From the Land 9.26

food for thought
full share: green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, collard greens, butternut squash, scallions, and pickles!

partial share: cucumbers, tomatoes, butternut squash, and pickles!

veg of the week

collard greensBrassica oleracea

Collards (from “colewort” – cabbage plant) are a loose-leafed relative of broccoli and cabbage commonly grown in the southern US, Brazil, Portugal, and many parts of Africa.

Uses: The thick, slightly bitter leaves are a staple of southern US cuisine,and are often flavored with smoked, salted meats, diced onions, vinegar, salt and pepper. A traditional New Year’s dish is steamed collards, cornbread, and black-eyed peas – said to ensure wealth in the coming year because the collards resemble money! The collards can also be sliced thin and fermented as a “collard kraut”.

Nutrition: Collards are a good source of vitamin C and soluble fiber, and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and sulforaphane.

To store: Collards can be easily stored for 10 days when kept just above freezing at high humidity. Put in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

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Welcome Alex!
Hello PCCSA members! I am your CSA’s newest employee. I was lucky enough to snag
the best work study job available. From now on you’ll see me every Wednesday when you pick up your produce and you’ll be hearing from me in the weekly newsletter, talking about whatever interesting stuff you want to know about. If anyone has suggestions on topics please let us know. It can range anywhere from the nutritional value of vegetables to whats happening in Prescott’s food scene.
Here is a little bit about myself and why I’m interested in helping boost sustainable eating and agriculture. I grew up mainly in the SF bay area but moved before starting high school, to rural Oregon. It was always my parents’ dream to own and run a small-family-farm-business. High school for me was slaughtering chickens, building fences, castrating cows and bouncing for hours on a tractor planting acres of crops. My focuses on the farm started off with a chicken operation, an essential aspect of every respectable farm, I believed. I began later to focus more on vegetable and grain production. Since then, and before coming to Prescott, I traveled and worked but always, it seemed, with some sort of connection to food. I WWOOFed (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Look it up if you don’t already know about it. “WWOOFing” is an excellent method of cheap travel). I worked in restaurants and, of course, I ate continuously. I always try to balance my budget with healthy food. Which is why a CSA makes so much sense! I am here to study creative writing, the performing arts and to soak up the amazing creative energy buzzing through this community.
I look forward to meeting every one of you in the coming year! Note: the chicken in the photo consented to sit on my head and was not harmed (until years later when she stopped laying eggs. An old farmers saying, meant as a warning to lazy laying hens, goes “an egg a day keeps the hatchet away”).

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collard sushi with red pepper and cucumber
adapted from vegan magazine
makes 4 rolls

  • 4 leaves collards
  • 8 T hummus
  • 2 green onions/scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 red pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 1/4 small cucumber, cut in thin strips
  • 1/4 C shredded carrots
  • 1/2 -1 lemon and zest

*these ingredients are mere suggestion: use whatever fresh produce you have on hand!

Put about 2 inches of water in a large frying pan and bring to a boil.

Lay the collard green leaves flat, cut off the thick stem at the point where the leaf begins, then pile them on top of each other in the boiling water. Cover and cook for about 30 seconds.

Drain, then lay the leaves flat on a board or counter with the thick part of the stem facing up.

Down the center spine of each collard leaf place a row of about 2 tablespoons hummus, sprinkle with green onions, cilantro and shredded carrots, and place thin red pepper strips and cucumber strips on top (or whatever veggies you are using). Sprinkle generously with lemon juice and lemon zest.

Flip the ends in and gently roll into a sausage shape. With a sharp knife, cut into as many small pieces as possible. Voila!

collard greens with butternut squash and chicken
adapted from the nurtured way
serves 3-4

  • olive oil
  • 2 C butternut squash, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb chicken
  • 6-8 C collard greens, chopped with stems removed
  • 3 green onions/scallions, thinly sliced
  • A few T of bacon drippings, ghee, or other oil
  • 1 C coconut milk
  • Half of a lemon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a pan and arrange the chicken to bake. Toss the squash and half of the garlic in some olive oil, and place evenly around the chicken. Salt as desired, and bake until done. Chop the chicken (and squash if necessary) into half inch pieces.

