Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 CSA Week 16


This is the last week of the csa and I'm a very sad girl! I am very appreciative, however, of all the love and hard work the Waterstrat family has put into making this the best experience for us eating plenty of nutritious food throughout the season!

I'm sure we will continue to hear from Ford and Amanda throughout the fall. Let them know if you are interested in the naturally raised beef and pork.

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
sweet corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge enjoy as soon as possible
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
squash and zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
garlic unwashed in fridge up to 1 week
bell peppers unwashed in fridge 2-3 weeks

For my last blog of the season, and since I've written about all of these items in previous blogs, I thought I would take a peak at memory lane and some of Amanda's thoughts and recipes she posted throughout the years. She has such a warm and inviting way of writing which makes you feel like you are sitting at her kitchen table chatting over a cup of coffee like long-time friends.

Excerpts from 2012

In keeping with the theme of quick, simple preparations, I’ll encourage you to try yet another roasted vegetable recipe – garlic roasted tomatoes.
This one is taken from the September 2007 issue of Everyday Food and can also be found online.
Garlic-Roasted Tomatoes
from September 2007 Everyday Food
4 large tomatoes cored and halved crosswise.
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 8 thin slices
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400oF.
Place tomato halves, cut side up, on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
Dividing evenly, top with butter and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
Bake until tomatoes are tender, 40-45 minutes.

Green Peppers
If your home is like ours this time of year, you might be scrambling around after dinner assembling lunches for work or school on the following day. I find that I am much less likely to snack on convenience foods if I pack plenty of healthy snacks. If you’re short on time but want a tasty, crunchy side dish with your lunch, slice some raw peppers into long strips and use them to dip into hummus, soft goat cheese, or your favorite spread. They’re such a nice treat on a busy afternoon!

The days of summer, and summer herbs like basil, are numbered. This realization always hits me hardest when school resumes, which happened to me this week. It seems like the excitement of the first days of school give way to fall parties, Halloween, and then, in the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving and Christmas have arrived. My thoughts are beginning to turn toward that season. It’s time to stock up on dried/preserved basil. If you haven’t already dried some of those aromatic leaves, be sure to save at least a few stems to hang upside down in your kitchen to dry. It will smell so nice as it dries and you’ll be left with crunchy leaves you can sprinkle into small pieces just right for seasoning winter dishes.

Excerpts from 2013

This week our dear friend and CSA member Tifany, shared a wonderful recipe that uses both tomatoes and corn. It’s quick, simple and received a lot of great reviews online! You can find the recipe at this link: Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes & Corn. Thanks Tifany!

Familiar Favorites

 Tomato Corn Pie that combines several of my favorite summer harvest vegetables and herbs.
You’ll find more familiar favorites in your share this week. I’d like to encourage you to try this recipe from the link above.

I made a few changes to accommodate my tastes and it turned out great! For starters, I like making a piecrust with 1/3 cornmeal for added texture and flavor. I just took my favorite biscuit recipe, reduced the quantity and replaced 1/3 of the flour with cornmeal. I pressed the dough nice and flat so it wouldn’t be “fluffy” like a biscuit but it was still heartier than a typical piecrust. Yum! I also omitted the top layer of crust in favor of a deep dish pizza feel with the thick cornmeal biscuit crust. I didn't peel or blanch the tomatoes but I did squeeze out some of the extra juice. By the way, if you’re like me, perhaps you think the mayo in this recipe sounds disgusting (I’m not a mayo fan) but I have to say that the combination of lemon mayo and cheese forms a gooey crust makes this dish AMAZING. I’ve grown to enjoy this recipe so much that I actually made THREE pies the last time I whipped this up! …and not ONE bite was wasted.

Roasted Tomato Bean Dip
Yet another hummus!

2 medium-large tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano, and salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)
10-12 large leaves fresh basil
salt, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices and place them in a large, oiled (or silicon) baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle each slice with garlic, using only half of the garlic. Add a sprinkling of black pepper, oregano, and salt to the top of each slice. (You can also add olive oil, but I resisted the temptation.)

Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until tomatoes are totally cooked but are not burning. Remove from oven to cool (or use warm and then chill the dip after preparing).

Place the remaining garlic into the food processor along with the chickpeas, vinegar, and roasted tomatoes. Blend well. Add the basil leaves and salt, if you like, and blend again. Serve chilled with vegetables or crackers for dipping. Also makes a good sandwich spread or salad dressing.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s) Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutrition (per serving): 125 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 273.1mg sodium, 334.5mg potassium, 24.4g carbohydrates, 4.8g fiber, 1.8g sugar, 5.2g protein, 3.6 points.


As a final note, I'd like to say that this has been a great experience for me, attempting to fill in with this weekly blog, giving Amanda the time with her family which practically doubled in size with the birth of their twin boys in December. Lets hope Silas and Josiah enjoy working on the farm as much as Finley!
Happy healthy eating!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 CSA Week 15

Greetings friends!

What a wonderful season we are having, with plenty of rain and sunshine to nourish the crops! It's good for the soul, too, especially with the abundance we have to look forward to in our shares!

