Our CSA newsletter from August 10. Sorry I’m posting it so late!
Dear CSA members,
The weather is teasing us with humidity today, but all of the moisture seems to be staying in the air rather than falling on the soil where we need it. We’ve been wrangling hoses and sprinklers in the smaller gardens during the past couple of days and it looks like we’ll need to get the irrigation system up and running later today as well. Most of the plants are showing signs of needing water. We try to keep the soil covered with various kinds of mulch in order to prevent evaporation, but in this kind of weather and with the plants drawing lots of water as they set fruits, the ground dries out pretty fast even so.
Most crops are doing moderately well, I’d say. We’ve got the usual suspects plaguing us—cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, vine borers—but so far they’ve not done enough damage to cause too much concern. Speaking of cabbage worms, we’ve given you the last of the broccoli in your shares today. I do try to make sure there aren’t cabbage worms hiding in those broccoli heads, but they are so good at camouflaging themselves that they are easy to miss. My apologies if you’ve found any or find any this week!
The worst news, disease-wise, is that downy mildew has moved into the cucumber patch. It’s not a surprise—I’ve been getting bulletins from Michigan State University for the past several weeks cautioning non-organic cucumber growers to amp-up their fungicide spray schedules because of a prediction that downy mildew would be especially bad this year. In my experience, healthy cucumbers which contract downy mildew can sometime produce fruit for several weeks after the disease starts, so this isn’t necessarily the end of cucumbers for the season. Still, it does look like a pretty bad case. I just hope the melons can resist it for a few more weeks until their fruits start to ripen.
Our carrots aren’t quite as beautiful as they were last year, but they are still tasty. From Asparagus to Zucchini has a simple cooked carrot recipe that I like a lot:
Honey Glazed Carrots with Fresh Mint
Ingredients: 1 lb carrots, 2 Tbsp butter, 1 ½ Tbsp honey, salt and pepper, 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
Cut carrots into evenly sized pieces. Combine carrots, butter, honey and ½ cup water in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender and the liquid is reduced to a glaze. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle on mint, toss well, and serve.
As I was cleaning up the carrots yesterday, I happened to catch a segment on the radio show The Splendid Table on NPR about toum, a fluffy garlic paste that you can store in your refrigerator and use as a condiment. Here’s the recipe from The Splendid Table’s website (http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/garlic-paste-toum). This calls for a lot of garlic and makes a big batch; I imagine you could cut it down for smaller quantities:
Ingredients: Scant 2 cups peeled garlic cloves; 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; 3 cups soybean or canola oil, or more as needed; 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons); 1/3 cup water
Combine the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor. Puree until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl as needed. With the motor running (for the next 4 steps), gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the oil in the thinnest possible stream; do not rush the process or the mixture will separate. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Gradually add 1/2 cup more of the oil in the same manner; the mixture should begin to set up a bit, with the consistency of creamy cooked grits. Gradually add the lemon juice. The mixture will become lighter and whiter. Add 1/2 cup more of the oil in the same gradual fashion as before, then slowly add the water. The mixture will loosen but should not be runny.
Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of oil. The resulting garlic paste should be creamy white and fluffy, like beaten egg whites. If not, keep the motor running and add more oil to achieve the right color and consistency. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; seal and refrigerate for a few hours before using. The garlic paste can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
I’ll bet that toum would be really good on cooked carrots too!
John and I have been enjoying last week’s broccoli and potatoes in soup this week. If you like curry, this soup from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book has a bit of spice in it.
Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup
Ingredients: 1 Tb butter; 1 large onion (chopped); 2 cloves garlic (chopped); 3/4 tsp curry powder or more to taste; freshly ground pepper; 1 2/3 cups broth; 1 cup water; 1 bunch broccoli (1 pound) cut into flowerets, stems cut in slices; 1 large potato, peeled and cubed; 1 cup milk
In a large saucepan melt butter and sauté onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add curry, pepper, broth, and water to pan and bring the soup to a boil. Add broccoli and potato. When the mixture returns to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender (but not overcooked). Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. (Or don’t, if you like chunky soup.) Return soup to pan and add milk and cook over low heat until hot (but don’t boil.)
Or, for a more traditional broccoli soup, use last week’s recipe for potato kale soup and put broccoli in it instead of the kale. A little cheese and you’ve got cheesy broccoli soup!
Enjoy your week! Amy & John