Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 22

Roots Farm CSA Week 22: September 20

This Week:
-Peppers: Carmen, Lipstick, Islander, Green Bells, Cayenne, Jalapeno
-Eggplant: Nadia, Hansel, Gretel, Fairytale, Pingtung Long
-Basil: Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple
-Assorted Potatoes (Full Moon Farms)
-Okra: Clemson Spineless, Red Burgundy
-Easter Egg Radishes
-Flowers: Assorted Zinnias

On the Farm . . .
It’s gotten warmer again. A little reminder that summer is not yet done with us even though we’re steadily moving towards fall. The Fall Equinox is actually this week -- September 22 -- and marks the time of year when, once again, the day and night are the same length. From this mark onwards, the nights begin to get longer than the days--a trend that will not cease until we hit the Winter Solstice in December. So enjoy your sunlight and those warm, t-shirt-at-night evenings while they last. Fall is on the way.

Beans & Potatoes
Well, it looks like the Red Noodle beans are finally beginning to slow down and make their way out of our baskets. This is the first week they will not appear, and in their place, we’re adding some potatoes that we purchased from Full Moon Farms. I know beans and potatoes go well together, but alas, the potatoes have got to hold their own for now. Hope you enjoy them!

We’re giving you lots of it this week, and I’ve included some new recipes to help you manage the abundance. It’s an eggplant-y time of year. In fact, I just sampled an excellent Eggplant Burgoo last week, “burgoo” being a Kentucky term for a stew of things that are “in good supply,” such as eggplant. The restaurant is a new little joint in town called Gymnopedie. Located in the Leathers Building on Pulaski St, they feature local foods and hand-made delights and I highly recommend them. Open Wed-Sun from 5-10pm. Check it out!
And now for your recipes . . .


Eggplant Fritters
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can also use seasoned flour or add desired seasonings)
1 scant tsp salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
3/4 - 1 cup flat beer or water
olive oil, for frying

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and pepper. Make a well in center and add beer or water. Stir with a fork until a thick batter forms. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours before using. Reserve remaining flour for dredging vegetables. Wash and dry eggplants. Slice into either thin rounds or long thin strips. salt, if desired, to rid tthem of any bitterness for 30-60 minutes. (If you do this, rinse them very well and pat dry.) Dip in batter and deep-fry in very hot oil. From The Food and Wine of Greece.

I had some excellent eggplant fritters last week at Farm 255. They almost tasted creamy inside. Wow. Very delicious and highly recommended if you’re into fried foods. Yum!

Thessaly Eggplant Pie
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 3-4 tsp for oiling pan and dough
whole wheat phyllo dough
4 medium eggplants, about 2 1/2 lbs
strained fresh juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped parsely
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp ouzo
1 tsp oregano
pepper, to taste
3-5 Tbsp semolina
1 egg yolk, for brushing curst

Lightly oil a 10 1/2 - inch pie plate and set aside. Remove phyllo dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature, covered until ready to use. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in eggplants and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until skins are brownish, softened, and slightly wrinkled. Remove eggplants from water; rinse and drain. Let cool. Peel eggplants carefully. Discard skins. Cut each in half lengthwise. In a large bowl, cover eggplants with cold water, lemon juice, and generous salt; let sit for at least 30 minutes. Drain very well and run cold water over them to ensure that salt is removed. Squeeze, in colander, so that eggplant is pulpy and as much water as possible has been removed. In a large bowl, combine eggplant pulp, scallions, garlic, walnuts, and parsley. Add beaten eggs, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and grated cheese. Mix thoroughly. Add ouzo, oregano, and pepper and combine well. Because eggplant will continue to ooze water, add semolina, 1 Tbsp at a time, until all liquid has been absorbed. The mixture should be moist. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide phyllo dough into four equal balls and keep covered. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one ball at a time into a paper-thin, almost transparent sheet (about as thick as a dime). Place first sheet in lightly greased pie plate, leaving about 1 inch hanging over rim. Brush lightly with about 1 tsp olive oil. Repeat with second dough ball. Spread filling evenly over dough. Repeat dough procedure with top two layers. Pinch and roll top and bottom doughs together to form a border on inside rim of pie plate. Brush with a beaten egg yolk for a glossy surface. Make a small incision in center of pie with a sharp knife and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until crust is a golden brown. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm. Makes 6-8 servings. From The Food and Wine of Greece.

Clay-baked Chickpeas & Eggplants
1/2 lb raw chickpeas
3-4 small to medium eggplants, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
5-6 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled, halved, and sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
6-8 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (with juice)
1 large bay leaf, torn in half
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp dry red wine

Soak chickpeas according to package directions. Drain off water and place chickpeas in a medium-size pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, uncovered, until chickpeas are softened but not cooked through, 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, place eggplants in a colander and salt them. Let drain for 20-25 minutes, rinse, and pat dry. While chickpeas are simmering, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium to low heat and saute onions 3-6 minutes, until coated with oil and wilted. Toss in eggplant and stir constantly until eggplants start to soften, 5-7 minutes longer. Add 1/4-1/2 cup water to keep eggplants and onions from burning. Toss in chopped garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Remove mixture from heat and let cool slightly. When chickpeas are softened, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Gently combine eggplants, onions, and chickpeas in a 2-quart clay casserole with cover (or substitute a Pyrex dish if a clay casserole is unavailable). Add the tomatoes and their juice and place the halves of the bay leaf on either side of the dish. Season with salt and pepper; add 1/4 cup water and 2-3 Tbsp olive oil to the mixture. Cover hte pan with its earthenware top and place in cold oven. Turn oven to 375 degrees and bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until chickpeas are tender and eggplants cooked. Ten minutes before shutting off the oven, add the wine to the pan and stir gently. Shut off the oven, open the door, and let the eggplant and chickpea ragout cool slightly inside the oven. Makes 4 servings. From The Food and Wine of Greece.

For more eggplant recipes, click here.

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