|Issue 9 Geauga County, Ohio||Aug. 9, 2011|
It's time to celebrate Sneak Some Zucchini
onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day
In case you weren't aware, Aug. 8 was national Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day. The holiday is attributed to Tom Roy of Pennsylvania as an amusing way to share the bounty of those prolific zucchini plants. As part of a newspaper column on the subject, he provided a list of 20 ways to do this. One of our favorites involves wrapping zucchinis in white butcher paper so they resemble sub sandwiches. If you read Lyn Trier's column about a multitude of uses for zucchini a few weeks ago and have exhausted your possibilities, feel free to celebrate the holiday, even if it's a day or two late.
As silly as it may sound, the holiday is really about sharing. This is the time of the CSA season when some participants may start to get tired of finding new recipes for cooking some of the items that appear in the boxes. If you're starting to feel that way, give yourself a break - sneak some zucchini (or cucumbers or tomatoes or a combination) onto your neighbor's porch. Who knows what kind of new traditions you might start on your street as a result.
By the way, if you are still looking for new ways to use zucchini, feel free to treat yourself to some zucchini brownies - we've included the recipe below.
Thanks for your continued support of local farms - it means the world to us!
Michelle, Laura and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
|Reminders & updates
You may notice the tomatoes look a little less perfect this week - our field tomatoes are finally ready. They may not look as good, but they sure are just as delicious.
In this week's shares
In this week's share, CSA members can expect things such as peaches, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, peppers, hot peppers, watermelon, beans, basil, eggplant, beets, parsley and peas. NOTE: You may or may not receive all of the types of produce listed above. This is a list of possible items. Different size shares and shares received later in the week may include different items.
Recipes for what's in season
Please share your favorite recipes with us. Send them to Laura Dobson at LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org and we'll try to include them in an upcoming newsletter. Here are some recipes from our members.
1/2 cup vegetable oil (can substitute with apple sauce for low-fat brownies)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini, drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. (After grating zucchini, let drain for 30 minutes in colander or squeeze in cheesecloth or you will have soggy brownies.) Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.
Terri Dalton, who picks up at St. Noel in Willoughby Hills, shared a link to this recipe on our Facebook page:
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 pound fresh okra, stem end removed and sliced lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne (red) pepper, or to taste
generous grating fresh black pepper
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Heat a large non-stick skillet rubbed or sprayed lightly with olive oil. When it's hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the okra and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the okra is beginning to brown. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat, and cover. Cook for 10 more minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve alone or with rice.
If you're sharing your zucchini with a neighbor, you might as well share the link for 52 ways to cook zucchini with them as well: 52 Ways to Cook Zucchini
Getting the most out of your CSA share
By GFF CSA Member Lyn Trier
It's Watermelon Time!
It's the time of year where we will begin seeing watermelons in our shares. We'll probably see cantaloupe too. In our house, everyone likes melon and we usually don't have any trouble eating them in a timely fashion. Sometimes, though, we get too much, and then I freeze the extra to make delicious drinks.
My least favorite part of getting melons is cutting them up. Once the melon is cut and in the fridge, it magically disappears, a little at a time, at each snack or meal. My parents always sliced it with the rind on and then cut the slices in halves or quarters, then we would pick it up and eat it off the rind.
When I moved out, I did the same thing, but I took it one step further and carefully cut the flesh off the rind before chopping it up. I liked eating melon with a fork and not having to worry about the rind.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw my husband cut up a watermelon. It was fabulous. I could not believe how easy it looked. I asked him where he learned how to do that and he replied "Alton Brown." Of course, we've learned lots from him. He is the host of Good Eats and Iron Chef America on Food Network and talks a lot about the science of cooking. Even my 3-year-old enjoys watching his shows.
Use a sharp knife or a wallboard saw. Cut off a slice at one end so the melon has a flat spot and can stand up on its own. This is great because now it doesn't roll around. Genius! After standing the melon on the flat spot, cut strips down the side, from the top to the bottom, as if you were peeling it. Cut deeply enough to remove the rind. Work your way around the melon, cutting in long strips. Once you have made it all the way around the watermelon, you will likely need to make a few cleanup cuts to remove any bits of rind near the top and the bottom. You are left with a ball of edible red watermelon flesh. Cut the ball in half, and put the flat side of each half on the cutting board for safe slicing. Then cut into cubes, sticks or slices as you wish.
