In your share week 5:
New Potatoes: Carola
Full Shares Only:
Potatoes are here! These first potatoes of the year are so special. They are still growing, which means they are extra 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.
Basil is really taking off now, and we’ve got tons more to come. To partially make up for the delayed start on this year’s CSA, I’m planning to give bulk basil to all of you over the next couple of weeks. Basil can be frozen in pesto or crushed up with olive oil and frozen that way. It’s wonderful to have throughout the winter for pastas, soups, dips, and more. You can also dry it. I’ll provide my favorite pesto recipe below, and you may want to consider stocking up on the other ingredients if you want to freeze some pesto.
In addition to the pound or so you’ll be getting with your share, we’ll be offering bulk basil to purchase throughout the month of August. I’ll have more details next week, but email me if you are interested.
The broccoli is one of the first new crops to hit its stride, and we have lots for everyone today! Our second rotation of the big hybrid heads is on, and some of you have giant ones in your share. Cauliflower is not far behind, and we’ve started to pull the first few heads out of the field. Several other summer crops, like zucchini, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes, are trickling in but aren’t producing enough to get them to you yet. August is when the farm hits full production, so we’ll have more variety soon.
Full shares get a small head of green or red cabbage today. The green ones are an heirloom variety called Jersey Wakefield, which is very tender and sweet. The red heads are dense and crispy and very tasty. Both will make great coleslaw or salad, or can be braised or stir-fried. These spring cabbages cook quickly!
We just planted our fall cabbage on Monday, along with the final rotations of several other brassicas. It always seems surprising that we are planting the final fall and winter crops just as we’re beginning to harvest the summer ones, but if we wait any longer they just won’t produce! Farming is a long term project: the broccoli you’re eating today was started back in April, and that’s not counting the time spent before that ordering seed, making sowing mix, preparing beds, and more. We put a lot of work, time, and money into these crops before we know if they will even produce, which can be stressful but also keeps things interesting. And this is the time of year we get to see what pays off.
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
Add and continue to grind:
½ c walnuts or pinenuts, lightly toasted
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
New Potato Salad with Vinaigrette
This is a different kind of potato salad than the standard, mayo-dressed one. I like to make a large bowl of this and eat it throughout the week. (serves 4 to 6)
Chop into large pieces:
2 pounds potatoes
Place in a saucepan full of cold water, add 1 Tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft but just al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, chop and mix together in a large bowl:
½ bunch green onions
½ pound snap peas
½ pound broccoli
To make the dressing, whisk together in a small bowl:
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (wine or apple cider vinegar will work as well)
Slowly whisk in:
6 Tbsp olive oil
Add the potatoes and dressing to the vegetables and pour. Add 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, or more if using parsley or basil. You can add grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese as well. Mix together and let sit at least ½ hour before serving.