Friday, January 13, 2012

Badger Rock Farm Veggie Share Newsletter - Week # 13


This week's share contents finally make me feel like summer has arrived (albeit in mid-August). Zucchini, tomatoes, hot peppers, basil, carrots, cucumbers and potatoes are all present, and the plants are promising that more is on the way. They (and I) were really happy about the nice rain that we got on Monday as well. It was only the second shower the farm had received in well over five weeks. Everything likes Mother Nature's water far better than what comes out of the sprinkler.


Carrots – Carrots are this week's substitute for salad mix. I went to cut the salad and realized the older lettuce had mostly bolted, and the recently planted lettuce is still teeny tiny. So, we'll give it a couple of week's to reach cut-able size while we eat other selections from the garden.
Basil – If you would like to preserve that fresh basil taste for winter use, there is an easy way to do so. Simply put the leaves, and enough olive oil to mix well with the basil, into your food processor and process until you have a pesto-like paste (this is basically pesto without the cheese and nuts). You can then divide this mixture into serving sizes, place it in freezer bags and freeze it. Perfect for that summertime basil flavor in December!

Tomatoes & Hot Peppers Goodie Bag –The smaller tomatoes, particularly the Glacier and Roma varieties, are continuing to ripen, as are the hot peppers. The hot peppers included here are called Czech Black (like their name, they are the dark purple/black peppers) and the yellow New Mex Joe Parker. Both are mildly to mid hot, depending on the sensitivity of your taste buds :-).

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are really starting to come on strong. If you ever have more cucumber than you do appetite on a given day, but you don't feel like going through the hassle of jarring up a bunch of pickles, here is a method my mother-in-law (and I) use for keeping them tasty a bit longer. In a bowl, mix up a brine solution. Typically this would be vinegar and water (2 parts vinegar per 1 part water) and salt to taste. You can also add to the mix freshly chopped onions, garlic, or whatever other flavor you desire. Then, thinly slice your cucumbers and add them to the bowl. You want enough brine solution so that the cuke slices can all be submerged. Place a lid on your bowl, keep in the fridge and enjoy!

Potatoes – The early season potatoes are ready in abundance right now. The varieties included this week are are Sangre, Rose Gold, Dark Red Norland, and a few Purple Majesty thrown in for good measure.

Zucchini – One of my favorite ways to prepare zucchini is to stuff it. Here is a simple recipe for that. Feel free to dress it up by adding hot peppers, fresh tomato slices on top (add towards the end of baking so they don't become burned) or whatever else sounds good to you.

Stuffed Zucchini
1/2 pound ground beef
1 large zucchini, ends trimmed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 of a 6 oz can sliced black olives, drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook and stir the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until the meat is browned, breaking the beef up into crumbles as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat, and transfer the beef into a mixing bowl. Slice the zucchini in half the long way, and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell all around the zucchini. Chop the scooped-out zucchini flesh, and add to mixing bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, garlic, spaghetti sauce, black olives, and Parmesan cheese; mix the stuffing well. Lightly stuff both halves of the zucchini with the meat mixture. Place the zucchini halves into a baking dish, and cover tightly with foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, remove from oven, and remove the foil. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese over each zucchini half. Move an oven rack to within 6 inches of the oven broiler's heat source, turn on the broiler, and broil the zucchini until the mozzarella cheese is browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes.

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