Hello to all of our members,
“See you, in September, . . . ” (Any of you remember that song?) Here we are, entering the month of September and we’ve definitely felt a change in temperature the last few nights. It’s time to start thinking about soup, stew and chowder recipes. More on that in the weeks to come.
Since this week’s share includes broccoli, we’re offering a recipe for Broccoli Salad with Cucumber, a very simple, no-fuss salad. If you prefer to cook your broccoli this week and need a little refresher on how to do that, try the following method:
Here’s a simple way to cook the broccoli stalks and florets together. This information was gleaned from the book “Vegetables Every Day”, by Jack Bishop. He points out that while thick stalks need to be boiled in order to cook through, the tender florets may become mushy when cooked this way. The method which follows allows them to cook perfectly in the same pan.
To prepare, rinse the broccoli under cool running water, separating the stalks from the florets with a sharp knife. The woody ends of the stalks should be cut off. With a paring knife, trim away 1/8 inch of the outer peel from stalks, revealing the pale green flesh beneath the skin. Next cut the peeled stalks in half lengthwise and then into bite-sized pieces. The florets can be cut into smaller sections with a paring knife, taking care while doing it to avoid crumbling the tender green tops.
A pasta pot with a steamer insert will be perfect for this method; however, any deep, wide pot with a lid and a collapsible steamer basket will also work.
1 large bunch of Broccoli
1. After following prep guidelines above, arrange the florets in a steamer insert or basket.
2. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a deep, wide pot. Add the stalks and salt to taste to the simmering water.
3. Carefully lower the basket with the florets into the pot, making sure it rests above water.
4. Cover and simmer until the broccoli is just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Drain well and season to your taste
The Layered Shrimp Salad with Parmesan Crostini uses several items from this week’s share. It’s a light refreshing supper, and the presentation is visually appealing. Equally attractive in appearance because it’s so colorful is the Sweet Corn, Red Bell Pepper, Edamame and Quinoa Salad. For those of us who are interested in adding more grains to our diet, this is an easy one to try. It’s delicious served with grilled chicken.
As promised earlier, I have some ideas on what to do if you occasionally find it challenging to use all your produce in one week. I did mention in our first newsletter this season that I find the Debbie Meyer Green Bags helpful in prolonging the freshness of my vegetables. After trial and error through the years, I noticed a difference. Another item I use–and I know it may sound like a gimmick, but it does work for me–is a product called “BluApple.” It’s a blue plastic “apple” that splits into halves. You simply insert a little BluApple packet, snap it shut, and put it into your crisper drawer. Each packet lasts about 3 months. The idea is that it absorbs ethylene gas which causes produce to over-ripen. And honestly, I don’t get a kickback from these companies! I am always looking for ways to keep my produce fresher longer. Here are more ideas for you to try:
Around this time in the season, we start to get comments like, “Help! I can’t seem to eat this produce fast enough!” or “I feel guilty . . . I’m afraid some of it will go to waste.” We have some suggestions to help, if you’re facing that situation.
Many vegetables can be blanched, cooled immediately in ice water, then frozen. (Green or yellow beans, for example)
Some can be chopped and frozen raw (tomatoes, onions, and peppers)
2) Share an item or two with a neighbor or a friend
You’ll be surprised at how many people will be delighted to receive fresh produce, especially a new item they haven’t tried. Sometimes it will bring back memories of something Grandma used to make.
3) Make a meal to share
There’s always someone who could use a home-cooked meal. Is there a new mom in your neighborhood, busy with a tiny infant? Or an elderly person or couple, who used to garden, and misses it? They would be delighted with your gift.
4) Make a large pot of vegetable soup
Gather up items that may be 1-2 weeks old, trim off any imperfect spots and/or pull off any yellow leaves. Cook them together slowly over low heat to blend the flavors, then freeze the soup to use at a later date. (cold autumn day, illness in the family)
There’s something about grilled vegetables that adds a depth of flavor. It must be the caramelizing process. I’ve had family members try a vegetable they normally wouldn’t touch, but because it’s grilled, they loved it!
6) When all else fails, STIR-FRY!! We have stir-fry at least once a week. As long as there’s meat in it (sliced/diced pork, beef or chicken) I’m able to add all kinds of vegetables without any questions or comments.
I hope this helps you. If you have some hints and suggestions for our members, please feel free to let me know. I’d love to share them.
Wishing you all a great week ahead!