Summer 2017 Week Ten CSA and Meal Plan

We’re onto Stillman’s Farm’s summer 2017 week ten CSA and we’re starting to see a little fall poke through. We’ve got some beautiful arugula, green beans, carrots, corn, onions, green beans, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, beets, onions, apples, and peaches.

Storing your share

  • Arugula: wrap the roots in a paper towel and wrap all in a produce bag.
  • Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  • Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  • Eggplant: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  • Carrots: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers in a produce bag.
  • Beets: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  • Bell peppers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  • Onions: while typically stored in a cool dark place, if not completely dry, store in the fridge.
  • Tomatoes: store on the counter stem side down.
  • Broccoli: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers in a produce bag.
  • Peaches: enjoy within a day or two, but if not, store in a produce bag in the fridge.
  • Apples: I like eating cold apples, so mine go right in the fridge. But you could leave them on the counter too if you’re going to eat within a few days.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

A new week brings a new wedding celebration, so we only have a few days to use up this share. With so much arugula, I wanted to be sure to highlight it and came across a beautiful whipped ricotta salad recipe.We haven’t had pizza in a while and I won’t use all of the ricotta in the salad, so I thought a broccoli ricotta pizza might be good, especially because this week is unseasonably cool. I never managed to make my beet gazpacho last week and will use up the old beets in that. The new beets, unfortunately, will get rolled into next week. I had hoped to have a fantastic green bean and chicken stir fry to post last week, but I didn’t like how my sauce turned out, so we’ll give that another shot.  And at the end of the week, the carrots will go into chickpea sauté and can easily get bumped to next week if need be.

For fruit, the peaches will be baked and served homemade ice cream and the recipe, which will be posted tomorrow (so check back!). The apples will become as an after-work snack with honeyed peanut butter.

The green pepper got added to the ballpark sausage saute when I brought everything home on Wednesday, and, at some point, we used the eggplant in lazy eggplant parm, but now I’m not sure when that was…

  • Thursday: Giada De Laurentiis’ whipped ricotta salad with some cherry tomatoes picked up at the Boston Public Market
  • Friday: Out celebrating!
  • Saturday: Out celebrating!
  • Sunday: Green bean and chicken stir fry (still trying to perfect that one…)
  • Monday: Beet gazpacho with a cucumber picked up at the Boston Public Market and an avocado
  • Tuesday: Broccoli pizza with roasted garlic bechamel and ricotta with a little side salad of arugula if there’s some left
  • Wednesday: Yotam Ottolenghi’s chickpea sauté

Summer 2017 Week Nine CSA and Meal Plan

We’re onto Stillman’s Farm’s summer 2017 week nine CSA, a literal rainbow of produce. This week, I brought home soo many green beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, a pepper, an eggplant, a summer squash, and the first CSA apples of the year!

summer 2017 week nine CSA

Storing your share

  • Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  • Summer squash: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers
  • Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  • Cucumbers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  • Eggplant: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  • Bell peppers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  • Onions: while typically stored in a cool dark place, if not completely dry, store in the fridge
  • Tomatoes: store on the counter stem side down.
  • Apples: I like eating cold apples, so mine go right in the fridge. But you could leave them on the counter too if you’re going to eat within a few days.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

Left over from last week’s farmer’s market trip, I’ve still got some beets and beet greens. From the Clean Food Club’s Facebook page today, I’m using her gorgeous beet gazpacho as a jumping off point, but I’m thinking with some avocado and my favorite salted olive oil yogurt, while the beet greens can make their way into a penne a la vodka. We got a lot of green beans this week, and I want to do something different. Inspired by some blistered green beans I once had at Myers + Chang, I’m making a green bean and chicken stir fry with noodles. With only one eggplant and two tomatoes, I think I’ll pick up another eggplant or two and another tomato and make my lazy eggplant parm, which I’ll share afterwards. An easy post-wedding celebration dish will be a simple cucumber egg salad. And for the remaining squash and pepper, I’m imagining a riff on a ballpark sausage by cooking down some squash with the peppers and onions over a slab of toasty french bread. The apples will either be eaten for breakfast whole or in oatmeal as a Spiced Apple Compote or serve as an after work snack with honeyed peanut butter. Any remaining cucumbers will get a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

