CSA Week 10

In your share week 10:

Potatoes
Beets
Cauliflower and/or Broccoli
Green Beans
Zucchini
Cucumber
Kale
Basil
Dill or mint
Tomatoes

Just over halfway through the season, and this is a huge share!  We are at peak production on the farm, and your share reflects that.  We’ve gotten into huge picks of all the fruits, with our biggest pick yet on green beans last Friday (106 pounds!).  The zucchini have finally taken off and are making up for lost time, and the tomatoes are treating us to consistently large harvests of delicious juicy fruit.  Meanwhile, we’re still getting regular harvests from all our cool season favorites, and we’ve still got 2/3 of the potato patch to dig.

 

Today’s share is a lot of food, so if you can’t eat it all this week consider putting some up.  Tomatoes are easy to freeze, just put them in a ziploc bag and you’re done.  Green beans and kale can be blanched (briefly submerged in boiling water) and then frozen.  Zucchini, Cauliflower, and broccoli can all be frozen by roasting or grilling them part way first (or these can be blanched and frozen too).  Zucchini can also be grated and frozen to make zucchini bread in the winter, and basil can be ground in olive oil and frozen to add to soups, pastas, and more.  You can also try pickling many of today’s veggies, and we’ve included an extra bunch of herbs that could be used to flavor your favorite pickles (dilly beans, anyone?).

 

For many of you, these are the first beets.  Our beets don’t need peeling as the skins are very tender.  You can eat them raw, roasted, boiled, or grilled.  Beet greens are a real winner, too; they are extra nutritious with a fruity, earthy flavor.  I’m honestly not a huge beet fan, but I love the greens.  Cook them like kale or spinach, sauteed, steamed, or in soup.  Store beets in a bag in the fridge, if you won’t use them right away remove the tops and store them separately.

 

We are sad to bid farewell to one of our crewmembers this week as Helen heads back for her sophomore year at Western Washington University.  Helen has been a skilled harvester and has packed nearly all of your shares.  She’s been a lot of fun to work with and we’ve enjoyed her great attitude, calm presence, and keen observation here at the farm.  The crew won’t be the same without her.

 

Helen has classes to get to, so she’s leaving a little before our harvests actually taper off, but it’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks we’ll be starting to slow down.  As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, growth slows and some of the warm weather crops kick the bucket.  Our potatoes are dying back and soon we’ll be digging them all out to store for fall and winter use.  We’re already cutting back on watering and getting ready to cover crop the fields for winter, planting fall crops in the greenhouses, and finishing up our final sowings and plantings.  You always have to be 3 steps ahead in farming or you miss your chance!

 

This time of year, people start to ask me when the CSA ends.  Folks getting the summer only shares have their final pickup September 18 – 23.  The rest of you go into November, so you’re really only halfway through the season!  We still have lots more to harvest from our summer crops and lots of fall crops coming that we haven’t even harvested (pumpkins! Brussels sprouts!).  We still have Thanksgiving shares available if you want to secure some storage crops and delicious goodies for your holiday table, click here to sign up if you haven’t already.  I’ll be raising the price soon, but with all this harvesting I haven’t gotten around to it.  Last chance to get the early bird price!


Zucchini and Rosemary Soup

Recommended by member Anna Russo, she says this delicious soup is easy to make and is a great way to use up lots of zucchini. From the June 1995 issue of Bon Appetit.

 

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter


1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1 large onion, chopped


2 garlic cloves, sliced


2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth


1 potato, peeled, sliced


3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced



1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Croutons


Chopped green onions

 

Melt butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and rosemary. Add stock and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add sliced zucchini; simmer until tender about 15 minutes.

Working in batches, puree in blender (or use an immersion blender). Season with salt and pepper.

Cook cubed zucchini in saucepan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain. Rewarm soup over medium heat. Ladle into bowls. Top with zucchini and croutons. Sprinkle with green onions.


Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato Sauce and Roasted Broccoli Spears

This is a quick and filling meal. You can use a canned tomato sauce, or make a simple one like in the recipe below. This works best with the smaller side shoots of the broccoli, as they cook quickly and require no preparation. Serves 4.

