Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Divide

Rain and wind, cool nights and shorter days, fall is officially here.  However, this weeks share has a lingering summer flavor.  You will notice a sampling of cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes and basil.  Unfortunately all of these crops hate cool, wet weather.  The squash and cukes tend to get powdery mildew this time of year, while the tomatoes inevitably get blight and the basil turns a decrepit black from some other deathly disease.
In short, this may be the last you see of these veggies, which is why with regards to the basil, you get the whole plant.  Hopefully this means a batch of pesto is in your future.

I found this very basic pesto recipe at  I have substituted pine-nuts with walnuts and left out the Parmesan for my lactose intolerant friends and it always turns out great.  However, I also like to add in a little fresh squeezed lemon juice to give a little extra kick and prevent rapid oxidation of the basil.  I might even add in those beet greens if I didn't have enough basil.
  • 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled, and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency.  
You will also see the first pepper of the season.  It may look hot, but don't be fooled, this pepper is sweet and goes by the name Jimmy Nardello (Josh may want to correct my spelling).  Most folks think of peppers as being a summer crop, but way up here in the great Northwest  we need all the time we can get for peppers to fully ripen, especially when we have a cool and drawn out spring like we had this year.  You will notice that your pepper may only have a hint of red, but if you leave it on your kitchen counter for a few days you may just end up with a perfectly red and ripe fruit to enjoy.  Just don't wait too long or it will become a bit leathery and lose its crisp texture.  Hopefully you will see a few more of these before it gets too cold.

A fall share wouldn't be complete without the addition of root crops so we included a Red Ace beet (or two) and some Yellowstone carrots, both of which I prefer cooked.
Lettuce will be in the share until we have our first frost, which could be within a couple of weeks...Yikes!  Lettuce loves the cool, moist weather of season caught on the great divide.  Enjoy it while you can.  Jack Frost is right on our heels. 

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