Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall Share Week 1

Welcome to the first week of the Fall share! We’re very excited to bring you greens and root vegetables, as well as the end of the summer veggies. Okra, basil and peppers will be petering out soon, so enjoy them while you can. We’re sorry to say that the tomatoes are done. The last two years we’ve had them later into the fall, at least into October, but this was a very bad tomato season. A combination of wet weather and cool temperatures meant they never really had a chance. We’re lucky we got as many as we did.
As an added freakish-weather bonus, we haven’t had decent rain for about a month now, which means the moisture and coolness that would favor the greens has abandoned us. We’re irrigating when needed, but if the remnants of a hurricane happened to skirt by the Shenandoah Valley, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. We’re lamenting the lack of a decent summer this year, and hoping for better weather next year.

This Week (*full share only):

Carmen sweet peppers
*Bell Peppers
*Hungarian Hot Wax peppers
*Spaghetti Squash

What to do with it:

For those of you new to the CSA, this recipe bears repeating: Todd makes excellent potato fries by slicing potatoes into fry-size pieces (no peeling) and parboiling them for two to three minutes. Then he brushes them with olive oil and adds a little Old Bay spice and bakes them for thirty minutes at 375. He says if they’re not crispy at that point, he puts them under the broiler for a minute or two. But they’re easy to over-crisp, so be careful. The potatoes this week are a russet variety, so you can bake them, or even grill them, for delicious results.
People need more guidance with okra than anything else. You can steam it whole for 4-6 minutes and spritz it with a little lemon juice. You can fry it sliced, dusted with cornmeal (okra’s natural gooiness makes the cornmeal stick), in olive oil in a hot skillet. You can also make the stir-fry mélange that we frequently enjoy: sautéed onions, garlic, peppers, sliced okra, and whatever else you have handy (tomatoes, mushrooms, etc) and serve it over rice, quinoa or grits. We like to throw in an herb, like basil or parsley, when we have it. You can throw on some soy sauce or hot sauce, too.
The spaghetti squash is kind of a weirdo, but we promise you will love it. The easiest way to cook it is to slice it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, brush the cut side with olive oil, and place it cut-side-down on a baking dish. You can add a tiny bit of water to the dish if you want. Bake it at 350 until easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes (but the size of the squash varies – you can start checking with a fork at 20 minutes if you’re not sure). Once cooked, you scoop out the spaghetti-like strands and add some butter, salt and grated cheese (we like parmesan), or whatever else you want. You can actually treat it like spaghetti and add tomato sauce. It’s bland tasting like pasta, but with a more vegetable-like texture.
The radishes are mild enough to eat raw, as in salad, or you can stir-fry them. They’re small right now, but their taste is milder than it will be when they get larger. These red and white radishes are called French breakfast radishes. The classic red ones will be in a little later. Enjoy!