Thursday, June 4, 2009

week#2

Red Springs Family Farm
June 2, 2009, Week #2

This week’s selection:
One bag: Lettuces
Another bag: Snow Peas Sorrel
Mizuna Spearmint
Third bag: Yokatta Na Radish Greens
Garlic Scapes Baby Beet Greens

First, THANK YOU ALL for making our first delivery of the season as stress free as possible. Thank you for picking up baskets for each other, holding doors, and waiting patiently. We hope you enjoyed the first harvest. Please feel free to send us your questions, comments, and recipe ideas for the newsletter.

The weather has been beautiful. Wednesday and Thursday rains make for a muddy harvest however, so we advise you to wash and dry your greens well. We’ve been busy, transplanting out the sweet potato slips, a last round of eggplants, and the final cantaloupe and watermelon starts. A lovely half inch of rain fell just as we were unloading the truck last night, tucking those seedlings into a moist bed for the night. Tomatoes and summer squashes are blooming and even setting small fruits. There are some watermelon blooms as well, which is very promising for this time of year. With some luck and care, the reward for this gray wet spring will be an abundant summer.

Let’s see, what needs introduction this week?

Mizuna is the light green pointy leaves in your salad mix bag. It is slightly peppery – a nice crunchy addition to salad, tho I’ve heard that some folks add them to stir fries.

Yokatta Na is the dark round - leafed green. The holes in the leaves are made by aphids (some of which may still be in residence!) who moved in under the row covering we used to protect the greens from flea beetles. (If one doesn’t move in, the other will!) The damage is purely cosmetic. The greens are wonderful. Not bitter – just crispy. They melt easily when steamed or lightly stir-fried. Treat them like spinach.

Part of the deal with this model of growing is that we share both our successes and failures with you. So, here’s our radish crop. Each of you should have a couple of radish bulbs to chop onto salad. It’s a sorry little harvest, but we are glad to share it with you anyway. A couple of our favorite spring crops have this nature –if they don’t get decent growing conditions throughout their primary growth period, they just don’t make it. Radishes are like little race-cars. They come up so fast, and then they are finished. Maybe if we’d planted one dry spell earlier, they would have come out perfect. Or maybe they would have all split open and rotted in the excessive rains. We can’t know now. BUT we CAN throw the greens into a sauté with olive oil and garlic scapes. Radish greens have a quality that most children abhor – prickles – but if you like turnip greens, you will enjoy this handful of greens. “There is no great loss without some small gain.” The loss of radishes will seem small next to the jewels of summer.

These baby beet greens are literally the thinning of a beet row. The greens are delicious. Treat them as you would chard. If you can wash them well enough it’s nice to leave the roots attached – after all, these are the starting of beets! Steam, sauté, or just throw them into the salad bowl for some extra color. There will be more of these to come.

For something fun to do with mint – try nipping off the pretty tops – dropping them into water in ice cube trays and freezing them. Or make a strong mint tea and freeze cubes of it on its own to add flavor later. Then there’s this sweet sounding drink…

Orange and Mint Punch with Ginger ale (makes 4 quarts)
3 ¾ cups water 2 ¼ cups sugar
3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (about 9 oranges)
1 ¾ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 7 lemons)
1 ¼ cup fresh mint leaves 1 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest 8 cups cold ginger ale

1. Combine water and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pot from heat.
2. Put the orange juice, lemon juice, mint, orange zest and sugar water in a 4 quart (1 gallon) glass bowl or pitcher; stir. Cover the container and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to let the flavors develop.
3. Strain the orange-lemon juice mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Add ginger ale to the orange-lemon mix when you are ready to serve.
(I suspect that if you don’t want to use the sugar, you can get by melting about a cup of honey into some warm (not boiling) water – can’t confirm this – just a hunch.)

Steamed Greens with Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice (if you can’t find tempeh locally – this is still a valuable recipe for some basic guidelines of flavor accents for cooking greens)

2 ½ cups stock or cold water 1 cup uncooked brown rice
¾ Tbsp mild vegetable oil 8 oz. Tempeh, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 medium red potatoes in ¼ inch cubes 3-4 cloves garlic (or scapes!) – 2 tsp minced
2 Tbsp. grated fresh horseradish 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
Ground cayenne to taste ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
large handful of cooking greens 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari

1. Combine stock, water, and rice in a 2 qt pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook until the rice is tender and water absorbed, 46 to 60 minutes, depending on the type of rice.
2. About midway through the rice cooking time, heat the oil ina large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tempeh, potato cubes, garlic, horseradish, ginger, and a pinch of cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the the toasted sesame oil and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove the skillet from heat.
3. Put the chopped leaves in a steamer basket set over 1 ½ inches of boiling water, cover, and steam the greens until they are just tender (3 to 8 minutes for spinach or chard-like greens, 20 or so for kale and collards).
4. Transfer greens to the skillet. Add the soy sauce or tamari. Stir to combine.
5. When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat. Let stand, covered 5 or 10 minutes.
6. Serve rice topped with greens.

Next week we may see the first of the patty pan squashes, and the last of the garlic scapes. There will definitely be more salad. We’ll see you there!

Paul, Coree and Lulah Entwistle

In the darkness of the earth the seed is awakened.
In the power of the air the leaves are quickened.
In the might of the sun the fruit is ripened.
Thus in the shrine of the heart the soul is awakened.
In the light of the world the spirit is quickened.
In the glory of God man’s power is ripened.
(Rudolf Steiner’s prayer before meals)

1 comment:

cella said...

took a leaf from your book last night and improvised a stir-fry with this week's harvest, adding some squash and eggs ... YUM! + easy, healthy, affordable! we esp. love the yokatta na and snow peas.

also have to comment on the photograph of your first seedlings ... lovely piece of abstract art.

you guys are *the best* ... appreciatively ~ cella