Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tomayto, Tomahto

It is tomato time... The vines are ripe with fruit in the high tunnel: 
Sungolds, Brown Berry, and White cherries. 
Prudens Purple, Cosmonaut, Yellow Brandywine, Green Zebra, and Rose De Berne heirlooms.

With all of the other veggies coming into form, it finally looks, smells and tastes like summer!

Beans, the new green!

This week is the final week for the Summer share, and the start of the Fall share... I know, I can't believe it, either!

Everything is in full swing: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, greens galore, and beans!

So, of course, since beans are coming on strong... here's this week recipe, a bean celebration

Green Bean Salad (adapted from 101 cookbooks)
3/4 pound green beans, stems pinched off
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced scallions
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
tiny pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

a handful of small cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
1/2 cup almonds, smashed and toasted
Start by making the dressing. 
Whisk together the chives, thyme, shallots, lemon juice, heavy cream, salt and pepper. 
Whisk in the olive oil with a fork, stirring until everything comes together. 
Taste and adjust for seasoning. 
Set aside.

In the meantime, bring two quarts of water to a boil. 
Salt generously and stir in the green beans. 
Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. 
Just until the beans brighten up and soften a touch, I go a bit beyond "al dente" here for this salad. Quickly drain them and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large bowl toss the green beans with about 1/2 of the almonds, and a big splash of the dressing. 
Toss well. 
Taste, and add more dressing, salt or pepper at this point. 
Toss again if needed. 
Add the tomatoes and toss very gently.
You can turn this out onto a platter or plate individually topped with the remaining almonds.

Serves about 4.
Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 10 min

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Here we are at week ten, one week until the end of the summer share, and the start of the fall share... tomatoes are starting to swing in - just in time to cooler weather!

I don't think I have to tell you what to do with these delicious beauties... eat them, eat them, eat them!

Things are a bit too hectic to always have my camera on me, but the camera in the phone works - kind of! Monday's harvest brought in tomatoes, tomatillos, husk cherries, and more!

For this week's recipe, one of my CSA members recommended this use of arugula (a veggie she vowed she hated until discovering this recipe!) I am excited to try it myself:

From: The Gracious Bowl
Cream of Arugula Soup
Serves 2-4

2 Tbsp salted butter
2 medium red onions (or 1 large), finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 whole garlic cloves
4 c vegetable stock
1 lb arugula, rinsed well with stems removed
1/2 c cream
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add red onions, celery, and garlic. Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes
2. Add vegetable stock and arugula leaves. Bring pot to a boil, partially cover, and heat until arugula is wilted, about 10 minutes. 
3. Add cream. Puree soup to desired consistency using an immersion blender or do so in batches with a food processor and then pour it back into the stockpot. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Optional: Serve garnished with a little arugula leaf, a sprinkle of goat cheese, or some pancetta.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

week nine is looking fine!

I CANNOT believe we are at week 9 of the CSA season. August 16th!

This week's share proves it, though, that we are well into the growing season: carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, greens, cucumber, peppers hot and mild... just waiting on tomatoes! (although we are able to pluck a few sungolds this week, just enough for a pick-up time snack!)

As for a recipe... I suggest grilling up those onions and peppers - we are supposed to get clear skies here soon, folks - and take advantage of those brisk summer evenings!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Broccoli twist

One of the unfortunate aspects of farming (and CSA-style farming in particular) is crop failure. I seeded in the early spring, creating tiny little plants with hopes of growing big, only to find that some of those little things simply didn't. 

After much waiting and waiting and waiting for the broccoli and cauliflower to head up, I had given up this week. It was far past the time that they should have headed, other farmers at market have had broccoli for weeks. I looked into uses for the plants without heads and found that the greens, lucious and beautiful like kale, are certainly edible and can be used in many ways. So for this week's harvest, I set out to pick leaves. 

Of course, now that I was committed to a leaf harvest, what did I find on the plants yesterday?!?! HEADS! Tiny, almost bolted, bulby green heads were staring right at me through the broccoli leaves. So, in this week's share we have two broccoli items: 

tiny, almost bolted, bulby green heads (cut with long stalks - eat those too!)
and the leaves

What to do with the leaves:
sautee them, just as you might kale, with a little garlic, onions, and olive oil

brush them with olive oil and garlic and make chips

steam them, puree them, mix with garam masala and some curry and add to pasta for an Indian-inspired pesto! (toss in some sauteed summer squash and onions - yum!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farmer's Table Dinner Menu Aug. 18

 Lianne has out done herself again!

If you haven't put The Community School's annual summer dinner on your calendar, stop reading this and do so now! Thursday, August 18 from 6-8pm it is, and not to be missed. We're pulling out all the stops with an evening of food which will excite your palate, fill your belly, and give you some bragging rights.