 

For the sauce, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add:

4 cloves garlic, chopped (or use garlic scapes in season)

            1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

            Salt and black pepper

Sautee for a couple of minutes, then add:

            2 pounds coarsely chopped tomatoes

Stir to coat the tomatoes in the oil and garlic. Within a few minutes, the tomatoes should start to

release their juice. I also add a splash of red or white wine. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. Add ½ c chopped basil or parsley.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. If necessary, slice one bunch broccoli lengthwise into thin

spears, or use whole if already thin. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, using tongs to turn the spears once. They are done when the florets start to get crispy and the stems are tender.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. Add 1 pound spaghetti and cook until al dente. Toss with the sauce and top with broccoli spears and a sprinkle of parmesan.

 

CSA Week 9

In your share week 9:

Carrots
Green Beans
Onions
Fennel
Zucchini
Cucumber (Some sites only)
Tomato and/or Cherry Tomato
Basil

Full Shares Only:

Eggplant
Potatoes

 

This is an extra summery share, with, unusually, no greens.  All of our fruits are finally producing in quantity, and we’ve been getting huge picks of tomatoes, zucchini, and beans several times a week.  On that note, we are offering bulk basil and green beans that can be delivered with your CSA share or picked up at the market in the next couple of weeks.  Basil is $15 per pound with a 1 pound minimum order.  Green beans are $4 per pound for orders over 5 pounds ($4.50 lb if you want less).  If you want to freeze pesto or beans or make pickled beans, send me an email with how much you want and when/where you want to pick it up.  I’ll respond to confirm.

 

New today are onions and fennel.  While all of you are familiar with onions, you may not have seen them sold like this before.  Our onions have mostly failed to grow this year after a rough start in the cold wet spring.  We are cutting our losses and cleaning out the ones that just aren’t going to make bulbs, so that’s mostly what’s in your share today.  They may be small, but they are delicious and can be used in place of a bulb onion in any recipe.  The greens are delicious too, and I chop them up right along with the bulbs.  I’d say your bunch is equivalent to 2 medium onions if you are substituting.  You can also grill or roast them whole, with or without the tops.  Most folks have a standard yellow type onion, but some have little white cippolinis or red onions.  All are delicious!

 

Normally we include lots of onions in your share throughout the summer, but this year’s crop has been mostly a failure.  They are one of the first things to be sown and planted, as they are sensitive to day length and need as much time as possible to size up and cure properly.  This year, though, nearly all of our early plantings were weak or failed to grow completely.  Even though this spring’s challenging weather seems like a distant memory, farming is a long-term endeavor and we are still feeling the ramifications of all that rain and cold.

 

The other new item for everyone is fennel. 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.

 

Full shares have a gorgeous eggplant, one of my absolute favorite vegetables.  These were a surprise, as our eggplant were limping along for most of the summer.  We fertilized them a few weeks ago, and on a field walk last week I noticed that they had taken off and were covered in fruit!  I love eggplant’s succulent texture.  I tend to like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj.  Ours are the long slender Japanese type, and I always eat the skin.  To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or chunks.  Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that.  Store eggplant in a bag in the fridge, though they’ll be all right on the counter for a day or two.

 


Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pears, Fennel, and Walnuts

From The One Dish Vegetarian by Mia Robbins, this hearty salad can stand alone as a meal or be served as a side. I particularly like fennel raw, and it pairs very well with fruit as in this dish.

In a saucepan, bring 4 c water to a boil. Add 2 c quinoa, turn the heat to low, and simmer until the grains become translucent, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine:

2 apples, cored, diced, and sprinkled with lemon juice

            2 ripe pears, cored, diced, and sprinkled with lemon juice

            1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced

            ½ c dried currants

            2 shallots, finely minced

In a separate bowl, whisk together:

½ c fresh orange juice

            3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

            1 Tbsp olive oil

            Zest of 1 orange

            Zest of 1 lemon

            Salt and pepper

Mix quinoa together with fruit mixture, then pour dressing over the top. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle with ½ toasted walnuts and serve.


