CSA Week 3

Please bring back last week’s bag when you pick up your share!
In your share this week:

 

Fennel
Fennel

Carrots
Baby Turnips
Green Onion
Fennel
Salad Mix

Full shares only:

Baby Bibb Lettuce
Broccoli or Basil
Cucumber or Zucchini

 

New items are trickling in, and the harvests are definitely picking up!  I’m happy to finally have salad mix for everyone this week, and hopefully we’re back into regular production there.  If you haven’t had our salad mix before, it’s a blend of baby lettuce, nutty greens like bok choy, and some spicy mustards.  Unlike salad mix you buy in the store, it keeps well for a week or more.  Just keep it in its plastic bag in the fridge and eat it by itself, with your favorite dressing, or on sandwiches or wraps.

 

The new item for everyone is fennel (except Saturday pickup folks, who got it instead of kohlrabi last week).  Fennel has a refreshing, sweet anise flavor and can be used just about anywhere you’d use celery.  I think of it as an aromatic vegetable, and it’s a great addition to soups, stuffings, and braises or roasted with potatoes and other veggies.  It’s also lovely raw, especially shaved on a salad, added to coleslaw, or made into a salad with orange and cinnamon.  The best part is the white bulb at the bottom, the stalks have good flavor but can be tough.  The leaves add color and contrast to a salad, but don’t have a lot of flavor in themselves.   Keep it in the fridge in a bag.

 

Today’s carrots are the first from the field and the first of our usual “Nelson” variety.  See if you notice a difference from the greenhouse ones you’ve been getting: I think Nelson is more floral and has a lighter texture.  Turnips today are fresh, sweet, and lovely.  You’ll be seeing lots of green onions in your share in the next few weeks, since we have lots coming on in the field.  Remember that you can substitute them for bulb onions in a recipe, they’ll be a bit milder but very tasty!

 

Full shares are getting a bit of a preview of summer produce (don’t worry half shares: there’s more coming).  You may have the first of our “Piracicaba” broccoli.  This will look different than broccoli you are used to seeing in the stores because it is a non-heading type.  This means that it makes a looser head and lots of side shoots, all of which in my opinion are much tastier than the standard hybrids.  The stems especially make good eating, so use the whole thing!  If you didn’t get broccoli, you got the first basil, which is finally taking off and should provide all of us with lots of pesto all summer.  Store basil in a plastic bag on the counter (at room temperature).  Use the leaves in pesto, salads, pastas, curries, or cocktails.

And full share folks, enjoy these beautiful little baby bibb lettuces!  They have become a favorite of mine, so buttery and tasty and just the perfect size for a salad (okay, I usually eat 2 or 3 at a time).


Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Parsley and Dill

From Marth Stewart Living, November 2007.

Quinoa — a quick-cooking grain with a mildly nutty flavor and a texture not unlike couscous-anchors this cool salad of crisp, thinly shaved fennel, pungent parsley and dill, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

  1. Prepare an ice-water bath. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, slice lengthwise as thinly as possible. Place in ice-water bath.
  2. Toast quinoa in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add water, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate, uncovered, until cool, about 1 hour.
  3. Drain fennel, and pat dry. Add parsley, dill, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper, and toss. Divide quinoa among bowls. Top with fennel mixture.

Sweet and Sour Carrot and Turnip Salad

Recipe adapted from www.cookthink.com.

 

3 medium carrots, peeled and grated

3 turnips, peeled and grated

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/8 cayenne pepper

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

 

Peel and coarsely grate the carrots and turnips and toss together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oils, sugar, and cayenne pepper until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle the dressing over the grated vegetables, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the cilantro and sesame seeds.

CSA Week 2

Carrots
Green Onion
Overwintered Onion
Radishes (Some drop sites may get baby turnips)
Parsley
Kohlrabi

Full Shares Only:

Baby Bok Choy
Butterhead Lettuce
Cilantro

 

A few repeats and a few new items for the second week: remember that it’s still very early in the season and we don’t have a whole lot to choose from yet!  You’ll recognize the carrots from last week, these will be the last of our greenhouse carrots and we’re hoping to start harvesting from the field next week.  I’ve also included parsley again, which I know will be a challenge for some.  If you don’t want to use it all now, you can dry it for later, or crush it up and mix it with oil (like pesto) to freeze.  To dry it, you can use a dehydrator or hang it in a warm sunny spot for a few days.  Once it’s fully dry crush it up and store it in a mason jar.

