Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CSA Week 6

Farm Letter

Right now, we’re irrigating like crazy. We’ve now used up about a half million gallons of water to sustain our main field, and, based on the forecast, expect we’ll need to keep running it continuously this week.
A brief rain Sunday afternoon wasn’t even enough to dampen the soil under the canopy of this young, delicate Thai basil plant (see pic).
A USDA Conservation engineer came by the farm today to consult on building another pond. He told us we haven’t had any measurable rainfall since June 6 and that this has been the driest June and July for our county.
Our sweet corn crop is among the casualties. So if you’ve been waiting for the golden moment of having your first corn on the cob this season, we recommend not waiting to find it in your share. We usually do have it.
On an up note(!), our orchard farmer, Tom Maynard, is loving this weather. It makes for flavorful tree fruit. And we can attest to that having just had a sample of this week’s white nectarines (pic below). Maryellen served the kids a bowl of sliced nectarines this morning saying, “You’ve got to try these. They’re like nature’s candy.” That caught their attention.
As Tom taught us last year, the white nectarines are more aromatic than a yellow nectarine, which tends to taste more tart.


Share list:

1 head Romaine lettuce
1 bunch carrots
2 kohlrabi
Swiss chard
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch sweet, mild onions


Fruit share: white nectarines


Grilled romaine? I was reading the Contributor’s section of a recent Fine Cooking magazine issue, and a former colleague of mine from the magazine said her latest favorite food was grilled Romaine. Now this I’ve got to try. And maybe you want to try too.

You could easily substitute a white bean, like cannellini, drained, rinsed and chilled for the favas. I wouldn’t feel wed to the Pecorino, as well, if you don’t have it on hand but have a suitable alternative.
If you don’t have a grill but are curious about this idea, Alton Jones has a riff on it using a stovetop griddle or sauté pan:

Tip: Hang onto the outer Romaine leaves you pull off for the above recipes and use in the kohlrabi recipe below or tear up to make a salad with sliced nectarines, dried cherries or cranberries and almonds or top on a sandwich with some browned sweet onions from this week and a favorite cheese.


This German cabbage looks like vegetal sputnik and, we think, it is out of this world.
Kohlrabi has a crisp, juicy texture and is often likened to broccoli stems but only milder and sweeter (and crunchier). It’s delicious paired with fresh herbs like chives, cilantro or parsley, radishes, carrots and apples, as well as with seasonings like horseradish, sesame, ginger, and mustard. Slice it into batons and snack on it with a creamy dip or dressing in the afternoon or before serving dinner. Thinly sliced, it can also be added to a salad. A popular way to prepare kohlrabi is as a slaw.
Kohlrabi is also tasty sautéed or roasted (cut them into thin slices or bite-size wedges first) or added to a braise or stew. You can also boil the bulbs until tender and mash them.
Kohlrabi will hold in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks. So, don’t feel pressed to use it up this week if you’re still working your way through last week’s share. Save some for a summer picnic.

 Recipe from the farm: Kohlrabi Slaw with Confetti or Romaine Chard

Making “matchsticks” and “confetti” might sound tedious, but there’s a simple trick:  thinly slice the trimmed kohlrabi. Stack a few of the slices on top of one another and then slice into the sticks. For the chard (or Romaine—left over from the grilled hearts you may have made), roll the leaves into cigar shapes and then very thinly slice across to make the confetti.

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 Tbs. walnut or other mild-tasting oil
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks
1 purple kohlrabi bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (2 cups)
1 cup of very thinly sliced chard or outer Romaine leaves (see tip, above)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a small bowl whisk the vinegar, honey, mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt, and a pinch of pepper. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil until combined.
Put the kohlrabi, carrots, kale, and parsley in a medium bowl. Pour in the dressing and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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