CSA Merrimack Valley – Harvest (Part 1)

At summer’s end, the warm days and cool nights allow us to step away from our grills, return to the kitchen and turn on our stoves.  We can saute, boil, roast and sear without overheating our homes. While we encouraged you last time to grill everything in sight, this time of year we’re excited to use our stoves again. We’ll use ours to create a whole meal, including a cocktail.  

Photography by Kevin Harkins.

RASPBERRY AND PEACH SHRUB COCKTAIL

Start to finish: 3-4 days
Yields about 2 cups of finished shrub

Ingredients:
1 pint fresh raspberries 4 peaches
1/2 cup honeySalt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Cheesecloth
1/2 cup whiskey

Directions:
1. Dice the peaches.
2. Place the raspberries in a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix the chopped peaches and raspberries with the honey and a pinch of salt, and mash gently until the mixture is a uniform color, about 1 minute of mashing.
4. Set in the refrigerator for 2-3 nights.
5. When the mixture is ready, line a strainer with the cheesecloth and set inside a second large mixing bowl.
6. Pour the peach and raspberry mixture into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, catching the liquid in the bowl. Once the liquid is thoroughly drained, twist the cheesecloth gently to push out all the juice.
7. Combine the peach and raspberry juice with the vinegar. This is your raspberry and peach shrub.
8. In order to make the cocktail, mix 1/2 cup of shrub with 1/2 cup of whiskey.
9. Serve the cocktail in a tall glass, on the rocks.

 

Photo by Kevin Harkins.

FRIED GREEN TOMATO WITH BEETS AND RICOTTA

Start to finish: 1 hour
Serves 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients:
2 large green tomatoes 1 cup corn meal
1 cup vegetable oil for frying 1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs 1 tablespoon water
2 golden beets 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped chives to garnish Salt and pepper
Fresh ricotta Cheesecloth
1/2 gallon organic whole milk 1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt 

Directions for beets:
1. Set oven to 400 F.
2. Line an oven-safe dish with aluminum foil. Place the whole beets in the dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
4. Once cooked, set aside to cool. Peel the beets and slice into rounds, about 1/2 inch. 

Directions for ricotta:
1. In a heavy-bottom sauce pan, over medium-high heat, slowly bring the milk, heavy cream and teaspoon of salt to a gentle boil.
2. The moment the milk mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and add the white vinegar and lemon juice.
3. Stir gently for 30 seconds. Shut off the heat and cover.
4. Set aside for about 10 minutes until the milk solids separate.
5. Place a colander in the sink and cover thoroughly with cheesecloth. Carefully pour the mixture into the colander, separating the solids from the liquid.
6. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes. 

Directions:
1. While the ricotta and beets cool, thickly slice the green tomatoes into about 1/2-inch slices. Aim to get 3-4 slices from each tomato.
2. Salt and pepper each tomato slice liberally.
3. Flour each slice gently and set aside.
4. Put 1 cup of corn meal into a flat-bottomed bowl such as a pie dish.
5. Scramble eggs with 1 tablespoon of water in another flat-bottomed bowl and coat the floured slices of green tomato.
6. Place each tomato slice into the corn meal and bread until covered.
7. Set the tomato slices in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to allow the breading to set.
8. In a heavy-bottomed fry pan (cast iron is best) pour 1 cup of vegetable oil. Heat to medium-high.
9. Shallow fry the breaded tomato, 2-3 slices at a time, being careful\
not to crowd the pan, until golden brown. Flip only once, about 2 minutes each side.
10. Plate the dish with a half cup of warm ricotta, alternating slices of green tomato and roast beets. Garnish with olive oil, a few healthy cracks of fresh black pepper and chopped chives.

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