Last week I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have very much to put in the bags. However, heat really ripens things up quickly and we have much more to put in than I thought. The spring crops are pretty much over now and you will be able to expect a pretty steady diet of summer veggies, such as ZUCCHINI, CUKES, TOMATOES, and ONIONS.
ZUCCHINI is one of those versatile vegetables that can be used in almost any dish : If savory is desired, simply add cheese, tomatoes, and meat to grated ZUCCHINI. Or thinly slice the ZUKES (you can leave the skin on), put it in a saucepan with butter and salt, and sauté ‘til crispy. If sweet is requested, simply grate the ZUCCHINI up and place it in a recipe for zucchini muffins or (my personal favorite) zucchini chocolate cake (it adds moisture, and its flavor is disguised).
The SUMMER SQUASH in your bag is either yellow (but looks like a zucchini) or is pale green (and looks like a UFO) – that’s Pattypan Squash. They can both be substituted for ZUCCHINI in recipes (see ideas above). The seeds are edible (especially in savory dishes) for both the ZUCCHINI and the SUMMER SQUASH (in sweet dishes, typically the seeds are scraped out of the shell).
The white-ball-with-the-green-tubular-frondy-sticks-poking-out-of-it-that-smells-like-black-licorice is FENNEL. FENNEL has a slight black licorice taste when eaten raw, but mellows out when cooked. The bulb can be separated from the stalks and the fronds can be cut off the stalks – use each part of the FENNEL in a different recipe. When eaten raw, slice the bulb thinly and place in salads. When cooked, brush the bulb with olive oil and roast it in the oven; it caramelizes when roasted. (See recipe below.) Still not sure? Add cheese and butter to it and make a gratin (cheese and butter make any veggie palatable J) . Or stick it in a soup. The FENNEL STALKS can be finely chopped up and used in salads for an extra crunch, or throw them into homemade stock. The FENNEL FRONDS taste excellent when pared with fish or mixed into salad dressings. Try baking a side of salmon on a bed of fennel fronds with a few slices of lemon on top. Bake at 300 until done but not overdone. Garnish with extra FENNEL chopped up to really enhance the flavor. Or experiment with the FENNEL FROND PESTO recipe below. The possibilities are endless…
The colorful medley of BEANS are a hint of what is to come. If you choose to cook the beans, the purple ones do lose their coloring when exposed to heat.
One of our favorite ways to prepare NEW POTATOES (the small red ones) is also the simplest. Boil them in a pot of water ‘til soft, drain the water, and serve them with butter, salt, and chopped up PARSLEY. Mmm…
SPRING ONIONS and SCALLIONS can be used interchangeably (and can also be used in place of onions). The tops of the SPRING ONIONS can also be used like SCALLIONS.