Monday, June 2, 2008

June - Week 4, CSA

News from the Farm Kitchen . . .

Thanks to Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook for tips to sneak more vegetables into your eating plans. Her recent cookbook, Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without, offers several tried and true recipes using both common and the more unusual vegetables.

Her tips include going “taller” on your pizzas and sandwiches: pile the leftover veggies from last nights’ dinner onto a pre-made pizza crust or onto your open-faced sandwich bread. Try stuffing a hollowed-out already baked potato with sauteed, steamed, or grilled vegetables; top with cheese and broil. Add veggies to cooked pasta and season with olive oil, garlic and herbs; may be eaten cold as salad or heated. Add leftover veggies to your scrambled eggs for added punch in the morning!

Other sources of fresh vegetable recipes include Local Flavors: Coooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by Deborah Madison along with her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; Greene on Greens by Bert Greene; books by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, authors of The Silver Palate Cookbook; Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson and Angelelic Organics; From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition; and books by Alice Waters, leader of Slow Food and founder of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkley.

Online resources for recipes include the following:

Please share any recipes, cooking tips, or recipe sources with us that you find are family favorites using your CSA produce items this summer.

In Your Share . . .

Items will vary depending on your harvest and pickup day and the share size - every share may not have every item listed.

Enjoy this last harvest of fresh asparagus. Try grilling outdoors and serving with balsamic vinegar.

Kohlrabi – organic – new this week!
The alien looking vegetable with leaves coming out of a bulb is the kohlrabi – a member of the brassica family, like broccoli and cabbage. The leaves should be removed and can be cooked with other greens, but most dishes focus on the bulb. You will need to peel the bulb, but this veggie has excellent flavor either raw or cooked. Grate it into salads or thinly slice as a snack -food similar to carrots. We have had several reports that raw kohlrabi is a favorite for kids. The bulb will store well in your refrigerator for several weeks once the leaves are removed.
This highly nutritious vegetable is high in fiber, potassium and calcium while low in calories. Find a recipe below.

Salad Mix – organic
This week’s harvest comes from several varieties including green leaf, red oak leaf and the beautiful Rubin’s Red romaine. While field dirt has been rinsed, you do need to wash well before eating. Try a new recipe below with salad greens and fresh strawberries!

Strawberries - organic
After last season’s Easter weekend freeze-out that caused so much of the KY fruit to be lost for the season, we are pleased with this year’s strawberry yields. A wetter spring does mean less concentrated sugar in the fruit, but we think the flavor has changed over the last four weeks – jam making does not require as much sugar as recipes suggest. If you have extra berries, try rinsing well, hulling the stems, and putting in freezer bags to store for the winter. Even a pint or so makes a nice treat when there is snow on the ground outside.

Spinach - organic

Our next two plantings of fresh spinach are beginning to size up. Enjoy raw in salads or in wraps, add to any pasta or egg recipe, or cook by steaming or sautéing. Just remember how much it shrinks down when cooked. Add a little vinegar when ready to eat.

Swiss Chard - organic

Enjoy your rainbow Swiss chard chopped into ribbons and added to a lettuce salad, or sautéed with the kohlrabi this week.

Green Leaf Lettuce – organic
The Thai Green is an organic variety of the most popular type of green leaf lettuce. Butterheads are an organic variety of a popular type of green leaf lettuce – similar to Bibb lettuce, they have tender leaves with wonderful flavor.

Sugar Snap Peas – organic – new this week!

Snap peas are a sweet indicator of spring in Kentucky. This organic variety, Sugar Sprint, is a stringless snap pea (both the pod and the pea are edible). Eat fresh in salads or lightly sauté in olive oil to bring out the flavor. You may want to quickly blanche in boiling water, then throw into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Add to your lettuce or pasta salad, or enjoy as a snack or appetizer with your favorite dip.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Fresh Strawberry Pie
recipe from a friend of the farm

1 baked and cooled 9-inch pie shell
3 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

1. Cover the bottom of the pie shell with the prettiest berries, arranging them stem-side down.
2. Mash remaining berries (about 1 pint).
3. Put into a medium saucepan. Add sugar, water, cornstarch, and salt.
4. Stir over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 1 minute, stirring, until thickened and clear.
5. Remove from heat. Let cool until barely warm.
6. Pour over berries in pie shell.
7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until set.

Basic Method for Cooking Kohlrabi

adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham

1 pound kohlrabi
melted butter
freshly ground pepper
Cut off the tops of the kohlrabi and peel and slice the globes. Cook, uncovered, in boiling, salted water until tender, about 20 –30 minutes (cook less if the kohlrabi is very small). Or, steam on a a rack, over boiling water, covered for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain, toss with melted butter and season to taste.

Option: Kohlrabi au Gratin
Put the cooked, seasoned kohlrabi in a shallow, buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese and put under the broiler until the cheese has melted.

Simple Spring Salad with Vanilla Vinaigrette
recipe adapted by Melissa for use at the farm

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp minced chives or green onion
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste

6 cups spring mix greens
½ cup chopped green onions (green & white parts)
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or peaches
½ cup sliced almonds

Toast almonds in dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat immediately. Let cool.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and transfer to cruet. Set aside.

Place greens in large bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette. Divide among 4 salad plates and sprinkle with green onions. Mound strawberries in center of greens and sprinkle with almonds. Drizzle each salad with 1 tsp of vinaigrette and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.