In a sauté pan, heat your bacon drippings or oil. Add the remainder of the garlic, and stir until fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium and toss in the onion. Stir until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Mix in the collards and stir until cooked down (a few minutes). Salt to taste, and add in the coconut milk. Return to a boil, then simmer, stirring periodically until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the chicken and squash, add a good squeeze of lemon (if you’d like) and fold in to coat. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes, then serve warm.

marinated collard green salad
adapted from urban organic gardener
makes

  • one bunch collard greens
  • one lemon or a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • a few slices of onion or scallions
  • dash sea salt
  • one clove garlic
  • t raw honey
  • t olive oil
  • dash of paprika

Dice the onions and put into a small bowl. Squeeze the entire lemon over the onions or cover with apple cider vinegar. Chop up the garlic clove and add to onions. Let it sit on the side for the onions to soak in the lemon/vinegar.

Cut up your collards by placing the leaves on top of each other, roll them up tightly and cut across into ribbons. Place into salad bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Massage down the collards by hand until they start to wilt down. Put to the side.

Back to the onion/lemon juice: add few drops of olive oil, add 1 teaspoon honey and mix or shake well. Pour marinade over the collards and work it in. Sprinkle on paprika. The collards will start to have a “sauteed-like” texture.

Eat the salad immediately or let it sit to marinate until the flavors are to your taste (the longer it sits the stronger the flavor).

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From the Land 9.19

food for thought
full share: head lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green beans, okra, roasted peppers (spicy or mild), salad turnips, and arugula!

partial share: head lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and green beans

veg of the week

green beans: Phaseolus vulgaris

The green bean is the unripe fruit of specific varieties of the common bean that have been bred for texture and sweetness, and shares a common ancestor with the kidney, navy and black bean. Originally cultivated in Peru, the common bean was introduced to Europe in the 16th century, and spread throughout the Americas through migrating native tribes. Currently, large quantities of green beans are grown throughout France, Argentina, Iraq, and Mexico, but the largest producer is the US (60% of commercially available green beans).

uses: Green beans are delicious both raw and cooked. Rinse just prior to preparing and snap or cut off both ends. Steam and toss with dressing, cut and add to green salad, or saute lightly to preserve texture, flavor and nutrition.

nutrition: Green beans are as rich in carotenoids as brightly colored vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, but the standard bright orange color is unseen because of the concentrated chlorophyll beans contain. They are also high in antioxidants for immune system and cardiovascular health, and silicon for bone health and healthy formation of connective tissue. The carotenoid and flavonoid content, compounded by high quality fiber, also gives green beans lots of anti-inflammatory properties, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and other inflammation-caused diseases.

to store: Fresh beans should be vibrant green and have a firm texture and crisp “snap” when broken. Store unwashed in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, where they will keep for 7 days. They can also be blanched and frozen, though they slowly lose nutritional value and for this reason are best eaten within three months.

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arugula, potato and green bean salad, with creamy walnut dressing
adapted from smitten kitchen
makes 4 large salads

  • 1/3 C walnuts
  • 1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 6 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments
  • 2 T white wine or other mild vinegar
  • 2 T plain yogurt
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 1 t coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T walnut oil
  • 3 oz baby arugula

Preheat oven to 375°. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop and set aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a colander to drain and cool. Set aside.

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Return pan of water to a boil. Add green beans, and cook until tender and bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Drain.

Whisk together vinegar, yogurt, mustard and 1/2 t salt in a small bowl; season with pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Set dressing aside.

