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CSA Week 8: Helpful Hints and Tricks

Posted 8/7/2018 4:10am by Jenna Untiedt.

Week 8 is here. Almost half way through the CSA season, but in a personal opinion, the best is yet to come. More variety, more items to choose from each week, and even more desire to enjoy fresh and local produce as we realize what seasons are just around the corner. August brings us the first of locally grown apples, the best sweet corn of the season, and typically more tomatoes than the average human knows what to do with. I have already had my first request for fall pricing guides and I can’t wrap my head around that quite yet. Before we know it, our parking lot will transformed into a holding ground for bins of pumpkins, squash, gourds and all things fall. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, let’s enjoy what is left of the great Minnesota summer!  

There is lots to do with the share this week, let’s break it down:  

Sweet Corn: I think a weekly staple in any house throughout the summer should be burgers and sweet corn. Back to bi-color this week, and you won’t be disappointed. Please remember, if you do not eat it right away, don’t husk it, keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. I never recommend keeping the corn more than 2-3 days, but that’s a strong personal preference. The fresher the better. If I have to recommend one thing to eat right away, it would always be the sweet corn.  

Romano Beans & Shallots: The best of the best. Yes, they do have a bit of sand and dirt on them, but a good rinse in the sink will get the grit off of the beans. A bit different than your typical green beans, but even more flavor. A special offering in our CSA, so enjoy them while they are here. My favorite way to enjoy these would be sauté all the shallots in a bit of butter until crisp and remove from the pan. Add the Romano beans and sauté  or steam until tender. Add the shallots back in for a few minutes and you have an outstanding side dish. I made these last night, and since the ‘rents are out of town for a couple days, I ate almost the entire batch. No shame, they are amazing and I didn’t make much else for dinner!  

Kale: Salads, smoothies, chips, stir fries, the opportunities are endless. If you really aren’t a fan of this great vegetable, I recommend slicing it up really finely and adding it to a pasta sauce. It is a great way to get in extra veggies without noticing much added flavor.  

Onions: A sautéed onion and kale would make a great side dish this week. Otherwise, these will keep for quite some time. If you don’t want the onion aroma taking over your fridge, toss in a bag and store in your crisper drawer, they will last for several weeks.  

Slicing Tomatoes: Perfect for sandwiches, burgers, or just plain. Let the tomatoes sit on your counter for a day or two until the are soft to the touch. We don’t like to send them too ripe, otherwise we get lots of complaints that they get bruised in transportation. Give the yellow, low acid tomatoes a try as well!  

Medley Grape Tomatoes: A fresh tomato salad is in order this week. Simple slice and toss with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a dash of salt and pepper, add some fresh basil and mozzarella cheese and you have the perfect summer salad.

Green Peppers: The flavor and the aroma are outstanding. Stuffed peppers, afternoon snacks, the perfect burger topping….opportunities are endless.  

Cucumbers: Just a couple to enjoy throughout the week. Scroll to the bottom of the email for a special recipe including cucumbers, eggplant, medley tomatoes and kale…a dish you won’t want to miss out on this week!  

Potatoes: Simply the best. My favorite thing to do is to boil them all up right away. I may only eat a couple a night, but the fact they are cooked in the fridge and I can grab and go is great. Crispy smashed potatoes are probably my favorite and will likely be had for breakfast in a few hours after the shares get out this morning.  

Eggplant: Oh the poor vegetable that receives the absolute most criticism. I challenge you all to give this eggplant a try. An extremely mild flavor that can be enjoy in so many ways. I am enclosing a fairly straightforward, easy recipe to use up the eggplant in one meal. Personally, I found this Japanese eggplant to be much more tender than traditional eggplant and have a great flavor and texture. Step outside your comfort zone and give it a try this week.  

Chives: I’m not going to lie, I am not a good herb gardener. Perhaps it is because I never get them actually planted. I like to keep mine in the kitchen where they receive some natural light and use them for a few weeks and then toss. Chives are great to add to eggs, potatoes, meat, really anything. Even if your garden is full, you will definitely get a few uses out of the fresh ones and they will grow for a couple weeks in the small pot.  

Strawberries: Honestly, I think these are the best of the season. If they make it past the ride home for you, share with your family. Slice and serve over ice cream, top your yogurt with them, or just eat plain. These are truly and treat and absolutely delicious.  

There you have it, week number 8 is in the books. Lots of things you can do with the items this week, and these are just a few ideas. Challenge yourself to try a new recipe this week. While I didn’t make my normal Monday night spread, I did come up with a recipe for Eggplant so you all can easily enjoy it. Personally, I thought it was delicious and look forward to making it again later in the week.

  Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Crispy Kale Medley

-3 pieces of kale torn up into pieces, rubbed with olive oil

-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch pieces and quartered, tossed in olive oil

-1 cup plain Greek yogurt

-2 tsp minced garlic -3 tbsp lemon juice

-1 cup sliced medley tomatoes

-1 cucumber peeled and diced into small pieces -salt and pepper  

Roast eggplant at 425 degrees, tossing occasionally until a nice dark color and tender to the touch.  

When the eggplant is about done, add kale to the oven and roast until crispy. Make sure to keep tossing as it will easily burn.  

While the eggplant is roasting, mix the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper together. Spread the yogurt mixture into a light layer over a large dinner plate.  

Sprinkle the diced cucumbers over the yogurt. Followed by the roasted eggplant, medley tomatoes, and finally tuck the pieces of kale in the mixture. A light, summery side dish or main meal that is easy to make and definitely east to enjoy.