Thursday, June 3, 2010

newsletter 6-3-10 week 2

Red Springs Family Farm
June 3, 2010 week 2

Lettuces Rainbow Chard
Gobo Kohlrabi
Herb bag: Mint Mizuna
Onion Greens Garlic Scapes

We hope everyone had a safe and good Memorial Day weekend. It’s been a sparkling and sizzling week in the garden. We’ve been amazed at the rapid growth of EVERYTHING out here. It’s really been a lovely, if a little bit hot, week. There’s alot to say about the veggies…
“We have grown a fleet of alien spacecraft to the fields—green and purple orbs growing lightly on the soil, antennas splayed in all directions. If we left them there long enough, they might actually levitate. These oddities are in fact fellow earthlings and relatives of broccoli. Kohlrabi initiates know what a treasure these outlandish vegetables are in the kitchen. Their sweet crunch is excellent cooked or raw.” (Thank you Farmer John.)

For kohlrabi storage, wrap the whole unwashed kohlrabi in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator. Use the bulb within two weeks. To prepare, rinse kohlrabi under cold running water just before use. Unless the skin seems particularly tough, kohlrabi does not have to be peeled. Just trim off the remains of the stalks and root. Grate, slice, or chop kohlrabi as desired.
You can grate it or slice it julienne for a salad. Use it in a slaw with carrots, or mash it with potatoes (it’s still a early for our carrots and potatoes). It’s also excellent sautéed (thin slices) with butter, a garlic scape, salt to taste, and a bit of fresh lemon juice at the end.

GOBO? Burdock root is another word for it. We use it as medicine, and food. It seems to be a fairly common ingredient in Japanese cooking, and works great in a miso soup. Miso soup is one of the most versatile, forgiving, nourishing, and delicious home cookings one can do (in my opinion). Here are some hints:

One quart of water makes soup for 2-4 people depending on how hungry they are and how much a meal you want to make from the soup. Heat the water. Add seaweed – digitata, kombu, or another variety. This simmers into a broth, which then receives the root vegetables – gobo (scrubbed well, sliced lengthwise, then into thin half moons), carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or whatever you like. After roots, mushrooms are nice. We love shiitakes, but almost any kind will work in a soup. Wipe away visible dirt and slice to comfortable sized pieces. You can add left-over beans, diced tofu, finely sliced greens (Yokatta Na would be great here), and definitely fresh garlic or scapes. When you’ve added everything you want to the pot, and the root vegetables are tender, turn off the flame. Remove a cup of the stock and mash about 3 Tbsp of miso into the separated broth. For a heartier soup, you can also add 2 Tbsp tahini at this time. Blend the miso into the broth so that it is not chunky, then return it to the pot and stir. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings, adding more miso or a little tamari, as needed. Garnish with chopped green onion. If you have left-over soup, reheat it gently, taking care not to boil it, as too much heat will kill the beneficial life of the miso.

If it’s too hot for you to eat soup, doing a quick internet search for Gobo recipes will turn up a wealth of Japanese cooking tips and interesting gobo ideas – kinpira gobo sounded good to me!
Lettuces this week are Speckled and Oak Leaf. We think they are spectacular specimens of what lettuce can be. Hopefully, you’ll agree.

In your herb bag today you will find Mizuna. It is the light green feathery shaped leaf. We’ve heard that some folks add it to stir fry. We prefer it’s crisp peppery taste in salad. Onion greens are thinnings from the onion patch, which is looking good. These might be the last of the garlic scapes (pigtails) – have fun with them! And mint – so good for these hot days. Make an iced tea if you like that sort of thing, or cut the leaves into a salad for a cooling bite here and there.

The Rainbow Chard is really doing great, and we love sharing the beautiful colors with you. We make Chard the fast and easy way: chop, wash, and sauté real fast with some butter and garlic in a cast iron skillet. Salt and pepper, a little dash of vinegar, and the greens are gone in a flash.

But if you have any hesitations about these greens, here’s another recipe to help your palate
– its’ a real winner:

Chard with Sweet and Sour Ginger Sauce
1 cup stock, broth, or water ½ lb chard, in bite sized pieces
4 scallions (or onion greens) sliced thin salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp white or balsamic vinegar 1 Tbsp light brown sugar (or honey or sorghum)
1 Tbsp finely chopped or grated fresh ginger 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Handful of raisins (optional)

1) Bring stock or water to a boil in a large skillet or pot. Add the chard and cook, stirring, until it is wilted, just over 1 minute.
2) Drain the chard, saving the cooking liquid. Transfer the chard to individual plate and garnish with scallions. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Pour the reserved cooking liquid back into the skillet or pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add raisins if you like. Boil it until it is reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and brown sugar. Stir in the ginger and red pepper. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and spoon the mixture over the chard. Enjoy immediately.

It’s fun to be bringing you cheese this week. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. If you didn’t get an order in this month, then hopefully you’ll get a chance for July. I’ll be happy to hear your suggestions for which varieties of cheese you’d like to try. Here’s how it works: We will rotate two varieties to be available each month. You let us know how much cheese you want by the week BEFORE it is delivered. Kenny and his crew make up a special order for us, and I have to give them good notice so they have it ready for me to pick up. We’ll let you know which 2 varieties will be available by next week, and will collect your orders for July until June 24 (week 5).

Next week, we’ll have broccoli! The day lilies are coming on, too.

Thanks for your support and good eating.

Your gardeners, Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“That we should have an agriculture based as much on petroleum as on the soil – that we need petroleum exactly as much as we need food and must have it before we can eat – may seem absurd. It is absurd. It is nevertheless true.” – Wendell Berry

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