In your share:
Cauliflower or Broccoli
Green Butter Lettuce
Baby Bok Choy
Full Shares Only:
Cherry Tomatoes (some shares only)
It’s week 5 and we’re getting into our full sized summer shares. This week we’re going to brassica world, because all of our brassicas came on at once! Brassicas are the cabbage family, and include many of the things we grow. Some we grow mostly at the ends of the season (bok choy, cabbage), others we have throughout the year (broccoli, cauliflower).
Everyone gets a nice head of green cabbage. We grow an heirloom variety with a conical shape that’s very tender with a mild, sweet flavor. It stores well in a bag in your fridge for several weeks, and you can use it raw, cooked, or fermented. If you don’t plan to use the whole head at once, it’s best to peel off the outer leaves and leave the core intact. That can get tricky, though, so you can also slice through the whole head from the top.
We have the first few heads of cauliflower today, not quite enough for everyone but there’s lots more coming! (You got more broccoli if you didn’t get cauli.) Cauliflower is one of my favorite crops, and this year we’ve added several rotations. It’s sweet and nutty, and I like it best roasted in the oven. We cut it into florets, toss it with olive oil and salt, and cook it at 400 until it is cooked through and browned around the edges (about 30 min). Full shares have more kohlrabi today, and it’s great added to a cauliflower roast! Peel it, cube it, and toss them together. Some of today’s cauliflower has a purplish tint from exposure to the sun, and I find that it doesn’t affect the flavor. We did not wash your cauliflower, but you may find some soil or grass clippings lodged in the crevices. I’d recommend waiting to wash it until you plan to use it, since cauliflower stores much better dry. The bok choy was also affected by the grass cutting, we’ve done our best to wash it off but you’ll probably need to give it another rinse.
We’ve finally got enough basil and zucchini for everyone, and lots more of those coming too. Our zucchini is fresh and tender, and I love to grill it. I cut it on the bias (diagonally) about 1/4″ thick, brush both sides with olive oil and salt, and grill it for a couple minutes per side. Or you can eat it raw, roast it, add it to soups and stir fries, puree it into dip, and more. We have 3 varieties, a dark green one, a striped green one, and a striped yellow one. All 3 taste the same to me and can be used interchangeably.
The basil is beautiful and growing fast. Since not everyone has had it yet, I’ll remind you again: the best way to store it is in a plastic bag on the counter, at room temp. It keeps well for a week that way, but the flavor is best when it’s really fresh, so I recommend using it right away if you can! And speaking of eating right away, we are just beginning to get enough tomatoes to include them in a few shares. The cherry tomatoes are off to a great start and they are the tastiest we’ve grown in years, and harvests are picking up fast. If you got some today, they are dead ripe and ready to eat now! If you don’t eat them right away, keep them out on the counter, never put tomatoes in the fridge.
I know full shares have been getting the first of the summer items everyone loves, and that’s because it takes a few weeks for any harvest to come on. We don’t have enough for everyone yet, but we want to start getting them to you as soon as we can. Our cherry tomato harvests have been picking up quickly, and the plants are absolutely covered in green tomatoes, so I’m sure we’ll have them for all of you before long.
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
Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw With Walnuts
From the New York Times, written by Martha Shulman and taken from Nuts About Greens. She recommends massaging the kale. This recipe would also be great with slivered bok choy instead of the kale!
4 cups stemmed, slivered curly kale
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups finely sliced or shredded cabbage
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard (to taste)
1 small garlic clove, minced or puréed (optional)
1 tablespoon walnut oil
¼ cup plain yogurt
Freshly ground pepper
Place the slivered kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss together and massage the leaves with your hands for about 3 minutes. The kale will lose some volume.
Add the cabbage and walnuts to the kale and toss together.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the rice vinegar, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, optional garlic, walnut oil, yogurt and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and toss with the salad. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer before serving. Toss again and serve.