Summer is officially here…
and the berries, peas, zucchini and cucumbers that our farms are beginning to harvest are proof positive! This spring seemed to be more trying than most for many Penn’s Corner farms but now that we are approaching the full swing of summer, it’s easy to begin to forget about all that.
We were hoping to do a Farmer’s Corner spotlight on Scott Farabaugh and Blue Goose Farm. It turns out that Scott is so busy today picking and packing for CSA that we have postponed that until next week. In the meantime, if you have any feedback on his lettuce, onions, or peas let us know and we will pass it along to him.
THIS WEEK’S HARVEST
~ edible blossoms, Pucker Brush, Next Life and Golden Harvest Farms
~ half pint blueberries, Kistaco Farm
~ pint sugar snap peas, Blue Goose Farm, CNG
~2 zucchini, Kistaco Farm
~ pint snow peas, Blue Goose Farm, CNG
~ Firehead lettuce, Blue Goose Farm, CF
~ 2 cucumbers, Kistaco Farm
~ green onion bunch, Blue Goose Farm, CNG
~ pint strawberries, Hostetler’s Farm, CF
~ green Romaine lettuce head, Clarion River Organics, OG
~ cilantro, Nu Way Farm, CF
~red radish bunch, Ny Way Farm, CF
~ half pint blueberries OR cherries OR pint strawberries
~ green onion bunch, Nu Way Farm, CF
~ pint sugar snap peas, Blue Goose Farm, CNG
~ 1 zucchini, Weeping Willow Farm, CF
~ 1 patty pan squash, Clarion River Organics, OG
~ Jericho Romaine lettuce head, Goose Creek Gardens, CNG
~ 5 squash blossoms, Clarion River Organics, OG
~ flat parsley, Goose Creek Gardens, CNG
~ Red Dazzler lettuce head, Clarion River Organics, OG
OG- Certified Organic CNG- Certified Natural Grown CF- Chemical Free ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Essentials of Salad Making
I’m sure that most people thoroughly enjoy a great salad but few rave about making them. There are the typical obstacles: washing greens is a drag, bottled dressings lack a serious something and often we don’t know what to put in a salad because we get bored of the same old combinations. At my house we have turned salad making into a science and something of a religion. We have a salad with dinner nearly every evening, year-round. There are a few elements to our salad making that have streamlined the process for us and made our evening salad a much loved addition to our family meals. See if any of them might make your salad making more enjoyable.
As I’ve mentioned before, a good salad spinner is an indispensable tool. Be sure to keep it somewhere handy- if you have to root through cabinets and climb on stools to grab it,you probably won’t go to the trouble of pulling it out. Field lettuce, in particular can have dirt or small insects in it. Fill your spinner with water with the strainer in the bowl then chop or tear your lettuce and then let it soak for a few minutes in the cold water. Swish it around a bit- that way the unwanted additions will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Lift the basket of lettuce out of the bowl, drain the bowl and then spin your lettuce as dry as you can get it. If the water was very dirty you may want to rinse the greens again. Lettuce that is washed and dried well will keep in a plastic bag or tupperware for at least a day or two. Clean extra while you are at it to enjoy with the next day’s lunch or dinner.
Dressing is the next step. We all have our favorite and maybe you’ve found a bottled one that you love. For those of you that haven’t, making your own dressing is a breeze and just takes a little practice to get yourself calibrated. Keep a mason jar or similar container handy for your dressing. Make a jar of dressing at a time so you only have to make it every week or so. There are endless possibilities for salad dressings. You can change it up each week or stick with a standard that you use most weeks. Here is my recipe for our typical dressing:
Mince a couple cloves of garlic or a shallot or green garlic and place in jar. Fill jar about half way up with olive oil and then another 1/3 with balsamic vinegar. Add a generous pinch of salt and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Place the lid on the jar firmly and shake it for 15 to 30 seconds. The dressing should emulsify (see Wikipedia for a cool explanation of emulsion). If there is too much vinegar in your jar the mixture will quickly run down the sides of the jar in fast sheets. In contrast, if there is too much oil it will quickly run down in globs. You can also tell if there is too much oil if when you open the jar (which can be messy) you see oil on top with the vinegar sinking below. If your vinaigrette isn’t just right then add whichever is necessary in small amount and re-shake until the balance has been reached.
As for additions to your salad, try any of the following: edible blossoms, shavings of a sharp cheese such as Parmesan or an aged Gouda, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wasabi peas, chopped fresh herbs (any type!) in handfuls, hard boiled eggs, olives, berries- dried or fresh, a handful of cooked grains such as wheat berries, bugler or quinoa, anchovies, croutons, and of course, any veggies you like.
If you have a favorite salad addition that isn’t mentioned please leave a comment letting us know what it is!
A Note About Vegan Shares
We have had much confusion with our vegan shares this year. For those of us that don’t know what vegan means: we have members that choose to get a vegan CSA share which includes no cheese or other items that include animal products because they don’t eat these things. Occasionally, members sign up for this share type inadvertently. In those cases, the pick up reminder and other emails from us will indicate that you have chosen a vegan share. If you see that indicated in your emails but do NOT want a vegan share, please let us know as soon as possible and we will change your share asap. Any vegan shares should be clearly indicated by a sheet of paper on the top of the box that states that it is a vegan box. If you didn’t request a vegan share please don’t take one unless it is the very last box at your location. Your cooperation is much appreciated!
Don’t let the crust scare you away from making this. If necessary a store bought one will do and is a better option that never tasting this galette. Trader Joe’s sells one that has no hydrogenated fats in it.
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze. Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Check out this Fact Sheet that the Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Department put together about storing and using fresh herbs.