This Week’s Veggie Feast
We decided to give you some fresh salsa ingredients this week. The beet tops can be eaten and are quite tasty, as they are still pretty tender. The celery root (celeriac) greens are also edible.
Tomatillos, Shallot, Celeriac, Cayenne pepper, Dock Leaves, Anaheim Chile Peppers, Tomato Assortment, Crookneck Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Beets
New This Week
Tomatillos are a distinctive and indigenous ingredient in Mexican cuisine. The fruit goes by many names, including tomato verde and husk tomato since it remains green while ripe and it grows inside a papery calyx or husk. Mexican green tomatoes grow in the wild but most cultivated varieties you find in the store are green, yellow, or purple and remain in their husk. The fruit itself is thin skinned with a mild acid and lots of seeds. If you plan to use them quickly, tomatillos can be stored at room temperature in a cool place. For longer storage, keep inside a paper bag or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. The fruit can be used raw but it takes well to cooking too. Roasting or simmering tomatillos can help mellow their slightly tart bite. They make a great addition to many Mexican dishes and can be used as burrito or enchilada filling.
In my opinion shallots are basically small, fancy onions that cost more money. The seed to grow them is also spendy, which is part of the reason they cost more. The really cool thing about shallots is that they can last forever. We still have shallots from last season! Which is a testimony to how well they keep. But you probably don’t want to store this shallot, you want to eat it. Some people think shallots are not the same as onions, such as people that write for Bon Appetit, who state “Shallots have a delicate and sweet flavor with a hint of sharpness, while onions bring a more intense heat.”
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. We often dry the leaves and stems and save them for the winter to flavor soups and casseroles. They retain their flavor very well.
If you need inspiration Epicurious has several recipes and there is a simple, tasty recipe below.
We decided to give everyone a little cayenne pepper in case you want to make some salsa and add a little heat. They should get redder and hotter if we get a long enough season. If you don’t want to use the cayenne now you can let it sit out on your counter. It will slowly dry out, it may even turn an orangish color, and you can use it later. We will have an assortment of hot peppers later in the season.
Dock is a common weed that grows on our farm. It is one of the first greens to appear (along with dandelions). Most dock plants have already gone through most of their growing cycle, producing flowers and seeds and are about to put their energy back into their long taproot. But in late summer there is a new flush of young dock plants that sprout. These plants still have young, tender leaves that are a great treat (if you like greens). According to the website Eat Weeds; “They have a tart, lemon-tasting leaves and are used similarly in cooking. It is often agreed that the youngest plants are best and make a tasty ‘spinach’, while others find the taste ‘sour’ but ‘hearty’.”
Apple Celeriac Salad
- 1 cup celeriac 100g peeled weight
- ½ large apple
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ¼ cup chopped parsley 4tbsp
For the dressing
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp walnut oil
- ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
- Whisk together the lemon juice, oils and mustard for the dressing first so that it is ready to use.
- Peel the celeriac, removing all the outer layer and any dark, hairy indents. Peel and core the apple. Coarsely shred both and toss with the dressing to prevent browning.
- Cook the bacon as you prefer (eg under broiler, in oven/in pan – this can be done ahead) and cut into slices. Roughly chop the parsley.
- Add the bacon, pumpkin seeds and parsley to the apple and celeriac and toss to combine well. Serve.
Source: Caroline’s Cooking