WEEK 2: May 25-May 31, 2009 CSA Newsletter

Hello Members! More delicious vitamins D, K and iron for you….

This Week’s Share: Bok Choy, Radishes, Turnips (or Lettuce or Spinach), Chard, Kale and a Braising Mix (much like last week’s mix).

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Recipes and Suggestions:  New to your share  this week is Bok Choy. It’s also called Pac Choi and Chinese Cabbage. Bok Choy has crunchy stalks that are mild and juicy sweet. Its leaves are tender and crisp with a subtle peppery flavor. Bok Choy is a member of the Asian vegetable family that often goes by the generic name Chinese cabbage. But the flavor  is much more subtle than round-headed cabbage. Bok Choy can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, cooked as a vegetable, or marinated. Basically it can be used however you like to use cabbage. The bok choy heads, or stalks are likely in the bag with your braising mix.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Stir-Fried-Baby-Bok-Choy-243124

Some of your share’s this week will have Turnips. Turnips are a root crop, much like Radishes. They have the similar, pungent flavor to raw cabbage or radishes, which becomes milder when cooked. Turnips are high in Vitamin C, where radishes are a good source of folic acid and potassium. Turnip greens can be eaten as well. Their flavor is very much like a mustard green. Unfortunately our spring turnip crop was 75% damaged by cabbage maggots, so we don’t have enough of this round for everyone. Some of your share’s may contain Lettuce or Spinach instead of turnips.

The turnip puff recipe below is one we enjoy. It’s so easy and you can modify it with your favorite herbs, or spices easily too…

TURNIP PUFF

Mashed turnips are combined with egg white and other ingredients to make this turnip casserole.

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed turnips, cooled
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs, separated

Preparation:

Combine turnips, bread crumbs, butter, sugar, salt, pepper, and beaten egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into turnip mixture. Spoon turnip mixture into a buttered 1-quart casserole. Bake turnip puff at 350° for 40 minutes. We’ve also added more bread crumbs (or crackers) and rolled the mix into little balls, flattened and then pan-fried them. Works well if you’re in a hurry and tastes great with your favorite dressing!
Turnip recipe serves 4 to 6.

Your Chard this week is likely with colorful stalks, bagged and baby-sized. The flavor is mild and delicious. Chard can easily be enjoyed raw, but is wonderful warmed or wilted depending on what you want to do.

Your Kale  this week is likely in a bunch, or bag and a mix of Red Russian, White Russian, Lacinato or Rainbow kales. Kale is in fact a Super food and I’m a strong believer! The nutritional benefits of eating kale are endless….Here’s a quick readable link with the basics…

http://health.learninginfo.org/nutrition-facts/kale.htm

A basic recipe for sauteed kale is below…

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/sauteed_kale.html

A more ‘colorful’ recipe for those seeking to truly enjoy their Kale in a yummy, gooey way comes from our dear friend and NE pick-up host Jen Warnock. Jen prefaces the recipe by saying that, “you MUST realize that this dish is custom created each time you make it. Your ratio of onions to garlic to greens to peanut butter, etc, etc, etc, is based on what you have, what your body needs, what tastes good to you today. So, really, I’m not writing a recipe here, I’m writing some guidelines!”. *Please note that there are a few more ingredients beyond the initial saute, so best to read the guidelines through once first to get the idea….and have fun like Jen did writing this!

KALE-MASA FOO-FOO

Sauté in ¼ C. or so of peanut oil (poured from the top of a new jar of pb works well) the following:

  • 1½ large yellow or red onions, chopped
  • a fresh ginger chunk, equivalent to the size of your thumb, peeled, minced
  • 1 T. italian seasoning
  • maybe ¼ C. of soy sauce (watch your salt build-up, if it’s the regular kind) or some balsamic vinegar
  • a loading dose of garlic, in fairly big chunks
  • Throw in some red wine (¼ C?  ½ C.?) and top off your glass while you’re at it.
  • Add ½ container or about 2 C. of broth (chicken, beef, vegetable) and simmer the bejeebies out of this mix, making it really rich and dense.

    Chop up 3-4 bunches of kale. Throw the kale into the pot and add more broth, maybe even a cup or two of water.  You’ll need some liquid to really cook the kale down. Add more garlic (I add garlic throughout the whole process) and let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally so all of the kale gets cooked. Add a large can of tomato sauce or marinara and a small can of tomato paste. Add more broth, if necessary, to keep it juicy.
     Add ½ of a small jar of peanutbutter.  It’ll melt in there and stir in over time.  Cook for another some-odd time (I don’t think you can overcook foo-foo, as long as you don’t burn it).
     Put on a pot of water, as though you were making a batch of rice. Salt it a bit, and bring to a boil. Stir in enough masa to make a slightly runny goop (it’ll thicken as it cooks). Mash out the clumps as best you can. Turn down the heat, cover, and let cook for 20-30 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t burn!
Speaking of burning: boiling masa is like lava. Watch out for blurps and bubbles because that stuff is like napalm when it hits you – it sticks and just keeps burning! We call it foo-palm …
    Go back and fuss with the sauce some more. Does it need more pb to be richer? More italian seasoning to be more savory? More liquid so you have enough sauce?
    Add in cayenne until you get it as spicy as your family will enjoy. Of course, you’ll just keep adding garlic, right? I chop it into smaller and smaller pieces as the cooking progresses, until the end when I’m mashin’ it through the garlic press.  
     When the batch has everything it needs (just listen, it will TELL you when to stop adding things), just cover and let it do it’s thing (on low heat).
     When your masa is cooked, turn off the heat and wait for about 10 minutes before lifting the lid (so you don’t get lava bombed) then stir again, mashing out remaining clumps.
     Splop a fist-sized splopule into each bowl and smother with the yummy, spicy, sweet peanutbutter kale sauce. Wash your hands and EAT your glorious creation with ’em. Or use chopsticks.
     Be sure to overeat and compare “foodbabies”. Whoever has the biggest belly, wins! 
     When you’re ready to riff with the “recipe”: add meat or nutritional yeast or even seafood (shrimp, oo la la) for variation.
      ENJOY! ~Courtesy of Jen Warnock

FARM NEWS

The weather has simply been amazing, as I’m sure you can all attest to. We hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.

Two pea rows are in splendid full bloom. Small peas forming are evident. Other peas are not far behind. Our early brassica crops are coming along nicely. That hopefully means full heads of broccoli and cabbages for you soon.

This is perfect weather for growing your food.  As long as we can keep the irrigation running smoothly and the pests on the catch crops and off our food, things should continue nicely. Pest management on an organic farm is creative and often frustrating and we are constantly learning what works and what doesn’t on this land. The dry days also lend themselves well to tractor work and compost (fertilizer) spreading in our fields. Currently most of the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, cucs and melons remain in pots in the greenhouse awaiting the warmer days. By mid June everything will be transplanted out, all warm season crops included. The seeding of more summer crops out in the fields, like beans is about to begin.

The blueberries are at the very early stage of forming fruits, as most of the flowers are dropping away. The Marion berries have just started to flower and some of the other blackberries are in full bloom now, soon transcending to the early fruit stage. The fruit tree flowers have mostly all gone as well and tiny fruits can be seen starting to form. This year we have seen a dramatic drop in Apple tree flowers compared to last year, which means it won’t be a bumper crop.

It looks like our new bee colony is settling in well. Hopefully they will help contribute their magic to our crops this season and bee happy at the new home! I’ll keep you posted……until next time…

 

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