Monday, May 18, 2009

Week 2, CSA

Kitchen Tips . . .

Some tips from long-time members to help you be ready for your share:
* Olive oil should always be available – often used to sauté or stir fry, sometimes used uncooked in a salad dressing or pasta.
* All of the produce and most of our recipes are well suited for vegetarian diets. Some recipes may include butter or oil, but substituting your favorite often will not often alter the performance of the recipes we try to offer.
* Having on hand items such as citrus juice, mustards, balsamic vinegars, honey or other sweeteners, nuts, and your preferred types of dairy and cheeses will offer you many options in using your veggies.
* A steamer basket or small steamer pot offers high flavor and nutrients from steamed vegetables rather than the unfriendly mushiness that boiling directly in water achieves. Sometimes texture is as important as flavor.

* We encourage you to share your favorite recipes with us. We would like to include them in our newsletter, especially those with relatively few steps, using ingredients kept on hand in the kitchen, and that are might tasty!

In Your Share . . .
Share items may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

We are glad to have more asparagus for another week. Only available for about a 30 day window in the spring, it is one item that once it is gone for the year, we can’t just plant more and harvest again. Asparagus roots are planted in the spring and won’t send up a potential stalk until one year later. But, you can’t harvest them the first year, as your plants are not yet well established. By year two, you can take a little, and by year three, you are ready for a real harvest. Years ago, every rural farm-stead had its own bed of asparagus providing the first fresh green vegetable after a long winter of canned and stored items. High in Vit. A, B-complex and C when raw, a little nutritional value is lost when cooked.

Bok Choy – organic
This early spring green vegetable can withstand a light frost and is a fast grower. It is also a huge attractor of flea beetles, one of organic produce’s primary pests. Another vegetable full of vitamins and minerals, bok choy is said to contain the most calcium of all garden veggies while very low in calories. Somewhat intimidating at first, bok choy is very easy to prepare and is complemented by a variety of cooking styles. The white stalk and the green leaf portions are all edible, just cut into pieces before steaming, stir-frying, or sautéing. The stalk pieces may take a little longer than the leaf. Store in hydrator of fridge, leaves may wilt slightly if dried out, but does not affect your flavor.

Garlic Greens – organic
Several recipes are out and about for wonderful green garlic soup. Find one below that calls for 1-½ pounds. If you still have some from last week, you probably have enough. If not, consider halving the recipe. Remember that the garlic can be used in anything calling for garlic cloves or anything calling for green onions (just your flavor will be garlic rather than onion.) You can also chop and freeze to make green garlic pesto later on.

Herb, Fresh Flowering Sage – organic
The aromatic Sage is one of the most popular fresh-cut herbs. Sage has a long history dating to the Romans. It is associated with immortality and mental sharpness, and even Charlemagne had it grown in his royal gardens for its benefits to the human body.The leaves are chopped and eaten fresh in salads, topping pasta, with meats, or with cheese. Dried it can be used many ways and will be stronger in flavor. Store refrigerated either rolled in a damp paper towel or in a small glass in water (in the fridge if you can). Fry sage leaves lightly in butter and enjoy the resulting butter-sage sauce over pasta. Enjoy the edible, colorful blossoms in a fresh green salad or as a garnish.

Lettuce, Head – organic
Every share contains a green oak leaf lettuce head with the variety name of Royal Oak. Like many lettuces that grow well in KY, the leaves do not form a tight head. The larger shares contain a red French Heirloom type, Rouge de Grenoblouse. Store refrigerated in a container to prevent the leaves from drying out. This may be a good time to think about acquiring a salad spinner for washing and drying your fresh greens.

Parsnips – organic
Enjoy as you would any root vegetable. Eat raw like carrot sticks, steam with butter, oven roast in a little olive oil. Find a yummy soup recipe & an oven roast recipe online in Oct 2007 post found here just at the right.

French Breakfast Radishes – organic
This tasty variety of radishes from Southern France can be used many ways. Of course try them raw on green salad, but also consider slicing into a vinegar/water marinade for an easy quick pickle.

Spinach – organic
This will most likely be the last harvest from the sweet fall spinach.

Strawberries – organic
Yeh! The strawberries are ready. These are picked at full ripeness and have nice flavor. Wash before eating as rainy weather is not a friend to fresh berries. Some may have a little dirt from rain that splashes topsoil up onto the fruit. This week they are in limited supply due to two nights of frosting cold. We’ll have more as the days warm up.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Bok Choy Stir Fry
adapted from La Vista Ecological Center recipe

2 T soy sauce
2 T water
2 tsp sugar
1 T oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 bok choy
3-4 green garlic, chopped
crushed red pepper flakes

2 T chopped peanuts (optional)

1. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, water and sugar; set aside.
2. Cut bok choy ribs and leaves crosswise into 2- inch pieces.
3. In a wok or deep skillet, heat oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add bok choy, garlic, soy sauce mixture and pepper flakes to taste. Stir-fry just until bok choy is wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in peanuts and serve immediately. Can be used as a side dish or served over rice as one-dish meal. Serves 4.

Roasted Asparagus
roasting tips from Mollie Katzen of the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook series

fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed or snapped off
extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush or spread it generously with oil. Distribute the asparagus on the sheet and roll them around so they will be completely coated with oil. Place the sheet on the center rack of the oven and roast about 3 minutes. Shake the sheet and/or use tongs to reposition the asparagus so it can roast evenly all over. After another couple of minutes, begin checking for doneness. Remove from oven as soon as asparagus is “this side of tender.” You can salt lightly if desired. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Notes: You can roast asparagus of any thickness. Simply keep your eye on it and take out of the oven any that are ready first. Asparagus will continue to cook from its own heat for another few minutes and you don’t want it too soft.

Green Garlic Soup
adapted from a James Peterson recipe

1 ½ pounds garlic greens
2 T butter
3 ½ C broth
½ C heavy cream (optional, for creamy soup)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut most of flat leaves away, leaving inch or so of dark green above the white portion. Cut off roots and discard. Cut into pieces to fit into deep skillet with butter and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add stock and bring to simmer over high heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes more. Use hand blender in pan to puree, or carefully puree in blender for 1 minute. Work through strainer into a clean pot with the back of a ladle. Add cream, if desired, bring to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.