DIRT FROM THE FIELD:
Well, my little ode to rain last week doesn’t seem to have helped the situation here in Eastern Oregon. For the last two days, we’ve watched an ominous orange-red sun rise in the east while the smoky haze obscures the mountains to the west. The smoke doesn’t seem to have slowed down the plants though! Yesterday we harvested over 100 lbs of squash. I know you’re super excited for squash again… just remember you can grate and freeze it for making zucchini bread and other treats all winter long. I put another two quarts away myself yesterday.
We’ve noticed lately that the composition of the farm residents is shifting dramatically as we head into fall. The current pest receiving the most ire is the flea beetle, which takes out any greens we leave uncovered. On the friendly side, little frogs are regularly hopping away from us as we harvest greens, and praying mantises like to hitch a ride when they can. We hope they are chowing down on those flea beetles when they aren’t hanging out with us. Today we saw our first woolly bear caterpillar: folklore suggests that the wide brown band bodes a mild winter.
For now, the forecast promises colder weather ahead, and I’m looking forward to getting back into those mountains in the crisp fall air.
THIS WEEK’S SHARE:
Each share gets a different featured item this week. Full shares have kousa squash, described in the recipe below, and half shares have pickling cucumbers, which can be used in the pickling recipe that Lynne shared in Week 11.
Lebanese Stuffed Kousa Squash
Kousa is a Middle Eastern variety of summer squash, and this recipe, which I found on The Lemon Bowl, has been passed down from generation to generation in a Lebanese family, and is now found on this blog! Give it a try with the kousa squash in your bin today, or another giant summer squash you happen to find in your possession.
- 1 kousa squash or other large summer squash
- 5 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1/4 lb ground beef or venison
- 1/4 cup rice
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 tbsp mint flakes
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash pepper
- plain yogurt for serving
To hollow out the kousa, trim off to top and use an zucchini core to slowly remove the inside of the squash. Be careful not to poke through the bottom or the sides. Once the squash is hollowed out, set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine beef, rinsed uncoked rice, salt and pepper. Add half of the garlic and half of the mint to the meat mixture and combine.
Before you start stuffing the squash, place the tomato mixture in a large pot and heat in medium high until boiling.
While tomato juice is heating up, begin stuffing the kousa, careful to leave about 1 1/2 in at the top which leaves room for the to expand. If you have left over meat mixture, simply roll them into little meatballs and add to the tomato broth.
When tomato juice has come to a boil, add the remaining mint and garlic as well as the lemon juice.
Add salt and pepper to the broth to taste.
Gently add in the stuffed kousa. Bring to a boil then turn to low and simmer for 35 minutes. The meatballs are the perfect way to see if the rice is fully cooked.
Serve in a bowl with plain yogurt on the side.
More CSA box ideas for this week from Cook with What You Have: