French Cooking! You Can Do It!
This weeks share get’s us a bit closer to full summer with fennel and eggplant. In between building an ark up here and loading it with 2 of every vegetable we actually do some farming and cook quite a bit of what we grow.Here are the share contents and few tasty simple and quick ideas for the contents of your boxes. The rain continues and so does the drowning of vegetables. I find it amzing the weeds do not drown, instead they seem to thrive in this soggy environment. Sadly I have not found a weed that tastes as good as tomatoes, eggplan, cuke, fennel, and the rest of the wonderful stuff we are growing.
We had a great article about our CSA in today's Times Argus. Marija did a great job describing what we are up to. Thanks! Now on to the cooking part of this evening's post.
Expected CSA Box Contents
Eggs from Vermont Compost this week.
Bread from Red Hen Baking Company
Tomatoes: 1 lb from Wood’s Market Garden
Spinach from Burnt Rock Farm
Eggplant from Burnt Rock Farm
Swiss Chard or Beet Greens from Kettlesong Farm
Fennel from Screamin Ridge Farm
Cucumbers from Screamin' Ridge Farm
Salad Mix from Screamin' Ridge Farm
Zuchini from Screamin' Ridge Farm
What to do with these ingredients that is not going to require a french master class and heat the kitchen up too much on a hot summer evening? Read below.....
Ratatouille "2 ways"
#1- The eggplant this week is “traviata” an Italian variety that is really nice sliced and brushed with olive oil and salt then grilled.
Another classic that is pretty easy and really tasty either hot or cold is a French dish called “ratatouille”. Take the zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and one onion and cut them all into squares about the size of a nickel. Keep them in separate piles. In a skillet or sauté pan, sauté each vegetable by itself in some olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper until brown (onions, zucchini, eggplant, you can also use the fennel in this dish). One by one load them into a baking dish. Lastly add the diced tomatoes to the skillet with a bit of garlic, thyme, and basil. Mix it all up and slide it into an oven at 350 and let it bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Take out and enjoy. We love eating this classic dish cold slathered on some good bread or in a sandwich with a bit of chicken.
#2--The shortcut version of this is just sauté the zucchini and onion together. When they are brown throw in some minced garlic (or scapes) then toss in the diced tomato and a bit of basil. It’s done and very tasty.
Dill left from last week? If not use the fine fennel tops just like you would dill. Chop it up and add it to your cucumbers with salt, pepper, olive oil. For a great treat get some plain yogurt, peel and dice the cucumber, add the dill or fennel, a bit of lemon and olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of ground cumin. This can be eaten plain like a salad, or used in a pita or wrap with some lettuce.
This weeks new veggie
Fennel have you stumped? As mentioned above dice it fairly small (it’s more fibrous than the other veg) and sauté it until brown.
We really enjoy it shaved thin and then add a bit of lemon juice to keep it from oxidizing. It’s great mixed with diced fresh tomatoes and some goat cheese. Makes a great summer salad.
Scallions are really nice with any of these dishes chopped fine (we use the white and the green part) and added into any dish at the last minute. I like raw onions so they go in my salad mix as well. Grilled scallions are great also. Just cook them on the top rack or keep an eye on them, they quick on the lower rack.
We have beet greens or swiss chard. The simplest way to prepare these is chopped roughly stems and all after washing and then sautéed with olive oil, a touch of garlic, lemon juice or the Vermont classic with cider vinegar, salt and pepper. The vinegar or lemon balances out the bitter of the greens. A bit of extra decadence is to sautee them with some finely chopped bacon.
Blueberries are coming!! Knoll Farm in Waitsfield is almost ready to start picking! We will be getting the first pints, hJoeopefully next week! I will know by the end of the week. So get your favorite pie or crumble recipe out.
We are also trying to get some local cheeses as regular subs for the bread or eggs as well as have them in our store.
Thanks and remember there are very few mistakes in the kitchen that a good glass of wine won't fix.
Joe & Lori