CSA Week 7

In your share:

New Potatoes: Austrian Crescent
Purplette Onion
Carrots
Zucchini or Cucumber
Basil
Cauliflower
Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes or Green Beans

Full shares only:

Baby Turnips
Cabbage
Italian Parsley

This is another beautiful summer share!  We’re getting to some of my favorite veggies today, including cauliflower.  A few of you got some already, but it’s been a bit slow to come on this year.  And now we have 3 rotations coming on at once, so I expect there will be quite a bit in the next couple of weeks.  I love our cauliflower, especially roasted (cut into florets, tossed in olive oil and salt, and roasted at 400 until it’s soft with crispy edges).  It’s also great raw, made into soup, or steamed and used in salad.  As cauliflower cooks, different flavor profiles emerge.  Raw cauliflower has more of the sulfurous cabbagey flavor, but as it cooks those compounds denature and other, nuttier flavors appear.  So if you (or someone in your family) don’t like cauliflower, you might try roasting it: it’s actually a very different flavor.  Mike never used to like it until he tried it roasted, and now he loves it!

 

We’re into our first bulb onions today, and I’ve given each of you a bunch of a variety called purplette.  These are a mini red onion that are extra savory, I love them roasted in with potatoes, or last week I sliced them in half and put them on the grill.  You’ll have fresh onions for the next few weeks, so they should be stored in the fridge in a bag.  You can eat the greens still, or use them in stock.  I thought I’d give you all a break from green onions today, although we have hundreds more out there so next week we’re back on.

 

But you’re probably most excited about the tomatoes and green beans!  Our tomato picks are getting bigger, but we still don’t have enough for the entire CSA.  I will give cherry tomatoes or some of our heirloom slicers to as many of you as possible (especially if you haven’t gotten any yet).  This is shaping up to be our best tomato year in a while, and within a couple of weeks our second rotation should be into full production.  In the mean time, they’re also the highest quality tomatoes we’ve grown in a while, so enjoy them!  Remember to keep them on the counter, tomatoes don’t do well in the fridge.

 

And fortunately, if you don’t get tomatoes this week, our green beans are just coming on.  We grow 2 types, a French filet variety called Maxibel (these are long, round, and slender) and a Romano type (these are large and flat and often called Italian green beans).  The Maxibels are more sweet and tender and are especially good raw, while the Romanos have a wonderful, robust beany flavor that holds up well to grilling and cooking.  You can use both in just about any recipe calling for green beans.  I love to grill beans whole, especially the Romanos.  Toss them in olive oil and cook them over medium low heat for a few minutes a side: yum!  You can also eat them raw, slice them into salads, steam them with butter, use them in stir fries, pickle them, or whatever you like.  We are careful in our picking, so all the beans you get from me should be at prime eating stage without lots of starchiness or bitterness.

 

Today’s new potatoes are Austrian Crescent fingerlings.  These have a lovely flavor, a dense waxy texture, and are easy to prep.  I’ve been eating potatoes just about every day, I can’t get enough of them when they are fresh out of the ground like this.  So enjoy!


Farro Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato, and Basil

I made this for a potluck this weekend, and it was quick, easy, hearty, and tasty!  If you don’t have tomatoes today, you could add some wine vinegar and thinly sliced green beans instead.  Farro is a nutty, delicious relative of wheat, available at Trillium.

 

To cook the farro, bring 5 c water to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan.  Add 1 1/2 c whole farro reduce heat to medium, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes (less if using pearled farro), until tender but al dente.  Drain excess water.

 

Meanwhile, roast the cauliflower.  Cut 1 medium head cauliflower into small florets, toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast at 400, stirring occasionally, until florets are tender and the edges are browned.  (Optional: add 1 c chopped onion about halfway through cooking).

 

To make the salad, mix together cooked farro and roasted cauliflower with:

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch basil, leaves picked and sliced

3 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Serve at room temperature.

