Thursday, July 28, 2016

Vegetable Feature: Onions and Garlic

By Andrea Yoder

     We’ve always known it is important to include onions and garlic in our diets daily, at least that’s what our gut instinct told us.  Laurel’s article in this week’s newsletter gives us just a glimpse into the science about why they are important and how they work in our bodies.  We do try to include a vegetable from the garlic and onion families in every CSA box, starting with ramps in the spring and finishing the season with cured garlic and storage onions.
     We select our varieties of onions very carefully to help us make the progression through the season.  This week we are harvesting some of our sweet onion varieties.  Sweet onions bridge the gap in the season between some of our early season fresh onions, mainly scallions and fresh Cipollini onions, and our storage onions.  Sweet onions mature more quickly, so they are ready to harvest ahead of the storage onions.  They do not store as well because they have higher sugar content and much thinner skins.  They are meant to be eaten fresh and you’ll find them to be very mild. In fact Farmer Richard says they’re so mild you can “eat them like an apple!”
     Very soon we will start bringing in the remainder of our onions.  They’ll “cure” in the greenhouse to help develop their skins so they will store longer throughout the winter.   You should store “cured” onions and garlic in a cool, dry location with good ventilation and away from direct sunlight.  The onions in your box this week may be stored in the refrigerator to help lengthen their shelf life, given they have not been cured yet.

Zucchini & Onion Gratin

Finished Gratin

1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh bread crumbs 
⅓ cup grated Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano or whatever you have on  hand
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 zucchini (large or small), thinly sliced (2 to 3 cups)

Onions cooking but not yet caramelized

1.  Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and starting to caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes. Note: if you have time to really allow the onions to caramelize at a slow pace, do so; if you don’t, just sauté the onions until they are soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Layering of zucchini

2.  Meanwhile, toss breadcrumbs with cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Top onions with squash (this can be a single layer or two or three layers) and breadcrumb mixture. Bake at 350°F until squash is tender and breadcrumbs are golden brown, 20–25 minutes.

This recipe borrowed from 

Chilled Cucumber-Tahini & Herb Soup with Cumin-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Photo borrowed from food blogger & farmer Andrea Bemis
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped into
   ½-inch chunks
¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh dill, plus more for garnish
¼ cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
¼ cup parsley, plus more for garnish
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
Sprinkle of black pepper, to taste
4-6 ice cubes
¼ cup water to thin if necessary

Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas
1-15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted    dry
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

1.  Place all the ingredients for the soup (except water) in a high speed blender and whirl away until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides. If necessary add a little water to help get things moving. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.

2.  Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss chickpeas with cumin, salt and olive oil. Place on a well-greased baking sheet and bake until browned and crisp on all sides. About 15-20 minutes. Toss chickpeas halfway through cooking.

3.  Serve soup with chopped fresh herbs, roasted chickpeas and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

Recipe borrowed from Andrea Bemis’ blog,
Check out Andrea’s blog for other interesting vegetable-centric recipes!

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