Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Week 14: Chinese Red Noodle Beans

CSA Harvest Week 14: Chinese Red Noodle Beans!
The garden is glowing with healthy and happy colors.  We haven’t had any 4-5 inch rainstorms to saturate the vegetable roots and cause plant health problems!  We’ve been preparing the soil with the tractors and soil implements to make beautiful garden beds to plant seeds and small transplants.  We’ve planted radishes, hakerai salad turnips, and arugula from seeds.  Small plants like scallions, dill, kale, collards, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce are all happily growing fresh roots and leaves in the garden beds.  Yesterday we planted around 1500 Swiss Chard, kale, and collard plants!  They look so healthy.  More seeds like beets and carrots are on the list for tomorrow.  

Look for a few of these crops (lettuce, radishes, arugula, kale) to be ready in the last weeks of September (and the last CSA boxes.)  The last week for your full season CSA is September 25. Most of the fall crops will be producing for the Fall CSA, which starts October 2nd and goes for 8 weeks until November 20th.  We still have a few spaces available...

Farm Fresh Harvest
Beans, Chinese Red Noodle Beans- These long meaty beans cook just like green beans.  They grow on a pole or trellis and the beans hang down like red noodles!  The Greek Style Green Beans are a great recipe for these tasty beans. Or you can sauté them in olive oil with some garlic and onion for about 10 minutes.  Then I add a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Bell peppers- Crunchy!  Bell peppers start out a rich green color and then ripen to a red, yellow, or orange color.  We’ve got to hope that the plants cooperate and start to ripen soon.  They ripen with sunshine in late August and September!
Tomatoes- The tomatoes have full ripe flavors since we grow them under the hoophouse, which keeps the rain from watering the flavor down.
Cherry tomatoes- Little gems of sunshine!
Basil- Store your basil in a little glass of water on the kitchen counter.  Basil does not like to be refrigerated.  Make sure to rinse it well before using- the rains are splashing sand on the leaves.  Chop it up and sprinkle it over your summer dishes that include peppers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers.  The flavor is so fresh and aromatic.
Summer squash and Zucchini-  More tasty squash and zucchini.   We have some healthy looking plants that have producing well lately.  The green and yellow squashes are called Zephyr and they have a nutty flavor that is somewhere between squash and zucchini.  Zephyr is well known for its unusual appearance and its great taste.
Cucumbers- Cucumbers come in all shapes and sizes.  We grow little mini cucumbers, large crisp American slicers, and delicate slender European cucumbers.
Potatoes- These are the last of the potatoes from the garden.  Enjoy!  These are waxy potatoes- perfect for roasting, boiling, or mashing for hearty mashed potatoes.
No Eggplant-  Last week I put eggplant on the CSA list, but we ended up not having enough eggplant.  The weather is a bit too cool and wet for it to produce well.  Look for small quantities of eggplant for sale at the Farmers’ Market and on Wednesdays at the farm.   We hope to have some for CSA boxes in the coming weeks.

Sweet Basil, Tomato, and Summer Peach Salsa
1.      Mix equal parts chopped slicing tomatoes and chopped fresh peaches in non-reactive bowl. (no metal bowls, they can make it taste funny) 
2.      Finely chop approximately 4 big leaves of basil or 8 small leaves of basil for every peach that you use.
3.      Measure out approximately ½ teaspoon lime juice for every peach that you use. 
4.     Sprinkle basil and lime juice over tomatoes and peaches. Add salt to taste.  Let salsa rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Keeps about 2 days in the fridge.

Greek Style Green Beans
This recipe is a new favorite here at the farm.  The dish does take a while to cook, but requires hardly any attention.

Grilled Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
This great pasta salad recipe can be made with a variety of summer vegetables.  It is easy to mix and match ingredients based on seasonal availability.
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 eggplant
4 tomatoes
4 portobello mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
Olive oil spray
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound penne, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
4 oz. mozzarella, sliced
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Approximately 1 cup vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar

Heat/prepare an outdoor grill.  Slice zucchini, squash, and eggplant into long ½ inch thick “planks.”   Cut tomatoes in half.  Remove stems from mushrooms.  Cut pepper into quarters; discard core and seeds.  Spray veggies with light coating of oil.  Sprinkle with minced garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Grill until lightly charred and barely tender.  Chop and place in large bowl with pasta, cheese, nuts, and basil.  Toss with vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper.  6-8 servings.

Late Summer Bruschetta
 (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
2-3 large tomatoes
1 crunchy sweet pepper
1 medium sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Small handful fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Crusty bread (like baguette)
Shredded mozzarella or grated parmesan (optional)
Chop the vegetables into a midsize dice.  Combine with garlic 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and optional basil.  Slice baguette down the middle and lay the two sides cut side up.  Brush with additional 1-2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle on cheese, if using.  Broil bread for several minutes until bread or cheese browns a bit.  Top the sections (you may cut them smaller, if desired) with some of the vegetable mixture.  Makes 4 servings

Mediterranean Salsa
Fresh flavor! This is a great salsa, salad or pita stuffing.

1 medium cucumber, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced, remove as much of the spicy ribs and seeds as needed
1 bell pepper, diced
1 bunch parsley, finely diced
2/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
Juice from 1-2 fresh lemons
Combine all ingredients and toss well.  Let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

How about some green bean recipe ideas?  You can use the Chinese Red Noodle Beans in place of any green bean.  Martha Stewart provides inspiration again…
Healthy Green Bean Recipes
Three Bean Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
If you don’t have watercress or mache on hand (and you won’t, because mache doesn’t grow here when green beans grow), you can use arugula, lettuce, or any other salad green,

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