Well here we are at the half way point. The summer vegetables will start to be replaced be cooler weather crops as we move into the fall. Our last pick up will be the first Tuesday in November so you'll really get a full taste of the range of vegetables that can be grown here in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
The bad news is we're out of tomatoes. Just kidding! In fact the opposite is true. If you like tomatoes this is your week. We have lots of them and a really large portion of this week's membership will include them. If you don't like tomatoes give them another try. I have recipes below. Also see last week's email update for lots of yummy tomato recipes. Or, make a new friend out of a neighbor.
The cherry tomatoes are driving us crazy. We planted too many and can't keep them picked. We planted several heirloom varieties that taste excellent (as you will see) and at least one variety that we have stopped picking because it is ridiculously small and actually doesn't taste all that good. We're asking the insects to eat that particular variety please.
So the reason for me telling you just how many cherry tomatoes are resting on our vines is to invite you to come and pick! It might be just a tad boring after a while but it's not especially hard work and we don't stop anyone from trying to leave after they've had enough. Plus we'll send you home with more of these really yummy cherry tomatoes.
Also we are having a problem with powdery mildew on the basil so we're not including any this week. We do have some out at the farm though so if you want to come out you can probably pick enough for your family for a week in about 10 minutes. Just another reason to come out and visit us.
School's in session. I know this because I live three doors down from an elementary school. The kids pick tomatoes out of my yard on there way to and from school but that actually one of the reasons I plant them there. And this year they'll have to look closely because the morning glories are doing such a good job of hiding, well, everything in my front yard. I'm guessing the next week or two might be a bit of an adjustment as those of you with children get back in the swing of the school schedule. Please call me if you have any last minutes problems in picking up your food. aaron 704/305.6654
This week you will be getting sweet peppers. Some are green, others red and some are brown. The brown ones aren't bad. They are a variety called 'Sweet Chocolate' and they live up to their name. Many of the brown peppers and some of the red one tend to get soft and wrinkly because we have to leave them on the vine for so long to get them to change colour. This doesn't mean they are bad. In fact they are likely to be even sweeter. I'm telling you this because most of us are used to seeing peppers in the grocery store that were picked before they were ripe and are stiff. Do not be afraid of the slightly wrinkled peppers. Let your tongue make final judgment.
I wanted to mention again that we will be having fruit this fall. Some of it will not be certified organic but none of it will have been treated with anything that would not qualify as a certified organic treatment. In fact I don't think any of it will have been sprayed with anything. at all Does anyone like apples?
Tomatoes! (lots of 'em)
Peppers (some green, red or brown)
Zucchini (just a little)
Squash (just a little)
Cucumbers (just a little)
See everyone later today.
This came in from Karen last week:
Our other favorite way to use the squash---thinly slice and layer in a casserole dish with spaghetti sauce, top with Parmesan and, if you want, Italian bread crumbs, then bake for about an hour at 350. I have used all three kinds of squash this way (either separately or mixed) and my 9 year old loves it. We've also made several gallons of vegetable soup with the green beans, squash, garlic, canned diced tomatoes, broth, onion and whatever else came to hand (beans, carrots, etc) . I cook it overnight in the crock pot on low then we put it up in the freezer for the winter.
The patty pan make great stuffed squash, as do the zucchini (didn't try it with the summer squash). I sliced the top off the squash and hollowed it out, leaving a shell (in the case of the zucchini sliced it in half and scooped out enough from each half to leave a "boat" for stuffing). I then diced up the extra flesh and mixed it in with ½ pound of Chad's mild breakfast sausage, some Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, spinach (frozen – squeezed and blotted to get rid of the extra water), garlic powder, minced onion, an egg, black pepper, salt, savory and thyme – and mounded it in the squash shells, baking them at 350 for an hour. Another variation on this was to cut the whole squash up (so don't need the patty pan), fry up the sausage then mix the sausage and chopped squash with all the ingredients listed above except for breadcrumbs. Instead mix it in with cooked brown rice, spread in a casserole and bake for an hour at 350.
