CSA Week 8, July 24

CSA Week 8

Welcome to Week 8!  During this time of the year I always get the desire to begin a challenge be a self sustainable homesteader for a year.  It reminds me of the Barbara Kingsolver book, Animal Vegetable Miracle.   When the gardens are producing more than you can eat, animals are growing well and the weather is great, it’s easy to think…”I could do this every day.” But soon enough winter will be here and the lettuce at Cub Foods will be a welcomed sight. That being said, there might be times when you have more than you feel like eating.   Some things are quite easy to keep by freezing or drying them for those not so abundant winter days.  There is always something satisfying about reliving a bit of summer when you open up something that you preserved. 

Here are a couple ways to freeze some common vegetables:  

Zucchini:  Simply slice or grate zucchini and put in a freezer bag raw and freeze.  It is convenient to have a recipe in mind, like 2 cups for bread, and freeze that quantity so you can thaw it all out at once.  When the zucchini is thawed and used, the juice can be used in the recipe as well.

Beets:  It is helpful to cut the beets so they are the same size, but don’t cut up into bite size pieces as they lose much juice when cooking.  Place the beets in a pot and add enough water to cover all the beets.  Cook the beets with the skins on until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool the beets, peel, slice like you want, bag and freeze.

Beans: Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the snapped and washed beans to the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes.  Remove the beans, cool, bag and freeze. 

On to this weeks basket:

Zucchini, cucumbers, onions, carrots, dill weed, parsley, basil, string beans, are all things you have seen before.  I have a couple of great ideas for using them in the recipes that follow.  Also this week is something new, Fennel.  On fennel all three portions can be used.  Fennel is not too common, but has an unusual licorice flavor.  The leaves can be used in a salad, or as an addition to potatoes or other vegetables.  The roots can be used in soup or stew and the bulb and stalk can be baked like other vegetables.

The potato tray consists of mostly 2 varieties: Purple Majesty, the all purple potatoes are a favorite around here.  Purple Viking, the purplish pink skinned potatoes are also a great tuber.  Try to use the potatoes quickly as the plants were still green and the potatoes may tend to soften if kept too long.  If you can’t use them too soon, try to keep them in a cool, dark place but not in the fridge.  

Zucchini Quiche

4 cups thinly sliced zucchini

1 large onion thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

9 nine inch pastry shell


1. In large skillet sauté onion, zucchini and butter until tender.

2. In large bowl whisk the eggs, parsley, salt garlic powder oregano basil and black pepper.

3. Stir in the cheese and zucchini mixture.

4. Spread mustard on pastry shell and pour in your egg mixture.

5. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 35-40 min or cover and freeze unbaked for up to 2 months.

Roasted Vegetables with Fennel

2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed

1 pound small potatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½-1 pound string beans

1 bunch carrots (or asparagus)

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425

2. Cut the fennel bulbs into 4 wedges.  Place on a sheet pan.  Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and place them on the pan.  Cut the carrots in half, or in 4 pieces if larger. 

3. Drizzle the olive oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Toss with your hands.

4. Roast the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, tossing once while cooking. 

5. Toss the string beans with the roasted vegetables and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. 

6. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and roast another minute or until the cheese is melted. 

7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot.

CSA Week 7

CSA Week 7 July 18, 2012

A tiskit a tasket there’s something red in your basket!

Well the Early Girl is doing her job, making tamaters early in the year.  They are not real big, not totally red, but I wanted to give a little treat.  It is also the beginning of the cukes and a few sweet banana peppers.  If the beginnings are anything to hint at, you cucumbers will be quite plentiful this year.  That’s not all bad as there are quite a few different ways to use them – and if you get full of them I am sure a friend wouldn’t mind them.  Again we lucked out with a great inch of rain with perfect timing.  That makes the watering job much easier, and rain can do a much better job than I can anyways. 

This weeks goods:

Swiss Chard:  The variety, Red Rhubarb is a high color chard variety.  Chard can be used in place of spinach in many recipes or try something new with a chard wrap or a smoothie.

