CSA Newsletter Week 4
Orient Express Eggplant
German Extra Hearty Garlic
Muir Head Lettuce
Red Tide Head Lettuce
Pint o Peas
Some Kind Of Zucchini and/or Summer Squash
Notes from the Farm
The crust is really the most nutritious part of bread... I always thought it was a lie concocted by exasperated parents... it's not.
And it's a shame, I feel like there is an inherent distrust, a collective sideways looking set of eyes, that colors the dinner eating experience. At the farm, our customer conversations have led us to the fact that new vegetables are more often met with skepticism than enthusiasm... myself included... it's a self preservational impulse I suppose... culinary isolationism.
In all cases, vegetable varieties have been cultivated, curated and selected for thousands of years. That puts 60 to 80 generations of people behind us that have eaten the same food... some cultural group of people, somewhere, liked that vegetable sitting in front of you at any given meal. To some ancestral stream, Okra was the most cherished food... or Collard Greens, or Fennel, or Hot Peppers...
But somehow, as a kid (and maybe too often as an adult), a new food is slid across the table to me, and my immediate impulse is NO. I mean, I've gotten better at hiding it as an adult, but the 8 year old skeptic inside is resolute... not this time, I'm not falling for it again.
And I'd like to think I'm different... food is my livelihood... but I'm not. What I have done over the years is to try and minimize the culinary conflict. None of the food we grow needs to be peeled (except the ones that do). We choose varieties of eggplant, beet, carrot, turnip, and cucumber that have delicious skins that do not have to be peeled. I don't want to have a delicious food hidden in a bitter package that might accidentally make it through and ruin my dinner...
The vegetable varieties we grow have been selected for flavor, hard stop. Unfortunately, after World War 1, there was a breeding movement to make food more beautiful, shippable and uniform. Slowly the newer varieties of Tomatoes and Eggplants, Broccoli and Beets infiltrated our homes... they looked good, they tasted medium... and medium tasting vegetables have unfortunately become a beloved norm. There are other vegetable varieties out there in the world that have classic looks, get bigger, present well... but we're not interested in economic advantages of an elegant pre-masticated vegetable... we don't want it to look good in a cooler or at a farmers market, we want it to taste good in your mouth.
And not everyone is going to love every food, but I can say, without reservation, at least food you get from us, that you don't need to peel your vegetables (unless you do [kohlrabi por ejemplo]).
And when met with a grumpy partner or kid or parent reluctant to enjoy a new food, you can remind them that 80 generations have eaten the same food, that it isn't an accident or new at all, and that the crust really is the most nutritious part of the bread... and it's all true...
A Walk Through The Food
Savoy Cabbage: Savoy may be our favorite cabbage, and is the best true cabbage for fresh eating. It is light, crisp and tender. It's a wonderful slaw cabbage. It is also wonderful grilled or broiled with olive oil, Maldon's and caraway seed... sliced into wedges, rounds or just halved.
Cucumbers: This week we're giving you one of every cucumber we grow. Silver Surfer, Marketmore, English Burpless, Picklers. They are all a bit different and all have their virtues... and in the end, all are cucumbers. You'll be getting more of each of them, but this is the beginning.
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 orient express eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick slices and scored
Heat grill to medium. In small bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce and 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
Halve eggplants lengthwise; slice a bit off the skin side so they lie flat, and score both sides in a crisscross pattern.
Brush both sides of eggplant halves with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt. Grill until charred and tender, 4 to 7 minutes per side. Brush both sides generously with reserved hoisin mixture; grill each side again just to glaze, about 1 minute per side. Serve hot.
Buttered Savoy Cabbage
1 savoy cabbage (2 pounds), halved, cored, and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips, thick ribs removed
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Place cabbage in a large skillet with 1 cup water (skillet will be very full). Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet; simmer until cabbage is very tender, tossing occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes.
Pour out any water remaining in skillet. Add butter; season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
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