Don’t forget to look at the three internet resources we are constantly updating to help you make the best use of the box: In The Box harvest list blog (list of veggies with identification and storage tips), Recipe Blog for each box (with a few of our favorite recipes used at the farm during the week), the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page (our new favorite way to show you both pictures and recipes of all the veggies).
Here's what's In The Box! Use the first things first:
Salad Mix: The suddenly cool nights have brought the best out in our recently-seeded mixed lettuce rows. We didn’t expect to have salad for you for another few weeks – but here it is, sweet, succulent and beautiful. Enjoy by itself, or add arugula and mizuna.
Basil: Basil is such a favorite in our house, we can never get enough. We hope you are getting enough in the boxes to make enough pesto to put up for winter. Basil doesn’t freeze well, but if you make up the pesto, it freezes wonderfully. Great recipes on the Farmer Kriss pinterest page. Store basil unwashed, in the plastic bag, outside of your fridge. Wash just before using. Even if the basil wilts, you can use it for pesto.
Eggplant: I’ve always enjoyed eggplant. Maybe because I lived in a Middle Eastern neighborhood in Chicago where I could get fresh babaganoush made daily at the corner grocer. Maybe because it’s just so pretty. Maybe because the vegetable is called aubergine in France. But this year I’ve fallen absolutely in love with it. Pinterest has a lot to do with that, as now I can find recipes with sumptuous photos so easily, but the other part is a fabulous cookbook I bought back in December (winter is when I do most of my cookbook reading). PLENTY, a relatively new book by London’s chef Yotam Ottolenghi, has a whole chapter on eggplant, and the cover is roasted eggplant slathered in a buttermilk dressing. DO invest in this book if you enjoy feasting your eyes, spirit and body with fresh veggies. This book is full of great photos, recipes and stories.
Arugula: (Full Shares have separate bags of Arugula, Shorties have a bunch of arugula packed in the bag with the salad mix) So amazingly flavorful! Usually arugula is quite hot and bitter in August, but this first cutting of the fall rows is incredibly mild and interesting. Use as a bed under stuffed tomatoes, add to your salad, sauté lightly with pasta, add to pesto, or garnish a squash recipe.
Tomatoes: We’ve watched with horror as blight has consumed the bottom 2/3 of our plants, but they continue to produce beautifully! We actually are having a rather high-yielding tomato year in spite of what the vines look like. And boy, are these tasty tasty tidbits. Our favorite right now are the small Juliet bite-size oval tomatoes we’ve packed in your little cherry tomato bags. But all the juicy heirlooms have their own unique flavors as well. They are all ripe, regardless of the color, as you’ve got orange, yellow, rainbow and even Green Zebras in addition to some lovely red slicers.
Summer Squash and Zucchini: We don’t really know how these plants do it. They produce and produce and produce. If you don’t look at a zucchini plant for a few days, you just might find it climbing in your window. We eat squash happily every day right now in one form or another. Our absolute favorite dish right now is Squash Ribbons with Pesto. We’ve put the recipeup at the Farmer Kriss pinterest page, but basically, you just prepare the entire squash with a vegetable peeler, stopping when you hit seeds, and sauté them lightly in olive oil and salt. Use as the noodles or pasta in your favorite dish!
Purple Mizuna: This pretty Asian green (not green in color, but, hey, it’s a green) is so amazingly tasty, managing to be both sweet and spicy at the same time. At this tender stage, it can be added to salad, or used as a layer in sandwiches, BLTs and wraps. But it’s wonderful lightly sautéed in a stir fry. Picture it as a bed under a tomato salad, or chopped on top of a pasta plate.
Peppers: So many crisp peppers this week! We aren’t seeing any ripe red bells yet, so we are packing green bells for now. You’ve got all sweet peppers here except for the small jalapenos which aren’t too hot just yet. Go for some fresh salsa!
Herb Bag: Chives, Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Sage, Parsley and Thyme We’ve pretty much given you a Simon and Garfunkel Song for an herb bag this week. Enjoy! There are so many applications for herbs this time of year. We use a fresh herb mix in every dish we eat right now – breakfast, lunch and dinner! All of these should keep for a few weeks if you just tuck the whole bag in the fridge and reach into it when you need something.
Mixed Kale: These plants have finally reached that crisp fall stage where they are big and beefy enough that we want to cook them rather than ribbon them for salad. Our favorite recipe this week at crew lunch was Quinoa with Sauteed Kale, Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms.
A further word about Pinterest: We here who work in the kitchen at the farm think Pinterest is the single most important new tool available to the local food movement. I hesitated to join because I worried that I’d waste too much time on the internet, but I can honestly say this tool is an incredible time saver. I can look up a recipe and have it stored for later use in seconds. Any veggie you are unfamiliar with becomes easy to identify and use in a dish with just a quick search. DO give this a try and even if you only ever look at our Farmer Kriss page you will find a wealth of info about the particular vegetables we pack each week.