THE BEET: Volume 13, Issue 17


In this week’s BEET:

  1. This week's share
  2. Letter from Ted
  3. Recipes
  4. Haunted Pumpkin Garden

CSA Pickup Today 5-7:30pm

PS 56 at Gates and Downing (enter on Downing)


Just a reminder  -  Don't forget to sign up for your volunteer hours!







It has been a joy to be working in the out-of-doors this week. Just the week before I had pulled out my flannel-lined work pants to weather the near freezing temperatures we had been waking to. We covered everything tender just the week before with floating row covers, virtually turning the farm white. We’ve harvested in the snow in October in past years, and I had become concerned that we were heading for that kind of October. But today I had to dig out my ball cap to keep my head from overheating. It’s a return to late August. In addition to being warm, it’s been dry. Jan and I spent this week running irrigation lines around the farm. Earlier today we watered the fall greens and carrots and next year’s strawberries. Now we are irrigating the greenhouse greens that will be part of shares in late October and in the early winter. The colors are lovely, the forecast is for more mild weather, and we seem to be keeping up with the work - a perfect start to fall.

This lovely weather has prolonged our tomato and pepper harvest. Next week you’ll get more of the same, along with carrots, The sweet corn should keep coming, too, as long as a killing frost holds off.

Have a great week, Ted



I know I'm a little bit behind the times, but, yesterday I finally purchased the 2011 cookbook Plenty: Vibrant vegetables recipes from London's Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi.  And let me just say- I haven't been able to put it down.  If you're looking for a new book to bring a fresh taste to you kitchen, get it!  I love how it's organized by vegetables.  You can just flip to the eggplant section!  It has tons of big beautiful pictures. It's also pretty accessible- you shouldn't have any trouble finding the extra ingredients needed for the recipes, and most of them seem to come together fairly easily- something you could put together on a week night. After reading it almost cover to cover last night- here are a few appropriate recipes for this week.

Eggplant with buttermilk sauce

from "Plenty", by Ottolenghi


Serves 4 as a starter
  • 2 large and long eggplants
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish Maldon sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar
  • For the sauce:
  • 9 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, cutting straight through the green stalk (the stalk is for the look; don’t eat it). Use a small sharp knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, without cutting through to the skin. Repeat at a 45-degree angle to get a diamond-shaped pattern.
  2. Place the eggplant halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with olive oil – keep on brushing until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh. Sprinkle with the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavorful and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down completely.
  3. While the eggplants are in the oven, cut the pomegranate into two horizontally. Hold one half over a bowl, with the cut side against your palm, and use the back of a wooden spoon or a rolling pin to gently knock on the pomegranate skin. Continue beating with increasing power until the seeds start coming out naturally and falling through your fingers into the bowl. Once all are there, sift through the seeds to remove any bits of white skin or membrane.
  4. To make the sauce: Whisk together all of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning, then keep cold until needed.
  5. To serve, spoon plenty of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves without covering the stalks. Sprinkle za’atar and plenty of pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with lemon thyme. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.


Soba noodles with eggplant and mango

from "Plenty", by Ottolenghi


Serves 6
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 eggplants, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 8 to 9 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8-inch dice or into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 1 2/3 cup basil leaves, chopped (if you can get some use Thai basil, but much less of it)
  • 2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

1.  In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.

2.  Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.

3.  Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 8 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rise well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.

4.  In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.

Chard and Saffron Omelet

from "Plenty", by Ottolenghi


Serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people)
  • 1/2 lb (1 medium) waxy potato, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch dice
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 3/4 lb Swiss Chard stalks and leaves, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste (season this dish well)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup chopped herbs (tarragon, dill, parsley)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup creme fraîche, cold
1.  Put the potatoes, water and saffron in a large pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 4 minutes, then add the chard and some salt and pepper.  Continue cooking, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potato is soft.  Drain out any excess liquid that is left in the pan.  Off heat, add the lemon juice and garlic.  Leave to cool.
2.  Whisk together well the eggs, milk, herbs and some salt and pepper.  Pour 1 teaspoon of oil into a hot, 9-inch nonstick frying pan, then use one-quarter of the egg mixture to make a thin round omelette.  Transfer to a paper towel.  Make three more omelettes in the same way.  Leave to cool down. 
3.  Divide the cold creme fraîche among the omelettes, spreading it over half of each.  
4.  Taste the chard mixture and adjust the seasoning, then spread generously over the creme fraîche. Fold each omelette over in half, then fold again to get a fan shape.  Allow the chard mix to show at the open side.  
5.  Arrange the omelettes in a lightly oiled ovenproof baking sheet.  (Keep in the fridge if making ahead.) When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the omelettes in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until hot.  Serve at once. 




The Haunted Pumpkin Garden at NY Botanical Garden (Bronx)

September 20- October 31st

Bring your whole family to enjoy this exciting annual tradition at the Garden. This year, The Haunted Pumpkin Garden combines the spooky fun of Halloween festivities with an astonishing display of the most eye-catching and intriguing pumpkins and gourds. Next weekend- October 11-12, Gone Batty!  In this family-friendly, live animal program, you'll come face-to-face with different bats from around the world.  On October 18 & 19, Ray Villafane will work his carving magic to create intricate pumpkin sculptures, while the largest pumpkins from North America will once again call the Garden home on October 25 & 26.