In The Box 4: Madison Delivery
RAIN. ‘Nuff said. Here’s what’s in the box!
In order of most to least perishable…
Basil – This is bagged up somewhere near the top of your box. Basil is really getting rolling now in the field, and you should have enough to make your first round of pesto this week! Recipe suggestion below…
Salad Mix with Sorrel – Sandy! We picked the salad this morning, so it would be as fresh as possible coming in to you, but obviously now it’s been through a bit of a storm. Wash again to get rid of all the sand, and eat quickly, as the leaves did sustain some damage in the rain and wind. But enjoy! This is really and truly the last picking of salad mix before fall. We have tiny sweet heads of lettuce started in the shade-covered greenhouse, but we can’t put them out in the field til the heat pulls back. On top of the salad mix are tart lance-shaped leaves of sorrel. These are the Sour Patch Kids of the veggie world. On our high-school farm tours, this herb is the hands-down favorite for munching in the field. Add this, ribboned, to your salad for a taste kick, or use to garnish and flavor your new potatoes. The lemon-y bright flavor complements goat cheese, poultry and eggs.
Baby Bok Choy – These baby heads of Asian cabbage are a bit bit up, but they taste so sweet and are so crisp, we picked and packed them anyway. There are a multitude of cabbage varieties, but this one is appreciated for it’s crunchy ribs. Chop the whole plant and eat with your salad, or saute in stir fry.
Bug infestations are probably the most challenging problem faced by organic farmers, and this is a very intense year in terms of all beetles – the bok choy was certainly enjoyed by flea beetles and Japanese beetles, but many of our early summer crops have been absolutely devoured by them. Organic farmers all over the state are collaborating via email to try and brainstorm some solutions. The very excellent folks at Johnny’s Seed Company told me over the phone that beetles tend to thrive in a hot year and gave me some good ideas for organic sprays that we are trying out. We aren’t seeing very good results yet, however – and the conventional farmers we chat with at the hardware store in town aren’t seeing good results with conventional sprays, either. So we are pretty much having to re-seed large sections of our cucumber, summer squash, brassica and pumpkin fields that were decimated by spotted cucumber beetles, squash bugs and Japanese beetles. You’ll get all these crops in your box this year, but later than we intended.
Baby Swiss Chard – Shortie Shares Only. These tender leaves can be eaten with your salad, ribboned raw into pasta or used in any recipe where you’d use spinach, beet leaves or other greens. The small beets we put in your box this week had terrible greens, so we put these in for you instead – they are very close relatives, as you can see by the colors in the stems!
Mixed Baby Kale – Full Size Boxes Only. These curly leaves bunched in bouquets are young, tender, sweet and just perfect for eating raw. We just LOVE the first bite of kale each season – so crisp and healthy! These are a powerhouse of flavor and nutrition, and I suggest you try including the very sweet stems. A great way to enjoy young kale it to chop the leaves and stems into bite-size pieces, then massage gently, as you would knead bread, with salad dressing. Allow to sit 1/2 hour, then garnish with nuts and dried cranberries – and eat!
Kale is one of the brassicas being plagued this year by Japanese beetles. Until this year, I honestly wasn’t aware that Japanese beetles had any interest in brassicas. One nice thing about these destructive bugs is that they do eat a whole leaf before moving on to the next one – which means we had plenty of nice leaves to harvest even though the plants are hosting a lot of munchers. Harvesting gave me a nice chance today to squish hundreds of them in about an hour. Floating row covers are our first line of defense against bugs, but once the plants get too big to fit under covers, we resort of our second line of defense – squish, squish and squish.
Chives – Enjoy these grassy-looking onion-family leaves with the lovely little new potatoes. I just cut them with a scissor directly over whatever dish I want them in.
Fennel – These white bulbs with ferny greens are smaller than we wanted to send out to you – but they started bolting in the heat and we had to get them out of the field before they got fibrous. The advantage of young plants is that they are tender enough that you should be able to chop and use the whole plant. But this is a crop you either love or hate. I love it because I LOVE anise and licorice flavors – which are present in this veggie. Growing up, we had these naturalized in our perennial flower gardens, and we’d pull and much the stems all summer long. The flavor is really like a cross between licorice and celery – and it is almost a little spicy. It pairs amazingly well with citrus in a salad. It is also fabulous roasted with olive oil, caramelized with onions or baked in a gratin with potatoes. Some nice recipe ideas “here”:http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_fennel/
Onions – We’ve really been enjoying these mild fresh onions. And in the last week they’ve grown HUGE! They are uncured and immature, so don’t store outside of the fridge.
Beets – We got a lot of great feedback about the beet, feta and beet green recipe from the previous harvest list. Something about beets and feta is wonderful! Here are more delicious beets and greens to try out – you might have red, golden, white or striped beets in your box. All tasty.
New Red and Blue Potatoes – Our poor potatoes have been pretty knocked back by Colorado potato beetles and by the heat wave. But these early colored varieties – Red Norland and Adirondack Blue are tasty and gorgeous. Even though the plants didn’t yield much before they died back, they made us a few wonderful tubers each. Try these lightly boiled and dressed simply with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and chives.
No flowers this week. – They just go too fast in the heat.
“Spaghetti with Kale”:http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/spaghetti-with-kale/
I think you should eat the kale raw this time, but if you really don’t care for it, click on this recipe for an unusual treat.
“Blue Potatoes with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette”:http://www.fakefoodfree.com/2012/06/blue-potato-salad-with-lemon-basil.html This link has a great recipe using lots of the things you got in the box this week, and lots of pretty pictures, too!
“Sorrel and New Potato Salad”:http://eatenanythinginterestinglately.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-potatoes-with-sorrel-sauce-and.html This link has a recipe involving new potatoes, sorrel and truffle salt!
Fennel and Fontina Pizza with Caramelized Onions
Thanks, Martha, for another fabulous recipe. From marthastewart.com.
1/2 cup Caramelized Fennel and Onions (below)
4 ounces shredded fontina
Basic Grilled Pizza Dough (below)
Set up a grill with heat source, coals or gas, on one side over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. On a lightly floured work surface, stretch or roll 1 piece basic grilled pizza dough or 4 ounces store-bought dough into a 10-inch-long oval or other desired shape. Brush one side lightly with herb oil or olive oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Using your hands, place dough, oiled side down, directly over heat source. Brush dough with herb oil or olive oil and cook until underside is lightly charred and bubbles form all over top, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs, flip dough and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Slide dough to cooler side of grill. Top with cheese and fennel/onion mix; garnish with fennel fronds, cover grill. Cook until cheese melts and toppings are heated through, 2 to 5 minutes.
Caramelized Fennel and Onions
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add fennel and onion, and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, add 1 tablespoon water, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown and soft, 2 minutes.
Basic Grilled Pizza Dough
1 teaspoon sugar
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Whisk oil and 1 teaspoon salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry). Turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 30 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Let rest 15 minutes before using.
Spicy Kale and Bok
This is so nice served just warm over rice. It cooks quick and doesn’t heat up the kitchen.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Thai or jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed and slices quartered
1 tablespoon honey
Small kale bunch, coarsely chopped
Small bunch baby bok choy, chopped
6 small onions and greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
In a large skillet, heat oil and chile over medium-high heat. Add lemon and honey and cook, stirring, until lemon begins to break down, about 2 minutes. Add kale and bok choy and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Add scallions, season with salt, and cook 1 minute. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Beets and Greens Risotto
This is a wonderful pink recipe from Martha Rose Schulman in the New York Times.
4 pound beets (1 bunch small), roasted
1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed
6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnarolli rice
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup red, rose, or dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 to 1/2 cup, to taste)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Season well and turn the heat to low. Stack the stemmed, washed greens and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan or wide, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the rice and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle, about 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. You want some of the flavor to cook into the rice before it evaporates. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock (about 1/2 cup), enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly (adjust heat accordingly). Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, not too fast and not too slowly, stirring often and adding more stock when the rice is almost dry, for 10 minutes.
Stir in the greens and the diced beets, and continue adding more stock, enough to barely cover the rice, and stirring often, for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste a bit of the rice. Is it cooked through? It should taste chewy but not hard in the middle. Definitely not soft like steamed rice. If it is still hard in the middle, you need to continue adding stock and stirring for another 5 minutes or so. Now is the time to ascertain if there is enough salt. Add if necessary. When the rice is cooked through, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, and stir in another half cup of stock, the Parmesan and the parsley. Remove from the heat. The rice should be creamy; if it isnâ€™t, add a little more stock. Stir once, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.
Variation: I often blanch greens when I get them home from the market so that they wonâ€™t wilt or rot in the refrigerator if I donâ€™t get around to cooking them right away. If you do this, and want to use them for this risotto, chop the blanched greens and set aside. Add them to the risotto during the last few minutes of cooking, just to heat them through and amalgamate into the dish.
Advance preparation: The roasted beets will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. You can get ahead on the risotto, cooking it just through Step 3, then spreading the rice out in the pan or on a baking sheet. Reheat and proceed with Step 4 shortly before serving.
You can make pesto as complicated as you like, but the most basic of recipes is always just wonderful. The basil in your box is so young and tender, you can throw the stems into the blender, too.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.