- Please be sure to bring your CSA box to your distribution site this week.
- For home delivery shares please leave your share box out where this week’s share will be placed.
- Thanks to the members who sent along some great new recipes!
Farm News from Jane
Well, I think that we have enough rain for a few more days! I’ve certainly no complaints; the asparagus and the peas will really enjoy this cool week as will the lettuces. Next week we hope to have cut and bagged salad greens. The peas look like they are setting pods and a few strawberries have shown some color. Leslie was hoping to have ripe strawberries on her birthday today and although they are not fully ripened I’m sure they’ll be delicious anyway. There is nothing quite like the flavor of local berries! We hope that you have enjoyed the first flavors of the season thus far. The asparagus has been beautiful this season. After last year’s dry weather and the consequent asparagus beetle damage it was a sad crop. It has been very interesting harvesting the asparagus this year. We were intending on implementing a new method of weed and bug control but as the early heat in April caused the asparagus to start a bit earlier than anticipated we were unable to implement the plan this spring. We had hoped to sow a cover crop instead of continued cultivation as weeds emerge. But instead we have Mother Nature’s cover crop which consists of chick weed and some type of thistle. Chickweed is a very small and shallow rooted annual weed which reseeds itself. The thistle is a perennial with long tap roots and is quite a competitor for underground root space. It has been trying to get established since the second year after we initially planted the asparagus. The most we have been able to do is pull it out by hand or knock it back with mechanical cultivation. We will till between the rows after the harvest season is finished and then plant a cover crop between the rows to be established over the rest of the growing season. The asparagus beetle has had a very minimal impact this season and that is in part I’m sure to the well below freezing temperatures late this winter. A good cold winter is so vital for pest control. Warm winters can be followed by tremendous bug infestations as was the case for the asparagus, cucumber and the Colorado potato beetle as well. It sure is interesting to observe Mother Nature and see what control systems she had in her portfolio.
I couldn’t help but think as I was picking asparagus Sunday morning that our asparagus patch is a type of integrated community. The ground does not like to be left uncovered and will quickly cover itself to protect itself from erosion with whatever is a quick and hardy germinator. The first plants lay the “ground work “so to speak (the soil) for the next species to be established. Just as when you see a tree growing out from a rock. How many years and various species lived there prior to the tree’s establishment? It is such an amazing progression to watch a once tilled field becomes a wooded area; within ten years you would hardly know that it had been cultivated. That’s progress Mother Nature’s style!!!
Living in community; that a discussion for a whole nother day… Enjoy cooking in the cooler temps this week, Jane
Produce this week
- Swiss chard
- Green onions
- Head lettuce
- Swiss chard should be stored refrigerated in a plastic bag and when preparing chard should be cut from stems and the leaves and stems chopped before cooking. Sauté chopped stems first and after a few minutes add the leaves.
RISOTTO WITH RHUBARB AND ASPARAGUS
Ingredients for 4 persons: 9 ounces of risotto rice (Arborio type), 6 stalks of fresh rhubarb, cut in pieces, and skin removed, 10 asparagus including tips and the most tender parts, 5 scallions (or green garlic), 2 tsp pink pepper
1 glass dry white wine (use the rest to drink when serving the risotto) see note1. 8 ounces of cream cheese (originally it calls for Robiola) see note 2. Vegetarian bouillon, follow recipe on the box, 1 tablespoon of butter
Steam the asparagus tips and the most tender parts, or just blanch them for 1 minute
Sauté at medium heat the chopped scallions and the butter. When the scallions are wilted, add the rice and stir it gently so that the butter coats the rice.
Add the wine, and let the alcohol evaporate. Start cooking the rice by adding the vegetarian broth as needed.
It usually takes about no longer than 20 minutes to cook the risotto rice (see Arborio box).
Sauté the cleaned rhubarb stalks cut in pieces (1-2 inches long) in some oil of olive and one scallion.
5 minutes before completion of rice cooking, add the cooked rhubarb to the rice, and 2 minutes later the asparagus tips. Let it finish cooking. Turn off the heat; add the cream cheese and the pink pepper. Gently stir. Let it rest away from the heat for a couple of minutes before serving.
* Unfortunately Asparagus are very difficult to match with wine, so, the match will be mostly with the cream cheese and the pink pepper
* Robiola is a soft-ripened cream cheese from Italy. It is made with varying proportions of cow’s, goat’s milk and sheep milk. We have tried the recipe with both, either Robiola, or with regular cream cheese (Philadelphia). The cream cheese version was kinder to the palate, more delicate.
Recipe from CSA members Sebastiano Andreana and Concetta Beneduce; Modified from Serena Angelini
SPRING VEGETABLE SOUP
Recipe form Sarah Carey editor in chief of Everyday Food
2T unsalted butter, 6 scallions (green onions), 4 C chicken broth, 1# small red potatoes, 1# asparagus cut into ¼ in slices on a bias, 1bunch of spinach or Swiss chard stem removed and torn, 2 C fresh or frozen peas, salt and pepper, 2 T fresh dill or cilantro.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add green onions or garlic whites and cook until softened about 4 minutes. Add broth, 4 C water, and potatoes to pot. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add asparagus and cook 3 more minutes. Stir in chard or spinach and peas and cook until wilted and peas are heated through, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in dill or cilantro and scallion greens before ladling into bowls.
RHUBARB CRUMB BARS
Recipe form Sarah Carey editor in chief of Everyday Food
For the Cake: 1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 2 large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter and flour parchment and pan, tapping out excess flour.
Make streusel: Whisk together butter, brown sugar, and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make cake: In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup flour. In another medium bowl, whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, beat in vanilla, then flour mixture. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with rhubarb and top with streusel.
Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake from pan. Cut into 16 bars.
SWISS CHARD QUICHE
1 lb. Swiss chard or spinach, cook and drain thoroughly; 4 eggs, beaten; 1 cup milk; 1 cup Swiss cheese shredded; 1 cup bread cubed; 1/2 cup sliced green onions; 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated. Combine all ingredients with cooked greens. Pour into 2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake in 375degree oven until set, 25-30 min.
Makes 2-4 servings.
1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned; 1 tablespoon peanut oil; 1 tablespoon minced garlic scapes; 1 tablespoon soy sauce; freshly ground black pepper
Cut off and discard thick stem ends of chard. Cut out ribs; chop ribs into 2-inch pieces; set aside in a pile. Stack the leaves in small piles; coarsely chop them. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high flame. Add ribs; toss and cook 1 1/2 minutes. Add leaves and garlic; continue to cook, tossing often, until chard begins to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce; cook until chard is tender, 1-3 minutes longer. Add pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Recipe from MACSAC
BASIC CREAMY DRESSING
Because this versatile, rich, and creamy dressing keeps for several days, it can be a staple in your refrigerator.
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise; 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt; 7 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days. Makes about 1 cup (eight 2-tablespoon servings)
1 lb. hamburger, browned; 1-2 pkg taco sauce mix (depending on taste); head lettuce, cut up; tomatoes, onions, grated cheese – to taste; small pkg. corn chips
Follow taco mix directions. Toss well. Serve with extra chili powder if desired and Blue cheese dressing if desired.