Arrange arugula, potatoes, and green beans on a platter. Season with remaining 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts; toss to coat.

chile relleno casserole
adapted from simply recipes
serves 8

  • 8 roasted peppers (bell peppers, poblano chiles, or banana peppers all work – depending on your spice preference)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo (or other spicy sausage)
  • 1 C crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 t minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 12 eggs (*in a pinch you can use 8 eggs with a little milk)
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 C Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan, on medium. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Carefully peel and discard any remaining blackened skin off of the chilies. Cut off the stem ends, remove the seeds and discard. Set chiles aside on a layer of paper towels to dry.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook chorizo, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of an 8×12 inch baking dish (the tomato sauce should be the consistency of a thin spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, thin it out with a little water).

In a large bowl, mix chorizo, cotija, and oregano. Stuff chiles with sausage mixture and lay them on top of the tomato sauce in the pan. (Alternately, you can cut the chiles open and layer the chiles and sausage mixture.)

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle chiles with half of the jack or cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over chiles and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake until top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.

pickled green beans (refrigerator pickles)
adapted from my recipes
makes 1 pint

  • 5 oz green beans
  • 1 pint jar with lid
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 t coriander seeds
  • 1 small dried chile
  • 1/8 t black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 C cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t salt

Arrange beans vertically in pint jar to see how many fit. Remove beans and trim them to fit lengthwise in jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch empty space at top of jar. Arrange trimmed beans in jar.

Stuff garlic, coriander seeds, chile, peppercorns, and bay leaf around beans.

Bring vinegar, wine, sugar, and salt to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour mixture over beans. Screw on lid and let sit until cooled to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 days or up to 6 months before eating.

From the Land 9.12

announcement
Sandor Ellix Katz is coming to Prescott! Sandor is a self-taught fermentation experimentalist and self-described fermentation fetishist and the author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Chelsea Green, 2003), The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements (Chelsea Green, 2006), and The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World (Chelsea Green, 2012, co-authored with Michael Pollan). Sandor has taught hundreds of fermentation workshops around the North America, and soon Prescott will join the list! So…we are looking for local businesses or interested supporters to become sponsors! We need to raise a few hundred dollars for Sandor’s honorarium, and would love all the help we can get! Please contact me or Allison Jack (allison.jack@prescott.edu) if you’re interested and able to help.

Are you interested in a Thanksgiving turkey share? We’re putting together a turkey share from Ridgeview Farms. The birds are farm-raised in Paulden and fed locally-grown, organic, non-GMO feed, and never given antibiotics or growth hormones. The turkeys are $3.75/lb, and will probably be in the 10-14 lb range. We require a $25 deposit, with the rest due upon distribution on November 14.

food for thought
full share: cucumbers, hot or spicy peppers, okra, garlic, carrots, summer squash, and eggplant from Rabbit Run in Skull Valley, and your choice of hand-made pasta from DeCio Pasta in Tempe!

partial share: carrots, summer squash, eggplant, and DeCio pasta

veg of the week

eggplant: Solanum melongena

As a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, the eggplant is closely related to tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco. Though we most often associate eggplant (or aubergine in France) with a purple color, the name comes from certain varieties that are off-white in color. Because of the presence of nicotinoid alkaloids, the seeds tend to be bitter, necessitating certain methods of preparation. And because of its relation to the nightshade family, it was long believed to be poisonous; surely, the leaves and flowers are poisonous when eaten in large quantities, but humans are rarely sensitive to the fruit itself; those that are report itchy skin or mouths, headaches, or upset stomachs. Eggplant has been cultivated for thousands of years in India and other parts of southern and eastern Asia, and came to the Americas as early as the 1500s, but was used most often for decorative rather than culinary purposes. New varieties were discovered and developed in the 1800s, after which the fruit’s popularity soared.

uses: Though bitter when raw, cooking eggplant sweetens and tenderizes the fruit. It is often suggested to salt and rinse the slices to decrease the bitterness, though this is less necessary with Japanese and newer larger hybrid varieties. Keep in mind, though, that salting reduces the amount of fat it is able to absorb, so this remains common practice.

