This week we are fortunate to have one of our CSA members guest write a newsletter for the week. This will give you more of a glimpse of how another CSA member uses the produce each week. Thank you, Lisa Smith! Before we get into that, just one more reminder of the break we will be taking. This is our last CSA week before our one week break. Next week, beginning Thursday the 7th and Monday the 11th, there will be no CSA pick up. Our open house will be on Sunday August 10th in the evening. We will put up a special post with our open house as the 10th nears. Now on to the newsletter with guest writer Lisa Smith! If you would like to share recipes or guest write a newsletter, please let us know!
Share this week:
2 green peppers
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch candy cane beets
1 bag basil
2 heads garlic
batavian head lettuce
red looseleaf lettuce
As CSA shareholders, we partner with Hannah and Will in the adventure of farming, and often the contents of our kitchens is governed by the powers of nature. Despite spring floods and autumn temperatures in mid-July, this food community continues to gather weekly at the market table to collect our portion of a diverse and healthy harvest.
The investment in a CSA indicates a shared reverence for food that grows from conscious cultivation and deeply committed labor. As the summer progresses and the nights we plan to make a resplendent vegetable-based meal ends in a line at the Adams County Fair waiting for a bucket-o’-spuds washed down by a frozen lemonade and a funnel cake, we might be left with neglected and going limp veggies that don’t seem to have life left to give. If Saturday morning is reserved for a trip to the Farmer’s Market on top of the CSA commitment, there may be even greater remains of the field in your fridge, and a need to make room for the new goods that are sure to arrive with the next drive down the farm lane.
Last summer, after reading a wonderful food narrative offered by author Tamar Adler titled An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, “end of the week’’ veggies had a new outcome–vegetable soup stock, and the simplicity of process that Adler offered assures the hesitant that they have nothing to lose and much to gain.
“Unless you’re looking at a tail end of vegetable that has actually changed states—solid to liquid or, worse, to gas—its yellowed parts can be cut off, and it can be added to a pot containing sautéed onion, a chopped potato…and covered with water…a turnip that missed the week’s roasting, asparagus bottoms, cabbage cores. As long as a soup’s ingredients are born in the same season, they will meld together perfectly in a pot…” (pp. 59)
Later, there is more advice for the brewing of a wonderful broth…
“Put about two cups of a combination of aromatic vegetable scraps in a big pot. I usually use tips or ends of carrots, an onion half, onion peels, tough tops of fennel, outer stalks of celery, and parsley stems. Add a small handful of black peppercorns and water to just cover by two inches. I don’t add salt”
Broth made so simply it is easily worth a try. In pursuit of more broth support I turned to The Art of Simple Food, and used author Alice Waters’ steps and added several cups of vegetables and vegetable parts to a few cloves of garlic and an onion sautéed in olive oil, covered the concoction with water, brought it all to a boil, simmered, and strained. The vegetable selection can be as wide as the fields that bring us the bounty! I thought twice before adding red beets because they would result in a red-tone broth (disliked by my husband), and I left out strong herbs, saving them for the soup stage so my broth would remain versatile, but the parts, peels, and cores of just about every vegetable that crosses the harvest table are fabulous contributors.
It takes time for the vegetables to relinquish all the goodness they have to offer in their effort to transform water into a delectable starting point for soup. After about 3 hours of simmering (no need to fuss with it –-attend to other tasks and set a timer to bring you back), Adler suggests finding the end of the simmering process by tasting a little spoon of vegetables, which should be tasteless, and a spoonful of liquid with a little touch of salt, which should now taste like broth. If that has not occurred, try again a half and hour later. If it has happened, you have broth.
After straining out and disposing of the exhausted vegetables that are now completely ready for the compost pile, the rich broth that remains can be cooled and then frozen for soups that defend against the chill of later seasons or combined with the latest round of fresh CSA vegetables to create one of the recipes included below. Either way, the making of broth honors the food grown with skillful intention and the farmers who help us bring such goodness to the table.
My last batch of mid-summer broth: Sautéed three onions, 2 garlic cloves in 2 T. olive oil; added 4 chopped leeks (heavy green tops removed), 3 scraggly carrots, a bunch of lifeless kale, stalks saved from the last bunch of chard, one lone collard green leaf, top slice and bottom slice of a Farmers Market tomato, another onion, good parts cut off of ‘last leg’ potatoes, handful of chopped parsley; covered with water; simmered just over 3 hours – broth was mild in flavor and was used for summer vegetable soup.
Summer Vegetable Soup
Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
2 large potatoes (or equivalent of new potatoes)
Kernels sliced from 2-3 ears of corn
1 c. diced onion
2 medium carrots, diced into little cubes
1 c. diced broccoli
1 small green pepper, diced
2 zucchini (5 – 6” long), diced
3 T. butter
2 c. vegetable broth
4 c. milk, warmed
1 ½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
fresh thyme or ½ t. dried
pinch of nutmeg
*Adapt vegetable selection depending on what you have. For example, great additions or substitutions are sliced kale or chard, diced green beans and cubed summer squash.
Scrub and dice the potatoes. Cook in 2 c. vegetable broth until soft. Mash them with their cooking broth. Add corn.
Heat the butter in a heavy skillet and cook onions with salt for 8 minutes. Add other vegetables in the order they appear above and sauté for a few minutes with each addition. When all veggies are tender and brightly colored add to potato mixture.
Slowly add warm milk to the soup. Add seasonings to taste. Gently heat the soup through (don’t cook it, just heat it up) and serve immediately with good hearty bread.
Spinach or Chard Soup
Adapted from The Complete Tassajara Cookbook by Edward Espe Brown
4-6 cups of torn/chopped up spinach or chard (or both) that has been washed well, stems can be included as this is a blended soup
2 small onions, sliced or diced
1 T. olive oil
½ t. salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. vegetable stock, boiling
½ c. cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, optional garnish
Wash greens well and cut or tear into smaller pieces. Sauté the onions in olive oil for until translucent. Add salt and garlic. Add greens and cover and steam until they are wilted, stir occasionally. Add the boiling vegetable stock and simmer until greens and stalks are soft.
With a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, blend the soup to an even consistency, return it to the stove. Add the grated cheese (I use up ends and parts of all sorts of cheese for this – anything from grated parmesan to cheddar – use more if it is mild, less if it is pungent or sharp cheese). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
Summer Fried Rice
3-4 c. cooked rice (prepared with vegetable broth instead of water)
2-3 T. oil
2 medium carrots, diced into small pieces (and/or green beans, broccoli, or squash – use what is available)
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into small pieces
3-4 green onion, sliced into small pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
3-4 t. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
1 t. toasted sesame oil
Over medium heat, coat a skillet with 2 t. oil or cooking spray. Pour in 2 lightly beaten eggs and cook, stir gently, until just set. Set aside in a small bowl.
Return to the skillet and heat 1 T. oil. Add pepper, green onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir and cook until vegetables are just tender. Add rice, soy sauce, and vinegar to the pan. Cook until the liquid is absorbed. Gently stir in cooked egg. Just before serving add sesame oil.
Thanks so much Lisa!
See you from 5:00-7:00!