tomatoes

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Tomato harvest

The interns’ first tomato harvest!

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! We had a lovely day of harvesting salad greens and lavender before our community dinner and fireworks over the water. Over the past few weeks our greenhouse and hardening off tables (where young plants live in between the greenhouse and moving to the great outdoors) have been getting emptier and emptier as the last of our summer crops and successions are moving to their permanent homes. The last plants waiting patiently (some more patient than others) that we have been working on transplanting this week are beans, sunflowers, cauliflower, broccoli, and a few others.

We’re sad to see some of our favorites, such as raspberries, on their way out but are so excited to be learning about new vegetables and flowers! This week us interns learned about harvesting tomatoes, string beans, and summer squash, and soon even more summer delights such as peppers will be on the list! Hopefully our subscribers enjoy some new sights in their boxes this week!

– Intern Taylor

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Persephone Farm Tomatoes

You can see why we’re thinking of gazpacho this week! My Spanish grandmother (okay okay she was German)(okay okay it’s me) makes gazpacho without a recipe, and it’s still the best way to do it. Finely chop up the peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers you haven’t already finished on the way home from the CSA pickup site; add a finely chopped small onion, a few tablespoons of olive oil and a couple cloves of minced garlic; and salt and pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar to taste—cumin, cilantro, or parsley if you’re fancy—and chill for an hour. Some people like to blend it up—or blend half the mix, leaving the other half in small chopped bits—before chilling, but some prefer to leave the vegetables finely chopped. Other interesting options: finely ground bread crumbs or toasted almonds, Worcestershire sauce, jalapenos, gin (kidding about the gin*)…There are almost as many variations of this recipe as there are tomatoes, so use what you’ve got and go with your gut! Perfect with a hearty bread for dinner on a hot summer’s day. — Apprentice Rachel

For those who prefer a little more direction, the New York Times recently (and timely) published a collection of recipes under the apt headline “30 Ways to Do Justice to Summer Tomatoes.”

*vodka would definitely work better

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Recipe by Melissa Clark, from the New York Times collection of recipes “30 Ways to Do Justice to Summer Tomatoes.”

INGREDIENTS

1 ¼ pounds very ripe tomatoes; a mix of varieties and colors is nice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt, more to taste
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups leftover or rotisserie chicken, including some skin (about 1/2 chicken)
1 tablespoon capers, drained and patted dry
1 6-inch length of ciabatta or baguette (about 4 ounces), preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 sprigs fresh oregano
Chopped fresh basil, for serving

PREPARATION

Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Using a large chef’s knife, mince 1 of the smashed garlic cloves. Add a pinch of salt and using the flat side of your knife, smash into a fine paste. Add garlic paste to the tomatoes along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil until the mixture is thickened. Remove the skin from the chicken, shred the meat and combine with the vinaigrette. Roughly chop the chicken skin and set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet over high heat, add 1 teaspoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add the chicken skin and capers. Cook while stirring occasionally until the skin is crisp and the capers are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

In the same pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, bread cubes, the remaining smashed garlic clove, 1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 sprig of fresh oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook while stirring occasionally until toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. When cool, discard the garlic and thyme and add bread cubes to the tomato mixture. Add the leaves of the remaining uncooked thyme or oregano, the shredded chicken and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve garnished with the capers, chicken skin, chopped basil, and freshly ground black pepper.

4 Servings

Recipe on cooking.nytimes.com

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Gazpacho

Lots of tomatoes and a really long cucumber!

Lots of tomatoes and a really long cucumber!

CSA subscribers are enjoying lots of great cucumbers and tomatoes right now. Onions and garlic have also appeared in our boxes. Hmmm, how about some refreshing gazpacho (chilled tomato soup)? My Mom raved about this gazpacho recipe she found online. I finally tried it myself, it was easy and delicious. Next time I’ll use the blender, I made a bit of a mess using the Cuisinart (too much liquid).

Source: Ree at The Pioneer Woman Website
Check it out for her entertaining story and many photos illustrating the process (chopping and dicing included).

Serves: 8 (keeps pretty well in the fridge)

Ingredients
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 whole Red Onion, Diced
1 whole Large Cucumber, Diced
5 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1 whole Zucchini, Diced
2 stalks Celery, Diced
1 dash Salt To Taste
1/4 gallon Tomato Juice (or V8)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 cup Red Wine Vinegar (to taste – I used more that 1/8 cup)
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
6 dashes Tabasco
1 dash Black Pepper To Taste

  • In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and a dash of salt.
  • Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.
  • Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. (Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.)
  • Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours; soup needs to be very cold!
  • Remove the soup from the fridge and stir. Check seasonings one last time. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables, a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.

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