CSA Week 2

In your share week 2:

Cabbage or Broccoli
Cauliflower
Baby Bok Choy
Sugar Snap Peas
Radish Microgreens
Basil

Half shares only:
Salad Greens

Full shares only:

Raspberries
New potatoes: Caribe
Kale
Cilantro

The farm is finally turning the corner and we have a lot more to share with you this week!  One of the favorites on the farm is the sugar snap peas.  These are the kind of peas you eat whole, pod and all.  I like them best as they are for snacking, but you can also chop them up into salads or cook with them.  We pick ours carefully to make sure you get them at their sweetest.  The plants are currently over 7 feet tall and still growing fast.  These are a great example of how different our season is here at the coast from further inland: most other farms I know have already finished harvesting their peas, while ours are just coming on.  If you don’t eat your peas on the way home, I’d put them in a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge.

Another CSA favorite making its debut is basil.  This year’s basil crop is looking great, with huge beautiful leaves and fantastic flavor.  Storing basil is always tricky, and I do recommend eating it quickly for the best flavor.  We’ve had the best luck keeping it in a closed plastic bag at room temperature.  Others trim the stems and store it in a jar of water.  I’d recommend keeping it out of the fridge.  To use basil, pinch off the leaves and tear or chop them into salads, pasta dishes, curries, or sprinkle them on hot pizza or roasted vegetables (I could go on…)  Pesto is the classic use for basil, we make a lot of it on the farm and I’ve included a recipe below.

This is early for cauliflower, but here it is!  We’ve planted less than last year, but we still have a lot of it in the field.  Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable, good raw or cooked.  I like it best roasted.  I break it into florets, toss it with a generous amount of olive oil, and roast it at 425 – 450 (I used to do 400 but I just got a new oven and realized how hot my old one ran).  We cook it until it is fully soft and starting to caramelize, and it’s oh so good.  Many folks use cauliflower in a gluten free or low carb diet to make pizza crusts or mashes.  I also love a good cauliflower soup.  Some of the heads have some purplish or pink coloring; this is from sun exposure and doesn’t affect the flavor or eating quality at all.

Our salad mix and bok choy have been getting nibbled on by flea beetles this year, so they are more limited than we’d like.  Finally this week we have a rotation that has grown lush and beautiful, albeit with holes in the leaves.  Flea beetles are difficult to control, and we are opposed to allopathic (killing) sprays even with organically approved materials.  I don’t believe that these sprays deal with the root of the problem, and they are expensive, time consuming, and often ineffective.  I prefer to focus on plant health and promoting a natural balance of beneficial insects on the farm.  But we’re running into more insect problems, probably in part due to the warmer winters, and maybe in part because of the history of use of our newer land.  I’m working on strategies to adjust to this new pressure, but in the mean time the salad and bok choy have some insect damage. We rinse our greens in cold water, and they shouldn’t have dirt or bugs on them (though a few slip by us now and then…)

The heads of baby bok choy are a nice size, and they are succulent and tender.  I like them grilled or chopped up raw into a noodle salad.  I often stir fry them with rice, make sure to eat the succulent stems!   We’ve included a small bag of radish microgreens, think sprouts on these.  These have a nice mild radish flavor, you can add a handful to sandwiches, tacos, or salads for a bit of extra crunch, flavor, and nutrition.

Full shares have the first early new potatoes!  This is another crop that has been getting hit by flea beetles, and this variety seemed particularly susceptible so we pulled them out early before they got too damaged.  I love new potatoes, they are much higher in protein and lower in starch than later in the season, with a melt in your mouth texture and great flavor.  New potatoes should be refrigerated.

Full shares also get the first of our raspberries.  We planted 400 feet last year after a couple years of prepping the ground, and we are starting to reap the benefits.  They are delicious and sweet and tart.  We do our best to pick high quality berries that won’t rot in your fridge, and I have had good luck with keeping them for several days.  But I’d eat them up quickly, since they are quite perishable.  They also freeze well if you don’t think you’ll get tot hem.


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


Cauliflower-Tehina Puree

From Zahav by Michael Solomonov.  Tahini has been the magic ingredient in our kitchen for the last year or so.  This is kind of like a hummous and makes a great dipping sauce for other veggies or to put onto sandwiches or wraps.

1 Small head cauliflower, broken into florets, core chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup Basic tehina sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 250.  Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt on a baking sheet.  Bake until very tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the tehina sauce:

1 head garlic

3/4 c lemon juice (from 3 lemons)

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups tehina

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Break up the head of garlic but don’t peel.  Put the cloves in a blender with lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt.  Blend on high for a few seconds, then let stand for 10 minutes.  Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard the solids.  Add the tehina, cumin, and 1 tsp salt.

Whisk together until smooth, adding ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, to thin it out.  Continue to whisk and add water until the sauce is smooth, thick, but easily spread.  Taste for salt.

Transfer the cauliflower florets to a blender, add the tehina sauce, and puree until very smooth.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.