Woo hoo CSA week 7!
You may have these things in your box: pepper, lettuce, summer squash, cucumbers (slicing, Kirby, Lemon), corn, berries, beans?
There may be a gap in tomatoes this week, the heat we were experiencing was fabulous, but then we seem to have gotten back into the cool rain rut, so no the tomatoes stopped ripening. That’s kind of the case with everything, in that the weather is the ultimate factor in when you can plant, ripening, disease, etc. We will try to keep the disease off them while we wait for more tomato weather 😊
We grow a lot of cucumbers!
By now you must have seen our regular slicing cucumbers. They still have bumpy skin and sometimes even the prickles or thorns. But you MAY also see the very smooth skinned, dark green Divas, Kirby or pickling, as well as the heirloom Lemon cucumbers (round, yellow balls). The Lemon Cucumbers are adorable and aptly named after the way they look, and from what I’ve read in the past, may be the oldest known cultivar still being grown today. You do not need to peel any of our cucumbers, so it is by preference. We do not treat them with anything to preserve them or paraffin – as so many supermarkets do, yes, even WF.
**If you feel like it, and it is not necessary, you can lightly salt the sliced cucumbers and let them drain, after ½ hour or so, you can squeeze the extra liquid out of them and your refrigerator pickles or salads will be less watery. If I want the salt off, I give them a rinse, squeeze them out and pat dry. This is often useful for tea sandwiches 😉 The history of salting of cucumbers is much like for eggplants and other veggies, the hope is to draw off any bitterness. You will seldom find our cucumbers to be bitter, and when it does happen (usually the pickling) it is the skin that is bitter, not the flesh. I’ve only experienced that during extreme heat conditions. Cucumbers have been cultivated for thousands of years and were wildly popular throughout the Roman Empire – even used for their medicinal properties in scores of remedies. After the fall of Rome, they fell out of favor and only crept back into favor in Europe in the 16 -1700s. I love reading old cookbooks where many vegetables are looked upon with a certain amount of suspicion. My favorite is where Lydia Child advises us to drop thin slices of cucumbers in cold water to remove the slime that is “so injurious to health” 😊 It turns out the Romans had it right: cucumbers are low in Saturated Fat, very low in Cholesterol and Sodium AND they are a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium, as well as Vitamin A, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese. But most of all, cucumbers (their skin) are a great source of chlorophyll which is great for detoxifying the body and blood!
This is the time to get cucumbers if you like to make anything in bulk. Please let us know if we should send an extra case to any of our markets for you.
Check out the Stillman’s Produce Chart online!!!
Kale and Cucumber Smoothie
Okay folks, there are tons of cucumber/kale smoothies out there, so you can spend the day reading all the great recipes online 😊 Here’s a short one for two. Blend well:
- 1 apple, cored and roughly chopped (no apple, use berries!)
- 1 cucumber (yes, leave the skin on)
- Juice of half a lemon.
- 1 heaping tablespoon roughly chopped fresh ginger.
- 2 large handfuls kale, or other green (with heavy ribs removed)
Summer Squash/Zucchini Lasagna
There’s really no mystery behind making lasagna. Though I realize it is the actual name of the pasta used, the name lasagna (for me) encompasses the whole idea of a rectangular layered casserole – yes? In the past years, I have pretty much experimented with all sorts of food-stuffs to serve as the separating layer, depending on who I am feeding: eggroll wrappers, spaghetti squash, kale or chard leaves and today, assorted summer squashes. it was delicious! If you already have your own favorite lasagna recipe, then all you need to do is substitute thinly sliced squashes for the pasta.
- 4 decent size squashes
- 1lb ground beef
- 1 1/2 Jars favorite tomato sauce
- Large container of Ricotta Cheese
- 1 egg
- 3+ cups of cheese (I used combo of provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan)
- fresh oregano and parsley if you have it
- S&P to taste
Trim your squash and slice 1/8″-3/16″ thick the long way – time to break out the mandolin. I very lightly salted and then spread on paper towelling to drain a little while I continued cooking.
Start to brown the ground beef and then add your sauce, cooking until beef is completely cooked. Beat the egg into the ricotta, seasoning with S&P and any herbs you may have. Blend in 2 1/2 cups cheese. Let the layering begin!
Grease your pan, spread a little tomato sauce mixture in the bottom, line up your squash slices – mine worked out almost exactly as it would if I was using lasagna! I ended up overlapping them the long way for a more substantial layer and to fit the pan. Then spread 1/3 cheese mixture over your squash, cover that with a layer of sauce, repeat. I had three layers of squash and finished with the cheese and sauce layer. You could easily add another layer of squash (if you the room) and cover with more sauce to finish. Top with more cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbling and done (about 40 minutes for mine). The squash should be cooked. Knowing what a moist vegetable squash is, I did not cover the pan with foil, as I typically do for half the cooking time if I used pasta. That worked out well because no one wants a runny lasagna 😉
Read this letter on the blog! Or search for recipes. Simply click the in the upper right of our website and type in whatever you are looking for, i.e. “chard recipe”
Glenn finally finished thinning apples and we should be picking Paula Reds in a couple weeks! It was nice to see several different groups of CSA members at the farm last week and I know they had a great time picking berries 😉 I confess this is the time of year that there is so much going on at the farm that I can’t quite track down what’s going to be in the box. The guys just show up with stuff that suddenly ripened, or that I forgot about and I am basically “like, yeah, I guess members are getting eggplant in their box this week.” Enjoy the surprises and do ask if you don’t know what you’ve got.
Eat well, Geneviève Stillman
Next week: corn, eggplants, tomatoes, lettuces, kale, summer squashes, berries, cucumbers, peppers. Potatoes?…