CSA Week 5

In your share week 5:

Carrot
New Potatoes: Carola
Broccoli
Kale
Salad
Basil

Full Shares Only:

Radish
Cabbage

 

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.

 

Basil is really taking off now, and we’ve got tons more to come.  To partially make up for the delayed start on this year’s CSA, I’m planning to give bulk basil to all of you over the next couple of weeks.  Basil can be frozen in pesto or crushed up with olive oil and frozen that way.  It’s wonderful to have throughout the winter for pastas, soups, dips, and more.  You can also dry it.  I’ll provide my favorite pesto recipe below, and you may want to consider stocking up on the other ingredients if you want to freeze some pesto.

 

In addition to the pound or so you’ll be getting with your share, we’ll be offering bulk basil to purchase throughout the month of August.  I’ll have more details next week, but email me if you are interested.

 

The broccoli is one of the first new crops to hit its stride, and we have lots for everyone today!  Our second rotation of the big hybrid heads is on, and some of you have giant ones in your share.  Cauliflower is not far behind, and we’ve started to pull the first few heads out of the field.  Several other summer crops, like zucchini, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes, are trickling in but aren’t producing enough to get them to you yet.  August is when the farm hits full production, so we’ll have more variety soon.

 

Full shares get a small head of green or red cabbage today.  The green ones are an heirloom variety called Jersey Wakefield, which is very tender and sweet.  The red heads are dense and crispy and very tasty.  Both will make great coleslaw or salad, or can be braised or stir-fried.  These spring cabbages cook quickly!

 

We just planted our fall cabbage on Monday, along with the final rotations of several other brassicas.  It always seems surprising that we are planting the final fall and winter crops just as we’re beginning to harvest the summer ones, but if we wait any longer they just won’t produce!  Farming is a long term project: the broccoli you’re eating today was started back in April, and that’s not counting the time spent before that ordering seed, making sowing mix, preparing beds, and more.  We put a lot of work, time, and money into these crops before we know if they will even produce, which can be stressful but also keeps things interesting.  And this is the time of year we get to see what pays off.

 


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


New Potato Salad with Vinaigrette

This is a different kind of potato salad than the standard, mayo-dressed one. I like to make a large bowl of this and eat it throughout the week. (serves 4 to 6)

Chop into large pieces:

            2 pounds potatoes

Place in a saucepan full of cold water, add 1 Tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft but just al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, chop and mix together in a large bowl:

½ bunch green onions

            ½ pound snap peas

            ½ pound broccoli

To make the dressing, whisk together in a small bowl:

¼ tsp salt

            2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (wine or apple cider vinegar will work as well)

Slowly whisk in:

            6 Tbsp olive oil

Add the potatoes and dressing to the vegetables and pour. Add 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, or more if using parsley or basil. You can add grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese as well. Mix together and let sit at least ½ hour before serving.

CSA Week 4

In your share week 4:

Baby Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Green Onions (Some shares only?)
Basil
Peas and/or Broccoli
Baby Turnips and/or Radishes

Full Shares Only:

Kale
Carrots

We’re finally starting to see some new crops!  We had our first big picks of peas and broccoli on Monday, with lots more to come.  Everyone gets one or the other, and full shares get both.  We have both kinds of broccoli today.  You might see the Arcadia, a hybrid broccoli similar to what you see in the store (but oh so much fresher and better), with larger, tighter heads and smaller beads.  The other type is Piracicaba, with loose heads, large beads, and tender succulent stems.  In my opinion, broccoli is up there with corn and tomatoes in that farm fresh is vastly better than store bought.  Use it as soon as possible to enjoy it to it’s fullest!  Both types can be used in the same recipes: for the Piracicaba use the entire bunch, stems and all.  You can use the stems of Arcadia but sometimes the outside is fibrous and needs to be peeled.

 

Some shares have the first green onions of the year.  Ours are fresh and extra flavorful, and these are little tender morsels.  Last year’s members will remember that we were swimming in green onions the entire season.  We’ve got some nice rotations coming up, but I don’t expect quite the abundance we saw then!  Green onions are wonderful raw or cooked, and I use the whole bunch (white parts and green parts).  They keep well in a bag in the fridge.

