CSA June 18, 2012

Hope this finds everyone well and getting excited for some warm weather. I know some veggies are ready for heat but in the meantime we will continue to enjoy spring veggies that like the cool weather. Your share this week will include fresh garlic, Swiss chard and Chinese cabbage. Salad greens this week are a mix of arugula, lamb’s quarters, lettuce and nasturtium flowers.

A note on nasturtium flowers…all parts (leaves, seeds and flower buds) of this ornamental plant are completely edible. They pack peppery punch that adds a nice kick to salads.

Storage/Usage Notes

Fresh Garlic: Green garlic, which is the immature plant, has not been cured for winter storage so it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It should last for up to two weeks stored in a crisper. Fresh garlic is milder than mature cloves so feel free to use a healthy dose in cooking. Fresh garlic is also easy to peel. Cut off the dried core end of the clove and using the tip of a knife, lift up the skin to remove.

Chinese Cabbage: Cultivated from wild varieties in China, Chinese cabbage has been a food source for hundreds of years and now has many varieties that are grown in the west. To many, this cabbage will look like bok choy, which is a variety of Chinese cabbage. Keep cabbage in a plastic bag in your salad crisper. It can last for up to a week in the refrigerator, but its nutritive value will decrease with time. Remove any wilted leaves before using.

Both the stalks and leaves are edible and have a mild cabbage flavor. If desired, separate the leaves from the stalk since they have different cooking times. The stalks can be treated like celery and cooked a bit longer than the leaves, which I add towards the end of cooking. This cabbage makes a great addition to stir fries.

Recipes

Swiss Chard and Cheese Dumplings (Serves 4)

This recipe is from Saveur magazine, issue 147. It originates from Corsica and is used to showcase spring greens. The dumplings will make a nice addition to a salad or served with pasta.

2 bunches Swiss chard, stemmed or a mix of spring greens that is equivalent to 2 pounds

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

1 lb. ricotta, drained overnight, 1 ¼ cups reserved

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup finely chopped mint

¼ cup flour, plus more

2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 egg yolks

2 cloves garlic, minced

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chard leaves; cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a kitchen towel, twist into a ball, squeezing tightly to drain excess water. Finely chop, and transfer to a bowl along with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 ¼ cups ricotta (save remaining for another use), 8 tablespoons butter, mint, flour, oregano, yolks, garlic, and pepper. Mix all ingredients to combine. Using 2 spoons, divide and shape mixture into about twelve 2 ounce oval dumplings; dust with flour. Transfer dumplings to a baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add dumplings; cook until tender, 4-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer dumplings to bowls. Heat remaining butter in a 10” skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle over dumplings before serving.

Stir-Fried Chinese Cabbage with Roasted Peanuts (Serves 2 to 4)

This stir fry goes well with cooked rice, buckwheat noodles, or rice noodles. Courtesy of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

3 tablespoons raw peanuts

2 teaspoons peanut oil

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt

1 ½ pounds Chinese cabbage

2 tablespoons peanut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 teaspoons ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with water

Fry the peanuts, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt in 2 teaspoons of peanut oil until they are golden. Remove from heat and set aside. Once cool, chop roughly.

Stem the cabbage and cut stems into 1 inch pieces. Cut leaves into large chunks. Set a large pan or wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil and roll it around the sides. When hot, add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the cabbage stems and cook until wilted and glossy. Add the leaves, soy sauce, cornstarch mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes more or until the leaves are shiny and glazed. Add chopped peanuts, toss, and serve.

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