This Week’s CSA
If you won’t be drying this herb, it is great used fresh in rice and bean dishes. Roughly chop the leaves and add fresh to your burritos, quesadillas or enchiladas. Or try adding some fresh leaves to salsa verde. In cooking, epazote is typically used as whole stems or just the freshly chopped leaves that add a distinct flavor to Mexican and Caribbean food. Whole stems can also be added to braising meat dishes and make a nice addition to tortilla soup. If you love corn on the cob, try this Mexican take on corn that will encourage the use of fresh epazote.
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. The green tops should be cut off the fresh garlic before storage. 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.
Lacinato (aka Dinosaur kale) has tall narrow leaves and a wrinkled texture. Like most other kale varieties, it is usually blanched first, and then sautéed with other, flavorful ingredients. In Campanian cuisine, anchovies are often added. It is commonly used in pastas and soups, but can also be eaten raw, in a salad.
Sweet onions tend to be lower in sulfur and higher in water content, giving them a mild flavor and perfect for eating fresh in salads and on sandwiches. These onions do not have a long storage life and will last best if stored in a cool dark spot. If the outside layers start to soften, peel and store in the refrigerator.
Peas only take a few minutes to cook, particularly when they’re very fresh and young, so they’re a perfect ingredient for fast weeknight dishes. In fact, the secret to maintaining their sweetness and bright-green color is to cook them as little as possible, just enough to make them tender. What’s more, peas lend themselves to almost any cooking method, from boiling and steaming to sautéeing.
This type of new potato is thin-skinned and best if used quickly, since it doesn’t store well. It can be boiled, steamed or mashed. Store in fridge in plastic bag for a couple of days.
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!
This versatile veggie can be sautéed, baked, stuffed, grilled, added to soups, and grated for baked goods. Zucchini contains a fair amount of water, which makes it perfect for salting. Salting improves texture and concentrates the squash flavor. Simply toss coarsely grated or diced zucchini with a small amount of salt, let it sit in colander for 15-30 minutes, then rinse and squeeze dry. Zucchini partners well with butter, yogurt, Parmesan cheese, garlic, dill, basil, marjoram, mint, lemon, walnuts, tomatoes, and peppers.
Mexican Black Beans with Epazote
1 pound dried black beans
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
2 large sprigs fresh epazote (or 2 tablespoons dried)
1/2 pound chopped fresh chorizo sausage
1 diced onion
2 diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon ancho or New Mexico chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Soak black beans overnight in cold water to cover. Drain and rinse.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the beans, chicken stock and water, and epazote in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil on the stove top, skim off foam, then cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
In a large, heavy skillet, brown chorizo sausage. Remove the chorizo, leaving the fat in the pan. Add onion, carrots, celery stalks, and garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat until the vegetables become soft.
Remove the pot of beans from the oven and stir in the vegetables and chorizo, along with ancho or New Mexico chile powder, ground cumin, and salt to taste.
Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until the beans are soft.
French Garlic Soup
Garlic bulbs: approximately ½ bulb per person
Chicken or duck fat if available – olive oil will also make a delicious soup
Flour to thicken
Fresh herbs – thyme or sage are good
Salt and pepper
Thick slices of French bread – one for each bowl of soup
Bake the garlic bulbs by cutting them in half and drizzling the fat or oil on them, placing them cut side down on an oiled baking sheet (or wrap them in foil or use a covered ovenproof dish) Bake until completely soft and slightly brown – 30-50 minutes depending on the size of the garlic bulbs. This can be done in advance and if you bake more garlic than you need for this recipe, there are many ways to use baked garlic and the oil used to bake it.
Using the oil from the garlic baking process, oil both sides of the French bread slices and set aside.
Squeeze the garlic from the garlic skins and place it and the remaining oil in a heavy saucepan. Add flour. (You will need flour to oil in a 1:1 ratio and 1- 2 tablespoons of each per cup of liquid.) Add more fat or oil if necessary to create a nice creamy mixture of fat, garlic and flour. Let this simmer for just a moment, then whisk in the chicken broth. You should have a nicely thickened creamy soup. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper.
Place the soup in ovenproof bowls and drop an oiled slice of bread on top of each bowl. Put under broiler until the bread is slightly toasted and serve!
You can sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the bread before you toast it. You can also add a splash of cream to the soup for extra richness.
Source: Grey Duck Garlic