Archive for August, 2010

Sloppy Joes

This is yet another recipe for a quick meal that makes good use of leftovers, and one that will come in handy during this week’s heat wave here in New England. My recipe is based on Robin Miller’s Sloppy Joe Sandwiches recipe.  You can add any type of meat to this dish, or just go meatless and increase the veggies.  The key here is good-quality, fresh rolls.  (If you want to explore making your own bread and rolls, check out the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.)

Sloppy Joes

  • 1/2 pound cooked hamburger (or any other type of meat you have leftover)
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce, or leftover Simple Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped (from our farm share last week)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil (or equivalent of fresh)
  • cayenne pepper to taste (or use part of a pick-your-own pepper from the farm)

Combine all ingredients in a skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.  Spoon onto rolls and serve immediately, with Refrigerator Dill  Pickles if you have them.


CSA Share for 2010 Week Eleven

It is finally sunny outside this morning after those nice three days of rain.  I’m thinking the veggies are going to go wild with happiness!  Feels like summer once again, although I really liked having the cool-weather-induced motivation to cook heartier dishes such as crockpot stew and lots of bread.  However, it’s back to lighter fare tonight.

In my share this week is:

  • basil
  • cantaloupe
  • green peppers
  • kale
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • summer squash
  • tomatoes
  • pick-your-own hot peppers, parsley, and okra

As usual, last night (share pickup night) I oven-baked the summer squash along with some of last week’s potatoes.  I was glad to see the basil bunch this week, since I’ve lately had a hankering for pesto pasta and will make that for dinner tonight.    I did pick a bunch of hot peppers, and will do as this week’s newsletter suggests:  seed and chop them, then freeze.  And, I picked even more okra than last week, and will make more of that delicious Indian okra, but will chop and freeze some as well.

Even though it no longer feels like “stew weather,” keep this in mind next time it gets chilly.  I made a crockpot stew over the weekend, which makes good use of the farm potatoes, onions, and carrots.  I used Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Ale Stew recipe for inspiration, but made some changes, such as potatoes instead of the celery, and plain water instead of the ale (I did make it last winter with the ale, though).  You could also use broth or stock if you think the ale would be too strong a flavor.  I cooked it all in my crockpot for about 5 hours on high.  I have not yet tried the accompanying dumplings given in Jamie’s recipe.

If for some reason you don’t get to all of the melon, don’t let it go to waste.  Just cut it up, put it in a bag, then freeze, as it will come in handy for smoothies in the future (see third paragraph of a previous post of mine for smoothie idea).  Also, here’s something to try:  what really helps me make the most of my share is to write out a list of the veggies I currently have, and put it on the counter.  I can then easily see the veggies that I need to eat up, without rummaging through the bags in my veggie drawer.  Quite efficient!

CSA Share, Week Ten, Day Five

I am now officially a fan of okra.  I made the Indian Okra from last week’s newsletter for dinner last night, and will certainly make it again.  I had picked a big handful from the farm’s pick-your-own bed, and stored them in my veggie drawer.  All I had to do for prep was simply wash them up and slice them; could not be easier!  I surfed and found that okra is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, the B-complex vitamins, calcium and iron.  Has an interesting history, too, as I read on wikipedia.  I added carrots to my Indian Okra,  and chicken to some of it, and served it over brown rice. Also, instead of the various spices called for in the recipe, I just used about a tablespoon of curry powder.   I used all the okra I had picked, but I know where I can get much more of it!

Last week, I did try making kale chips.   While the ones that were baked perfectly were very good, I had trouble timing it just right and ended up burning most batches.  Maybe it’s because I used my toaster oven with possible uneven heat?  Oh well.

I had planned on freezing my big lot of tomatoes, but instead made a simple marinara sauce a couple of times.  I posted the recipe last weekend.  My family loved its fresh, simple flavor, and the cooler weather made it fun to cook and eat over pasta.  A fantastically easy way to use up excess tomatoes, and makes good use of the farm garlic and basil.

We all loved the Asian melon, and are looking forward to breaking into the watermelon today.  I found that the trick to a super-sweet melon is to pick it at its peak of ripeness, which our farm does expertly.  Ahhh, the benefits of being a CSA member!

Simple Marinara Sauce

If you are looking for an easy sauce to prepare and you have a lot  of tomatoes, this is the dish to make.  It uses up many of those fresh tomatoes, plus the garlic and basil, from the farm.

Simple Marinara Sauce

  • 8 to 10 medium to large tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 tsp dried oregano (or equivalent of fresh)
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar

Wash and core the tomatoes, then slice in quarters.  Place them into food processor and puree till smooth (or partly chunky if you prefer).  Pour into a large pot and add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then simmer an hour or so until sauce reaches desired consistency.

CSA Share for 2010 Week Ten

We were out of town last week, but I came back and my stored-in-the-fridge summer squash, kohlrabi and watermelon lasted very well.  I like the kohlrabi just cut-up fresh, and last night I oven-roasted the squashes.  Now, the watermelon was absolutely outstanding.   I don’t know if it’s because it sat for a week in the fridge, but it was the most delicious, sweetest watermelon I have ever tasted.

Still no rain, but the veggies keep on coming.  Our share this week consisted of:

  • carrots
  • garlic
  • greens (I chose the Red Russian kale, which is the one with the flatter leaves)
  • 2 melons (an Asian melon and a watermelon)
  • red onions
  • new potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • pick your own veggies/herbs (I picked okra, cherry tomatoes, and parsley this week)

I really like that the farm has pick your own parsley this year.  I just take it out of the fridge (where it’s been stored in a glass in a little water) in the morning and kind of graze on it throughout the day.  For the okra, I’m going to try the Indian Okra recipe in this week’s newsletter.  I looked up online last night how to know when okra is ready to pick, and found out that they should be picked when they’re 2 or 3 inches long.  I have some like that, and I have some really big ones which I thing are too big and tough.

Today I plan on making kale chips which I’ve never tried but I know other members have.  There are many recipes to be found at Tastespotting, or just do a Google search.  I’m also going to freeze some of the tomatoes.  What I’ve done before is just wash and core them, then simply put them in a ziploc bag and freeze.  I take them out and slow-roast/bake them with some garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar later in the fall or winter.  The long bake time helps to evaporate the excess liquid.

Tortilla Pizza

This is another light  hot-weather recipe, with a lot of room for creativity.  Replacing traditional dough with large whole-wheat tortillas really lightens up these fast and easy pizzas.

Tortilla Pizza

  • olive oil
  • veggies of any kind
  • dried or fresh oregano
  • fresh basil leaves
  • shredded cheese
  • additional toppings of your choice: pepperoni, hot peppers, tomato sauce, pesto…
  • large whole-wheat tortillas

Saute the veggies in the olive oil.  Spread them onto the tortillas, and top with the herbs, additional toppings, and shredded cheese.  Bake in a 425 oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Since I only use my toaster oven on hot summer days, I make these one at a time, preparing the next one while the first one is baking.  And, everyone in the family can get their own custom-made pizza.  The pizza pictured above was made with kale, Tropea onions, oregano, and feta and shredded cheeses.

CSA Share for 2010 Week Nine

Here in New England, the farmers NEED rain!  When we keep getting all the beautiful veggies week after week, it can be easy for me to forget that there’s a ton of work going on in the fields every day keeping everything watered and lush.  After 12 years, I think that I treasure every veggie, but I find that I still need to be continually reminded that it’s not so easy, and that makes me realize all over again how precious these veggies are and how much I truly love my farmers.

We are on vacation this week, so I picked up my share early and worked at preserving most of it, while giving some away to friends.  In this week’s share is:

  • basil
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • cucumbers
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • lettuce
  • peppers
  • summer squash
  • tomatoes
  • watermelon

I made the best salad out of the lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes (with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing), and took it on the road with us.  What a treat!   Also, I did pick a few delicious cherry tomatoes and brought them to snack on; I can’t wait till they really start kicking in.   Also from the pick-your-own beds, in this week’s farm newsletter is a recipe for Indian Okra, which I am really looking forward to trying.  I remember years ago a recipe in the newsletter for Cabbage with Indian Spices, which became one of my favorite dishes, so I have high hopes for this current recipe.  I would be very interested to hear if anyone has made any successful dishes using okra.

Try the Pasta with Lentils and Kale recipe from  I made it last night and had the leftovers for lunch today, although instead of lentils, I mixed in white navy beans.  Also, sauteing the onions for a long time is the way to go.  Yum!