Down on the Farm Notes
WOW it is August already! I can’t believe how fast this summer seems to be moving. It will be time for school before we know it. What will you find in the basket this week? Organic Ambrosia Cantaloupe, Organic Yellow Crookneck & Patty Pan Summer Squash mix, Organic Cucumbers, Organic Cherry Tomatoes on Tuesday, Organic Peppers (Romanian & Islander mix), Organic White & Purple Japanese Eggplant, Organic Sweet Corn, Organic Yellow Doll Watermelon, Organic Lettuce, Organic Red Tomatoes, Organic Purple Green Beans on Tuesday, Purple Basil on Thursday, Organic Purslane from Debbie Coblentz on Tuesday only, Organic Garlic Chives from Mewaldt Organics, Green Beans from River Bend Turf Farms on Tuesday only.
Purslane is an excellent source for dietary fiber, highest vegetable source of Omega-3 fatty acids, provides vitamins A, C and some B-complex vitamins, and is more nutritious than spinach. Raw leaves are delicious added to salads and substituted for lettuce on a sandwich. When cooked, the leaves and small stems are typically coarsely chopped and sautéed with garlic or added to soups. It is a wonderful addition to an omelet.Don’t hesitate to add purslane to any good cucumber recipe.
Crookneck squash has a crooked shape and a rich yellow rind. They can be used interchangeably with other types of summer squash in a variety of recipes. The entire squash, including seeds and skin, is edible, and it has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor. Crookneck tends to taste more like winter squash than some other summer varieties, making it a good choice for summer grilling, gratins, and similar dishes. It can also be eaten raw, and can lend a nice texture to salads when grated. As a vegetable, it is high in fiber and vitamin C. The rich flavor makes it a great filler in a wide range of dishes, and it is also great on its own or as a side dish.
Patty pan squash is also a type of summer squash with a distinctive disc-like shape. It is generally no larger than the width of a palm in diameter, with a bright, even color. This squash may be green, white, or yellow. Young squash have rinds which are so tender that they can be eaten along with the rest of the squash, while older squash generally need to be peeled for use.
Green beans come in some lovely colors that you’d never imagine. How about purple? Generally purple green beans are identical in taste and texture to green green beans. But just a note, if you boil them up the color bleeds out and you’re left with green green beans. Once heat is applied to purple green beans they will lose their color. Most chef’s agree the best way to cook them and have them retain their best color is to “butter baste” them. If you want to blanch them, add a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water to help retain their color.
The Garlic Chives are coming in from Mewaldt Organics this week. To make the most of the delicate onion flavor of chives and retain the luscious green color in your recipes, use chives raw. If you must cook them, add them last, just before serving. Chives are essential in the classic seasoning fines herbes, which is a mixture of equal parts chopped tarragon, chervil, parsley, and chives. Do not overlook slender chive spears as a garnish. They are perfect for tying up small bundles of vegetables or puff pastry parcels or dumplings. Or, simply criss-cross small lengths into patterns on deviled eggs or crackers covered with any variety of savory spreads. A simple sprinkling of chopped chives livens up the appearance of a bowl of soup. Chive flowers are a welcome addition to salads and bring a touch of spring as a garnish to any dish. They are distinguishable from regular chives by their flat, broader leaves and fragrant white flowers. Otherwise, they look very similar in appearance. As you would expect by the name, garlic chives have a delicate garlic flavor and are used extensively in oriental dishes. Garlic chives are a good choice for those who shy away from full-flavored garlic, just as regular chives are happily consumed by those who do not care for the strong taste of fresh onions or scallions.
