From the Field
After twelve weeks of harvest and produce-filled boxes, we've reached the final week of the Winter/Spring 2013 CSA. This week, your box has a crop that's been growing slowly all season long and is finally ready for you - sweet peppers. We're growing a few different varieties, including "Corno di Toro" or bullhorn-type Italian frying peppers and pimento-type sweet peppers. They're not the bell shape you may be used to seeing, but they're definitely sweet (not hot). Try them roasted, grilled, fried or raw, and check out some of the recipes below.
We just opened sign-ups for the summer and fall seasons exclusively to our current CSA members (for this week only) - you can chosse to sign up for the Full Season (22 weeks total, June through November), or just the Summer season for now.
Thank you for your continued support! We look forward to growing for you seasons to come.
Enjoy the harvest,
Claudia Seixas & the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Pictured above: Zinnias in the Ellen's Garden at Ridge to Reef Farm.
Grilled Marinated Eggplant
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Heat the grill. Slice the eggplant into lengths and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside while making the marinade.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, and cumin. Dab away any extra water that has beaded up on the eggplant and toss with the marinade. Stir in the garlic. Place the eggplant onto the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes until very tender and slightly browned. Or roast in a 400F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the grill and cool slightly, then cut into cubes.
3. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce in the same bowl that held the marinade. Return the eggplant to the bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.
Recipe courtesy Kelly Rossiter
Roasted Eggplant Soup
3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise (I used 3 smaller ones)
1 small onion, halved (eh, mine was medium)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream (you can add more to taste, or skip this entirely)
3/4 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on a large baking sheet, or two smaller ones if you, like me, have a tiny oven. Brush or drizzle vegetables with oil then roast them for 20 minutes, pausing only to remove the garlic cloves (the original recipe had you keep them in the whole time, and mine, sadly, burned) and returning the pans to the oven for another 25 minutes, until the remaining vegetables are tender and brown in spots. Remove from oven and scoop eggplant from skin into a heavy, large saucepan or soup pot. Add the rest of the vegetables, the thyme and the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes (mine took longer). Cool slightly.
2. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until it is as smooth as you’d like it to be. (Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can do this in the pot.) Back in the pot, add the cream and bring the soup back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in four bowls, sprinkled with goat cheese.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appetit
Eggplant and Red Pepper Spread
2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 scallion, sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Turn stovetop gas burner to high and place eggplants, one at a time, directly over burner grate, turning occasionally with tongs until all sides are charred and eggplant is soft, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a baking sheet and let cool completely.
2. Drain juices, remove skin, and place eggplant pulp in the bowl of a food processor. *If you do not have a gas burner at home, you can broil the eggplants (turning them just as you would on the flame) until their skin is blistered and the inside is creamy and soft.
3. Pulse eggplant 10-15 times until well chopped but with a few remaining chunks. Add red pepper, garlic, scallion, oil, tahini, lemon juice, cayenne and salt, pulsing to incorporate all ingredients. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving.
Sweet Pepper and Tomato Salsa Recipe
3 sweet peppers (green or red) seeded, chopped and divided
3 scallions, chopped and divided
2 jalapeno peppers, stem removed (optional)
2 tomatoes, cored and diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch sea salt (or to taste)
1 dash fresh ground black pepper
1. Set aside half the chopped onion, the tomatoes and three quarters of the chopped bell peppers. Put remaining onion and pepper into your blender or food processor.
2. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Mix your reserved onion, tomatoes and pepper into the puree.
Sauteed Eggplant with Mediterranean Vegetables
1 1/2 lb Eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
sweet peppers (red or green) 1 1/2 to 2 cups cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup sliced onions
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the peppers and onions until tender, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and season with pepper. Cook, covered, for 2 minutes, set aside. Heat some additional oil in the saute pan and saute the eggplant until lightly browned and tender. Stir in the tomato mixture, and cook gently for 5 minutes.
2. Mash together the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Finely chop the basil and mash with garlic until it forms a paste. Blend into the eggplant mixture and cook for a few more minutes.
Grilled Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches
2 eggplants cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 peppers, roasted or grilled and sliced
1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
8 1/2-inch-thick slices of your favorite sandwich bread
Optional: Aioli or mayonnaise to spread on the bread
1. Preheat the grill or broiler. Brush the olive oil lightly over both sides of the eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Grill or broil the eggplant until tender, 3 or 4 minutes per side. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and half of the minced garlic.
2. Cut the tops off the peppers, slice in half and remove the seeds. Grill or broil the peppers until tender and then toss them in a bowl with the remaining vinegar and garlic.
3. Grill, broil or toast the bread. If you are using aioli or mayonnaise spread it on the bread and then assemble the sandwiches with layers of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.
This Week's Harvest
Eggplant - Asian or Italian
Sweet Peppers - red and green
Salad Mix - blend of asian greens
Braising Greens - komatsuna or arugula
Basil - genovese
Tomatoes - heirloom & slicing
Free Farm Stay for CSA Members! (A $125 value!)
Do you ever wonder what life at the farm is like? Well, we would love for you to experience it with us! Please take this opportunity to volunteer in the gardens, join us for a community dinner, and retreat to your private cabana after dark...
Call us at 340.220.0466 to make your reservations. See you soon!
THANK YOU HOSTS!
Gifft Hill School
St. John 4-6 pm Thursday
Havensight, St. Thomas 11 am -1 pm Thursday
Christiansted, St. Croix 3-5 pm Saturday
Frederiksted, St. Croix 2-4 pm Saturday
FARM WISH LIST
Got some things laying around that we can re-use in the CSA?
Last season we received egg cartons, more reusable bags, a blender, some garden hoses, a trash bin, and other great things that we use and were saved from going to the landfill or rotting in a shed. THANK YOU!
Tomatoes - Tomatoes don't like refrigeration- instead of the fridge, keep them in a cool spot (around 55-60 degrees) out of direct sunlight. If your tomatoes are ripe, enjoy them immediately. If they still have green shoulders, they will ripen fully in a day or two.
For more storage tips, check out this handy flyer!
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).