  • Thursday: Green bean and chicken stir fry
  • Friday: Penne a la vodka with beet greens (beet greens left over from last week’s farmer’s market trip)
  • Saturday: Out celebrating!
  • Sunday: Cucumber egg salad
  • Monday: Beet gazpacho (beets left over from last week’s farmer’s market trip)
  • Tuesday: Lazy eggplant parm
  • Wednesday: Ballpark sausage with sautéed peppers, summer squash, and onions

Happy cooking!

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

What do I make when I am desperate to get rid of a whole bunch of midsummer vegetables in a flash? Ratatouille. The basics of ratatouille are eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini/summer squash, and peppers (along with onions and garlic), but if I have too much corn or corn that I forgot to eat right away, in it goes. Awash in green beans? Add it in!

Ratatouille

This ratatouille recipe serves as a fantastic, silky, vegetable base, but can be modified in a multitude of ways. Looking to add protein? A poached egg or some white beans go nicely. Want to stretch it over a few meals? Add some cooked pasta for the last few minutes. Sometimes I am just in the mood for cheese and will grate a little cheddar or Parmesan over the top. Or for some crunch, add buttered and toasted breadcrumbs (panko, ideally). Clearly, there is a lot of wiggle room, but I share the basic recipe here. Change it up depending on what you’ve got to use.

Ratatouille
Print
Ratatouille
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 45 mins
 
Servings: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 eggplant
  • 3 onions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 3 summer squash and/or zucchini
  • 1 24 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Dice the eggplant very small, not much bigger than a kernel of corn. If you go bigger, you risk squeaky, undercooked eggplant, an unpleasant texture. Toss with a teaspoon of salt and allow to drain in a colander. You want to allow about an hour, so start this about 45 minutes before you start everything else. 

  2. Preheat a dutch oven over medium heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

  3. Dice onions. Add to pan when it has come to temperature with a small pinch of salt. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.

  4. While onions are cooking, dice the bell peppers into 1/2 inch chunks.

  5. When onions are softened and a few edges start to brown, about 6 minutes, remove to a large bowl.

  6. Add a little more than a tablespoon of olive oil to pan, giving it a a few seconds to warm up, add peppers, and a small punch of salt. Stir occasionally.

  7. While peppers are cooking, dice squash into 1/2 inch chunks. If you go bigger, you risk squeaky, undercooked squash.

  8. When softened and a few edges start to brown, about 10 minutes, remove to the large bowl.

  9. Add a little more than a tablespoon of olive oil to pan, giving it a a few seconds to warm up, add squash, and a small punch of salt. Stir occasionally.

  10. While squash is cooking, prepare the eggplant, tomato, garlic, and bail. Separate the tomato solids from the tomato juice, reserving the tomato juice. Separately, rinse the eggplant and squeeze out as much water as you can. Mince the garlic and set aside. Chiffonade the basil and set aside.

  11. When softened and a few edges start to brown, about 20 minutes, remove to the large bowl.

  12. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to pan, giving it a few seconds to warm up, and add the eggplant. Stir occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.

  13. When softened, remove to the large bowl.

  14. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to pan, giving it a few seconds to warm up, and add the tomato solids. Stir occasionally, cooking until dry and a brown crust has started to form at the bottom of the pan.

  15. Remove the tomatoes to the large bowl.

  16. Add a dash of olive oil to the pan and the garlic. Cook until fragrant, no longer than 1 minute.

  17. Deglaze the bottom of the pan. The best way is with about a 1/4 or 1/2 cup of cooking wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with the wooden spoon. If you don't want to use wine, you can use broth, water, or some of the tomato juice.

  18. Add the tomato juice (or remainder of the tomato juice) to the pan as well as all the vegetables, basil and thyme. Stir thoroughly to combine.

  19. Simmer for about an hour and a half for a well combined, silky texture. For a firmer vegetable texture, you can cook as little as a half hour.

