Sunday, January 15, 2012

Badger Rock Farm Veggie Share Newsletter - Week # 18


As of the writing of this newsletter (Tuesday evening, 9/20), the garden has so far escaped a hard frost. Only narrowly though. And the forecast calls for 37 degrees tonight. That doesn't leave much buffer above that freezing threshold. Row cover fabric (in double layers) is protecting some of the more sensitive plants, so I'm hoping that we'll get a bit more out of them before the year is out. Still to come, for at least one (or maybe two) more week(s), are the veggies that can resist light freezes (root crops, for instance). This week, you have some of the familiar warm weather veggies such as cukes, summer squash, tomatoes and peppers (though their quantity wasn't as impressive this week), while they last. New additions are mini melons and spaghetti squash. Recipes below!


Spaghetti Squash, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers & Basil

Spaghetti squash are truly unique because their flesh resembles spaghetti noodles when cooked. It makes a great substitute for actual noodles (and a way to work an extra veggie into pasta recipes) in any dish that calls for them.

The tomatoes are reallllyyy slowing down their ripening because of the cold nights. Pretty depressing since I feel like they'd only just started to ripen at all! I've added some semi-ripe ones to your bags so that you could get some tomato volume. Leaving the not-quite-ripe ones on your counter for a couple of days should turn them red and juicy for you. Not quite as good as vine-ripened, but I guess we'll have to take what we can get this year.

Spaghetti Squash, Veggies & Feta
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise & seeded
2 tbsp oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tbsp sliced black olives
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and place your spaghetti squash cut sides down on the sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until a sharp knife can be inserted into the squash easily. Remove squash from oven, and set aside until cool enough to handle. While the squash is cooling, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion in oil until it is tender. Add the garlic and bell pepper, and saute for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in your tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm (don't overcook). Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place it in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Mini Melons – I have tried to grow melons in previous gardens, only to be disappointed when frost came calling and they were still unripe. This year, I planted mini melons, as they were supposed to ripen sooner. I believe that has happened and that they are ready for your enjoyment. Included is a mini watermelon and a mini musk melon and/or cantaloupe. Cut open and prepare as you typically would a watermelon or cantaloupe.

Cucumbers (regular & lemon)– The cucumbers are still hanging in there, though (like the tomatoes and other hot weather veggies) they are feeling the effects of the cold nights and are slowing their production. They are now tucked in under a layer of row cover fabric, so hopefully they'll be protected from any light freezes and maybe (maybe) we'll get a few more cukes before the plants succumb to jack frost.

Patty Pan Summer Squash – Patty pans are a summer squash, but when they get larger like this, you can bake them....much as you would a winter squash. Here is a recipe:
Baked Patty Pan Squash
1 medium to large pattypan
tbsp melted butter
tbsp parmesan cheese
6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
tsp rosemary
alt to taste
Slice pattypan squash into ¼ inch thick sections and remove any tough parts, i.e. stem area and base.
Brush the bottom of a baking dish with a coating of melted butter then layer in the following order one quarter of each of the ingredients: slices of squash, brush a layer of butter, salt, basil, rosemary, and parmesan cheese. Repeat with 3 more layers. Pour any remaining butter over top. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 min or until the squash is tender throughout. Remove from oven, scoop, serve, enjoy!

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