This Week’s CSA
Red onions, beets, tomatoes, green’s mix – Dinosaur tail kale, Red Russian kale, Swiss Chard and Dock, basil, green onions, zucchini, yellow crookneck, lettuce mix, green and dragon tongue beans…
Every once in a while an obscure analogy regarding farming comes to my mind, this one involving video games. I am dating myself when I admit that my family had a Nintendo and one game, the original Super Mario Brothers. On the rare occasions that my dad played this game with me he would get irritated by my constant need to start over ever time I “died”, even though Mario had three “lives.” Luckily my bout with video gaming was short-lived, lasting only a few months and perfectionism has mostly run its course too. Except for these onions! I am totally drawn to hit an invisible “reset” button, allowing us to do something different. Did they not get enough water, or mulch? Was the soil too sandy? The trees too shady? Whatever it was they are small. On the bright side you can use the whole onion all at once.
Celeraic (also known as celery root) is one of two varieties of celery that has been cultivated over the years from wild celery that is native to Europe and parts of temperate Asia. In celeriac, the base of the plant is enlarged and looks like a gnarly root vegetable. Don’t be turned off by its looks, as it has a deeper and sweeter flavor than the familiar celery ribs.
Celeriac can be eaten both cooked and grated raw for salads. For cooking purposes, this root vegetable takes well to soups, purees, and gratins. The root needs to be scrubbed well and peeled. To peel the root, cut the top and bottom ends off to create a stable surface and then using your knife, cut away the peel in a downward motion. If you have a heavy-duty peeler, you can try using that if the root is not to knobby. Cut pieces turn brown quickly, so place cut pieces in a bowl of water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer to use the entire vegetable, any pairings from peeling can be put in a vegetable stock. Take time to remove and save the green ribs before storing, which can be added to stocks or soups.
The root will store for several weeks in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. Celeriac goes well with butter, cream, walnuts, hazelnuts, Gruyère cheese, parsley, mustard, potatoes, apples, mushrooms, and wild rice.
These apples are from our friend and CSA member. Thanks for sharing John! The variety is called Wealthy. According to Leon they will ripen and sweeten more quickly if left at room temperature, but store better in the fridge. They can be cooked or eaten raw.
DRAGON’S TONGUE BEANS W/ CARAMELIZED ONIONS
- 1 lb Dragon’s Tongue beans, stem ends popped off
- 2 T butter
- 2 medium or 1 large onion, sliced as thinly as possible
- 1 C chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 1/2 T sugar
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook beans in boiling salted water ‘til tender, approx. 5 minutes. Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking (this will ensure your beans stay crisp & delightful).
- Melt butter in skillet over medium flame. Stir in onions and cook them slowly until very wilted and deepened in color, 15 or so minutes.
- Deglaze pan with stock or water and boil for 5 minutes to reduce and concentrate flavors. Stir in sugar and vinegar. Add beans to the onions and heat through (just a minute or two). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Yu-hum!
Source: Oxbow Farm
Homemade Celery Salt
I’ve made celery salt with a number of different types of salt, and the flaky, whispers of Maldon sea salt is my current favorite. The shards are similar in size to the crumbled celery leaves, which works nicely. With some of the finer sea salts, you get more separation. Which is not what you want.
Leaves from one bunch of celery
flaky sea salt (see head notes)
Pick the leaves from each celery stalk, leaving the stems behind. The outer leaves tend to be dark green and hearty, the inner leaves pale green and tender. I use them all.
Rinse the leaves with cold water in a strainer, then shake off as much of the water as you can. At this point you want to dry the leaves as much as possible, so they toast (not steam) when you cook them. Gently pat them dry in a clean dish towel, or paper towels. Once dry you have two options for toasting the leaves.
1) If I have a lot of leaves, I arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake in a 350F / 180C oven for about 5-7 minutes. Bake until dehydrated and crispy, but not browned.
2) If I have fewer leaves, or just don’t feel like heating the oven, I’ll throw them in a large skillet. Single layer if possible, over medium-low heat. Again, you want to barely toast them, not brown the leaves much.
In either case, when you’re done cooking. Remove from heat and let the leaves cool completely. They’ll crisp up even more at this point. When cool, use your fingers to crumble the leaves completely, discarding any leaves that aren’t crispy.
Combine equal parts celery leaves and salt in a jar, and either stir or shake to distribute the celery leaves evenly throughout.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 5 min
Heirloom Apple Salad
A bit of hard, aged cheese is welcome here as well – shave of thin strips and add toward the end.
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
12 rosemary leaves, minced (the spiky needles)
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup /120 ml crème fraîche (or sour cream)
2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large celery stalks, sliced see-though thin (reserve any celery leaves)
2 crisp, flavorful heirloom apples, cut into sixths, and then thinly sliced*
4 handfuls arugula, baby gems, or baby romaine
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts
Make the dressing first. Crush the sea salt, rosemary, garlic, and sugar into a paste with a mortar and pestle (or smash it all together with a knife). Work in the creme fraiche and vinegar, taste and adjust with a bit of pepper and more salt if needed.
When you’re ready to serve, combine the celery, apples, salad greens, and most of the nuts with a few half of the dressing. Toss well, adding more dressing until it is to your liking. Finish with the remaining nuts, and any torn celery leaves.
* If you’re not going to use the apples immediately keep them in a bowl of water spiked with a bit of lemon juice (or the white wine vinegar you’re using for the dressing). Drain and pat dry before using.
Prep time: 7 min