zest to taste
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
butter or olive oil (or both) for the griddle
sour cream, creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or crumbled feta for topping
lemon wedges for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 300.
2. Set a griddle pan (or large skillet) over medium heat.
3. While the pan is warming up, mix together the summer squash, eggs, chives, flour, salt, lemon zest, and pepper until well-combined.
4. Spread butter or olive oil over the griddle and plop pancake-sized amounts of batter onto it, flattening out a bit with the back of a large spoon.
5. Cook until golden brown on one side, and then flip to brown the other side. Use your spatula to flatten the pancake a bit once you flip it.
6. As the cakes finish, place them in the oven on
a cookie sheet so they stay warm.
7. Serve topped with sour cream, creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or crumbled feta, and plenty of fresh lemon juice.

Makes 10-12 medium-sized pancakes

Boiled Potatoes

Okay, I can guess what you're thinking... boiled potatoes? Is she serious? I actually am.

When it comes to farm fresh food, I'm a firm believer in less is more. Simple is better. The potatoes that Claire grows, I'm sure you would agree, are absolute perfection all on their own. Perfectly sized, tantalizingly flavored, beautifully colored... why would we want to mess with them? Truth be told, I was also inspired by a book I recently read titled Blood, Bones & Butter, The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of the acclaimed NYC restaurant, Prune. It's a memoir that I highly recommend. Read the book and you'll understand why I would even bother to write such a ridiculously simple recipe.

Here's a quote from the book to entice you: "I want a small, warm, salted boiled potato. One with pale yellow flesh that is perfectly waxy. I want the skin to snap when I bite into this potato of my dreams. And I want to be really, truly, stomach-grumbling hungry when I eat it."


new whole potatoes, waxy and delicious, washed well


sea salt

fresh ground pepper

parsley for garnish

1. Set a large pot of water to boil.

2. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until they reach your desired texture (I like mine firm tender with a bit of snap, but also starting to fall apart).

3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the pot so they stay warm.

4. Serve topped with plenty of butter, sea salt, pepper, and parsley for garnish.

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