Every year it happens. One night in late August or early September, I wake up shivering under my summer sheet, the night wind flowing through my open window suddenly changed from refreshingly cool to downright cold. In this season, my mind, so recently obsessed with plants and pests, harvests and markets, returns to the soil.
As every farmer or gardener knows, each growing season doesn’t start in spring, but during the previous fall, as we begin to replenish the nutrients our summer crops have drawn from the soil. But even as we plant our cover crop of winter rye, begin to lay our winter mulch, and attend to our compost pile, the harvest continues. Tomatoes and snap beans continue to ripen, along with eggplant, zucchini, jalapeno and cayenne peppers. Sweet bell peppers are finally blushing red and yellow and spaghetti squash glow golden between their vines. This week we’ll resume harvesting greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and salad mix and it won’t be long before we’re picking winter squash and digging sweet potatoes as well.
Thanks to CSA member Crystal Boddy for the following suggestions for what to do with some of this produce!
Zucchini-Quinoa Lasagna (This is really good! Crystal gave me a sample.)
Ingredients: 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into twelve ¼ inch thick slices; 1 tsp salt; 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth; 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained; ½ cup tomato sauce; ¼ cup finely chopped onion; 1 tsp dried oregano; ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped; ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped; 2 TBS cream cheese, optional; 1 25oz jar marinara sauce; ½ cup shredded cheese; extra cheese for between the layers, optional
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place zucchini slices on bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels, and let stand to release moisture while preparing quinoa.
Bring broth, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion and oregano to boil in saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, parsley, and cream cheese (if using).
Spoon 1/3 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini slices, and lay 4 zucchini slices over marinara sauce in pan. Spoon half of quinoa over zucchini, and cover with 1/3 cup marinara. Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quinoa, and 1/3 cup marinara. Top with remaining 4 zucchini slices, remaining marinara and cheese. Bake lasagna 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and top is bubbly.
Optional: If you are a cheese lover, you can sprinkle some extra shredded cheese between the layers of zucchini, quinoa, and marinara.
(Adapted from The Mom Blogger: Sarah Matheny – peasandthankyou.com)
Black Bean and Edamame Sliders
Ingredients: 1 cup shelled edamame; 1 clove garlic; 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained; 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced; ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro; ¾ cup plus 1 TBS barbecue sauce, divided; 1 ½ tsp ground cumin; ¼ tsp salt; 1 tsp olive oil; 12 small whole-wheat dinner rolls, split like buns; 4 oz reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 12 slices
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add edamame, and cook 10 minutes. Drain.
Process garlic in food processor until minced. Add edamame, black beans, chipotle chile, cilantro, 1 TBS barbecue sauce, cumin, and salt. Process until mixture forms coarse paste.
Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add edamame mixture, and heat until hot, stirring occasionally.
Spoon 1 TBS barbecue sauce onto each bottom bun. Top with bean mixture, cheese, and top buns.
Crystal also adds her technique for removing the white membrane from shelled edamame: she swishes the shelled beans in water to loosen the membrane, then skims the floating bits off the top of the water with a spoon or other utensil.
If you don’t have time to shell the edamame and make sliders, you can simply steam the pods whole for 2-3 minutes, salt lightly, then use your fingers and teeth to squeeze the beans out of the pods directly into your mouth. This makes a nutritious snack or side dish which is also really fun to eat.
And finally, as promised, here’s Diane’s Buckwheat/Banana/Zucchini Bread recipe. I hope she makes some more soon!
Zucchini-Banana Bread with Buckwheat
Makes one large loaf.
Ingredients: 1 cup wheat flour; 1 cup buckwheat flour; 1 cup sugar; ¼ tsp salt; 1 tsp baking soda; 2 eggs; ½ cup melted butter (cooled); 3 Tbsp buttermilk (or mix 3 Tbsp milk + 1 tsp vinegar, let stand for 5 minutes); 3 mashed bananas; 1 cup grated zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
Combine bananas, zucchini, butter, buttermilk, and slightly beaten eggs. Add to dry ingredients and mix.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Especially good eaten warm with a little honey!