WEEK 3: June 1- June 7, 2009 CSA Newsletter

This Week’s Share: Sugar-Snap Peas, Chard, Head Lettuce, Spinach (or Braising greens), and Kale (or Spigariello greens).

        Week 3

Recipes, Information and Suggestions:  New to your share’s this week are delicious Sugar-Snap Peas. These peas are fabulous eaten as is and they usually don’t last long around the house!  Snap peas (also known as sugar-snap peas or mange tout) are a cultivar of edible-podded peas that differ from snow peas in that their pods are round as opposed to flat. Snap peas like all other peas are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is similar to a garden, or English, pea, but the pod is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe. Pods contain 3 to 5 peas per pod. They get their name from the French ‘mange tout’ meaning to ‘eat everything’; as unlike with many other varieties of pea, you can eat the peas and the pod. The soft and tender pods of snap peas are crisp, sweet, and succulent, often served in salads or eaten whole. They may also be stir-fried or steamed. Before being eaten, mature snap pea pods may need to be “stringed”, which means the membranous string running along the top of the pod from base to tip is removed. Over-cooking the pods will make them come apart. To avoid this, they should only be lightly steamed, or gently fried in oil. Snap pea pods may be frozen, but never canned, as the high temperatures are damaging. If you prefer to cook your legumes, the quick recipe below is a nice and easy one.

BAKED SUGAR-SNAP PEAS                                                        

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt to taste

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Spread sugar snap peas in a single layer on a medium baking sheet, and brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with shallots, thyme, and kosher salt. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender but firm.

                                                       Sugar Snap Peas Recipe
Everyone will receive a Head of Lettuce  this week.  A variety known as Flashy Trout’s Back, which is a lovely red-speckled Romaine, will be available. It has a rich, buttery flavor, and is bred by Frank Morton at Gathering Together Farm.  Another variety some of you might get is called Cracoviensis. It’s a striking  maroon-tinted, green-leafed, loosely open head resembling a romaine, but with subtle buttery flavors. We will also have traditional Butterheads, Oakleaf or loose-leaf heads, and Romaine’s for you to choose from. 

Rinse Lettuce  just before serving in very cold water. Pat dry with a clean towel. Limp leaves can be revived by immersing in ice water for a few minutes. Tear lettuce leaves into pieces. If practical, do not cut or sliced lettuce leaves in advance. Damaged cut lettuce leaves release an ascorbic acid oxidase, which destroys vitamin C. Cut edges also discolor quickly.  Dry leaves before serving. Salad dressing will cling to dry lettuce leaves instead of sinking to the bottom of the salad bowl. Toss with your favorite dressing just before serving (or serve dressing on the side) Lettuce leaves covered with dressing will quickly wilt. The nutritional value of lettuce varies with the variety. Lettuce in general provides small amounts of dietary fiber, some carbohydrates, a little protein and a trace of fat. Its most important nutrients are vitamin A and potassium. The vitamin A comes from beta carotene, whose yellow-orange is hidden by green chlorophyll pigments. Beta carotene, of course, is converted to vitamin A in the human body. The darker green, the more beta carotene.

You will all recieve some Chard this week as well. It will likely be baby-sized and bagged for you. This baby chard is tender enough to enjoy raw, but also wonderful wilted or braised if you prefer. By now you are likely growing accustomed to the various spring greens and how you like to prepare them.  Garden Home Member, Julia Sathler recently shared the Hot and Sour Greens recipe below……it looks delicious!

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP00217/hot-and-sour-greens.html

This week’s share will also include either Spinach or Braising greens. Again, if you get the braising greens mix you are receiving some zesty greens, likely including mustard greens. Due to the peppery flavors of mustard greens, we recommend braising them. We have previously mentioned some recipes for cooking different greens. Please see past posts. The spinach is best enjoyed as a raw addition to your salads.

Lastly, your share will include either Kale or Spigariello greens. Most of you likely know what to do with your Kale by now…..if not just add it to your smoothies! However, the Spigariello greens are something new. It closely resembles kale and is sometimes called leaf-broccoli. From Mariquita Farm, a CSA in California, the following info on the Italian heirloom greens called Spigariello can be found….

http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/spigariello.html

All of the spring greens can be enjoyed separately, or together. Mix and match them and come up with your own favorite new recipes! Below is a favorite recipe we want to share with you. While true Italians might cringe at this being called a pesto, let them be reassured this is just a contemporary twist on the late summer classic (which we can barely wait for!). This Kale (or Spinach, or Chard…) and Walnut Pesto is great over potatoes or pasta or plain on crackers. It freezes well too, but if you want to freeze it, don’t add the cheese. Instead add the cheese when you later thaw it to use it. Enjoy…..

KALE AND WALNUT PESTO

The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson & Angelic Organics
 
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbs plus 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 pound kale, coarsely chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
 
Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. (Be careful not to over toast them, as they will burn quickly once they are toasted.) Immediately transfer the walnuts to a dish to cool.

Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbs salt, then add the kale. Cook kale until tender about 10 minutes. Drain. Put the garlic, walnuts, and kale in a blender or food processor; pulse until well combined. With the blender or food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a steady, smooth, pencil-thin stream.
When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan, remaining teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Serve hot.

FARM NEWS:

Things are growing well out at the farm. This remarkable end of May dry stretch of weather has been great for all the crops, provided we work round the clock to keep everything well quenched. So far so good… all major catastrophes have thus far been averted! New water lines have been supplied new trenches and soon will be up and running for the next planting of potatoes and beans. Many more tomatoes and squash have been transplanted out into the fields, and are coming along nicely. Broccoli heads are forming well and we hope to have them in your shares by next week. I’ll see if Farmer Kip has any News to add……until next time.

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