Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 5 -- Peppers

Roots Farm CSA Week 5: November 1 & 4

This Week:
-Lettuce!: Ermosa Green Butterheads & Red Cross Red Butterheads
-Rainbow Swiss Chard
-Kale: Red Russian, Winterbor (Curly Green)
-Eggplant: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Red, Yellow, Purple, & Green Bells, Carmen, Lipstick

On the Farm . . .
Well, we finally got the killing freeze. Over Halloween weekend, the temperatures dipped down into the low 30’s, ice formed, and plant cells froze and burst. What’s that mean? The last of the summer plants have finally bit the dust. Blackened, wilty tomato, pepper, eggplant, squash, cucumber, and bean plants grace our fields now, done with their production for the year. So enjoy the eggplant and peppers while they last. This is the last week for eggplant. We’ve got some peppers protected in the hoop house that will continue until it gets REALLY cold, but eggplant are done.

It was amazing out in the fields this morning--34 degrees F at dawn--frost covered the grass, ice crystals laced the edges of leaves, frozen drops of dew scattered off the kale leaves as we picked them. Our more winter hardy plants like kale, cabbage, and broccoli can stand up to a bit of frost. In fact, they even get sweeter. The cold temperatures make them concentrate their sugars to keep from freezing. Makes for some of the best, tastiest greens of the season. Enjoy!

In Your Box
The last of the eggplant are appearing. Peppers continue to represent. The radishes are absent for a change. Arugula is back. And there is an ABUNDANCE of greens. We’ve got both kale and chard for you this week,
and we’ve included 2 heads of lettuce! Both are butterheads--one red, one green. Lettuce is in abundance for us right now, and if you’re like me, you can probably handle 2 heads in one week. Heck, I can eat one head in 2 days. Delicious. It’s a salad-y time of year.

Our spotlighted veggie this week is the amazing and delicious pepper! Yay! Peppers are nutritionally significant and most contain high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the minerals iron and potassium. Native to Central and South America, pepper seeds have been found in Mexico from before 5000 B.C.! Following Columbus’s voyage, peppers spread quickly through Europe and all the way to India, where they were rapidly assimilated into the native diet. How will you assimilate peppers into your diet?

Storage: keep your peppers in the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Peppers will get wilty and dehydrated-looking if left out in the open air, so keep them in a drawer or bag in the cool. Cut peppers deteriorate quickly, so use em if you cut em. They also freeze well--I like to dice them and freeze them on a cookie sheet, then scoop them off into a freezer bag for easy later usage. Usage: raw, in salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, sauces, omelets, stir-fires, casseroles, on the grill, and more!

Roasted Bell Peppers
4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green, or purple)
olive oil

Turn your gas burner on high (electric will work, but gas is better) and place the peppers directly on the flame. Use any number of available burners to accommodate the peppers, or if the peppers are small you can place two on one burner. Using tongs, turn the peppers as their skins blacken; you want to end up with a pepper that is completely black (the amount of time for this depends on the size of the pepper, how hot the flame is, and how often you turn the peppers). Once they’re blackened, place the peppers in a paper bag and seal the bag tightly. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag, cut them in half, remove the stem and seeds, and flatten each half on your cutting board. Use a knife or your fingers to scrape away the skin. The peppers are now ready to use (keep refrigerated and use within the week). To store your roasted peppers longer, place them in a container, cover with olive oil, and seal tightly (then they will keep for several weeks). From Farmer John’s Cookbook. These are great on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, in omelets, with hummus, and more! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded & finely chopped (opt)
1, 28oz can tomatoes, with juice, chopped OR 1 quart stewed tomatoes OR 4 cups fresh
1, 16oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked (1/2 cup dried)
1, 16oz can black beans, rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked (1/2 cup dried)
1 cup tomato juice
salt & pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute until onions are golden, 12-15 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, and jalapenos. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes. Makes a lot of food. I’m guessing 6-8 servings.

Escalivada Sandwiches
1 red onion
1 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, roasted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
4 sandwich rolls, preferably ciabatta
4 oz fresh goat cheese
4 oz arugula
Herb Sauce:
½ cup basil leaves
½ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
juice from ½ lemon
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice onion, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers into ¼-inch rings. Toss the vegetable slices with olive oil and salt. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan in a single layer, and place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still maintain their shapes. Meanwhile, toast rolls. Divide cooked vegetables among the 4 rolls. Top vegetables with goat cheese and arugula. Place all herb sauce ingredients in a blender; puree. Spoon over arugula. Serve sandwiches warm. Makes 4 servings. From Peter Dale, chef of The National restaurant in Athens, GA.

Stuffed Peppers
a little oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw brown rice
3 cups water, vegetable stock, or tomato juice
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/3 lb cheddar cheese, grated
salt & pepper
4 large peppers, tops cut off, seeds removed

Heat oil in large skillet; add and saute garlic and onions. Add rice and brown for about 5 minutes. Add desired liquid and allspice. Cover and cook until rice is done, about 40 minutes. Toast almonds in dry skillet or hot oven for several minutes, tossing often. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, almonds, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook peppers in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and stuff peppers with rice mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 4 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

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