CSA Week 7

This week had a few new things: yukon gold potatoes, red onions, yellow beans, a yellow Korean melon (like canteloupe flavor, but milder, harder flesh, and looks like a yellow striped cuke on the outside.
Still small amounts but the variety’s nice. I’m sure it will get bigger as we go along and I’ll regret saying there was too little.Β  πŸ™‚
My veggies are doing well… lots of tomatoes. They are ripening a little at a time so we never have a ton at once, but it makes it easy to harvest a few at a time and share them.

2 red onions, 6 yukon gold potatoes, yellow beans, 1/2 Korean melon

7 stalks rainbow chard, 2 small cukes, 2 pale yellow peppers (don’t know what kind),
4 small carrots, romaine lettuce, flat leaf parsley, 1 turnip

Tomato Harvest

Home sick today. I’m glad that I can hide inside in the A/C! It’s way too hot out there.
I harvested the tomatoes this morning and it was brutally hot!
Funny thing was, when I went to pick the tomatoes, I found another praying mantis! They love to eat aphids… this one’s doing a great job! He was a little ticked off that I was invading his tomatoes, but he didn’t try to eat me after all.Β  πŸ™‚

Looks like I’ll have enough tomatoes for the weekend parties and some extra for Chica!
I also thought I’d give the cukes another try. All three seeds that I planted 5 days ago have sprouted. I’ll eventually weed them down to one, but I want to see which ones looks best when they have their second leaves.

Cukes – second try

Sweet Tangerine tomatoes

Fourth of July tomatoes

Complete harvest July 21 – mushy ones in front row, mutants in second row.Β  πŸ™‚

I had to put this in the blog just so I remember. I loves this Google doodle. They used it yesterday for Gregor Mendel’s 189th bday. Very cool.

CSA Week 6

I thought last week was slim pickings…. this week’s bad too.
This photo is of the entire share! (Ours and our friends). They didn’t want their half this week. It’s about the same as our half share last week.

Clockwise from left: onions (walla walla), napa cabbage, red lettuce, beets, curly parsley, cukes, eggplant, fennel (center)

Same old:Β  napa cabbage, red lettuce
New: 5 onions, 1 bulb fennel, 3 beets, 1 eggplant, curly parsley, and 2 small cukes
Notice anything different in this photo?
Cary and Dan gave Chris a gnome soap on a rope! He’s so cute I keep him on the table. Soon he’ll move to the shower…. after spending some time downstairs entertaining the nerds.

Lots of cabbage slaw for everyone… doesn’t look big in the photo but when you break it apart and clean it there’s a ton. Hopefully my own tomatoes will be ready to supplement the greens.
Maybe I’ll make pisaladiere, the french pizza with caramelized onions, kalamata olives, and anchovies (optional). We’ll see.
Anyone want some?

Added July 21: Just found out that they also had red potatoes and English peas that day, but when I got there, there weren’t any! I’ll have to show up earlier. We went later than usual, around 6:20ish. Most of the good options were gone.

Chica made a meal of the veggies from the share and from our garden:

Great placemats!

Fried Green Tomatoes

A branch of my tomato plant broke today so I had two large and two small green tomatoes that would never be able to ripen.
I cut off the branch and decided to make fried green tomatoes. See what all of the fuss is about. It also helped that I had some buttermilk leftover from last week when I made the Barefoot Contessa’s coconut cake for Elaine’s birthday. Yummy as usual.Β  πŸ™‚
Fried green tomatoes taste just like fried zucchini to me!
I made the traditional southern recipe but next time I’ll try frying them Italian style… with italian breadcrumbs and grated cheese. The thinner slices were better than the thicker ones. Mmmmmm.
I liked them. The cornmeal gave them a nice crunch. Good with a little extra salt after frying.

Recipe from Tyler Florence:

  • green tomatoes, sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted this for Chris’ sake)
  • canola oil

Dip the tomato slices in bowl with buttermilk, salt and pepper. In other bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, and garlic powder (and cayenne if you’re using it). Dredge slices in cornmeal mixture and fry in canola oil for 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool on paper towel to absorb oil. Yum!

Strawberry Jammmmmmm

Right out of the bath… now to cool for 24 hours.

