Hey, Everyone! Bob Cat here – Main Street Farms’ co-owner, farm manager, and lead educator. When my good friend Allan asked me to come help him start Main Street Farms 5 years ago, my main incentive to come aboard was…THE FOOD. I had little farm experience back then, but I had been eating my whole life and cooking almost just as long. Coming from an Italian background, I learned at an early age the value of good food made from real, natural ingredients. I couldn’t have dessert until I finished my veggies, so I quickly learned to love veggies. I have been dating a vegan for almost 2 years now, so my love of veggies (and ability to grow them in abundance) has really come in handy. Still, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the veggies. It’s important to keep it simple. Every item that comes in your CSA box can easily be broken down into 2 categories: SALAD or STIR FRY. Ask yourself: “Do I feel like cooking tonight?” If yes, fire up the wok (or large frying pan), sauté some veggies, add your protein of choice, and make some rice or noodles. Not in the mood to cook? Start chopping whatever is available, toss it on top of some lettuce, and you’ve got a salad! Speaking of proteins, I love meat as much as the next person, but there are a lot of other options out there if you are getting tired of always deciding between beef, chicken, pork, lamb, or fish. Try substituting some tofu, tempeh, seitan, beans, falafel, or other protein/meat substitute. Throughout this week, I’ll be sharing some simple meal ideas that are common in my rotation: greens and beans, hummus and veggie wraps, taco salad, fresh rolls, curried lentils, spiralized squash “pasta,” chili, nachos, sushi, falafel, pita pizza, and cucumber-tomato salad. Expect rough outlines of how I make these dishes – I’m not much of a recipe follower; I just follow my stomach, so I apologize if I’m not very specific with quantities. Most of these are made vegetarian but can easily be made with your meat of choice. Hope you enjoy!
If you don’t regularly eat raw zucchini or summer squash, we highly recommend it. If it’s sliced thinly and allowed to chill in a delicious dressing, it will become tender and flavorful with no cooking required! The zesty recipe below from local chef DeAnna Germano is a quick and easy example of this preparation and is perfect for the summertime. Lemon Poppy Squash Salad By DeAnna Germano, Chef4Rent Makes 2-4 servings. Ingredients: Salad – 1-2 large Zucchini or Squash, halved and sliced into noodles or half-moons 1 Red Onion 1 cup Heirloom Tomato, chopped Dressing – 2 large Lemons 3 tbsp. Poppy Seeds 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar 1/4 cup Sugar 1 cup Olive Oil 1/2 tbsp. grated Onion 1/2 tbsp. Garlic Instructions: Combine veggies in a large bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients until even * Image courtesy of: http://s479.photobucket.com/user/oneperfectbite/media/Blog%20Photos/SummerSquashSaladwithPoppySeedDr-3.jpg.html.
Looking for something a little different for lunch this week? Dress up simple lentils with our fresh summer squash and a combination of savory spices that will have you asking for seconds and thirds! Red Lentil and Squash Soup By Briel Driscoll Makes 3-4 servings. Ingredients: 3/4 cup red lentils 2 small Summer Squash, halved and sliced 1 Onion, chopped 1 Garlic clove 3 cups Water 1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, plus more for garnishing 1/4 tsp. Coriander Powder 1/4 tsp. Ground Cardamom 1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger 1/8 tsp. Pepper Salt to taste 1 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice Instructions: Combine all ingredients except Lemon Juice in large pot. Stir until evenly mixed. Bring to a boil and simmer until lentils are tender and cooked through. Add lemon juice, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
Starting to wonder what to do with all this summer squash? Our good friend and former NYC Chef Elias Kushner, now calls CNY home, and he has just the answer – Summer Ratatouille! Learn more about Elias and his food adventures on his website, What’s Edible, and follow him on Instagram! Summer Ratatouille By Elias Kushner, What’s Edible Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 2 1/2 tbsp. Olive Oil 4 Cloves of Garlic – sliced thinly 1/4 tsp. Chili Flakes 2 medium to large Tomatoes, diced 1 small Onion, sliced thickly 1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash, diced finely 1 Cubanelle Pepper, sliced thinly in short pieces 1 large or 2 small Japanese Eggplants, diced (Optional) 2 tbsp. fresh Basil, roughly chopped 2 tbsp. fresh Oregano, roughly chopped 2 tsp. + 1 pinch Salt Black Pepper to taste Instructions: Heat Olive Oil in a large, tall-sided pan or stew pot over a medium-low heat. Add Garlic, Chili Flakes, and pinch of Salt and cook, stirring frequently until aromatic. Add Tomatoes and stir until combined. Cook on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add Onions and stir. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add Squash, Eggplant, Pepper, Salt, and Black Pepper and stir. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has thickened. Enjoy.
Flour City Pasta has done it again! Jon Stadt brings us yet another seasonal recipe that pairs grilled eggplant and homemade herb relish – a twist on traditional pesto – with his tomato basil fettuccine to create a combination of flavors that capture the essence of summer. Grilled Eggplant & Garden Pesto with Tomato Basil Fettucine By Jon Stadt, Flour City Pasta Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: Herb Relish – 1 lb. Tomato Basil Fettuccine (Learn more about where to buy Jon’s delicious pasta here.) 2 cups fresh Parsley leaves 1/2 cup fresh Mint leaves 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh Oregano 3 Green Onions, chopped 2 tbsp. Capers 3 tbsp. Pine Nuts 1 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar 2 tbsp. Olive Oil 5 tbsp. Water Salt and Pepper to Taste Eggplant – 2 Eggplants, sliced 1 tbsp. Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to taste Instructions: Cook pasta for 6-8 minutes. While Pasta is cooking, puree all relish ingredients in blender. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Brush Eggplant with oil and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Grill or cook in large skillet over medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes per side. Place warm Pasta in serving dish and top with Eggplant and Pasta. Additional Suggestions: To add a little extra flavor, whisk a couple tablespoons of Pesto in with the Olive Oil and use to marinate Eggplant slices for 1 hour before grilling. Try substituting or adding sliced, grilled Zucchini or Summer Squash to replace or complement the Eggplant. When tossing warm Pasta with Pesto, mix in one medium-sized diced Tomato, to add a pop of flavor and color.