This spud’s for you

CSA Number 8

Famous Potatoes

It’s tater time in the garden patch this week. The stars of the show in this week’s grocery bag are the dozen or so small red new potatoes. And boy, oh, boy do I have big plans for these: wash, rinse, toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil and put on the grill. Turn the packet a couple of times while you are cooking the rest of your dinner. You could also just put them in a baking dish and roast them (uncovered) in a 400 degree oven.

Golden beets also made their appearance this week. All the rage in fancy schmancy restaurants, cold beet salads are a snap to prepare. You COULD put them in a separate package of foil and bake them in the over when you are roasting the new potatoes. Or you can cut the tops off, leaving about an inch of the greens, then boil in salted water for about a half hour. Let them cool and slice and serve. Delish on a bed of fresh greens, maybe a bit of feta or goat cheese crumbled, blue is terrific, too. A dd a little dressing. And a glass of wine and you have heaven on a plate.

One more batch of collard greens will become one more batch of sautéed greens with a little purple scallion added for good measure and flavor. The purple scallions are quickly becoming one of my favorite kitchen standbys-they are a little stronger than the regular green onion/scallion and in a salad they add a pretty little bit of color. I think they have a more pronounced onion flavor………..so go easy at first when adding them to dishes and salads.

The garden is really starting to rock and roll. If you hadn’t already guessed we are in the full swing of summer with 99 and 100 degree temps outside, the bounty of the garden will tell you: yellow patty pan squash and zucchini are on the menu this week as well. Since we grill our dinner almost every other night, these will be cut in half lengthwise, brushed with oil and salt and pepper, and cooked maybe MAYBE 5 minutes a side. Don’t over cook them as they become the dreadful mush you know you hate. Poke them with a fork to check for tenderness after 5 minutes.Then turn them over and go another five. If need be, you can do another few minutes after turning one more time. But remember, the fresher the vegetable, the higher the water content and the faster they cook.

Thai basil has come on this week. While I am still pining away for fresh tomatoes, I will toss the basil with my other salad fixins. Basil, parsley, cilantro, and other bits of herbs add a wonderful surprise flavor to a tossed salad. It is one of my favorite ways to spice up a tossed salad. People will wonder what makes it taste so zingy. Great little trick and you learned it here.

We received another two heads of magic garlic this week…..I am starting to stockpile it. A clove or two will be crushed and added to the homemade salad dressing, the rest will be set aside.

Another great cookbook for cooking fresh from the garden, Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley, a former food writer for Bon Appetit. This book is as lovely to look at as it is to read

If, after eating fresh-from-the-garden potatoes, you should need another reason for growing your own potatoes, go get a copy of Fast Food Nation from the library. Read it. Grow your own.