Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Week 2

Hello, hello,
Welcome back to week 2 of fresh seasonal eating.  Any questions about your veggies? Let us know!
~Please make sure to bring back your empty boxes so we can reuse them
~Why does the bok choy have tiny holes in it? We haven’t sprayed the bok choy!  These holes from little tiny beetle, but don’t worry, you can still eat it!  Once you’ve cooked the bok choy, you can’t tell that the little holes are there.   The beetles don’t cause a big enough problem to make using an organic spray necessary.
~Veggie tips: Store your greens and head lettuce in plastic bags in your crisper drawer to keep them hydrated and fresh.   Place herb stems in a little glass of water to keep them hydrated and fresh.  Remember to wash and swirl veggies in a bowl  of cool water to clean the field dirt before eating.  We like to store a washed head of lettuce in a salad spinner in the fresh for easy access to lettuce.

~Remember, it is chicken pickup day at the farm for all of you Morganton and Bluebird Farm chicken share holders.

Farm News:
All of a sudden it’s warm!  We’ve been so involved dealing with the here and now of floods and frost that we have fallen behind on even preparing for summer.  Frosts and floods, oh my!  So we find ourselves in the odd position of not being ready for summer even though summer is two weeks late!  Our planting plan had tomato and pepper transplanting scheduled for two weeks ago, but we are just starting to transplant tomato and peppers now.  So now we are preparing beds and trying to get the plants in their summer home.  Wet weather has kept us and the tractor out of the fields for quite a long time.
May flood 2013
   Picking up the transplants was quite an adventure.  We have outgrown our small greenhouse and can no longer physically fit all the transplants we need.  This year we purchased tomato, eggplant, and pepper from a great local greenhouse that uses all organic methods called Sunny Hill Greenhouse.  Marie, Marie’s younger sister, and I took our two trucks over the greenhouse.  We filled them both to the brim with plants and there were still more!  So the greenhouse owner offered to fit the rest in his truck. Then we all drove slowly back to our farm so that the wind wouldn’t damage the plants too much.  We were quite the plant parade! 

As we loaded the plants we got our first good smell of summer.  The tomatoes were right at nose height as we carried trays from the greenhouse to the trucks.  As the leaves jostled and brushed each other great wafts of tomato plant smell floated through the air.  The smell of tomato plants and basil are two of the strongest summer scents.  They always remind me of hot days in the field and delicious juicy salads at lunch.
This past Saturday we were able to take the afternoon to go to a field trip to another farm.  After Farmers’ Market, we quickly checked on the animals and did our afternoon feeding chores and jumped into the car for a 1 hour and twenty minute drive north of Asheville.  We are part of a group that takes monthly visits to each other’s farms to exchange information and enjoy the company of other hardworking farmers.  It is amazing to hear from all the other farmers in the group with similar organic vegetable farms in the Asheville region.  They have all faced a tough spring-primarily wet ground and cool weather.   Some have even skipped a week of their CSA and added that week onto the end of the season because not enough food is ready in the field now.  It served as a reminder of the many challenges the weather can present each season from too hot to too cold, too wet to too dry, too windy, etc.  We are very thankful that through all of these weather challenges we have not had to face hail or tornados.
Silver Creek May flood

In your box
Arugula ~Mix into lettuce or enjoy it on its own.  Try an arugula salad with fresh dill and goat cheese.  Add something sweet like grated carrots to an arugula salad.  Add some sliced strawberries.  I love a sweet white balsamic vinegar with arugula.
Baby Lettuce mix- We grow a mix of different delicate and tender baby lettuce varieties.
        ~Add to sandwiches. Make a baby salad and hummus wrap.
Radishes, Baby “French Breakfast” This variety is easy to slice or grate. It is more mild than other types. (The radishes are a little spicier this week since the weather has warmed up.)
        ~Do you think radishes are spicy? Much of the spiciness is a volatile, aromatic flavor that will dissipate once you slice or grate the radish.  I make sure to dress the sliced or grated radishes with a bit of salt, olive oil, and sweet white balsamic vinegar and let them marinate for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Hakurei turnips- These smooth white salad turnips are sweet! Slice and eat raw in a salad. They taste like a mix between a carrot and a radish.
-Head lettuce- Green or Red Buttercrunch (Small or Baby size) The best lettuce! Try using the leaves as a fun wrap for sandwiches or egg salad.
Dill- Adds a lively, fresh flavor to your creations.
~ Add to any potato dish, really.  Great with eggs: Add to lentils, greens/lettuce salads, egg salads, frittatas, fried egg sandwiches. Add to any salad. See a salad idea in the arugula section.
Cilantro- chopped cilantro over any Mexican or Brazilian fusion style meal.  We love cilantro with black beans and our chorizo sausage.
Bok Choy- Crunchy and mild Asian veggie that is great diced up raw in salads or cooked in a stir-fry.  See recipe below.
Laccinato Kale- flat leaves, a Italian heirloom variety. Great flavor, very tender and mild!  Kale is a staple cooking green that is more mild than mustard or collard greens. 
~ It is very tender, so it requires very little cooking. I just “wilt it down” in a sauté.  Very good with canned diced tomatoes or add to spaghetti sauces.  I strip the leaves of their stems, dice about ½ of the stems, and chop the leaves into 1 inch pieces.  Saute the diced stems with onions in olive oil for about 4 minutes before adding the chopped leaves. You can add a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth and steam in the pan with a lid.      
Large shares only- Swiss chard (the chard is not big enough to harvest enough for everyone from it)
Beans 'n Greens Burritos w/ Chorizo
slightly adapted from the Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
yield: ~8-10 burritos (depending on size of tortilla)

