Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 19, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring New Potatoes

Cooking With This Week's Box:

This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Green & Yellow Beans:  Summer Farmer Skillet 

Red Amaranth:  Summer Farmer Skillet 


White Cauliflower:  Cauliflower Patties

Alas, it’s time to cook new potatoes!  The first potatoes of the season are always the best tasting and really, the key to preparing them is to just keep it simple.  Simple is the key to this week’s cooking strategy, partly because of time and partly because the vegetables themselves just don’t need to be fussed with to be tasty and delicious.  Many of the items in this week’s box qualify as “Nature’s Fast Food.”  If they can’t be eaten raw, they can be prepared with minimal cooking time.  So, if you are short on time, hungry and tempted to order a pizza, pause for a minute and consider that you can pull off a simple dinner in the same time it will take you to order and pick up the pizza, or have it delivered.  Potatoes are likely the item that will take the longest to prepare, so lets start there.

New potatoes are delicious on their own, so simply boiling them until tender in salted water and then eating them with butter and black pepper is delicious.  If you want to kick it up a little bit, try one of the recipes featured below.  Nigel Slater’s recipe for Potatoes with Crème Fraiche and Dill (See Below) is super simple.  Boil the potatoes and add a spoonful of crème fraiche or sour cream along with a handful of dill or other fresh herbs.  That’s it—so delicious.  Karen from posted this recipe for Cracked and Smashed Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli and Sweet Peas  (see below) on her blog last week.  It’s pretty darn simple to make, but we don’t have peas anymore!  No worries—substitute fresh green or yellow beans for the peas and you’ll be good to go. 

Summer Farmer Skillet
This is the week to pull out the recipe for the Summer Farmer Skillet, a recipe I shared in a newsletter last year.  This is a dish I turn to whenever I need a simple, yet hearty meal that is heavy on vegetables and easy on preparation time.  Yes there’s some chopping involved, but it really doesn’t take long.  Everything goes in one pan and leftovers are excellent.  This recipe will make use of some of your green and yellow beans, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, amaranth and/or sweetheart cabbage as well as some fresh herbs from your garden.  In just one dish you can utilize seven to eight of the vegetables from this week’s box plus herbs!

This week I’m going to use some of the zucchini with the white Spanish onions to make the Zucchini & Onion Gratin featured in one of our 2016 newsletters.  This is a super simple dish to make and very tasty.  As I was looking for this recipe, I came across this recipe for Chilled Cucumber-Tahini and Herb Soup with Cumin-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas.  It will take you about 15-20 minutes to roast the chickpeas, but the soup is made by putting everything in the blender and that’s it!  You can use either green or silver slicers in this recipe along with some fresh garlic and fresh herbs.  There’s enough fat and protein from the chickpeas and tahini to make this soup substantial enough to enjoy for lunch or a light dinner.  

Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken
Last year we featured this recipe for Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken that is excellent made with the sweetheart cabbage.  The recipe calls for green onions and red onion, but the white Spanish onion will be just fine.  It also calls for carrots and snow peas, but this week I’ll substitute some of the green beans in place of the peas.  The beauty of this recipe is that it is adaptable to whatever vegetables you have available at the time.  I like to serve this as a main dish salad and then use the leftovers to make spring rolls that are easy to take for lunch. 

I’ve been hungry for Broccoli & Cheddar Soup, so that’s where all of this week’s broccoli will be used.  I’m hoping there are some leftovers I can freeze to have something quick and easy to turn to some evening when I need a break from cooking.  While you could make soup with the cauliflower, I think I’m just going to use that to make Cauliflower Patties to serve for Sunday brunch along with our bacon and eggs.

Well, I think we’ve reached the bottom of another CSA box.  We’ll have peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and sweet corn coming in very soon…possibly even next week for some of these vegetables.  Don’t forget, if you’re going on a summer vacation, camping or any other road trip, take your vegetables with you so you don’t miss out on any of the summer CSA bounty.  You’ll also feel better eating good food while you travel and will save money along the way!  Have a great week!

—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature:  New Potatoes

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 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 very thin, 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.

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. 

Last year's potato harvest
We still have six more varieties of potatoes to dig this year.  Some potatoes are classified as “waxy” while others are classified as “starchy,” or possibly a mix of the two classifications.  These classifications are assigned based on the type of starch that comprises the flesh of the potato.  Waxy potatoes are generally more moist and hold together better.  They are best used for roasting, boiling or steaming, and potato salad.  I do not recommend mashing them because they usually become sticky.  Starchy potatoes tend to be more dry and fluffy.  This is a variety of potato appropriate for mashing as well as for making roasted potatoes, pan frying, etc.  Starchy potatoes are also useful for thickening soups.  We’ll tell you more about each new variety of potatoes in the “What’s In the Box” section of every email, so check there for more info from week to week.

I encourage you to slow down and really savor the flavor of these fresh, delicate potatoes.  They have a unique “fresh” potato flavor that will never be the same as it is this week when they are freshly dug.  You really don’t need to do much to these potatoes and, in fact, I’d encourage you to do as little as possible!  Treat them simply and enjoy the flavor.  They are excellent with nothing more than a little butter, salt and pepper. 

Potatoes with Crème Fraiche, and Dill

Yield:  However much you would like

Gently rub the potatoes clean, washing them well under running water.  Leave the skin be if it is young and thin.  Peel it if not.  Put the potatoes into cold water and bring to a boil.  Salt generously, then simmer until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife—a matter of anything from ten to twenty-five minutes, depending on the variety of your potatoes.  Drain and return them to the stove, this time over gentle heat.

Put a large dollop of crème fraiche into the pan and a handful of chopped dill fronds.  Cover with a lid until the cream has melted.  Fold the potatoes gently over in the melted cream and herbs until they are lightly coated, then eat with ham or oily fish.

NOTE FROM CHEF ANDREA:  This recipe was borrowed from Tender: A cook and his vegetable patch, by Nigel Slater.  The recipe is exactly as he wrote it in his book.  It’s a loose recipe that will guide you through a very simple way to prepare new potatoes.  If you don’t have crème fraiche, sour cream is an appropriate substitute.  If you don’t have fresh dill, just substitute any other fresh herb you have available, such as parsley or basil.

Cracked and Smashed Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli and Sweet Peas

Yield: 4-6 servings
photo from

2 pounds new potatoes, preferably golf-ball size
¾ cup kosher salt (or plain table salt)
2 cups sugar snap peas or thawed frozen sweet peas*
1 cup prepared mayonnaise 
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest and juice 
1 small pressed garlic clove
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon*

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  1. Put the potatoes and salt in a large pot (at least 5 quarts). Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat and partially cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 - 25 minutes. Throw the peas into the pot for the last 15 seconds of cooking. Drain and cool the potatoes 15 minutes.
  3. Stir together the mayonnaise, fresh lemon zest and juice and garlic.  Add the tarragon and a good 15 - 20 grinds of pepper.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, press down on the potatoes to lightly smoosh and crack them. Add ¾ cup of the aioli to the potatoes and toss gently to coat.  Taste and add more aioli if you like.
*Note: This recipe was borrowed from  Since we’re done with sugar snap peas for the season, consider using green beans in place of the peas in this recipe.  Also, if you don’t have fresh tarragon available, you could also substitute chervil from your herb garden.

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