We are very lucky to have Green Thumb farm as our vegetable supplier in that Farmer Bill grows over 400 varieties of herbs, vegetables and fruits, many of which are heirloom varieties and therefore, rare.
This week we have several items you may not be familiar with including roumanian wax peppers, dragon tongue beans and sorrel, but do not fear as all of them are very tasty.
The three varieties of sweet peppers are hard to track using Google but cubanero is noted to be useful in Thai cuisine so if you have a favorite Thai recipe with peppers, try the cubanero this week. Roumanian wax is also called Banana pepper and can be pickled and served with things like hamburgers and hotdogs or on top of blanched green beans. If you have not tried canning yet, this summer, pickling only requires a waterbath canner so go for it!. Sweet Green peppers are also known as Bell so this is the most common sweet pepper, only super fresh and local.
Dragon Tongue beans are an heirloom variety of beans that are similar in taste to Roma and Green, however they are a pale yellow (almost white) with purple streaks. They are very pretty but an unusual appearance can be daunting. These beans may be cooked like green beans and absorb flavors like fresh garlic and pork very well, so try sauteeing them with a bit of chopped pancetta and fresh crushed garlic. Simply blanching these or regular green beans and topping them with either chopped basil or chopped sorrel will make a tasty AND pretty side salad.
Sorrel is one of my favorite items we receive each year. The leaves look similar to spinach and can be used similarly but the lemony flavor of the leaves lends itself especially well to seafood and simple green salads. You may also try using it instead of or with basil in your pesto recipe. It is also nice chopped and added into soups and egg dishes.
Using the tomatoes, basil and cucumbers usually ends up being pretty easy in our house as they all make a perfect fresh salad chopped together and our toddler can't get enough of fresh pesto but your tomatoes can also be sliced and baked with sliced zucchini, chopped basil and grated parmesan and a small amount of bread crumbs to make a wonderful side dish. Cucumbers are a great addition to tabouli salad. Here is a traditional Southern classic casserole recipe if you are looking for something to do with all your summer squash this week. It is perfect as a main dish with maybe a salad of blanched dragon tongue beans and chopped basil on the side.
Grandma Sally's Summer Squash Casserole
- 2 1/2 cups diced yellow squash and/or zucchini (patty pan and all other summer squash are fine)
- olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or Spanish onion diced
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar is traditional but gruyere, jack, comte or a mix of parm, asiago and romano would all work)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs OR crushed cracker crumbs (Paula Deen in a similar recipe recommends Ritz and those are TASTY but just add to the heart-attack on a plate aspect of the recipe. I, normally, use whatever bread I have on hand or Kashi's TLC.)
- salt, pepper and 1 tbsp of crushed garlic OR a few dashes of garlic salt
- chopped fresh thyme (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onion and squash (and if using, fresh thyme) in the olive oil for two to four minutes over medium heat. I like for there to be a bit of browning but not everyone does. Remove from heat and combine 1/2 of your cheese and crumbs along with the tbsp of butter, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Let sit and cool. Add egg and thoroughly combine. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese and crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes. This can be frozen prior to baking.