Summer Squash Mix – There are 4 kinds of summer squash floating around.  Hopefully in the next few weeks you will get a mix.  There are yellow crooked neck, patty pan, Burpees Black and Romanesco.  They all can be used interchangeably, although patty pan are prized as a mini squash for grilling and frying.  The larger varieties are great for anything, including kabobs, zucchini bread and the chocolate zucchini cake with mint cream cheese frosting (described below)

Carrots:  There is still the mix of orange and yellow.  Roast them, Grill them, use them raw in a slaw or an Asian spring roll.  There may be a little bit of carrot maggot damage on a few.  It should be localized to a part of the carrot leaving plenty of good stuff to use.

Onions:  There is a mix of basic scallion onions and a few red chipolini onions. 

Beets:  The first crop of beets are almost out, apparently I didn’t start giving them soon enough and some are growing to crazy sizes. Not as convenient to work with, but a whole lot to work with.

Cucumbers:  There are four kinds floating around.  The majority are either Market More76, which is a typical slicing cuke, or Muncher, which is the smooth skinned green cuke.  Both are excellent in a cucumber salad creamed or with vinegar.  There are also some of the Asian Long cucumbers which are a little softer but easy to use.  Finally there are a few little lemon cukes.  The name comes from their looks, not their taste, although some thinking it taste a bit lemony.  I think it is due to the placebo effect. 

I also tossed in some fresh basil, and dill. The dill was an after though as I was thinking how good the cucumber dill dip would be.   If you’re not going to use the herbs, just hang them in a dry spot out of direct light and let them dry for later use.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Mint Cream Cheese Frosting.


½ Cup Butter

½ cup Oil

1 ¾ cup sugar

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ c sour milk

4 Tablespoons Cocoa powder

2 ½ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 c grated zucchini

1. Cream butter, oil and sugar well.

2. Add remaining ingredients through salt, mix,

3. Stir in zucchini until mixed well.

4. Pour into a d greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake at 325 for 40 to 45 minutes. 

Mint Cream cheese Frosting.

1.5 packages cream cheese

¼ cup butter

¾ teaspoons peppermint extract

2.5 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat the butter, cream cheese and peppermint.

2. Add in the powdered sugar.

3. Frost your cake when cool.



Creamy cucumber Dill Dip

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced small

¼ cup onion, chopped 

1 package cream cheese

1 cup miracle whip or mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon tabasco sauce

1. Mix everything but the cucumbers.

2. Stir in the cumbers and chill for at least 1 hour.

3. Enjoy on a cracker or, with a spoon which ever you prefer.

CSA Week 6, July 11

Welcome to Summer! This is when gardens really start putting out the goods, it truly is a veggie lovers dream.  This weeks basket has plenty root crops including carrots, radishes and beets.  There is a modified stem crop, kohlrabi. This variety is named Supershmultz.  They are great because they get large yet keep their crisp texture and don’t get woody.  We typically eat kohlrabi raw. Just peel, cut into appropriate sized chunks and add a little salt if desired.  They are also wonderful boiled with a little butter, or boiled and mashed as a sweet substitute for potatoes. 

Also in the basket are a few modified leaves, the red onions and the German Hardy Garlic.  The garlic is classified as a hardneck garlic.  Hardnecks have the hard stem in the center and typically only have one ring of cloves, but the cloves are huge! They work great for making roasted garlic either to cook with or use as  a spread for bread.

Kale and Cilantro are present to represent the true leaves.  Kale is one of those super foods people talk about.  It can be used in soup, juiced, but a great favorite are Kale Chips.  While it is not typically used in salad, there is a great Mexican Kale Salad as a way to eat some kale raw.

Finally we have some fruiting structures.  There is a bag of beans and a few summer squash/

Have a great week!

Kale Chips

1 Bunch Kale

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 teaspoon salt



Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Remove leaves from stem and tear into bite size pieces.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Bake until edges are brown, but not burnt, roughly 10 to 15 minutes.



