CSA BLOG 2014 – WEEK 16



Next CSA Pickups: September 16 & 18

In your share this week:

  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Beets
  • Mustard greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale




Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (about 2 small to medium)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped or julienned
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
Croutons, crostini, or more basil leaves for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender. Take the soup off the heat, add the cream. Process the soup through a food mill (to remove the skin and seeds) or puree it in a powerful blender or food processor. Reheat the soup over low heat (if you heat it on high the cream may curdle), add more salt and pepper if needed, and serve with croutons, crostini, or chopped basil, if using. Makes 5 to 6 servings.


Stir-Fried Chicken and Chinese Cabbage
Adapted from Martha Stewart


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
4 teaspoons corn starch
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola or grapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 cups sliced Chinese cabbage
1 small red chile or jalapeño (optional)
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 3 tablespoons water. Slice chicken into thin strips. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch. In a large wok or skillet, heat oil, garlic, and ginger over medium-high until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken in a single layer, pressing against pan to sear. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add bok choy and chile and cook, stirring, until bok choy slightly wilts, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture and cook until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.


Vinegar Chiles
Adapted from The Farm by Ian Knauer

These peppers make a spicy addition to sandwiches, pizza, pasta, roasted meats, or sauces. They keep, chilled, for at least 6 months. They’re a great way to enjoy your farm chile peppers for months.

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces of mixed hot chiles (such as banana chiles, habaneros, cayenne, and jalapeños)
1 small garlic clove, smashed

Heat the vinegar with the sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium-heat, stirring, until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Slice the chiles and place them, along with the garlic, in a sealable glass or plastic container, then pour the vinegar solution over the chiles. Keep the vinegar chiles, covered, in the refrigerator.


Bitter Greens Salad with Roasted Pears or Apples
Adapted from Gourmet magazine via epicurious.com

For salad:
3 firm-ripe Bosc pears or apples, peeled, cored, and each cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

3/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups mixed bitter greens (such as mustard greens, mizuna, escarole, radicchio, endive, and/or chicory), torn into bite-size pieces

For dressing:
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
Drizzle of honey
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss pears or apples with oil and spread in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan, then season with salt and pepper. Roast pears or apples, stirring and turning over twice, until pears are tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 30 minutes, then cool about 15 minutes. While pears are roasting and cooling, toss torn greens in a large bowl. Whisk together shallot, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Just before serving, add roasted pears and dressing to greens and toss to combine well. Makes 4 to 5 servings.


Farro Salad with Roasted Beets & Feta
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit


6 to 8 medium-sized beets, tops trimmed
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled or quick-cooking farro or wheat berries
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed or chopped
2 cups thinly-sliced radicchio or kale, or chopped spinach or arugula
1/2 up finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange beets in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil, cover with foil, and roast beets until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool, trim beets, and peel. Cut into wedges and set aside.

Cook faro in a large saucepan of boiling water until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes for semi-pearled farro or about 10-12 minutes for quick-cooking. If you use wheatberries, they will need longer–about 35 to 40 minutes until just tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl, Mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and garlic into hot farro. Cool to room temperature.

Add beets, radicchio or other greens, onion, and parsley to faro, and toss to incorporate evenly. Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad. Add feta and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or cold.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Rigatoni with Eggplant Purée and Toasted Pine Nuts
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded
3  whole cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the eggplant, tomatoes garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes. 2. While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven on the rack below the vegetables. Roast until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.  Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables. Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve. Makes 6 servings.


Mexican-Style Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Everyday Food 

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat), minced
2 small onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves (2 whole, 1 minced)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 peppers such as bell, Italian, or poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed
Preheat oven to 425. In a blender, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves; puree. Season with salt. Pour sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin, and 3/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, stuff pepper halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish. Sprinkle peppers with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake until peppers are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.
Weekly CSA Blog produced by Nicole DeCoursy Mead.


