This week your basket contains: zucchini, cucumber, BEANS, carrots, red onions, tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes, BASIL, lettuce, and sweet peppers
HOT PEPPERS are ready. We only put these in your basket if you have asked for them and will always put them in your greens bag to distinguish them from sweet peppers that can often have the same shape as a hot pepper. If you were on the hot pepper list last year, we still have a record of that and will be sending them along to you as we can throughout the summer and fall. IF YOU WANT TO BE ADDED TO THE LIST just email and we will add you.
Blackberries are still plentiful and free for the picking (though the heat this week will mark the beginning of the end of the season). Just email before you come so we can point you toward the best spots.
Beans are just starting to produce. The plants are absolutely covered in blossoms, so it won’t be long before we have beans for all.
We tried this recipe Monday, and it was fantastic. It is a long recipe, but don’t let that deter you; it is worth the effort!
SUMMER VEGETABLE GRATIN
For the base layer:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced, or 2 additional onions
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, smashed
For the optional tomato-bread crumb topping:
1 ½ pounds plum or other ripe tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup shredded Parmesan or Gruyère cheese
For the gratin:
¼ cup olive oil, more for baking
1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 ½ pounds yellow squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick
¼ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley, more for garnish
Salt and black pepper
Make the base layer: In a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or enameled cast-iron pan (10 to 12 inches across), combine onions and olive oil and heat to a sizzle, stirring to separate. Add bell peppers, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook, stirring, over low heat until peppers are very soft and onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove garlic, leaving remaining mixture in the pan. Meanwhile, make the topping (if using): Core tomatoes and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Lay on paper towels to drain for 10 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add tomatoes and cook very slowly, turning once or twice, until liquid has bubbled away and flesh is cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Do not overcook, or tomatoes will fall apart.) Turn off heat and let slices cool in skillet; they will continue to dry out. Tear baguette into pieces and pulse in a food processor to make coarse, fluffy, pea-size crumbs. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the cheese and pulse to combine. Assemble the gratin: Heat oven to 425 degrees. (If your oven has a convection feature, use it, reducing baking temperature to 400 degrees.) In a large bowl, combine oil, zucchini and squash, and toss well until lightly and evenly coated. Add basil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and toss again. On top of the base layer in pan, arrange squash and zucchini slices around the inner rim of the pan, standing on their edges in roughly alternating colors. Pat down into the pan so slices overlap and lie down, like shingles or fallen dominoes. Repeat to make another circle inside the first, and again if necessary, until pan is filled. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush oil over the top of the gratin and transfer to oven. Bake 30 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees (425 degrees for convection), or heat the broiler. If not using topping, brush surface again with oil. If using topping, arrange tomato slices in one layer on top of the par-baked gratin. Spread bread-cheese mixture over tomatoes and press down gently. Bake or broil until vegetables are browned around the edges or crust is crisp and golden. Let cool slightly and serve hot or at warm room temperature. Garnish each serving with herbs. From NYTIMES.COM
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE CUCUMBERS? Make tzadziki, of course! Simply grate whole cucumbers, lightly salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain off the liquid that accumulates, squeeze in a few cloves of garlic and stir in some yogurt and/or sour cream (we find it best to use a 50/50 mix). Generally, you want to use equal volumes of cucumber and dairy product. Serve with toasted pita bread or crackers.