Mean, Green, Eating Machine


Author: Codi Hale

Goodbyes are never easy, but they must be done. As we enter the fall harvest, our first planting of Early Girl harvest and Heirlooms are winding down. Earlier in the summer, these guys were booming! We couldn’t pick them fast enough! The Early Girls: juicy and plump, sweet enough to eat like an apple. The Heirlooms: such a unique color and flavor. I remember making a delicious salsa with the Early Girls, Heirlooms, onions, garlic and lime. Amazingly enough, all the flavors and variety made it taste like mango salsa; odd, but I wasn’t complaining.

There are still a few more weeks where you can get your hands on these gems, so here are some recipes to experiment with!

Let’s start with a classic… Bruschetta

  • 6 thick slices good-quality French- or Italian-style bread
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 medium very ripe tomatoes
  • About 2 Tbsp. good quality, extra virgin olive oil
  • Course salt
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  1. Toast the bread slices. While the bread is toasting, peel the garlic cloves and cut them in half.
  2. Rub one side of each slice of toasted bread with a cut side of a garlic clove. The garlic will disintegrate into the bread, leaving just a bit of garlic left.
  3. Core the tomatoes. Cut them in half along the “equator,” exposing much of the seeded flesh. Over a bowl or sink, squeeze out the seeds from each half. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and put them in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil and gently toss to combine.
  4. Gently spoon the tomato mixture evenly onto the toasts. Sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle with basil and/or pepper, if you like. Serve immediately.
    [Taken from About.com]

Change up your Friday night plans. Have some friends over to make homemade pizza! You’ll need:

  • 1 pound frozen whole wheat or white pizza dough, thawed
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
  • 1 pound mixed heirloom or other seasonal tomatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

How to prepare:

Divide pizza dough into 4 equal balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball out to a rough circle about 9 inches in diameter; brush each side of the circles with olive oil and place on baking sheets.

Prepare a grill for medium heat cooking. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on the grill rack and cook, rotating the crust frequently with tongs to help it cook evenly, until darkly browned on the bottom and air bubbles form on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer browned-side up to the baking sheet; spread the browned side with 2 tablespoons pesto. Top with a few slices tomato (don’t cover the entire surface or the pizza will end up soggy), sprinkle the top with a teaspoon each salt and pepper, and dot with goat cheese. Slide or lift the pizza back onto the grill, close the grill cover and cook, rotating the pizza every now and then, until the bottom is deeply browned and the cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes. Slide or lift the pizza back onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
[Taken from Whole Foods]

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Enough with dwelling on our old crops though, let’s look forward to our new crops! Our bite-size SunGold tomatoes are coming along nicely. While they are delicious all by their juicy little selves, they are also great as a garnish or topping for pizzas, pastas and anything else you choose.

You could also showcase these yellow gems in this delicious pasta recipe for Summer Sun Gold Tomato Pasta with Bread Crumbs [taken from Seriouseats.com]: 

You’ll need:

  • 2 slices crusty bread, torn into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pints Sun Gold cherry tomatoes or other small cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 1 pound small shaped pasta

Then, to prepare:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, add bread pieces to a food processor, and process until fine crumbs are formed, about 10 seconds. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium until shimmering. Add crumbs and stir until evenly coated in the oil. Cook, stirring often, until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Toss with a quarter of the sliced basil and season with salt and pepper.

Wipe out skillet. Heat butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high, and add tomatoes and half the shredded basil. Stir well. Cook until all the tomatoes have burst open, and a light sauce begins to form, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.Cook pasta to al dente according to the directions on the packaging. Reserve a 1/4 cup of pasta water, and then drain in the colander. Add pasta to the skillet with tomatoes and toss well. Turn heat to high, pour in half of the reserved pasta water, and cook until sauce is thick. If too dry, add more of the pasta water.

Serve pasta with a sprinkling of bread crumbs and the remaining basil.

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Looking ahead to the coming crops, there are lots of leafy greens in store! These include, but are not limited too, kale and broccoli. You have probably been told many times in your life, “Eat your greens!”… and really, you should.

For example, kale and broccoli are part of the cabbage family, more specifically known as brassica oleracea. Greens found in this grouping are high in fiber and vitamin C. Why are these good for you?

Fiber aids in digestion by preventing constipation and irregularities in your intestines. This is beneficial because by maintaining a healthy digestive system, you successfully remove toxins that could other wise build up in your system. In addition, this helps with weight loss because more fibrous foods usually take longer to chew, which slows down the amount of food you’re eating, and also tends to make you feel full longer and renders you less likely to be hungry after a meal. Check here for more details of what fiber can do for you.

Vitamin C is one of the superstar vitamins found in this family of greens. It aids in healing of all kinds by boosting your immune system and protecting against a number of diseases. There are a number of other great body benefits form this vitamin, just check here!

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That’s all for today guys, I hope it was insightful and that one of these recipes will liven up your table in the near future.

Remember: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – J. Rohn