CSA July 10, 2014

Notes from the Farm

Hi, it’s Renee, your newsletter editor/webmaster here. First of all, I want to apologize that this week’s newsletter is going out late. It was all set and ready to go on schedule, but I forgot to hit “publish” so it has been sitting in draft form for the past couple of days. Sorry about that.

Secondly, I’m experimenting with a new format for the weekly e-newsletter. Instead of doing separate sections for storage/usage of each item, I’m including that information in the CSA section (see below), with links to each item for more details. Remember you can always click on the highlighted text to take you to a full page of information about each CSA item, including detailed storage and usage notes, and recipe ideas. Of course, we’ll still include a couple of new recipes with each week’s newsletter as well. Let me know what you think! Stay cool, and bon appetit!

This Week’s CSA

carrots

carrots

First remove the greens, since they draw away moisture from the root. Tightly seal unwashed carrots in a plastic bag in the coolest part refrigerator. Wash just before using, since the added moisture in the bag could cause spoilage.

Carrots pair well with thyme, chervil, dill, cumin, ginger, mint, sesame seeds, chili, mustard, honey, butter, olive oil, and sesame oils.

fennel

fennel

Keep fennel refrigerated in a plastic bag, but try to use it sooner than later, as it tends to dry out quickly and the outer layers will brown.

Small bulbs are best for salads since they are tender, while larger bulbs are best suited for braising and baking. Fennel pairs well with olive oil, butter, thyme, orange, lemon, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, garlic, Parmesan and Gruyere cheese.

snow peas

snow peas

These tender peas can be eaten whole, and are delicious fresh, steamed, sautéed, or added to stir fries.

Peas are best used fresh but if you need to store them, put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Peas pair well with sesame oil, butter, dill, chives, parsley, basil, mint, garlic, shallots, and asparagus.

parsley

parsley

To keep fresh parsley in the refrigerator for several weeks, wash the entire bunch in warm water, shake off all excess moisture, wrap in paper towel and seal in a plastic bag.

The leaves can be minced and used fresh to brighten the flavor of sauces and soups. The stems can be saved and used for adding to stocks or flavoring soup base. If the stem is tender it can be minced and added to your dish.

salad mix

salad mix

The trick to storing salad greens is to place them in a container (or plastic bag) with a paper towel in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. You can wash and spin dry the salad mix first for easy use. Change the paper towel regularly if needed.

In addition to traditional salads, greens can be roasted, used as a topping for pizza, or added to green smoothies!

garlic scapes

garlic scapes

Garlic scapes are the flower top off hardneck garlic. The scapes need to be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and are best used fresh since they do not store like whole garlic bulbs.

The entire scape is edible, but there can be a tough section at the base of the yellowish-white blossom that can use more cooking time.  The green stems are most commonly cut into small pieces and cooked. Scapes are a great addition to breakfast scrambles and stir fries.

Red Russian kale

red-russian-kale

The tips of the leaves are tender enough to be eaten raw, but are  improved by cooking which tenderizes the tough parts of the leaf. Russian kale has tough, woody stems, however, so be sure to remove as much of them as possible before cooking.

To store, wrap kale in a damp towel or in a plastic bag and refrigerate, preferably in crisper drawer, for up to 1 week. To freeze, wash, separate from stem, and blanch leaves for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and pack into airtight containers such as zip-lock freezer bags.

marjoram

marjoram

Marjoram is part of the mint family, which gives it a slightly minty flavor. Others compare the herb to oregano but it is sweeter and lacks the resinous flavor of oregano. It can be substituted for basil in most recipes (about two-thirds as much) since it pairs well with similar foods.

Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Recipes

arugula fennel saladArugula Fennel Salad

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

6 cups arugula
2 small fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
30 grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a small bowl; set aside. Place the arugula leaves into a large salad bowl. Sprinkle the fennel, pine nuts, grape tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese over top. Toss with the lemon dressing immediately before serving.

Source: All Recipes

garlic scape soupGarlic Scape Soup

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons clarified butter or extra-virgin olive oil
2 dozen garlic scapes, flower buds discarded and green shoots chopped
3 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½ inch dice
5 cups vegetable stock or water
2 large handfuls spinach leaves, stemmed
Juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
Chive blossoms, for garnish (optional)

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the scapes and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the potatoes and stock, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and beginning to break down.

Remove from the heat, add the spinach, and puree using a hand blender. (If you must use a conventional blender, be careful; the hot liquid can burst out the top and make a huge, potentially painful mess. Try leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cover the top with a kitchen towel and blend in batches at low speed.)

Season with the lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Whisk in the cream for a silkier texture.

If the soup tastes flat, add salt a few big pinches at a time until the flavors really pop.

Serve garnished with the chive blossoms.

From Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking
by Heidi Swanson

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