CSA BLOG 2014 – WEEK 14



Next CSA Pickups: September 2 & 4


In your share this week:
**Waiting for updated list from farmer Brett


SPOTLIGHT ON: Celeriac (aka Celery Root)

Don’t be scared to try this homely vegetable–it’s very easy to cook with and tastes great. Celeriac (or celery root) is just as its name claims: It’s the root of the celery plant. It has a mild celery flavor, but is somewhat starchy and similar to the texture of a potato, though you can eat it raw or cooked. It’s wonderful cooked and mixed in with mashed potatoes and apples or vegetable soups (use instead of celery). Or grate it raw and toss with salad greens or slaws (check out three very different ways to use celery root below). Celeriac is a wonderful source of calcium, iron, and vitamin C. To trim : Use a sharp paring knife and take off about a quarter inch of the surface to get past the divots of dirt.


Classic Celery Root Rémoulade
Adapted from Keepers by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion

The authors suggest pairing this classic french condiment with chicken, pork, or baked/grilled sausages or ham. It also goes well with pan-fried breaded fish fillets, shrimp, or crab cakes. You can also eat it as a sandwich filling or condiment!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijo mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds celeriac, peeled and shredded (a food processor makes this task really easy, but you can also use a box grater–just try cutting it in half first for easier handling)
Handful of flat-leaf parsley (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper, then stir to combine. Add the celeriac and parsley (if using) and toss to combine.


Celery Root & Apple Purée
Adapted from Ina Garten

 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup large-diced fennel bulb, tops and core removed
1 pound celery root, peeled and (3/4-inch) diced
4 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and (3/4-inch) diced
1 large or 2 small Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and (3/4-inch) diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good apple cider
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a shallow pot or large saute pan. Add the fennel, celery root, potatoes, apples, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. 2. Add the cider and tightly cover the pot. Simmer over low heat (I pull the pot halfway off the heat) for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft. If the vegetables begin to burn or they seem dry, add another few tablespoons of apple cider or some water. 3. When the vegetables are cooked, add the cream and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer the mixture to a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade and process. (You can also use a food processor but the texture will be smoother than with the food mill.) Taste for salt and pepper and return to the pot to keep warm. Serve warm. Makes 2 to 3 servings.


Arugula & Celery Root Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Adapted from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark

Clark recommends serving grilled or broiled sausages with this delicious salad.

For the mustard vinaigrette:
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus 1 small pinch
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (or red or white wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
1 medium celery root, trimmed and peeled
5 cups arugula or other salad green, torn into bite-size pieceds
1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)

1. To make the vinaigrette: Smash the garlic and sprinkle it with salt. Using the flat side of the knife, press it to make a garlic pasted. Add it to a small bowl with the mustard, vinegar, and remaining salt. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it’s incorporated. Season with pepper. 2. Using a food processor grating blade or a large box grater, grate the celery root. Transfer to a bowl and add the arugula and nuts, if using. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Season with more salt, lemon juice, and/or olive oil if needed before serving. Makes 4 servings.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Carrots Two Ways (Roasted Carrots and Carrot Romesco)
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine


1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1  1/2 pounds small carrots, peeled (halve lengthwise if larger)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
2 cups greens (baby spinach, arugula, watercress, mustard greens, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until softened and browned, about 15 to 20 inures. Let cool slightly. Pulse pine nuts, garlic, and 3 tablespoons oil in a food processor to a coarse paste. Add red pepper flakes, 1/4 of roasted carrots, 1 tablespoon each red wine vinegar and water. Process, adding more water as needed, to a coarse purée. Season wit salt, black pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.  Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in  a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and black pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast pork until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees in the thickest part, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Toss greens and roasted carrots with remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Serve pork with romesco and salad.


Shredded Collard Greens Salad with Pickled Apples & Toasted Walnuts
Adapted from Gourmet magazine via epicurious.com

Yes, you can eat collards raw! They are delicious in this Fall-inspired salad with sweet pickled apples and crunchy walnuts. For a creamy component, add a little bit of goat cheese or blue cheese, which works nicely with the ingredients.