If you choose to (or your kids demand it), there are two ways to de-bitter the eggplant: sweating and de-seeding. If choosing to “sweat” it with salt, cut into desired shape and thickness and sprinkle with salt; let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse and dab dry with paper towels. This tenderizes the eggplant, as well as reducing the bitterness and its ability to soak up oil. OR – according to the lazy homesteader you can slice it lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Eggplant can be stewed, battered and deep-fried and topped with a tomato or yogurt sauce, roasted, grilled, mashed with other vegetables, or baked and stuffed with vegetables, rice and meats. Try these simple ideas:

  • For homemade baba ganoush, purée roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Use it as a dip for vegetables or as a sandwich filling.
  • Mix cubed baked eggplant with grilled peppers, lentils, onions and garlic and top with balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Stuff miniature Japanese eggplants with a mixture of feta cheese, pine nuts and roasted peppers.
  • Add eggplant to your next Indian curry stir-fry.

nutrition: Eggplants, high in chlorogenic acid, have been shown to protect braincell membranes from free radicals, whose benefits include anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL, and antiviral properties. In addition, regular consumption has been shown to improve cardiovascular health.

to store: Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size with smooth and shiny skin. It perishes quickly once cut, so store uncut and unwashed eggplant in plastic bags in the refrigerator crisper. They should last easily for 4 or 5 days.

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Sandor Katz and fermentation for social change

In lieu of an article, we’re reprinting a Grist interview with Sandor Katz from 2007 published here. He has some great and interesting things to say about why it’s important to not limit one’s role to mere consumer, the health benefits of fermented foods, food politics and the future of agriculture – AND he says much much more eloquently than I could! In coming weeks, we’ll highlight some fermentation techniques and health benefits. Please enjoy…

You suggest, through your work, that we shouldn’t mindlessly consume processed food, but instead get involved with production — why?

We’re living in this time where people have largely lost our direct connections to the natural world and it’s all mediated for us by a few people in the middle. And as with any kind of an organism, food connects humans to their environments and the natural world. So if you’re gathering food you have to know about the local plants. If you’re hunting, you’re interacting with animals. When you’re just going to the supermarket, you lose that interaction.

Katz teaches the joys of fermentation.

Identifying solely as consumers is just a limiting, infantilizing role. Sure, we can be consumers, but we also can be producers and everybody can be both of those things. And fermenting your own food … you’re not only producing food, but you’re interacting with invisible natural forces.

I meet so many people who have a memory of a grandparent who had some sort of an annual fermentation ritual, whether it was making sauerkraut, making wine, making pickles. Really until 50 years ago, 75 years ago, it was really, really common at the household level for people to ferment some of their foods.

In a small but profound way, getting involved with fermenting food in your home is a way to embrace the bacterial allies that are all around us. And rather than getting caught up in the foolish, indiscriminate war on bacteria, we can embrace the bacteria around us and turn them into our physiological allies.

Why shouldn’t we fear those invisible creatures?

Bacteria can be your friends.

Well, on every head of cabbage, on every vegetable, for that matter in every breath that you ever take without going to the grocery store, there are untold numbers of different microorganisms, including not only bacteria, but fungi, and who knows what else?

The art of fermentation is about creating the conditions that support the growth and proliferation of certain types of organisms rather than certain other types of organisms. So for instance, if you took a half of a head of cabbage and went away on vacation for three weeks and came home, obviously it would not turn itself into delicious, sour, crunchy sauerkraut. If you go away for a really long time, molds can start to reduce your vegetables to a puddle of slime. The simple key to getting the acid-producing bacteria to grow [instead] is to get the vegetables submerged under liquid, typically a salty liquid. It’s just a matter of learning simple secrets for encouraging healthy types rather than unhealthy types to grow.

Farmers do something very similar: suppress some plants so that desired ones can flourish. What you’re describing is a kind of micro-agriculture.

Fermentation techniques appear to have coevolved along with agricultural techniques — let’s picture the domestication of animals for milk. The various places that happened, they didn’t have refrigerators to put their milk into and keep it fresh. So it only made sense to ferment the milk into cultured products, like yogurt and kefir, to enable people to enjoy the milk, be nourished by the milk, for longer than the day or so that milk will stay fresh.

