Menu Sketch – June 3, 2014

Not much time to post today…the busy season has begun!

We will highlight duck breast and pork chops as our proteins this week for lunch.
Farm goodies include: strawberries, cukes, black kale, new onions, and garlic scapes.
What combinations would you come up with?

Spoiler: we smoked some Chinook today for our menu.

See you at the farm,
ciao ciao

CSA 2011 – Week 3: Scrounging for Strawberries

It was about 5:30 yesterday, and it had been raining for a half an hour. I had just finished up taking the compost out with Robyn, our compost queen. So I headed up to the office to hopefully tie up some loose ends. Then Sally came into the office and seemed in a hurry. She was talking strawberries with Rodrigo on the phone. She hung up and asked me if I’d be interested in picking strawberries with the crew. Of course I wanted to go pick strawberries!

Knowing I had a couple more hours of work waiting for me in the office I joined the crew to Fairfield farm U-pick strawberries so that you may all get some fresh fruit this week! We had to hurry for fear of the rain clouds rolling in and watering down your delicious fruit. We got all 14 flats picked in about an hour and luckily we were barely rained on. We ideally wanted to provide you with our crop of seascape strawberries. They were planted late, although they are an ever-bearing crop, so we are still hopeful for a good late strawberry crop.

Of Favas and Fennel

Featured in this week’s box are two of my personal favorite spring vegetables: Fava Beans and Fennel! These two are not as straight forward as other vegetables.

Fava beans:

First you peel the outer layer of the bean to remove the inner beans. The outer shell will open up by simply popping it with your hands or you can cut it with a knife along the side. The outer shell can then be set aside for compost.

Now that you have all the inner beans, you can blanch them in salted boiling water. Drop the beans into the water for about 2-3 minutes and then pull them out and submerge them into ice water. Now you need to peel them again. Once they are blanched, the outside white layer of the bean should come off with ease. Compost the white outer layer and save the bright green inner bean! These beans can be used in stir fries, on salads, with soup, or just sautéed in some olive oil with a little salt and garlic.

Chef JC makes a wonderful spread using mashed up fava beans, chopped garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. This spread goes great on bread, fish, or meat. It could also be used as a lovely dip!

Fennel:

Fennel is a wonderful vegetable with a mild anise flavor. The bulb is usually the most sought after part of the vegetable. To use the bulb, cut off the bottom 1/2 inch or so, and cut the top stalks and fronds as well. Then you can cut the bulb in half and proceed to chop it as you would an onion. Fennel can be sautéed in olive oil or butter with  salt and garlic. It makes a great addition to a simple soup or stir fry. Another tasty way to eat it is sliced thin and then dressed with a vinaigrette such as the lemon vinaigrette (featured in our Week 1 Newsletter). If you want to try using the stalk and fronds, the stalk can go in a stock of some sort. Also, the fronds make a great addition to a salad or even potato salad. For those out there with juicers, try juicing the fennel stalk. Carrot/ Fennel juice is quite lovely, but I would do a 2:1 ratio of carrot to fennel since the fennel can be a bit strong.

What’s in the Box?

  • 1.5 lb Colorado Rose Potatoes ($4.50) – These are best steamed or fried.
  • Chard ($2.50) – You can steam or sauté it, or use it in place of spinach.
  • Carrots, bunched ($3.00) – They are great raw, on salad, slaw, or even stir-fried.
  • Fennel ($2.50) – See recipe below, and instructions above.
  • Fava Beans (1lb) ($2.50) – See instructions above.
  • 1 Onion ($1.50) – Sauté, or use in soup. Rhese are also great just raw on salad or a sandwich.
  • 2-3 Summer squash (1lb) ($2.00) – Try them sautéed, grated raw, in soup, or stir-fried.
  • Garlic Tops ($2.50 ) – These are a great addition to any meal. Stir-fry, sauté with chard, or even eggs for breakfast. They have a mild garlic flavor. (see recipe)
  • Red or Green Leaf Lettuce ($2.00) – Great on salads or in sandwiches.
  • 1 pint of Strawberries ($3.50) – Eat them just as they are!
  • 2 cucumbers ($3.00) – Eat raw on salad, or marinate.

 If you were shopping at the market, the total cost of this box would be:  $29.50

 

Recipes:

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch of garlic scapes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon (juiced)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated small
Pinch of salt to taste

  • Chop the garlic scapes in small pieces, compost the very top flower part.
  • Combine the chopped scapes, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. (If you don’t have either you can finely chop the scapes and mix the whole thing by hand).
  • Add in the grated cheese and pulse a bit until the mixture is the consistency you would like.
  • Taste and add salt if it needs any. You’re good to go!

*This Pesto makes a great dip for those cucumbers, carrots and zucchinis!*

Raw Fennel Salad:

1 fennel bulb
1/2 onion
1 chopped cucumber

  • Thinly slice the fennel bulb.
  • Chop the onion fine.
  • Slice the cucumber into thin pieces.

Orange Dressing:

3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon flax seed oil or sesame oil (optional)

  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk vigorously. Add salt to taste.
  • Dress the Fennel, onion and cucumber with the dressing and serve.

Hint: if you let the salad marinate for 1 hour before eating, the veggies will have more flavor. Add toasted sesame seeds to mix it up a bit. Or grate some carrots on top to garnish!

The Farmer
By: Wendell Berry

I am going to seed

into the beloved body

Remembering the fields,

I have come through

the dead and the dark,

the winter, the eye

of time, as through

a gap in the hills,

into the new land.