2  red apples (preferably local apples) such as Gala or Idared
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pickling spice
1/2 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large bunch collard greens (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese (optional)

To make pickled apples: Quarter and core apples, then cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Boil vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a saucepan, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add apples and return to a boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool. Chill, uncovered, until cold, about 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare nuts while apples chill: Toast walnuts in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until a shade darker. Watch them closely so they don’t burn. Cool nuts in oil. Transfer nuts to a cutting board with a slotted spoon, reserving oil. Coarsely chop 1 tablespoon nuts and finely chop remaining nuts. Prepare collard greens: Halve each collard leaf lengthwise with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cutting out and discarding center ribs. Stack leaves, roll up like a cigar, and thinly slice crosswise into shreds. Transfer to a large bowl. Transfer all nuts and oil from skillet to collards and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add apple slices, discarding pickling liquid and spices, and toss again. Add cheese if using. Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the greens to soften a bit.

Serves 6 (you can half the ingredients to make a smaller amount, which is what I did)


Collards with Red Onions & Bacon
Recipe adapted from Gourmet

This isn’t the prettiest of side dishes, but these collards make a delicious and hearty side to grilled meats.


3 slices of bacon
1 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons firmly packed dark brown sugar, or to taste
Pinch dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 bunch collard greens , coarse stems and ribs discarded and leaves and thin stems washed well, drained, and coarsely chopped

In a large skillet, cook bacon  over moderate heat until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain and when cool enough to handle, crumble the pieces. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of drippings and then add the onions, stirring occasionally, until browned slightly and softened. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

To the skillet, add broth or water, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and about half of bacon, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the collards and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes. Stir in onions and simmer, covered, 5 to 10 minutes more, or until collards are very tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If the mixture gets too dry, add additional broth or a splash of vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and additional vinegar if needed. Serve topped with the remaining bacon. Makes 3 to 4 side servings.


Farro with Tomatoes & Onions
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen blog by Deb Perelman


2 cups water
1 cup semi-pearled farro (you can also try this with other grains, just follow the water amount for that particular grain)
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
9 ounces cherry tomatoes or 12 ounces heirloom or plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped–this will give you a saucier dish
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Few basil leaves, torn or cut into thin ribbons
Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, for serving

Place water and farro in a medium saucepan to presoak (I find just 5 to 10 minutes sufficient) while you prepare the other ingredients. Adding each ingredient to the pot as you finish preparing it, cut onion in half again, and very thinly slice it into quarter-moons. Thinly slice garlic cloves as well. Halve or quarter tomatoes. Add salt, pepper flakes (to taste) and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Bring uncovered pan (no lid necessary) up to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the farro is perfectly cooked (tender but with a meaty chew), seasoned and the cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. If needed, cook it for 5 additional minutes, until farro is more tender. Transfer to a wide serving bowl. If there’s enough leftover cooking liquid to be bothersome, simply use a slotted spoon to leave the amount you wish to behind. Drizzle farro lightly with additional olive oil, scatter with basil, and parmesan. Eat immediately. Makes 2 servings (as a full meal) or 4 servings (as a side).


Kale Salad with Pecorino, Walnuts, and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen blog by Deb Perelman
I was excited to see Tuscan kale (aka lacinato or black or dinosuar kale) at last week’s CSA pickup–it’s the dark green variety with crinkly leaves and happens to be the best choice for kale salad because it’s mild and more tender than curly kale .


1/2 cup walnuts, toasted in a pan or in the oven until lightly brown
1/4 cup golden raisins or currants, dried cherries or cranberries
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
Coarse or kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch kale, preferably Tuscan kale, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid. Toast bread crumbs, garlic, and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside. Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise. Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, another drizzle of olive oil.


Potatoes Vinaigrette with Sieved Eggs and Pickled Celery
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman


For the pickled celery:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 to 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on an angle
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
For the salad:
1 pound fingerling or small red potatoes, boiled until fork tender and fully cooked (though not mushy!)
2 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and cut into quarters
Crumbled bacon, minced fresh herbs, handful of arugula (optional garnishes)

To pickle the celery: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Add the celery, and set the mixture aside for about an hour in the fridge. To make the dressing: Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste, and set aside. To assemble the salad: Halve the potatoes lengthwise (or quarter if larger), and arrange them on a platter cut-side up. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the potatoes. Press each chunk of egg through a fine-mesh sieve, yolk first, so that all the potatoes are coated with pieces of egg. You can also just finely chop the eggs and sprinkle over potatoes. Garnish with pickled celery and optional garnishes if using.