At first I was disappointed that our pea seed has lots of snow pea off types (instead of the snap peas we usually grow), but after eating a few and seeing how sweet they are I think we’re all going to be happy.  For this week at least, we’ve mixed the two together, and they can be used interchangeably for snacking or cooking.  My crew and I agreed that they’re equally delicious and we couldn’t help eating the odd one as we picked!

We’ve got another rotation of baby bok choy ready for you, with bigger heads that weren’t subjected to 100 degree heat just before heading up.  These would be wonderful on the grill, whole, halved, or separated into individual leaves.  We have enough basil for everyone, and there’s another whole rotation just sizing up that we haven’t started cutting!  Hopefully we’ll be able to offer bulk basil in August for freezing pesto, I’ll have more info in a couple of weeks.  And since it’s summer, did you know that basil is anti-inflammatory and good for bug bites?  I crush up a leaf and rub it on itchy mosquito bites for a bit of relief.

It won’t affect your CSA, but we want to let you know that starting next week we will have a farm stand at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lincoln City on Tuesdays from 11 to 1 in the courtyard at the cafeteria.  We won’t be offering CSA pickup at the hospital, but we will have lots of great veggies for sale to hospital staff and anyone else who’d like to come.  Help us spread the word!


Basil Fried Rice with Radishes (or Baby Turnips)

I know you have lots of radishes, and so do I!  They’re not my favorite vegetable, but I made this for our work party potluck this weekend and really enjoyed them.  You could use turnips in this recipe in addition to or instead of the radishes.

3 c cooked brown rice
2 bunches radishes or turnips
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp Tamari (or to taste)
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 bunch basil
Salt and Chili Flakes to taste

Separate radishes/turnips from their tops.  Chop tops coarsely.  Slice radishes/turnips into thin rounds or half moons if roots are large.  Pick basil leaves from the stems and chop coarsely.

Put 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and a large pinch of salt.  Saute, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.  Add radish tops and half the green onions.  Cook and stir about 3 more minutes, then add a splash of the tamari.  Stir and let simmer for about 30 seconds.

Add rice, remaining oil and tamari, and salt to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, 6 to 8 more minutes.  Add basil, chili flakes, and salt to taste.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

CSA Week 3

In your share week 3:

Carrots
Baby Turnips or Radishes
Salad Mix

Half Shares Only:

Basil
Napa Cabbage or Kale or Komatsuna

Full Shares Only:

Kohlrabi
Radish
Broccoli or Snow Peas
Kale

The weather is warming up and the plants are growing, but it will still be another week or two before we have lots of new crops.  Half shares get their first basil this week: remember that it keeps best in a plastic bag on the counter!  The basil is looking beautiful and soon we’ll have lots more, but for now there’s just enough for some.  To use basil, pinch off the leaves from the stems and add them to salads, pastas, curries, and more.  Add basil leaves at the end of cooking, just before eating, to preserve their complex flavor.

Many of you are getting the first baby turnips (we’ll try to get them to everyone, but they’re just now sizing up).  Returning members will remember these, but 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.

We are just getting into our first main season broccoli and the first of our peas.  Peas are a good indicator of how much cooler we are at the coast than the Willamette Valley: our peas typically come on in mid-July, while folks with gardens in Portland are finishing their peas by now!  We grow snap peas (the kind you eat pod and all), but this year the seed was mixed up by the breeder and we’re ending up with mostly snow peas.  These are the flat podded type commonly used in stir fries and salads, so you’ll be mostly getting those this summer.  We have a few pints for full shares this week and it looks like lots more to come.

And since we’ve been giving you lots of radishes (it’s the only thing we’re really swimming in right now), here’s a couple more suggestions of how to use them.  You can grill them, by themselves or with baby turnips.  You could add them to the turnip recipe below, or use them and the greens to make a soup, along with chicken or veggie broth, onion, and fresh herbs.  You could make a quick pickle and eat them with tacos, slice them up and add them to fresh sushi rolls, or make a big stir fry with everything else in your share.  Remember, if you don’t like radish heat, it mellows when cooked!

We’ve had a couple of CSA mix-ups in the first 2 weeks.  I’d like to remind you that if you have somebody else pick up your share, make sure they know what color bag to take and that they check off your name.  Remember: you are responsible for making sure your share is picked up.  If your substitute picks up the wrong size share, it leads to confusion for the next member who comes to get theirs.  Thanks!


Honey-kissed Baby Turnips & Greens

From Live Earth Farm’s CSA.  Serves 2.

1 bunch turnips with greens

1 tsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

½ tsp honey

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Cut turnips into half-inch slices.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, melt butter and add olive oil. When butter starts bubbling, add turnips and stir/shake pan to coat and distribute oil/butter. Let cook over medium heat, stirring and turning periodically, until turnips begin to soften and lightly brown, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle moderately with sea salt, then add honey, stirring constantly to distribute–it will melt quickly.

Toss in the greens along with their clinging water. Continue to stir and cook until greens have wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and several grindings of black pepper, stir and serve!

This dish keeps its green color even if it isn’t served right away or is reheated. Dishes with greens that use acid ingredients (like lemon or vinegar) turn an olive color after a short while.


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.

CSA Week 2

In your share week 2:

Carrot
Radish
Kohlrabi
Salad Mix
Kale
Herbs (Half shares)

Full Shares Only:

Basil
Napa Cabbage

 

This week’s share is pretty similar to last week’s; it will still be another week or two before we have much more variety to offer you.

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.

 

There’s still not enough basil for everyone, but half shares get a bunch of herbs in their share today.  You might have chocolate mint, sage, chives, or thyme.  Sage, chives, and thyme are all good to add early in cooking, while mint should be added to a dish after cooking.  You can pick the leaves off the stems from all, though I often don’t bother with thyme because it’s too much work.  Just chop it up finely, and it’s okay to eat the flowers!  You can also use the herbs to make herbed butter or olive oil, or add the mint to lemonade or a cocktail.  Store your herbs in a bag in the fridge (except basil: keep basil at room temperature).

 

Full shares have a head of flowering napa cabbage today.  We stopped growing napa (or Chinese) cabbage in the spring because it bolts (flowers) so easily, but I thought I’d give it a try.  Then it hit 100 degrees a couple of weeks ago, and most of the heads sent up shoots immediately.  However, they are still good to eat.  The flowering stalks may be tough, you can try a bite of one or test it by seeing if it snaps easily.  The leaves, though, are tender and tasty and can be eaten whole (the white rib is my favorite part).  Napa cabbage is mild and crunchy, and makes a great salad or stir fry.

 

We had kale last week, but another note about cooking kale.  You can indeed eat the stems, but they usually take a little longer to cook than the leaves.  Ideally when cooking them, I throw the stems in a few minutes early, but often I don’t bother.  Occasionally I remove the ribs if I’m in a hurry on cooking time or want just the leafy texture.


Radish, Kohlrabi, and Carrot Salad

Another contribution from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. This is an easy salad she says is ubiquitous in Korea. She recommends serving with refried beans or just plain rice. Serves 4.

 

In a bowl, mix together:

1 large kohlrabi, the bottom discarded and julienned

            3 carrots, julienned

            Roots from 1 bunch radish, julienned

            1 tsp salt

Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain and put the vegetables in a clean bowl. Add:

2 tsp soy sauce

            1 ½ to 2 tsp white vinegar

            ½ tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne (or to taste)

            1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

            2 tsp sesame oil

Toss and taste, adjusting salt and other seasonings as needed.


Sesame Carrots on a Bed of Napa Cabbage

From Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen. This is a great recipe with our new spring carrots and a fresh head of napa cabbage. The dish is in 2 layers, and Katzen recommends cooking the two layers side by side so they are ready together.

Heat a wok or large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add:

2 tsp sesame oil

            3 c baby carrots, cut into matchsticks

            ½ tsp salt

Saute for about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add:

            2 Tbsp rice vinegar

Cover again, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in:

2 Tbsp honey

            2 Tsp tahini

            1 large clove garlic, minced

Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender and starting to brown (about 5 to 8 more minutes).

At the same time, heat a second wok or skillet over medium heat. Add:

1 tsp vegetable oil

            3 c chopped onion

            ½ tsp salt

Stir fry for 10 minutes, then add 6 c napa cabbage, chopped. Keep the heat high and stir fry about 8 more minutes, until the cabbage wilts but is still a little crunchy. Transfer to a serving platter and cover with the carrots. Serve hot, warm, or at room temp.