Dear CSA members,
I hope that you all had a wonderful and safe holiday last week. We didn’t make it over to any of the local fireworks displays, but we did take some time to appreciate the fireflies dancing in the fields each evening. They’re pretty spectacular this year, if you can stand the mosquitoes!
Our work focus this week has shifted from planting to weeding and mulching. We’ve got a lot of annual grass coming up in the lake garden and have been working hard to knock that down so that the plants don’t have to compete with it for water, nutrients, and air. We’ve also been working on getting the tomato plants pruned and trellised so their fruit will set up in the air where it will get good sunlight and ventilation and won’t get crushed under the weight of the rest of the plant. So far, the tomatoes look pretty great. We even have one fruit that is starting to turn red. Fingers crossed, it won’t be long until they start showing up in your boxes.
The spring broccoli has been a disappointment, though, particularly after last year’s amazingly large green heads. Unfortunately, the broccoli bed is along the east side of the lake garden, which got excessively wet a few weeks after we planted it. I think the excessive soil moisture, in combination with some of those early temperature fluctuations is causing it to bolt early without setting nice heads. The color is a little off on one of the varieties too, though the flavor seems to be okay. We’re harvesting enough off from this planting to put into full shares, but probably won’t have enough for half shares from this crop. If we have time, we’ll try to get another planting started soon and try for some fall broccoli.
Of course, we do still have kale! After one of our members told me about kale fritters last week, I did a little poking around online and came up with this recipe from thehealthyeverythingtarian.com:
Corn & Kale Fritters
Ingredients: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour; 2 large eggs; 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; 2 Tbsp butter, melted; 1 cup cornmeal; 2 cups milk; 1 tsp paprika; 1 Tbsp olive oil; 2 tsp salt; 1 clove garlic, finely minced; 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed); 1 cup chopped onion; 1 bunch kale, finely chopped. Optional: 1 bunch cilantro, several scallions
Mix the flours, cornmeal, spices, corn and kale in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, melted butter and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring gently until just mixed and set aside. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet, add the onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add to batter.
Cover the bottom of a skillet with a thin layer of olive oil, and heat it over medium heat. Drop 1/4-cupfuls of batter into the hot pan and flatten them evenly into approximately 1/2-inch patties. Add more oil / butter as needed to prevent sticking. Cook each fritter until it begins to bubble, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes more until golden. Serve with salsa, sour cream, or maple syrup.
I made these today for lunch and they were delicious! I stripped the stems from my kale leaves and tossed them in a food processor with a few scallions and a bunch of cilantro and chopped them all up fine that way before adding them to the cornmeal mixture. I was in a hurry, so I skipped the step of adding the sautéed the garlic and onion, but they were still really good.
Another of our members told me about making wilted lettuce. I tried it this week and I have to say that I still prefer my lettuce crispy, but in case you want to try it yourself, here’s a recipe from tasteofhome.com:
Ingredients: 4 bacon strips, cut up; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1/4 cup white vinegar; 1/4 teaspoon pepper; 2 tablespoons water; 8 to 10 cups torn leaf lettuce; 2 green onions with tops, sliced; 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped; 2 teaspoons sugar
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. To the hot drippings, add the vinegar, water, onions, sugar, salt and pepper, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Place lettuce in a salad bowl; immediately pour dressing over and toss lightly. Top with egg. Serve immediately.
One of my favorite meals from this past week included this kale soup. We had some leftover snap peas that needed to be used, so we included those, but I think it would be equally good with cabbage.
Creamy Kale Soup
Ingredients: 1 bunch kale, chopped; 1 Tbsp flour; 1 onion, chopped; 3 cups milk or half & half; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1 Tbsp olive oil; a few scallions, chopped; 1 Tbsp Butter; snap peas or diced cabbage (approx 2 cups). Optional: thinly sliced mushrooms, fresh dill.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add kale and snap peas or cabbage. Sauté until vegetables are slightly tender. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms start to soften. Turn heat to low or remove pan from burner. Set aside. Melt butter in a separate saucepan over low to medium heat. When butter starts to sizzle, add a heaping tablespoon of flour and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in milk to make a roux. Add cooked vegetables to the roux (or vice versa), stir in scallions, and heat thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Delicious topped with a little freshly chopped dill.
Have a wonderful week! Amy