Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Monday, August 9, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 16

Roots Farm CSA
Week 16: August 10 & 13

This Week:
-Cucumbers: Mid-East Prolific, Lemon
-Tomatoes: Big Beef, Arkansas Traveller, Cherokee Purple, Pink Beauty, Jubilee, Tropical, Whopper
-Peppers: Carmen, Lipstick, Islander
-Eggplant: Nadia, Hansel, Gretel, Fairytale, Pingtung Long
-Basil: Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple
-Beans: Red Noodle
-Okra: Clemson Spineless, Red Burgundy
-Garlic: Inchelium Red
-Flowers: Assorted Sunflowers, Zinnias

In the Field . . .
Something is eating our beet sprouts. Grasshoppers? We’re not sure, but last week there were rows thick with baby beet sprouts and today it’s more like a widely dotted line. Oh, farming. Just when you think you’re set, another challenge appears. Guess we’ll be re-seeding this week. In other news, we’ve got baby arugula coming on that should be ready in another week or two and we’re glad the red noodle beans and peppers and eggplants are continuing to do well. The variety of veggies that grace your baskets for the next few weeks is probably going to be limited. We’re doing what we can, but August is a tough time on the farm. Summer is petering out and Fall is yet to come on. Even cucumbers are giving up the ghost. Yikes. Hang in there, veggies, we need ya!

Workday Saturday, August 14, 8am-noon
Another friendly reminder about our workday coming up this weekend. Come early for the best temperature experience and be prepared to sweat regardless of what time you appear. We’re going to be wrecking havoc and pulling out old plantings and trellises, which is always a good time. Turning the fields from summer to fall. Probably also weeding. Join us! Our work parties are usually great fun! See you here!

Veggie Notes
So I thought you might appreciate a few tidbits of info on some of the items that have been appearing in your baskets. Figs: are highly perishable if you didn’t know. I recommend just eating them immediately. If you don’t eat them immediately, refrigerate them immediately and eat them ASAP. Friday I discovered that some of the figs that we picked at 10am had begun to grow fuzzy mold by 7pm--a mere 10 hours on the shelf! Jeeze louise! Also in the figgy realm, we had our fifth annual Figstival last week and I have to say my favorite dish was roasted figs stuffed with goat cheese and rosemary. This week, we’re providing the figs and rosemary; you provide the oven and the cheese. Lipstick Peppers: are sweet, thick, and juicy. Our seed catalogue says that may folks consider Lipstick the most delicious sweet peppers there are, and I have to admit they’re pretty darn tasty. They fall into the category of “pimento” peppers, which apparently have a more “aromatic” sweetness than your regular old bell peppers. Hope you like ‘em. Red Noodle Beans: have also been appearing and we’re excited about them. Like green beans, they’re excellent steamed, stir-fried, in curries, casseroles, soups, and more. They do, however, turn green upon cooking. Enjoy!

Is in the spotlight this week. Personally, I love okra. It’s sweet raw and wonderful cooked. My favorite way to cook it is to simply slice off the caps and fry it in a pan with olive oil until the sides are lightly browned. Roasting it is also simple and delicious (425 degrees for 15 minutes or so), as is grilling (8-10 minutes). Okra is a close relative of the hibiscus plant and the flowers are quite similar. Native to Africa, okra finds its way into Caribbean, Indian, African, and deep South dishes. I’ve got a few selections for you. Some folks object to the slippery texture that okra can impart upon dishes, but that quality can also be considered a boon for thickening soups and stews. If the slimy tendencies of okra are not what you like, try adding vinegar (or tomatoes, or other acidic veggies or liquids) to help cut the ooze; or try frying or roasting okra (unsliced) to completely bypass ooze altogether. STORAGE: I recommend keeping your okra in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator and eating it within the week. Enjoy!


Fried Okra
1 lb okra
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 tsp salt
peanut oil

Slice okra into 1/4-inch rounds. Mix the cornmeal and salt (add other spices if you like such as chili powder or cayenne). Toss the okra in the dry mix to coat thoroughly. Heat 1/2 inch peanut oil in a heavy skillet until it’s just short of smoking. Toss the okra in a large sieve to shake off the excess cornmeal, then fry in small batches utnil golden. Transfer to papaer towels to drain briefly, but serve hot. (You can also fry whole pods.) Makes 4-6 servings. From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. This recipe is a classic way to serve okra here in the Southeast. Enjoy!

Okra Gumbo Soup
1 cup chopped onions
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup fresh corn
1 cup sliced fresh okra
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
salt & ground black pepper to taste
Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste
1 tsp Worchestershire Sauce

Saute the onions in the vegetable oil until just translucent. Add the herbs, celery, bell pepper, carrot, and potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn, okra, and vinegar and simmer until the okra is tender. Remove the bay leaves. Add the remaining seasonings to taste. Makes 4-6 servings. From the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Southern summery delight!

Curried Okra
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 lb okra, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (4 cups)
1 cup seeded and diced tomatoes
2 tsp garam masala
salt & fresh ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and toast for about 10 seconds. Add the onions, garlic, and curry powder and saute slowly until the onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the okra, tomatoes, and garam masala. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the okra is tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings. Look for garam masala wherever Indian foods or gourmet spices are sold. (In Athens, the Taj Mahal off Baxter St. sells Indian foods/groceries—check it out)

For more okra recipes, click here. Enjoy!

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