PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS VALID FOR TUESDAY SUBSCRIBERS ONLY; FRIDAY’S BASKETS WILL BE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT.
This week your basket contains: summer squash, cucumber, carrots, onions, basil, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, and sweet corn.
One thing we have learned over the years is that you can never reliably predict what effect weather will have on any crop. Whether it is extreme cold or extreme hot weather the effect depends, in part, on when in a plant’s development the event occurs. We are seeing that right now with the corn. June’s unprecedented heat wave made it very difficult for us to keep enough water on the corn for ideal development, especially for the early varieties that we are harvesting now (we plant all the varieties on the same day, choosing varieties with different “days to maturity” to give us a good rotation at harvest). While the ears (and plants) are smaller and fewer, the flavor is quite good. On the up side, our latest variety, Silver Queen, is looking very good. It was at an earlier stage of development during the heat wave and seems to have benefitted from it more that the early varieties. In many years Silver Queen struggles to mature before cold fall weather stops development, but it looks like this year will be good for it. We continue to have a hard time with lettuce this summer. We keep planting it and have some decent beds coming along. In the meantime, we have been making different kinds of salad. Cucumber and tomato salad (with balsamic vinegar) has been popular as has the recipe below. As written, it makes a large salad. We often halve the amounts. We also use green peppers with good results.
BLACK BEAN SALAD WITH CORN, RED PEPPERS AND AVOCADO
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,
1 teaspoon lime zest
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, chopped
Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Ratatouille is one of the delights of summer. This is our favorite version. We often use fresh basil instead of pesto if we don’t have fresh pesto on hand.
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chopped zucchini
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 cup diced tomatoes
¼- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large sauté pan heat the oil and cook the garlic and onion until the onions are translucent. Add the zucchini, oregano, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until zucchini is tender. Add basil and Balsamic vinegar. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.
While this recipe is aimed at canning, you can serve this fresh. It can also double as a “salad” if you like.
CORN AND ZUCCHINI SALSA
3 medium zucchini, cleaned, trimmed, and diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 ears yellow corn, husked, silks removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh lime juice (8 medium limes)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions with tops
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Toss the zucchini with the salt and “sweat” for 3 minutes in a nonreactive colander. Rinse and dry. Coat the corn with 2 teaspoons of the oil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Cool. Cut off the kernels and scrape the cobs. Combine the zucchini, corn, remaining oil, tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, jalapenos, scallions, garlic, and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Ladle into hot, clean jars. Cap and seal. Process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 15 minutes. The recipe says it yields 2 pints, but I got 3 with a little leftover. I’m sure it depends on what you consider a “medium” zucchini and the size of your ears of corn and tomatoes. From Preserving the Harvest by Carol Costenbader