Polenta “Pizza” With Cherry Tomatoes And Roasted Garlic

This was a favorite dish for group meals when I worked at Horton Road Organics. The polenta and/or toppings can be made ahead, and the whole thing is very filling. Here I suggest cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic, but any combination of toppings is excellent: sautéed kale, chanterelles, winter squash, pesto, broccoli, and anything else you can think of.

 

In a saucepan, bring 6 c water to a rolling boil. Add 1 ½ c dry polenta and ½ tsp salt. Whisk for a minute or two, until the polenta stays suspended when you stop whisking. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for a full hour, stirring occasionally. Mix in:

2 Tbsp olive oil

            ½ c grated cheese, such as parmesan or cheddar

Spread the polenta mixture in a lightly oiled 9 x 13 baking dish and let cool to room temperature. Polenta will become firm.

Meanwhile, place 1 or 2 heads worth of garlic cloves, unpeeled, in a cast iron or baking sheet. Bake in the oven or toaster oven at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cloves are soft. Allow to cool, then peel.

Halve or quarter 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, then spread these and the garlic over the polenta. Sprinkle with ½ c grated mozzarella cheese. Bake the casserole in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes, then remove and serve.

CSA Week 8

In your share week 8:

Carrots
Purple Viking Potatoes
Green Beans
Zucchini and/or Cucumbers
Baby Bibb Lettuce
Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes
Cilantro
Kale

Full shares only:

Baby Turnips

 

We finally have tomatoes!  We have over twice as many planted as last year, and overall the plants are looking fantastic.  But here at the coast, and especially this year, we really have to wait for them to ripen up and be delicious.  Monday’s pick was the largest we’ve ever done at the farm, over 100 pounds!  So where possible, we’re including extras for all of you who have been so patient.

 

We grow a mix of heirloom tomatoes and a few newer varieties bred for northern climes.  This year we have started to grow more determinate (or bush) varieties, since they are easier to care for and produce more reliably here at the coast.  Our cherry tomatoes are hybrid Sungolds, super sweet orange tomatoes that are unmatched in flavor!  We do our best to pick the tomatoes ripe to maximize their flavor, though we try to pick them so they’ll last at least a few days on the counter.  Don’t refrigerate your tomatoes!  They keep best in a bowl on the counter.  Several of today’s pick had cracks in them, so I’d recommend eating those first.

 

Our tomatoes are all great for fresh eating as well as adding to your favorite recipes.  We don’t have a lot of roma/sauce types, so they make an extra juicy salsa or sauce (it works anyway!).  I love to add them to beans, salads, pastas, and really everything I make.  I’m sure you’ve got a favorite way to use your tomatoes.

 

In other news, we picked over 300 pounds of green beans in 8 days!!  And there are still lots more coming… Everyone gets another fat bag today, try grilling them if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to use them up.  Pickling and canning green beans is another great way to take advantage of the summer bounty, I’ll include a recipe below.  If you want to do a big batch of pickled beans, we are offering a special bulk price of $4 per pound for orders over 5 pounds.  Email me if you want to order some extras for canning!

 

Other new items today include zucchini or cucumbers, depending if you have a full or half share.  These are also finally taking off, though it’s starting to look like we won’t have the abundant harvests we sometimes get.  Your cucumbers today are a standard American slicing type, good for snacking, cucumber salads, tabouleh, or whatever you like to do with them.  These can be pickled, though I don’t recommend canning them as they get soft.

 

Everyone also gets one of my personal favorite veggies, a head or two of baby bibb lettuce.  These make a wonderful salad: they are a perfect mix of sweet, crunchy, buttery, and just a bit bitter.  They are similar to a mini romaine, but a bit more buttery.  Yum!  Today’s potatoes are Purple Viking, a particularly striking variety.  Though purple outside, they are white on the inside and have a fluffier, more starchy texture than our other varieties.  They are the best baking potato that we grow, but they are also wonderful roasted, put in soup, or made into hash.