I always put a layer of paper towels and/or an extra dish under my cutting board to allow for the dripping and liquid that inevitably comes with cutting up a watermelon. It makes clean up extra easy. Usually, I can get away without spilling a ton of juice on the floor.
If you don't eat much watermelon or have trouble using it up in a timely fashion or if you get too much at once, stick the cubes in the freezer for use in a frosty.
There are many recipes available on the Web, but here's what I did this week.
3 cups frozen watermelon cubes
2 tablespoons maple syrup (could use honey) or to taste
Juice from one lemon (could use bottled lemon juice)
2 frozen bananas, sliced
Blend all of the ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
I like to puree the watermelon first and get the blender going before adding the banana and other ingredients. Many of the recipes call for water to help get the mix started, but I didn't find it necessary. You can adjust the ingredients to taste. Some might only want one banana and some might want three. The banana helps make it creamy and adds to the flavor.
One of the stores had watermelon on sale last weekend. We bought three so I could stock up on frozen cubes. I'm excited to get fresh local melon soon. I'm not sure if any will make it into the freezer...
Lyn Trier lives in Mayfield Heights. She's a stay-at-home mom trying to raise healthy kids who enjoy local food and other area offerings. She authors a blog at http://lifelynstyle.com where she writes about food, exercise and eating local. Lyn will be sharing her thoughts with the members of Geauga Family Farms CSA throughout the season.
Lyn took photos of all the items she received in her shares last year. To identify the unfamiliar veggies in your share, please download this PDF of Produce photos and compare your produce to the photos.
Supporting local farms, one recipe at a time
Cookbook offers advice on CSA food
By Omar Sacirbey, Globe Correspondent
As former chefs and passionate supporters of locally grown food, Julia Shanks and Brett Grohsgal had lots of recipes for a cookbook.
So they wrote one. "The Farmer's Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Your CSA and Farmers' Market Foods,'' a book for consumers who get their food from markets and community-supported agriculture programs, or CSAs, has just come out. The 225 recipes are "vegetable-centric'' and the authors offer advice on storage, canning, and other skills. Shanks, a Cambridge resident, consults to farms and restaurants. Grohsgal is the owner of Even' Star Organic Farm in Lexington Park, Md. The duo want to address all the questions Grohsgal heard over the years from confounded CSA customers.
Some of the questions customers ask are: "Why isn't this tomato red?" and "What do I do with all these greens?" Grohsgal and Shanks, who met while working as chefs at Washington's Restaurant Nora, have been answering consumers with tasty recipes for years. But as the queries grew, they knew a book of imaginative and simple recipes for an abundance of vegetables and fruits was in order. "It's daunting for consumers. They want to support local farmers, but they're overwhelmed by all these new ingredients, and it discourages them from subscribing to a CSA," says Shanks.
Estimates of how many CSA farms and farmers' markets there are in Massachusetts vary. According to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, there are 132 CSA farms and 236 farmers' markets in the state, including 41 CSAs and 110 farmers markets within a 30-mile radius of Boston. Several CSA and market cookbooks already exist, including "Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Consumer Supported Agriculture," written by Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En, two New Englanders.
Shanks and Grohsgal say that what distinguishes their book is an emphasis on simplicity. They selected recipes with time-pressed people in mind, and followed a philosophy that a few excellent ingredients prepared well will always taste much better than a dish of many average ingredients. "It's about letting the vegetable shine,'' says Shanks. Recipes range from the unique (beet and goat cheese napoleon with buttered walnuts, blackberry-sage chutney, Chinese turnip cakes) to the familiar (pesto, carrots in butter, simmered new potatoes).
The authors acknowledge that eating seasonally is challenging in Northern states. Some advantages to cooler and shorter summers are good for greens, but less so for tomatoes and peppers, which do better in hot, muggy conditions.
The book includes recipes for tater tots and popcorn (basic and kettle), while others involve deep-frying. If you don't have loose chamomile for the blackberry-sage chutney, just break open a teabag. And you have to appreciate that a Bloody Mary made it in (it contains celery). There are helpful definitions, produce descriptions and technique explanations. For example, the authors note that small and medium cucumbers can be eaten with the skin, while large cucumbers tend to be sweetest when peeled.
The authors argue that having a respectful attitude toward the earth and eating what it gives you, when it gives it to you, is far more satisfying than produce grown far away, eaten in the middle of a New England summer.
Article reprinted from the June 8 edition of the Boston Globe
Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849, LDobson@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris, 216-321-7109, MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Grass-fed beef & poultry: Kathleen Webb, 216-408-7719, Kathleen@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062