10 Sep

Garden News – September 10, 2015

The garden has really  been coming on strong.  With the cooler nights, the plants are wanting to finish their growing cycle of production because they know fall is coming!  What that means for us is that we are harvesting, harvesting, harvesting! Any special projects that we have planned, like weeding and preparing for winter are just having to wait.  We can barely keep up!  Cooler space is at a premium, too!  That is why it is so important for everyone to get here to pick up your shares, as there is not enough room to store anything extra.

We are hoping that the lettuces, spinach and other greens that we seeded a few weeks ago are liking this cooler weather.  They seem is be up and growing well, which means that we can start harvesting some for you in another week or two.  I don’t  know about you,  but I miss not being able to have  a nice green salad during the heat of the summer.  I love cabbage slaw, braised kale and chard, but lets face it….they are not the same as spring lettuce.  I could live on salad!

I have lots of tomatoes for you this week, so take advantage….recipe for a great roasted tomato pasta is listed below. The smaller early  tomatoes are great for this recipe.  As long as you are at it, make extra and freeze.  Those tomatoes that are going to be in the markets during the long winter season taste like cardboard and are not fit for eating!

The cauliflower has been picked over the  course of the last week and a half.  I wish it would all be ready at the same time, but unfortunately,  that is not the case.  Each head is different and not all are perfect.  They are still good.  When I find a little brown spot, I just scrape it off, or rub with a lemon.  One of my favorite ways to cook it is to roast it, as cauliflower is kind of bland on its own.  Roasting brings out the flavor and the addition of slivered garlic, a splash of balsamic vinegar and Parmesan or Romano cheese is over the top.

I will have extra cucumbers out for you  to take, too!  They have been going crazy!  Anything that is not used this week is going to the food bank, as I don’t  have enough room to store them all.

This weeks share will include the beloved zucchini, cucumbers, cauliflower, beets, bell pepper, tomatoes and herbs…Pineapple Sage to try  in the recipe below.   If I find anything else out there that that I have time to  harvest, it will be added to your share.

Enjoy this beautiful weather while you can and see you later today.  If you can remember to bring back those clam shells that would be great.  Tomatoes are hard to package,especially when they are picked ripe!

Here are some great recipes for you to try.

Pineapple Sage Pound Cake

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ cup honey (light wildflower or sage preferred)
5 eggs
2 T chopped pineapple sage leaves (small, new leaves have the most flavor)
3 T chopped pineapple sage flowers (optional)
1 t grated lemon peel
4 T well-squeezed, chopped pineapple
1 t baking powder
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in honey. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to beat one minute after each addition. Beat in sage leaves, flowers and lemon peel. Stir dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture. Fold these together gently until just blended. Pour into 4 mini loaf pans (6”x3”x2”). Bake at 350oF for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Paccheri Pasta with Cauliflower and Spinach

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (best quality), for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (about 3 cups)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (best quality)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, with 1 tablespoon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound paccheri pasta (large tube) approximately 2.5-inches long by 2-inches wide
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Directions

Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil over medium heat, then add in the salt and the cauliflower. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan, and saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute. Remove the cauliflower from water with a large strainer or spider and add it to the pan with the garlic-red pepper mixture. Saute briefly until starting to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, add in the spinach, cover and let wilt for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and capers with juice and reduce the heat. Remove the cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Return the cauliflower water to boil, adding more water, if necessary, to cook the pasta. Add the pasta add cook to al dente. Remove the pasta from the water and add it to the pan with the sauce, adding a little pasta water, if needed. Stir gently to combine, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Garnish with the parsley and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Serve immediately with remaining cheese on the side.

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

This pesto is bursting with seasonal flavors and nutrients. Hello lycopene! It’s also quite low in oil thanks to the roasted tomatoes adding body and flavor. I left the almonds chopped and it added a nice texture that was great mixed into pasta or spread on a toasted sandwich. I suggest making some and freezing it for a later date.

Yield: 1 cup pesto

Ingredients:

  • 9 large roma, heirloom or any tomato, sliced in half lengthwise – if really large, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup pinenuts, almonds or walnuts, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling on tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Your desired amount of cooked Pasta

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 minutes s at 400F. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting.
2. Reduce oven heat to 325F and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup into food processor and process until finely chopped. I prefer mine a bit chunky for texture. Remove and set aside.
3. With processor turned on, add 2 garlic cloves and let it whirl around until finely chopped. Now add in the basil and process until finely chopped.
4. Add in the oil, optional nutritional yeast, and 1.5 cups of roasted tomatoes (you will have tomatoes left over). Process until smooth. Pulse in 1/3 cup toasted nuts. Season generously with salt and pepper.
5. Pour your desired amount of pesto over the cooked pasta and mix well. Chop the remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into pasta. Chop remaining nuts and chiffonade the basil.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp

9 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 (17-ounce) containers Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 9 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 lemons)
  • 3/4 pound cooked large shrimp, halved
  • Thin slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
  • Fresh dill, for garnish

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, half-and-half, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, salt, and pepper. Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed and then pour into another bowl. Continue processing the soup until all of it is pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.
Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the shrimp, lemon, and fresh dill.

Cream of Zucchini and Anise Soup

Serve this soup either hot or cold.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
6 cups chopped zucchini (from about 6 medium zucchini)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or whipping cream
2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur

Additional olive oil

Directions
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped zucchini and chopped onion and sauté
 until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups water, chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds and thyme sprig. Stir in 2 tablespoons crème fraîche and 2 tablespoons Pernod. Simmer soup uncovered 20 minutes. Remove thyme sprig from soup.
Working in batches, purée soup in processor until smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Return to saucepan and rewarm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.