The Sunny Side – Week of 8/16/14
- Summer squash
- Swiss Chard (Thursday)
- Cippolini Onions
- Red and Green Lettuce
- Bok Choi
- Purple or Green Basil (Thursday)
- Baby leeks (Sunday)
- Red Russian Kale (Sunday)
- Purple Basil Plant (Sunday)
In the Field
The image of the tractor is iconic to American agriculture – ask a person to list things you might find on a farm and a tractor will surely be one of the first mentioned. Of course, we all know intellectually that there was a time, before the combustion engine, when draft animals or humans provided the power to till fields, move wagons, and harvest grains. But in the US, we all seem to be three or four generations removed from that historical time period.
Not so in other countries! Our fellow farmer Mr. Muddana spent 20 years in India farming with oxen before he purchased his first tractor. And even more incredible is the story I heard from one of our customers at the Glenview market. She recalled to us the celery that her grandmother used to grow in Greece, and related her memory of her grandmother plowing the fields with the plow strapped to her shoulders.
Stores like these make me very grateful for the machines that we have. I’d like to introduce you to our tractors (pictured above and at right). They do a lot of work for us, including tilling and shaping the fields, pulling manure spreaders and wagons, scooping feed, sand, and compost, and mowing and killing weeds. You’re not seeing double – we have two very similar Kubotas . Nick did this on purpose, so that we would be able to run things like our tiller and our mower on either machine. This way, we can keep functioning in the event that one tractor is out of commission for a while, without having to dust off the the old hand-held plow:)
In the Kitchen
Storage tips for this week:
- The cippolini onions are not cured (dried) and so they should be stored in the fridge.
- Tomatoes can be stored on the counter until deep red and slightly soft to the touch.
- Cooked greens like swiss chard and kale freeze very well. If you need to use up greens but won’t be able to eat them immediately, sautee or steam them for 3-4 minutes, cool, drain any liquid, then pack into small freezer bags and freeze. These frozen greens make a great addition to pasta sauce or soups in the winter.
- Basil can be placed in a jar or cup of water like a bouquet and stored on your counter top. If you want to store it in the refrigerator, wrap it in damp paper towels, place in a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator door where temperatures are warmer.
- To clean baby leeks, slice thinly and submerge in a bowl of cold water. Swish, pour off water, and repeat until the water is no longer dirty.
- The basil plant will do well in a sunny windowsill or on your porch or patio. Water 3-4 times weekly to keep soil moist. When you harvest, either pluck individual leaves or pinch off at a part of the stem that is directly above a “node” where new leaves are growing. This will promote growth in the plant and prevent legginess. The plant should live into the fall, but will probably poop out some time during the late fall or winter. Check out this site for more information about caring for and harvesting from your basil plant.
Cooking tips for this week:
- No need to do anything fancy with the tomatoes – just slice, salt, and serve with a little chopped basil.
- Cippolini onions can be peeled and grilled whole, or used in any recipe calling for yellow onions. They are one of our most asked-after onions!
- I stir-fry bok choi with a little garlic and sesame oil and serve it over rice. It is one of my all-time favorite veggies!
- Leeks are a cousin of onions and garlic. Use baby leeks wherever you might use large leeks or onions in a recipe.
What to do with the tomatoes and cucumbers? How about a chilled summer soup?
(Learn more at http://www.whats4eats.com/soups/gazpacho-recipe)
- Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced — 2
- Bell pepper, chopped — 1
- Onion, chopped — 1
- Garlic, crushed — 2-3 cloves
- Tomatoes, diced — 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- Water or tomato juice — 1 cup
- Red wine or sherry vinegar — 1/4 cup
- Breadcrumbs — 1/2 to 1 cup
- Olive oil — 1/3 cup
- Salt and pepper — to taste
- Working in batches, puree the cucumbers, pepper, onion and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a large bowl.
- Add the tomatoes to the food processor or blender and puree. Strain through the sieve into the bowl with the cucumber-pepper puree.
- Whisk in the water or tomato juice, breadcrumbs and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Chill for at least 1-2 hours. Adjust seasoning and serve in a large bowl with any desired garnishes.
And from Lori – these look great!
- 4 medium tomatoes (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 slices bread, torn into crumbs
- 1 tablespoon shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- Cut 1/4-inch slice from stem end of each tomato; scoop out pulp.
- Discard seeds; chop pulp.
- Mix pulp, 2 tablespoons cheese, the nuts, basil, oil, garlic salt and pepper.
- Gently microwave on High 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese.
Bok Choy in Coconut Milk
- 1 big bok choy, leaves and stems roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp red chilli paste
- 2 cups coconut milk
- salt, to taste
- Add the bok choy stems, onions, garlic and chilli paste to the coconut milk in a deep pan and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add bok choy leaves, season with salt to taste and turn off the heat. Cover the pan and let sit for a few minutes until the leaves have wilted.
Breadcrumb-Crusted Zucchini with Rainbow Chard
- 1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise about 1/2′′ thick
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- about 8 large rainbow chard leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, sliced or chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons finely chopped sundried tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon capers, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon (or so) salt
- black pepper to taste
- In a wide bowl or plate, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and thyme. Pat firmly onto sliced zucchini on each side.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Place zucchini down carefully and quickly to retain as much breadcrumbs on the bottom side. Pat some more breadcrumbs on the top side if it lost too much in the process, and flip after about 1 minute of cooking, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Cook another minute or two on the other side, remove carefully with tongs and set aside.
- Turn off heat if pan is thick enough on the bottom to retain heat and wipe skillet clean with a paper towel. Add the chard and garlic and let wilt, stirring, for about 2 minutes (adding a little more olive oil if it begins to slightly burn). Divide equally among serving plates.
- Add the remaining breadcrumbs to the skillet and toast, over medium heat, for 1-2 minutes or until slightly darker in color. Top chard with the zucchini, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, sundried tomatoes and capers. Serve immediately.
Braised Red Russian Kale and White Beans
- 1 Diced onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 bunch red Russian chopped
- 2 cans organic cannelini beans
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 3 tbs. Olive oil
- 3 tbs. chopped parsley
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté onion and garlic in 1 tbs. olive oil over low heat.
- Add kale and broth, simmer gently for 15 min. until kale is cooked.
- Add 2 cans of washed and rinsed beans adjust seasoning with salt and pepper just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and chopped parsley. Serve with toasted bread.
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
- Cooking spray
- 2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
- 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.
And remember from previous weeks that you can make pesto with kale…
Kale and Walnut Pesto
- 1 medium bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed
- Kosher salt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Blanch kale in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool; wring dry in a clean kitchen towel.
- Transfer to a food processor, add garlic, Parmesan, and walnuts, and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- With motor running, add oil in a steady stream and process to a coarse purée. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.