CSA Newsletter for the week of August 21st/25th

Hi Folks!

We are still trying to figure out how this year as has flown by so quickly.  Living off the farm in town we see families in the mornings trekking off to school bright and early when we start our day.  Will and I have been talking a lot the past couple of days about how yet this year has been another wild year.  The only really big let down we had this spring was the late flood that made us lose so much.  Other than that, we have enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the lack of a need to irrigate.  Back in 2012, our first year, we were fretting that our well could run dry and it just never seemed to rain.  It was incredibly warm; so warm we had planted our first seeds in late March.  Fast forward to Spring 2013, our second year, and I was working downtown at Back Alley Bakery, and  I remember watching outside the windows as freezing ice was falling in May.  In our first three years of farming in Nebraska we really have experienced three very different years and our challenge going ahead will be trying to figure out how we can approach our season to be successful no matter what kind of year we get next year.

We finally have a new summer crop in the share this week: Cucumbers! We have missed them!  They will stick around for awhile too.

This week’s share:
Sweet Peppers
Swiss Chard

Some recipes to inspire you cooking:

Grilled Eggplant Bahn mi (We love these and make them a lot!)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups julienne-cut peeled carrot (about 4 medium)
1 1/4 pounds eggplant
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons yellow miso (soybean paste) (We have only found Miso paste at Hyvee in Grand Island, but if we don’t have it we just use soy or Tamari sauce and it’s great)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 (16-ounce) French bread baguette, cut in half horizontally
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced jalapeño pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add carrot; let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cut eggplant stem off. Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; brush with oil. Grill 7 minutes or until tender, turning once.  Combine peanut butter, onions, ginger, miso, and juice in a bowl; stir well.
Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1-inch-thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Place bread on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Bake at 375° for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Spread bottom half of bread with peanut butter mixture. Arrange eggplant evenly over peanut butter mixture. Arrange carrot mixture and cucumber evenly over eggplant; top with cilantro and jalapeño, if desired. Place top half of bread on sandwich. Cut into 5 equal pieces

Cucumber, Onion, and Parsley Salad

2 large cucumbers (peeled)
1/4 red onion, finely diced (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 T best quality extra virgin olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel cucumber, leaving some strips of green peel if your cucumbers don’t have thick skins. Cut into fourths lengthwise and if the cucumber has large seeds, scrape out seeds with the tip of a spoon. Cut pieces into thinner strips and chop cucumbers into pieces less than 1/2 inch square.

Dice onion into small pieces. (If you prefer a milder onion flavor, soak the onions in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain well and pat dry.) Pat Feta cheese dry with a paper towel, then crumble into pieces. Wash parsley and spin dry or dry with paper towels, then chop coarsely.

In large bowl, combine cucumbers, onions, and parsley. Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice and stir into vegetable mixture. Sprinkle feta cheese over and stir gently a few times. Season with fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.

This recipe could be varied endless ways, with tomatoes, olives, capers, blue cheese, mint, and balsamic vinegar being a few things that come to mind as possible substitutions or additions.

Basil Pesto (Great on pasta or as a base for Pizza)

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (you can substitute other nuts such as walnuts)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Bell Pepper and Swiss Chard Hash
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
3/4 lb. bulk breakfast sausage (optional)
1 lb. red or Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 to 2 inches in diameter,
parboiled and halved
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves cut crosswise
into 1-inch strips (about 3 cups packed)
4 to 6 fried eggs
8 to 12 fried bacon slices

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sausage to the pan and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then add to the bowl with the onion mixture.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the potatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Return the onion mixture to the pan and toss to combine. Add the chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately with fried eggs and bacon. Serves 4 to 6.

See you from 5:00-7:00!




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