 


 

Home Fermented Vegetables

Fermentation is a great way to preserve vegetables and add great nutrition.  CSA member Hollis Baley is a nutritionist in Pacific City who firmly believes in the health benefits of fermentation.  She’s posted a few recipes for homemade sauerkraut and fermented carrots and basil that sound amazing.  For today’s recipe, I’m going to refer you to her.  Follow the links to see some great instructions for home fermentation:

Homemade Sauerkraut by Hollis Baley

Carrot Basil Cilantro Fermented Vegetables by Hollis Baley

CSA Week 6

In your share:

 

New potatoes: Carola
Salad Mix
Green Onions
Cilantro
Cucumber or Zucchini
Baby Turnips
Sugar Snap Peas or Cherry Tomatoes

 

Full Shares Only:

 

Fennel
Basil
Lettuce
Komatsuna or Baby bok choy

 

Potatoes are here!  These first potatoes of the year are so special.  They are still growing, which means they are extra creamy, the skins are almost nonexistent, and they are actually very high in protein and low in starch.  They are also a bit undersized, which means we get lower yields when we pull them this young, but they are worth it.  Our potatoes are one of my favorite crops, and unlike any other potatoes I’ve had.  They are incredibly flavorful and this week’s carolas have a lovely, creamy texture and buttery flavor that can’t be beat.  You can use them just like other potatoes, but expect them to be less starchy.  I love them roasted, or carolas make great mashed potatoes.  Or add them to soup, or make a potato salad with fresh basil.  But however you use them, make sure you can taste them because they are so delicious.

 

Note that new potatoes have very thin skins and should be stored in the fridge in a bag.  Later in the season, we’ll have your more standard cured potatoes that can be stored at room temp, but for now they do much better cold.

 

The peas you have today are sugar snaps, which are the kind you eat pod and all.  I usually just snack on them raw, but you can also cook them or slice them up into salads.  Some folks actually got them last week since we didn’t have enough cherry tomatoes for all the full shares.

 

Returning members have probably been wondering where the peas are.  We usually grow lots of sugar snap peas, but this year we’ve had a bit of a perfect storm.  We were unable to get seed for our usual variety (there was a big seed failure on the east coast), we had poor germination on the seed we did get, we didn’t have the bed properly prepped in the new field, then the irrigation took longer than I expected and we had a hot spell early on that stressed them out.  So this year’s peas are minimal, and these may be the only ones you get.  Believe me that we miss them too, but this is part of eating locally and being a CSA member.  You share the bounty when we have it, but you share the risk and will miss out on things that do poorly.  I’m hoping to make up for the short pea harvest with lots of other tasty things, like tomatoes and cucumbers, both of which are just coming into production and are looking great!

 

Speaking of cucumbers, most folks have one today (and a few got them last week instead of zucchini).  We grow 3 kinds, a long green American slicer type, a shorter green Armenian slicer, and round yellow lemon cucumbers.  All three are sweet and refreshing and can be used interchangeably.  I mostly snack on them raw (they make a great hiking snack) and added to salads. They aren’t pickling cukes, but you can pickle them if you like.  They won’t hold stay crunchy if you can them, but they make a good quick refrigerator pickle chip.

 

And speaking of bounty, the green onions are a bit out of control this year.  There’s always something that we just have copious amounts of, and this year green onions are it.  I’m sure some of you are getting sick of them, but they are too nice to leave in the field.  If you are feeling stuck, use them as a replacement for onions in just about any recipe.  They work great.  Or throw on the whole bunch next time you fire up the grill.

 

The only other new item for some of you is komatsuna.  This is an extra tasty leafy green that is similar to bok choy.  It is dark green with succulent stems and we sell it bunched.  You can use it like kale or bok choy, I like it best steamed but it is also good in a stir fry or salad.  Make sure to eat those tasty stems!  This is a crop that self seeds easily, so we mostly harvest volunteers anymore.  It’s a pretty nice weed to have!

 


Green Onion Green Goddess Dressing

I provided salad for a friend’s wedding campout, and made this dressing to feed a crowd.  It’s strong flavored but super tasty, and I think it would make a great marinade or sauce as well.  I usually make dressings in a quart mason jar with my immersion blender, but you could also do this in a food processor or blender.

 

Combine in a wide mouth quart mason jar (if using immersion blender) or the bowl of a food processor:

1/2 bunch green onions, roughly chopped

1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tsp honey

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 c olive oil

1/4 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste)

 

Blend until smooth, adding water or extra oil if needed to thin it.  Add salt to taste.

 


Roasted New Potatoes, Fennel, Walla Walla Onions, and Basil

This is a staple meal in our house. It is easy to make and absolutely delicious when made with potatoes fresh out of the ground. Makes a hearty meal by itself or a tasty side dish when served with grilled or roasted meat and a salad.  No walla wallas today, try green onions!  I’d probably just use the white part.  (Serves 3 as a main dish or 6 as a side)

Preheat the oven to 400.

Chop into large pieces and place in a roasting pan or large pyrex baking dish:

2 pounds new potatoes

            1 walla walla onion (including greens if it is fresh)

            1 bulb fennel

Toss in:

3 Tbsp olive oil

            Salt and pepper

Bake at 400, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fully soft, about 25 to 35 minutes depending on the freshness of the potatoes and size of the pieces.