  20. Remove thyme before serving.

Recipe Notes

Vegetable variations:

  • Change up the quantities or proportions of anything I've listed above based on what you have. The only thing I would say you definitely need is the tomatoes.
  • Corn kernels: add about 5 minutes before the end if using fresh, 10 minutes if using frozen.
  • Green beans: add in 1 inch chunks about 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
  • Tomatoes: you can use fresh instead of canned, but you will get cooked tomato skin, which can be kind of tough and curled. I don't mind the texture if I have a ton of tomatoes to use, but just be aware. Also, you you are using fresh, you will need to add more salt.

 

Serving options:

  • Ratatouille is always good with a hunk of crusty bed.
  • For some protein, consider adding in cooked or canned drained white beans about 10 minutes before the end of cooking or serve a fried egg over top.
  • To stretch the vegetables, as they do cook down pretty significantly, separately cook some pasta to an al dente finish and add to the pan about 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
  • For some texture, you can add some toasted, buttered breadcrumbs over the top or croutons underneath.
  • Cheese over the top is also never a bad decision. Try parmesan or cheddar.
  • If you are adding more than one thing (e.g. corn, green beans, pasta, white beans), give it a little more time to cook than what I've listed above.

 

Summer 2017 Week Eight CSA and Meal Plan

Ever had a post-vacation “hangover” where you have trouble getting back into the swing of things? First world problem, I know, but I’m hoping to get back into it with back posting the two weeks that I missed and uploading a few new recipes.

This week, with my summer 2017 week eight CSA pickup from Stillman’s Farm, I was super excited with the variety of food that we got. I brought home cucumbers, yellow summer squash, green beans, corn, frisée, eggplant, onions, a green bell pepper, beets, tomatoes, blueberries, and peaches!

summer 2017 week eight CSA

Storing your share

  1. Frisée: I’m going to leave it in the bag it came in until I’m ready to use. Right before use, I’ll place in a bowl of cold salted water for at least 10 minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves.
  2. Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  3. Summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  4. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  5. Cucumbers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers
  6. Eggplant: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  7. Bell peppers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers.
  8. Onions: while typically stored in a cool dark place, if not completely dry, store in the fridge
  9. Beets: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  10. Tomatoes: store on the counter stem side down.
  11. Blueberries: sort through and make sure there aren’t any mushy ones. Otherwise, store in the container in a produce bag or transfer to a small tupperware.
  12. Peaches: peaches will usually arrive to you ripe. If you’re not ready to eat them right away, leave them in the fridge so that they don’t over ripen.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

Because of a vacation and subsequent weekend getaway, we’ve got a good amount of vegetables left over from last week. My mid-summer go-to for catching up on my CSA share is ratatouille – this should clear out everything left over from last week and make a dent in this week’s share as well. I’ll post that recipe this week. We also got a lot of green beans this week and plan on making a variation on this New York Times warm chickpea and green bean salad with aioli and a green bean and potato salad with burgers and hot dogs for one of the warmer nights this week. The frisée and beets will go into Bobby Flay’s warm lentil salad with beets and goat cheese. Some cucumbers and the tomatoes have already made their way into a Mediterranean inspired pasta salad. The rest of the cucumbers will either be snacks and or be turned into small batch of bread and butter pickles. The peaches will get roasted and served with some homemade vanilla ice cream while the blueberries will make its way into overnight steel cut oat meal along with a hint of brown sugar.

To supplement the share this week, I headed over to the Union Square Farmer’s Market to pick up some more beets and onions, carrots, potatoes, cantaloupe, apples, and some gorgeous cranberry beans.

Summer 2017 Week Five CSA and Meal Plan

Corn corn and more corn. We’re now onto the summer 2017 week five CSA and it’s definitely feels like summer now between the corn and varieties of summer squash.

This week, I brought home corn, green beans, lettuce, kale, summer squash and zucchinis, cucumbers, and raspberries.

