Dear CSA members,
I began last week’s newsletter with the comment that summer had arrived, but this Monday morning it feels like it’s gone away again! Diane and I had to put on our long sleeves when we went out to cut lettuce today.
We’ve had a pretty good week here—the weather has been generally warm enough to encourage our heat loving crops to grow, but not so hot as to scorch our baby transplants. We need to say a big THANK YOU to our members and to the Kalamazoo College students who came out on Saturday to help us plant. We got all of the strawberry plants in the ground, as well as all of the melons, winter squash, and pumpkins. A few more rows of corn and “spring” planting will officially be done! Yay!!
I felt such pride as I watched two of my former students (recent K graduates) work in our fields this weekend. They moved down the rows with confidence, working in compost, tucking in the transplants, and showing a student new to the farm the planting procedures. Just a few months ago when they began my Community Supported Agriculture course, they stood in these fields awkwardly, unsure of what to do. As I write this now, one of these former students is out weeding your beet patch. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I can trust her to do this well, careful not to damage the tender plants. As you know, farming not only requires hard labor, it requires skill, and to see my students developing their agricultural skills is enormously gratifying.
I want you to know that by supporting our farm, you are making this educational experience for these young people eager to learn the practical skills of growing good healthy food possible. I thank you and they thank you.
Cabbages this week! Here are some recipes for what you might do with them:
Ingredients: 3 Tbsp olive oil; 1 tsp salt or to taste; ½ onion, chopped; ½ tsp black pepper; 2 cloves garlic, minced; ½ cabbage, cored and chopped; 1½-2 quarts broth; 1 pint canned tomatoes; scallions (optional)
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and sauté until onion is transparent. Add cabbage and stir for a few seconds, then add broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer until cabbage is soft, then add tomatoes and simmer until done. Top with chopped scallions, if desired.
Cabbage in Mild Yogurt and Mustard Seed Curry (From Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine)
Ingredients: 1 head green cabbage, in 1 inch x 1 inch x 3 inch pieces; 1 Tbsp salt; 1/2 cup canola oil; 1 Tbsp ground cumin; 1 tsp asafoetida (I didn’t have this, so I left it out); 1 tsp turmeric; 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp black mustard seeds; 1 Tbsp ground coriander; 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, stirred
Place cabbage pieces in a colander and rinse well. Drain cabbage of any excess water. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high for 1 minute. Add asafetida and allow it to sizzle for 10 seconds. Add mustard seeds and cook until you hear the first popping sound, about 1 minute. Immediately turn off the heat. (The popping sound means that the seeds have cooked and are beginning to burn.)
After 5 minutes, stir in yogurt and turn on the heat to medium, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Add salt, cumin, turmeric and coriander. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the oil glistens. Add cabbage and stir well. Make sure the masala and cabbage are completely combined. If you are ready to serve the cabbage, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking it for 5 minutes. Otherwise turn off the heat and reheat on medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes just before serving. Can be used right away. Will keep refrigerated for up to 1 day in a sealed container, but this dish loses its texture after a day in the fridge.
John’s Asian Cabbage Salad
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp tamari; 1-2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped; 2 tsp toasted sesame oil; 1 Tbsp apple cider, balsamic, or rice vinegar; ½ Tsp dijon mustard; 1 Tbsp maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar; 1 Tbsp minced ginger; 1 Tbsp olive oil; 1-2 cloves garlic; 2 Tbsp minced scallions; ½ cabbage, thinly sliced; other thinly sliced crunch vegetables such as carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, etc.
Place cabbage and other vegetables in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together in a different bowl. Taste dressing and adjust ingredient quantities as desired. Pour over vegetables, stir everything, and chill for an hour before eating.
This dressing from Molly Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven could be served hot over sautéed cabbage, freshly cooked pasta or stir-fried vegetables or used cold as a dipping sauce for a vegetable platter. We tossed it over lettuce for a interesting twist on our lunch salad today.
Peanut Chile Dressing
Ingredients: ½ cup peanut butter; 1 Tsp dry sherry or rice wine (optional); 1 Tbsp honey or brown sugar; 1 Tbsp tamari; 1 cup boiling water; 1 Tbsp sesame oil; 6 Tbsp cider or rice vinegar; 1 heaping Tbsp minced ginger; 2 tsp minced garlic; 2 Tbsp chopped scallions; 1 tsp salt (optional); 1 heaping Tbsp chopped cilantro; 1 small serrano pepper or a pinch of dried red pepper flakes
Place peanut butter and honey (or brown sugar) together in a bowl. Add boiling water and mix. Stir in the rest of the ingredients except the scallions and cilantro. If serving hot, add scallions and cilantro right before serving. If using cold, chill the sauce a bit first and then add these ingredients.