Our newsletter from August 23:
Dear CSA members,
First, I apologize for not getting a share reminder email out to you this morning. I tried several times, but for some reason, I kept getting ‘failure to send’ notices. I’m not sure why, but I’ll try to figure it out before next week.
I hope you all do remember to get your produce, because we’ve got some lovely vegetables for you! We sent melons into Kalamazoo for the pre-boxed shares last week and this week those of you picking up on the farm will get yours. Melons are such a touchy crop, with about a day (if that) between being unripe and over-ripe. We’ve been picking them every day this week and keeping them in the cooler for you. I hope yours are as good as the ones we’ve tried!
Cucumbers and zucchinis are nearing their ends and eggplants slowed way down this week too. But tomatoes are on in full force. John has been busy making cracked tomatoes into juice and sauce. Here’s his recipe for tomato sauce, which can be modified to include other vegetables like zucchinis and eggplants if you have some of those you need to use up from weeks past.
John’s Roasted Tomato Sauce
Ingredients: Tomatoes, Olive Oil
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Core and then halve tomatoes. Lay them with cut side up on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the tomato. Take tray out of the oven and pour off liquid. Reserve the liquid. Flip tomatoes over and bake for another 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then run tomatoes through the food processor, adding reserved liquid to make the sauce whatever consistency you desire.
After you’ve made the basic sauce, you can add to it whatever herbs and spices you’d like. If you’ve got extra zucchinis, eggplants, or peppers languishing in your refrigerator, you can roast them up in the same way as the tomatoes (brush their tops with a little olive oil when you stick them in the oven) and then blend them up with the tomatoes to make a roasted veggie sauce with lots of flavor. You can use it fresh or freeze it for winter use. It also makes a great base for enchilada sauce if you add some garlic, chili powder, and cumin.
We struggle to grow good onions and other members of the onion family, since the onion maggot flies so often get the best of them. Red Marble Cipollinis seem to be one type of onion that isn’t so attractive to the flies and we actually managed to get a bit of a harvest off of them this year. They are a small, firm onion that is nice sliced thinly into salads. But I like them best caramelized or roasted, which brings out their sweetness.
This recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce is what I am planning to do with my cippollinis and beans this week!
Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
Ingredients: 1 lbs snap beans; 1 Tbsp butter; 1 medium onion (maybe 2 cippollinis), thinly sliced; ½ cup stock; ¾ Tbsp sugar; ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar; salt & pepper to taste.
Cook beans (boil in salt water or steam) until crisp-tender. Drain, then immerse in ice water. Drain again and let stand to dry. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, cook slowly until just caramelized. Boil stock until reduced by 75%; stir in sugar and vinegar. Stir in onions. Simmer until slightly reduced. Combine onions and beans; heat through. Season to taste.
The peach jam in your shares was made by our mom, Carolyn Buskirk, with peaches from our orchard. Because the peach trees are old and we don’t have the time and equipment to adequately control the fungal diseases that peaches are so prone to in Michigan, the peaches have an even smaller “ripe but not rotten” window than the melons! Because of this, we aren’t selling or putting fresh peaches in your shares—they would start to mush by the time you got them home. Instead, mom picked a bunch of them and immediately processed them into jam for you. Isn’t she nice?
My go-to green for fresh salad this time of year is kale. A month or so ago a visiting friend told me about a trend of “massaged” kale salads, where people are rubbing dressing into the kale one leaf at a time. I suppose if you want to get really intimate with your salad before you eat it, you could do that, but here’s a faster version for massaging your kale:
Massaged Kale Salad
Ingredients: 1 bunch of kale leaves, removed from stems & torn into bite-sized bits; 1 Tbsp olive oil; 1 Tbsp lemon juice or your favorite vinegar; ½ tsp salt.
Place kale in a bowl, toss with the oil and salt. Massage the kale with your hands, roughing it up a bit in order to break down some of the tougher plant fibers. Toss in the lemon juice or vinegar. You can let the kale sit for an hour in the fridge to soften even more or top with your favorite salad toppings and eat right away.
Enjoy! Amy & John