This week from Sustainable Harvest Farm...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
sage and oregano unwashed, in sealed container or plastic bag, kept in fridge; or, see drying instructions below. 1-2 weeks
squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
sweet corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge best enjoyed as soon as possible
garlic unwashed in fridge up to 1 week
melons fridge or room temp enjoy as soon as possible

For the sage and oregano in our share and any other herbs, Ford requested I provide some information on how to store and dry herbs. Here's a great article I found on the Harvest to Table website with easy ways to dry herbs, including air drying, dehydrator drying, microwave drying, and oven drying. Rather than repeat it all here, I'll let you take a look and find the method that works best for you. They certainly look pretty hanging in a window, or dry room!


At this point, we are all trying to get creative with what to do with all the zucchini and squash! Here's a fun recipe my friend uses and her kids love it! It's from a Gooseberry Patch Cookbook, "Farmers Market Favorites." You can find this cookbook and others they publish, all which are wonderful, on Amazon here.

Crispy Zucchini Fritters

So tasty served with ranch dressing for dipping.

4 zucchini, thickly shredded
1 t. salt, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
olive oil for frying

Toss zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a colander and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, pressing out as much liquid as possible. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining salt and pepper until light and frothy. Whisk in zucchini; stir in flour. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls, flattening with the back of spoon. Fry, about 2 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Serves 4.


With everyone back to school, and the hint of fall in the air, it's casserole time! One can last two or three days worth of meals, and you can freeze them for later.

I don't know who doesn't love lasagna! Since I'm always trying to limit my intake of starches and carbs, I generally won't order it from a restaurant, or make it at home. Luckily, several years ago, a friend shared a recipe with me that I enjoy making and eating guilt free. Instead of lasagna noodles, it calls for zucchini and squash sliced into long, thin, wide planks. If you can't slice them thin enough, I suggest laying the squash planks on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stick under the broiler for a few minutes, keeping an eye on them, to precook slightly before adding to the dish.

WW's exclusive Low-Carb "Lasagna"

4 (2 lbs.) medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut lengthwise into thin slices/planks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cont. (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, cooked, drained (substitute any meat, or go meatless)
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) low-carb marinara sauce, such as Bella Vita Low-Carb Pasta Sauce
Fresh chopped herbs - basil, parsley, oregano, garlic

Heat oven to 350 ° F. Coat 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray. Season squash with salt and pepper. Combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped herbs, and sausage. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce into bottom of prepared pan. Spread 1/3 squash slices over sauce. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the squash. Top with 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat with remaining zucchini, sauce, ricotta mixture ending with a top layer of zucchini topped with sauce. Cover and bake 40 minutes until heated through. Makes 10 servings. Per serving: 358 cals.; 11 g. total carbs


Continue to enjoy the fresh tomatoes and corn! If you end up with more tomatoes than you can eat or prepare into sauces or meals, you can put the whole tomatoes in the freezer sealed in ziploc bags to be used in a soup or stew later. I remember hearing this tip years ago, and it works!

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 CSA Week 14

Well, kids are heading back to school and I've seen Halloween candy in the Dollar General store. BUT, it's still early August and there is plenty of time to enjoy the sun and summer activities, and the harvest is plentiful!

Beautiful bounty from Sustainable Harvest Farm

 In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
fennel unwashed in fridge 1 week
squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
cabbage unwashed in fridge 2-3 months
tomatoes room temperature several days
corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge best enjoyed as soon as possible
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
melons fridge or room temp enjoy as soon as possible

Here's a wonderful light dish using fennel and cabbage that we will be receiving in our shares. I found this on the blog:

Fennel and Cabbage Slaw

A light, refreshing slaw made with fresh fennel.

1/2 medium red cabbage, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Toss the cabbage, carrots, fennel, and green onions in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a dressing for the slaw. Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix well.
Serve on your favorite veggie burger, sandwich, or taco, or alongside your favorite main dish.


I've enjoyed my usual method of preparing the variety of beautiful veggies we receive from the wonderful Waterstrat family farm, by throwing everything in the wok sauteed with coconut oil, garlic and fresh herbs from my patio container garden. It's easy, yummy, and you just have one pan to clean!
I'm sharing photos from this week's meals I prepared for myself with enough for leftovers:

Meal #1: YUM! Nothing else required to complete this meal!
For my pasta dish below, a tip for easy, quick and minimal cleanup (my M.O.) is to throw the chopped veggies (beans and squash this time) in the boiling water with the pasta and it will all cook together! Then, drain and place everything back in the pot. I then added the corn that I cut off the cob since it would have fallen through the holes of the colander, with some olive oil, a couple tablespoons of pesto I keep in the fridge, keep on low to heat back up, adding a small amount of water if necessary. Scoop it into a dish with the shaved parmesan on top! Voila! It's always hard for me to eat just one bowl!
Meal #2: with pasta, pesto and shaved parmesan

 Enjoy the rest of summer!