CSA Week 4

In your share week 4:

New potatoes: Carola
Carrots
Radishes
Zucchini or Cucumber
Green Onion
Cauliflower
Lettuce
Basil
Peas

Full shares only:

Cherry tomatoes
Baby Turnips
Cilantro

I sure hope you enjoy today’s share, because it’s a beauty!  We have 3 new items that are 3 of my very favorite things we grow: cauliflower, basil, and new potatoes.  Full shares also have a special treat of early cherry tomatoes; our sungolds are unbelievably sweet and juicy, and they have become one of our most popular crops.  We’re growing more than ever this year to try to meet demand, so hopefully we’ll have lots more coming for you.  We won’t tell your family if you eat them all in the car on the way home…

The first potatoes of the year are extra special.  They are still growing, which means they are super 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.

In my opinion, the prize today is a gorgeous head of cauliflower.  Our first rotation is usually a bit of a throwaway, with super small heads.  But not this year: the plants hit the ground running and are producing huge, beautiful heads!  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!

The extra warm, dry season has mostly been great for our crops, but its also been great for the bugs.  We’re seeing more insect pressure than usual for our cool coast climate, especially with early infestations of aphids on our brassicas (the family that includes broccoli and cauliflower).  The cauliflower heads are pretty clean, but a few had some aphids on them.  If you see some, or are concerned, one of our members suggests soaking it in salt water for 20 minutes before preparing it.  You’ll season the cauliflower and also get the aphids off.  I’d suggest soaking it when you are about to use it, since cauliflower doesn’t store well wet.

We’re a little late, but we finally have basil for everyone.  This year will be lighter on basil, since one of our 2 beds is in the newest greenhouse and isn’t growing to its full potential.  Basil is wonderful in soups, added to roasted potatoes and cauliflower, made into pesto, or put on fresh pasta.  Pinch the leaves off the stems and add them at the very end of cooking: basil loses flavor quickly when exposed to heat.  We find it stores best in a plastic bag on the counter (not the fridge).  Others swear by trimming the stems and putting it in a jar of water.

Our radishes have been a bit slow on the uptake, but now we have lots!  They’re big, but they are very tasty with a crispy texture.  Big radishes plus warm weather makes them pretty spicy: if you don’t like the heat, try stir frying or roasting them to mellow them out.  Radish greens are also very nutritious and tasty.  I prefer them cooked, since their raw texture doesn’t appeal to me.  But I love adding them to a stir fry, noodle salad, or soup.


Carrot and Radish Salad

I made this very simple salad as a finger food appetizer. It could easily be made with more or different vegetables, including salad turnips, kohlrabi, peppers, zucchini, beets, and more. I do not peel my carrots, as I never notice the skin to be unappetizing.

 

In a medium sized bowl, mix together:

1 bunch carrots, sliced into 2 x ¼ inch matchsticks

            1 bunch radishes, quartered

            Juice of ½ lime

            Salt to taste

            1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.


Aloo Gobi

One take on a classic Indian dish of cauliflower and potatoes.  From Genius Kitchen.

14 cup vegetable oil

1 large onion, peeled and cut into small pieces

1 bunch cilantro, separated into stalks and leaves and roughly chopped

1 small green chili, chopped into small pieces (or one teaspoon chili powder)

1 large cauliflower, leaves removed and cut evenly into eighths

1 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into even pieces

2 (8 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

fresh ginger, peeled and grated

fresh garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seed

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons garam masala

Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan.

Add the chopped onion and one teaspoon of cumin seeds to the oil.

Stir together and cook until onions become creamy, golden, and translucent.

Add chopped cilantro stalks, two teaspoons of turmeric, and one teaspoon of salt.

Add chopped chillis (according to taste) Stir tomatoes into onion mixture.

Add ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly.

Add potatoes and cauliflower to the sauce plus a few tablespoons of water (ensuring that the mixture doesn’t stick to the saucepan).

Ensure that the potatoes and cauliflower are coated with the curry sauce.

Cover and allow to simmer for twenty minutes (or until potatoes are cooked).

Add two teaspoons of Garam Masala and stir.

Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top of the curry.

Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for as long as possible before serving.

 

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