When you look at plant agriculture, archaeologists continue to debate whether people in the Fertile Crescent settled down into patterns of agriculture for bread or for beer. And both of those are products of fermentation, so the history of agriculture has everything to do with the history of fermentation.

Just as a footnote I think that that debate is kind of moot, because the earliest written recipes from the Sumerians for beer call for an undercooked loaf of bread with the yeast of the center still raw as the starter for the beer, and they call for skimming the foam off of the top of the beer as the starter for the bread. So those two wonderful fermented products of grain agriculture have always had an intertwined history.

Interestingly, the word we use for bacteria that we use in the fermentation process is culture — the same word that we use to describe literature, language, music, science, the totality of human knowledge. It’s not an accident that we use the same word for both of those things. And most religions have ritual iconography organized around fermentation and fermented products … In the Jewish tradition that I live in, we always have reverential toasts to the creator of the fruit of the vine, and drink wine. Really, anthropology is full of examples of rituals structured around fermentation.

How did you go from writing about fermentation to writing about food politics? How do you relate the two?

Well, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved was inspired by people I met as I was traveling around talking about fermentation, farmers who were trying to re-create markets for local food and figure out value-added products to help make their farms viable. Then dumpster divers, who often will find a great abundance of some random vegetable or fruit, have found that fermentation is a really great way of turning abundance like that into a resource that people can enjoy over time.

So at one level the book is the story of people who I met … traveling around teaching and talking about fermentation. And then at another level, at the end of the book Wild Fermentation, I talk about this other connotation of the word “fermentation,” which comes from the Latin word fervere, which means “to boil.” That’s because the visible action of fermenting liquids is the same bubbliness you see in boiling liquids. But there’s this other connotation of the word “fermentation” that’s about the social ferment, the intellectual ferment, the spiritual ferment, and it has to do with people who are passionate and excited about something and so they get like a bubbly quality to them where they want to talk about it, they want to do something about it, and I think that that’s the point of departure for The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. People who want to create better food alternatives for themselves and the people in the communities around them. The book is about food activism and people trying to create better choices.

I like the way you address the fallacy that in order to “feed the world,” we have to hand agriculture over to Monsanto and a few other giant companies.

We’re all constantly subjected to this propaganda that without intensification, without genetic modification, without pesticides, without chemical fertilizers, without tractors, there would be no way of feeding the growing numbers of people in the country, in the world, and that the only thing standing between us and mass starvation is the intensifying technology of agriculture.

But that’s all about really maximizing production per unit of labor. I mean right now less than 2 percent of the American population is engaged in direct agricultural production and this is held up as a miracle, freeing us up to do all the other important things we do like be real-estate brokers or stock brokers or produce widgets or other things like that … anything but getting our fingers dirty in the soil.

But it turns out that using more labor-intensive methods, an acre of land can definitely produce more if it’s not monocultured. You know, if you have different crops growing at different levels: things growing underground, things growing on the ground, things growing above the ground, things growing at different periods of the season. If you’re cultivating by hand you don’t need lots of space between the rows for tractors to go.

If the imperative were maximizing the production per unit of land, which really is the fixed variable, then I think more labor-intensive methods actually could be much more successful at feeding a growing population. Land is limited, but there’s no shortage of people.

That would mean more farmers and fewer stockbrokers and telemarketers. As someone who’s crisscrossed the country talking to people about food, what do you think the prospects are for such a switch?

There are so many exciting, inspiring, hopeful, small projects happening. The thing is that they’re small, especially in comparison to the dominant food system where the trend continues to be toward market concentration at every level.

I’m not blindly optimistic — looking at the big picture can lead to despair and pessimism. For me, though, it just feels like a better choice to put my energy, and for anyone to put their energy, into projects that create hope. And I think that there’s nothing more hopeful that somebody can do than get involved in local food production.