A few fun facts about cucumbers:
Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone! Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma Just finished a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
Country Kitchen Recipes
Gourmet Purple Green Bean Salad with Lemon Butter Sauce
From Addicted to Veggies website
3/4 lb of Purple Green Beans
1/4 cup Garlic Chives – chopped
1/4 cup Purple Bell Pepper – chopped
1/3 cup Parsnip – finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh Dill – minced
Lemon Butter Sauce:
6 Macadamia Nuts
4 tablespoons Canola Oil or any kind of oil that is mild in flavor – just not Olive Oil
3 teaspoons Lemon Juice
1 heaping teaspoon Date Paste
3/4 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
Slice your Green Beans on the bias, showcasing their lovely bright green insides. Add garlic chives, bell pepper, parsnip and dill to your bowl of beans and set them aside. To make the Lemon Butter Sauce, you’ll need two bowls for this recipe. Grate the macadamia nuts into a fine fluffy powder. Place your grated nuts into a bowl and set them aside. In a separate bowl add oil, lemon juice, date paste, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Whisk! It will be a little lumpy. Now add all of your macadamia nuts and 3 tablespoons of water. As you whisk in your grated macadamia fluff and water you will notice it dissolve into the liquid. Add your Lemon Butter Sauce to your bean mixture, and mix it all together! Proceed to warm and/or tenderize your salad by using the methods in the notes following this recipe. Plate it up, garnish with a lemon wedge, sea salt and pepper to taste.
Notes: Oven: Set your oven at it’s very lowest heat, leave the oven door cracked open. Thinly spread your salad contents evenly out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Let them warm (with your oven door cracked open) for about 30 minutes.
Tenderizing: This is fairly important if you’re wanting more of a steamed or blanched texture to your Green Beans without cooking them. After you’ve added your Lemon Butter to your Salad place it in the fridge to marinade for up 3 hours. After your salad has marinated, proceed to warm it as mentioned above. You can cool it back down for a chilled salad.
From Star Chefs website
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into quarter-round slices
1/8 pound purslane, large stems removed, washed and drained well
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
2 cups whole milk yogurt
1/8 cup virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, puréed with the blade of a knife
1 teaspoon ground coriander
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place the cucumber, purslane and herbs into a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the yogurt, olive oil and garlic, coriander and season to taste with salt. Add the yogurt mixture to the vegetables and mix well. Add a pinch of ground black pepper. Serve chilled.
Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad
From Crane Creek Organics website
- 4 ears corn on the cob, husks and silk removed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper (substitute our purple bell pepper)
- 1 pints small tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces lettuce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
- balsamic vinegar, or to taste
Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Rub ears of corn with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper; roast the ears on the preheated grill, turning occasionally, until the kernels are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Place red and yellow bell pepper on the grill and roast until the skins are blistered and lightly charred, turning often, about 15 minutes. Remove corn and bell peppers and let cool. Cut the kernels from the cobs and place into a large bowl. Peel skins from bell peppers, seed, and cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces; mix peppers and corn together. Lightly toss with tomatoes, red onion, and basil. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, mix in the salad greens and drizzle salad with 2 tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Lightly toss with dressing and season to taste.
Tina’s Chunky Sauce
Fresh thyme or oregano
One of our favorite things to do with eggplant is to make a chunky sauce with it. Take a pot and throw in tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, fresh thyme or oregano and basil, and eggplant. Add a little olive oil and salt. Simmer slowly until everything cooks into a nice chunky sauce. Add it to pasta and you have a yummy summer meal.
Pasta with Fresh Tomato–Basil Sauce
9oz. fettuccine pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4cups tomatoes, cut into small chunks
½ teaspoon salt
1cup torn basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 oz. Parmesan cheese (shaved or freshly grated)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. While pasta cooks, heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and salt; cover and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil and pepper. Add tomato mixture to pasta; toss well to combine. Top with cheese.
Watermelon and Sesame Seed Salad
1 pound watermelon, cut into chunks
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and halved
1 3/4 ounces sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 bunch garlic chives, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 dash fish sauce
Combine the watermelon, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, salt, garlic chives, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the raspberry vinegar, white sugar, sesame oil, and fish sauce together in a small bowl; pour over the watermelon salad mixture and gently toss to coat evenly. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour to serve chilled.