Florida Organic Produce Buying Club – August 27-31, 2012

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Florida Organic Produce Buying Club Food Share:       

                           Tomato Yellow Taxi

Yellow Taxi

 The Yellow Taxi Tomato is a brilliant lemon-yellow tomato which has characteristics that are suitable for cooler climates with shorter growing seasons. This determinate variety, which is also known as the Taxi, produces delicious, meaty, uniformly round fruit with high sugar content. In my experience, they have been blemish-free fruit as well. They are good slicers and work well for sandwiches.

My Organic Food Club share of the week of August,29

 Produce List for the week of August, 27-31 2012:

* Lettuce Iceberg
* Cucumbers
* Carrots w/tops
* Greens-Collards
* Lettuce Frisee
* Peppers Green
* Beets Baby Red w/tops
* Tomatoes Yellow Taxi
* Avocado (Fl)
* Onions White
* Cabbage Red
* Squash Yellow
* Potatoes Sweet Covington
* Pluots Dapple Dandy
* Grapes Black Seedless
* Bananas
* Oranges Valencia
* Apples * Kiwi 

                                     Beets

beet varieties

Beets are one of those veggies that inspire passion one way or the other—you either love them or loathe them. I’ve heard people say they think beets taste “like dirt.” Yeah, maybe if you don’t peel them before eating! I’m firmly in the “love them” category, and if you are, too, here are some tips and recipes for you.

Beets are delicious cooked (it brings out their natural sweetness), but they’re also splendid in their raw state, peeled, grated, and added to salads. I like them both ways, and use them both cooked and raw frequently. It depends on the recipe as well as my inclination at any given moment. There are three main ways to prepare beets (other than not cooking them at all): microwaving, cooking, and roasting. If your beets come with the greens, save them and use as you would chard, which they greatly resemble.
Varieties: Aside from the common red beets, try golden beets if you can find them—they’re not as common as their magenta counterparts, but they’re even sweeter (and a bit less messy). Even less common than golden are chioggia beets, an Italian heirloom variety with red-and-white stripes—as sweet as it is gorgeous, and formanova, which, with its long, cylindrical shape is great for getting uniform-sized slices. You might look for unusual beet varieties at farm markets, or if you’re a gardener, cultivate them yourself.
To microwave: This is the easiest and quickest cooking method, providing that you don’t object to microwaving. Rinse the beets and cut away all but an inch of the stalks. Place in a deep microwave-safe with an inch or so of water at the bottom. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes per beet (2 minutes for small beets, 4 for medium-large) is a guideline, depending on your particular microwave unit. Best to start with less time and check for doneness). Don’t use too much water, otherwise it will boil up and get all over your microwave. If the beets aren’t done when you check them, turn them over and go for another minute per beet. They’re done when you can just pierce them—try not to overcook!
To cook: It’s best to use small or medium beets if you want to cook them conventionally, otherwise it takes forever. Rinse the beets and cut away all but an inch of the stalks. Combine in a large deep saucepan with water to cover; bring to a boil, then simmer until just tender. How long this will take varies greatly upon the size of the beets; start checking after about 20 minutes, but don’t poke too many test holes into them, or they’ll bleed like crazy! When done, drain.
To finish: Whether you’ve microwaved or cooked beets, once just tender, plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them over the trash or compost container, then and dice or slice as desired. To prevent discoloration of your cutting board, you can cover it with a piece of wax paper.
Roasting beets: Roasted beets are delicious, but here’s where you need to make a bit of a mess, since you need to peel and slice them while raw. To minimize the mess, peel over the trash or compost container, and slice them on a cutting board covered with wax paper. Place the sliced raw beets (allow 1 medium beet per serving) in a foil-lined baking dish and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Bake at 400 or 425 degrees f. for 20 to 30 minute or so, until tender to your liking. Stir once or twice during that time. Beets are nice roasted with other root vegetables, including carrots and sweet potatoes. See this recipe for a roasted root vegetable medley.
Simple ways to use beets:
  1. When beets are are at their most flavorful, usually in late summer, they need no embellishment. Just serve them plain, sliced and served on a plate, or in salad.
  2. Dress warm sliced beets in just a little lemon juice and agave nectar.
  3. As mentioned above, raw beets are wonderful grated and tossed into salads or combined with other grated roots, as in

    BEET AND RED CABBAGE SLAW

    This vivid salad, served in modest portions, makes a dazzling statement on the dinner plate.
    Serves: 6
    • 3 to 4 medium beets (use a combination of
      red and golden beets, if desired)
    • 1/4 medium head red cabbage
    • Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
    • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup, or to taste
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
    • Pinch of salt
    Grate the beets in a food processor using a medium-coarse grating blade.
    Cut the cabbage into chunks small enough to fit through your processor’s feed tube and grate with the same blade.
    Combine the grated beets and cabbage in a serving container and dress to taste with the lemon juice and syrup. Stir well, then add the dill and salt and stir again.
    Let the salad stand for at least 15 minutes or so before serving. Taste again and adjust the lemon and sweetener if needed, then serve.

     RAW BEET SOUP

    The ingredients of classic cold beet borscht are usually cooked together, then chilled, but in this version, there’s no need to cook at all, unless you’d like to lightly pre-cook the beets. Aside from pushing the main component of this classic cold soup through the feed tube of a food processor, there’s not much more to it, and the results are superb. After this has a chance to chill, don’t be shy about amping up the lemon/agave contrast to your taste.
    Serves: 6 to 8
    • 2 large or 4 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
      (or see note if you’d like to lightly cook the beets)
    • 1/2 small cucumber, cut into chunks
    • 1 medium sweet apple, cut into chunks
    • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or to taste
    • 1 scallions, thinly sliced
    • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, to taste
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons agave nectar, or to taste
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    • Vegan sour cream, purchased or homemade, or
      Cashew Cream for topping, optional
    Grate the beets, cucumber, apple, and carrot in a food processor fitted with the grating blade. Transfer the grated ingredients to a soup tureen or some other kind of serving container such as a deep, steep-sided casserole dish.
    Fill the container with enough water to give the soup a dense but not overly crowded consistency. Stir in the dill and scallions.
    Add the juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons (depending on how large and juicy they are), and 3 tablespoons agave. Season gently with salt and pepper.
    Cover and let the soup chill for at least 3 hours. This can be made the morning before you want to serve it for dinner, or the day before. Just before serving, taste and add more lemon juice and agave to your liking.
    Serve garnished with a dollop of vegan sour cream or cashew cream, if desired.
    Note: If you prefer beets lightly cooked, just use your favorite cooking method, whether in the microwave or on the stovetop. Don’t overcook! Cook just until they can be pierced, then plunge them in a bowl of ice water until they’re cool enough to handle.

    COLD BEET SOUP

    This refreshing cold soup of Russian origin is filled with produce that has a subtle sweetness, and is always pleasing to the eye as well. Grating all the vegetables will be a chore unless you use a food processor.
    Serves: 6 to 8
    • 6 medium beets, peeled and grated
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
    • 1 large sweet apple, peeled and grated
    • 1 large onion, grated
    • Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
    • 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar, or to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    • Vegan sour cream (homemade or store-bought) or Cashew Cream
    Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large soup pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes.
    Stir in the dill and adjust the consistency with more water if the vegetables are too densely packed. Taste and add more lemon and/or sugar to bring the sweet and tangy flavor to your liking. Allow to cool, then refrigerate, covered, until thoroughly chilled.
    Top each serving with vegan sour cream or cashew cream if desired.

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