Some of our members have suggested that we put our weekly newsletters and recipes online. I think this is a great idea, so I’m going to post the newsletters from the past six weeks and categorize them by vegetable so that folks can easily find recipes that contain specific vegetables by using the “categories” section on the blog’s right margin menu bar. Then I’ll try to keep up with this on a weekly basis throughout the rest of the season. Here’s Week 1:
Dear CSA members,
We enjoyed meeting many of you at our open house/potluck this past weekend and reconnecting with others of you that we haven’t seen in awhile. The wet weather kept us from getting the strawberries in the ground, but the plants are resting in the cooler and we’ll get them planted later this week. With any luck, you’ll reap their bounty in next spring’s shares. My CSA & Sustainability students have created a brochure on growing strawberries, which I’ll include in your share boxes in case you’re interested in learning more about these plants.
Since most plants begin their growth with leaves and roots, you’ll be seeing a variety of these types of vegetables in your shares over the next month, especially leaves. To keep leafy crops from wilting in your refrigerator, put them in a plastic bag or container that will keep them slightly moist (not wet) and then store them in your crisper drawer or on the lower shelf of your fridge. For larger leaves like kale, I just wrap them in a plastic grocery bag. If your leaves do get wilty, you can revive them by putting them in a sealed ziplock bag or sealed plastic container with some water in the refrigerator overnight.
Kale! Either you love it, you hate it, or you just haven’t found the right recipe yet. The most popular way to fix kale among our members has to be kale crisps. They make a great late-night snack when you’ve got the munchies but don’t really want to eat a mountain of greasy chips right before bed.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove the thick ribs from the kale leaves and cut leaves into 1 ½ inch pieces. Toss with olive oil and coarse salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, turning once about halfway through.
Variations: If you’re a garlic lover, you can sprinkle the kale with garlic powder or garlic salt before baking. I haven’t tried it, but red pepper might be a nice addition if you’d like a spicy chip. Diane says that she’s sprinkled them with parmesan cheese after they came out of the oven and that was pretty good too.
Kale salad is pretty popular too. Here’s a recipe from Dr. Weil’s True Food Kitchen:
Tuscan Kale Salad
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced and midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.
Diane brought over some rhubarb from her garden for your shares this morning, along with this recipe for pie:
Ingredients: 1 lbs cubed rhubarb stalks; 2 T grated lemon; ¾ cup granular sugar; 2 T cornstarch; ¾ cup brown sugar; 2 pie crusts (one for the top, one for the bottom); 2 T heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place rhubarb, both sugars, heavy cream, and lemon zest in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until rhubarb is cooked down and soft. Mix in the cornstarch, then pour into the bottom pie shell. Cover with the second pie crust and pinch edges of crusts together to seal. Cut slits in the top crust to vent the pie and brush with egg whites to make a shiny top crust. Bake on a lower oven rack at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-45 minutes.
And here’s a super-easy and delicious rhubarb cake recipe from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book:
Dolores’s Rhubarb Cake
Ingredients: 1 ¼ cups white flour; ½ cup packed brown sugar; ¾ cup whole-wheat flour; ¼ cup white sugar; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 egg; ½ tsp baking soda; 1 tsp vanilla; ¼ tsp cinnamon; 1 cup buttermilk; 1/8 tsp salt, if desired; 2 cups fresh rhubarb, finely diced; ½ cup butter
Topping: ¼ cup brown sugar; 1 ½ tsp cinnamon; ½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flours in a small bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again until fluffy. To this mixture alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk and beat until mixed well. Stir in the rhubarb, then pour the batter into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center come out clean.
Finally, Mei Qing Choi is a type of pac choi that you can use in soups or stir-fries. I even like it raw in salads. Here’s a soup recipe you might try:
Spicy Bok Choy Soup
Ingredients: olive oil; 1 tsp. chili paste; 1 yellow onion, chopped; 1 Tbsp. tamari; 8 oz. firm tofu, minced; bok choy, chopped, with ribs separated from leaves; 5 c. veggie stock; toasted sesame oil; handful of rice noodles (optional)
Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and tofu. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to brown. Add vegetable stock, tamari, chili paste, and bok choy ribs. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add bok choy leaves and rice noodles. Simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Ladle into bowls, finishing with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.