In The Box 1: Farm Pickup and New Glarus
Hooray! Welcome, all of you, both new and returning, to the Circle M CSA fresh veggie season. It’s been a hoot of a growing year so far – with summer temps in April and now here on the morning of June 1st, the heat is on in our house! We’re just hanging on for the ride, thankful for the early maturation of some crops and wary of the quick deterioration of others. We’re doing our best to grab things at their best and get them packed up for you. Here’s what’s in the box, listed from most perishable to least. Eat the first things first!
Circle M Spring Salad: Usually we pack little salad leaves for our mixed greens, but these got away from us in the hot weeks of May, so they are quite beefy. We’ve also added some specialty greens this week: spicy micro greens; and some savory purple sage blossoms for color, as well as tiny minty viola blossoms, otherwise known as Johnny Jump-Ups.
Such pretty bright lettuces! Tasty, too…
Cilantro: These tender leaves won’t last long in the fridge, so use them up quickly. We are growing these in the shade and hope to have them up until tomato season so you can utilize them in salsas. But they are wonderful in all Asian dishes, rice salads and pestos.
We hope these shady rows of cilantro make it thru til tomato season!
Dragon Mix Braising Greens: These mixed Thai stir-fry greens are the perfect size to either add to your salads this week, or lightly fry in a wok with sesame oil and serve over rice. So fresh and pretty!
Pea Shoots: Yum! This is a special-to-spring treat we grow in the greenhouse before it gets too hot. These are just young pea plants, grown close together in flats and then cut into bunches with scissors. There are so many ways to enjoy these tendrils, which are a specialty in Asian markets. We like them raw atop salads, where they look so pretty. But the flavor is improved even more by a light saute. Serve over rice or pasta.
Amanda’s snipping our perky pea shoots – Maggie is in the background bagging arugula. I have the best crew! Love also to Al, Emma and Sarah for the terrific work today.
Arugula: Arugula is so fabulous in the spring but some years we struggle to get enough to grow in the cool months to have something to offer in the early boxes. This year, though, our plants are huge! Some are even bolting, so we’re going to send a lot with you this week in case we don’t have any next week. The leaves will keep in plastic in the fridge for quite some time. Use in salad, chopped into Italian dishes, blended into pesto. We LOVE leaves set atop cheese on pizza. When you bake the pizza, the leaves crisp up and get soooo sweet. The farm crew ate this for lunch today.
Spinach: We aren’t big fans of baby spinach here at Circle M, so we hope you won’t be disappointed with these lovely, large leaves. The flavor is so much better when the leaves are larger. Still enjoy them raw, just rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces. And PLEASE don’t discard the stems if you can help it. Taste them – so sweet! Maybe chop and saute them if you don’t like how firm they are in a salad.
We think bigger is better. Yum!
Rhubarb: Boy, has this grown fast. We’ve been picking the huge flowers off for over a month, to try and discourage the plants from maturing too quickly. Just the smell of this when we harvest makes my mouth water. Love it!
French Breakfast Radishes: I can’t say enough how much I love these radishes! So easy to clean and so wonderful to slice with the long shape! Please, trust me, do try these for breakfast on a crusty baguette, buttered and salted.
Flower Bouquet: Chartreuse Bupleurum, maroon Ninebard, pink Yarrow and purple Iris.
Rice with Peas and Cilantro
This terrific recipe from Martha Stewart Living, May 2010, makes the most of fresh cilantro, using both stems and leaves. Great idea! This calls for fresh peas, which we don’t pack in the boxes, but you could substitute pea shoots, chopped.
1 C fresh cilantro leaves, stems reserved
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp chili powder
Coarse salt and pepper
1 C long grain rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 lb fresh peas, shelled (1 1/2 cups)
Tie together reserved cilantro stems with kitchen twine. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add chili powder, and season with salt and pepper, cook 1 minute. Add rice, and stir to coat. Add cilantro-stem bundle and the water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, covered until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add peas but don’t mix. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Discard cilantro-stem bundle. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro leaves and serve.
Mango and Radish Salad
1 mango, peeled and cut into wedges
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup arugula or watercress, stems removed
1 TBSP finely grated lime zest and 2 TBSP lime juice (two limes)
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP honey
Coarse Salt and Pepper
Arrange mango, arugula/watercress and radishes on a platter – alternating. Whisk together lime zest and juice, oil and honey. Season with salt. Pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wilted Spinach or Arugula Salad
This wilted salad will work with any of the greens, but I recommend trying them separately and not mixing. The flavors and textures are different and you’ll have a different experience each time. We don’t eat a lot of wilted salads here in the US, though they are quite common in the UK. You can use this basic recipe to make more wilted salad recipes – wonderful on the chilly sort of nights we’ve had lately.
8 cups of greens, with bulk of stem removed
1 small red onion
12 thin garlic-rubbed croutons (recipe follows)
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
4 oz crumbled feta or goat cheese
2 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into large pieces
2 TBSP sherry vinegar (experiment with different vinegars)
Salt and Pepper
6 TBSP olive oil
Sort thru the leaves, then wash and dry. Short stems are good. In a large bowl, toss together everything except the oil – add several pinches of salt. Heat the oil until almost smoking, then pour over the salad, quickly turning the leaves with a pair of tongs. The greens should sizzle, brighten and soften. Taste and correct the levels of salt, vinegar and pepper. Serve with croutons evenly divided.
This recipe is from one of my favorite veggie cookbooks – Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I highly recommend purchasing this book!
Slice baguettes, sourdough, or country-style bread about 1/4 inch thick. Brush with a mixture of melted butter and olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 until crisp and golden. Rub with a halved clove of garlic when they are removed from the oven. You can also crisp in a skillet over medium heat, tossing often, if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen with the oven.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Fantastic recipe from my favorite food blog, 101cookbook. See the pictures here.
Feel free to experiment with the amount of sugar in this based on how sweet your berries are. For example, try it with 1/2 cup sugar tossed with the fruit, and make note – you might want it more/less sweet the next time around.
butter for greasing skillet/pan (about 1 tablespoon)
3/4 cup / 3 oz / 85 g spelt flour
2/3 cup / 3 oz / 85 pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g rolled oats
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup / 2.5 oz / 75 g unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g natural cane sugar (or Muscovado sugar)
1/2 lb. / 8 ounces / 225 g hulled medium strawberries, cut into quarters
12 ounces trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup / 60 ml port wine (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C, with a rack in the middle. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish (pictured), or a 9×9 square baking dish.
Combine the flour, pine nuts, oats, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Use a fork to stir in the butter, squeeze into a few patties, then place in the freezer to chill at least ten minutes.
Make the filling by whisking together the cornstarch and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries and rhubarb, and toss until evenly coated. Wait three minutes, add the port and toss again. Transfer the filling to the prepared pan, remove the topping from the freezer, and crumble across the top of the filling – make sure you have big pieces and small.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the topping is deeply golden and the fruit juices are vigorously bubbling. You’ll want to let things cool a bit before serving, 20 – 30 minutes.
Serves a small crowd, 8 – 12 servings.
Don’t forget to connect with us and fellow members on facebook. Last year we really enjoyed the exchange of tips and recipes there. Tell us what you love and hate and how you are using your veggies!
Don’t forget to return your boxes and plastic liners the next time you pick up. Egg cartons, too!
Finally, don’t forget to come to the Lambs and Lettuces Festival tomorrow, Saturday, from 2 til 10 pm. Pot luck with bluegrass music at 6pm!
If you are here around 8pm you can help feed the babies!