This week brought us some much needed rain. We also were busy harvesting our bulb onions, which are now in the curing phase. Like garlic, we have to give our red and white onions time to complete the curing process before they’ll be part of your CSA share. We also trellised our second batch of cucumbers this week.
This week’s Garlic variety is Bogatyr. Bogatyr garlic is one of the hottest hardneck varieties with purple marbled striped, elongated cloves. These have fiery heat and long-lasting flavor, so use sparingly raw.
The ripe cherry tomatoes in our U-Pick field were quickly cleaned out this week, so we apologize if you came out to harvest and had trouble finding many ripe ones. The good news is that the plants are still full of fruit just starting to ripen, so many more will be on the way for picking soon!
What’s In Your Share
For July 17th, you’ll find:
+ Bogatyr Garlic
+ Green Beans
+ Green Bell Peppers
+ Poblano OR Anaheim Peppers
+ Green Jalapeño Peppers
+ Fennel Leaf
The following crops are available for U-Pick:
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Basil and Dill Flowers (in the 5th field)
+ Hot peppers enter your share this week: Poblano, Anaheim, and Green Jalapeño. In terms of heat, Poblanos (stout sized) and Anaheims (slender sized) are one step above the bells and banana peppers; but while they’re mild for heat, the oils may still pack a punch, so be careful when handling them. Try these stuffed! You can also grill them or dry and grind into powder for seasoning.
Jalapeños are one more step above Poblanos/Anaheims for heat, but are not as hot as many of your other chiles like Serrano or Cayenne. Of course you can stuff with cheese and fry as jalapeño poppers, but you can also use them for jelly, salsas, with seafood, in Mexican cuisine, or roasted.
+ Leeks are in the (former) lily plant family along with garlic, onions, and asparagus. They have a variety of uses and flavors that are similar to both onions and garlic. Leeks have a more subtle, buttery flavor than its cousins, but unlike onions, don’t have the same sugars that allow it to caramelize when cooked. The green tops can be used in a soup stock, while the white and light green shank is used primarily for eating. Just be sure to give them a thorough wash – slice the shank lengthwise, then soak or rinse well to dislodge any dirt in the leek’s many layers. Try leeks thinly sliced and raw in salad, grilled, braised, or substitute for onions in soup.
+ Fennel Leaf is in the same plant family as carrots. The plant is similar to bulb fennel, but is grown for its delicate, leafy fronds. This plant looks like dill and is best used fresh as you would use an herb, for flavoring or a garnish. The fennel leaf will still have a flavor like the fennel bulb – reminiscent of anise – but may be milder. Try adding these leaves to salads, cole slaws, dressings, or as seasoning for fish, pork, or dishes with tomatoes or potatoes. Fennel leaf also works great when steeped in boiling water for 10 minutes as a tea that calms overwrought stomachs! Bruise the fronds lightly to release their flavor.
Leek with Olive Oil
Submitted by CSA Member Hayriye Cetin Karaca
1 bunch of leeks, washed and cut into chunks
2 carrots, sliced in circular shapes
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
½ cup rice, washed and drained
1 ½ cup hot water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
½ tsp sugar
Place olive oil and onions in a pot and sauté them till the onions turn light brown. Then add tomato paste (optional), sliced carrots and chopped leeks. Cook them over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice and sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then add hot water, salt and sugar. Cook till rice becomes soft, for about 30-40 minutes over low heat.
Let Leeks with Olive Oil cool in the pot. Then place into a serving plate. Drizzle some lemon juice and olive oil (optional) on top.
Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers
Submitted by CSA Member Hayriye Cetin Karaca
2 lb (~1kg) bell peppers
1 cup rice, washed and drained
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 tsp tomato paste
½ cup olive oil
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp dried/fresh mint
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
½ tomato, sliced in 4 pieces for caps
Cut tops off peppers, remove seeds and wash. In a saucepan, place the olive oil and finely chopped onions. Sauté lightly. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, sauté for 3 more minutes.Add the rice and braise for 5 minutes. Then add salt, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, dried mint and1 cup hot water. Stir and simmer until all liquid is evaporated.Let it cool.With a spoon fill the peppers with the mixture. Place one slice of tomato as a cap on top of each pepper. In a large saucepan or pot, place the rice stuffed bell peppers in the bottom. Add warm water, enough to almost cover half height of the peppers.
Close the lid and cook on low-medium heat, until the peppers get soft, for about 15-20 minutes. Cool before serving.
Grilled Vegetable Medley Pizza with Grilled Leeks
From Farmer John’s Cookbook
Have fun experimenting with topping combinations and try adding your favorite fresh herbs.
Assortment of grilled vegetables, any combination and quantity:
Zucchini or Summer Squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Red or Green Bell Peppers, sliced
Fennel, roughly chopped
Red Onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
Large Tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
Portabella Mushrooms, sliced
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 batch pizza crust or prepared pizza crust, for two 12-inch pizzas
3/4 cup marinara or pesto sauce
1/2 lb sausage, cooked and crumbled, or 1/2 lb sliced pepperoni (optional)
4 cups chopped spinach
1 lb (or less) mozzarella or provolone, grated; or feta or goat cheese crumbled; or a blend of cheeses
1. Build a medium hot hardwood charcoal fire, or set your gas grill on high. (You can also make this pizza in your oven at 450 degrees F; it won’t be a grilled pizza, but pizza nonetheless.)
2. To prepare the leeks for the grill, quarter them lengthwise, leaving them connected at the root. Fan out the strips of leek and clean under cold running water. Roughly reassemble the leek by tying it in two places with butcher’s twine.
3. Brush all the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. When the coals are ready, spread them out on side of the grill. Add the vegetables to the side with the coals. The vegetables will all require different cooking times, so turn them often until you see grill marks on both sides, and then remove them from the grill. If any vegetables start to burn, move them to the side without the coals. Add more coals to the fire while you prepare the pizza in the next steps.
5. Roll out the pizza dough and place it on a baking sheet. Spread half of the sauce on the dough. Add half the meat and half the grilled vegetables.
6. Spread the coals in an even layer across the bottom of the grill. (If using a gas grill, turn one of the burners off and turn the other to medium.) Place the baking sheet on the grill rack. Cover the grill. (Be sure the vents are open.) Uncover after 5 minutes; the crust will be firm. Mound the spinach onto the pizza; cover again and grill until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. At this point, you can slide the pizza off the baking sheet right onto the grill to add crispness and grill flavor to the crust – but take a peek at the underside of your crust first: if it’s already deep brown in spots, leave it on the baking sheet. Top with half the cheese. Cover and grill until the cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Remove the pizza from the grill and set aside to cool slightly. Cut in pieces and serve hot, cold, or at room temperature. Repeat the process with the remaining crust and ingredients to make another pizza.