Trim the leaves from, chop and stir in:

            ½ bunch of basil

CSA Week 5

In your share:

Carrots
Cabbage
Cauliflower or Broccoli
Green Onion
Zucchini
Italian Parsley
Basil
Green Butter Lettuce
Baby Bok Choy

Full Shares Only:

Kohlrabi
Cherry Tomatoes (some shares only)

It’s week 5 and we’re getting into our full sized summer shares.  This week we’re going to brassica world, because all of our brassicas came on at once!  Brassicas are the cabbage family, and include many of the things we grow.  Some we grow mostly at the ends of the season (bok choy, cabbage), others we have throughout the year (broccoli, cauliflower).

 

Everyone gets a nice head of green cabbage.  We grow an heirloom variety with a conical shape that’s very tender with a mild, sweet flavor.  It stores well in a bag in your fridge for several weeks, and you can use it raw, cooked, or fermented.  If you don’t plan to use the whole head at once, it’s best to peel off the outer leaves and leave the core intact.  That can get tricky, though, so you can also slice through the whole head from the top.

 

We have the first few heads of cauliflower today, not quite enough for everyone but there’s lots more coming!  (You got more broccoli if you didn’t get cauli.)  Cauliflower is one of my favorite crops, and this year we’ve added several rotations.  It’s sweet and nutty, and I like it best roasted in the oven.  We cut it into florets, toss it with olive oil and salt, and cook it at 400 until it is cooked through and browned around the edges (about 30 min).  Full shares have more kohlrabi today, and it’s great added to a cauliflower roast!  Peel it, cube it, and toss them together.  Some of today’s cauliflower has a purplish tint from exposure to the sun, and I find that it doesn’t affect the flavor.  We did not wash your cauliflower, but you may find some soil or grass clippings lodged in the crevices.  I’d recommend waiting to wash it until you plan to use it, since cauliflower stores much better dry.  The bok choy was also affected by the grass cutting, we’ve done our best to wash it off but you’ll probably need to give it another rinse.

 

We’ve finally got enough basil and zucchini for everyone, and lots more of those coming too.  Our zucchini is fresh and tender, and I love to grill it.  I cut it on the bias (diagonally) about 1/4″ thick, brush both sides with olive oil and salt, and grill it for a couple minutes per side.  Or you can eat it raw, roast it, add it to soups and stir fries, puree it into dip, and more.  We have 3 varieties, a dark green one, a striped green one, and a striped yellow one.  All 3 taste the same to me and can be used interchangeably.

 

The basil is beautiful and growing fast.  Since not everyone has had it yet, I’ll remind you again: the best way to store it is in a plastic bag on the counter, at room temp.  It keeps well for a week that way, but the flavor is best when it’s really fresh, so I recommend using it right away if you can!  And speaking of eating right away, we are just beginning to get enough tomatoes to include them in a few shares.  The cherry tomatoes are off to a great start and they are the tastiest we’ve grown in years, and harvests are picking up fast.  If you got some today, they are dead ripe and ready to eat now!  If you don’t eat them right away, keep them out on the counter, never put tomatoes in the fridge.

 

I know full shares have been getting the first of the summer items everyone loves, and that’s because it takes a few weeks for any harvest to come on.  We don’t have enough for everyone yet, but we want to start getting them to you as soon as we can.  Our cherry tomato harvests have been picking up quickly, and the plants are absolutely covered in green tomatoes, so I’m sure we’ll have them for all of you before long.


Mike’s Pesto a la Alice Waters

Mike and I love the book The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. She recommends making pesto in a mortar and pestle, which sent Mike on a year-long mission to find one big enough to use for a large batch. When he didn’t have any success, I spent a day searching all over Portland to get him one for Christmas. I finally succeeded in my quest at the Fubonn Asian Shopping Center, and Alice was right: pesto made in this way is to die for. But it is also excellent (and easier) made in the food processor. This is Mike’s adaptation of Alice Waters’ recipe. Makes about 2 cups.

 

Pick the leaves from:

            1 bunch basil, to yield about 2 loosely packed cups

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind to a paste:

1 garlic clove, peeled

            Salt

Add and continue to grind:

½ c walnuts or pinenuts, lightly toasted

Add:

            ¼ c grated parmesan cheese.

Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and put them in the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded nut mixture to the mortar and pound the two mixtures together. Continue pounding as you gradually pour in:

            ½ c olive oil


Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw With Walnuts

From the New York Times, written by Martha Shulman and taken from Nuts About Greens.  She recommends massaging the kale.  This recipe would also be great with slivered bok choy instead of the kale!

