The Sunny Side – Week of 7/20/14
In this week’s box you will find:
- “Fordhook Giant” Swiss Chard
- Carrots (Thursday)
- Flathead Cabbage (Thursday)
- Walla Walla Sweet Onions (Thursday)
- Fennel (Sunday)
- Chives (Sunday)
- Fresh Yellow Onions (Sunday)
- Beets (Red or golden) (Sunday)
In the Field
These days I feel like we’re really living up to the name of “family farm”.
First, of course, is the fact that we have started our own family this year. Farming with a newborn has been quite the adventure so far, but I think we are beginning to get the hang of it. I still can’t harvest and tote the little guy around at the same time, but we all need goals, right? I’m hoping he’ll be able to ride along by the time we are pulling leeks and brussels sprouts this October.
This year we’ve had a ton of help both from my folks, who live in Oak Park, and from Nick’s folks, who are staying with us for the summer. We feel very lucky that our parents are so supportive and willing to pitch in. Of course, all the grandparents have been more than happy to babysit whenever I need to do farm work. In addition, Nick’s folks have helped us harvest, weed, wash, pack and distribute boxes, and construct chicken houses. Folks in Rogers Park might see my parents at future markets, bagging vegetables and swapping recipes. Support from our families has really kept us going this year – thanks, Scott and Susie, Ben and Carol!
In the Kitchen
Storage tips for this week:
- Fresh yellow onions and Walla Walla onions are not cured (dried) and so they should be stored in the fridge.
- Cabbage will last for at least a month in your refrigerator. Store it in the crisper drawer.
- The broccoli is best within 2-3 days of harvest. We know you have received a lot of broccoli lately! You can freeze it very easily. Chop up the crowns, stem, and leaves, and either sautee or blanche for 2-3 minutes. Cool, pack into freezer bags, and freeze for up to 6 months. The cooking step is important, as it denatures proteins that can cause vegetables to lose taste in cold storage.
- Remove the beets and carrots from their greens and store separately.
- Remove the fennel and kohlrabi leaves from the bulbs and store separately. Freeze the fennel fronds, and use them later by adding them to the pot when cooking dry white beans.
- If you don’t eat all your chives this week, click here to check out this handy guide for preserving herbs by freezing them.
Cooking tips for this week:
- Broccoli crowns are the “flower” of the broccoli plant, and the part most commonly eaten, but you can eat the leaves too – they are like kale or collards, and are really tasty.
- Why not celebrate this cool weather and the back-to-back weeks of carrots by making some Carrot-Ginger soup?
- Carrot tops are edible and yummy when used sparingly! You can add them to soup stock, or use them to make a tasty pesto, salsa verde, or chimichurri.
- Not sure what to do with those Walla Walla sweet onions (they really are sweet)? Why not explore the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Recipe Center?
- Flathead cabbage is one of our favorite cabbage varieties – tender and delicious. I love to simply sautee it with a little onion, oil, salt and pepper until it becomes slightly translucent.
- You can carmelize fennel in the oven – season it with salt and pepper, wrap it in foil, and roast at 350F for about 20 minutes. Slice the roasted bulb and toss with pasta and white beans for a yummy combination!
- You can find some recipe ideas for fennel stems and fronds here, here, and here!
- Beet greens cook just like swiss chard (the vegetables are closely related), so don’t throw them away! The are great sauteed with olive oil and a little onion, and spritzed with lemon juice.
- A sprinkle of the chives is a versatile and ubiquitous garnish for almost any savory dish.
Beet greens, like chard, go very well with pasta, and there are some stand-out pasta dishes that pair both the beets and the greens with nuts, goat cheese, and bacon or pancetta. Also check out the method for roasting beets in the recipe below – this is a great way to cook beets, and roasted beets can be quartered over tossed or pasta salads as well.
Pasta Featuring the Whole Beet
- One bunch beets
- 2 slices bacon or pancetta or 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 8 oz. penne or rigatoni
- 1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
- Roast beets from one bunch of beets: cut beets from stems, leaving about 1/4 inch of stems. Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish. Add 1/4 inch of water to the dish. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast for 30 min to one hour, or until they’re easily penetrated with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the covered baking dish. Cut away the ends, slip off the skins, and quarter.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Sautee two slices of bacon or pancetta in a heavy pan until just crispy (you can omit this step and heat 1 tbsp. olive oil if you like). Remove the bacon from the pan, and add 1 medium red onion, chopped. Sautee for a few minutes, add 1 clove garlic, crushed, and 1 tsp. red wine vinegar or lemon juice, and cook a few minutes more.
- Wash and chop beet stems and greens coarsely. Add beet green stems to the pan with 1/4 c. water or stock and cook for about 10 minutes. Add beet greens and cooked pancetta to the pan, and cook 10 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, add about 8 oz. of penne or rigatone to the pot of water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 c. pasta water for the sauce.
- Add the pasta, pasta water, and 1/8 c. toasted pine nuts to the pan with the beet greens. Add 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese, if desired. Toss and serve with the quartered beets. Delicious!
Stuffed Swiss Chard Leaves (Dolmas)
(adapted from http://teacupchronicles.com/?p=3478)
- 1 large bunch chard
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (chopped into small pieces), lightly toasted
- 1/3 cup raisins
- the zest and juice of 1 lemon
- a handful each of dill, parsley and mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the stems from the chard leaves by slicing them off at the base of the leaf. Blanch the leaves in lightly salted boiling water for just 1-2 minutes for small leaves, or 3-4 minutes for larger leaves. Submerge immediately in cold water.
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and then add the onion and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until the onion begins to turn translucent and then add the garlic, cooking for 30 seconds more.
- Tip the onion and garlic into a large bowl along with the rice, nuts, raisins, lemon zest and juice, herbs and spices. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir till well combined.
- To make the dolmas, place a chard leaf horizontally before you on a flat surface. Place a tablespoon of the rice mixture into the middle of the leaf, spreading it out horizontally into a cigar shape along the main leaf vein. Fold in each side on the left and right, then take the side facing nearest you and fold it over the rice mixture, rolling the dolma tightly up as you do so. Place seam side down a plate, and continue with the remaining chard leaves.
- Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, or with hummus, goat cheese, or yogurt-cucumber sauce (see recipe below).
Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cucumber, peeled and chopped finely
- 3/4 teaspoon dill (fresh or dried, chopped)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
Thanks again to Lori for some more great recipes this week!
Lazy Girl’s Zucchini Spaghetti with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto
- 1 medium zucchini, washed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled + finely minced
- 2 tsp basil pesto
- 1 tbsp crème fraîche, cream cheese, ricotta or mascarpone (half-fat, full fat, whatever you want!)
- 1 handful of fresh or frozen peas
- salt and pepper
- lemon zest and Parmesan cheese, to finish
- Take a box grater and place it on its side with the side with the largest grating holes on it face up.
- Cut the ends off the zucchini, then push along the top of grater, in long strokes in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini (see the animated .gif in the post).
- Heat a skillet with the olive oil, then gently fry the zucchini with the garlic until slightly tender. Stir in the pesto, crème fraîche (or whatever creamy ingredient you’re using) and the peas (even if they are frozen. They’ll defrost quickly in the frying pan). Stir until coated, season with salt and pepper, then take off the heat.
- Pile it into a dish (I served mine on a bed of raw spinach leaves), and grate over some lemon zest and Parmesan.
- 1 large fennel bulb—8 small fronds reserved, bulb cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4 pounds zucchini, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed
- 1 quart chicken stock
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- In a medium saucepan, cover the sliced fennel with water. Add the lemon juice and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the fennel is tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain the fennel.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the zucchini, onion and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cooked fennel and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the vegetables have softened completely, about 8 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls. Dollop 1 tablespoon of the crème fraîche into each soup and swirl in. Garnish with the fennel fronds and serve.