Pickled Green Beans

From Marthastewart.com, this is a simple recipe for refrigerator pickles, which last for months in the refrigerator.  Canned, they will store indefinitely in the cupboard.  I’ll include canning instructions from the Simple Bites blog by Shaina Olmanson at the end.

 

  •  3/4 pound trimmed green beans
  • 4 thinly sliced cloves garlic
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 dried red chiles

For refrigerator pickles:

Arrange green beans and garlic in clean glass jars. In a saucepan, bring vinegar, salt, peppercorns, sugar, and chiles to a boil. Carefully pour mixture into jars, secure lids, and let cool to room temperature.

For canned pickles:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Stir and boil until salt is dissolved. Keep warm over medium-low heat.
  2. Sterilize canning jars, lids and rings by boiling in a large pot of boiling water. Leave the lids and rings in the water, but remove the jars and pack tightly with green beans. Move quickly so the jars stay warm.
  3. Ladle the vinegar mix over the green beans until it comes within a 1/4″ of the lip.  If you run out of the vinegar mix, make a second batch.  Wipe down the rims, cover with a lid and lightly screw on the rings.
  4. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (15 minutes for above 6,000 feet altitude). Remove the jars to a clean, dry towel. Be sure none are touching. Allow to cool.
  5. The jars will pop and seal as they cool. Any unsealed jars can be refrigerated and used promptly.

Tempeh and Potato Hash

Adapted from The Complete Vegan Cookbook by Susan Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.  I made this for Sunday breakfast this week when we ran out of eggs, and it was delicious.  The original recipe calls for tofu, but I prefer tempeh, available at Trillium. 

6 oz tempeh, cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 1/2  Tbsp Canola oil
1 onion or 1 bunch green onions, diced
1 pound potatoes, finely diced

2 carrots, finely diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Toss the tempeh in a bowl with the sugar, paprika, 1/2 Tbsp of the canola oil, and 1/2 tsp of the soy sauce.  Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a large deep skillet and add the onion.  Saute until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes, then add the potatoes and carrots and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add 1/3 cup water to the pan, along with the oregano and soy sauce, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the liquid is almost completely absorbed.

Add the tomatoes, salt and tempeh.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the hash is lightly browned and crusty, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Serve immediately.

CSA Week 7

In your share week 7:

Carrots
Cauliflower (most shares)
Green Beans
Green Onion
Kale
Basil (Bulk for half shares)
Peas (most shares)
Cilantro (Half shares only)

Full shares only:

Cucumber or Zucchini
Salad mix
Beets

 

It’s August, harvests are on, and this is a big share!  The huge harvest of the week is green beans.  We started picking them last week and went from 7# last Monday to 80# today!  These are the most beautiful bean plants we’ve ever grown and they are loaded.  And these are just the first rotation…  You’ve all got a big bag of green beans today and there will be lots more coming in the next several weeks.

 

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.

 

We also have another beautiful head of cauliflower as we wrap up the harvest on the first planting.  We’ve harvested over 300 pounds of cauliflower in the past week, which is definitely a record for the farm.  We have lots more plantings out there, but none of them are looking to be quite so perfect and abundant as this one has been.  We may not have quite enough for everybody, so folks later in the week may get a cauliflower alternative.  The same goes for peas, we had a good pick today but I’m not certain I’ll have them for everybody and may swap them for something else later in the week.

 

Full shares get the first beets today.  Beets have been a perpetually challenging crop for us, and we get lots of beautiful ones but also not so much.  We now have 3 rotations that are sized up enough to pick from, and we can start to include them for you!  Our beets don’t need peeling as the skins are very tender.  You can eat them raw, roasted, boiled, or grilled.  Beet greens are a real winner, too; they are extra nutritious with a fruity, earthy flavor.  I’m honestly not a huge beet fan, but I love the greens.  Cook them like kale or spinach, sauteed, steamed, or in soup.  Store beets in a bag in the fridge, if you won’t use them right away remove the tops and store them separately.

 

We finally have zucchini for full shares.  We have beautiful plants out there but we haven’t gotten much to harvest.  We’re seeing a lot of blossom end rot, indicative of a lack of calcium, which can be caused by a lot of factors.  I tried a calcium foliar feed (leaf spray) last week that didn’t seem to do the trick, and then read that they more readily take up calcium through the roots.  So I bought a bottle of Bimart brand Tums and one of our crewmembers “planted” the tablets under the drip line.  Today we have a beautiful harvest of perfect zucchini!  I don’t know if they responded to the Tums treatment that quickly, or if it was a delayed response to the foliar feed, or if they just liked last week’s heat and finally took off, but something worked and I’m hoping we’ll get into more abundant summer zucchini harvests from now on.

 

One of the challenges of farming is that there are so many factors affecting your plants, and it’s difficult to diagnose what is causing a problem.  Many of those factors are outside your control, and it isn’t easy to set up and monitor a controlled experiment in the midst of the harvest season.  There’s always a delay between treatments and results, and often, by the time you figure out what’s wrong, it’s too late to fix it.  For example, we were having trouble with poor germination in our carrot seed this spring.  I thought it might be watering, then thought it might be cold wet soils.  And carrot seed takes at least 10 days to germinate that early in the season, so it was several weeks before I finally diagnosed the problem and adjusted my sowing density to accommodate the poor germination.  We just started to harvest the first well germinated bed on Friday, 6 months after I seeded the first carrots of the year.


Haricots Verts, Corn, and Carrot Salad

From The New York Times Cooking.  The beans today are mostly haricots verts, or French filet, type, though we pick them a little larger than is traditional because it makes them soooo much easier to harvest.  We don’t grow corn, but it is in season now and you can get it at any of the local farmers markets!

 

½ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced fresh chives
 Black pepper, as needed
1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
2 ⅔ cups cooked fresh corn kernels (from about 4 corn cobs)
½ pound carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (2 cups)

In a small bowl, whisk together salt, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk in oil until incorporated. Whisk in chives and pepper.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in haricots verts and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, cool and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, toss together haricots verts, corn and carrot. Toss in dressing and season with salt and pepper.


Pan Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Peas

From David Tanis at The New York Times CookingHe says: This dish is inspired by a trip to Curry Hill, a neighborhood in New York dotted with stores selling saris, Indian restaurants, Pakistani cafes and hole-in-the-wall spice shops. When I got home from my shopping spree, a cauliflower was screaming for Indian spices, garlic and ginger. Better still, I knew I could knock together a pan-roasted meal in about 20 minutes.

Featured in: A Cumin, Ginger And Sweet Pea Kind Of Day.

3 tablespoons ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
1 small cauliflower about 1 1/2 pounds, cored, in 1/2-inch slices
 Salt
 pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 to 3 kaffir lime leaves, optional
1 inch long piece of ginger, peeled and slivered or finely grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, finely chopped, or to taste
1 pound fresh English peas, shucked about 1 cup or frozen peas, or 1/2 pound snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 to 3 scallions, slivered
 Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
 Lime wedges, for serving

Heat a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ghee or oil, and when it is hot, add the cauliflower. Stir until the cauliflower begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the cauliflower is half-cooked, about 5 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary to keep it from browning too quickly.
Add the cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves, if using. When they begin to sizzle, add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Stir well and add the peas, along with a sprinkle of salt. Cover to let the peas steam until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the slivered scallions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

CSA Week 6

In your share week 6:

Baby Turnips
Cauliflower
Broccoli or Peas
New Potatoes: Austrian Crescent Fingerlings
Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Basil

Half Shares only:

Radishes

Full Shares only:

Cilantro
Green Onions
Kohlrabi
Bulk basil

August is here and shares are getting big!  We have our first cauliflower today, another of my favorites.  Some of today’s cauliflower has a purplish tint from exposure to the sun, which doesn’t affect the flavor.  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!