 

4 cups stemmed, slivered curly kale

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 cups finely sliced or shredded cabbage

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard (to taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced or puréed (optional)

1 tablespoon walnut oil

¼ cup plain yogurt

Freshly ground pepper

Place the slivered kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss together and massage the leaves with your hands for about 3 minutes. The kale will lose some volume.

 

Add the cabbage and walnuts to the kale and toss together.

 

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the rice vinegar, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, optional garlic, walnut oil, yogurt and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and toss with the salad. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer before serving. Toss again and serve.

CSA Week 4

IMG_0162In your share:

Walla Walla Onion
Broccoli
Green Onion
Lettuce
Kale
Cilantro

 

Full shares only:

Basil or Italian Parsley
Zucchini or Cucumber
Carrots

 

Welcome to July, which is when our harvests really start to pick up.  You’ll likely be seeing new veggies every week in your share this month, and by the end of the month we’ll be getting into our full summer sized shares.

 

Today’s prize is a toss up, but I’d have to give it to the walla wall sweet onion.  These were planted last September and have been sizing up all spring.  Some of them are whoppers, and they’re all delicious and tasty.  They’re great on the grill, with burgers, or wherever you’d normally use an onion.  I don’t usually like raw onions, but these are extra sweet and mild so I like them in tuna salad.  Remember you can eat the greens too!

 

Second place in my book goes to the broccoli.  You’ve either gotten a whopper of a head from our hybrid variety or several looser heads from our non-heading variety.  I’m especially a fan of the non-heading type.  It’s very flavorful and you can use the whole stalk, stems and all.  But I know lots of people prefer the more standard grocery store type of broccoli, and these heads are particularly large and beautiful, and of course fresh!  Freshness makes a huge difference in broccoli’s flavor.

 

Cilantro is new for many of you today, and one of my favorites.  You’re probably familiar with it: you can use it in salsas, salads, curries, beans, soups, and more.  Some people are genetically predisposed to hate cilantro: it tastes like dish soap to them.  I’m sorry if you’re one of those people, and hopefully there’s someone in your family who enjoys it!  Keep cilantro in a bag in the fridge.  I use the whole bunch, stems and all.  It’s flavor gets lost in cooking, so it’s typically added to a dish just before serving.

 

We are trying to get kale for everyone this week, though if you’re on a later pickup day you might find something else in your share instead.  Our kale bed is not happy this year, which is a first for us.  I’ve fertilized it, which helped a bit, and replanted another bed, which should solve the problem in a few weeks.  But in the mean time, this has been an unusually kale free year for the CSA.  You may have our red Russian variety (wide leaves with purple stems), the Tuscan variety (dark, bumpy, elongated leaves), or a new curly type we’re trying.  The Russian is more sweet and tender and the best for eating raw (I usually cook it), the Tuscan is better for soups and braises (many people eat it raw too), and the curly type makes the best chips.  I usually eat the stems, but I devein them if I want more even cooking time and a consistent texture.

 

There’s lots of green onions and lettuce on now, so you have both.  Last night for dinner I grilled a bunch of green onions I had in the fridge along with bok choy and zucchini, and they were delicious!  I trimmed off the roots, tossed the whole bunch with a bit of olive oil and salt, and grilled it over medium low heat with the greens facing the cooler part of the grill.  They cooked quickly, and I’ve found that when grilling greens of any kind it helps to pile them together in a bowl just after grilling so the greens get a bit steamed.  You could probably grill the lettuce, too, though I’ve been sticking with salads for that!

 


Raw Kale Salad

This recipe comes from CSA member Michelle Dragoo, who got it from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. I love kale raw, and Mike actually prefers it raw to cooked. If you can’t get pecorino, freshly grated Parmesan would be a reasonable substitute.

 

Trim and discard the bottom few inches off the stems of 1 bunch kale. Slice into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place in a large bowl.

 

Toast 2 thin slices crusty bread until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Or, use 2 handfuls premade bread crumbs.

 

Using a mortar and pestle or a knife, pound or mince into a paste:

½ clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add:

1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Black pepper

Whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.


Broccoli Chowder with Corn and Bacon

Broccoli enhances this healthy soup with crunch, while a bit of bacon lends a salty richness.  From marthastewart.com.

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

 

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Increase heat to medium. Cook onion, stirring, until it begins to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add broth and potato; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Add broccoli, corn, thyme, and milk. Cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with bacon.