Even though we have had intense heat the past few days, we are truly feeling the march toward fall. Last week, I sensed it gently. This week looking ahead, I am overwhelmed by the list that needs to happen in the next 2 months. As winter approaches, we begin to have hard deadlines of when to have the fields empty and cover cropped, when to have the winter plants in, and all the animals ready for rain. It seems strange to be worried about this in August but we need to begin to plan to have everything work smoothly. Still, I am looking forward to enjoying the summer crops for several more weeks. I have not had my fill of tomatoes and the peppers are just starting. I hope the plants keep producing for a while.
This week's pick list:
- Zucchini and summer squash
- Hot peppers
- Basil. dill, cilantro, and parsley
- Pesto basil
- Pick your own cherry tomatoes and tomatilloes (located in the flower field)
Pasta with Corn, Slow Cooked Tomatoes, and Garlic Confit, adapted from food52.com
12 cloves garlic, unpeeled (for the garlic confit)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pints cherry tomatoes (any size, color, shape)
1 tablespoon garlic oil (from the pot of garlic confit)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary or tarragon
3 ears yellow or white corn, kernels removed
1 pound pasta
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons garlic oil (again, from the garlic confit)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup parsley leaves
With a paring knife, puncture a tiny hole in each clove of garlic. Place cloves in a small pot and cover with the olive oil. If the cloves aren't completely covered, add a splash more oil. Bring to a boil. Turn down as low as the flame will go. Simmer until a paring knife slides in easily (about 15 to 20 minutes). Take off the heat and cool in the pan. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 250° F. Prepare your sheet pan. I use a full-size cookie sheet covered with a Silpat or parchment paper. But If you have a nice and clean nonstick sheet pan, there's no need to cover it. Place the whole tomatoes on the pan and toss with garlic oil, salt, and herbs. Place in the preheated oven. Check after 1 1/2 hours to make sure they're not burning. Take them out of the oven when they've shriveled up and darkened in color. They should still be moist inside. This takes 2 to 3 hours. Remove form the oven and smoosh them with the back of a wooden spoon (careful, they will squirt you!) and cook them for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Rub the herb sprigs between your hands, sprinkling the dried leaves down onto the tomatoes. Discard any tough sticks. Gently mix. Set aside.
Place a large pot of water on high heat for the pasta. Add salt.
While waiting for the water to boil, spoon 5 tablespoons garlic oil (from the cooled pot of garlic confit) into a medium-sized pot. Squeeze all garlic cloves out of their skins into the oil in the pot. With the back of a wooden spoon, break the cloves apart a bit into the olive oil. Warm for 30 seconds on medium heat. Add corn kernels and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to low. Add tomatoes. Stir for one minute. Taste. It will probably need a bit more salt. Adjust as needed. Pour into a large serving bowl. Set aside.
When the water is boiling, slide in your pasta. Cook until al dente. Add drained pasta to the tomato/corn/garlic mixture. Toss. Add a few more splashes of garlic oil. Taste. Add more salt or garlic oil as needed. Garnish with parsley leaves. Serve immediately.