Fall is here but the summer's bounty hasn't left us just yet. Look at all the deep, rich colors in this week's share. I'll be holding onto memories of shares like this mid-February when it seems like the snow will never end. By now, I'm sure everyone's found plenty of ways to cook with their shares, but I thought a few new ideas might perk up our plates for the last few deliveries of the season.
Artichokes These artichokes are small and tender, so they need much less trimming than the grocery store varieties. I've been steaming ours over a pot of water, lemon peel, and bay leaves. We eat them with a little bit of melted pastured butter and a pinch of salt. Simple and perfect.
Bell peppers/hot peppers For bell peppers, I eat the green ones raw and roast any red ones that come my way. I tend to just toss them onto a gas burner and rotate as the skins blacken to make sure they roast evenly, but using the oven is probably a safer approach. I'm also eyeing this hot chili condiment recipe as an alternative to hot sauce for stir fries, grilled meat or fish, and any other rice dishes. (Maybe even over a fried egg?)
Beets This week, I roasted our beets, tossed them with a little balsamic vinegar, and served them with a sprinkling of thyme and some crumbled feta cheese. This combination would work well as a crostini, too, if you the rubbed toast slices with a little olive oil and garlic first. If you have no other plans for the greens, this beet green and cheddar crumble is a surprising and deeply satisfying dish.
Broccoli I've had a craving for a good homemade mac n cheese lately, so this week's broccoli may find itself into the oven alongside a good cheddar and some elbow macaroni. I like the cheese sauce from that beet green and cheddar crumble as a base recipe for a mac n cheese sauce. From there, I generally play pretty loosely.
Cabbage On cool nights once we've had our fill of summer coleslaw, we tend toward cabbage soups, roast cabbage, and variations on choucroute. I don't own a slow cooker anymore, but I've found my Dutch oven works really quite well.
Celery This potent heirloom celery works very well as a base for so many recipes. Try adding it to homemade chicken soup or marinara sauce. It would also make a delicious celery soup.
Chard I've been eating most of our chard in salads, but from time to time I make something similar to this roasted garbanzo beans and garlic with Swiss chard. I love beans and greens together in just about any permutation. Sauteeing the chickpeas with some garlic and wilting the kale works pretty well, too.
Eggplant I'll be making an eggplant and tomato pie tonight with this week's tomatoes and eggplants. I'm certain I've shared this recipe before, but it's one of my favorites. Earlier in the week, we topped a pizza with roasted eggplants and parsley. For a more gourmet approach, vegan eggplant meatballs with za'tar and kale pesto looks pretty likely to please.
Green beans We've gotten such a bounty of green beans this year! I saved up a couple of bags from recent shares, blanched, and froze a gallon bag of them for quick sides or snacks over the winter. They hold up well and take very little prep time pre- and post-freezing. For this week's beans, I'm thinking I'll return to an idea I had earlier in the summer and serve lightly sauteed beans in a creamy dijon sauce (half n half whisked with good quality dijon and a splash of white wine and tossed with the beans in the pan).
Kale Because not every kale recipe has to be perfectly healthy, I present: cheesy kale scones. I love a savory breakfast recipe and these look pretty tasty.
Melon An odd but tasty use we've stumbled on for cantaloupes is to blend them into smoothies with yogurt and a touch of jam (we were out of honey) to smooth out the flavor. It's an odd smoothie, but quite refreshing.
Okra I keep promising to recreate a batch of gumbo I made a couple years back. I haven't gotten around to it yet this summer, but maybe this will be the week. If I succeed, I'll write the recipe up and share. At the moment, I have vague memories of making a shrimp stock and a roux and using the okra to further thicken the broth. This Turkish ratatouille-like dish called turlu looks promising as well, but if all else fails, there's always pan fried okra to fall back on!
Sorrel I love sorrel. If you've never tasted it and aren't sure what you're in for, its sour flavor is a shock. Who knew herbs could be such a strong stand-in for lemon? It makes a great pesto ground up with almonds, crushed red pepper, olive oil, and some salt--add cheese if you like. It's great in other sauces, too, like this sorrel sauce for new potatoes. Personally, I like it blended with yogurt as a topping for lentil soup or chopped up and added to tuna salad.
Tomatoes At this point, my uses for tomatoes have turned back to the classics that I will miss once the summer ends. BLTs. Fresh tomato soup. Tomatoes on salads. Oh, and that eggplant and tomato pie.