Backyard Gardens’ CSA: Week 13 — August 30, 2012

Hello!

Liz here.  Beth is off again this week on a catering trip, so the crew is holding down the fort.  Luckily for us, the weather is cooling off and with the shortening days, the vegetables (and weeds) aren’t growing at quite as furious a pace.  But never fear — we’re still pulling lots of produce out of the field!

New this week?  Potatoes.  We’ve harvested some lovely Yukon Golds for your CSA bins, and they’re joining a bevy of other flavors, including eggplant, parsley, chard and cabbage.

Remember that what’s in your bin isn’t all that we’re growing — we’d just find it hard to fit it all in every week!  If you’re looking for something that isn’t in the bin, stop by the Farmers’ Market on Thursday evenings in Enterprise and Saturday mornings in Joseph — we’ll have everything you’re looking for, from flowers to tomatoes to squash.

 

What’s in Your Bin

Full Share

Chard
Colored Carrots
Radishes
1/2 Savoy Cabbage
Cucumbers
Sweet Onion
Japanese Eggplant
Sweet Peppers
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Parsley
Garlic

Half Share

Chard
1/2 Green Cabbage
Cucumbers
Sweet Onion
Globe Eggplant
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Parsley
Garlic

 

Recipes

Braised Farmers’ Long Eggplant Stuffed with Garlic
From Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison

One day Eremita Campos had some exceptionally pretty eggplants, a variety that is normally picked when dramatically long.  But an inexperienced helper had picked them when they were only about 8 inches in length.  Because they were scarcely an inch across, I cooked them whole, studded with garlic.  They ended up golden, tender and sweet.  You can treat any slender eggplant this way; fatter types, such as Little Fingers, will need a little more time to cook.

[A note: This recipe should work beautifully with japanese eggplants.  Just adjust the cooking time according to their size!  It’s also easy to scale down to the number of eggplants you have.]

  • 8 to 12 long, skinny eggplants, such as Farmers’ Long
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • vinegar for serving
  1. Cut several slits in each eggplant and insert a sliver of garlic into each.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet and add the eggplant.  Cook until the eggplant starts to sizzle and color a bit, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the eggplants are completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes.  You may have to add more fluid as they cook.  When tender, remove the lid and cook until the water has evaporated and the eggplants are golden, about 10 minutes.  Arrange them on a platter, season with pepper, and shower with parsley.  Serve with vinegar for those who like bit of sharpness with the eggplant.

An Eggplant Gratin
From Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison

This dish is adaptable.  Like a frittata, this pudding-gratin is good warm from the oven or at room temperature.  It can be set up in advance, and it can be reheated.  When it comes to its place in the meal, you can serve it as a side dish or as a meatless main course.  Leftovers, should there be any, can be cut into pieces and served garnished with Sun Gold tomatoes tossed with balsamic vinegar.  And this recipe can be made with other vegetables as well, such as summer squash, artichokes and asparagus.

As for eggplant, you can use any variety.  Since I often buy several types just because I love to look at them in my kitchen, I end up using them all in this dish.  Otherwise larger varieties are the easiest to work with.

  • 2-1/2 pounds eggplant
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk or light cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 large basil leaves, town into small pieces
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish.  Cut the eggplants into rounds or slabs a scant 1/2 inch thick.  Salt if you wish and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet, add the onions, and cook over medium heat. turning frequently, until soft and light gold, about 12 minutes.  Scrape into a bowl.  While the onions are cooking, beat the eggs with the milk; stir in the cheese, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground pepper.
  3. If you salted it, rinse the eggplant, then wick up the water with a towel.  Heat the remaining oil in the skillet.  When hot, add the eggplant and immediately turn it in the pan so that all the pieces are coated lightly with the oil.  Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the eggplant is golden.  This will take about 25 minutes in all, but you don’t need to stand over the pan.  This is a good window of time to make a quick tomato sauce for the dish or another part of the meal.
  4. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper to taste, then toss with the onions and basil.  Put it in the prepared dish and pour the custard over the top.  Bake until golden, firm, and puffed, 30 to 40 minutes.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.