Strawberries were on sale for $1.99 a quart, so I bought four. Turns out you only need 2 for strawberry jam. I cut and froze the other two quarts for shakes and strawberry ice cream.

I used a strawberry jam recipe from Blue Ribbon Preserves (Linda Amendt); it called for more sugar than most other recipes but guaranteed blue ribbons, so I had to try. She says to use fresh harvested strawberries (less than 1 day old), but that’s not possible here. Next time I’ll go strawberry picking.Β  πŸ™‚

The recipe was easy… the canning (hot water bath) process is a little more complicated, but it makes sense once you do it. It required every burner on the stove. The recipe said it would make about 9 half-pint jars… mine made 7 with a little extra that Chris ate on the spot.Β  πŸ™‚

Next time I’ll try a no-sugar-added recipe… I have to find no-sugar pectin first. Sugar is necessary for the jam to set properly, so a special pectin mix needs to be used.

Recipe:
2 quarts strawberries, hulled, chopped, and mashed (about 4 cups)
7 cups sugar (yes, seven! eek!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp butter (pref. unsalted) – butter helps prevent foaming
1 (3oz.) packet liquid pectin (I used Certo)

  • Put strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar in dutch oven and leave for 2 hours
  • In the mean time, heat pot for jars, lids (180 F)
  • Heat water in canner (fill about 6″ high) to 200 F
  • Boil water in tea kettle in case extra water needed
  • When 2 hrs is up, put jam on stove, med-low heat, stirring often, until sugar completely dissolved
  • Stir in butter
  • Then raise heat to med-high, stirring constantly, until at a rapid boil (boiling even when constantly stirring)
  • Add pectin and keep stirring, allow to boil, keep stirring for 1 minute
  • Take off heat and skim foam, allow to cool five minutes
  • Take jars out of hot water, 1 at a time, and fill until 1/4″ from top
  • Fill all jars, then add hot lids and screw tops
  • Place jars in rack and into hot water canner for 10 minutes at 200 F (check temp as canning goes on to make sure temp stays up to 200)
  • Remove canning rack with jars and place on dish towel to cool
  • Allow to cool for 12-24 hours; you will hear lids ping as they cool and seal
  • After 24 hours test lids (press down to make sure vaccuum seal worked)
  • If any jars are popped, they’re fine but need to be used immediately; put them in fridge and use within 3 weeks
  • Remaining jars can be stored in a cool, dark place until opened
Jars just after I placed them into their steaming hot water bath.

I can’t wait until the 24 hours is up and I can taste it! Yay! They all pinged after one hour! Sealed tight.
Sticky, but clean up wasn’t bad.
Here are pictures of the mess:

Dirty strawberry dishes… note chris’ little white bowl and spoon from his evening snack.Β  πŸ™‚

One sticky pot of jam bits

I’ll try to remember to take a picture when we open one for toast.
Nutritional Info (recipe calculated on LiveStrong):
Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Calories: 47
Fat: .04g
Chol: .04g
Sodium: .02mg
Carbs: 12.46g
Dietary Fiber: .13g
Sugar: 12.26g
Protein: .04g
Update 7/8/11: It was really good… I think less sugar would be better. Lots of pieces of fruit. Looked just like professional jam. It’s especially good on oatmeal toast πŸ™‚

Green Onion Pie

Lots of scallions… spring makes me think of green onion pie. Made it for our July 3rd party (which was rainy and led us all to play dice games and poker in the basement… what fun!).

I used Marion Cunningham’s recipe from “Lost Recipes”. Made way more pie filling than a frozen pie shell can handle. Should have gotten a deep dish pie shell. I just dumped the extra liquid but kept the onions.
Overall it was tasty, but the texture was a little too soft for me (and for others). I might add a little flour or bisquick to the mix next time.

Recipe:
Pie crust (one)
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups chopped green onions/scallions
2 cups cream, light or heavy
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Note: to scald cream, put in saucepan over med/high heat until tiny bubbles form around edges. Watch it so it doesn’t boil over.

Bake the pie crust at 375 F for 11-15 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool.
Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onions until cooked and sweet but not browned at all. Whisk the eggs into the warm cream, season with salt and pepper, and add the basil if you’re using it. Salt and pepper to taste, mix with onione.
Spread the onion mixture in the pie shell and bake at 375 F until a sharp knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve immediately, or let cool a little and serve warm.