Thursday, August 23, 2012

Organic Harvest Box for August 23, 2012

So while I was out of town last week, Tasha is sending me this beautiful photo of the cherry tomatoes from Songberry Farm (not to make me jealous of course) and some of you may have been lucky enough to get them if you are getting the Local Only box.
And then she proceeds to send me this recipe for a Tomato Medley by Jamie Oliver.  Really, we are out of town, not cooking for ourselves checking email only to see mouth watering cherry tomatoes and a great idea for what to do with them - and we can't have any.  However, this week's order has both cherry tomatoes and orange field tomatoes and if I raid our own plants, I think the Tomato Medley will be a great starter one night for dinner.  In case you are unsure, you can get Halloumi cheese for the recipe at almost any Middle Eastern grocery store.  

I don't want to rush the end of summer by any means, my oldest daughter starts school for the first time in a couple of weeks, swimming in the lake won't last much longer, and traffic on your favorite thoroughfare is going to get busy again.  But I do love to see the start of the fall harvest in our veggie order.  Soup season will start again soon and it's one of my favorite meals so I'll probably make a Potato Leek Soup this week.  I make this recipe from the Joy of Cooking, it is very simple:

3 tbsps. unsalted butter
6 medium leeks, chopped
1 1/4 lbs potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
6 c. stock (poultry, vegetable) or water
Salt and Pepper
1/2 to 1 c. heavy cream

In a soup pot, over low heat, melt the butter.  Add the leeks, stirring regularily, and cook until they are tender but not browned about 20 minutes.  Stir in the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft, approx. 30 min.  Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.  Add the cream and reheat gently.  Serve garnished with snipped chives.

I was trying to keep summer in mind and think of some light and fresh recipes to keep me away from what I really want to start cooking - fall comfort food - so I started to search out salads with beets and fennel.  I could write this whole blog just about that combo (and I apologize in advance if that's what it turns into).  Add some apple or some oranges to the mix and I will need three extra orders of each.  Here is what I came up with - starting light and fresh and still a great choice for this weekend's hot weather - Hearty Beet and Fennel Salad - don't forget to use that basil from the plant from week's ago.  Everything is grated, no cooking and a really fresh tasting dressing - you might want to wear rubber gloves when grating the beets.  Another two salads that caught my eye are Herbed Beets with Fennel and Beets with Fennel, Orange and Walnuts; both require cooking the beets first, roasting or boiling.  But fast forward a few weeks from now when we are getting much cooler weather, frosty mornings, and leaves turning, and you would do equally well to make this recipe for Roasted Beets, Fennel and Apple  or Beet and Fennel Soup with Kefir.

Since I offhandedly mentioned wearing rubber gloves for grating your beets, I thought I should check into how to clean beet juice stains from your hands.  Google is a wonderful thing but can easily distract - did you know that drinking beet juice is the latest performance enhancing craze.  According to Adrian Chen of Gawker - beet juice was "the fuel of elite international athletes in London."  Apparently the nitrates improve the muscles ability to use oxygen.  I digress from my original thought - how to remove beet stains from your skin.  If you can, do avoid getting your skin stained in the first place by wearing kitchen gloves when prepping your beets, but if you prefer bare hands - then after the fact you can try a bit of lemon juice when you are washing hands.  Or you can use coarse salt (or table salt if you don't have coarse) on your dry hands and try rubbing them together until the stains start to lift and the salt starts to "melt".  At this point you can rinse you hands, if the stains still remain you can try repeating the process.  Be aware of a couple of things - remove your watch and jewelry prior to using the salt, be wary if you have any nicks or cuts on your skin, and this trick may actually work on clothing as well.

A couple of more ideas for this week:

And enjoy the hot weather this weekend with some great food and fresh produce.


  1. “ might want to wear rubber gloves when grating the beets.” When working with ingredients that might potentially leave a lingering odor and/or in your hands that is difficult to remove, it might be advisable that you wear rubber gloves. Aside, from that it would also protect your skin from getting pricked or having allergic reactions. Thus, having a full stock of, and wearing gloves in the kitchen is a must. :)

    Malinda Chaudhry

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