In The Box 3: Farm Pickup and New Glarus Delivery
There’s no denying that we all here on the farm – people, animals and plants – are worn out from the heat and the drought. No matter how many times a day I check my computer, the forecast still shows no break in the near future and we are endlessly thankful for our deep and cool well. Not only have we hit the two-showers-per-person-per-day season, we are irrigating crops, fruit bushes and trees round the clock. So we are also thankful for those equatorial plants that absolutely love this weather: the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash and pumpkins that are rampantly expanding as they tumble over and overtake their wilting neighbors. Little did we know when we seeded those cells in the greenhouse this February that they’d be so very important to our yield this year. Those of you who love those high summer performers are going to be very very happy in the next month. But spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage lovers, you’re going to have to wait for fall to see your favorites again, I’m afraid. This week we tilled in the spring-planted salad mix, head lettuce, spinach, pak choy and Asian greens and put fall carrots, rutabaga and beets in their spots. You just can’t fight heat, wind and lack of moisture forever – so we had to throw in the towel on some things.
If course, farmers and gardeners ALWAYS have something to complain about – we’re at the whim of the elements, after all. But we are also some of the most grateful people you’ll ever meet, as well – and for all of the same reasons. No matter how hard we work and no matter how many things we do right or wrong, things can always go horribly bad or inexplicably right. It’s an adventure – and we are thankful that you are along for the ride! Here’s what’s in the box…
In order of most to least perishable…
Salad Mix with Mizuna Flowers and Arugula Blossoms This mix features some spicy purple Mizuna leaves, so they should be easy to see and remove if you find it too much. The yellow flowers are also from the Mizuna, and the white flowers are arugula. All and all, it adds up to a pretty and unique salad!
Thanks for all the great feedback about our salad mixes. Our secret: we harvest the day before or on packing day, and we immediately bring the cut leaves do soak in cold water for about 10 minutes. Then they are dried in a big spinner before we bag them up. We regularly eat from bags that are 3 weeks old.
Emma is super-excited about getting the spinner job. It’s in the shade!
Dill These ginormous chartreuse flowers with ferny leaves are at the top of your box because they are quite fragile. Of course, it isnâ€™t necessary to have them pretty to use them, but we want them to come to you nice. Leave them on your kitchen table in a big jar of water and snip as you use – both the leaves and flowers are tasty with potatoes, fish and peas. Terrific with beets!!!!
Cilantro The leaves become more delicate as the heat gets stronger. Store in the fridge in plastic.
Summer Savory One of my all-time hot-season favorites, summer savory is a great substitute for thyme, which I find more difficult to use. Strip the leaves and put them whole into your dishes. Great with the beets, or in any Mediterranean or European recipe.
Salad Turnips These tasty young WHITE turnips are best eaten RAW. Peel and slice into a salad, or enjoy all by themselves dipped in a nice dressing. Like a cabbage in apple shape!
Red Turnips and Greens These were so large with their very nutritious greens that we only put them in the Full Size boxes. To distinguish them from the beets, which they do resemble, we did not bunch them with rubber bands. These mature turnips must be COOKED. Enjoy as you would a potato, mashed, or try the recipe link below which combines the greens with the root. These should be peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes, and boiled in salted water until tender. It could take up to 30 minutes, but the wait will be worth it, if you enjoy cabbage-y flavors! Season with butter, salt and pepper. Also wonderful mixed with mashed potatoes.
Baby Onions These are baby, uncured onions. They are not meant to be stored out of the fridge, and they should be used up like scallions â€“ employ the tender parts of the greens, as well as the bulbs. The rounder ones are Italian Cippollinis. The longer ones are called “Expression.”
Snap Peas This is the last time through the trellises for these â€“ we are giving the fatigued vines over to all the birds, bunnies and bees that are living in there and scolding us every time we walk through. We had no idea what a vibrant micro-habitat these peas would create. Look on “facebook”:https://www.facebook.com/circlemfarm to see a little video of our brand-new babies in the nest!
Beets Gosh, we are proud of our gorgeous beets. Both roots and greens are beautiful and we strongly encourage you to use both. Weâ€™ve given you a few good recipe ideas on the website, but basically, youâ€™ll discard the stems and then use the greens anywhere youâ€™d use spinach or Swiss chard. We put some on pizza today for lunch and it was unanimously praised by the crew.
Garlic Scapes We are about to harvest our garlic here in a week or two, but until we do, weâ€™ve got scapes for flavor. Chop just like a scallion.
