All of a sudden it’s summer! We’re making slow but steady progress on our planting—all of our tomato transplants are finally in and we’re working on getting winter squashes such as Sweet Dumpling, Delicata, and Butternut in the ground. I did meet an unwelcome guest in the garden last night on one of our summer squash plants—a squash vine borer moth! Those of you who were with us last year will remember our battle with the vine borers, which ended up with us on our tummies in the squash field, scraping larva out of plant stems with razor blades and wires. The borer moths lay their eggs on the squash stems and when the eggs hatch, the larva immediately eat their way into the stem and then feast on the plant from the inside, happily protected from predators and poisons. Since we really don’t want a repeat of last year’s stem-scraping marathon, we’re going to be experimenting with some different borer-control methods this year, including spraying our plants with a kaolin clay which may help both deter the moths and create a barrier between any eggs that do get laid and the squash stem. Wish us luck!
Because of our struggles with our early plantings, we don’t have the diversity of crops we’d hoped to have at this point in the year. What we do have for you, though, is lots of greens! You’ll be receiving both mixed lettuce leaves this week and also a head of one of the many different head lettuce varieties we’re experimenting with. We’ve given these heads an initial washing, but because it’s hard to wash down inside the head without damaging the leaves, you will probably want to give them another rinse before serving them.
Here’s one of my favorite simple spring salad recipes:
Spring Salad with Gorgonzola and Dried Cherries
Top a bowl of freshly picked salad greens with thinly sliced radishes, dried cherries, and a tart, crumbly cheese such as feta or gorgonzola. Toasted walnuts or pine nuts are a nice addition. Sprinkle with olive oil and white wine or balsamic vinegar.
This one, from Molly Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest is only slightly more involved:
Moroccan Orange-Walnut Salad
Ingredients: 3 large oranges; 5 radishes, thinly sliced; 1/2 Tbs. honey; 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; 1/4 tsp. cinnamon; salt to taste; 1/2 lb. mixed salad greens; freshly ground black pepper to taste; 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced; 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
Peel and section the oranges, using a sharp paring knife or a serrated knife. To do this, first cut off the polar ends of the peel, then slice the peel off the sides. With a gentle sawing motion, cut in one side of the membrane and out the other. Releasing each orange section into a bowl. Squeeze all excess juice from the remaining membrane into the bowl as well, and pick out the seeds, if necessary. Discard the membrane. Drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon into the orange slices. Stir gently to mix, cover and set aside until serving time.
Shortly before serving, toss the greens in a large bowl with the onion, radishes, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. To serve, bring the orange sections, the tossed greens, and the walnuts to the table in separate containers. Let each person assemble his or her own salad, by piling some greens on a plate, spooning over some oranges-au-jus, and sprinkling a few walnuts on top.
In addition to your salad mix of lettuces, your shares contain another mix of greens which includes kale, mustard, tatsoi, and arugula flowers. You can add these greens raw to your salads for a little extra flavor or you can add them to soups or stir-frys. Below is a simple braised greens recipe from elanaspantry.com. These greens cook down quite a bit, so this recipe would probably only serve one person—you might want to double it if cooking for two.
Simple Braised Greens
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil; 4 ounces mixed greens (kale, collard, mustard, or greens of your choice) about 3-4 cups chopped; 1 clove garlic, minced (or garlic scapes); ⅛ teaspoon sea salt; ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add greens stirring to coat with oil. Stir until greens are barely wilted. Add garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Continue stirring until greens are tender. Serve.
If you have the self-discipline not to eat all of your peas immediately right out of the bag, you could try making aioli sauce with your garlic scapes to dip them in.
Ingredients: 2 garlic cloves (and/or scapes); 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard; 1 large egg yolk; 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Whisk together yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl. Combine oils and add, a few drops at a time, to yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all oil is incorporated and mixture is emulsified. (If mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.) Whisk in garlic paste and season with salt and pepper. If aïoli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
Stay cool! –Amy