Monday, August 30, 2010

week twelve

So, August has been quite a month. Hope you're still enjoying the scads of heirloom tomatoes in shares... I've received some pretty awesome feedback. One (possibly biased) local chef claims that they're the best in the city. And speaking of local chefs, watch for an upcoming post about the fabulous Pittsburgh restaurants where you'll find our herbs and produce on the menu.

This week, depending on share size, you received: heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, sweet pepper, variety of hot pepper, winter squash (baby blue hubbard, sweet dumpling, green buttercup, butternut, or Thelma Saunders sweet potato squash), rattlesnake beans, husk cherries, cilantro, and savory.

A word about husk cherries - don't fear them. Part of the tomato (nightshade) family, they're strange, tasty, and pretty hard to find. Kind of like cherry tomato meets pineapple meets vanilla. They're versatile too... if you're feeling adventurous you can cook them down into a jam. One of my chefs made them into hot sauce. Or toss them in a fruit salad with melon, berries, mint, lemon/lime basil and a bit of sugar. Or just eat them like candy. Impress your friends... they're a novelty. Here's some more info if you're feeling researchy

Some suggestions for the winter squash from chef Kate Romane of E2 (part of Enrico's Biscotti Co.) restaurant... cube and saute or roast the squash with garlic, shallots and herbs. The savory that you received this week or sage would work well, but certainly experiment with any herbs you have on hand. You could even get nuts and throw in some chopped kale if you still have that hanging around. Toss in some olive oil, salt, pepper and a touch of white vinegar or lemon juice. Adding grains like barley or farro make this a super hearty meal.

Kate also suggested an early fall salad with lentils.... cook the squash with caramelized onions, shallots, garlic. Add apples for a touch of sweetness plus salt, pepper, a bit of cinnamon, and mint. Shove that mess into a pita smeared with goat cheese? Good god, I'm hungry.
Try it. The woman teaches a seasonal salad class, she knows what she's doing.

mmmm.... berries

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

week eight

Ah, August... The heirloom tomatoes are ripening, the peppers are beginning to turn brilliant colors, and the berries are starting to really pour in. About those tasty berries - you'll start receiving them this week and every other week until they're done. One week farm pick up will get them and the next week the deliveries will get them, and here's why: we pick buckets every other day or so but those picked earlier in the week won't keep until the weekend, so they will mostly be sold to the restaurants I deal with. CSA members will get the berries picked close to the weekend. Finally! I know you've all been waiting very patiently for these.

In shares this week you received our first sampling of some heirloom tomatoes, either a mixed pint of cherries, grapes and pear tomatoes or a couple larger paste or slicing tomatoes. You also received cucumbers, summer squash (yellow crookneck, lemon or white bush Lebanese), cabbage (savoy or red), a bunch of carrots (the little round ones are called Paris Market), and a bunch of sweet basil. Yum.

Tis the season for being inundated with summer squash. It's not going to stop any time soon so let's stay on top of using these little suckers, lest you hold on to them and suddenly find that you have enough to build a squash-fort. Here's a few tasty and easy recipes to try...

stuffed summer squash, using your chard and herbs -
summer squash pizza, using your greens, herbs and garlic (and might as well throw some shallots on there.... why not?)
a superfast summer squash and parm pasta (with basil, of course)