Orient Express Eggplant
Muir Head Lettuce
Red Head Lettuce
Dixie Hot Pepper
One Measly Green Bell Pepper
Southern Belle Radish
One Measly Summer Squash or Zucchini
Notes from the Farm
The Gang's all here... we've got a full boat, and we're heading out for a picnic... hopefully not to Bear Mountain.
These are the weirdest of days, but this is an exciting time for our CSA. We have never focused so singularly on the membership as a unit. We talk about you folks daily... we want to treat you right, do right by you... so, we work at it... we workshop ideas, recipes, food combinations, solutions.
This season, you're going to see some old favorites from the farm... you're going to get some new favorites... and you're going to be more bewildered by vegetables than you could have ever imagined.
We're here to help... and really all you need to know is the Holy Four.
Now, I know, you're here because you want fresh food, you're trying to keep to a healthy diet, and you don't need any encouragement to eat more cheese... but here's the thing, it's a journey, and there is no good reason for you to not enjoy this journey... if you make this a job, work, it will feel like work... if you make this a pursuit of pleasure, it will be pleasurable.
Salt. It makes things taste better. When you eat out, even at the fanciest of restaurants, they are using enough salt to decorrupt the entirety of humanity. There is an over the counter salt you can buy in most larger grocery stores called Maldon's Sea Salt Flakes (it's usually on the bottom shelf... which is a crime)... it's in a little white box, it's comes in crystalline flakes, and is good enough to eat on it's own as a food. We recommend getting a box or three... simply sprinkling it on food is a pleasure, and it adds more to food than superfine salt ever could. We had some this morning over buttered radishes... melt the butter (or just use olive oil), halve the radishes, drizzle the butter (or oil) over the radishes, sprinkle the salt... it's that good... and leads us neatly to...
Fat. Olive oil, sesame oil, butter, lard (better than it's reputation would have you believe), coconut oil... all of them, all the fats.
Fat is not great in large doses... but what is? An Orient Express Eggplant cut into rounds, slathered with oil, dusted with Maldon's, roasted at 475 until golden brown and caramelized, is as good as any food I've ever eaten... anywhere. Fat makes food taste better... don't be afraid... use it, it's better to eat chard with fat, than to not eat chard at all... use fat, and hunt the “World” aisles at the store for different kinds of fat... you'll be stunned to see how many fun and unique styles of fat sauce there are out there... and if you don't like one, then you learned something, and you can try another one...
Cheese. This is really just a culmination of salt and fat... it's salty fat... and we are fortunate enough to live in one of the greatest cheese eras in the history of the world. Cheese melted with a new vegetable, makes the new vegetable better. Sweet cheese, salty cheese, sharp and spicy... there are cashew and vegan cheeses available in the regular cheese sections now. They are great! The weird fake cheeses of my relative youth, living in Vermont, twenty some odd years ago, vegan as the day is long, is gone... these new alternative cheeses are amazing... even if you aren't vegan or vegetarian, it's worth a try... you can eat more of it and still hit your cholesterol goals.
Chard gorganzola galles. Pizza. Kohlrabi cheese soup. Cream cheese stuffed zucchini. You get it... when in doubt, put some cheese on it.
Meat. I get it, I'm going to loose some of you here... it's ok, we'll catch you at the next paragraph. If you don't know how to eat a vegetable... Cook. It. With. Bacon... and I don't mean like a strip of bacon... I mean, cook it with ALL the bacon... it will be good.
Any vegetable we grow, lettuce included, is great mixed in with ground beef on a stovetop... don't underestimate the power of meat to hide a vegetable you've been at odds with for years... meat fixes everything, and can get the grumpiest of family members to plow through seconds. Meat is your friend.
And here's the thing... it's good to eat vegetables on their own... it's better for you, it's fun, it's an opportunity to make healthier decisions... but it doesn't have to be a fight, you don't need to fight it. When our cows won't eat a certain grass in the pasture, we get some molasses and cover the grass with it... we do it a hand full of times, and after a while, they just start eating the grass on their own without the molasses... and I hate to break it to you, but we're more like cows that you'd like to believe. You can train yourself to like stuff... just use the Holy Four... and don't underestimate the supercomputers we all have at our fingertips... sometimes all it takes is to type in the words Kohlrabi Recipe, and you'll get more inspiration than we have food to supply.
I'm not going to include recipes this week, but I am going to do a little run-through of eggplant and kohlrabi to try and get you going in the right direction.
Eggplant. Every variety of eggplant we grow (Beatrice, Orient Express & Fairy Tale), was chosen because they are good from the get go. You don't need to peel, salt, sweat or plead with these eggplants to make them taste good. These are slice and fry eggplants... and they are all amazing. They will look different than the standard “classic” eggplant, which, as a side note, was developed in the 30's and 40's for industrial cooking, (it's very modern and not classic at all)... the eggplant we all see at the grocery store, that black classic eggplant, is less than 100 years old... and was developed for uniform slices for cooking for large groups... the military, schools, prisons, restaurants... it's very reliably shaped, but it is not nearly as flavorful as any other eggplant on the market. It was breed for consistency. We are forsaking consistency for flavor, and if you can get past your notions of classic eggplant, you'll find a whole world of culinary imagination ahead of you.
Kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is the most juicy, succulent, broccoli stem you'll ever eat. You peel it like a pineapple, with a knife, exposing the sweet juicy flesh on the inside. It has the consistency of fresh apple, or jicama, but with a lovely savory aftertaste... it's the taste of a hypothetical tropical fall day in England... Imagine that England was in the Caribbean, and imagine that it was the fall of the year and you got some of that low light sweater weather, but you were on a beach, the warm ocean water on your feet... that's what Kohlrabi tastes like. Peel it, slice some up, drizzle some lemon on it with a little salt... it's delicious. It's great as a slaw, shredded and made into fritters, roasted in cubes... it's the best.
Good luck, happy cooking, and share your recipes with folks on our facebook newsletter posts... it's a good place to network with other members.