One of the many perks of working on a farm is that the farmworkers get to eat the slightly damaged produce – the stuff that’s not quite good enough to sell.
We’ve had a lot of rain last week, meaning that a lot of tomatoes have cracked from the extra water. The basil is positively exploding, and no matter how much we harvest we never seem to make a dent.
Melons are a fickle fruit. Even seasoned farmers play a guessing game to figure out when melons are ripe and ready to be picked. Here’s what we’ve learned: smell is the best way to tell. If it smells like a melon, then you can be fairly certain you’ve got yourself a ripe one.
Between the melon guessing game and basil bushes, the farmworkers have been eating a lot off the farm!
And THEN, this past Saturday, we visited a neighboring farm to pick our own blueberries… and came home with pounds and pounds of blueberries.
So here are some of our favorite recipes for making use of our extra produce and berries. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!
Basic Tomato Sauce (adapted from How to Cook Everything)
Ingredients: fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and basil
Score then blanch tomatoes in boiling water for about 10 seconds, then put them directly into an ice water bath. Peel, seed, then roughly chop.
Chop up 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions for every 8 cups or so of chopped tomatoes (you really can’t go wrong). Sauté in olive oil with chopped garlic, salt and pepper, until onions are translucent.
Add chopped tomatoes, salt to taste. Allow tomatoes to cook on medium heat until cooked down to a sauce consistency; time will depend on the amount of tomatoes. Be sure to stir occasionally. Add basil and other herbs, if desired, just a few minutes before serving.
Ingredients: olive oil, parmesan, lots of fresh basil, garlic, salt, and nuts (pine nuts or walnuts work well, but you can use any nut you like).
Remove basil from stems. In a food processor or blender, combine basil leaves, a couple tablespoons of nuts, a couple of peeled garlic cloves, plenty of parmesan cheese, and a good amount of olive oil. Process until it forms a thick paste. Taste and season with salt (or other ingredients) as desired.
Melon and Arugula Salad
Ingredients: a handful of fresh arugula, melon of choice, salt, vinegar of choice (we used balsamic)
Chop melon and toss with chopped arugula, salt, and vinegar in a bowl.
BLT Spaghetti (adapted from NPR)
Ingredients: 1/4-1/2 lb of thick sliced pancetta or bacon, 1 box of spaghetti or long pasta of choice, a couple cups of (cherry) tomatoes, garlic, a couple handfuls of arugula, olive oil, parmesan or pecorino romano
Halve cherry tomatoes or chop tomatoes; leave skin on. On a rimmed cookie sheet in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil, scatter a couple cloves of sliced garlic, salt and pepper. Roast at 275 for 2 hours or until tomatoes have collapsed and are still moist.
In a skillet, cook cubed pancetta until somewhat crispy (8-10 minutes). Add roasted tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and reserve some pasta water. Toss pasta with tomatoes and pancetta, stir in arugula. Add a bit of pasta water to bind. Serve with generous parmesan or pecorino romano.
Blueberry Cobbler (adapted from How to Cook Everything)
Ingredients: 4-6 cups blueberries (or other fruit), 1 C sugar (or to taste), 1 stick of butter, 1/2 C flour, 1/2 tsp bakin powder, salt, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Toss the blueberries with 1/2 C of sugar and spread into baking pan (recommended 8 in square but be sure to leave some space at the top of the pan so it doesn’t boil over).
Combine flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, and 1/2 C of sugar. You can either do this by hand in a bowl with a fork or pulse in a food processor. Cut up the stick of butter into manageable chunks. If working by hand, use a fork or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour mixture until it forms a paste. If using a food processor, process for about 10 seconds until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg by hand.
Drop this mixture by hand onto the blueberries by tablespoonfuls, like cookies. Don’t spread it, it will bake down. Bake until golden and beginning to brown around the edges at 375, about 35-45 minutes (the bigger the cobbler, the longer this will take). Serve warm.