CSA Newsletter produced by Nicole DeCoursy Mead

CSA BLOG 2014 – WEEK 11



Next CSA Pickups: August 12 & 14

In your share this week:

  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Shallots




Here are some of the cherry, heirloom, and beefsteak varieties available at the farm this year:

  • Sungold These small, golden-orange cherry tomatoes are a staff favorite and for good reason: they’re just about the sweetest you can find! They’re best used in salads, but you can also roast or sauté them and toss with pasta.
  • Cherokee Purple These tomatoes have a deep reddish-purple hue. They’re big, dense, juicy, and have small seeds.
  • Red Brandywine  One of the most popular and best-tasting tomatoes, this Amish heirloom dates back to 1885. Thin-skinned, pinkish-red fruits have an old-fashioned, full-bodied tomato flavor and tend not to be very acidic.
  • Striped German A large heirloom–usually weighing over a pound (pictured in photo at the top of this post)–with marbled red  and yellow stripes throughout this dense, sweet, complex, and juicy fruit. Stunning in Caprese (tomato and mozzarella) salads!
  • Black Trifele A small to medium (about the same size and shape of a small pear) with a purplish color–black trifele tomatoes are known for their meaty texture and complex, rich tomato flavor. They’re known as one of the best-tasting “black” tomatoes and are delicious in salads and sandwiches.
  • Moskovich A small to medium round, deep red tomato with rich taste. It’s smaller size makes it a great slicer for sandwiches and burgers.

TOMATO TIPS: Store your tomatoes on the counter stem side down–this prevents the bottom of the fruit from bruising and getting mushy–and away from direct sunlight! Many people make the mistake of putting them on a sunny windowsill, but this will only toughen the skin. Once picked, tomatoes don’t need the sun anymore to ripen so they’ll do best on a non-sunny spot on your counter. If your tomatoes are not-quite-ripe, they’ll be ready for eating in just a few days. And never store tomatoes in the fridge–the cool temps destroy that wonderful tomato flavor.


Tomato Time! 3 Delicious Takes on the Tomato Sandwich

Open-faced tomato, feta, and fresh oregano sandwich

Open-faced tomato, feta, and fresh oregano sandwich

Open-faced Tomato, Feta, and Oregano: Drizzle a thick slice of toasted bread (ciabbata, Pullman, sourdough, whole grain, or baguette) with a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Layer on tomato slices and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Top with slices of  feta cheese (try flavorful Greek or Israeli feta here) and fresh oregano leaves. Drizzle with more olive oil and eat. Sandwich shown above. (Recipe from Bon Appétit)

Tomato, Avocado, and Mayo: Toast two slices of bread of your choice, then rub with a garlic clove that’s been cut in half. Spread with mayo (or you can sub olive oil or butter for the mayo). Layer slices of avocado and tomato, and drizzle with lemon juice, salt, and lots of black pepper. (Recipe from Melissa Clark)

Tomato with Basil Mayo: Whisk some mayo, chopped basil, lemon juice, salt. and pepper in a small bowl. Spread mayo on 2 slices of country bread (or your favorite bread). Place sliced tomatoes on one slice, and top with the other slice. (Recipe from Ina Garten)




Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen blog by Deb Perelman

rice-stuffed tomatoes

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse or Kosher salt
6 medium-to-large (about 3 inches across, or about 8 ounces each) tomatoes
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
9 tablespoons arborio or another short-grained risotto-type starchy rice
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, oregano or slivered basil (or a mix)
Handful breadcrumbs (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an ovenproof baking dish with olive oil. To prep the tomatoes: Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out tomato juices, seeds and flesh into a bowl. Salt the cavities of the tomatoes and turn them upside down on a plate to drain. Prepare reserve: Run scooped-out tomato flesh and juices through a food mill or pulse in a blender or food processor until coarsely pureed. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking them together until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook them together for about 3 minutes, or until rice toasts a bit. Add the reserved tomato puree and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, then cover skillet with a lid, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is par-cooked. Adjust seasoning if needed. To stuff tomatoes: Stir fresh herbs into tomato-rice mixture. Arrange tomatoes right-side-up in baking pan then spoon mixture into tomatoes, filling them just 7/8 of the way. Coat with breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of cheese, if you want. Then drizzle tomatoes lightly with olive oil or you can replace the tomato lid on each. Bake uncovered until tomato walls are soft and the rice inside has finished cooking, about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your tomatoes. Serve hot. Serves 2 to 3 as a main course, 6 as a side.


Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman


For the scallion biscuits:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup whole milk
For the tomato salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes such as Sun Gold tomatoes (as shown above)
For the topping:
3 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 scallions, thinly sliced (you can just use the green parts or the whole scallion)

To make the biscuits, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mix resembles a coarse meal. (you can also do this with your hands or a pastry blender). Add the scallion and whole milk and pulse a few times until dough is evenly moistened. Pat out the dough to 3/4 to 1 inch thickness with your hands and cut six 3-inch rounds (I used a glass rim for this, which was approximately 3 inches), reform scraps as needed. Arrange the biscuits on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. To make the tomato salad, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Halve or quarter the tomatoes and add them to the dressing, tossing gently to coat all the tomatoes.For the whipped goat cheese, use an electric mixer or beat heavy cream with a whisk until peaks form. Add the softened goat cheese and beat until the cheese topping is light and fluffy. To assemble, Split each warm biscuit in half and generously spoon each half with tomato salad and dressing. Dollop on whipped goat cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Makes 6 to 8 shortcakes.


Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard (or Kale)
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine and chef Michael Psilatkis


For the beans:
2 (15.5-oz.) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
10 small or 4-5 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 shallots
3 small bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/4 cups olive oil
For the chard:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 small bay leaves
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small bunches Swiss chard or kale, center stem cut out, leaves coarsely chopped
For the beans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the first 5 ingredients in an 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour oil over; cover dish with foil and roast until the garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the oil.  Meanwhile, for the chard: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. Cover and cook until the shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Add the chards in two batches, waiting for the first batch to wilt before adding the second. Toss until the chard volume is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained garbanzo beans, garlic, and shallots and  2 tablespoons of the reserved oil. Toss over medium heat until warmed through. Add more oil if necessary, and use the remaining oil for bread or other uses. Season the dish with salt and pepper and serve. Makes 6 servings.


Kale with Smoked Salt and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison


1  bunch kale
Sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Smoked salt (you can find smoked salt at Trader Joe’s, Williams Sonoma, and some supermarkets)
Crumbled goat cheese
Fresh or store-bought bread crumbs, crisped with olive oil in a pan
Apple cider vinegar, to finish

Pull or slice the leaves of the kale from their stems and discard the stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add sea salt and kale. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain thoroughly and coarsely chop the leaves. Heat the oil in a skilled over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last minute, then add the kale. Toss well and continue cooking until heated through. Season to taste with smoked salt and lots of pepper. Put the kale in a serving bowl and top with crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle smokde salt over top. Cover with bread crumbs and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar. Serve. Makes 2 modest servings


Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Apples, and Cumin Vinaigrette
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


For the vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons cumin seeds or 1 to 2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
For the Salad:
1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups quinoa
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
One 1 1/4-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large apple, unpeeled, cored, and quartered
3/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted, or 1/3 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large bunch watercress, arugula, or baby spinach, for serving (optional)

