More Heat!!!

Tomorrow (Thursday, August 20) you’ll be getting sweet corn, green (and purple) beans, scallions, garlic, summer squash, kale, lettuce, and purslane.  It’s going to be really hot so if it can possibly work in your schedule, taking your veggies home and putting them straight into the fridge is the best way to go.

We like to give you all a few recipes to try out on the produce you get each week, but we give you full artistic license to explore the produce world.  Eating seasonally is very difficult, especially in places where the growing season is short.  It seems necessary to try different types of recipes and most importantly, deviate from them, while eating seasonally.  Sweet corn for example, is delicious left on the cob.  However, you can cut off the kernels and add them to a variety of recipes, cold or hot.  Kale can also be added to recipes, we like to add it to meatloaf and soups, and we have dried some to add to recipes in the winter and/or to take backpacking as light weight nutrition.

Some of you might not be familiar with purslane, but it is very versatile.  It can be eaten fresh, whole or blended, or lightly sauteed.  Be creative!  It grows as a weed in our garden, (actually a lot of gardens) and has a somewhat tangy flavor.  Actually, it was brought intentionally to this continent by Europeans, who cultivated it in their gardens back home. It escaped and spread, well, like a weed. Below you’ll find an easy Greek style purslane pesto recipe  which you should feel free to enhance in any way that suits your needs (or wants).

We know it can be difficult to cook with produce such as summer squash week after week, and that’s why we want to offer some recipes that are different from the norm.  We made a chocolate zucchini cake from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, and it is deliciously moist, and slightly spicy with a light coffee frosting.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (two 9″ round layers or one 10″ tube cake)

  • 3/4 cup butter (or shortening)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated raw zucchini
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour two 9″ round pans.

Cream the butter or shortening and slowly add the sugar, beating until smooth.  Beat in the eggs and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the vanilla and grated zucchini, and blend well.  Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and sift onto a piece of waxed paper.  Add the sifted dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture along with the milk, and beat until thoroughly mixed.  Stir in the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake layer cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, the tube cake for about an hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, the tube cake for about 15 minutes, before turning out onto rack to cool completely.

Seven Minute Coffee Frosting

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered instant coffee

Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, salt, egg whites, and water in a mixing bowl of at least 2-quart capacity or the top of a large double boiler.  Set over simmering – not boiling – water on low heat.  Beat hard with a rotary or hand beater until frosting stands in peaks, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from the water (heat source) and add 1 tablespoon instant coffee.  Continue beating for a few minutes to stiffen the frosting a bit more; it should stand in smooth, billowy peaks.  Beat in the vanilla.  Finish by swirling the frosting all over with the back of a spoon.

As noted above, you will be receiving green beans again this week.  We just canned some Dilly Beans that will be a yummy treat this winter.  Its a simple recipe that you can adjust the spiciness  (we cut the cayenne pepper in half).  This recipe comes from The Blue Ribbon Country Cookbook.

Dilly Beans

  • 4 pounds fresh green beans
  • 4 heads fresh dill
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
  • 1/4 cup canning salt

Use a vegetable brush, wash the beans well.  Cut the stem ends off and trim the blossom ends, leaving about 1/8 inch of the “tails” intact; set aside.

Use widemouthed, pint canning jars with straight sides.  When packing the beans, you want to leave a 1/2 inch for headspace.

Place the cut beans, carefully, in a medium, heavy-bottomed, stainless steel kettle.  Cover the beans with boiling water.  Cover the kettle.  Over high heat, bring the beans to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook the beans at a low boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and drain immediately.  Pack the beans vertically (with the “tails” up) into hot, sterilized, widemouthed, pint jars with straight sides.  To each far, add 1 dill head, pushing the dill heads into the jars decoratively against the side glass, and maintaining 1/2 inch headspace.  Then, to each jar, add 1 garlic clove.  Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in each jar; set aside.

In a stainless steel saucepan, place the distilled water, vinegar, and canning salt; stir to combine.  Over high heat, bring the vinegar mixture to a boil stirring intermittently.

Cover the beans in the jars with the hot vinegar mixture, maintaining 1/2-inch headspace.

Using a plastic knife or a narrow, rubber spatula, remove the air bubbles in the jars.  Wipe the jar rims and threads.  Place hot metal lids on the jars and screw the bands firmly.  Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes. (This is the appropriate processing time at the altitude of Bend, OR – see the cookbook for adjustments to different altitudes).

Remove the jars from the canner and place on a dry, wooden board which has been covered with a tea towel.  Let the jars stand, undisturbed, 12 hours to cool completely.

Note: For less hot Dilly Beans, sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper in each jar.

Yields 4 pints.

Greek Style Purslane Pesto

  • 1 cup of purslane leaves
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 spoonfuls of lemon juice
  • Salt (not much as feta is salty)
  • Feta Cheese (a piece about 6X6X2 cm)
  • Roasted Pine Nuts (a large handful)
  1. Roast pine nuts in a non stick frying pan for just a few minutes being careful as they burn easily and when roasted on both sides set aside until they cool down.
  2. Combine all the ingredients (except feta and pine nuts) and half the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Start blending and then add the pine nuts, feta, and the remaining olive oil slowly-checking for the consistency that you prefer. If you have the option drizzle the olive oil as you blend
  3. It makes about 1 cup of pesto which can be eaten fresh (within 3-4 days preserved in the refrigerator) and/or frozen for later use.

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