Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CSA in the Kitchen

It's that time of the week again!  To all of our Montalbano Farms friends, sorry about the confusion as to which CSA week we're in.  Different locations started on different days so we're not all numbered the same.  From now on, I will simply be sharing what we're doing/have done with what we got in our Logan Square Market share on Sunday morning.  Again, please feel free to comment with ideas and recipes!


Beautiful, crisp green beans.  I'm not going to lie - this week I will be eating every single one of these raw and probably with my hands.  I love these veggies and they're so refreshing on a hot summer's day that I'm not really sure why you'd want to cook them.  If, however, you do not love green beans as much as I do, I would suggest slicing them on an angle to make smaller pieces and then combining them with sliced cucumber and tomato.  Dress this mid-summer salad with olive oil and the vinegar of your choosing - we have an oregano vinegar that I would use for this!

 The bell peppers this week would be great candidates for stuffing, following the same guidelines as we used a few weeks ago for zucchini (found here).  If I were considering turning up the heat in my oven (which, to be honest I'm probably not since we don't have central air), I would love these pepper sliced on top of a pizza!  Green peppers, mushrooms and onions is my favorite topping and all of these things can be be found in our CSA/other farmers market vendor stalls.  This week, however, I may be setting these peppers aside for a cooler day when I do want to make pizza so I'll wash and slice them, lay the slices on a tray to freeze and then store them in a freezer bag once they're solid.  The texture doesn't hold too well, but they still taste great!

 This heap of jalapenos may get frozen this week too.  The heat drops significantly once frozen, but I don't much mind that.  Another simple way of making these peppers last longer is to make chile paste.  Wearing gloves (really, you should - have you ever touched your eyes after handling peppers?  seriously unpleasant!), stem and seed 2 - 3 or more peppers and chop.  Puree in a blender while slowly adding hot water to make a paste.  Add salt and then store in the refrigerator.  You can use this paste as a base for sauces, to spike soups, flavor meats, maybe veggies - the possibilities are only limited by your taste buds and your ability to remember that you have it in the fridge!

Those last little red peppers I'm thinking are going to be in an infusion of some kind but I haven't decided yet (oil? vodka? vinegar?); I'll keep you posted.


More lovely tomatoes!  Tonight I plan to enjoy these raw, chopped and tossed with pasta.  For the dish I'll add some shredded basil, drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  If I'm feeling very accomplished in the kitchen I may even crush a few garlic cloves to simmer very lightly in the olive oil before tossing - this will infuse the oil and I'll discard the cloves once the oil is ready.  Come to think of it ... this is essentially the dinner version of the appetizer from last week, bruschetta.  Parmesan cheese would also be a welcome topping for this meal.


The beets we received will likely be roasted (wrapped in foil in the oven at 400 until soft when pierced) and eaten warm with butter as a side dish.  I plan to eat the greens steamed and also with butter, possibly as a side with my pasta tonight.  Butter just makes so many things better!

The cucumbers probably won't get buttered ... although ... bread and butter pickles, while not containing actual butter, are extremely delicious ... however, I was more thinking of trying a salad of this type.

Watermelon!  How could I forget?!  Do you really need to be inspired to eat this treat?  Well, if you don't want to get your cheeks sticky with juice, we offer the following suggestion - try something a little different involving muddling a few watermelon cubes with fresh mint leaves and simple syrup then shaking with ice and gin (or white rum or vodka or no alcohol at all, just add more soda) - top it off with a bit of club soda.


Thanks for stopping by!

~ Courtney and Grady

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