CSA Box #3 7-5-11
In this week’s box:
Radish Baby Carrots Fennel
Shell Peas Swiss Chard
Butterhead Lettuce Strawberries
Purple Scallion Green Garlic
Happy Summer! The weather has been so beautiful and the fields are looking so lush that it finally feels like summer around here. Crops are coming into full swing now as you can tell by this week’s box and our market stands. Seems like the crew is working non-stop to keep up with all the transplanting, weeding, harvesting, and running around for deliveries and markets! For those of you who don’t know we also sell produce at the Olympia Farmer’s Market from Thursday though Sunday, and the Chehalis Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays from 12 to 5pm. If there is ever anything in you box that you love and would like more of you can always stop by either of these Markets. We also sell bulk quantities of some items such as pickling cucumbers, beets, carrots, and green beans when we have large quantities available. For those of you who are into canning, preserving, or juicing feel free to give us a call or email if you are interested in anything.
New items this week will be green garlic, purple scallion, shell peas, fennel, and butterhead lettuce. For starters, lets talk about green garlic. This is the whole bulb of the garlic plant, not just the scapes like you got last week. You peel it just like you would dried garlic and chop and use in your favorite dishes. The main difference is the milder flavor and the fact that this garlic won’t keep the way dried garlic will. You should use it up within a week or so for the best flavor. Garlic harvested this way is considered a gourmet item for many folks, as it can be difficult to find outside of a fresh-market situation. This particular variety is called French Red Asian. I got up early to dig these from the garlic beds just for you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I plan to. I’ve been looking forward to this since we ran out of farm-grown garlic a few months ago.
We also have shell peas this week. These tasty little treats require a bit more work than snow and sugar snap peas, but are well worth it. Break off the stem end and pull the string down. Then pop the pod open and use your thumb to extract the peas inside. They are super-delicious just lightly steamed with a little butter and salt. You don’t want to overcook or you’ll loose the freshness that makes them so special. Plan to use them up as soon as possible, but they will keep for a week in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Purple scallions are basically the same as white scallions but look a lot cooler! I like to use them to add color to fresh salads and appetizers. Fennel is the beautiful white bulb with the frondy green leaves. Fennel is also known as anise, and is one of the most popular vegetables in Italian cuisine. The white bulb has a sweet mild licorice like flavor that is delicious fresh in salads, and becomes more mellow and sweet with roasting, braising or sautéing. Fennel is excellent paired with marinara sauces of all kinds. Though I have never tried it myself, I have also heard that it is delicious when grilled. Butterhead lettuce is a gorgeous loosely formed head of lettuce that has a tender buttery texture. I associate it more with spring harvests due to its delicate and tender nature. It’s another one of those vegetables that haven’t stood up to mass production methods of farming and food distribution. The fact that you get to have this is just another of the benefits of supporting your local farmers and joining a CSA. Check out the recipe page for a spring salad recipe and more ideas.
Enjoy the goodness,
Asha, Joe and the Crew.
Recipe Page #3
Roasted Fennel: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stalks off of 2 bulbs of fennel. Half the bulbs lengthwise and slice into 1-inch thick pieces. Rub the fennel with just enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat. Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, also to coat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (or skip if you don’t mind scrubbing pans). Lay out the fennel, and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and cooked through and beginning to caramelize.
Simple Peas and Onions: Shell about 1 lb of fresh peas. Heat 2 Tbsp of butter in a pan over med-high heat. When the butter foam recedes add ½ cup chopped purple scallion. Saute for a few minutes. Add about ½ cup of quality stock of your choice (chicken, vegetable etc.) Add sea salt if desired and a pinch of sugar if desired. Saute until the stock is reduced by about ½. At that point turn off the heat and add 1 tbsp butter and a pinch of black pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with some fresh mint.
Butterhead Lettuce and Spring Vegetable Salad: In a large bowl whisk together 5 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar, and 3 Tbsp olive oil. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Wash and dry 2 heads of butterhead lettuce. Tear into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl along with 6 thinly sliced radishes and 3 baby carrots that have been shredded. Divide amongst 4 plates and top with roasted sunflower seeds and alfalfa sprouts.
Swiss Chard with Kalamata Olives: This dish is an excellent accompaniment to roast chicken! Wash 1 1/4 lbs of swiss chard. Separate the leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the leaves and cut the stems into 1 inch pieces. In a large skillet or dutch oven heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped scallion, 2 cloves of chopped green garlic, and one finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional). Saute until the onions are tender and add the chard stems, 1/3 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives, and ½ cup water. Cover and cook for 3 min. Add the chard leaves and cover and cook until tender about 4 more minutes. Serve immediately.
Chai-spiced Chicken Wings with Green Garlic Aioli: For the Chicken: Coarsely chop ½ of a fat bulb of green garlic (peeled), place in a blender with 2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2Tbsp soy sauce, 1tsp fresh lemon juice, 1tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cardamom pods, 1tsp finely grated orange zest, 1 star anise, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, and 1 pinch ground cloves. Blend the mixture to a rough texture. In a bowl, toss the marinade with 2 1/2 lbs of chicken wings and cover. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or preferably, overnight.
Preheat broiler to high. Use paper towels to brush off most solids from the marinade clinging to the chicken, then arrange the wings on a baking sheet. Broil until the wings are golden brown and cooked through, about 5 min per side. For the aioli: Finely chop the other ½ of your bulb of peeled green garlic. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with ½ tsp coarse sea salt until a paste forms. Add 1 egg yolk and continue to pound paste until incorporated, then add drop by drop 1 cups worth of olive oil until a thick, shiny aioli is achieved. Stir in a few drops of lemon juice. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with the chicken wings for dipping. (From the NY Times, June 18th, 2008.)
Mahimahi Coconut Curry Stew with Carrots and Fennel: Place 8 6-ounce mahimahi filets in a large, shallow dish. Pour ½ cup fresh lemon juice over the fish and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a very large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat ½ cup vegetable oil. Add 6 peeled cloves of green garlic, and cook over med-high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add 3 large thinly sliced shallots and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add 8 small dried red chiles, and 12 fresh curry leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger, and 8 kaffir lime leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 large fennel bulb – halved, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces, 4 cups of carrots-cut into 1 inch pieces, and 1 tsp Madras curry powder and season lightly with salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 2 15 oz cans of unsweetened coconut milk and bring to the boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add the fish and any juices to the casserole. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a large, deep platter. Pour the sauce over and around the fish. Garnish with 1 cup of cilantro leaves and serve.