Whoops, I got so busy with Orientation Week at K College that I forgot to post this last week. Here’s our newsletter from Sept. 7:
Dear CSA members,
Whew, we got summer back this week, didn’t we? This transition week when I’m away at school for most of the week for First Year Orientation is always a tough one for us. But we’ll survive (I think) and if John manages to get everything picked and put together before distribution time, we should have some nice veggies for you!
This time of year certain diseases tend to start showing up in the squashes and tomatoes and this year is no exception. This year seems to be an especially bad one for tomato diseases for us, possibly because of the location of the tomato patch in our new garden across the driveway, which doesn’t get quite as much airflow as the gardens on the hills. In any case, late blight has found the tomatoes and some of them are dying back pretty quickly. We’ve got some good ones for you today and I imagine that we’ll have them again next week, but that might be it for tomatoes for this year.
One crop that is loving the new garden is the Fortex snap beans. They are a vigorous pole bean and I especially like them because they stay tender even when they get large. They usually do really well for us but this year they are going crazy, climbing off the top of their trellis and winding around each other and all over the place. Here’s a recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini that uses both tomatoes and green beans. I like a little parmesan grated over the top at the very end.
Prizewinner Green Beans with Tomatoes and Herbs
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes; 1/2 cup sliced onions; 2 tsp dried oregano; ½ tsp dried ground thyme; 1 pound green beans, ends clipped, cut in half; 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves torn off the stem; 2 medium tomatoes cut into wedges (or use cherry tomatoes, halved); Salt to taste or 2 Tbsp salted butter
Heat olive oil in deep pan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant. Add onions and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, the oregano and thyme, and green beans. Stir, cover, and steam-cook beans until nearly done, 10 or so minutes. Stir in rosemary and tomatoes. Cook briefly, until tomatoes are warmed through. Season with salt or melted butter. Serves 4.
We had a bunch of split tomatoes and zucchinis languishing in the refrigerator, so this week John cooked them down into a pasta sauce that we put in the freezer. It was really good!
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Ingredients: Tomatoes, Zucchini, Eggplants, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Olive oil. Salt, pepper, & herbs to taste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. You can make this with any amount of vegetables, but you’ll probably want twice as many tomatoes as other vegetables. Brush one or two baking pans with oil. Core and slice tomatoes in half. Lay cut side up on baking pan. Cut ends of other vegetables and remove seeds if necessary. Cut into large chunks and place on pan. Lightly brush the tops of all of the vegetables with oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste, then put in oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from oven. Drain excess liquid into a bowl & save (you want the vegetables to bake, not stew). Flip vegetables over, then return to oven for another 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and again drain any liquid from pan. Allow vegetables to cool. Remove tomato skins if you want to (you don’t have to if you have a powerful food processor). Blend all of the vegetables together in your food processor or blender, adding as much of the drained liquid to the sauce to reach your desired consistency. Add herbs and spices to your liking. You can use this fresh or freeze it for winter use.
Or you could put it into this recipe, which lends itself really well to variation. I’ve used couscous instead of quinoa, different herbs, home-canned tomatoes instead of marinara, and more cheese than is really necessary:
Ingredients: 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into twelve ¼ inch thick slices; 1 tsp dried oregano; 1 tsp salt; ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped; 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth; ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped; 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained; 2 TBS cream cheese, optional; ½ cup tomato sauce; 1 25oz jar marinara sauce; ¼ cup finely chopped onion; ½ cup shredded cheese (I use more than this!)
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. (Sprinkle a little extra cheese in here if you like.) Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quinoa, and 1/3 cup marinara. (Again with the cheese if you’re a cheese lover.) Top with remaining 4 zucchini slices, remaining marinara and cheese. Bake lasagna 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and top is bubbly.
The pears in your shares are green (obviously) and not quite ripe. If they were fully ripe, they’d be mush by the time you got them home! Set them out on your table or counter and they will ripen up. Once they turn yellow and start to soften, eat them right away or put them in the refrigerator, since they won’t last long after that.
Amy & John
Honeybee working the goldenrod: