Week #15 (9/6 & 9)

This week your basket contains: zucchini, cucumber, beans (full share baskets only), red onions, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, parsley, SWEET CORN, eggplant, and sweet peppers.

Whew!  Did the weather turn on a dime or what?  It seems like we’ve gone from summer to fall in a matter of hours, and the contents of your basket reflect that change.  Beans, cucumbers and summer squash production is down (which is a bit of a relief), but with sweet corn and eggplant coming on, and tomatoes keeping pace we have a very nice selection for you this week.  The carrots this week are an interesting case.  One of the things that make growing carrots difficult on a moderate commercial scale is thinning.  Carrot seed is quite small and even so-called precision seeders lay out 10 seeds per inch or more.  Once they are up and growing but still quite small, if you don’t thin them out to 1 or two per inch, the majority of the carrots will be smaller.  As we have over two thousand row feet of carrots per seeding and up to six seedings a year, we have gotten to a size where carrot thinning is an overwhelmingly time-consuming (and expensive) task.  In other words, it doesn’t always happen, so we have smaller carrots (like this week).  We have been trying out a different option, though.  Seed companies do sell “pelleted” seed (i.e. seed that is coated in a clay substance that makes each seed larger and easier for precision seeders to lay out at proper spacing).  Even though this is more expensive than regular seed it is cheaper overall.  We tried some this spring (remember the large carrots?) and will be moving to more pelleted seed in the coming years if we can get the varieties we want.  In the meantime, the smaller carrots in your basket can be roasted whole or added to the pan you roast a chicken in.  They would also be great in this recipe.

CURRIED CARROTS AND LENTILS

1/2 c. dried lentils (red or brown)

1 1/2 c. water

3 carrots, cut into pieces

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/4 c. raisins

2 T butter

1 t salt

3/4 t. curry powder

Combine the lentils and about 1 c of the water in a saucepan, cover and simmer, until the lentils are just cooked. Add the carrots, the rest of the water and all of the other ingredients. Cook until done. Might need to add a bit more water. (The directions for this are actually for a microwave, so I do it on the stove and if the truth be known, I’m not  very good about measuring carefully.)  Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook .

SMOKY TURKISH EGGPLANT CREAM

(Hunkar Begendi)

1 ½ Lbs eggplant

juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. flour

1 cup hot milk

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt

Puncture the skin of the eggplants with a fork two or three times then char the skins on all sides either over coals or under the broiler (the flesh will become quite soft in the process).  Remove the charred skin and any hard seeds then drop the eggplant into cold water to which you’ve added the lemon juice (to preserve the color), and let stand 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and remove from heat.  Stir in the flour then cook stirring until the flour is golden.  Whisk in the milk and continue to cook stirring until smooth.  Set over low heat and let cook for 5-10 minutes more stirring occasionally.  Drain the eggplant squeezing to remove excess water.  Mash the eggplant with a potato masher then add to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring, over low heat.  Stir in the cheese and salt to taste.  Serve hot.

It has taken me a long time to think of parsley as more than garnish.  I’ve started adding it to basil when I make pesto and really like the way it comes out.  Additionally, featuring parsley in salads, like tabouli, or this recipe  is a great use of parsley.

LEOMONY RICE AND PARSLEY SALAD

1 cup Arborio rice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 cup Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 small sweet Italian, diced

1/3 cup black olives, coarsely chopped

1 Tbs.capers

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Lemon wedges

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 14 minutes. Drain thoroughly. In a large bowl, toss the rice with the olive oil and lemon juice. Stir in the parsley, pepper, olives, capers and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.  Adapted from foodandwine.com.

Advertisements