Summer CSA 2017 week 5

Storing your share

  1. Lettuce greens: if starting with a head of lettuce, pull the leaves off individually and place in a bowl of cold salted water for a few minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves. Then spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
  2. Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  3. Kale: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  4. Zucchini and summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  5. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  6. Cucumbers: store in one of the refrigerator produce drawers
  7. Raspberries: eat within a day or so. If you want to split them over two days, be sure to sort through and eat the slightly soft ones on day one, leaving the firmer ones for day two.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

Due to some plans, we only have a few nights to eat this week’s share so we’re going for recipes that will use a lot at once. The corn and raspberries are long gone, so those don’t even factor in to this week. The kale, I am going to cook and freeze for use later (bring salted water to a boil, simmer de-veined leaves for seven minutes with lid on, drain and squeeze out as much water as possible, then fluff and put in freezer bag to freeze). So that just leaves the lettuce, green beans, summer squashes, and cucumbers.

I love shakshuka, an Israeli dish of stewed tomatoes with chilis and spices and poached eggs and thought that if I swapped out most of the tomatoes with zucchini and summer squash, I could use up a lot of those. These summer squashes (by that I mean any of the softer, non-hard skinned winter squash) cook down really beautifully, so they are perfect for this kind of dish or in similarly slower cooked summer recipes like ratatouille. We’re also going to make a Mediterranean inspired salad with the green beans and lettuce with some Stillman Quality Meats chicken legs currently marinating in lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and oregano (yet another Stillman’s item – I pick up some herbs for my backyard every spring). Cucumbers will be incorporated in cucumber and egg salad sandwiches. And that does it!

As always, check back for new recipes!

Summer 2017 Week Four CSA and Meal Plan

The summer 2017 week four CSA pickup brings us corn! I have heard that we are the first in the state to get corn. The first corn is something to which I always look forward.

For this week, we got some of the aforementioned corn, beautiful radishes, green beans, lettuce, kale, peppery arugula, summer squash, and raspberries.

Storing your share

  1. Lettuce greens: if starting with a head of lettuce, pull the leaves off individually and place in a bowl of cold salted water for a few minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves. Then spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
  2. Arugula: I usually wrap the roots in a paper towel and wrap all in a produce bag.
  3. Corn: enjoy immediately 🙂 We call fresh corn snack corn and have that as our making-dinner snack. Keep refrigerated as sugars convert to starch (losing sweetness) quicker at room temperature than in the refrigerator.
  4. Kale: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  5. Zucchini and summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  6. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  7. Raspberries: eat within a day or so. If you want to split them over two days, be sure to sort through and eat the slightly soft ones on day one, leaving the firmer ones for day two.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

We’re not perfect and had a bit of a messy week. On Thursday, we had falafel made with beet greens. Still working on that recipe, but hopefully, I will be happy enough with it at some point to post. Last night, we had gnocchi with buttery sautéed squash. Tonight we made tacos with spiced black beans and a corn, radish, and feta salsa. Tomorrow, we’re going to make kale linguini and enjoy that with some red sauce and turkey meatballs. For a quick meal on Monday when we have other plans, we’ll make burgers from Stillman Quality Meats ground beef with a potato and green bean salad, which we’ll make tomorrow. Tuesday will be my apple, onion, and arugula pizza for which I’ll caramelize the onions tomorrow night to save some time. And finally, back to pickup day. We actually ate through our share pretty quick this week, so I am hoping we get beets or Swiss chard (or I’ll just buy some with my Stillman’s bucks) to whip up my Swiss chard penne a la vodka.

As always, check back for new recipes!

Summer 2017 Week Three CSA Share and Meal Plan

This week was our summer 2017 week three CSA pickup from Stillman’s Farm. You can tell summer is here when more variety starts to creep in to the box. This week, we got kale, Swiss card, zucchini and summer squash, green beans, lettuce, mixed baby greens, and blueberries! With the help Stillman’s Bucks, I also got two super early season ears of corn (yummm), garlic scapes, and strawberries.

summer 2017 week three CSA share

It took me a full 24 hours to come up with a meal plan this week because we’re still swimming in last week’s box after Fourth of July travel. Vegetables I still need to use from last week include beets, beet greens, lettuce, and mixed baby greens. Proper planning and storage, however, means they’re all still good to eat. We processed all the kale by stripping it from the stems, boiling seven minutes, squeezing out as much water as possible, and freezing for later.

