Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 CSA Week 2

While assembling this post I inadvertently defiled the formatting of most of the previous posts on this website, and it has taken me a long time to correct the mistake. So, this week, instead of a paragraph about the weather and other immediate concerns of the farm, I am typing this short apology and then removing myself from the presence of the computer. Which is too bad: There were certain to be sentences about tornado warnings, lightning that filled the evening sky like a strobe light, and rainfall that cleared the heat from the air and refreshed the plants in our fields. I woke the morning after the storm feeling rested, but with the sense that my dreams had been tumultuous in accordance with the tumult outdoors. Of this and more I'll squander the chance to write because of computer-induced fatigue. Massachusetts is rarely subject to anything tornado-related: Our thoughts are with those communities in our state more severely affected by the storm.

The share this week:

Green Curly Kale
Rainbow Chard
Bok Choi
Red Komatsuna
Spring Onions or Scallions
Sugar Snap Peas

Notes about the food:

* Please note that at the bottom of every post there is a list of "labels." These are what I was editing and streamlining when I damaged the website. Each label is a link to every post that shares the label. This means, for example, that you can click kohlrabi below and you will be redirected to every post from this year or last year that includes a recipe for kohlrabi. If you are feeling baffled by a vegetable and want more information or cooking tips, follow those links!

* Kohlrabi is one of my favorite things we grow. It's a relative of broccoli, and you can think of the bulb as a swollen broccoli stem that is sweeter and more refreshing than you might expect. The greens, including the stems, can be cooked as a substitute for or alongside any of the greens we are distributing this spring, but I do think the bulbs are best eaten raw. As the plant matures in the ground, the bulb will continue to grow and the skin will become tough; when that happens it is best to peel the bulb, but at their current stage of growth I don't think peeling is necessary. Try this recipe for slaw that was published in The Washington Post in 2010:

Asian Kohlrabi Slaw

3 medium kohlrabi bulbs, grated
2 carrots, grated
2 scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped
Leaves from 10-15 stems of parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sweet red chili sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce

Combine kohlrabi, carrots, scallions and parsley in a large bowl. Whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, sweet and hot chili sauces in a small bowl to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

For a variation, mix the kohlrabi slaw with soba noodles, blanched snap peas, and broccoli florets.

*Last week I mentioned that the bok choi and red komatsuna make an appealing stir-fry when sauteed together. Here is how I've been doing it:

Chop 1 spring onion or the white and light-green parts of 2-3 scallions, and saute in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Chop the bok choi and komatsuna, separating the stalks and the leaves. Add the stalks when the onion or scallions have been in the oil for a few minutes, and stir constantly. If you want additional greens (I usually do), add some chopped kale or kohlrabi leaves shortly after the stalks; when those greens have begun to wilt, add the leaves of the choi and komatsuna. These will cook down fast; I add a handful or two of peanuts as they do, and a few dashes of sesame oil just before taking the pan off the heat. I serve these stir-fried greens alongside brown rice --to which I add a dash of soy sauce and a dash of rice wine vinegar once it is cooked--and some spears of uncooked asparagus.

* We are extremely happy with the rainbow chard. It's a lovely plant in the field, and our beds of it are healthy beyond expectation. Try this recipe from Farmer John's Cookbook:

Mediterranean Swiss Chard

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch swiss chard, coarsely chopped (leaves and stems)
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat 3 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the chard in batches, adding more as each batch wilts. (The only water you'll need is the water clinging to the leaves from rinsing.) Keep the pan covered between batches. When all the chard is added and the leaves are wilted, stir in the raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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