Notes From the Farm
Mid July is a slightly manic time for vegetable growers. I am now trying to make my kid breakfast (at 11 a.m.), write this blog, and do a little weeding in between.
Ms. Piggy had ten piglets last night, a good size litter and is hanging out with her sister Skinny. Zora, the Brown Swiss cow is as big as a freight train and due to calve any day now.
I think the squash plants have doubled in size this week. The green beans are flowering and it’s garlic harvest time. So much is going on this time of year it is hard to track it all.
This Week’s CSA
The boxes are getting heavier. Instead of giving you details about everything in the box, most of which you probably already know I will only highlight a few items.
Sugar Snap Peas: Small shares only. As the name suggests these little pods of goodness are very sweet. They are best eaten fresh or very lightly cooked. I prefer to eat them right out of the bag or off of the vine, they rarely make it to the kitchen.
Shell Peas: Large shares only. These require some work. You must peel away the shell to get to the peas inside. The shells are tough and not very tasty, really hard to chew in fact. The morsels inside are quite sweet and can be used in stir fries, salads, casseroles, soups, you name it. Very versatile.
Dock leaves: These will be in the bag with your lettuce. If you over cook these leaves you will have a slimy unappealing mess on your hands. Best very lightly steamed or sautéed. Some people even like them mixed in with a salad. They have a slightly lemony, sour taste. Highly nutritious!
Napa Cabbage: Add some crunch to your salad, texture to your stir fry or use as a wrap. Kimchi, apparently the new craze, is also an option.
Other goodies in the box include: Lettuce, new potatoes, sweet onions, garlic scapes, basil, beets, zucchini and berries. Enjoy your feast.
Dock au Gratin
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh dock, washed
- 2 T butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 T flour
- 1/2 cup stock (your choice)
- 1/2 cup Swiss cheese
- 1 T fine, dry breadcrumbs
- Wash dock well and remove any large stems; no need to get it very dry. Prepare a bowl or sink full of cold water. Put your dock in a large pot over high heat and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a colander and immediately plunge into cold water to halt the cooking. Once the dock is cool, squeeze it as dry as possible and then chop coarsely. You should have about 1 and 1/2 cups of wilted dock.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a shallow 1-quart baking dish.
- Wipe out the pot and melt 1 T butter over medium heat. Stir in the dock and cook for 2–3 minutes until all the moisture has boiled off. The leaves should just begin to stick to the pan.
- Lower the heat and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 2/3 of your stock, slowly, stirring and scraping up any stuck bits of the dock as you go. The liquid will appear to get absorbed. Once all the liquid is added, cook about another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add additional 1 T butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir half the cheese into the dock and then pour into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until slightly brown on top and bubbling at the edges, about 30 minutes.
You can easily double this recipe if you have more dock, or do half dock, half spinach.
We love to eat this with fried eggs, but it would be a lovely side dish to just about any meat.
This is actually a great recipe to encourage kids to eat their leafy greens.
Source: Laughing Lemon Pie
Dock Cream Cheese
This is from the website of Wild Food Girl. She uses dock leaves that she froze but you can do the same with fresh leaves. Slightly steam, allow to cool, finely chop, and mix with minced garlic, sour cream, and cream cheese. Her website has many more ideas on how to use dock. Good luck.