In The Box 1: Madison Delivery
Early this morning two of our young harvest crew members showed up and found baby ducklings in a nest we’d been watching for weeks. The brown mama duck has been puffing up and hissing at us as we walk by to collect the edible blossoms from a Johnny Jump Up patch near the mound of hay and down she’s been setting on. Since duck nests are communal, the five chicks she’s hatched so far are from a number of mothers. There are two black ones, one yellow and two grey. They are adorable and still very quiet – having spent most of the day still tucked up under her wings. By tomorrow they’ll be making some noise and soon we’ll hear their insistent peeping from near and far as they wander the farm behind their self-appointed mom. We love this time of year on the farm – for the ducklings, the bluebirds, the flowers and the FOOD!
Welcome, all of you new and returning members, to the CSA season! 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 are growing so robustly we found the leaves bigger than we expected. The rows are growing in the shade so they won’t get fatigued in the heat, and the colors are so bright they glow like jewels under the dappled canopy of the trees. The tiny minty viola blossoms, otherwise known as Johnny Jump-Ups, are edible – so enjoy!
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 – we had them tonight with a little sesame oil and salt. Cook until they wilt and turn dark green. Serve over rice or pasta.
Amanda’s snipping our perky pea shoots.
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. Because the size of the leaves is a mix, we suggest sorting out the small ones when you wash these, and use those for salds. Then use the big leaves to chop and cook. 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: The teenage girls that make up most of our harvest crew are absolutely mortified that we’re packing spinach with holes in it. So, on their behalf, we apologize for the look of these leaves – but not for the flavor. These are delicious, and that’s why we’re sending them out to you, in spite of their cosmetic issues. 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.
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. With a leaf of arugula on top – even better!
Flower Bouquet: Chartreuse Bupleurum, maroon Ninebark, yellow Basketflower – enjoy!
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 We made this twice in one week and could make it again – so terrific.
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.
Rhubarb With Earl Grey Tea
This came in the Willy Street Co-op newsletter this week, and though we’ve been eating the previous recipe off the hook, we are going to try this, too. Yum! Adapted from food52.com.
1 lb. rhubarb, roughly chopped
2 Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 Cup plus 2 TBSP sugar
1 cardamom pod, crushed with a mortar and pestle (or use dried powdered cardamom!)
2 bags Earl Grey tea, steeped in 3/4 cup very hot water for 3 minutes
4 Tbsp orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and stir well. Transfer to a Dutch oven or a casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 min, stirring once or twice. Serve warm or cool, over pancakes, oatmeal, ice cream – or all by itself with some whipped cream.
“Arugula Potato Gratin with Gruyere”:http://simplybonvivant.com/2011/12/16/potatoes-au-gratin-with-gruyere-arugula-and-pancetta/
We made this last night and loved it. So decadent and rich – nice for those still-chilly summer evenings. Nice hot, warm, or even just barely room-temp.
For pasta, pizza, burgers, bread and anything else you can think of!
2 cups arugula leaves, stems removed
1/2 cup shelled walnuts (pine nuts or pistachios work well too)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of your favorite olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the arugula, salt, walnuts, roasted and raw garlic into a food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the processor. Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
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, plastic liners and plastic clamshells the next time you pick up. Egg cartons, too!