In the share this week:
1 lb red slicer tomatoes
1 lb heritage tomatoes
1 bunch carrots
1 head celery
1 lb roma beans
3-4 sweet onions
1 bunch basil (sweet or lemon)
Thoughts from Farmer Anna:
We are full into the summer crops on the farm now. I'm excited to be sending out some really beautiful tomatoes in your shares this week. You will each get 2 lbs of tomatoes, a mix of red slicers and heritage tomatoes. The heritage tomatoes that we grow are bred from heirloom tomatoes, so that their flavors are complex and their coloring is unusual and beautiful. Crossing the heirloom varieties results in a plant that is a bit more disease resistant, which enables us to grow these beauties longer into the season. We are growing four different red slicing tomatoes, a couple of which are heritage, one is an heirloom, and another is a determinate tomato that is slightly more firm (good for sandwiches) and with excellent flavor. There is also a pink-ish tomato that gets mixed in with the reds. It has slightly less acid and I really like it. We have some orange slicing tomatoes available as well for swapping or adding and these have less acid than the red varieties.
If you want your tomatoes to have optimal flavor, don't refrigerate them, just let them sit of your counter or table (if you can wait that long to eat them). We had some killer BLTs this weekend with lettuce and tomato from the farm. You could also make a really simple caprese salad with your tomatoes, basil (also new this week!), and fresh mozzarella.
The roma beans are another new item this week. I love these flat italian-style beans. They have great flavor, they are relatively easy to pick, and easy to prepare since they are larger than a round green bean. They can be used in any of your green bean recipes. We often just boil them and add butter and salt for the kids. Roasted green beans are also quite tasty. The chicken skillet recipe Maria has for us includes beans and it sounds really good.
The last new item for the week is celery. We grow a smaller, very flavorful variety of celery than you find in the grocery store. It is especially good in soups, so I was excited to see the soup recipe that Maria has included for this week. You may need to add more stalks than the recipe calls for since they are smaller than standard celery. But, they are more flavorful too, so maybe you make the call :)
It's pretty hot and dry here the past week. We are keeping everything going by irrigating almost constantly, but we really need a good rain. It looks like Thursday may be our best chance this week. Fingers crossed!
Recipes from Maria:
Lemon and Leafy Green Orzo Soup
2 – 3 tablespoons of a good Olive Oil (or oil of your choice)
2 medium Carrots (sliced)
1 medium Yellow Onion (diced)
1 – 2 stalks of Celery (finely chopped)
2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
1 pinch of Red Chili Flakes (optional)
5 – 6 cups of Vegetable Broth (or water)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of Orzo Pasta
1 cup of Half and Half Milk (Can be substituted with a heavy non-dairy milk such as coconut milk to make this soup vegan)
1 – 2 small Lemons (zest 1 Lemon – and you’ll use the juice of this one in the soup)
(And very thinly slice the other for a garnish.)
2 – 3 cups of Spinach, Kale, Chard or other leafy green (lightly packed, hard stems removed, and roughly chopped)
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
A “good” freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/4 cup)
Finely Chopped Herbs such as: Parsley or Basil
In a large pot, heat olive oil on a low – medium heat, add in carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and red chili flakes. Sauté for 5 – 10 minutes or until onions become translucent. Pour in vegetable broth and turn heat up just a bit and bring soup to a boil. Then add in your Orzo and let that boil for about 8 – 10 minutes until pasta is almost done cooking. Then bring heat back down to a low simmer, and stir in half and half, greens, lemon zest, and the juice from one lemon (no seeds). Taste and add in salt and pepper to your liking. Allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so. Plate up your bowls and garnish with a thin slice or two of lemon (seeds removed) and/or any other toppings that you’d like.
**If you want to add in Parmesan Cheese, I would suggest adding that in a few minutes before you add in your spinach, so that it has time to melt. If not, it will cling to your spinach. Or you can just sprinkle a little on top of each dish as you serve them.**
**The pasta will absorb a lot of your liquid so, if it gets too thick, then add a little more water in to thin it out a bit.**
Tuscan Chicken Skillet
1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Chopped fresh basil
1 (14.5 oz) can Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
6 large fresh tomatoes, diced
½ lb green beans, cut into 1-inch sections
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chicken and brown for 3 minutes on each side.
Remove chicken and set aside on a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the sliced mushrooms in a single layer and brown, working in batches, a few minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and sundried tomatoes. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the oregano, thyme, basil, both kinds of beans, diced tomatoes, and sugar.
Transfer the chicken back to the pan and spoon some of the sauce and vegetables over top of the chicken. Cook, covered, on the stove top until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling, about ten minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot, with parmesan cheese.