* 8 cups peeled, chopped zucchini
* 2/3 cup lemon juice
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg * 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1 1/2 cups butter, chilled * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon DIRECTIONS
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 10x15 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine flour and 2 cups sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of butter mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining butter mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust, and sprinkle remaining butter mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve warm or cold.
Here's the recipe for the brownies:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.
A delicious salsa recipe made with fresh ingredients.
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
* 2 small cloves garlic, minced
* 3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
* 2 hot chile peppers, Serrano or Jalapeno, finely chopped
* 2 to 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
* 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
* salt and pepper
Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer; pour 2 cups boiling water over them then let drain thoroughly. Discard water. Cool.
Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to blend flavors.
Makes about 2 cups of salsa.
A rich and creamy recipe for tomato soup.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 and 1/2 pounds firm tomatoes - skinned and roughly chopped
1 onion - peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic (I use more) - crushed
2 ounces melted butter
1/2 - 1 pint of stock (chicken, beef, evetable, etc.)
Salt and Black Pepper
Caster Sugar (very fine sugar, also known as powdered sugar)
1/4 pint double cream
Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and fry onion and garlic until soft and transparent. Add 1/2 pint of stock together with chopped tomatoes and generous pinch of baking soda. Bring to boil, lower heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before liquidising. Return to pan through sieve.
Re-heat adding stock until of desired consistency. Season to taste. In a separate pan bring cream almost to the boil and then add to soup. Garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley.
It is really delicious, and can be frozen, provided that you don't add the cream or milk, do this just before serving. The Baking Soda is what makes the difference - without it it just doesn't taste right.
This came in from Lisa. She is selling fromage blanc (and cheese and butter and eggs) and has provide ways to use the romage blanc which I will reprint here.
Recipes for the fromage blanc.
Add fromage blanc to chopped veggies. Salt and pepper to taste.
Suggested veggies in any combination:
okra (yes raw)
basil or dill
Another notch-toss with pasta. Two notches-and grilled chicken.
1c fromage blanc
1TBS dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
Mix together well and refrigerated for an hour or more to let the flavors get happy.
1c fromage blanc
1 1/2 TBS General Tso's Chicken seasoning mix (by Sunbird)
Mix well and refrigerate for two hours-the dried veggies in the mix need time to rehydrate.
Mix equal parts of fromage blanc and plum sauce-more or less of either to taste;)
A little note on working with fromage blanc. If you mix the recipe by hand or with a whisk you'll get a dip consistency. If you use a blender you'll get a dressing consistency.
Mexican Style Dressing
1 15.5 oz. can of black beans
1c fromage blanc
1TBS Texas Pete (3 or 4 TBS if you're Eric)
Blend on a fairly high speed until smooth. Other thoughts-refried beans would work and could be mixed with the fromage for that dip consistency.
Dip version: mix pesto with fromage blanc.
What I did
1TBS fresh garlic (2 med. cloves)
1 bunch fresh basil (1/2 -3/4 cup)
1 8 oz. container fromage blanc (1 cup)
sea salt to taste
Spin the garlic in the blender until minced. Add the basil and spin until it's chopped. Add the fromage and blend on high speed until smooth.
Some tips you might want to share with your group:
A general rule of thumb for using fresh herb in a recipe calling for dried herbs is to use three times as much fresh. Drying concentrates the flavors of the herbs.
Drying basil is as simple as putting a rubber band around a bunch and hanging it upside down. The best batch of basil I ever dried was treated this way and pinned to my kitchen curtains.
Basil repels insects when rubbed on your skin. It also relieves the pain and itching of insect bites and stings, especially fire ant bites. You can make a simple "after-bite" recipe by pouring common witch hazel over mashed or chopped basil in a glass jar. Let it sit for a couple of days and strain out the basil. Add more basil to the same tincture and it'll continue to get stronger. Just strain it out every couple of days. Naturally you don't ever want to drink it because of the alcohol in the witch hazel.
According to my fav. herb book basil "eases flatulence, stomach cramps,colic and indigestion. It can be used to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Sweet basil has a mildly sedative action and is useful in treating nervous irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Sweet basil has an established antibacterial action."