CSA Newsletter: Summer 2010 – Week 14
Cassie vs. Ragu: Each labor day, we go up North with Mike’s family to celebrate the holiday weekend. We had a great time together! We had fun hiking, being on the water, playing games together, watching our kids play, and of course eating. One fun fact to know about our family is that Mike’s and my passion for fresh vegetables and home-cooked meals is not shared by everyone in the family. One family member prides himself on drinking Mountain Dew and chocolate milk for breakfast; another rarely eats vegetables, unless of course you count hot sauce as a vegetable. Many of the veggie-dense meals Mike and I have tried to share with family members in the past have been politely declined. So this family vacation I had a goal: to make a spaghetti sauce that my brothers-in-law would eat, aka make a spaghetti sauce as close to Ragu as possible.
There were two keys parts to my plan: cook when no one was around to see what went into the sauce, and use the blender (more on that later). One afternoon, most of the family went out bowling. Mike, Zea, and I stayed back to cook and laze around in the sun. I took about 10 tomatoes that we had on hand, a mixture of romas, heirlooms, and slicers (all in varying states of ripeness), cored them, diced them up, and then threw them in a pot on the stove to cook down. I grated a few carrots straight into the simmering tomatoes, and sprinkled a little bit of dried Italian herbs that we had on hand. Meanwhile, I began taking vegetables we had with us and starting chopping them up and stir-frying them in oil: garlic, yellow onion, red onion, sweet red peppers, and zucchini. Once the veggies were tender and the tomato sauce cooked down, I pulled out the blender. In batches, I took everything and blended it into one smooth consistency. I then transferred the blended sauce back into the pot. I added salt, pepper, and cane sugar (just enough to give it a tiny bit of sweetness). Then I cleaned up any evidence of the vegetables I had used.
In the pantry there was a back-up bottle of Ragu that had been purchased by the brothers-in-law to use in case my pasta sauce was not to their liking. I felt jitters as everyone came home for dinner time, wondering if the Ragu jar would make an appearance. To my surprise and delight, that Ragu jar stayed in the pantry! Both brothers ate the sauce. Victory! I waited patiently until the meal was over and then asked, €œDo you want to know how many vegetables you just ate?€ They looked at me warily, and agreed. As I listed off the veggies they had consumed, both looked very surprised. I couldn’t gauge whether telling them this ruined any possibility of their eating my cooking in the future€¦. but I just couldn’t resist.
Your Share: New this week are Yukon Potatoes. And back after a high-heat hiatus are head lettuce and broccoli. The yukon potatoes and broccoli are great for soups and curries. I love the skins on these potatoes ” though you do want to make sure you peel off any skin that has a green sheen to it. All of you online readers, click here to see an archived favorite: potato and broccoli curry. This is a great curry where you can easily add or subtract veggies and still come out with a superb meal. As the heat-loving crops wane, this might be the last week you could try your hand at the Ragu Victory Sauce described above€¦we’re towards the end of the tomatoes and sweet peppers. No worries if you’re light on tomatoes when making the sauce – sweet red peppers will really sweeten and beef up any sauce.
From the Fields: Right in synch with the cooler weather, we tore down the trellised tomatoes in our hoop house today and prepped the soil for in-coming spinach, lettuce, tatsoi, and bok choi transplants. Autumn is on its way!
Sincerely, Mike, Cassie, Zea and crew
In the Box:
- Carrots ” EOs
- Chard – EOs
- Curly Parsley
- Green Beans
- Head Lettuce
- Jalapenos (inside bag of beets)
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Red Peppers
- Yukon Potatoes (3 lbs)
This Week’s Recipes
- Potato & Sweet Pepper Soup
- Nicole’s Roasted Beet & Potato Salad with Green Beans
- Yummy Boiled Beets (Really!)
Summer Week 14: Wednesday, September 8th – Everyother Group B