Notes from the Farm
This week we have concentrated on mulching. Mulching is a terrific tool for a number of reasons. It holds moisture in the soil, which reduces the need for irrigation, adds biomass to the soil, provides shade, and battles the weeds. Some crops that take all summer to grow, or that are harvested throughout the summer take extra care, which means extra weeding. It’s nice when the fields are weed free, but it’s also not necessary. A good layer of mulch can inhibit most unwanted vegetation giving the crops the necessary sunlight and space to thrive.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Radishes, Spinach, Salad Mix, Cilantro, Napa Cabbage
New This Week
This week’s salad mix is a combination of lettuce and some spicy mustards thrown in for color, texture and zip. Enjoy!
One of my favorite spring herbs, cilantro is used in cuisines worldwide. These delicate greens are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Wash right before using.
Napa cabbage, also called Chinese cabbage is the main ingredient in kimchi, a highly popular fermented food. It is a versatile vegetable, used in salads, Asian coleslaw, as a wrap, in stir fries… Stores pretty well wrapped up in the fridge, but like all produce tastes best, and most nutritious fresh.
- 2 pounds napa cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (one large cabbage)
- ¼ cup sea salt
- 2 cups radish, cut into matchstick strips (optional, or use carrots)
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, sliced ( 2-3 disks, peels ok)
- 6 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 shallot, quartered (optional)
- 2–6 tablespoons Korean-style red pepper flakes (gochugaru) See notes!
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce ( or use vegan fish sauce, miso, or soy sauce), more to taste
- 2 teaspoons sugar ( or alternative)
- OPTIONAL :1 tablespoon glutenous rice powder ( see notes)
- Reserve 1-2 outer leaves of the napa cabbage and refrigerate for later use (wrap in plastic). Cut remaining cabbage and place it in a bowl with the salt and toss. Add enough cool water to cover the cabbage and stir until salt is dissolved. Keep the cabbage submerged with a plate over the bowl and let stand at room temperature 6-8 hours (giving a stir midway through if possible) or overnight.
- Drain the cabbage, saving the brine. Rinse cabbage, drain, squeeze out any excess water and place it back in the bowl, adding the radish and scallions.
- Place the ginger, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, fish sauce ( or alternatives) and sugar in your food processor. Process until well combined, pulsing, until it becomes a paste. Scoop over the cabbage and using tongs or gloves, mix and massage the vegetables and the red pepper mixture together really well, until well coated. Pack the cabbage into a large two quart glass jar (or two, 1 quart jars) or a crock, leaving 1-2 inches room at the top for juices to release. Add a little of the reserved brine to just cover the vegetables, pressing them down a bit. Place the whole cabbage leaf over top, pressing down- this should help keep the kimchi submerged under the brine. You can also use a fermentation weight placed over top the whole leaf to keep it submerged.
- Cover loosely with a lid ( allowing air to escape) and place the jar in a baking dish (or big bowl) to collect any juices that may escape. (The idea though, is to keep as much of the flavorful juice in the jar, so don’t over fill)
- Leave on the counter for 3 days, then store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator where it will continue to ferment. You can press down on the kimchi daily with the back of a wooden spoon to keep it submerged.
- After 3 days, the kimchi is ready, but won’t achieve its full flavor and complexity, until about 2 weeks ( in the fridge) slowly fermenting. The longer you ferment, the more complex and sour the taste.
- This will keep for months on end in the fridge ( as long as it is submerged in the brine) and will continue to ferment very slowly, getting more and more flavorful.
- To serve it in a bowl as a side dish, scoop out using a slotted spoon, drizzle with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds, fresh scallions.
For milder kimchi, start with 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes ( you can always stir in more). I like a spicy version with 6 tablespoons. 4 tablespoons is medium spicy.
If you like your kimchi, thick, and less watery, you can use sweet rice powder (also called glutinous rice powder ) to thicken. Cook 1 tablespoon glutenous rice powder with ½ cup water, in a small pot over medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Let cool, still whisking occasionally. Add to the chili paste in the food processor. Continue with recipe.
Source: Feasting at Home
Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
6 radishes, diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally
Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.
Toss cabbage, radishes, and celery with dressing.
Source: Smitten Kitchen