From the Farmer

Week 14 – 8/19/2015
We call this share the Curry Box.  This is one of my favorite boxes of the year, let me tell you.  I hope you’re all into this kind of thing, because curry is an all-time best dish.  The great thing about curry is that it’s really flexible in how to prepare.  Originally from the Indian sub-continent, curries likely traveled with Buddhist monks to Thailand, China and Burma, then kept going south and east and beyond in various peoples’ luggage, over the centuries.  The flavors can be complex and many, if not all, of the traditional spices are not just flavorful but also have various medicinal properties.
Curry looks and tastes different in nearly every region of India, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Japan, Thailand, the Maldives, Burma, South Africa, England, the Caribbean… in each region and locale the dish may be defined by tradition and by local crops and preferences; but try them all and you’ll find spicy curry and sweet curry; dry curry and wet curry; curry with meat in it and vegetarian curry.  They can be quite complex.  But simple or complicated you won’t go wrong if you follow a few basic steps. 
I have no doubt many of you make a mean curry.  Please tell us about how you make it – email us your recipes and allow us to either add to a future newsletter or to the Farm’s recipe page.  One quick and dirty curry: coconut oil, a few tablespoons curry paste (cheating, I know) over medium heat; add a few cloves of garlic and any onions or potatoes or ginger; six or seven cups of mixed veggies cut however you like and a couple stalks of lemongrass (see below);  stir while you do this for five or ten minutes, until the veggies soften a little;  add two cups of stock and a can of coconut milk or enough to cover it all, and simmer with chicken or fish – until the meat or fish is cooked through.  I like to add a tablespoon of fish sauce, too – don’t wait til the end on this as you want the fishiness to cook off.  Add any last spices then garnish and serve with rice, of course.  For a real recipe, see Chef Bonnie’s below!
In your box I think we have good fixings for this.  Potatoes, sweet peppers, and either eggplant, okra or squash (this is one week where different pickup days may get a slight variation between these) can form a veggie base; cherry tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper and lemongrass to add spice.  You will also find sweet potato greens – yes, that’s right, the greens!  They are used all over the tropics as a hot season vegetable.  As with Malabar Spinach, pluck the leaves off the stem, chop and add to your vegetable mix. Alas, our basil succumbed to the East Coast Basil Blight (a nasty strain of downy mildew that’s been plaguing all farms from Florida to Maine) but this is a nice mix of veggies to make a Special CSA Curry without basil.  
About Lemongrass.  This is the long grassy thing in your box.  Careful!  The edges are sharp and can give you paper cuts.  Fresh lemongrass is good for a variety of things: use the stalk – the thick bottom portion – to add flavor by crushing or simply adding to your sauce.  Don’t chop it up, rather you can remove it so you don’t actually eat it (you can do this with hot peppers, too, if you don’t want a dish to be too spicy).  The long green leaves you can use fresh in tea or to flavor water, or you can hang them in the kitchen to dry and use for tea at a later date.  Lemongrass also freezes well.
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