For the vinaigrette: If using cumin seeds, toast them over medium heat in a heavy medium skillet, stirring occasionally, until the seeds darken in color and become fragrant, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Place the seeds on a plate; cool for 1 minute. Grind the seeds finely in a small food mill or grinder.Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and the toasted seeds (or ground cumin) until thick and blended in a small bowl. Stir in the shallots. Set the vinaigrette aside. For the salad: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Mix in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand, covered, 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool. Meanwhile, spray a large rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Toss the eggplant with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper on the sheet. Roast until tender and browned, stirring once, about 30 minutes. To assemble the salad: Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Add the vinaigrette, eggplant, apples, walnuts and cranberries. Toss to blend. To serve, cover the bottom of a shallow platter with the watercress, arugula, or baby spinach (if using). Spoon the salad on top and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Classic Stuffed Peppers 
Adapted from Bon Appétit
6 large bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup cooked white rice, cooled
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 1/2 cups canned tomato sauce
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 large egg

Cut off top 1/2 inch of peppers and reserve. Scoop seeds from cavities. Discard stems and chop pepper tops. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, parsley, garlic, and chopped pepper pieces. Sauté until onions soften, about 8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in rice, paprika, salt, pepper, and allspice. Cool 10 minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup tomato sauce, then beef and egg.

Fill pepper cavities with beef mixture. Stand filled peppers in single layer in heavy large pot. Pour remaining 2 cups tomato sauce around peppers. Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot and simmer 20 minutes. Spoon some sauce over each pepper. Cover; cook until peppers are tender and filling is cooked through and firm, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and chill. Rewarm covered over low heat.) Serves 4 to 6


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Nicole DeCoursy Mead

Help Us Win An Orchard – Week 2

We are now in the thick of it!  100 worthy community groups are competing for the 17 winning spots—the prize is an entire orchard.  While the schools have pulled into the lead, we can still be one of the winners if everyone remembers to vote EVERY day until August 29.  Even a small group can win if all their members continue to vote.  HHF is just under 450 votes—let’s shoot for 1,000 before the official last frost date—May 15!

Here’s how:
Click here and you’ll go to the Communities Take Root website
Register once or log in, if already registered
Scroll down the page and find “NY”—you’ll see Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm—
Click Vote!  Then collect your coupon for $1.00 off Edy’s fruit bars
Put “Vote!” in your Outlook, daily minder, or calendar so you don’t forget!

Apple Picking Is So Much Fun!

Now, let’s talk apples, possibly the quintessential Northeastern fruit.  Do you know how many apple varieties exist?  There are somewhere around 15,000 named varieties in North America; today, about 11 are available in your supermarket.  Red Delicious makes up the majority—around 40%.  And taste often takes a back seat to looks.  Why?  Back before widespread refrigeration, trucking and alternative foods, different kinds of apples were needed to ensure a continuous supply of fruit.
In the 1700’s, potable water was an issue.  It was much safer to drink hard cider—even for children.  For cider, you need at least 3 kinds of apples:  bitter, sweet and bitter-sharp.  Some of the bitter-sharp apples (Kingston Black, Stoke Red) taste puckery  and astringent , but they add that jene sais quoi to apple cider.  Orchards are now growing these apples and re-introducing Americans to hard cider, especially in New England.

Even as late as the 1940’s, massive amounts of apples weren’t trucked in from Washington State (or Chile!) in January.  Apples had to be preserved year round to be available in the Northeast during the winter and spring months.  You needed apples that stored well—hard, starchy apples that slowly became sweeter in storage.  And high-tech methods like Controlled Atmosphere Storage didn’t exist back then–only cool, humid root cellars.  Apples like Winter Banana, Ben Davis and Newtown Pippin were planted for this purpose.   Certain kinds of apples were best for dried for snacks and reconstituted for pies, like Yellow Transparent; they could be peeled and hung over the stove to be dried.  Apples that made great applesauce in June and July, well before fall, were valued highly:  Red Astrachan was a good one.  And of course, for eating out of hand, it would be hard to do better than Ashmead’s Kernel, Esopus Spitzenberg and White Winter Pearmain.  Need cold hardiness? Try Northern Spy.  Southern climate?  Black Twig could work. Want large size?  Wolf River’s your ticket.  Sweet, snappy flavor?  Try Yates.

There is an apple out there for most any growing condition.  We’ll talk about the breeding programs that bringing us disease-resistant apples and the various organic growing techniques available in our next blog.   Stay tuned, and vote!