The Tucson CSA asked me to write an installment of their frequent newsletter section, ‘A Week At My Table’. Here was the harvest in question:
Oops, and a summer CSA harvest picture isn’t complete without this fruit diva popping up!
It’s summertime and the blowsy abundance of winter greens and roots, which usually required me to bring two bags, have given way to the more heat-tolerant vegetables: squash, small onions, potatoes…and some big ol’ watermelons! This week’s harvest also included some newbies to my cooking repertoire: Elote Blanco (white Mexican corn) and White Wonder cucumbers.
Last week’s sweet corn was heavenly and I know very well how I like it (classic: boil in water til tender, then eat off the cob or toss kernels into a potato salad). But this week’s corn is the white variety, ie not sweet but more like hominy grits, starchy and better suited for a savory sauce. Which is what I did using the CSA recipe for Calabacitas. I simmered a few of the Glendale Gold onions with garlic, then diced summer squash, the yellow and cherry tomatoes from my share, some Serrano chiles from the garden and kernels of the white corn cut from the cob. After cooking, I then tossed in cilantro and feta cheese. I am hooked on calabacitas now – the sweetness of the squash melds well with the spices and the white corn has a plump, toothsome texture.
I was told that the White Wonder cucumbers were a little on the bitter side and that I should peel the skin, scoop and discard the seeds and cook them. The newsletter handily included a recipe for Cucumber Coconut Milk Curry. This is another example of how the CSA is a great partner in not only providing your week’s harvest but helping you figure out how to make the most of it. The recipe, by Tony from the CSA, was actually one of the best curries I’ve made yet – a perfect proportion of those lovely Indian spices coriander, turmeric, chile powder and cumin seeds simmered with more Glendale Gold onions, the cucumbers and coconut milk. Spicy but not too spicy and delicious!
For some weird reason, I’ve never bought watermelon before. But in the last two weeks I’ve gotten to know and love them. These luscious globes do have seeds and after some Googling, I found that it wasn’t too hard to take off the rind, slice it vertically and then break it into chunks, scooping out seeds into another bowl as you go. This resulted in a HUGE bowl of pink flesh which has since become blended into homemade Aqua Fresca: lots of watermelon, juice from a lime, some honey and ice cubes. Refrescante! Or you could do as my friend Molly does and juice it, seeds and all. Any way you take it, it’s the perfect antidote to these hot, hot days.
Oh, and the Red LaSoda potatoes? I actually didn’t get to them this week but they are keeping just fine in my fridge and will become part of a huge potato salad for 4th of July. Happy summer and happy eating!
Thanks, Philippe for asking me to contribute to your fab newsletter again.
But alas, there’s a meal I forgot to include – a summer sausage fry for when you don’t want to spend much time in that kitchen.
This is where the bulk of my tomatoes went – look at this juicy two-tone rainbow:
It was a simple dish of sauteing sausage, onions and garlic, tipping in the tomatoes to cook until they broke down and cried, then adding a can of cannellini (white northern) beans until warmed through. Throw on some bagged spinach if you got it. Easy peasy and gits yer dinner done fast.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July and we’re having a BBQ. I may or may not document the festivities for you, depending entirely on my state of mind (and, er, level of sobriety?) but in any case I hope your celebrations are both fun and safe (especially where things are going boom!)
Love and fireworks,