Storing your share

  1. Lettuce greens (heads and mixed spring greens): if starting with a head of lettuce, pull the leaves off individually and place in a bowl of cold salted water for a few minutes. It will both help to refresh the greens and loosen any dirt or tiny bugs. Stillman’s Farm does not spray their greens at all, so you might find little gnats or aphids squished between the leaves. Then spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
  2. Beets: separate the beets from the greens and wrap each in a produce bag.
  3. Kale and Swiss chard: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  4. Zucchini and summer squash: put in a produce bag to store until you’re ready to use.
  5. Green beans: they came in the bag and I’m going to leave them in the bag until I’m ready, keeping an eye on them for any mushiness.
  6. Blueberries: sort through and make sure there aren’t any mushy ones. Otherwise, store in the container in a produce bag or transfer to a small tupperware.

What to cook

Check out my post on meal planning for how I approach using up my share each week.

Tonight we ate a beet, salmon, and farro salad with citrus vinaigrette, orange wedges, and avocado. Good, though not totally pulled together, so I’ll planning to re-make and refine. I am also going to make the Swiss chard pizza, so I can post that recipe this week. Another recipe I’ve worked on and will post this week is summer squash crepes with a lemon goat cheese sauce. For a quick dinner, carrot top pesto from a bunch of carrots I picked up from Drumlin farm last week over pasta and turkey meatballs from Stillman Quality Meats. I am hoping to find fresh pita at the farmer’s market to pull together a falafel with beet greens. For the pickup night meal,finishing off the lettuce and green beans in a Niçoise salad with some fresh fish from Red’s Best at the Boston Public Market.

As always, check back for new recipes!

CSA intro series: Bringing home your share – summer edition

How you bring home your summer CSA share can set you up to easily, successfully, and deliciously use your share. This is an update from a previous winter-share focused post.

First thing is first – when you pick up your CSA, bring grocery totes. The box that your share is given to you in is awkward to carry. And if you bring the box home, you have to remember to bring it back (and, I don’t know about you, but I never remember to do that) because most farms reuse those box week to week. A better option is to bring a few shopping totes. I bring three bags for our share, which feeds 2-4 people. I could fit the share in two large bags, but I like to have a third bag for delicate items, like tomatoes or peaches.

Bring home your summer CSA share - CSA boxes

When you get home, lay everything out on your counter and take an inventory. List what you got and how much to help with meal planning.  Including the quantity will help to determine if it needs to be used in one or more dishes. Check if anything is damaged – star those items so that when you go to meal plan, you know that you will need to use those items first so that they don’t spoil. Check out my meal planning post for how I make sure to use up all my vegetables.

Take anything left over from the previous week and consolidate into one of your produce drawers, using the other drawer for the new share. That way, you know what you still need to use up before starting on the new stuff. This is also an opportunity to clean out the empty drawer before you put anything new in. A quick vacuum (yes, I vacuum my refrigerator) and a swipe with a damp towel, and you’re good to go!

Vegetable Storage

Before putting everything away in your fridge, separate leafy green tops from root vegetables. This keeps the root vegetables fresh longer – if you leave the tops on, you will find that your root veggies get soft quicker. Doing this also make storage easier. Then decide if you are going to use the vegetable tops or if you would rather discard them. It is okay to get rid of them – it took me a few seasons just getting comfortable enough with the influx of vegetables to even be able to even to consider using the tops.

I also recommend that you wash and prepare your lettuce immediately. It keeps it fresh longer and makes it more likely that you will use it. Separate the leaves into a big bowl, fill with some salted cold water (helps remove the little bugs that might be on there), and let sit for a few minutes. Remove leaves in batches to your salad spinner and rip into bite-sized pieces to spin down. Store in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container with a folded paper towel to absorb any moisture.