Notes from the Farm
Life on the farm feels like it has gone into fast forward. Everything is happening at once! After a cool, rainy somewhat grey spring summer has arrived. Our farm has transformed in the last few weeks from mostly bare fields to rows of hundreds of transplants putting down their roots. The veggies are finally on. We thank those in our veggie feast for graciously waiting an extra week.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Rhubarb, Salad Mix, Dock Leaves, Horseradish and Asparagus
Rhubarb is in the category of love it or leave it. Most people need an ample amount of sweetener to eat rhubarb, but one of our friends eats it raw. Yep, saw it with my own eyes. Some of the stalks have more of a red or green tinge depending on the variety, color does not indicate ripeness, nor necessarily taste.
Nothing says spring like fresh, tender lettuce. In your share is a mix of green salad bowl, buttercrunch and deer tongue lettuces washed and ready to eat.
This effusive green is actually considered a weed, and like many weeds it is full of nutrients. Yellow dock or Rumex Crispus, is found in disturbed soils, meadows, forest edges and even parking lots. The root is used medicinally and is high is iron. The leaves are high in oxalic acid, as are other leafy greens such as spinach and kale. The young leaves have a slight lemony flavor and can be eaten raw, adding texture and interest to salads. It is also a nice addition, cooked very lightly ( I cannot emphasize the very lightly part enough), to a soup or egg dish.
Horseradish is a perennial plant with vibrant, thick leaves and pungent roots. The roots are typically dug in the spring to make a paste. Depending on the horseradish and the recipe used the paste can be mild or have a kick. For Buttermilk Horseradish recipe click here. Or see for Homemade Preserved Horseradish the recipe below.
The history of this plant goes back thousands of years. In Mediterranean regions it was valued as a food, a medicine and thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. Now asparagus is cultivated and eaten worldwide. In our northern climate the harvest time for this crop is about 6-8 weeks. The young shoots are frost sensitive, so temperatures have to remain above freezing. As spring progresses and the temperatures rise the shoots quickly bolt, the once tender shoots become woody and inedible.
Asparagus cooks quickly and is best when lightly steamed or sauteed. We love to eat it as a dish in and of itself, but it pairs well with pasta, eggs, and makes a delicious addition to cream soups.
Homemade Preserved Horseradish
- 1 horseradish root, ends trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (see note)
- Distilled white vinegar, for soaking
- Kosher salt
In a food processor or blender, process horseradish to fine shreds. Add enough vinegar to cover, then season with salt. If it tastes too pungent, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the flavor is a little less harsh (though it should still be very strong and pungent). Keep refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 3 weeks.
Just a note, we have made homemade preserved horseradish and kept it for much longer (6 months to a year)
Source: Serious Eats
Rustic Rhubarb Tarts
Here’s a two part recipe for that rhubarb.
Rhubarb Vanilla Compote
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (i.e. 15 tablespoons, if you want to drive yourself mad)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Rinse the rhubarb stalks and trim the very ends. Cut them in half lengthwise (unless they’re very slim) and then on the diagonal into 3/4-inch chunks. Leaving the last 1 1/2 cups aside, put 3 cups of the rhubarb into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pods and turn the heat to medium low. (You want to start at a low temperature to encourage the rhubarb to release its liquid. Unlike most compotes, this one adds no water.) Cook the rhubarb mixture, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is saucy. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium, cooking an additional 15 to 17 minutes, or until the rhubarb is completely broken down and thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan. Discard your vanilla bean pods and add remaining rhubarb chunks to the compote. Pour the compote out onto a large plate to cool.
Do ahead: This keeps for one week in the fridge. It can also be used to fill pies, crisps and cobblers.
1 cup corn flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1 batch Rhubarb Vanilla Compote (recipe above)
In a food processor: Combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add heavy cream and egg yolks and pulse until combined; it will look crumbly but it will become one mass when kneaded together.
Shape the tarts: Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface and using the heel of your hand, flatten the dough into a rough circle. Continue flattening until it is approximately 5 inches in diameter. Try to work quickly, so the dough doesn’t get too warm and soft, making it harder to handle. For more elegant edges, gently flatten the outer edge of the circle with your fingertips, making it thinner than the rest of the dough.
Spoon 3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb Vanilla Compote into the center of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough toward the compote and up, to create a ruffled edge; continue around the perimeter, letting the ruffles be their bad irregular selves. Slide a bench scraper or spatula under the tart and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. Freeze the tarts on their tray for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks, wrapped tightly in plastic.
Bake the tarts: Preheat over to 375°F. Bake tarts, still frozen, for about 35 minutes or until the edges of the tarts are brown and the rhubarb is bubbling and thick. Serve warm or at room temperature. The tarts keep in an airtight container (or not, as I forgot to wrap mine and they were still awesome the next day) for up to 2 days.
Source: Smitten Kitchen