Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 17th baskets, farms notes

Baskets for the 17th included an ever widening assortment of heirloom tomatoes, beans( mostly an italian slicing bean, green and wide),peppers, cukes or summer squash/zucchini/patty pans, tomatillos and ground cherries, potatoes, herbs including basils, papalo(cilantro taste),a savoury mint,garlic....what did I forget?
If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos and ground cherries, they look like their relatives, the chinese lantern but of course are edible.
Just husk the smaller ones, the ground cherries, and eat as is,
The tomatillos are used in salsa and a recipe follows, thanks to Suzanne. As well I will share Suzanne's zucchini recipe which can be used also with the summer squash or patty pans.
The tomatoes make a fabulous salad. I like to cut them into bite size pieces, add a bit of vinegar (any kind), a bit of sunflower oil,salt and pepper to taste and chopped basil. If you have some good mozzarella it is a great addition.
It was nice to feel the heat over the past week or so. Aah, summer has arrived!
Sadly, it makes no difference to many of the crops in my garden. Once they start to go, they aren't coming back. Carrots have rotted out, eggplants ditto, some of the peppers and brassicas.I suspect as well that late blight has hit my tomatoes here, as it has many other areas around us. There are lots of tomatoes, but the plants are dying. Potatoes and garlic are two very good looking crops however.
Please note we have cancelled the tomato festival because of slow ticket sale. Thanks to everybody who expressed an interest in attending....who knows, maybe next year.

Grilled Zucchini Roll Ups with Herbs and Cheese
3 small zucchini *about 0.5 lb each, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices.
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt, plus more to taste
PInch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 oz fresh goat cheese.
1 tbsp minced fresh parsely
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.
Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with oil
on both sides; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender,
about 4 minutes per side. You can make the grilled zucchini a day
ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley and lemon juice,
mashing them together with a fork.
Put 1/2 tsp of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a
zucchini slice. Top with a couple of basil leaves. Roll up and place
seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini

Roasted Tomatillo-Serrano Salsa (adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen)

1 lb (10 to 12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed.
Fresh serrano chiles to taste (can substitute jalapenos), roughly 5, about 1 oz total
2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 small (4 oz) white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed roughly chopped cilantro
Salt, about 1 generous teaspoon
Sugar, about 1 scant teaspoon (if needed)

1. Lay the tomatillos, serranos/jalapenos and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and place 4 inches below a very hot broiler. When the tomatillos blister and blacken and soften on one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and roast the other side. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Cool, then pull the stems from the chiles and peel the garlic.

2. Scrape the roasted tomatillos and any juices that have accumulated into a food processor or blender, along with the roasted chiles and garlic. Pulse the machine uintil everything is reduced to a rather coarse-textured puree.

3. Scrape the salsa into a serving bowl, then stir in bteween 1/4 and 1/2 cup water to gie the sauce an easily spoonable consistency. Scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess and stir into the salsa, along with the cilantro. Taste and season with salt and a little sugar.

Note: those of you with less tolerant tastebuds could probably only stand to use 1 to 2 chiles instead of five.

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