8-10 homemade whole wheat tortillas 
*see recipe below, or store bought
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ lb. fresh,
~1 Tbs. minced garlic
~1 Tbs. chipotle chile powder or chile powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
~1 lb. kale, roughly chopped
2 c. cooked or canned black beans, drained, liquid reserved
½ c. crumbled queso fresco (we just use chedder or Monterey jack)
Pico de Gallo, for serving

Heat the oven to 350° F. Stack tortillas and roll them up in a sheet of foil.  Place them in the oven to warm while you cook the filling.

Place oil in a large, cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  When it's hot, add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it is cooked through.  If the pan is very dry (which is more likely with homemade chorizo than storebought), add a bit more oil.  Add garlic and onion and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are soft.  Sprinkle in chile powder, a bit of salt and pepper, and then add kale.  Cook, stirring from time to time until it wilts and releases liquid, ~5 minutes.  Stir in the black beans, mashing a bit with a fork or potato masher, adding a bit of the reserved bean liquid if mixture seems too dry.

To roll each burrito, lay a tortilla on a flat surface and divide the filling mixture evenly among the tortillas (amount you get will depend on size of tortilla) on the third closest to you.  Sprinkle on cheese.  Fold tortilla over from bottom to cover filling, then fold in the sides to fully enclose them; finish rolling and put burrito seam side down on  a plate.  Serve with pico de gallo on side.

Crunchy Bok Choy Ginger Salad
1 medium bok choy
1 cup shredded daikon radish (Marie used regular radishes)
1 tablespoon salt (make sure you follow the recipe and rinse the salted bok choy and radishes)
½ cup slivered sweet pepper (a colorful pepper is beautiful! We leave out the pepper since they are out of season)
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
1 inch knob of gingerroot, grated
2 tablespoons of each chopped mint and cilantro (fresh…used 1 tablespoon of mint if it is dried)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
Pepper to taste

Marie’s tips- Washing bok choy:  I like to chop the very bottom of the head off and then wash and quickly scrub each leaf.  
Rice vinegar: If you don’t have this item, try using a sweet white vinegar, a white balsamic vinegar, or melt some sugar in hot water and add to white vinegar….or you can make up your own fun vinaigrette!

Steps: Thin- slice the bok choy leaves.  Thinly slice the stems on the diagonal.  Toss bok choy leaves and stems, and the shredded radishes, with salt in colander.  Let stand to wilt vegetables, about ½ hour. Rinse, drain, and squeeze out excess liquid from mixture. Place in paper or cotton towel and squeeze again. Toss with remaining ingredients in bowl and chill before serving.  Makes 6 servings.
From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce (written by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition)

Braised Swiss Chard with Asiago
This is a yummy Swiss Chard idea for quick and easy garden fresh cooking.    Try playing around with the favors however you may imagine it!
·         1 clove garlic, minced
·         1 medium onion, diced
·         1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems and leaves separated.
·         Lemon juice
·         Asiago, Parmesan, or Romano cheese
1.     Dice upper half of stems (you may also dice the entire length of the stem for stronger flavor).  Roughly chop the leaves into 1-2 inch pieces. 
2.    Sauté 1 clove garlic, 1 diced onion, and diced chard stems over medium low heat in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes.
3.    Add ¼ cup of water and chopped chard leaves. Cover and lightly steam in the pan until the leaves are tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.    Uncover, add a dash of lemon juice.  Grate your aged cheese of choice and toss over your favorite carb like fettuccine, cous cous, quinoa etc…

Tip: Feel free to run wild with the flavors based on what is in season in the garden! Add some dice zucchini or summer squash,  more garlic, fresh oregano, and perhaps little cherry tomatoes cut in half.  

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