Monthly Archives: August 2012

What I Made This Week: Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry

The eggplant this year has been glorious!  I keep seeing pictures all over Facebook of friends and pages that I follow with gorgeous purple orbs – sometimes coming out of their ears!

I really like eggplant.  It’s not my favorite food or anything, but since becoming a member with the Monroe’s I have learned a few tricks on preparing it that I think makes it really delicious.

This week I used one of our eggplants and lots of last week’s green beans to make a delicious stir-fry.

I based the recipe on this one, the only real difference is that I used sliced, seeded eggplant instead of the steak.  It was a hit.

First I peeled and sliced the eggplant.  Then I used a spoon to scrape out the majority of the seeds.  You lose some flesh when you do this, but the seeds are where the bitterness is in the eggplant.

You have to work pretty quickly with eggplant, and just sort of accept that it is going to oxidize (turn brown).  But I have noticed that the striped ones we’ve been getting seem to oxidize more slowly that the other varieties.

I finished the stir-fry by adding a good big handful of the cinnamon-basil from this week’s share, and serving it with coconut rice.

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Coconut Rice

Prepare the coconut rice:  to 1-¼ cups jasmine rice add one can of coconut milk plus 1 cup of water to a sauce pan.  Cover, bring to a boil,and reduce the heat to steam the rice for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered for 5 more minutes. 

For the Stir-Fry:
2 tsp vegetable or safflower oil
1 large eggplant, peeled, seeded and sliced into bite-size pieces.
1 pound of green beans, trimmed
3-4 TBS minced, peeled ginger  (you can used powdered in a pinch, but fresh tastes much better)
4-5 small or 3 big (Monroe size) cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 TBS fish sauce or soy sauce
1 cup fresh basil, leaves only

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  add the eggplant and the green beans, along with the ginger and garlic.  Saute for 5-6 minutes until the green beans start to turn bright green and are still crisp-tender.  Add fish sauce and basil, and continue to saute for another 1-2 minutes.  Serve with coconut rice.

What did you make this week?

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Anisa has been a member with the Monroe’s since 2008 as both a working member and a non-working member. She and her family enjoy a full share.  Read more from Anisa at The Lazy Homesteader.

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Newsletter: August 27, 2012

Dear Friends!

This week you are getting Yukon Gold Potatoes, Red Onions, Sweet Carrots, Slicing Cucumbers, Lemon Cucumbers, Green, Purple and Ivory Bell Peppers (will have a yellow tint to them), Summer Squash, Nubiya (striped) Eggplant, Garlic, Basil, Tomatoes and the Full Shares will get Yellow Watermelon.

Dani, the young woman who helps me in the office had herself a baby boy last Monday the 20th. Because she was busy doing other things….the statements did not go out until last Saturday. You may have made a payment and it will not be reflected on the statement. I am working overtime trying to keep up with Dani’s job…so expect payments to be applied even later than usual. I will do my best to get the data entry done just as soon as possible! Please do not email me with any questions…Dani has been trying to keep up with that and it will not happen now. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on our own families as we wish Dani and Scott all the best!

Eggs; Summer & Winter: This is a reminder that we hope the chickens will kick in and start laying eggs again. Your statements will have credit memos entered at the end of the season to either amend your charges or remove them entirely. For now…just ignore these charges. In case you don’t know; you can purchase eggs for the winter without purchasing a Winter Share.

Winter Share: Here is a link to the form for the Winter Share. Crops we expect to have are included on the form. The winter squash was hit by some kind of disease and the production went down. You will be getting it, but not as much. We do not have a good way to store Sweet potatoes, so you will get those early on and then they will end. Lettuce will only be given out as long as we have decent weather. But good weather means the bugs get into it (because it is the only thing still alive!) So either way, freezing temperatures or bugs will stop the delivery of greens! As you saw from your share last week, the cabbage is small because of the high, hot temps. We have another crop growing for the winter share; …time, water and temperatures will determine if we harvest this crop. We need to know no later than September 22nd if you plan on getting a Winter Share. Some of you have already signed up through your spring Sign-up form; there is no need to do it again! Call me if you need to work out a payment plan. It is recommended that all products ordered in 2012 be paid in full in 2012 because your Membership fees for 2013 are due in January!

Pork, Lamb & Beef: You are welcome to order your spring pork and fall lamb for 2013. This is included on the same form as the Winter Share. Beef is not included because of the drought. We will not have enough feed.

