The FarmGirl Cooks’ CSA Newsletter

The FarmGirl Cooks’ E-Newsletter is just one of the things that makes Bialas Farms’ CSA unique. The newsletter is chock full of recipes and tips that members can use to make the most of their farm share. It also includes a list of what will be included in that week’s farm share box. Members receive this email every week of the CSA season.

It’s The FarmGirl’s goal to teach members to use and preserve the farm-fresh vegetables and fruits provided so there is very little food or time wasted. We want you to truly see the value in eating like a farmer. Below is an example of The FarmGirl Cooks’ CSA E-Newsletter from August 13, 2019. While every growing season is different in terms of product availability, we aim to include an ample variety of vegetables along with interesting recipes so it never gets boring. Please enjoy!

Living La Vida Local – The FarmGirl Cooks recipe newsletter

Week #10 Share Includes

Italian Eggplant     Assorted Fresh Herbs     Radishes     Shallots     Shishito Peppers     Rainbow Swiss Chard     Homegrown Tomatoes     Zucchini     Bonus: Jalapeño Chiles

We’re working our way through week #10 of the summer CSA. I can’t say it hasn’t seen its share of challenges, but I’m happy to say, I’ve got a decent handle on my refrigerator at this point. Last week was a different story.

Last week, I had so much food packed into my fridge I could barely see the back. I’ve been pretty good up to this point about not storing small items in bags because sometimes a sea of green is overwhelming. Sometimes I open the refrigerator, see so much stuff that I cannot identify, then close the door and order a pizza.

I started the summer off with a diligent effort to wash and prep meal ingredients on Sundays and Wednesdays. Once a week prep is seriously asking too much.

Greens get washed and rolled up in thin cotton towels and they are stashed in LARGE clear plastic food storage containers in the refrigerator. Sometimes I even have the energy to cook things like kale or chard to use during the week with eggs for breakfast or pasta for dinner. Radishes and carrots are cleaned and cut into wedges and sticks and stored in Ball jars in water. (No water? They dry out, crack, and look gross and no one eats them.)

Cucumbers are washed but not sliced until we’re ready to eat them. Scallions and herbs all get stashed together in another clear plastic container. Remove the rubber bands and wash the scallions under cool running water. The leafy herbs are usually left on their stems and swished in a big bowl of cool water. Shake them all dry(ish) and lay on paper towels. Roll them up so the towel absorbs the water clinging to them, and lay them into the container. Close the lid and refrigerate.

Basil is the one herb that can also be left on the counter in a glass of water. Clip the stems like you would fresh flowers and place them in a few inches of water. Put the glass in a place where it doesn’t get sun or air conditioning. Oh, and make sure there are no stray leaves below the water line. They will rot and smell awful. Change the water every two days if you can.

Now it’s up to you to USE these treasures, and from the pictures you’ve sent me through email, Facebook and Instagram, you HAVE been using them well!

First new item for you this week is SHISHITO peppers. This cuties are not hot… well, mostly not hot. One in about 10 is spicy. I find the flavor is delightful and enhanced by a quick sear on the grill or in a skillet (oil them first). Sprinkle them with coarse salt and a bit of fresh lemon juice and nosh on these with cocktails or burgers. They make a great addition to scrambled eggs, too.

Knowing how crazy the last few weeks of summer can be, I’m going to ask you to stretch your imagination a bit when it comes to eggplant. You can certainly make a classic eggplant parmigiana and it will no doubt be fabulous. My idea is a little unorthodox, but I’m ok with that. Cut your eggplant into rounds about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. Brush them with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill them until they are tender, then stack them with layers of fresh tomato, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. You can make these ahead and reheat them if you like, but I usually eat them at room temperature and drizzled with olive oil and perhaps some balsamic glaze.

It’s time for tomatoes! Go for it and eat multiple bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches on white toast with plenty of Hellmann’s mayo. When you tire of that (As if.), make a gratinée of tomato slices with asiago-laced bread crumbs. This dish comes together in minutes and the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Make sure you are using fresh (meaning not stored in the pantry for two years) bread crumbs and herbs and the best extra virgin olive oil that you like. I’m not gonna say the best you can buy because everyone’s tastes are different. Find one you like and stick with it!

Rainbow Swiss chard is in your shares (finally) this week. If you like spinach, you’ll like chard. The stems are edible (my favorite part, actually) and should be cooked about 5-7 minutes before adding the chopped leaves to the skillet. Add garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes in addition to salt, pepper, and olive oil. Sautéed chard makes a great frittata/omelet with feta cheese.

Your bonus this week is jalapeño peppers. Choose a handful from the distribution table this week and make this jalapeño popper dip. When someone asked me last week for my favorite way to make baked jalapeño poppers, I replied, “the fastest way to get them in my mouth” is to make a dip rather than stuff them individually. Bake this one in a cast iron skillet on the grill and you’ll be all set for cocktails/mocktails al fresco!

Happy Summer eating, my friends!


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