Spring CSA Week 2

It was so nice to greet all of our new members last weekend at the farmers market.  Hope you enjoyed your first spring share.  This week we have an exciting variety of crops ready for harvest so we can look forward to a week of good eatin!

Sungoldarugula bunchesheirloom bush beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Broccoli

Rainbow Chard

Zucchini

Arugula

Cilantro

Kohlrabi

Heirloom Bush Beans (yellow and purple)

Some tips:

For the newbies, try making Fasolakia, a delicious and easy Greek tomato based green bean stew.  There many recipes out there for this dish, but trust me on this one (with or without the sweet potato).

Last time we harvested kohlrabi for the shares everyone was baffled.  It’s not a common vegetable in the US so that’s to be expected.  Kohlrabi is in the broccoli-cabbage-kale family, aka the brassica or the cole family.  Every part of it is edible, but the yummiest is the bulbous part.  When you peel it with a knife (not a potato peeler) you’ll find a pure white, crunchy and sweet (like broccoli sweet) inside.  Check out recipes for kohlrabi on this family farm blog.

If you’ve never tried a Sungold tomato you are in for a treat.  They are the sweetest cherry tomatoes across the board.  Every year when I plan our tomato field I tell myself to grow more Sungolds and every year I wish I had planted more.  Next year I might plant only this variety.

I’m always happy to include a recipe from 101cookbooks.com, Heidi Swanson is amazing.  This week I recommend a look at her zucchini soup recipe, which by the way includes cilantro and calls for spinach, which can be substituted with chard to take full advantage of the CSA share.  Lets hope a tiny cold front to get inspired to make soup.  Or at least a rainy day.

First Week of the Spring CSA

The Spring CSA begins this week!  Welcome to all the new members, we hope you enjoy the experience of eating the veggies we grow and harvest just for you.  The Spring CSA is a mini season (ending at the end of May) so if you like it, you’ll have a chance to join our 2014-2015 CSA which begins in November.

We’ll be busy all summer expanding our growing space, improving our irrigation system and other infrastructure and most importantly, building lots of compost.  Visit the blog often to keep up with our progress and visit the farm anytime to see it for yourselves. 

asian eggplantharvesting carrotsbunching dinosaur kale in the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up for this week’s share:

Lettuce

Asian Eggplant

Carrots with tops

Dino Kale

Daikon Radishes

Parsley

Some tips:

Although it’s not good to eat too much raw kale (it is more digestible when cooked, even slightly) I’ve been really enjoying kale salads this season.  A combination of lettuce and kale is amazing.  One of my favorite dressings lately is Caesar (I like Annie’s).  I play around with different ways of cutting the kale to keep it interesting.  For example, one day I may just rip the leaves into big pieces by hand and next time I’ll roll them up and cut into very thin strips.  Texture can totally change a meal.

Last week I made an improvised stir fry with Asian eggplant and it turned out really good.  I don’t know if I remember exactly what went in, but I can give you an idea and you can run with it.  I started by sauteing a little bit of fennel in a lot of butter (I think this week’s parley would be a good sub), then I added whole cashews and chopped up eggplant.  I might have drizzled the skillet with chili olive oil at this point.  I also added nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, smoked paprika and chopped garlic.  Oh and I also splashed the whole thing with a bit of white wine.  Put a lid on it and let it simmer until the eggplant was really tender.  Done.  So yummy.

 This recipe for carrot oven fries is probably the simplest thing I’ve seen in writing.  Well, except for the dipping sauce…  that might be a bit tricky for most of us.  Regardless, take a look and see if you want to try it.  While you’re at the 101cookbooks.com website you might as well snoop around, there is so much food inspiration to get lost in.

