CSA Week 3

In your share week 3:

Carrots
Cauliflower or Broccoli
Sugar Snap Peas
Salad Mix
Italian Parsley
Basil
Pea Shoots

Full shares only:

Beets
Cucumber
Baby Bibb Lettuce

The long awaited carrots are finally here!  These are arguably our most popular crop, along with our salad mix.  We’ve had a couple of tough years on carrots, since our long time trusted variety was discontinued by the breeder and it’s been challenging to find a replacement.  But this year is looking promising, and these are a great start.  I finally accepted that I have to grow more than one kind of carrot, so these are our early season, quicker variety.  I never peel our carrots, the skins are thin and tender.  They are great raw or cooked.  You can use the carrot tops as well, some people like to make a pesto with them, or others add them to salads or green smoothies.

Everyone has a small pot of pea shoots today.  Pea shoots have a lovely green pea flavor, and they are great to snack on or add to your salad or sandwich.  We’ve given them to you in the pot so you can get a second or even a third flush of shoots.  They’re ready to clip off and eat now, and if you leave the pot out and keep it watered they should regrow.

We’ve been giving broccoli to some of you every week, but I haven’t actually talked about it in the notes yet. Our broccoli looks different than the hybrid types you see in the store, but in my opinion it is far better!  Broccoli’s flavor declines quickly after harvesting, so farm fresh is a world of difference from store bought (kind of like corn).  Most of the broccoli we grow is a variety called Piracicaba, which has much larger beads and a more open head than standard hybrids.  Many members compare it to broccolini. The stems are tender and delicious so they require very little prep time, and I absolutely love it.   I usually grill or roast it: if you have smaller pieces you can leave them whole, larger heads can be split lengthwise into spears.  Toss it with olive oil and salt and cook it at 425 degrees for 6 or 8 minutes.  It’s also great raw or steamed.

Everyone has Italian parsley today, the first for half shares.  I prefer Italian parsley to the curly type: I think it is more tender and flavorful. It’s excellent in pasta dishes, salads, pesto, or tabouleh.  You can use the leaves and the stems.  Parsley is also particularly nutritious (as are turnip greens and bok choy), so eat it up.  I know we’ve been heavy on the herbs, but they are just so abundant and beautiful right now.

We gave full shares double basil today so you can make a nice batch of pesto.  Remember, we find that basil keeps best in a closed bag on the counter!  If you won’t eat all your herbs right away, remember that both basil and parsley freeze well ground up with olive oil or made into pesto.

Full shares have heads of lettuce in addition to salad mix this week.  Most of you got some of our baby bibb heads, they are like tiny, dark red heads of romaine.  Some folks got red butter lettuce, with extra tender leaves and a butter center.  Both can be used in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or rolls; I’ve been making wraps with tempeh, kale, cilantro pesto, and fresh lettuce that are rocking my world.

Full shares also have the first cucumbers.  The plants are looking great this year and we’re getting more every day, I’m expecting them to be a regular part of your share.  Some of you got a lemon cucumber, which are small, round, and yellow.  I love lemon cukes and use them interchangeably with the other green slicers we grow, I find them to be particularly sweet and juicy.

Zucchini are coming soon, too, but they are still trickling in!  The cool wet weather has been great for many crops, especially the salad, but it’s slowing down all the fruiting crops.  The rain is especially poorly timed for the raspberry crop, since those delicate fruits mold easily and we were having trouble keeping up with the picking anyway.  Hopefully we’ll have some more to share with you, but we just have to wait and see what the weather does.


Savory Herb Salad Dressing

I always have some variation of this in my fridge.  This one is inspired by the flavors of chimichurri.  I make my salad dressing in a quart mason jar with an immersion blender, but you could also do it with a whisk or in a food processor.  If mixing by hand, chop the herbs finely!  I like this dressing on a salad with sharp cheese, pecans, and fresh or thawed blueberries.

Put in a wide mouth quart sized mason jar:

1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 green chili, seeded, or 1/2 tsp powdered green chili (optional)

Blend with the immersion blender until smooth and emulsified.  Stores for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Variations:
Pesto dressing: Replace the parsley and cilantro with 1/2 bunch of basil and replace the green chili with 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
Sage Caesar: Omit the chili, replace the parsley and cilantro with sage.  Add 2 Tbsp grated parmesan and a few anchovies.
Cilantro dressing: Replace the parsley with cilantro and replace half the lemon juice with lime.


Quinoa and Carrot Tabbouleh Salad

From Food52, August 2013.  I’d leave out the bell pepper and jalapeno to keep it seasonal!  Full shares, add some chopped cucumber.

 

1 1/2 cups red or white quinoa (I used half and half)

Salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled, finely grated

1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced

1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

  1. Place quinoa, 2 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed and the grains release their germ, about 20 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Add the olive oil and stir to coat. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Stir all of the remaining ingredients except the fresh herbs into the quinoa. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired. (The tabbouleh may be prepared in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours). Before serving, fold in the fresh herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

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