Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 13, 2017: This Week's Box Contents, Featuring New Potatoes

July 13th CSA box contents!

Cooking with this week's box!

Well, it’s been an exciting week here at the farm.  The theme of the first part of the week was “Dig It!”  Thankfully we were able to get all of the garlic dug this week and we dug our first round of potatoes on Monday….ahead of the rainstorm thank goodness!  So we’re going to kick off this week’s “Cooking with the Box” with one of the newsletter recipes this week, Summer Farmer Skillet Dinner (see below).  This is a dish I make throughout the year, varying the ingredients with the season.  This week I made it with the new potatoes, freshly dug carrots, green beans, zucchini and the amaranth greens.  I developed this dish out of necessity.  It’s the end of the day, we’re hungry and I don’t have a plan for dinner.  I start cooking some ground meat, add some onions and garlic….all the while not really knowing where I’m going with this.  I started pulling vegetables out of the refrigerator and adding them in layers, basically until the pan was full.  I needed some kind of a “sauce,” so I added some cream.  Of course everything is better with cheese on top, so that was the finishing touch.  When we sat down to eat, Richard asked “And what’s this dish called?”  My response at that time was simply “Dinner.”  I’ve since refined the meal a bit, but it’s still a simple dish that you can vary with the seasons.  You can also get a pretty significant vegetable count with this dish as well and it’s a good way to use up remainders of vegetables before your next CSA delivery.  Sorry it isn’t anything fancy, it’s just simple farmer food.

There have been some good suggestions for recipes on our facebook group this week.  I’m going to use some of this week’s zucchini to make the Lemon Zucchini Bread recipe one member suggested.  There was also mention of a Zucchini and Garlic Soup recipe.  There isn’t enough zucchini in this week’s box to make both of these, but I’m going to hang on to the soup recipe for a future week. 

There is a good sized portion of broccoli in the box this week.  One recipe I came across was for Skillet Macaroni and Broccoli and Mushrooms and Cheese .Whew, that’s a mouthful to say, but it looks like a pretty good main dish recipe that I think will appeal to children of all ages.  If there’s some broccoli remaining after this dish, I’d like to make Sauteed Broccoli with Toasted Garlic, Orange and Sesame.This looks like a simple recipe that will be delicious with the fresh garlic in this week’s box and will make use of some of the Valencia orange peeling from this week’s fruit share.  This will go nicely alongside grilled teriyaki chicken breasts and a side of steamed rice. 

We have mangoes in this week’s fruit share, so I’m going to try this recipe for a Tropical Cucumber Salad. This fruity salad will make a simple dinner along with broiled salmon. 

Don’t forget to use the carrot tops!  I’m voting for another batch of Carrot Top Pesto that I will toss with cooked pasta and any other bits and pieces of vegetables remaining at the end of the week.  This could become a hot pasta dish, or I might opt to turn it into a cold salad and add some salty olives and freshly grated cheese to finish it off. 

We’ll use a few carrots for the Summer Farmer Skillet Dinner (recipe below), but the remainder will get chopped up in the food processor to make vegetable cream cheese.  I like to chop the raw carrot finely and then fold it into softened cream cheese along with finely sliced onion green tops and fresh herbs from the garden.  This  will becomes a spread for a sandwich or a wrap and will likely make it onto my morning toast as well. 

I think we’ve used just about everything in this week’s box….so I’ll give you a glimpse into what will be coming our way pretty soon.  Richard reported this morning that there are baby eggplant and peppers set on the plants.  The tomato plants have also set on fruit, so it won’t be long before we’re making traditional ratatouille and tomato sandwiches!  Have a great week!

-Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature:  New Potatoes

Harvest starting earlier this week!
The potatoes in your box this week are a variety called Red Norland.  They are an early variety red-skinned potato with creamy white flesh and this week they are classified as a “new potato.” The difference between a new potato and other potatoes we’ll deliver this season is not the variety or the size, but the way they are harvested.  New potatoes are classified as such if they are harvested off of a plant that still has green leaves on it.  With latter varieties, we’ll mow down the potato vine about a week in advance of harvest.  In the week between mowing down the vines and actually harvesting the potatoes, changes take place in the potatoes that help to set the skins and make them better for storage.  They are also easier to handle without damaging the skin. 
New potatoes have a thinner, more tender and delicate skin.  They need to be handled with care so as not to disturb the skin and expose the flesh.  Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in the refrigerator.  It’s important that they are not exposed to light or they will turn green and be bitter.  In general, potatoes will store for a few weeks at room temperature in a brown paper bag.  However new potatoes will not store as well and are best eaten within one week. Do not store potatoes in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator.

Wagon load of potatoes ready for  CSA boxes!
New potatoes are, in my opinion, the “best of the best” potatoes of the season.  They are tender & creamy with a fresh, pure potato flavor.  This week’s variety is a “waxy” variety.  They lend themselves well to basic boiling, roasting or pan-frying.  You could make “smashed” potatoes with them, but I’d discourage you from making mashed potatoes out of them as waxy potatoes have a tendency to become sticky when mashed.  We still have several more varieties to dig.  Make sure you check the newsletter each week to find out more information about each variety and the best ways to prepare them.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yogurt 

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

2 ½ pounds small waxy potatoes
Fine sea salt
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp minced dill
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice and ½ tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp honey 
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh herbs for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water.  Sprinkle a few pinches of salt into the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are tender (but not falling apart).  Test the potatoes by inserting a knife into the center.
  3. While the potatoes cook, prepare the yogurt sauce.  In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, dill, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and zest, honey, oil, and a healthy pinch each of salt and pepper;  whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them cool for 8 to 10 minutes.  Spread the potatoes out over the baking sheet and use a spatula to lightly press down on each one until it is mostly flattened.  (Some may fall apart a bit, but that’s okay!)
  5. Drizzle each potato with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp on the bottom.  The timing will vary depending on the size and variety of your potatoes.
  6. Serve them with the garlic herb yogurt sauce and a sprinkling of chopped herbs.

This is another tasty recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt, written by farmer Andrea Bemis.

Summer Farmer Skillet Dinner

By Chef Andrea 
Yield:  4 to 6 servings

1 pound ground pork or beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup white wine
2 cups potatoes, skin on, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup carrots, medium dice
1 cup zucchini, medium dice
2 cups green or yellow beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cream, divided
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, savory, oregano, rosemary etc.)
4 cups greens (amaranth, chard, beet greens, or any other seasonal cooking green), washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. If you have a broiler in your oven, position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the broiler.  If you do not have a broiler, preheat the oven to 400°F.  
  2. Heat an 11-12 inch oven proof skillet on the stove top at medium-high heat.  Add the ground pork or beef and cook until browned.  Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the white wine to the pan and then layer the potatoes and carrots on top of the meat mixture.  Season again with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots have started to soften but are not all the way cooked.  
  4. Add the zucchini, green beans and ½ cup of the cream to the pan.  Season this layer with salt and pepper.  Cover the pan again and simmer for another 5-6 minutes. 
  5. Remove the cover and sprinkle the herbs on top.  Spread the greens on top, and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the remaining ½ cup of cream around the edge of the pan.  Cover the pan again and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the greens are wilted.  Remove the cover and simmer on the stovetop for an additional 5-6 minutes or until the cream is reduced by about half.  
  6. Spread the shredded cheese on top of the greens.  Remove the pan from the stovetop and put it in the oven under the broiler or in the hot oven.  Bake just until the cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown.  
  7. Serve hot.  If you have any leftovers, they will reheat well for another meal or they are delicious served with toast and eggs for breakfast.  

This is a basic recipe that can be altered to use any seasonal vegetables you have available.  Add the vegetables that will take the longest to cook to the pan first and finish with the quick cooking greens on top.  And the best part is…you only dirty one pan!  This has become one of our favorite, simple ways to make a hearty meal using seasonal vegetables without a lot of fuss and enough leftovers for the next day!  Perfect farmer food at the end of a long summer day!

No comments: