It’s hard to believe it’s already mid-August! We are seeing a greater variety of crops coming in from the fields, like bell peppers (and hot peppers!), cucumbers, and celery. Plants are continuing to grow, and the corn in our fields is getting higher- but it’s not the variety of corn you typically think of when you picture a Maine farm. New Roots Farmers grow a variety of African storage corn. This is a very important staple crop for the farmers; they store it throughout the winter and cook it with almost everything. If stored correctly (in a cool, dark spot), it can last all the way until the next corn harvest.
Corn is wind-pollinated, which means that the plant relies on the wind to carry the pollen from the tassels at the top of one plant to the silks on a different plant. If farmers also plant sweet corn, the two crops can cross-pollinate, which leads to a harvest of African corn that doesn’t store long enough, and sweet corn that’s too hard- neither of which the farmers want to be growing. That’s why if you’re receiving sweet corn in your CSA, it’s either bought in from a different local farm, or grown separately from the farmer’s other crops.
We have some recipes for you to try below, but remember: one of the goals when receiving a CSA share should be experimentation and exploration in the kitchen. Make substitutions in a recipe from something you don’t have for something you do have in your refrigerator. Throw some things together and then add cheese–everything is better with cheese! Use zucchini or summer squash as a base for building other flavors on. Take those carrots, peppers, potatoes, green onions, and beets and roast them in the oven or throw them on the grill. Be adventurous!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups diced red potatoes (1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (can sub frozen)
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, cilantro, or pesto for serving (optional)
1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat.
2. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
3. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
4. Stir in the wine, rosemary, and thyme. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer.
5. Lower the heat and allow the liquid to simmer for about 4 minutes, until reduced by about half.
6. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, potatoes and corn. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Stir in the green beans and allow the mixture to continue simmering for 5 minutes.
8. Stir in the zucchini and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes more, until the veggies are tender.
9. Remove the pot from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Serve.
Recipe from https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/easy-summer-vegetable-soup/
Pan Cooked Celery with Tomato and Parsley
This recipe looked a little unusual to me, but the flavor combinations are delicious. It’s great as either a side dish, or over a bowl of pasta.
1 bunch celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 anchovy, rinsed and chopped (optional)
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice (or 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes)
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the celery in a steamer above 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam 5 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the heat and drain.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic. Stir until it smells fragrant, about 30 seconds, and add the anchovy if using, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper. Stir together, then stir in the celery. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the remaining parsley just before serving.
Recipe from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014499-pan-cooked-celery-with-tomatoes-and-parsley.
Summer Squash, Eggplant, and Coconut Curry
This is great with any type of rice, but a nutty whole grain rice like brown or black rice is especially tasty with this creamy coconut curry. You can also feel free to add in other veggies you might have laying around- like bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, or cabbage!