Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh Sunny Day! Week 4, CSA

Yes, we did get the potatoes planted this month. Maybe a little late, but they are starting to poke through the soil and look pretty good.

Old-timer experiential knowledge is to plant your seed potatoes on Good Friday for a nice crop of early new potatoes. As you can imagine, with heavy rains and super wet fields, not a good idea. Even if it was possible to plow a furrow or pull the planter through the field, the cold wet soil would just cause the seed potatoes to rot before they had a chance to grow. Later is definitely better than not at all.

Week 4, CSA, From the Farm . . .

Our current weather indicates that summer is here already! After such a long, cold spring, we are due some drier, warmer days, and many of your vegetable crops are ready. The beans, cucumbers, squashes, melons, corn, potatoes, peppers, and especially tomatoes need sunshine. It seems like we can almost see them growing right before our eyes! The asparagus and spinach are slowing down as we change to a summer-like season. You have several new items this week in your share. As long as the weather cooperates, you will start to see more variety each week as many of the early crops begin to catch up.

In Your Share . . .

Items in your shares may vary depending on share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed below.

We are glad to include some asparagus for its final week of harvest.

Herbs: Fresh Tarragon and Oregano – organic
Find a couple of sprigs of fresh herbs to mince and enjoy with your fresh peas. You can also add to a fresh green lettuce or spinach salad, or top an asparagus quiche, sauté, or frittata. Each matches well with the flavor of peas; store in water in a flower vase in the fridge.

Sugar Snap Peas – organic
The entire pod and peas inside are edible and you can enjoy fresh peas many ways:

1) raw,

2) lightly blanch & plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking and add to salads,

3) steam and add a little butter, or

4) use in a quick stir-fry.

This variety we are harvesting today is a stringless type, so you can eat the whole pod. Only in hot, dry weather does this pea plant produce a string that needs to be removed prior to use.

Salad Mix – organic
Find a mix of several varieties of green and red lettuces. Nothing spicy is in your salad mix today. We have rinsed field dirt off with cool water that also helps to bring down the temperature of the greens - this is a key to keeping things fresher longer. However, you should always wash your produce items before eating as nothing is boxed for you “ready to eat”.
You may find that a salad spinner is a very helpful kitchen gadget to have on hand. Salad dressing tends to slide off of wet lettuce, and excess water in your storage container may contribute to items not storing as long. With care, your lettuces will easily keep fresh a week or more if desired.

Spinach – organic

Supermarkets fool us into thinking that fresh spinach can be grown year round everywhere! This cool weather crop does well in KY during spring and fall, and our many days of cool weather this spring helped the seeds to germinate and plants to thrive. The heat will slow it down, so enjoy it for another week as we see how this favorite holds up into June.

Strawberries – organic

Butterhead Lettuce - organic
The full lettuce heads have not yet sized up, so only the larger shares have an extra head today. Next week, all shares will have plenty of lettuce or salad greens. The green butterhead is a Boston type lettuce, the butterheads are in same family as KY Bibb lettuce.

Red Kale and Green Mustard Bunch – organic
Find a bundle of cooking greens today including the Flat Leafed Red Kale and the Curly Leafed Green Mustard. For a quick sauté or light steaming, tear or cut away any thick stems, otherwise the stems can remain and cook along with the leaves in a simmering recipe. The mustard has a little spiciness while the kale is less strong and a smoother flavor.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Asparagus & Green Garlic Sauté
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe. This is a nice way to use any green garlic still in the refrigerator from last week.

Wash and cut up 2-5 stalks green garlic, sliced finely as far up as you find tender. Prepare 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces, remove stem ends or peel away outer skin if stem ends are a little tough.

Sauté garlic greens in a little olive oil until golden. Add asparagus and cook over medium heat until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. When tender and ready to eat, sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top. So yummy!

Variation: You can use the same recipe with green beans too!

Parmesan Asparagus Roll-Ups
Recipe from Taste of Home

12 spears fresh asparagus
2 sheets phyllo dough (18” x 14”)
4 tsp olive oil
¼ C grated Parmesan cheese
dash pepper

Cut asparagus into 4 inch lengths. In a large saucepan, bring ½ inch water to a boil. Add asparagus, cover and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately place in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry.

Stack both sheets of phyllo dough on a work surface. Cut the stack in half lengthwise, then widthwise into thirds. Separate pieces and brush with some of the oil. Sprinkle each with 1 tsp cheese. Place one asparagus spear along one side of each piece of phyllo dough. Sprinkle lightly with pepper; roll up tightly.

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with oil. Bake at 400° for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy as a snack or appetizer.

Chicken Stir-Fry With Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach

recipe adapted from Simply in Season by Marty Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert

This recipe suggests a pound of chicken cut into cubes. You can use leftovers from your organic Elmwood hen, or substitute turkey, salmon or even tofu. Make your own organic chicken stock or vegetable stock from your green garlic leaves, asparagus ends, kale stems and any other leftover veggies. Add water, seasonings and simmer. When finished, strain, then refrigerate until ready to use.

3 T light soy sauce
2 T brown sugar

1 T sesame oil
1 T sesame seeds
1 T cornstarch
2 tsp ginger root, peeled and minced
1 ½ tsp minced fresh garlic (any green garlic left?)
½ tsp crushed dried chilies (or Tabasco sauce); optional
1 pound boneless chicken, cut into cubes
olive oil
1 C sugar snap peas
1 bunch fresh spinach
12 ounces fettuccine or spaghetti or soba or rice noodles, already cooked

Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

In large fry pan over medium-high heat, sauté chicken in a small amount of olive oil until meat is cooked through. Add peas and spinach to pan. Add soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, 3 minutes.

Mix in cooked pasta noodles and serve immediately.

Strawberry Bread
recipe adapted from Simply in Season by Marty Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert, makes 1 loaf

1 C flour
½ C whole wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

1 ¼ C strawberries, mashed
¾ C sugar
2/3 C oil
2 eggs

Mix rest of ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in dry ingredient mix until just combined. (Do not over-mix or your bread will be tough).
Pour into greased 8 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated over at 350° F until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour.