Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer CSA Week 11 and Vegan Mediterranean Stew

The season seems to have hit high harvest.
Despite my earlier concerns about how the season was going to proceed, the garden is producing well right now. The rains subsided, the gardens dried out and things began to jump.
A little rain right now would be okay, but my clay soil is holding onto enough moisture to ensure that things continue to grow and produce.

Recent plantings are coming along too, although I still will plant more.
The newly planted beets (varieties -Cylindra and Early Wonder Tall Top) are doing well, as are the turnips and winter radishes.
I need to get more lettuce planted, and with a pound or two of spare turnip seed, might just scatter it on a spot, a very large spot, that I tilled up yesterday.
After having run the tractor tiller over a garden hose that was hidden in a particularly weedy area, I felt as liberated as my tractor did when I got the darn hose out of the tiller and I showed off by doing a little freestyle tilling. Turnips it will be.

I'm amazed by the fruit this year. I have so many apples and pears. It isn't perfect fruit, but the taste is so much better than anything from the stores, probably enhanced in my mind because it is grown here by me, chemical free. If you want to try some, I'll put some in the baskets.

Nature astounds me.
I love russet apples and somehow in the past few year several have sprung up on my property and are now producing fruit.
I also have a good number of volunteer pear trees. One is a true oddity, having sharp thorns on the branches. I believe it is a pear-hawthorn cross, but when the Master Gardens group came here in the spring, some of them wondered if this was even botanically possible. I don't know, but I have a thorny pear regardless.
The baskets today were loaded.

Basket contents

They contained zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, beans, chard, onion, peppers hot and sweet, eggplants, basils, rosemary, a jar of basil jelly and some small cobs of corn. This is an open pollinated corn, and possibly not as sweet as the super charged corns that you generally find for purchase. It's pretty corny though.

Some of the zucchinis were pretty big. If you got a big one you can stuff it, grate it for later use and put in your freezer, or use a good bit in the following recipe, which I adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favourites" cookbook.

Mediterranean Stew

2 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 peppers, any colour, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh beans
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups chopped summer squash or zucchini
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, cooked and drained

Combine oil, garlic and onions in saucepan and saute for 5 minutes until onions soften. Add peppers, beans and wine, simmering for five more minutes. Add all the other ingredients, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until veggies are tender.
Top with a fresh basil leaf to serve.

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