First of all, I apologize for not keeping up with the CSA Diary posts. It’s been a crazy few weeks, and unfortunately, that means some of our last delivery spoiled before I could use it all. We lost the cherry tomatoes and a little bit of lettuce.
Here’s what we got this week:
- Salad mix
- Onions: 2 small
- Beets: golden variety
- Cabbage: Savoy variety
- Garlic: 1 bulb
- Leeks: 3 medium
- Winter squash: Carnival and Delicata, 1 each
- Kohlrabi: 1 large
- Swiss Chard: small bunch
- Pie pumpkin: 1 small
As the weather turns cold I don’t always feel like eating salads, but there isn’t much else one can do with salad mix, so salads it will be. I still have some potatoes left from the last delivery, so potato-leek soup is likely on the horizon. I think I will cook and freeze the squash for later. A cabbage and potato dish might be nice as well. I will post again soon, once I have a better plan for using all of this fantastic produce.
Wow. This is the first time all summer that I’ve felt overwhelmed with the amount of vegetables we got in our CSA share. Look at all those tomatoes! We also have a lot of tomatoes coming from our own garden, as well as green beans, kale, and bell peppers. I will need to freeze a lot of these veggies or we will never get through them all. I was happy to see celery in today’s CSA delivery. My brother is coming to visit this weekend, and he loves, loves, loves celery. This variety tastes so much better than the watery, bland stuff you get from the grocery store. Maybe we’ll make Bloody Marys!
In this week’s CSA delivery, we got:
- Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!
- Sweet corn (3 ears)
- Lettuce head (Nevada variety)
- Hot peppers (Hungarian hot wax and jalapeno)
- Yellow squash
- Red peppers (traditional bell and Carmen, a long, pointy variety)
Peeling and seeding tomatoes took longer than I thought, so I wasn’t able to finish my sauce yesterday. I had a lot of writing to do today, so I started the sauce in the morning and let it simmer on the stove most of the day while I worked, about 6 hours. I’ve never made my own marinara sauce before, so I had to search the Internet for help. I found a great blog called Former Chef, with tips on how to peel and seed tomatoes, and a basic marinara sauce recipe. I usually make my own sauce using canned crushed tomatoes and I think that sauce tastes darn good, but I have to admit this recipe tastes way better.
After the sauce had simmered for several hours, I used a stick blender to puree everything while it was still in the stock pot. I let it cool completely, then ladled it into gallon-size plastic bags and placed them in the freezer. My 10 pounds of Roma tomatoes yielded three gallon-size freezer bags filled about half way. That was an awful lot of work and for a few meals worth of sauce. I’m not sure I’ll do it again next year. We’ll see.
In addition to our every-other-week share, Vermont Valley has a few events for members during the harvest season, including a pea pick, a corn boil, and a pesto fest. September 1 was one of four “U-pick” tomato days that Vermont Valley offered to members this summer. We were able to pick 10 pounds of Roma tomatoes at no charge! Additional Romas are only $1.50 a pound. Since I’ve never made homemade marinara sauce before, I decided that 10 pounds was plenty. We also got to pick some fresh basil and a few ultra-hot peppers while we were there. The farm is absolutely beautiful, about 40 minutes outside of Madison in Blue Mounds.
Today I peeled and seeded the tomatoes. It wasn’t too difficult but wow, is it a messy job! Tomorrow I will cook them down into sauce.
Here’s an easy way to pack a lot of vegetables into one fast meal: Dice up 2-3 cloves of garlic and saute it in a little oil until it softens. (You’ll need a fairly deep saute pan) Then, toss in whatever veggies you have on hand. I start with the ones that take the longest to cook and gradually add more. For this dish I started with the sliced carrots and broccoli. After a few minutes I added in the green beans and bell pepper, and added the yellow squash last. Then, I added a can of chickpeas (rinsed) and a few pinches of crushed red pepper. Once the chickpeas are heated through, you’re ready to eat. I made a few variations of this during the week since we had so many veggies in the house.