I'm feeling thankful for the rain here lately. It's been just a tad wetter than ideal, but even though we got an inch and a half of rain on Saturday we were able to do quite a lot of be prep work today - 14 beds worth! I seeded two of the beds into rutabaga, salad turnips and radishes, and the other beds will soon be transplanted and seeded into fall crops. We have so many transplants in the greenhouse that will be going out into the field over the next few weeks. Kale, napa cabbage, purple cabbage, kohlrabi, chard, green onions, beets, fennel, lettuce, and radicchio. We'll also be direct seeding quick greens like arugula and baby kale and herbs like cilantro and dill. These crops will start to make up parts of your shares in September and continuing on to the end of the season in mid-November. While we've been doing little bits of bed prep in the past 6 weeks or so (for weekly lettuces, more beans and zucchini), it feels great to turn over so much of the farm to fresh crops. This time of year many things are dying back, getting overpowered by insect or fungal pressure. You can feel the shift toward fall at the beginning of August. We'll still have plenty of hot weather in the next month or two, but the light is shifting, the noise of the insects in the evening reminds me of cooler nights when we'd open windows to sleep in the weeks leading up to the start of school.
You're in for a very classic summery share this week. Double tomatoes, the first of the wonderful sweet peppers, roma (or romano) beans, garlic, basil and lettuce. I don't think you'll have any trouble using this share. If you aren't familiar with the roma beans, they are a long flat pod green bean originally from Italy. I really love the flavor of these beans and I also love that they are easier to pick and prepare because they are a bit larger than standard green beans. Maria's recipe for toasted garlic romano beans sounds absolutely wonderful! There seems to be a bit of an italian theme for the share this week as the long sweet frying peppers also hail from Italy. I really love sweet peppers. We eat them raw with hummus, saute them with onions, add them to soups and sauces, thinly slice them for pizza topping, etc, etc. So tasty! We grew these red italian peppers last year and I decided to add an orange sister variety to the mix this year. The orange variety is not producing quite as much yet, so some of you will receive two red peppers and some will receive one of each. We also have some sweet red and yellow bell peppers that are turning, so some of you might get those this week.
I am looking forward to a bit of a break next week so we can recharge for the second half of our CSA season. The nice part is that we've already done much more than half of the work for the season. Once we get past mid-September we will mostly be harvesting and cleaning up for the season - very little planting and weeding to be done at that point :) I hope you all are doing well and have a great couple of weeks!
Recipes from Maria:
Toasted Garlic Romano Beans
1 pound Romano beans
1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt crushed
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Wash beans and tomatoes.
Pre- heat oven to 350° F.
Toss grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and a whole clove of garlic.
Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes, remove and set aside.
While tomatoes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil and toss in green beans. Cook for about 2-4 minutes then take beans out and submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
In a large skillet put 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic till toasted a bit.
Toss in green beans and tomatoes, rosemary, parsley,and oregano.
Mix lightly but evenly coating all the vegetables about 2 minutes.
Finish with a dash of cracked coarse sea salt and black pepper.
And a finishing touch, drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
1 large eggplant (aubergine)
1 large zucchini
1 bell pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup red wine or vegetable broth
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar or any other sweetener
3/4 tsp sea salt (or less/more to taste)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you don't like it too spicy)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh thyme chopped roughly (to taste)
Black pepper to taste
Chop all veggies (eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper) into 1-inch (3 cm) pieces. Finely chop onion and garlic.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add onion and sauté for about 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add garlic and eggplant and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the red wine and all spices. Let simmer on low-medium heat for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add all remaining ingredients (except tomato paste and balsamic vinegar) and cook for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft (but not mushy). If you prefer more sauce, add more red wine or broth.
Finally, add the tomato paste (you can add more than 1 tbsp if you want a thicker sauce) and the balsamic vinegar.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy! This easy Ratatouille recipe can be served with bread or rice.