 

Thicker than Water?

Monday the 21st was summer solstice, the first day of summer, and the longest day of the year. It seems hard to believe because it just doesn’t feel like it should be the end of June.  I checked out the official NOAA website and they confirmed what we can all feel, precipitation totals are well above normal. All this wet has me thinking about how much of our bodies, and how much of what we consume is water. We know that drinking contaminated water (even in small amounts) can have lasting harmful or deadly effects on humans. Our bodies are largely water, and so are many of the foods that we eat. It seems that we often  deceive ourselves into thinking that we are something stronger or greater than our chemical components. I wonder why we are not more cautious overall about the purity of all the water that surrounds us, because it directly feeds the seeds that will become us.

In your box this week, you have Cucumbers (95% water),  Carrots (84%  water) Lettuce (96% water) and strawberries (90% water), and a handful of other water dense vegetables…You’ll take these home to eat, and they will become a part of the water that makes up 60 % your body, and 83% of your blood. These vegetables are fed by the soil, air and water. Soil itself is 25% water the (rest is composed of 45% mineral material, 5% organic material, and 25% air) . We can greatly alter how a plant grows by boosting the minerals in the soil by using fertilizers, mainly nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It makes sense that people would need a type of fertilizer to grow also, but we don’t because we get everything we need from the plants we eat, and plants take everything in from their environment. Plants do all of the work to process the basic elements of life and make them available to us. But what about when our plants are feeding from an environment that has lingering chemicals left by pesticides or herbicides?

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the USA; but you may recognize it by its other name, Roundup. While it’s claimed that Roundup becomes inactive quickly in the soil, a study in the Ecologist found that it is more accurate to say that it is usually absorbed into the different components in the soil (water, mineral, organic, and air). That means it’s still active. So active that glyphosate residues have been found in lettuce, carrots, and barley that were planted a year after the field was treated. A different article in the journal, Environmental Pollution, showed that glyphosate also leaches through the soils; so the molecules may be potential contaminants of groundwater.

This brings us back to the idea of water purity. Now I know I’m preaching to the converted, but even if you go out of your way to eat organic produce, if your neighbor, or farmer across town uses a glyphosate based herbicide, the odds are it will slowly make its way into our soil and groundwater. When you eat vegetables that have grown from soil & water that have been exposed, do we really have any idea what the long term effects are?

Naturalist John Muir once said,  “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”.  And that seems to be the case with the water system. Maybe the unusual amount of rain we are having this year is connected to a greater issue. Either way, the water that keeps falling down on us is the same water that keeps your cucumber crunchy, it’s the same water that is rising out of the ground, and running into our rivers; it’s the same water that is circulating through your body.  Nothing is separate from everything else, and we ourselves are, no thicker than water.

Devon Sanders, CSA Coordinator

What’s in the box?

Fingerling Potatoes— 4.50$ (these are real gems, bake and enjoy with butter.)

Garlic Scapes—2.00$ (see recipe)

Fava Beans—3.00$(see recipe)

Basil—2.00$

Black Kale—2.00$

Cucumber—1.50$

Carrots—3.00$

Lettuce—2.00$

Walla Walla Onion—1.50$

Radishes—2.25$

Strawberries—3.00$

If you were shopping at the market, this box would cost—26.75$

Recipe Suggestions

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch garlic scapes
1 tablespoon of  lemon juice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
enough extra virgin olive oil to blend smoothly
coarse salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Blend garlic scapes, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Slowly drizzle in the oil with the motor running, and blend until smooth. Add a little more oil if you like yours a little looser, Taste and add coarse salt and pepper as needed. Mix this into your pasta,  use for a dip, or spread.

Fava Beans

Fava beans have a delicious buttery texture and lovely nutty taste. Although the require a bit more work to prepare, take the time to try this old world favorite. When preparing fava beans you need to first remove the beans from the pod. After you have shucked your beans, dispose of the pods and start a pan of water boiling so that you can partially boil the beans to make removal of the outer shell easier. Fava beans have a outer shell that needs to be removed before you eat them. Boil the beans until they turn bright green (about a minute or so), then remove them, run them under cold water until they are cool enough to touch. Now you need to remove the skin surrounding each bean. Fava beans have what looks like a little seam on one side of the bean. Make a slit in the seam at one end of the bean and then squeeze the bean out. It should pop right out of the skin.  Then the beans are ready to use in any recipe.

1.5 cups shelled fava beans (roughly 1.5 pounds unshelled)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste

In a skillet on medium heat, add oil and garlic and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add fava beans and sautee for 7– 10 minutes, or until they are done to your preference. Add salt and pepper to taste, and these beans are ready to eat!           Good ideas include an Italian inspired cold salad with goat cheese, olive oil, lemon juice , and parsley.

Or throw your cooked beans in a food processor with lemon, garlic, and olive oil and spread them on a piece of toasted French bread. Yummy!

Black Kale Salad

1 bunch of black kale
Several baby onions, thinly sliced
A handful of pitted kalamata olives, chopped or ripped into quarters
1/4 cup of feta cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of grey poupon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash your kale and remove the bottom stalk.  Chop the rest into 1 inch sections and put into a large bowl.  Chop onions and kalamata olives and add to the kale.  In a separate bowl mix or whisk the mustard and olive oil together until they are emulsified, pour mixture over the kale, olives and onions.  Coat kale leaves completely with the dressing,  then and add feta cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

This salad is best when you make it in at least 6 hours in advance, so that as the kale wilts, it absorbs the dressing. This makes it more tender and easier to eat.