Sept. 19, 2012

Hi Everyone,

This week’s boxes are classic Ontario harvest fare. Let’s start with green tomatoes: as Anita O”Brien recently said, all Canadian cookbooks have recipes for green tomatoes. They simply aren’t all going to ripen in our climate. That’s OK by me; I love fried green tomatoes (slice, dip in beaten egg, then cornmeal liberally seasoned with chili powder and fry till soft like eggplant). I also love a green tomato mincemeat pie: half apples, half chopped green tomatoes, slivered almonds, currants and raisins, lots of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, butter and a chug of brandy plus some almond extract. Even the Joy of Cooking waxes eloquent about this idea and hey, come on, pie crust isn’t that hard to make once you decide to do it.

Second on the definitely Ontario theme are the shelling beans; the knobbly purplish ones. I have three kinds of these, being just the more mature version of the three pole beans that I grow, and have slated the two most popular ones for our boxes. These are from the purple pole beans and are a very soft bean once cooked. I have found them very good as a bean dip (think hummus) with garlic, olive oil, lemon, lots of rosemary, tahini if you want. The basic preparation beforehand if to shell them and boil till cooked. The beauty of fresh shelling beans if that they cook in a very short time (like 30 minutes if memory serves me right), need no pre-soaking, and are at the peak of flavor, far superior to dry beans.

Next we go to potatoes– the Irish Black potatoes. I was expecting a complete lack of potatoes and was very pleasantly surprised to find they weren’t too bad. As I write, mine are frying; I grated them first and seasoned with salt, pepper and dill. To deal with the scabby exterior I scraped rather than peeled. I guess that was the drought that made them scabby. These are also excellent roasted or baked.

On to more familiar fare: the green beans are my favorite variety, Kentucky Wonder, always tender despite their size. Swiss chard and scallopini (large boxes only) round out the veggies this week, as well as salad greens, which I feel are particularly good this week: we have some lettuce back in the mix, also endive and Chinese cabbage.

We did get a light frost on Sat. night that may have killed some zucchini and basil. I’m hoping tonight doesn’t repeat that: I prefer to harvest the tender crops (beans, cukes, zucchs, tomatoes, basil) in a slower, more orderly fashion. I will be salvaging the last basil leaves Sunday and starting to bring in green tomatoes to ripen indoors. Two plantings of beans are bearing beautifully just now and so I’m requesting another two weeks or so of decent weather. Many plants are in “take 2” mode, starting all over with leaves and flowers now that there has been sufficient rain. Artichokes are just thinking of flowering and so we’ll see them in a few weeks. Also in a few weeks it’s Thanksgiving time; I’m happy to hear of special requests. There should be squash, celery, rutabaga, parsnips, maybe broccoli, some sage and parsley and thyme, but no potatoes unless you ask for them specifically.

If you think these boxes are on the large size you’re right: I’m putting in more than usual because it’s the peak of the season. Usually by the last few boxes we have less to offer. That’s all for now, my supper’s ready and then it’s off to bed–market mornings start at 4 am, that’s not a lot of sleep.

Till next time,

Titia

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