I’m very inspired by Wendell Berry, who talks about how thinking [small] solves half the problem. All the problems of globalized commodity agriculture and foods traveling thousands of miles from farm to the plate, those are the result of people sort of thinking bigger and bigger, and I think the solutions come from people thinking smaller. And that’s why community gardens and community-supported agriculture and community kitchens and things like that are all part of the solution, because they enable people to focus on their needs and their community’s needs and satisfying those needs. I really think we need to just focus on small things within our realm that we can actually do.

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eggplant with bell pepper, feta and green olives
adapted from epicurious
serves 12

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into six 3/4-inch-thick rounds, then halved to form 12 semicircles
  • 1 long slender red bell pepper, cut into six 1/4-inch-thick rings, then halved to form 12 curved strips
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 12 small inner leaves of butter lettuce
  • 10 large green Greek olives, pitted, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

Pour enough oil into heavy large skillet to coat bottom; heat over medium heat. Add eggplant to skillet, arranging in single layer. Sprinkle eggplant with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through, but not browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer eggplant to sheet of foil; reserve skillet.

Arrange 1 bell pepper strip atop rounded edge of each eggplant piece, trimming to fit, if necessary. Sprinkle cheese atop eggplant.

*Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Arrange lettuce leaves on platter. Reheat oil in skillet over medium heat. Place eggplant, cheese side up, into skillet. Cover and cook until cheese softens and begins to melt, about 4 minutes. Place 1 eggplant piece atop each lettuce leaf. Sprinkle each with olives and oregano.

roasted garlic and eggplant soup
adapted from all recipes
serves 8

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Peel away any excess paper from the bulb of garlic, then cut the top off to expose the cloves. Rub exposed cloves with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil, and set onto the prepared baking sheet. Poke the eggplant all over with a fork; place onto baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until the garlic has turned golden brown and the eggplant is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool until cool enough to handle. Peel eggplant and chop into large chunks; peel or squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in broth, then stir in reserved eggplant, roasted garlic, tomato puree, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Once cooked, carefully puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to the stove in a clean saucepan. Stir in half-and-half, season to taste with salt and pepper; cook over medium-low heat until hot.

eggplant and cucumber salad sandwich
adapted from saveur
serves 4

  • Peel of 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 7 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. large eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4″-thick slices
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 small cucumbers, unpeeled, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed into a paste with a little salt
  • 4 pitas, warmed
  • Amba (mango relish), for serving (*found in Middle Eastern stores)
  • 1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

Place some tea bags and onion peel in a 4-qt. saucepan with 8 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting, add eggs, and cover; let eggs steep until they’ve darkened in color, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12″ cast- iron skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Season eggplant with salt. Working in batches, add eggplant and cook, flipping once, until golden and very soft, 3–4 minutes. Transfer eggplant to paper towels and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and olive oil; season cucumber salad with salt and pepper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the remaining lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and 5 tbsp. ice water. Whisk ingredients until creamy and season with salt; set tahini sauce aside.

To serve, slice off the top quarter of the pita breads and spread some of the tahini mixture on the inside of each pita. Put about 7 slices of eggplant into each pita along with one egg. Add some of the cucumber salad, top with some of the amba, and stuff some of the parsley into each pita. Drizzle the top of each sandwich with the remaining tahini sauce.

From the Land 9.5

food for thought
full share: lettuce, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, salad turnips, peppers, and leeks from Whipstone in Paulden, and apples from Mina’s Farm in Camp Verde

partial share: lettuce, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, and apples

upcoming and ongoing

Prescott Valley Eco-Loco Festival
this Saturday, September 8
celebrate sustainable living at this fun fair!
more info: https://www.facebook.com/EcoLocoFest or http://pvaz.net/Index.aspx?page=554

Prescott Valley Business Health and Community Showcase
Tim’s Toyota Center
Saturday, September 15

