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Summer CSA share

Smashed Persian Cucumbers with Sesame & Ginger

TIME: 20 MINUTES, SERVES: 4
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Persian cucumbers have become very popular among our customers and chefs. Their small size and thin skins make them perfect for easy snacking or quick prep. They are surprisingly sweet and crunchy, while still retaining a refreshing, cucumber flavor.

Smashing cucumbers (my new alt. rock band name) is fun! It is also a great way to involve kids in the kitchen. But it’s not just about fun and games—the craggy edges have more surface area for seasonings, packing every mouthful full of flavor.

INGREDIENTS

5 - 6 small, Persian cucumbers
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts sliced
2 tbls. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted (a mix of white and black are nice)
Chili oil, to taste (look for a brand without additives or MSG—just chilies and oil preferably—or make your own!)

METHOD

  1. Tear cucumbers into bite size pieces.

  2. Place the cucumbers plus 1 tsp. kosher salt in a colander, and let drain for 10 minutes.

  3. Place sesame seeds in a small pan and toast until they start to pop, about 3 - 5 minutes. Stir to avoid burning, and remove from heat.

  4. Transfer the cucumbers to a medium bowl and add rice wine vinegar and grated ginger. Toss to coat and adjust seasoning.

  5. Transfer cucumbers to a serving dish, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with chili oil.

Sweet Corn, Sungold, & Cilantro Salad

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 4

In the dog days of Summer, heat can make it difficult to grow tasty salad greens. This can be bothersome because we oftentimes crave a refreshing, crunchy, raw salad when it’s so dang hot out.

Cue the “Summer Salad!” This is one of my favorites because it epitomizes everything about the season, and takes just a few minutes to prep. For a more savory spin, substitute regular ol’ red cherry tomatoes or chopped plum tomatoes for the super sweet Sungolds. If you don’t like cilantro, use basil! Parsley! Dill! I love to add a little feta in there, but this can also be 100% vegan.

INGREDIENTS

3 ears very fresh sweet corn, kernels shaved off (save cobs for stock)
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, or herb(s) of choice
1 pint Sungold cherry tomatoes or red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbls. red onion or shallot, minced
1 oz. feta cheese (opt.)
Vinaigrette
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

METHOD

  1. Mix together the vinaigrette ingredients.

  2. Gently toss together the salad ingredients.

  3. Dress with half the vinaigrette. Taste, and add more if necessary.

  4. Serve alongside grilled fish, chicken, or a couple hard boiled eggs. Or try half an avocado spritzed with lime if it’s just too dang hot.

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Zucchini Noodles with Walnut Pesto

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 2

Zucchini noodles, or ‘Zoodles’, have become somewhat of a mascot within the low-carb food community. I have a tendency to approach most food trends with a level of skepticism. Food marketing generally operates from a profit-forward standard, rather than nutritional or ecological. So when a fancy new super food promising “antioxidant-rich!” “sugar-free!” or “healthy!” pops up, I have three main standards on whether it’s worth investigating: 1. Can I grow this? 2. If not, can it be purchased locally? 3. If so, is it grown or raised organically/responsibly?

“Zoodles” pass through all these hoops for me. Even though I wouldn’t label summer squash a nutrition powerhouse, it is yummy and we do grow it. Zoodles have become a gluten-free answer to that slurpy, noodly craving that can hit without warning.

Granted, I’ll eat grilled or roasted zucchini any day alongside a rich pesto dip, but this is a fun way to mix it up. Zoodles can also shine in a light, savory broth, or with a cream-based sauce. I purchased a 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer, and even though it takes up a fair amount of kitchen space and is a little bulky, it’s so easy to use and clean, I have no hesitation busting it out.

I use the word “pesto” very loosely in this recipe. Feel free to make it dairy-free by cutting out the optional Parmesan, or substitute different nuts, seeds, or herbs.

INGREDIENTS

Zoodles
1 large zucchini or 2 medium (Even though the smaller squash generally taste better, I’ve found the larger ones easier to “spiralize")
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. high heat oil, bacon grease, or butter/ghee
(Dairy-free) Walnut “Pesto”
2 cups packed Italian basil (I use the whole plant: leaves, tender stems, flowers, etc.). You can substitute parsley or arugula for some or all of the basil.
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup walnuts or favorite nut (pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
Juice from 1 lemon, to taste
1 - 2 tbls. water to thin, if necessary
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (opt.)

METHOD

  1. For the pesto, put all ingredients except water into a food processor and process until very smooth. If not using Parmesan, it is important to use a generous amount of salt—start with less and add to taste after blending. If it’s too thick, add a tbls. at a time of water. You will need to use enough oil to coat the noodles in a smooth sauce.

  2. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a mandolin with a julienne blade or a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons. You can even julienne by hand if you’re confident in your knife skills.

  3. Sprinkle the zoodles with salt and let sit for a few minutes in a colander.

  4. Heat cooking fat in a large skillet. Sear the zoodles in a single layer. Do not stir, rather let them slightly brown on one side and then flip over. It is very important they don’t crowd the pan so that they sear quickly. Crowding results in soggy, overcooked zoodles. Transfer to a wide serving dish.

  5. Top with the pesto and mix very gently to incorporate. Serve topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and chicken, or alongside a few slices of bacon and crumbled goat cheese

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Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

TIME: 1+ HOUR; SERVES: ~1 CUP

By the end of August, we have so many cherry tomatoes ripening on the vines, it’s hard to keep up with the harvest. Typically we open our tomato patch up to our CSA members for u-pick, and encourage folks to take advantage of the bounty.

Slow roasting cherry tomatoes is a great way to make a little out of a lot of fruit. If I have a TON, I’ll roast several batches and freeze for later. One of my favorite tricks is to slow-poach chicken at low temp in the oven, and while it’s cooking, slip in a baking sheet of cherry tomatoes tossed with oil, salt & garlic to stew alongside for an hour.

INGREDIENTS

2 - 3 pints cherry tomatoes; You can halve them for quicker roasting time, or throw them in whole if you have way too many and don’t care about bursting fruit.
Enough olive oil to generously coat
Salt, to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Coat the tomatoes with oil & salt, and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.

  2. Roast for about 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through. You want them to cook down significantly, and become slightly browned. If they’re taking forever, turn up the heat to 350°F for another 30 minutes or so.

  3. Remove from oven when the juices have thickened slightly and the tomatoes are reduced. Let cool and store in the fridge for about a week, or freeze for several months.

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Spiced Tomato Chutney

TIME: 1.5 HOURS (not including canning); SERVES: ~3 PINTS
Adapted from David Tanis

I sometimes double this recipe during Summer when tomatoes are abundant, and I find make time to can a big batch for holiday presents. This chutney has become a necessary condiment for any coconut-milk based curry, or dish that needs a little 'flare'.

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup ginger, peeled, slivered
1/4 cup garlic, slivered
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 - 6 small, dried hot chili peppers
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (opt., depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
12 - 15 black peppercorns
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. nigella seeds (opt.)
1 tsp. kosher salt

METHOD

  1. In a small pan, toast the seeds over medium-low heat until fragrant, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.   

  2. Put everything together in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring until the mixture has thickened to a jam consistently, about 1 hour.

  3. If you are canning, ladle into sterilized jars and continue the canning process, processing for 20 minutes in a hot water bath. If you are refrigerating or freezing, let cool and transfer into containers.

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