What? Bragging rights?

If you've been following our weekly meal postings, you know that we at The Community School like to make use of all good foods local. We try new recipes, tempt you with flavors you might not have considered, and generally have a lot of fun. Fun it is.

I've spent about three months researching the perfect recipes for this dinner. Now the potato salad and pasta recipes weren't too hard to come up with and tweak for a crowd, even considering that I wanted fresh taste combinations. The tongue and beef heart, however, took some time. Yes. Tongue. Yes. Heart. And you're going to love them.

You'll arrive at The Community School at 6pm, ready for a cool drink and a little nosh with conversation before dinner. You'll have platters of Sandwich Creamery cheese and Big Farm Bakery crackers to start you off, but then you'll be glancing around the room and notice a gorgeous little pile of ground meat with slabs of Sunnyfield Bakery bread nearby. You'll drift closer and the zing of garlic will tempt you to draw in. You'll pick up a hint of tarragon, and you won't be able to help yourself. You'll smear your bread, take a bite, and forget your friends. You might even forget dinner. This stuff is transformative. But why stop now? You've already eaten the tongue, so move on, move on!

Despite the vilification this hard-working part of a cow might get, you must, must, must not confuse heart with its cousin the liver (though liver and I do get along). Beef heart is a finely-grained, lean muscle (hardest working muscle you'll ever meet) that not only looks more like filet Mignon than anything else but tastes pretty darn good. You'll find a platter heaped with thin slices of marinated and lightly grilled beef heart with basil garlic vinaigrette at the head of the buffet table, when you pick up your dinner plate.

If you just can't wrap your head around the whole nose to tail eating experience, then never fear. Leave the meats to your friends and skip right on past to the chilled Thai squash soup with cilantro and yogurt, heirloom tomato and dill linguini with grilled sweet onions, sesame kale salad (would it be a TCS dinner without it?), potato salad with toasted cumin vinaigrette or dilly cukes.

Save room for dessert.

We'll have ice cream from the Sandwich Creamery adorned with the Pearson's blueberries and butter good cookies.

Food for this meal will be grown and produced by at least 15 farmers, growers, bakers, and creamers in our region, including but perhaps not limited to: TCS' own organic garden, Stanton Brook Farm, Windover Farm, Red Gables Farm, Mad Hen Farm, DiFilippe Farm and Greenhouse, the Behr Farm, Sandwich Creamery, Earl Pearson's blueberries, Sunnyfield Bakery, Spiderweb Gardens, Pineholm, BigLove Mexican Diner, Stonehedge Farm, and Young Maple Ridge Sugarhouse. This is a delectable chance for you to support local agriculture and local education while feasting with friends.

The meal is served by donation. Pay what you can or what you think it's worth.

We hope to hear that you'll be coming. An RSVP always ensures that we have enough food to fill all bellies without being wasteful.
Give a call to save a plate or with questions: 323-7000.

See you on the 18th!

Lianne Prentice

Friday, August 5, 2011

Trash or Dinner?

An interesting article in the NY Times... with a seeming loss of early summer broccoli and cauliflower, maybe we'll give out the greens next week!

*or maybe we'll just let the pigs decide what's trash and what's not...

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's summer... squash

As we all know, summer squash can be prolific... and it has been a major part of the weekly batch off food from the farm. So much so that I bet some of us are getting to the point that we don't know what to do with it all. Well, fear no more. This weeks' feature veggie is a familiar one, summer squash!
Here is another recipe from 101 cookbooks, hope you enjoy it!

Summer Squash Gratin Recipe

zest of one lemon
1 1/2 pounds summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/6th-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs*
1/2 pound waxy potatoes, sliced transparently thin

3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, grated on a box grater (or feta might be good!)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees and place a rack in the middle. Rub a 9x9 gratin pan (or equivalent baking dish) with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, and set aside.

Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes (to drain a bit) and go on to prepare the oregano sauce and bread crumbs. 

Make the sauce by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.

Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is wonderfully fragrant, and has turned brown. Wait two minutes, then stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.

Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano sauce. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half of the bread crumbs and toss again. Taste one of the zucchini pieces and add more seasoning (salt or red pepper) if needed.

Transfer the squash to the lemon-zested pan, top with the remaining crumbs, and bake for somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes - it will really depend on how thinly you sliced the squash and potatoes - and how much moisture was still in them. You don't want the zucchini to go to mush, but you need to be sure the potatoes are fully baked. If the breadcrumbs start to get a little dark, take a fork and rake them just a bit, that will uncover some of the blonder bits. Remove from oven, and drizzle with the remaining oregano sauce.