 

Today we have the first kohlrabi, which I know is new to many.  (Returning members, we are growing a lot less this year, but it’s one of the earliest veggies to be ready).  I love kohlrabi, and I usually slice it raw and eat it sprinkled with salt, dipped in hummus, or wrapped in a sushi roll.  It needs to be peeled and the tough bottom part cut off, the fleshy part of the bulb is the part you want.  These are a little smaller than we usually harvest them, so they are very tender.  Kohlrabi has a sweet flavor like a broccoli stem, and it’s crunchy and juicy.  If you don’t want to snack on it, you can include it in a stir fry, grill or roast it with olive oil and salt, or pickle it.

 

You can also use kohlrabi greens, they will be closer in texture to cabbage and benefit from slower cooking methods like braising.  Remember you can eat your radish greens, they could be stewed in with kohlrabi greens, or I more often throw them in a stir fry or cook them with rice.  I don’t like them raw so much because of their prickly texture.

 

We have the first of our onions today, and there will be lots more to come!  You’ve gotten a lovely fresh bunch of scallions, which add lots of mild onion flavor to salads, noodle dishes, and more.  Cut off the little roots and use the rest of the bunch raw or cooked.  You also have an overwintered onion that we planted in October and are just harvesting now.  You may have gotten a red onion, a white cippolini type, or a sweet yellow one.  All three are tasty and can be used the same, they just have different flavor profiles.  When onions are fresh like this they should be kept in the fridge, and you can use the green part as well as the bulb.  I love fresh onions, and we grow several kinds that you’ll be getting throughout the season.  Our main summer onion crop is off to a fantastic start!

 

We don’t have salad for you today, just heads of lettuce for full share folks.  Harvests have been tight here, and we had a couple bad rotations of salad paired with a delay setting up irrigation that forced us to rework our crop plan.  But we plant salad weekly and there are a couple nice rotations coming up soon.  Full share folks also have a nice fresh bunch of cilantro, which will go well with those green onions in a noodle salad or salsa. Store it (and everything else this week) in a plastic bag in the fridge.


Kohlrabi Pickle Chips

I like kohlrabi raw so much that I have yet to actually make anything with it that I like more. These easy pickles would maintain the appealing texture of kohlrabi, but dress it up a little. This recipe can also be used with cucumbers.

Peel and thinly slice:

1 ½ to 2 lb kohlrabi

            3 small onions

Mix together:

¼ cup pickling salt

            1 quart ice water

Pour this over the vegetables and soak them for 3 hours.

Drain them, rinse them, and place them in a bowl. Bring to a boil:

2 c vinegar

            2/3 c sugar

            1 Tbsp mustard seeds

            1 tsp celery seeds

            ¼ tsp turmeric

Cook for 3 minutes and pour it over the vegetables. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for 3 days.


Carrot, Parsley, and Chickpea Salad

Adapted from Cooking New American by Martha Holmberg. The chickpeas in this refreshing salad make it a substantial vegetarian meal, or an intriguing side. This recipe can be made in advance; just add the dressing right before serving. A unique combination of textures and flavors: scallions, radishes, and a splash of citrusy lemon make it piquant, lively, and delicious.

 

1 can chickpeas, (or equivalent cooked from dried), drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1 cup loosely-packed shredded carrot

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1/2 cup chopped fresh scallions or onions

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup crumbled feta or toasted pine nuts (optional)

 

Put 1/2 cup of the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash them into a coarse paste with a potato masher or large wooden spoon. Toss in the remaining chickpeas along with the parsley, carrot, radishes, and onions. Stir to combine.

For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil in a slow stream.

When ready to serve, pour dressing over the salad and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with feta or pine nuts, if using, and serve immediately.