Flower Bouquet Oh, we hope you enjoy these as much we do! The greens in this bunch are blue-tinged False Indigo, which is a prairie native, and bush Hazelnuts, which have the crazy looking frilly green flowers. The berries are Serviceberry. The yellow flowers are yarrow and heliopsis. The purple flowers are drumstick allium. The white is Wild Quinine, another prairie plant. And the icing on the cake is a mature Garlic Scape. Too tough too eat, but adorable like a little gnome.
Potted Herb: Basil Youâ€™ll be harvesting off this basil in about a week, if you plant it in a sunny spot. Actually, be sure to at pinch the top off in about 10 days, to stimulate the plant to branch out into a prolific bush.
“Red Turnips over Pasta”:http://thenewlyfeds.blogspot.com/2010/05/red-turnips-scallops-and-pasta.html
This link takes you to the Newlyfeds blog – basically a journal of marriage and food that contains lots of good local eating tips and recipes. This recipe in particular is just delightful! It makes great use of rather strong-tasting summer turnips, which have a charm one can only appreciate through proper cooking. But it also has some great directions for cooking scallops, which I’m tempted to pick up at Woodmans the next time I deliver to Madison. Oh, and if you do follow this link, be sure to read the previous post, too: “In Which I Nearly Kill Fred.”
Beet and Greens Salad with Feta
This yummy salad is a variation of one I found while enjoying some internet recipe searching one steamy afternoon last week. It utilizes a whole bunch of things you have in the box this week.
3 beets, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
6 slices bacon
1 bunch beet greens, stems discarded
1 cup snap peas, with strings zipped off and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
apple cider vinegar
Place the beets into a saucepan with enough water to cover by 1 inch; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beets are easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes; transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon drippings in the skillet. Roughly chop the bacon and set aside. Add the drained beets and greens to the reserved bacon drippings; cover the skillet, place over medium heat, and cook until greens are wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the chopped bacon and peas into the beet mixture; continue cooking until the peas are slightly darker and tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the mixture; stir. Serve hot. Sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, if desired.
FRESH BEET SALAD WITH TURNIPS
This is a vibrant, refreshing salad that is best made with small sweet turnips and beets.
Ingredients for the Turnips
4 small turnips, peeled and trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
Slice turnips very thin (about 1/8 inch thick). Blanch them in boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt to 1 qt of water) until they begin to soften but are still crisp, 1 minute. Drain, and rinse well with cold water. Drain again and pat dry. In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and cumin seeds. Toss the turnip slices in the vinaigrette, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Ingredients For the Beets
3 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 large shallots or small onions, peeled
1 1/2 lbs beets, peeled and finely grated
1 hard-cooked egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, parsley, or summer savory leaves, minced
Whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Finely slice the shallots, and toss them with the beets in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the beets, and toss until they are thoroughly coated with the dressing. Place a mound of the beet salad in the middle of a serving platter. Surround it with the turnip slices, closely overlapping them. For garnish, push the egg yolk through a fine-mesh sieve over the beets, and then sprinkle the beets with the tarragon. Serve immediately.
MARINATED TOMATOES WITH LEMON AND SUMMER SAVORY
Summer savory is slightly bitter and has an aroma similar to that of thyme. If It adds a unique twist to the typical combination of tomato and basil. Hang your savory bunch up to dry, use what you like this week, and save the rest for tomato season!
3 tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried savory
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Place the tomato wedges in a medium bowl. Combine lemon juice and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour dressing over tomatoes; toss gently to coat. Let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon.
Cream, butter and onions bring out the savory best in turnips.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
4 cups peeled, thinly sliced turnips
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 qt casserole. Melt 1 Tbspn butter and lightly saute onions until just wilted. Layer a third of the sliced turnips in the casserole dish; top with a third of the onion; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of flour, 1/3 teaspoon of salt, and one grind of pepper; pat with dollops from 1 tablespoon of butter. Repeat this layering twice. Mix milk and cream together and pour over the turnips. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 30-45 minutes, or until tender and bubbly.
ROASTED BEETS AND SAUTEED BEET GREENS RECIPE
1 bunch beets with greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted. Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.
Italian Beans and Greens
This is a kickin’ recipe to use up all of the ridiculously nutritious greens in the box this week. Make this dish at night when it’s cool, then eat off it all week – lukewarm with a crusty bread and a nice local beer.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini (white) beans, drained
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 anchovy filet
1 bunch beet, turnip or other sturdy greens, chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until bubbling and sizzling, about 20 seconds. Pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes. Stir in beans; bring to a boil and cook until you can see the tops of the beans just below the surface of the liquid, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in oregano, lemon zest, and anchovy filet. Simmer for 3 minutes. Place chopped greens in bean mixture; reduce heat to low and stir until greens are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; garnish with red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil. Some balsamic vinegar rocks, too.