Mexican Kale Salad

Recipe courtesy of Linda Szarkowski

1 Big Bunch of Kale

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 avocado, diced

¼ cup diced tomato

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Dash Cayenne pepper


  1. Stack two of the kale leaves with the stem end facing you.  Fold in half lengthwise and roll tightly like a cigar.  Slice crosswise into thin strips. Repeat with remaining kale leaves.  If the strips are too long, they can then be cut down a bit more.
  2. Place the kale in a mixing bowl along with the olive oil, lime juice, and salt.  Toss well with your hands, working the dressing in to the greens.  This helps to soften the leaves.
  3. Mix in the cumin and cayenne.
  4. Mix in tomato, bell, pepper, and avocado.

CSA Week 4, July 3rd

I hope you didn’t miss last weeks blog too much.  While heat is good for growing crops, the benefit decreases above 90 degrees.  Thankfully the inch of rain last night came at the perfect time.  Not only did it help to break up the heat and cool the soil, but it also made sure my crops were well watered so I can go on vacation and not worry about coming home to wilted plants.  This weeks basket is the basket of root crops.  They have grown very well and are ahead of schedule.  The downfall is that it has totally taken the lettuce and spinach out of commission, even much of the later planted spinach.  Conditions are never perfect for everything.  Conditions that grow good lettuce are different than conditions that put tomatoes on the vine.  That is why there is a definite succession of crops throughout the year.  I think that makes it more fun to eat, and when conditions are good for a particular crop, the flavor can be amazing.

So whats amazing in your basket this week?

Golden Beets:  These are touchstone golden beets.  They are amazing anyway you use traditional beets, but without the mess.  When I first started growing odd colored vegetables years ago, my traditional mother was not so keen on them.  She was used to beets and tomatoes being red and beans being green.  Sometimes standard colors are better, but often the different varieties have a much different taste.  That was the case with the golden beets.  Now when ever I plant beets, Ma is sure to ask if I have enough golden beets.  Their only downfall is that germination is not as good and seed is more than twice the cost with the gold beets as the red.  So if you see golden beets with a higher price at the farmers market, that is why. Keep them stored int he fridge unwashed.

Carrots:  There are two varieties of carrots, Yellow Stone and Juan de Doubs.  The yellow carrots are amazing roasted, but eat them as you like. Store them in the fridge as they are.

Radish: Cherry Bell.  This later planting came in beautifully so hopefully you are not too sick of radishes. Works well to wash them before refrigerate, or just throw them in a bowl of water and eat as a snack with some salt and butter.

Potatoes:  You will have the basic Red Norland and also the Purple Viking.  Both are very versatile but this time of year are best boiled, mashed, roasted, creamed or my favorite, cooked in a foil packet on the grill with carrots, onions butter and herbs.  Store at room temperature, but eat soon.  The plants are still green and so the potatoes are not cured well yet. If left at room temperature too long (more than 4 days or so) they will become soft.

String Beans:  The beans are just coming in.  There will be a mix Jade, Royal Burgundy and Golden Stick, but most this week are the green Jade.  Due to some flooding the early beans didn’t come so well but the later plantings are terrific.  They could be creamed with the potatoes or just boiled or steamed, but don’t overcook.  The beans are a little dirty due to the rain, but didn’t wash them as if they are washed and then stored they have a tendency to get rusty in the fridge. Just tie the bag shut and refrigerate until use.

Fresh Garlic.  The scapes are done and this week I will be harvesting the garlic, hopefully before I leave for vacation.  This is fresh garlic so it should be stored in the refridgerator if you are not going to use it within 2 days.

Finally your basket has some little scallion onions, a bunch of fresh cilantro, and my very first summer squash. there not many of these little babies yet but you all know how summer squash goes…. pretty soon we will be swimming in it.

I figure most of you have your favorite ways of preparing these treats so I will spare you on the multitude of recipes, but i will share a great way to use beets.  This is taken from an Ina Garten cook book.  I think everything that woman whips up is amazing.  These roasted beets are no exception.

Thanks again and we will see you next week at our regularilly scheduled time.

Roasted Beets

6 Beets

3 tablespoons olive oil

¾ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

Juice of one orange


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Remove tops from beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler.  Cut the beets in 1 ½ inch chunks.

3. Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until the beets are tender. 

4. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the vinegar and orange juice.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm.