CSA Week 1

In your share week 1:

Beets
Garlic or garlic scapes
Kale
Dill
Cilantro
Nasturtiums
Carrots or Broccoli (Half Shares only)

Full Shares only:
Cabbage
Salad Mix
Italian Parsley

It’s finally here!  It’s a long wait for the first CSA share, but that’s how it goes in our cool coastal climate.  This is even still a bit early in our season, full harvests don’t kick in until about the third week of July.  But we have lots of delicious things coming in, and so much that’s looking great out in the field.

Today’s share is extra green since the more colorful things are usually the later ones!  The two most abundant things on the farm right now are kale and herbs, so that’s what’s making up the bulk of your share today.

Today’s kale is the first of many bunches to come: kale is a constant friend throughout the season.  We grow two types: red Russian has wide, frilly leaves with purple stems, and the Tuscan is dark blue green with bumpy texture.  I find the red Russian is more sweet and tender and better suited for salads and quicker cooking.  The Tuscan has a bit more body and holds up better in a soup or casserole, and its bumpy texture is great for catching sauce.  But both are versatile and can be used in all kinds of ways!

Herbs are fantastic and grow beautifully here at the coast.  We don’t usually give you this many at once, and I encourage you to think of using them like any other vegetable.  They are extremely good for you, with high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  I use entire bunches at a time.  I most often blend them up into pestos, green sauces, and dressings using my immersion blender or food processor.  Then I add those sauces to everything else: tacos, sandwiches, salads, rice, etc.  They’re quick and easy to make and add instant flavor when you use them.

For all of today’s herbs, I’d use the stem as well as the leaves.  The whole bunch can be chopped and used!  Store them (and the kale) in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Herbs should keep about a week, though their flavor is best when they are freshest.

Nasturtiums are a new treat!  (Since I’ve been getting so into flowers, you didn’t think you could get away without a few, did you?)  Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and have a lovely peppery sweet flavor.  They are great raw or cooked, if you (or your kids) don’t like the spicy flavor, it mellows when it’s cooked.  Last night we chopped up the leaves and flowers and added them to tacos, they’re also great in salad or noodle dishes, and I’ve been told the leaves make a great soup.  Keep these in a plastic bag in the fridge as well, the leaves will last a little longer than the flowers.

Garlic is also an unusual addition for us.  I’ve accepted that it’s just too wet here for it to grow outside, so I just grow a short bed in the greenhouse for myself.  But I have more than I need, so I thought I’d share it with you.  Some of you have garlic scapes, which are the flowering tops of the garlic plant.  They look like curly stems with a little elf hat; the elf hat part is a bit tough and I usually don’t eat it, but the rest of the stalk has a lovely green garlic flavor.  You can chop it up finely like a garlic clove, or leave it in larger pieces.  Others have a freshly pulled head with the stalk still attached. The stalk and bulb are both good to eat, and at this stage I sometimes don’t even peel the cloves since the peels aren’t dried out yet.

We’ve changed how we grow beets this year, and it’s looking like they are off to a good start!  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.

Lots more veggies are coming, most crops are looking great.  Salad will be slim for the next few weeks at least, between bug damage and fluctuating temperatures we aren’t getting the yield we’d like to see, but we’ll try to get it to you when we can.  Cauliflower and peas are next on deck, hopefully next week or the following!


Yotam Ottolenghi’s Iranian Herb Fritters

Herbs are delicious and so good for you! These fritters can be eaten hot or cold, plain or with a dipping sauce like this green tahini recipe. From Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi.

 

2 cups dill, finely chopped

2 cups basil leaves, finely choppd

2 cups cilantro, finely chopped

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3 Tbsp currants

1/3 c walnuts, toasted and rough chopped

8 large eggs, beaten

salt

¼ cup sunflower oil, for frying

Place all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl with ½ tsp salt. Mix well to combine and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high. Once hot, add ladles of batter to the pan in batches. Fritters should be about 5” wide. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

To make Green Tahini Dipping sauce, blend together in a food processor or blender:

3 Tsp tahini

1 ½ cups parsley

½ crushed garlic clove

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

Add ½ cup water and blend a bit longer.


Mediterranean-Style roasted beet salad with crispy kale and slivered almonds. A simple lemon-honey vinaigrette with a hint of piney rosemary brings it all together. The perfect salad or side dish to complete a beautiful meal. Vegan. Gluten Free. Be sure to review recipe notes for important tips.


Roasted Beet Salad with Crispy Kale and Almonds

Mediterranean-Style roasted beet salad with crispy kale and slivered almonds. A simple lemon-honey vinaigrette with a hint of piney rosemary brings it all together. The perfect salad or side dish to complete a beautiful meal. Vegan. Gluten Free.  From The Mediterranean Dishby Suzy Karadsheh.

For Beet Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, well cleaned and ribs removed (about 8 ounces kale leaves)
  • 1 bunch beets washed, dried and peeled
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 3 tbsp slivered almonds

For Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
  • 3 tbsp/63 g honey
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp/ 1.5 g dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss kale with salt, pepper and a little extra virgin olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast in heated-oven for 7 minutes. Check, and if kale is not crispy enough, leave it in oven a little longer (I went up to 10 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Cut peeled beets into wedges. Place beets on a baking sheet and season with salt. Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Make sure beets are spread in one layer on the baking sheet and roast in heated oven for about 45 minutes or so.
  4. While beets are roasting, make the lemon-honey vinaigrette. Simply mix vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  5. Toast silvered almonds in a dry non-stick skillet, tossing frequently, until almonds turn a golden color (do not brown too much.)
  6. When beets are ready and you are able to stick a knife in without resistance, remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add shallots.
  7. Pour the lemon-honey vinaigrette on top, and give the beets and shallots a nice toss. Add crispy kale and very gently toss.
  8. Transfer beet salad to a serving platter. Add toasted silvered almonds. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

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