Plum Tomatoes - Green Pepper - Xanthi (long orange sweet pepper) - Cucumber -
Peaches! - Melon - Eggplant - Corn - Lettuce - Garlic
First of all, this might be the best week so far- Peaches? Corn? Melon? Big beautiful Eggplant? Dynamite harvest and a symbol of the abundance that August brings.
Second of all, the blueberry glean… Some might say it was a “wash” but for those that sat tight through the thunder and lightning got an hour of picking, and took home a good amount of blues. I know that your free time is so sacred (i completely get this) and no one wants to be looking at a field full of blueberries from their car- but I thank all of you that played by the farm lighting rules- and moreover, now you know where we hang out in case of storms- cars, barns, somewhere other than a field. It is still unknown if we will reschedule, as my dear friend Mrs. T is still out of town, and she would be the one to host for me. Stay tuned- and check your email.
If you have not been receiving emails, let me know!!! firstname.lastname@example.org
A note on the peaches: Peaches are one crop at this farm that we completely ignore- because of our climate, to yield a worthy harvest, they take some messing around that none of us have time for, so for the most part, we let them grow wild. I am in love with this crop and saw it as a huge selling point when I first arrived on River Road 10 years ago. My father-in-law, Pooh feels the opposite and would like to see them turn into woodchips. Regardless, this year, they produced an amazing amount of fruit!!! Also noteworthy, their teeny-tiny size due to zero pruning, makes for the most adorable quarts- I see this as a win. ALSO, if your peaches are hard let them sit out on your counter until ripe :)
Lastly, boxes. Farmstand CSAers, ignore the following message:
Please return your boxes every week at the site where you pick up your share!!
To cut back on waste and because it just makes sense, we reuse them! Thankyou!
TIPS - TRICKS - RECIPES:
Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin, 6 servings
This is an eggplant Parmesan of sorts on top of a bed of Israeli couscous. If you’ve made fresh tomato sauce over the summer or you’re still getting wonderful tomatoes at the farmers’ market, use fresh tomato sauce; otherwise, use canned tomatoes for your marinara sauce. You can substitute cooked grains for the Israeli couscous; if you don’t tolerate gluten, try the recipe using cooked brown rice instead.
1 ½ pounds eggplant (2 medium globe eggplants or 4 to 6 smaller or Japanese eggplants), sliced into rounds, about 1/3 inch thick
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil(plus additional for oiling the foil and baking dish)
2 cups cooked Israeli couscous (see below). You can also use regular couscous or any other cooked grain.
2 cups fresh tomato sauce or marinara sauce made from canned tomatoes
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
Torn or slivered basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat foil generously with olive oil. Toss eggplant slices with salt to taste and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Line baking sheet with the slices in a single layer (you may need 2 baking sheets, or do this in batches). Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Eggplant will look dry on surface but should be soft when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and, wearing oven mitts, carefully fold the foil up in half over the eggplant and crimp edges to create a sealed packet. Allow eggplant to steam inside the packet for another 15 minutes (you can cook couscous during this time). Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil. Place cooked Israeli couscous in a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon into baking dish in an even layer.
Remove eggplant slices from foil packet (they should be thoroughly tender), and layer on top of couscous, overlapping slices slightly. Cover with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. Drizzle on remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with torn or slivered basil leaves just before serving.
Tip: Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 cup Israeli couscous. Toast the couscous, shaking the pan or stirring often, until it colors very lightly and smells aromatic and toasty, a bit like popcorn. Immediately add 2 quarts water and salt to taste (be generous, as if you are cooking pasta) and boil 10 minutes, until the couscous is al dente; it should not be mushy and there should still be plenty of water in the pot. Drain through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Tap the strainer against the sink to drain well, then return the couscous to the pot, cover the pot with a kitchen towel, and return the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes. Measure out 2 cups and proceed with recipe.
Smoky Eggplant Spread (BABA GHANOUSH!!!)
about 2 cups
Essentially a delightful eggplant schmear to eat with warm pita triangles, this spread gets its pleasant smoky flavor from a deliberate charring of the eggplant skin. Whether over hot coals or under the broiler, the eggplant must be mercilessly blackened (the inner sweet flesh gets steamed to softness in the process). Tahini, olive oil, cumin, lemon and hot pepper take care of the rest.
3 medium eggplants, about 2 pounds Salt
¼ cup tahini paste ¼ cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste 3 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground ½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley 1 tablespoon chopped mint
Pita or other flatbread, for serving (optional)
Prepare a charcoal fire or heat the broiler. Pierce eggplants here and there with the point of a paring knife. Place eggplants 2 inches from heat source. Allow skins to blister and char, turning with tongs until entire surface is blackened and eggplants are completely soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and lay skin side down on a cutting board. Carefully scrape away flesh with a knife and put it in a colander. Discard burned skins. Do not rinse eggplant flesh — a few bits of remaining char is fine. Salt flesh lightly and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then squeeze into a ball to remove liquid.
Blitz eggplant, 1/2 teaspoon salt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne in a food processor or blender to obtain a creamy purée. (For a more rustic spread, beat with a whisk instead.) Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice if necessary. Transfer mixture to a shallow serving bowl.
Just before serving, stir together cumin and olive oil, and spoon over the mixture’s surface. Sprinkle with paprika, parsley and mint. Serve with warm pita cut into triangles if desired.