Thursday, May 24, 2012
May 24, 2012 week 1
Ah, back in the veggie swing of things! Thank you for joining us for this new season. Even though the winter never seemed to arrive and spring was a continuously curious mix, signs are good for the growing season. It is always a happy sort of wonder, to see how life just wants to grow, and what a great effort all living things put forth to live rightly. The early warmth tempted us, but we’ve been grateful to have held off and waited to start the garden at a ‘usual’ time. Blackberry winter was still a hard freeze down in this hollow. The cold snaps are over now and rampant growth has begun. The feeling of the soil between our fingers improves and the color grows a little deeper, year by year. Clover’s twining stems branch and cover the ground while its roots fix nitrogen in the depths. Dandelion’s strong tap root reaches where we cannot and draws moisture and nutrients upward. A stand of peas that didn’t germinate too well exceeds our expectations by growing and setting some fruit, even in the unseasonable heat. Early tomatoes are sporting tiny green globes. Broccoli looks promising. Garlic scapes! The scapes are earlier than usual. The garlic has had a little more time to grow with this early spring. The lower section of stem might be a little woody. Cut the tender pieces and use them like garlic – throw the tougher pieces into a stock pot. Use them in avant garde flower arrangements and post photos on our Facebook page. Love that garlic. Beet seeds are actual fruit with a number of seed. So, when you plant a beet seed, it comes up as several beet plants. This means that beets always need some thinning. These tender greens are the beet thinnings. They cook just like Chard – tender, light cooking and easy treatment with butter and balsamic vinegar will do. The notable differences between beets and chard are that beets will turn whatever they touch pink, and beet greens are great in a salad. These sweet potatoes were harvested last fall. It’s fun for us to keep them around and give them just once more in the spring. They are drier now, but no less sweet than they were. They still bake well, but I would recommend using them in a bread or pie, or maybe in combination with some other roasting venture. Or, with lots of butter! Our borage patch went to seed last year and this is the first time we have had an abundance of it. Not a common vegetable, but a highly underrated herb and well deserving of seasonal culinary effort. It is known as the herb of courage (do you have the courage to eat borage?). Celtic warriors drank wine with borage to give them courage before going into battle. I know, the prickles can be a turn off (very sensitive people may have a slight contact dermatitis from contact with them). But believe it or not, you can substitute borage for spinach. It cooks quickly, the prickles disappear, and there’s this mild, cucumbery-nutty flavor. It’s different, and also GOOD. We were putting leaves in salad, which was nice for the cucumber scent and taste, but it’s a good idea to dress the salad a little heavier and let the borage wilt. Now we’re cooking with it and finding it to be a fine spring green. Thirty seconds in boiling water and you can use it any way you want (soup, ravioli, lasagna). Looking around on-line, I found a few excellent pages, and a couple of recipes that deserved attention. For some accurate information on borage as a medicinal herb, see Peter Holmes, 1998. Herb Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette This salad, made as directed, is a real doozy – no lettuce listed in these ingredients. This is a strong salad. If you have hesitations, I recommend using some lettuce in place of the herbs that we haven’t supplied in this week’s basket. Play with it! 1 bunch parsley 1/2 cup basil leaves 1/2 cup young borage leaves 12-14 sorrel leaves, torn bite-sized pieces 1/2 cup mint leaves 1 bunch watercress 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 teaspoon mustard 1 teaspoon salt 1 minced garlic clove 1/2 cup walnut oil (olive oil will be OK) 1) Wash and dry the leaves. Anything too large for a fork should be torn to size. 2) Buzz into a paste the walnuts, vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt in a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the walnut oil and buzz to combine. 3) Toss and eat. Then there’s Chimichurri - an Argentinean sauce typically used with red meat, but it is also excellent with fish and seafood. The traditional recipe always has parsley, garlic and oregano, but it can be mixed up depending on what herbs are around – borage and mint and are excellent substitutes with seafood. This recipe makes about 2 cups. 1/2 cup water 1 t. salt 4-6 garlic cloves (scapes!) 1 cup parsley or borage or watercress leaves 1/2 cup oregano leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried) 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes 1/2 cup olive oil 1) Heat the water and dissolve the salt in it. When it is cool enough to stick your finger in, proceed with the chimichurri. 2) Put everything except the olive oil into a food processor and buzz to combine -- you can puree it or leave it chunky. Your choice. 3) With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and buzz for 30 seconds to a minute. Allow it to marinate for a few hours before serving. Chimichurri should hold up for a week or two in the fridge.
Please remember – if you want high quality honey from Monet’s Apiary, let us know ASAP. Prices are: $15/quart, $8/pint, $5/angel (like a honey bear). Have a safe and good Memorial Day Weekend! See you next week.
Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon Red Springs Family Farm
I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout