The Sunny Side – Week of 7/27/14
In this week’s box you will find:
- Swiss Chard (Thursday)
- Garlic (Thursday)
- Long of Tropea Onions (Thursday)
- Beets (Thursday)
- Mirai Sweet Corn (from Twin Garden Farms – not organic, but very local and non-GMO)
- Carrots (Sunday)
- Flathead or Savoy Cabbage (Sunday)
- Collards (Sunday)
- Walla Walla Sweet Onions (Sunday)
In the Field
This Saturday was a busy one for us all. Nick’s dad came with me to the Glenview Farmers Market, where we had a great time, enjoyed a lot of coffee, and sold many, many onions. You can see that the main components of our stand are: 1. The big orange tent, 2. The big brown van, and 3. The colorful array of veggies. We learned how to set up a gorgeous display from Sarah Post, the California farmer who taught us everything we know about selling beautiful vegetables. Meanwhile, Susie held down the fort at home and kept little Ray entertained all morning.
While we were busy in Glenview, our great Saturday crew of worker shares was hoeing out the second succession of chard. And believe me, it needed a little TLC! These wonderful folks (pictured at right) show up ever week to work for 4 hours, and receive a weekly CSA share in exchange. It’s a great deal for us, and (we hope) it is rewarding and fun for our worker shares. Our good friend Amy was also busy washing eggs to take to market on Sunday – Amy has washed all the eggs this year, which is quite a job for one person, and she has been doing a spectacular job.
While the worker shares were holding down the fort in the field, Nick was hosting a visit from the Food Animal Concerns Trust. Last year, this organization awarded us a grant to improve our poultry operation, and they came this weekend to see what we did with the money we were given. We used the grant to purchase electric fencing and chargers, which has greatly improved the security of our chickens’ pasture habitat. With the help of the electric fence, we have almost eliminated the threat of predation by coyotes, which had been quite a problem in years past. Meanwhile, the chickens continue to roam freely through the tall weeds, as they always have. We can always get them to come quickly at the sound of feed in the troughs, though!
In the Kitchen
Storage tips for this week:
- Tropea 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.
- Garlic can be stored on your kitchen counter.
- 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.
- Tomatoes can be stored on the counter until slightly soft to the touch.
Cooking tips for this week:
- 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.
- 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.
- No need to do anything fancy with the tomatoes – just slice, salt, and serve.
- Why not celebrate this cool weather and another week 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 and savoy cabbages are one of our favorite cabbage varieties – tender and delicious. I love to chop it into bite-sized pieces and simply sautee it with a little onion, oil, salt and pepper until it becomes slightly translucent.
Lori uncovered some more great recipes this week. I especially love drinks made with cucumber, which is the ultimate refreshing summer taste.
- Cucumber Lemonade: http://www.indiankhana.net/2013/05/cucumber-lemonade-summer-drinks-recipes.html
- Broccoli Soup: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/03/08/broccoli-cheese-soup-recipe
- Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/colcannon/
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!
And also recommended by Lori – it might not sound like it, but pasta and chard is a super combination.
Gemelli with Sausage, Swiss Chards and Pine Nuts
(Another great one from Martha Stewart – for more info, click here!)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound gemelli, or other short pasta
- 3/4 cup raisins, plumped in boiling water and drained
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- In a large skillet, toast pine nuts over medium-high heat, shaking the pan to toast evenly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from skillet.
- In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, breaking it up with a fork, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add chard, garlic, and pepper; cook, tossing, until chard wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover to keep warm.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot.
- Add sausage mixture to pasta with 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, raisins, toasted pine nuts, and Parmesan; toss to combine. Add more cooking water if pasta seems dry.
- Serve with more Parmesan.