Weekly Farm Notes :: July 7th, 2015

Hello!

We have posted three new recipes since last week, all perfect for easy, fresh summer eating: Roasted Tomatillo SalsaMillet TabboulehMinted Eggplant Dip. You can find the main ingredients at our stand tomorrow. We hope to see you at market!

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July 8th Produce

Here are some of the items you can expect this week:

  • Heirloom Tomatoes: in my opinion, you have to make gazpacho at least once during the summer. It’s so fresh and easy. Here is a link to Main Street Farmers Market favorite version – yum!
  • Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes: you can just toss these into our Millet Tabbouleh, or make a super simple cherry tomato salsa. Start by tossing 6 ounces of quartered tomatoes with a tablespoon each extra-virgin olive oil and cilantro, along with 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
  • Diva Cucumbers: these cucumbers are thin-skinned and crunchy, the perfect addition to our Millet Tabbouleh or for use in Tzatziki sauce (see recipe below).
  • Japanese Eggplant: try our new recipe for Minted Eggplant Dip!
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard: pick up some of our eggs and give this Greens & Cheese Frittata recipe a try! It makes for a quick lunch or dinner. Don’t forget to stop by Sequatchie Cove and pick up some cheese to use with it!
  • Tomatillos: try our new recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa!
  • Green Sweet Carmen Peppers: I have read that these peppers are great for roasting and I bet they would hold up well on the grill. Give it a try and let us know how you enjoy them!
  • Papalo: we have been experimenting a lot with papalo lately. Try it in our Fresh Tomato Salsa or Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. I have also tried it in guacamole and as a garnish for a Thai inspired soup. Look for more papalo recipes coming soon!
  • Mint: we have numerous suggestions for using your mint this week: try our Minted Eggplant Dip, the Tzatziki recipe below or this recipe that I created a few years ago for Mint & Pistachio Pesto. Buy extra mint and try all three!
  • Pastured Eggs: there is no limit to what can be done with eggs. Pick up a dozen or two – they last for weeks!
  • Beautiful Cut Flowers: brighten up your day with our beautiful cut flowers!

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Recipe :: Tzatziki Sauce

This recipe is from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. They suggests salting and draining the cucumbers to prevent excess liquid from making the dip watery. You can skip this step if you plan to use it all immediately. And given our Diva cucumbers have such thin skins, you could also skip the peeling step as well. Serve with pita, crackers or raw veggies. Makes 2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 ounce) cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and shredded
  • 1 cup whole Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint and/or dill
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced

Directions:

  • Toss cucumbers and 1/2 teaspoon salt together and let drain in colander for 15 minutes.
  • Whisk yogurt, oil, mint and garlic together in bowl, then stir in drained cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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Other :: Alice O’Dea Article

Have you read Alice O’Dea’s latest article? She has been experimenting with Chef Watson, and the results are intriguing!


Egg Drop Soup (Alice O’Dea Article)

Hello! Here is the latest article from our very own (CSA member, that is) Alice O’Dea. This week she discusses egg drop soup and I cannot wait to try it for myself! I have pasted the text of the article below for your reference but click on the link and check out the pretty picture of the soup. Enjoy!

I was reading about spring soups this week, and when I saw an image of this egg drop soup with ginger, chiles and spring peas, I thought it looked pretty awesome. But I didn’t have any ginger, chiles or spring peas, nor did I have the chicken broth and radishes that are also included in the recipe. No matter—those were just minor details. I was suddenly in the mood for egg drop soup, so I made some with what I had on hand.

This is a great dish that can be made on a moment’s notice in a matter of minutes. It is a substantial and comforting soup that provides protein without a lot of fat, and it is fun to cook—pouring the beaten eggs into the swirling broth makes such pretty patterns in the pot! It also doesn’t require a recipe, as you can make just one serving or much more, using some basic proportions and your own embellishments.

Variations on egg drop soup go by many names, depending on where you are in the world. It is known as egg flower soup in China, stracciatella in Italy,le tourin in France and avgolemono in Greece. A version in Austria (eierflockensuppe) is made by mixing the egg with flour so that it forms little dumplings when poured into the broth.

There are really only two requirements for egg drop soup: a flavorful liquid and an egg. The liquid is usually chicken broth or stock, but you can also try beef or vegetable stock (if you make some from scraps, you’re essentially conjuring this soup from little more than an egg and water!). Figure on somewhere around a cup or two of stock and one egg per serving of soup. The rest you can just fill in using whatever you can dig out of your refrigerator, find in the pantry or have growing out in the yard.

Of course, the better your ingredients, the more satisfying your results will be. Use the best stock and eggs you can find. Bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Some other flavors and textures you might want to add at this point are soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, garlic, sliced chilies, grated cheese, bread crumbs, farina, asparagus, snow peas, snap peas, greens, bean sprouts, frozen peas or corn, mushrooms, meat, tofu, miso, lemongrass, shredded carrots or spices (such as nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and bay leaf).

If you want pasta or rice in your soup and it needs time to simmer, add it at this point so that it can cook to the proper texture. You want the eggs to be one of the last ingredients you add to the soup, but you might want to hold off adding anything to the pot that is very tender (like fresh spinach or chives) until the broth is fully heated and the starches properly softened.

Some recipes call for a bit of cornstarch (up to a tablespoon per quart of liquid) to firm up the broth, but they also warn not to add it too soon or it won’t hold its thickness. Regardless, if you use it, combine the cornstarch with an equal amount of broth or water before adding it to the pot so that it doesn’t get lumpy.

While the broth mixture is heating up, beat one egg for each serving. Some recipes out there call for whole eggs, and others don’t use all the yolks. That’s entirely up to your tastes and nutritional needs. I tend to make small batches of this soup, as it’s best when fresh, so I usually use just an egg or two anyway.

Turn the heat under the pot to low, mix the broth lightly, and slowly pour the beaten eggs into the soup while still stirring. Keep swirling until the egg tendrils set into curds, about two or three minutes. While the soup finishes cooking, you can taste and add last-minute flavors such as salt, sesame oil, vinegar or a splash of lemon juice.

Once it’s all set, scoop the soup into bowls and garnish with some scallions, cilantro, fresh chives, thinly sliced radishes, a splash of hot sauce and/or Parmesan cheese. Season with freshly ground pepper and serve. Also, check your time, since it’s likely that you went from start to soup in as little as 15 minutes. Now that’s fast food!


Greens & Cheese Frittata Muffins

This is an example of the type of recipe I love the most: simple, seasonal and with the option to vary ingredients based on what’s available. While I would call this recipe “simple”, I think it is important to understand a little science behind it. Specifically, the science behind how eggs cook and why it is beneficial to add a little (or a lot) of dairy.

First, let’s review how eggs cook. The next few paragraphs are from Cook’s Illustrated, who do a much better job explaining this than I can.

Eggs contain both egg whites and egg yolks. The white contains about 90 percent water and 10 percent protein. The yolk contains about 50 percent water, 20 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. The yolk also contains an emulsifier known as lecithin that keeps the fat suspended in the water. The protein strands in the egg white and yolk are all coiled up like a bowl of cooked spaghetti. For an egg to cook, the proteins need to uncoil. This process begins to happen when we mix the eggs in a bowl. The whipping action starts to uncoil the proteins. 

Once the eggs are heated and we start to cook the eggs, the now uncoiled proteins begin to chemically bond with each other. They form chemical cross-links—like strips of Velcro sticking to each other. This chemical bonding creates a network that traps water inside. This is observed as the coagulation temperature of eggs—the point when they begin to turn solid as they are cooked. As the eggs continue to cook, more bonds are formed until the network of proteins is strong enough to form the solid structure of a fully cooked egg with all the water trapped inside.

However, if you overbeat the eggs, the proteins will uncoil so much that they overreact and form a tough structure. In addition, too much cooking can lead to too much bonding between proteins, producing eggs that are also too tough.

So basically, we want the proteins to bond so the eggs will set up, but not bind so tightly that they become tough. Introducing dairy to the eggs will coat the protein molecules so that they can’t bind with one another as tightly. So it makes sense that so many egg recipes add some dairy to the recipe. The recipe below only adds 4 ounces of dairy to about 18 ounces of egg, whereas a quiche recipe is typically twice the amount of dairy to eggs by weight. So the texture you want in the end will determine how much dairy you will add.

Enough science talk – let’s get to the good stuff!

Greens & Cheese Frittata Muffins
makes 12 muffins

Recipe notes: 1) feel free to swap out the olives for just about anything else – a little bit of ground meat, chopped artichokes or sauteed mushrooms are just a few options; 2) you can use many different types of cheese here but I would avoid really dry, aged cheeses, such as Parmesan or an aged cheddar because they won’t melt very well. I have used both goat cheese and Cumberland from Sequatchie Cove but I think Monterey Jack, Fontina or even bleu cheese would be great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced shallot (from 1 large shallot)
  • 8 ounces of tender greens (kale, tender collards, Swiss chard), stems removed, and finely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) pitted olives, roughly chopped (see recipe note)
  • 2 1/2 ounces cheese, shredded (see recipe note)
  • 9 large (18 ounces) eggs 
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) whole milk
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Adjust oven to middle rack and preheat to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a standard 12 muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add greens and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 3-5 minutes longer. Remove from heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper. Equally divide the shallot/greens mixture between muffin tins (about 1 tablespoon per muffin cup). Equally divide the olives and cheese between each muffin tin.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together until fully combined. I found it helpful at this point to transfer the egg mixture from a bowl to a 2 cup liquid measuring cup to make it easier to pour into the tins. Fill tins with the egg mixture, leaving at least a 1/4″ space from the top.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook for about 23-26 minutes, checking the tops to make sure they are just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve.