Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spin the Spinach

 Step by Step instructions to care for your spinach.
 Cut the root off.
Then fill your sink with cold water.  Put the spinach in and give a swish with your hands.  The sand will sink to the bottom. 
Lift the leaves out of the water and put into your salad spinner.
Isn't that beautiful?

 While putting leaves into the salad spinner sort out the ones that don't look so hot.
Now pump that spinner.  All the water flings to the side and collects in the bottom.  If you don't have a salad spinner just dry the spinach as best you can with towels.
Then I lay out 3-4 paper towels and pile the spinach on top.  It takes a couple of batches in the spinner to get all the spinach dried.  
Roll up the paper towel. So you have paper towel all around the spinach. And carefully stuff into a gallon-sized ziploc.
Close the bag and keep in the fridge, it will last the whole week, no problem. 

I just love spinach!
Coming next a Spinach and Egg Recipe.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Turnips and Turnip Greens

Why eat turnips:

Turnip greens are supercharged with so many different nutrients. Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate, copper, calcium, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

How to store:
Turnip greens are best stored removed from the turnips, rinsed, and dried. The easiest way to clean them is in the sink or a very large pot filled with cold water. Place the leaves in the cold water. Let them soak for a few minutes then swish around to loosen grit and sand; drain.  The sand will sink to the bottom while the greens will float. Repeat the process two or three times, depending on how gritty the leaves are.  Lift greens up and out of the water, leaving the dirt and debris behind, and put in a colander or on a clean kitchen towel or layers of paper towels. (Do not pour water and greens out into a colander together, the dirt that has sunk to the bottom of the water will end up on the greens all over again.) Spin or pat dry.   To store, lay greens on several layers of paper towels (a clean dish towel may also be used).  Roll greens up. The towels will absorb any remaining moisture, keep the greens from wilting, and help them last longer.  Store towel-wrapped greens in a clean plastic bag and chill. Greens stored this way will last several days longer than uncleaned and unwrapped greens.
The root part of the turnip can be stored easily by removing from the tops and placing in the crisper drawer.

How to prepare:

Turnips and their greens can be prepared many ways.  Cooked turnips can be mashed and served any way potatoes are.  Many enjoy turnips when blended in equal parts with potatoes.  Turnip greens are famous with southerners who cook them with salt pork or ham bone.  Turnip greens are similar to collards or mustard greens.  The following are recipes I have personally made and they have passed the taste test for Eric and I.

Turnip Soup
 I love that this recipe has both the greens and the root in it.  This is a pretty quick recipe too.  Eric really liked this soup!

3 or 4 turnips with greens                            4 cups of broth (I used chicken)
1 large onion, chopped                                 2 slices bacon, sliced thinly
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced                          Salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil                                            Freshly ground black pepper

1.      Remove the greens from the roots.  Carefully rinse the greens as instructed previously. Cut the  greens into thin strips.
2.      Peel the turnips and chop them into small chunks
3.      Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon, and cook until it starts to render its fat.  Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
4.      Add garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5.      Add chopped turnips and broth. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until turnips are tender 8 to 10 minutes.
6.      Stir in Turnip greens and cook until greens are tender, about 2 minute.
7.      Taste soup and add salt to taste. Serve soup hot, garnished with black pepper, if you like.

Turnip Greens
1 1/2 to 2 pounds turnip greens (the greens from about 4 turnips)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Hot pepper sauce (optional)

1.      After washing the greens really well boil them until tender.  To boil, add greens to boiling, salted water.  Cook, uncovered, until tender about 8 to 12 minutes.
2.      Drain greens well.
3.      In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in the vegetable oil until it just begins to brown. Add the drained greens; season to taste with salt and pepper.  If you’re brave, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

Turnip Soufflé
I made this last fall for the first time.  I was shocked when Trevor ate his entire helping without any fuss. 

3 to 4 turnips, peeled and sliced                 ½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp. salt, divided                                   2 Tablespoons flour
½ tsp. sugar                                                 2/3 cup milk
4 eggs, separated                                        3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1.      Place turnips, ½ tsp. of salt and sugar in a saucepan; cover with water.  Cover and cook until turnips are tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well and mash (do not add milk of butter)
2.      In another saucepan, melt butter; stir in the flour and remaining salt until smooth.  Add milk; bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Beat egg yolks in a small bowl; gradually stir in ½ cup hot milk mixture.  Return all to pan cook and stir for 1 minute.  Stir in turnips; remove from the heat.  Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.  Spoon into a greased small casserole dish.  Sprinkle with bacon.  Bake, uncover at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

CSA Share 2012: week 4

What a week we have had!  The constant threat of thunderstorms, that never amounted to anything, followed by high heat and humidity! Whew! But it was great weather if you were hanging by the pool, ocean, or lake!  The eggplants are loving this heat wave too!  Sadly, the strawberries despise this heat and humidity.  The berries are limping along so you CSA members can come U-pick on Saturday.

Even though the strawberries are out of the picture
Here are 4 reasons why I am SUPER DUPER EXCITED about this weeks share.

#1 Broccoli and Cauliflower--   We planted broccoli in the csa field 2 years ago, and got nothing, nada, zilch.  This spring I got the urge to try growing these cruciferous veggies again.  I tried to be optimistic, but I really was anticipating another flop.  Just look at those beauties! Yummy, yummy!

#2 Spinach-- Spinach is another on of those things that we have been trying to grow with little success for the past few years.  Last years spinach I got from a neighbor.  This year I am proud to announce that this was grown on our farm right next to the turnips. We leads me to #3

#3 Turnips--  I love that part of the whole CSA experience is trying new things.  Turnips fall in the "new things" category for many of our members.  I have this Turnip souffle recipe that will knock your socks off.  Sidenote*** You can eat the turnip greens too! These are the most beautiful turnip greens I have seen in a while!

#4 Pickle Cucs--  I love pickles I eat them right out of the field and so does Auggie Dog

Oh yeah, the asparagus and kholrabi is pretty cool too!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Alien Invasion!

Excuse me, what did you say?


Huh? What is this alien looking stuff?

Kholrabi. German Cabbage.  Basically it tastes like broccoli stems.   

So WHAT do I do with it?

First rinse the kholrabi to get any sand off.  Then cut the bottom end off.

Then cut off all the little "alien" arms.
Then slice in half.

Kholrabi has a bright white flesh.  Now this kholrabi that I brought in was on the smaller size, so the skin isn't very thick or woody.  But if you end up with a bigger one you will notice more of a thick, greener skin.

Now peel your kholrabi. 
There are many ways to get this done, just do it however you feel comfortable.  I laid the rab flat and worked my way around peeling it with my big knife.
Now you need to choose how to slice.  You could grate the kholrabi to throw onto your fresh salad, or into your coleslaw.
You could cut into cut little matchstick size to eat raw or on top of your salad.  
Or you could cut into bigger sticks to dip into a nice veggie dip 


If it's 6:30 on a Friday night and you just finished cleaning up CSA, and you're starving, then you could just grab the peanut butter jar and start dipping.  Yum!

Here are some links to some kholrabi recipes:
Kohlrabi Ham Bake from Simply Recipes (I have made this one, and it is very good!)
Kohlrabi & Apple Slaw from A Veggie Venture
Roasted Kohlrabi from A Veggie Venture

Enjoy the Kholrabi in your CSA share this week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I fear Swiss Chard!

Did anyone else out there NOT grow up eating greens?  I did not and it has been a slow come around to get the greens going in my kitchen.  But so worth the effort to learn to cook them.  Greens are so nutritious and delicious!

***When I was a child, my mom was an excellent cook and made us healthy well-balanced meals.  I learned so much from her about meal planning and grocery shopping.    I think we had salad 4 out of 7 nights a week and we ate lots of asparagus, carrots, green beans, lima beans, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and eggplant.  But Swiss chard, kale, or collard greens never crossed our table.***

So if your nervous about Swiss chard, its okay.  I was too.  But believe me it is worth it!

The secret to Swiss chard is understanding that it is really two vegetables in one.  The sturdy stems that come in all kinds of colors which take a little time to cook and soften, and the leaves which wilt very quickly.  

In my mind I equate Swiss chard very closely to spinach. You can exchange chard leaves in just about any recipe that calls for spinach. And it will turn out wonderfully.  I put Swiss chard in my Minestrone Soup. . . YUM-O!

If you have a deep love (as I do) for all things creamy try a Creamed Swiss Chard like Martha Stewart's Recipe.  I cut this recipe in half. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What to do with radishes?

We are picking some beautiful Easter Egg Radishes at the farm.  I just love the colors!

Until recently, my uses for radishes have been:
1. Add a little to a salad
2. Add some to a veggie tray

3. Spread with a little butter and dip in a little salt. YUMMM!

But the world of radishes have so much more to offer.  
May I present. . . Pickled Radishes
First lets prep the radishes.  They are grown in dirt and when you bring them into the kitchen they bring dirt along with them.  I rinse them well under running water.
 Then trim the roots and tops off.  
Aren't they just too cute!
 Thinly slice and put into a pint sized container.
Now to make the brine:
In a medium saucepan add 1 cup water

 1 cup distilled white vinegar.

 2 teaspoons salt
  And 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Stir and bring to a boil. Just enough to dissolve the salt and sugar.

 Take the brine off the heat and add a few peppercorns, and a clove of garlic.
 Then add the brine to the jar with the sliced radishes.  A funnel makes this a lot easier!

Let this sit on the counter to cool off, then keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.  They really are delicious.  I think they would make a great addition to tuna salad, tacos, or just to snack on.

Pickled Radish
1 lb radish, thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tespoons sugar
few peppercorns
Pack the radishes into a pint sized jar.  In a saucepan bring the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil.  Just long enough to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Remove from the heat and add in the peppercorns and garlic.  Pour into the jar with radishes.   And seal with tight fitting lid. Let it cool to room temperature.  You can store in the fridge for up to one month.

 If pickling isn't your thang how about :
Radish Cucumber Salad
This salad is crisp and refreshing and taste likes summer!
Thinly slice radish and cucumber.  Then add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sour cream (depending on how much radish/cuc you slice), and 1 tsp of dill weed.  It would be fantastic to use fresh dill, but I just used dried.  Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Video from Farmer E

Farmer E loves to make contraptions that make things a little easier around the farm.

Here is his newest device.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CSA week #2

We got .85 inches of rain this morning. After a lot of rain our produce is SANDY. 

**The greens just might need a triple rinse to get all the sand off.**
This weeks share: Bok Choy, Strawberries, Asparagus, Romaine, Swiss Chard

While it was raining this morning, we worked in the High Tunnel, tying up the tomatoes.  The heirloom tomatoes are looking good.  5-6 more weeks until expected harvest date.

I got a quick peek in the field when it stopped raining this afternoon:
Kholrabi (German Cabbage) is sizing and will be ready for harvest soon.

We planted a lot more onions this year, because we liked them so much last year!  YAY!

Romaine to come for a few more weeks.  You can see in this picture the nice job Pop-Pop did cultivating to get the weeds between the rows.  It is good to do that when it is dry and it should stay dry for a day after you cultivate so all the weeds that have been uprooted die completely instead of re-rooting.  Today would not be a good day for cultivating.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CSA week #1

Here is some important information to keep your produce nice if you can't use it right away.

Strawberries. . .well I truly doubt that you will have strawberries hanging around your house very long.  The disappear very quickly in my home, but should be stored in the refrigerator if you want to keep them more than a couple of days. They might last four or five days in the fridge.

Asparagus. . .when you bring asparagus home and you know you are not going to use it that day you should store it in your refrigerator in a bowl or mug with some water in the bottom.  The asparagus will slowly drink up the water.  Before cooking your asparagus it needs to be rinsed, the best way I have  found is to fill up a pitcher of water and put the asparagus in with the tips down. This way all the sand will sink to the bottom.

Romaine and Bok Choy and any other greens that come from the CSA are SANDY!  They need to be thoroughly washed.  To wash I fill up a clean sink or big bowl with cold water and put the leaves in and gently swish.  Then pat the leaves dry or dry them in your handy dandy salad spinner.  Next, wrap the lettuce leaves in some paper towel and store in a gallon size ziploc bag or other large container.  If you carefully wash, dry, and store your greens they will easily last the whole week, but if you just throw the whole head in the fridge crisper the lettuce will wilt and not be crisp.

So tonight we had Bok Choy and it was delicious!

This is not an exact recipe, sorry to my peeps who like specific instructions.

To prep the bok choy cut the stalks from the leaves.  (The stalks take longer to cook).  Chop the stalks into large bite sized pieces.  Then chop the leaves into 1 inch pieces.  I also added some sliced red onion, but you could use sweet onion or green onions too.

Heat olive oil in saute pan on high.  Make sure it is good and hot then add the stalks and onion and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Then add in the leaves.  Like spinach, the leaves will wilt.  Then I added a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, a couple drops of toasted sesame oil and a few splashes of soy sauce.  Stir and cook just until greens have wilted.  It will only take1-2 more minutes.  YUM!

Eric, Gram and I wolfed this down.  We didn't share with the kids.

Word to the wise: I overdid it a little on the soy sauce,  that stuff is so potent, it only takes a little.

What did you cook up this week with your Buzby produce?