Grow Native! Plant Sale
Highlands Center
Saturday and Sunday, September 8 & 9
more info: http://highlandscenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17&Itemid=32

Prescott Farmers Market
every Saturday morning (7.30am-noon) through October 27
Yavapai College parking lots D&E – 1100 E. Sheldon St.
great place to supplement your CSA shares with other local products
more info: www.prescottfarmersmarket.org

Prescott Valley Farmers Market
Friday evenings (4-7pm) through September 28
Tim’s Toyota parking lot – corner of Glassford Hill and Florentine

Chino Valley Farmers Market
Thursday afternoons (3-6pm) through October 18
BonnFire Grill Restaurant – 1667 S. Highway 89

veg of the week

summer squash: Cucurbita pepo

The species “pepo” includes zucchini, yellow crookneck and straightneck, and scallop or pattypan squashes. The term “summer squash” is appropriate mainly because it is harvested when still immature and while the rind is still edible, and because it does not store into the winter like a mature hard-rind winter squash will! Squash has a long 10,000 year history here in the southwest, as it has been cultivated for centuries by Native Americans as one of the “three sisters”, along with corn and beans. Columbus brought the seeds back to Europe, where it gained popularity particularly in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

uses: All parts of the summer squash are edible, including the rind, seeds, flesh, and blossoms. Since the skin is where the majority of the nutrition is, make sure you leave it on! Summer squash is fantastic and versatile:

  • slice and grill
  • grate it and bake into sweet breads (for you moms who have to sneak veggies in where you can!)
  • cut in half long-ways and stuff with meat, vegetables and sauce, and bake topped with cheese
  • grate it raw over salads and sandwiches
  • slice and serve with hummus, baba ganoush, or another favorite dip

nutrition: Summer squash is rich in antioxidants, boosting our immune system and protecting against certain illness. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, supports prostate health, and decreases the risk of cancer. In addition, while high in carbohydrates, the specially structured polysaccharide pectin has been shown in animal studies to protect against diabetes by regulating insulin function. For best nutrient retention, keep the skin on and lightly steam the vegetable, rather than microwaving or boiling.

to store: Because the rind is soft, summer squash does not store long like winter squash. Pick unblemished squashes that are heavy for their size. Store unwashed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It can be steam-blanched for 3 minutes and frozen, which retains the nutritional quality, though it results in a softer flesh when thawed (perfect for baking with).

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yellow squash – nice and easy
adapted from floyd the food guy
serves 2-4

  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb small, fresh yellow squash, sliced into rounds
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 T chopped fresh chives

Heat the oil in a saute pan over a medium burner. Drop in the sliced summer squash, season with salt and pepper, toss to distribute the seasonings and then allow to cook.

Turn the squash every couple of minutes so the slices brown evenly. This process will take about 10-12 minutes of cooking time.

When the squash is just tender, scatter the garlic over it all and toss to incorporate and cook it with the squash. Finally, add the chives, toss it well and serve.

summer squash frittata
adapted from my recipes
serves 6-8

  • 3 T butter
  • 4 small summer squash, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 leek, white part coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 12 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 3/4 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 C chopped fresh basil leaves

Melt 3 T butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; add chopped zucchini, squash, and onion, and sauté 12 to 14 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove skillet from heat.

Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients until well blended. Pour over vegetable mixture in skillet.

Bake at 350° for 33 to 35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and center is set. Sprinkle evenly with chopped fresh basil.

creamy yellow squash and apple curry soup with toasted coconut
adapted from food 52
serves 4

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 t grated fresh ginger
  • 2 t curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 yellow squash, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
  • 1 quart chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 flaked coconut, lightly toasted, for garnish

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add the yellow squash and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the apple and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Carefully transfer the some of the soup to a blender. Cover the rim of the blender with a towel and puree it in batches until smooth and creamy. This soup can be served warm or cold. Reheat the soup and ladle it into bowls for a warm curry soup. For a cold soup, refrigerate in a pitcher or bowl. Garnish with toasted coconut at serving time.