Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Hello from a hot and humid Bluebird Farm,

This week began with a gully washer-.85 inches of rain in just a few hours on Monday morning. The weather has brought a good mix of rain and sun with a healthy dose of warm temperatures. Some of our spring greens would prefer cooler days, but our summer crops are practically leaping out of the ground, their colorful blossoms teasing our taste buds with the thought of what’s to come.

Not that the flavors at our dinner table have been particularly suffering. Far from it in fact, we have been enjoying the crispness of lettuce, bountiful flavors of Swiss chard, and a great stir-fry made with our Chinese, or napa, cabbage.

We hereby declare the week of May 31st 2010 to be “National Stir-fry and Greens Awareness Week! This week your box will include:

Poc Choi also known as Bok Choy, with crisp juicy stems,

Bok Choy Brassica rapa var. chinensis

Chinese Cabbage also known as Napa Cabbage, with its sweet, mild flavor

Swiss Chard, beautiful color and deep flavors, it’s a great summer substitute for spinach (which hates hot weather) try adding a bit of lemon juice (1 tsp-1 tblsp)

Swiss Chard: Beta vulgaris L. subsp. cicla.
Head Lettuce

Cilantro- It may look a little different- this cilantro has very fine feather leaves, but still tastes the same.

BASIL !!! Wow, there’s a bit of Thai basil, perfect for the stir-frys. Thai basil is the signature to many Thai recipes. Thai basil is more mild and sweet than Italian styles basil, lending its flavor to sweet and sour dishes and coconut sauces. Try adding a bit of Thai basil to the greens. You can also soak basil in maple syrup for a delicious pancake syrup.

Onion- Use the tender green of the onion too.

Sugar Snap Peas- This is the last week of peas, unless the next planting of peas survives the deer and groundhogs.

Cooking the greens:

Remember that with all these greens the stems are just as edible; you just have to cook them a little longer than the leaves. We like to dice the stems to the same size as the onions in our dish and add the stems whenever we start the onions. Poc Choi and Napa cabbage stems are crisp and add good texture to a dish. Swiss chard stems from our Rainbow variety give any sauté dish great color. Try serving sautéed Swiss chard over cheesy Polenta (yellow grits).

Pork and Napa cabbage Stir-fry

Simple Stir-fry

Swiss chard- Try adding some lemon!

Stir Fry Pork and Napa cabbage

* 1 (1-lb) pork- our fresh ground pork or diced pieces of the fresh bacon
* 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 4 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons water
* 2 lb Napa cabbage, quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces (10 cups)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
* 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

* Accompaniment: rice


Toss pork with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl.

Stir together vinegar, salt, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl.

Stir together water and remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a cup.

Rinse cabbage in a large colander. Tap colander lightly, then transfer cabbage to a large bowl with water still clinging to leaves.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then add pork in 1 layer as quickly as possible. Cook, undisturbed, until pork begins to brown, about 3 minutes, then turn over and cook, undisturbed, until browned but still pink in center, about 1 minute more. Transfer pork and any juices to a plate. Do not clean skillet.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry garlic and ginger 30 seconds. Add half of cabbage and stir-fry over high heat until cabbage is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining cabbage (skillet will be very full), along with any water in bowl, and soy sauce mixture, then cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until all of cabbage is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add pork, along with any juices accumulated on plate, and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture, then pour into skillet and boil, stirring, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt, then serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Overview of the garden on our leased land at Silver Creek Farm (a nursery farm not far from us)

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