Our newsletter from July 13. I got so busy preparing to go on vacation that I forgot to post it before we left!
Dear CSA members,
This is one harvest morning that I was very happy to get a little wet! The lovely light rain we’re getting right now is just what all of the plants need and if it continues, it’s going to save us significant time and energy in watering. I’m glad we’ve got a little thunder and lightning going on too. Fun fact: you know how everything greens up after a thunderstorm? That’s because (as I understand it) the electrical charge of the lightning converts nitrogen in the air into a form that plants can use and then the rain carries it down to earth. So our plants are getting fertilized and watered at the same time. Pretty cool, huh?
Crop update: corn is looking better; most of the winter squashes are coming around; zucchinis are being recalcitrant. I really don’t know what’s the matter with our second planting of zucchinis—the soil is a little heavy where we put them, but they still ought to be growing faster than they are. I’m going to start a third round of them in pots today and stick them in one of the beds where we just turned under our first planting of salad mix. They should like that. One way or another, we’re going to get you some zucchinis before the season is over, dang it!
As mentioned in my email this morning, we will not be having a distribution next week because we are going on vacation! Whoo-hoo! We love being able to be outdoors all summer and immersing ourselves in the work of the growing season, but I have very much missed being able to take a summer camping trip these past five years. When we were talking last winter about whether to go ahead with another year of the CSA, we decided that if we did so, it would be important for our mental health to try to make time for a camping trip sometime during the season. But even though we wrote a week’s break into the membership agreement for this year, we weren’t really sure we could pull it off since there is usually something in the gardens that is in urgent need of harvesting each week. It looks like everything that’s currently out there is going to keep for another couple of weeks, though, so we’re going to grab this opportunity for a little fun before the summer vegetables start coming on.
Here are a couple of recipes that call for both the beets and broccoli in your shares today. I haven’t tried either of them yet, but they sound simple and good. If you try them, let me know how they turn out!
Roasted Beets & Broccoli (from: http://fromaliceskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/01/roasted-beets-and-broccoli.html)
Ingredients: 1 small head of broccoli; 3 medium beets, scrubbed; Olive oil; Kosher salt, to taste; Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450 F. Separate broccoli into florets, cutting larger florets into smaller pieces, so that they will cook evenly. Cut beets into thin wedges or very small cubes. (You might wish to wear plastic gloves to protect your hands from the red juices.) Place vegetables on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until coated. Spread the vegetables out on the sheet pan so that they are not crowded (otherwise they will just steam.) Roast for 30 minutes or so, until the broccoli and beets are fork tender.
*If you wish, sprinkle the veggies with a bit of goat cheese, feta cheese or blue cheese.
Beet, Broccoli & Toasted Seed Salad w/Lemon Dressing (from: http://www.lovebeets.com/recipes/beet-broccoli-toasted-seed-salad-w-lemon-dressing/)
Salad Ingredients: Broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces; Mixed seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin, sesame); 1 tbsp soy sauce; Cooked beets, cut into wedges; Small bunch fresh chives, snipped
Dressing Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil; Juice 1/2-1 lemon, to taste; Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Set aside. Steam or boil the broccoli for 3-4 minutes until just tender but with a little bit. While the broccoli is cooking, toast the seeds by tipping them into a small frying pan. Add soy sauce and cook over medium heat, tossing regularly to coat all over, for about 3 minutes until the seeds are crisp and golden. Take care not to burn them or they will taste bitter. Arrange the cooked broccoli and beet wedges on your prettiest plate, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle the toasted seeds. Serve immediately.
Also, for more ideas about what to do with beets than you ever thought possible, check out http://www.lovebeets.com/recipes/. Beet berry popsicles? Beet margaritas? Beet burgers? Beet soup with cumin and cashew cream? Or, for dessert, beet truffles? They’ve got recipes for all of these and more.
Speaking of dessert, beets are great in cake and brownies. Here’s a beet brownie recipe from http://www.earlymorningfarm.com/chocolate-beet-brownies/:
Chocolate Beet Brownies
Ingredients: 2-3 medium size cooked and pureed beets, to equal 1 cup; ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted; 1 cup sugar; 1 tsp. vanilla extract; 2 large eggs; ½ cup flour; 1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder; 2 tablespoons strong black coffee (optional); ½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F Grease an 8 x 8″ pan. Set aside. Combine butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, coffee, and beets. Whisk flour and cocoa powder. Fold in beet mixture, add chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.
We’ve given you lots of green onions (also called scallions) today. Used bread bags are great for storing scallions in your fridge—rinse the roots in water, then stick the root end into the bag to keep the roots moist and the scallions fresh. We like them in omelets, sprinkled on salads and soups, and in fried rice or stir-fries.
I’ve never had them, but here’s a recipe for a Chinese flatbread pancake that is made with scallions that sounds good: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-scallion-pancakes-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-107405.
Have a great TWO weeks! -Amy & John
P.S. from July 24: We had a GREAT trip North! Here’s a rare photo of John relaxing in the wilderness: