The Sunny Side – Week of 8/24/14
- Summer squash
- Red and/or Green Lettuce
- Red Onions
- Kale (Thursday)
- Sweet Corn (from Didier Farms – Thursday – we wanted to make sure to bring this in for Labor Day weekend)
- Potatoes (from Sandhill Family Farms – organic – Sunday this week, Thursday next week)
- Swiss Chard (Sunday)
- Bok Choi (Sunday)
- Baby leeks (Sunday)
In the Field
I talk with my mother often, and the conversation usually turns to what she is doing with this week’s vegetables. She and my dad have been CSA subscribers since we started the farm five years ago, and she is a relentless reader and curator of recipes. She’s also a vegetable nut – I have known her to cook an entire bunch of swiss chard and finish it off by herself over the course of a few hours. I get a lot of my cooking inspiration from her, not to mention a running commentary about each week’s vegetables.
Last week, my mom called me to tell me that the Wall Street Journal had run an article about up and coming food trends, and that the article mentioned purslane. Imagine my delight when I found that the article put the spotlight not only on purslane, but beet greens and broccoli stems as well! These are two parts of the vegetable that we have always encouraged folks to eat, and it is good to get some reassurance that professional chefs also find these bits to be worth cooking.
Of course, this is more an example of “everything old is new again” than any great discovery of new ingredients. During the years when kale was known primarily as a deli garnish in mainstream US culture, it continued to feature prominently in Italian and Portuguese cuisine, as it had for hundreds of years. All it took was a little well-placed publicity and some savvy chefs to boost its popularity. And people have been using every useable part of cultivated vegetables (or animals) for thousands of years, because they needed food. As the source of produce shifted from backyard gardens to grocery stores, it has become easier to package and sell vegetables by their most commonly cooked part that stores the longest (the root of the beet, for example), rather than as a whole plant that you might pull from your garden. And that is where we come in – bringing you the vegetable parts you didn’t know you wanted, until now!
You can read the article here. We are all right there on the cutting edge and we didn’t even know it – how exciting:) The next time you see a broccoli stalk or beet green in your CSA box, remember this article and give it a chance to shine in your kitchen.
In the Kitchen
Storage tips for this week:
- Tomatoes can be stored on the counter until deep red and slightly soft to the touch.
- Sweet corn should go in the fridge – you can trim the ends and outer leaves off of the ears and give them a quick soak in water, if you want. The sooner you eat it, the better it will be!
- 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.
- 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.
- Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place with good ventilation.
Cooking tips for this week:
- Have you tried baking with zucchini? Once it cools down at the end of the week, try these recipes for zucchini bread or chocolate zucchini cake.
- Questions about cooking corn? This website is informative and tells you how to grill, boil, or microwave it.
- Potatoes and leeks go together in a chilled soup called vichyssoise. Follow this link for a simple recipe!
- I stir-fry bok choi with a little garlic and sesame oil and serve it over rice. Also, see the recipe below for bok choi in coconut milk.
More lettuce this week, which means more salads!
- Try cutting raw corn off the cob and adding to tossed salads.
- Mix up a different dressing: we like Goddess Dressing and put it on everything.
- Take a break from the run-of -the-mill with this Turkey Burger Salad recipe that Lori found!
Curried Greens with Chick-Peas
- 1 bunch swiss chard or kale, stems removed and chopped (chard) or just removed (kale) and leaves cut into strips
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped coarsely
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- one 16-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Combine olive and coconut oil in a heavy skillet. Add onions and swiss chard stems (if using) and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes.
- Add salt, curry powder, turmeric, and swiss chard leaves, and cook until leaves are wilted, 5-10 minutes.
- Add chickpeas and cook until heated through. Serve over rice.
And here are some great recipes from Lori:
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.