 

Today’s new potatoes are fingerlings.  They have a similar taste and texture to last week’s carolas, and can be used interchangeably.  Many people like fingerlings because their shape makes them easy to prep for cooking, as well as for their buttery flavor.  They are wonderful roasted, boiled, or smashed.  Remember that these new potatoes should be kept in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

We have more heads of baby bok choy for everyone today.  They have been growing well and have nice juicy stems and green leaves, but you’ll notice a lot of bug damage on them.  We have a few crops that are getting nibbled pretty hard, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting their health and flavor, so I’m still including them in the share.  We’ve dunked the bok choy in cold water, which is a pretty effective way to remove any remaining bugs.  If you’re concerned, you may want to give them another rinse.

 

And that reminds me of a common question: are these vegetables washed?  We rinse many of the veggies that you get, including all the roots and greens, with clean, potable water and store them cold.  Several vegetables don’t get rinsed at all, including all the fruits and all the cole crops (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc).  However, we don’t have a certified facility, and our wash area is covered but is open to the outdoors.  We are very conscientious of food safety, following good practices for hand washing and avoiding contamination.  We never spray our crops with herbicides or insecticides.  We eat most of the veggies without an additional rinse, but we don’t sell them as “washed” and you may want to rinse them at home.

Full shares have the only other new item (coming soon to half shares!): cilantro.  Our cilantro has been slow to get going, but we have several nice patches coming on and will hopefully be including it frequently in the shares.  I use the stems and leaves of the plant, and will be including the flowering stalks later, which are also perfectly good to use.  Add cilantro to raw dishes or at the end of cooking to preserve its aromatic flavor.  Store it in a bag in the fridge.

 

Full shares this week get a full pound of basil, great for making pesto to eat or freeze (half shares coming soon).  When I freeze pesto, I just make my usual recipe and freeze it in small plastic containers.  Many people omit the nuts or cheese and add them after thawing, or some people just grind the basil up in oil and freeze it that way for greater versatility.  Lots of people will freeze the pesto in ice cube trays or muffin tins, then bag it for smaller portion sizes.  Or I’ve seen people spread out a piece of wax paper, dab dollops of pesto in a row, and then roll it up like sausage links.  See last week’s blog post for my favorite pesto recipe!  If you don’t plan to use your basil right away, remember to store it in a bag at room temperature, not in the fridge.  That should give you a week or so to get to it, though it’s best at its freshest.


Grilled Broccoli

This grilled broccoli is dressed simply in tamari, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It results in crisp-tender florets that are beautifully sweet and salty beneath the smoke.  Copied from The New York Times Cooking, and featured in: Fette Sau’s Joe Carroll Writes ‘Feeding The Fire,’ A Worthy Barbecue Primer

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 head broccoli, approximately 2 pounds, cored and cut into 1-inch florets

Kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Flaky sea salt (optional)

  1. Build a fire in your grill, leaving about 1/3 of grill free of coals, or set a gas grill to high.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the tamari or soy sauce with the vinegar. Add the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Add the broccoli and toss to coat. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
  3. Place a grill basket on the grill and add the broccoli to it. Grill, tossing frequently, until the florets are crisp at the edges and tender within, with just a little bit of bite to them, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. If you don’t have a grill basket, lay the florets out on the grill in a single level and use tongs to turn them often. More work, same result.
  4. Transfer the cooked broccoli to a platter, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and, if using, a pinch or two of flaky sea salt.

Venetian Cauliflower

From David Tanis at The New York Times.  Give commonplace cauliflower an upgrade and it becomes holiday fare. Take a classic Venetian approach by using a mixture of sweet spices. Caramelized onions, saffron and cinnamon build the fragrant foundation, along with fennel and coriander seeds. Currants, golden raisins and pine nuts add complexity.

Featured in: Winter Vegetables For Spring Holidays

  • 1 cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • Pinch of saffron, crumbled
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 

  1. Cut cauliflower in half from top to bottom, then remove the core. With a paring knife, cut into very small florets of equal size. Blanch florets in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cool in cold water and drain.
  2. Put olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add saffron, cinnamon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and red pepper. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Add lemon zest, currants, raisins and cauliflower florets. Toss with wooden spoons to distribute. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.