CSA Share Notes: Week 1

IMG_0130Carrots
Baby Turnips
Italian Parsley
Baby Bok Choy
Green butterhead lettuce (half shares) or Salad Mix (full shares)

Full Shares Only:
Pink Beauty Radishes
Kale

CSA is finally here! I’ve been worried I wouldn’t have enough for you all, but I think we’ve pulled together a pretty nice share for this early in the season (we’ve had a lot of hot weather, but it’s still early!).  Remember that the shares will be a bit light the first few weeks and will build as new crops become available. But I love these spring shares with their sweet tender greens and roots; there’s an early season quality that you just can’t replicate later in the year.  The prize of the week is a toss up between these gorgeous carrots or the perfect baby turnips.  My preference would go to the turnips: this is one of the nicest rotations we’ve grown, and they are coming out of our new field!

 

If you haven’t yet tried baby turnips, you’re in for a treat.  These are a whole different animal than your grandma’s turnips: they are sweet and creamy and the greens are some of my favorites.  I like the roots best raw, either sliced into a salad, eaten plain, or dipped in hummus. You can also roast, grill, or saute the roots, but I’d at least try them raw before cooking them! I typically do a light steam or saute with the greens, and they are especially good finished with a splash of white wine.  They are also good in a salad, or used as a bed for a hot steak or piece of fish.  Pretty much anything you would do with spinach will work with these lovelies.

 

The carrots are also quite lovely, though they aren’t our usual variety (the seed was backordered so we had to improvise).  These were started in the greenhouse back in February, and I’ve been holding them back to make sure we had carrots for the first CSA shares.  They are delicious raw or cooked and I never bother peeling them.  I don’t use carrot tops much, except to feed them to our chickens, but some folks like to use them in smoothies, stocks, or pesto. Remove them from the roots so the roots will keep better.

 

Italian parsley is especially tender and delicious this early in the season.  I prefer it to the curly type: I think it is more tender and flavorful. It’s excellent in pasta dishes, salads, pesto, or tabouleh.  You can use the leaves and the stems.  Parsley is also particularly nutritious (as are turnip greens and bok choy), so eat it up.

 

Everyone has a nice head of baby bok choy, which I would probably grill or stir fry with soy sauce and ginger.  Make sure to eat the succulent stems, since I think they are the best part. You could also eat this raw, try slicing it up and mixing it into a cold noodle dish.  Full shares have kale, either the red Russian (wide, frilly leaves with purple stems) or the Tuscan type (dark blue green with bumpy texture). Both are good raw or cooked, made into juice or blended into smoothies, eaten as salad or dried into chips.

 

Our salad is a little sparse right now, since we’ve been behind schedule getting irrigation set up in our new field. So half shares got a really nice little head of fresh green butter lettuce, while full shares got our standard mix.  There will be plenty of both for everyone, but this early in the season we have to take whatever we can get, and fortunately it’s all delicious.


Quinoa Salad with Parsley, Carrots, and Turnips

When the first new vegetables come on in the summer, I’m so excited that I tend to make the same thing over and over to revel in the fresh flavors. This has been my June favorite this year, and it’s simple but very satisfying.

2 c quinoa
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch carrots, sliced diagonally
Roots and greens from 1/2 bunch turnips, roots cut into 1/2″ cubes, greens chopped

1 c walnuts, toasted
¼ c olive oil
Salt to taste

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, cover, and turn the heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir together. Serve hot or at room temp.


Salad Dressings: Simple Vinaigrette and Lemon Maple

I give these recipes every year, but considering how much salad you’ll be getting, I think they’re worth throwing out there again. The vinaigrette takes about 2 minutes and comes to us from Alice Waters, the other is one of my favorites. These are basic staples in our kitchen.

Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together:

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (I often use apple cider vinegar)
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Stir to dissolve the salt, taste, and adjust if needed. Gradually beat in with a fork or small whisk:

3 to 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Taste as you go and stop when it tastes right.

Optional: add garlic and/or diced shallot to the vinegar, or fresh herbs to the finished dressing. Or beat in a little mustard before adding the oil.

Lemon Maple:

Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp salt
¼ c olive oil
1 ½ tsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs

Whisk together lemon juice and salt. Add olive oil and whisk until well combined. Whisk in maple syrup. Stir in herbs.