Harvest Festival: Please continue to RSVP to Peg Lehr at wrdwrrior@comcast.net or 303-329-8506. We cannot purchase the right amount of products without knowing how many people are coming! Mark your calendars’ for the 3rd Sunday in September (16th ) from 11 to 4.

Have a wonderful week; try to fit in one small adventure to mix it up!

Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina

Newsletter – August 20

Dear Friends of the Farm,

This week you are getting red potatoes, Walla Walla onions, white carrots, white turnips, red cabbage, slicing and lemon cucumbers, summer squash, purple and green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, green beans, corn Brandywine, Black velvet and slicing tomatoes, orange flesh honeydew and Charleston Gray watermelon.

This will be the last week to get Walla Walla onions.  They are not holding up to the heat and we need to give what we have to you now before they all go bad!  They are a very fragile, sweet, fresh market onion and are a little temperamental! Continue reading

Newsletter: August 13, 2012

Dear Members,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold Potatoes, Walla Walla Onions, Red Beets, Slicing and Lemon Cucumbers, Globe and Japanese Eggplant, Green & Purple Bell Peppers, Yellow, Roma and Regular Tomatoes, Green Beans, Watermelon and Muskmelon.      Tomatoes:  They are ripe and ready to pick for canning and freezing.  Don’t be surprised if they are picked over by the festival!  Best to call me & get on the Picking List now!

Festival:  Don’t forget to RSVP to Peg Lehr at wrdwrrior@comcast.net or 303-329-8506 by Sept. 7th.  Plan on entering your steed in the Stick Horse Race; pickles, jams and jellies in the canning contest and a side dish for the bar-b-cue!

Final Payment:  Well it has happened…your final payment for your farm share is due September first.  Statements will be going out this week.  If you were one of the unfortunate members who got a late fee, pay your fees in full and the late fee will be removed.  I don’t really want to collect the late fee, I just want to be paid on a timely basis!  How upset would you be if you didn’t get your paycheck when you expected it…say 3 or 4 weeks late?  A $25 late fee will be assessed on the 15th of September and your produce will be cut off if not paid in full by this date.

Blog:  I am still getting phone calls about the blog and how to access it.  So while I was in Denver making deliveries, I had a member show me the blog, how to get to it and what you need to do once you are there!  Address:  monroeorganicfarms.wordress.com.  Add this to your favorites.  Once you get to the site, the newsletters are reprinted to the left.  Sometimes the member who posts this for me will add comments, pictures and recipes that were not included in the newsletter.  On the top right, there is a place to sign up for email notifications when there is a new posting.  Add your email address and press Sign me up.  You should be all set!

Cards and Letters:  Thank you all for your cards and letters.  It is so nice to hear how much you are enjoying your produce!  We love to hear about your favorites because everyone seems to love something different.  It sure does make us feel appreciated!

Jacquie’s Soapbox:  My grandmother had a saying:  “ If a child hasn’t eaten five pounds of dirt by the time they are 2, they’re not going to be healthy”  After having kids of my own, and seeing other people with their kids, I’m beginning to see her point!  I dug a huge hole in my back yard and the kids and I would sit in it and play with Matchbox Cars or Tonka Trucks for hours.  Sometimes we would add water to that hole, just for fun!  We had a sand pit under the playhouse and again play in it for hours.  We would make mud pies and have mud fights!  When they got older, we played in the muddy water in the ditches.  None of us wore shoes all summer unless we had too.  (I cannot tell you how many times I had to wash off the kids with a garden hose before coming into the house!)  We still play in the dirt (literally).  Our kids had a mud volleyball game for their friends just this week!  As everyone crawled out of the pit, they had mud in their hair, smeared across their faces and of course, on their cloths.

Today, kids appear to be sparkling clean.  I hear parents say, “Don’t get dirty!”  Well why not?  We have to be exposed to the germs in the dirt around us to build up our immune systems. Evidence shows us that if we do this as kids it will help you as adults.  Children raised in homes that are not perfectly clean have fewer allergies as adults.  Hopefully this will inspire you & make you feel much better about going outside to play with your kids instead of cleaning the house this week!  Let’s all get dirty, be healthy and have some fun!  (psst.  We eat produce right out in the field without washing it; a big no-no today!)  We Love Our Dirt!

Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina

Breaded Eggplant with Summer Salad

Here’s another idea for eggplant.  Receiving two in one week in our single share was unprecedented, and I must admit, I wasn’t super excited about it.  I like eggplant but it’s kind of a pain to work with and outside of my creative space.  I struggled to do something that my husband wouldn’t roll his eyes over since I served eggplant two days in a row (I’ll share the other recipe another day).  This recipe is a modified version of one that appeared in the latest issue of Whole Living and it definitely fit the bill.  No eye rolling – just a ‘clean’ plate.

Breaded Eggplant with Summer Salad
Serves 2-3

1 large eggplant, cut into rounds
1/4 c flour
1 large egg, whisked with 1 tbsp water
2 c panko bread crumbs (or coarse homemade)
Olive oil, for frying
Extra virgin olive oil, for salad
2 c baby arugula
1 large mozzarella ball (or better yet – buffalo mozzarella)
1 c assorted tomatoes, cut into 1/3 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving

Arrange eggplant in a large colander and season generously with salt. Let stand 30 minutes then rinse and pat dry. (For the record, I totally forgot to do this and it turned out fine – but if you have time, it would definitely help draw out the moisture).

Divide flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumbs among 3 shallow bowls. Dip each eggplant slice, turning to coat and shaking off excess, in the flour, then egg mixture, then breadcrumbs.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and, working in batches, fry eggplant until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes per side. If you have to do two batches, the second batch will definitely take less time – check for color after 2 minutes per side.

Transfer cooked eggplant to a paper towel lined plate and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, mix your salad. Put arugula in a bowl and top with mozzarella and tomatoes. Squeeze over 1/4 lemon and 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss.

Serve eggplant with summer salad and lemon wedges.

*Note – I never fry anything at home. Never. It seems messy and dangerous. I decided to give this a chance because I really didn’t want to waste the eggplant and I wanted to try something different. Frying at a medium heat wasn’t hectic and didn’t create a mess. I let the oil cool for a few hours after frying then poured it into the trash. It really wasn’t a hassle. And the recipe is delicious – try it!!

Veggie Catch All: Tostadas

My first year with Monroe was tough – like everyone else, I had to adjust to receiving food rather than choosing it from the grocery store.  It’s been years now and I’m well adjusted to the rhythm of being part of a CSA…I actually dread the few months of the year I have to go to the store.  That said, there are weeks when I just want to use a LOT of vegetables from the fridge in one fell swoop so that I can start fresh with the next delivery.  That’s how this tostada recipe – no, method…recipe is too organized sounding – was born.

Tostadas

  • 1-15 oz can refried beans
  • 1 package tostadas (try to buy something without hydrogenated oils)
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped or diced veggies – whatever you’ve got on hand.  This week I used red onion, green peppers, summer squash, corn, cabbage, tomatoes, tomatillos and cilantro (Some of this is from my garden.  Strangely, I grow more food in addition to the wonderful goodies we get from Monroe’s!)
  • Grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Gently heat refried beans in a small saucepan on low heat.  Meanwhile, heat a medium saute pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.  When hot, add diced vegetables and cook to your preference of doneness, seasoning with salt and pepper along the way.  I like to soften red onions quite a bit to take the bite out of them.  I like to saute summer squash until the water is released and they brown a bit.  I cooked everything above except for the cabbage, tomatoes, tomatillos and cilantro, which I added later as toppings.

Assembly:  spread 2-3 tablespoons of warmed beans on each tostada.  Top with cheese, then sauteed vegetables.  Finish by adding cabbage, tomatoes, tomatillos and cilantro (or whatever YOU have on hand.  Avocado would be a delicious addition.) on top.  Be careful not to overload the tostada, or it will fall to bits…but it will still taste good!

Newsletter – August 6, 2012


Dear Members,

Veggies: We are half way through the 2012 Summer Season ~ man o man did it ever go by fast! Hard to believe we only have 9 weeks left to our season! This week you are getting: red potatoes, white onions, orange carrots, white turnips, slicing & lemon cucumbers, one of three types of eggplant; Japanese, Globe or Striped Nubia, green & purple bell peppers, yellow beans, tomatoes; regular red & black velvet, possibly some Gold & Brandywine too, a different variety of watermelon called Crimson Sweet, a new honeydew called Honey Yellow (yellow skin and orange flesh) plus our standard ol’ muskmelon (that really bad one no-one likes! There is no reason to try any other kinds…agreed?) Continue reading