What was your least favorite vegetable as a kid? Did you have one you really, really hated? Mine was beans. Lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, snap beans—I hated them all. That my parents made me help plant, weed, water, and harvest the beans in our family’s garden was bad enough, but that they then made me eat them seemed to me to cross the line into cruel and unusual punishment.
Well, tastes change. This week I welcomed the ripening of my favorite variety of snap bean, Blue Lake Pole. This bean thrives on the cool nights of late summer and is so sweet and crispy that I often eschew the steam pot and just munch them raw. As an adult, I have also come to appreciate how easy it is to freeze snap beans—just remove the stem end, drop them into boiling water for three minutes, cool immediately in a bowl of ice water, pat dry and freeze. If I have room in my freezer, I like to freeze them on a cookie sheet first before packing the frozen beans into freezer bags. This keeps the individual beans separate (rather than frozen together in one big block), so that in January when I’m hankering for something green, I can select just the right amount for dinner.
Other vegetables we are harvesting this week include: green and golden zucchini, patty pan squash, cucumbers, sweet peppers, jalapenos, slicing tomatoes, plum tomatoes, basil, and dill. Lima bean and soybean (edamame) harvests aren’t far off! If you’re interested in any of the above, send an email our way.
Many thanks to the CSA customers who shared recipes with us this week. Here are a few:
Cucumber Cup Appetizer
Ingredients: Any number of cucumbers, sliced crosswise into thick rounds; your favorite dip
Scoop out about half of the seeds of each cucumber round, leaving the bottom half. Into this cucumber “cup” place your favorite dip: cream cheese, hummus, chili con carne, tuna, salmon, whatever you like. Top with a sprig of your favorite fresh herb.
Zucchini Fritters (from Nigella Lawson’s “Forever Summer”)
Ingredients: 4 zucchini (approx. 1 ½ pounds); 5-6 scallions, finely chopped; 9 ounces feta cheese; Small bunch fresh parsley, chopped; Small bunch fresh mint, chopped, plus extra to sprinkle over at the end; 1 tablespoon dried mint; 1 teaspoon paprika; Scant 1 cup all purpose flour; Salt and pepper; 3 eggs, beaten; Olive oil for frying; 3-4 limes
Coarsely grate the zucchini with either the grating blade in the food processor or by hand. Spread the little shards out on a tea towel and leave for about 20 minutes to get rid of any excess wetness.
Put the chopped scallions in a bowl and crumble in the feta. Stir in the chopped parsley and mint, along with dried mint and paprika. Add the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Gradually add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly before stirring in the drained, grated zucchini. Don’t be alarmed by the unflowing straggly lumpiness of this batter; it’s meant to be this way.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and drop heaped dessertspoons of the mixture into the hot oil, flattening the little cakes down with the back of the spoon as you go. Cook these little patties for about 2 minutes each side until golden, and then transfer to a couple of waiting plates.
Chop up the limes and tumble them about the edges of the plates. Sprinkle over a little more chopped mint and eat them just as they are, spritzed with lime juice as you go.
Makes about 25
Pretty-in-the-Pan Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
(This recipe can be found online at: http://ohsheglows.com/2010/07/20/pretty-in-the-pan-stuffed-patty-pan-squash/)
Ingredients: 10-11 Patty Pan Squash; 1 zucchini (sliced in half with one half scooped out); 1 large carrot; 1 large green onion stalk (or 1/2 sm. sweet onion will work); 1 cup short grain brown rice; 2 cups (or a bit more if necessary) vegetable bouillon; 1-2 garlic cloves, poked with a fork; 3 Tbsp (approx) tomato paste; 1.5 Tbsp butter; Pinch or two of sea salt; Freshly Ground black pepper; Dried or fresh parsley, to garnish; Freshly ground black pepper, to garnish
1) Take a medium sized pot and bring 2 cups of vegetable bouillon + sea salt + poked garlic cloves to a boil on high. Add 1 cup short grain brown rice and stir well, checking often. Add more bouillon if it gets too dry. After about 10 minutes reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 20-25 more minutes over medium heat. Check it often as it can burn easily.
2) While the rice is cooking, take a large pot and fill it with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place patty pan squash in the pot and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and allow to cool.
3) While the above is cooking, prepare the stuffing. Take the carrot, 1/2 a zucchini (plus insides from other half), and green onion and process in a food processor until fine.
4) In a small bowl, mix the sauce for the rice. Take the butter in a small bowl and heat until soft. Now mix in the tomato paste until smooth.
5) When the rice is done cooking remove garlic cloves, add the tomato paste + butter mixture, and stir very well. Taste. Add salt and black pepper if necessary.
6) Take your cooled squash and chop off the heads and remove the insides carefully with a spoon. Take the flesh that you remove and add it to the processed mixture of carrots, onion, and zucchini.
7) Take the processed mixture (carrots, zucchini, onion + squash insides) and dump it into the rice pot. Stir well and taste for any adjustments you need to make.
Stuff the Patty Pan squash with your rice + veggie mixture. Take any remaining leftover rice mixture and scoop it onto the pan around the squash. Bake in the oven at 375 F for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, serve and enjoy!
Serves about 3.