Notes From the Farm
Some of the food we “grow” are plants that we don’t sow or maintain in any way, and considered by many to be weeds. In your greens mix last week were dandelion leaves and lambs quarter; two spring greens that are tender, tasty and vitamin rich. This week we foraged around the farm to find yellow dock leaves, another “weed” that provides a healthy dose of minerals and vitamins. In searching for ways to use dock I happened upon a chef’s website specializes in using wild foods. He has a refreshing array of fare and recipes. And a good story to tell. I found it interesting that the most expensive and precious items on the menu were the items he wild-crafted. We hope you enjoy this week’s harvest.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Dock leaves, horseradish, chocolate mint, arugula, asparagus
New This Week
Yellow dock is part of a large group of plants that belong to the genus Rumex, native to Europe and Western Asia. Inedible varieties were used medicinally and several types of dock were traditionally used to wrap butter and help preserve it. Fortunately, many varieties are edible and can be treated like spinach. Yellow dock has a bright lemon flavor that adds a nice tang to fresh salads. It also makes an excellent stuffing for whole roasted fish and pairs well with potatoes and eggs. Dock can be treated like spinach when cooking, just don’t cook it too long or it will turn mushy. If cooking with other greens add towards the end.
Horseradish is popular in many cuisines and is usually served as a condiment for meat, fish, or eggs. The entire root is not useable; you will want to peel the root and discard any woody core. The grated root can be eaten raw but is usually toned down with some dairy product or mixed into a sauce. Horseradish is often served as a sharp relish to accompany roast beef, but also goes well with fish, eggs, apples, and potatoes. One root is usually more than enough for a recipe, so preservation is important since once horseradish is cut or grated and the flavor has developed, it quickly deteriorates.
Native to eastern Europe, horseradish, a funny-looking root, thrives in our climate. This yellowish-brown root belongs to the same family as turnip, cabbage, and cauliflower. The pungent odor and hot taste of horseradish is related to a substance called sinigrin that creates a volatile oil containing sulphur. The release of these properties only happens when the root is either cut or bruised. Grating horseradish will make your eyes water and nose tingle so if you are sensitive, wear ski goggles while grating.
Chocolate mint has dark green to purple leaves with the scent of an after dinner mint. Chocolate mint, as the name implies, tastes of both chocolate and mint, making it perfect for desserts and homemade ice cream. It is great in chocolate desserts, fruit salads, ice creams, and custard-based desserts. Dried chocolate mint makes wonderful tea on a winter day.
Mediterranean Dock Soup with Rice and Lemon
A simple Mediterranean style soup with dock leaves, rice, egg and lemon. Serves 4.
- 6 oz fresh tender dock leaves washed and cleaned
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling to taste
- ¼ cup basmati or other long grain rice
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- Chopped fresh oregano (optional)
- Pinch of ground cumin
- Blanch the dock leaves in boiling salted water until just wilted—a few seconds, then cool in cold water, and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Meanwhile, toast the rice in a 350 F oven until just golden, then cool, add to a pot with a pinch of salt and ½ cup of water, bring to a simmer and cook, covered until tender.
- Coarsely chop the dock leaves in a cross-hatch pattern so there are no long pieces—they need to fit on a spoon.
- Sweat the onion and garlic in the oil for 10 minutes on medium heat, or until just barely browning around the edges. Add the stock, dock leaves and oregano, pinch of cumin and bring to a simmer, adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper, then add the rice and simmer on low for 10 minutes or so to let the flavors meld.
- Finally, stir in the beaten egg, allow to heat through, and serve garnished with olive oil, black pepper, and plenty of fresh lemon juice. The soup should taste lemony.
Source: Forager Chef
How to Make Prepared Horseradish
Prepared horseradish root, like you’d buy from a store, only better. Makes about 1 cup.
- High speed blender like a vitamix or a fine grater like a microplane
- 4 oz horseradish root
- 2 oz water
- 2 oz white vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Peel the horseradish and set aside 4 oz.
- Cut the horseradish roughly into 1/2 inch pieces, then put in a blender with the remaining ingredients.
- Pulse and then puree the mixture until smooth, then scrape into a jar and refrigerate.
- Prepared horseradish will last for a long time.
- When I use the horseradish, generally I drain the liquid and add it to sour cream or mayonnaise to make sauces and condiments.
Think of this as a guide. All you’re doing here is adding just enough liquid to get the blades of the blender to move. If you don’t have a blender up to the task, use a fine grater like a microplane.
To make creamy horseradish sauce
Take spoonfuls of drained, prepared horseradish and mix to taste with sour cream, or a mix of sour cream and mayonnaise, or, if you have some, creme fraiche. Season with salt to taste. It should be nearly too hot in it’s raw state, since the fire will be mellowed as you eat it with other things.
Source: Forager Chef
Iced Green Tea with Ginger, Mint and Honey
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 cup ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 to 6 bags green tea (depending on how strong you like your tea)
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, tightly packed, plus extra to serve
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 lemon, divided
- In a medium-sized pot, combine the water and ginger slices. Bring to a boil. Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the tea bags and mint leaves. Cover the pot and steep for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the brewed tea; separating the liquid from the mint leaves and tea bags. Mix in the honey and juice from half of the lemon into the tea. Transfer to a pitcher and cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Slice the second half of the lemon. When ready to serve, add 1 to 2 lemon slices into each glass, along with a few mint leaves and ice cubes. Once the tea has cooled, pour it into the glasses and serve.
If your bags of green tea have paper tags, remove them before steeping so the tags don’t fall off into the water.
Source: The Kitchn