 

 

CSA Week 20

This is the last share of the Fall CSA.  I hope everyone enjoyed it!  We had a great time growing food for our community this beautiful South Florida season.  Seamlessly, next week we start the Spring CSA so stay tuned for more posts about what we are harvesting.  If you’ve already joined the Spring CSA look out for an email next week with pick up information.

salad mixkohlrabisliced watermelon radishes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Beets with tops

Daikon and Watermelon Radishes

Curly Kale

Salad Mix

Scallions

Jalapenos

Kohlrabi

Some tips:

We’re harvesting salad mix again.  It’s been a big hit so we’ve made an effort to make it available as often as possible.  This week it features a very unique mix of color and flavor.  Amaranth is most commonly known as an ancient grain, but certain varieties are grown especially for edible leaves.  It thrives in hot climates, making it ideal for our balmy South Florida spring and summer growing season.  You’ll find it in Caribbean markets around town sometimes under the name callaloo.  We’re growing a red-veined variety because it tastes good and it looks beautiful.  Besides amaranth the salad mix also includes Frisse (a curly endive), Ruby Streaks Mustard, Pei Tsai, Tat Soi, Arugula and Nasturtiums.

Kohlrabi is an usual vegetable in the US.  It is common in most European kitchens, especially German.  Think of kohlrabi as a hybrid between broccoli and collard greens.  The bulbous stem is flavorful and tender; it tastes like broccoli, but is crisp and juicy like an apple on the inside.  You’ll want to trim the leaves off (they are edible too so save them), peel the bulb and cut however you’d like.  It’s best eaten raw as a snack (think baby carrots) or used for dips or salads.  The leaves can be used like collards or kale in a stir fry or quiche or soup, etc.

Jalapenos?  So many fun things to try!  Start with this if you like pop corn.  This spicy coconut sauce sounds so good I’m making it right now.  It will make good use of your scallions too.  Add a jalapeno to your guacamole or a salad dressing (try something along the lines of olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, something green like cilantro or basil or scallions, salt and pepper).

red veined amaranthscallionshand seeding beets in the field

CSA Week 19

Second to last.  Except for the 7 extra weeks of Spring Shares!  Here’s the list for this week plus some kitchen inspiration.

pei tsaicarrotssugar cane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Carrots (with tops)

Rainbow Chard

Pei Tsai

Fakir Radishes

Baby Red Russian Kale

Dill

Sugar Cane

Some tips:

You are probably already familiar with Pei Tsai at this point.  It’s what I grow instead of lettuce.  It’s technically in the cabbage family, but the flavor is so mild and the texture is so lettuce-y that you wouldn’t know the difference in a salad.  Well, you might notice it’s better than lettuce.  Sweeter with a silky texture and a refreshing crisp stem (petiole to be correct).  Sometimes the stem (petiole) is my favorite part!

Have fun with carrots.  Shredded for a salad, speared for dipping into dips, roasted with almonds and smoked paprika (my current favorite) or try this simple carrot and lentil soup.  How about dill and carrots together?  My father in law makes this all the time and there is a place in my heart for his recipe because when I had my daughter he brought us hot home cooked food (and beer and dessert) every other day and his dill carrots were a favorite.  Steam carrot spears and then sautee with fresh dill, a little salt and olive oil.

Chard has always been my favorite greens for quiche.  There are two things I prepare at home very often, pesto and quiche.  If you haven’t seen my quiche blog post yet, check it out and get inspired.

What to do with sugar cane?  Peel it, quarter it and use it to stir drinks of course!  We had a little farm picnic with new friends last week and our iced tea was stirred with pieces of cane.  So yummy.  It’s a treat to take out the pieces every once and a while and suck the sugary tea out of them.  Check out Oh Dear Drea’s blog post about the farm picnic.  She took beautiful photos and captured the day perfectly.

radish topsradishes in basketswiss chard

 

 

CSA Week 18

We are in the home stretch.  After this week, only two more CSA shares to go.  The awesome thing is we’ll be setting up at the Upper East Side Farmers Market through the end of May so you’ll be able to get a fix of fresh and lively veggies for a little longer.

broccoliroasted fennel  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Salad Mix

Baby Bok Choy

Broccoli

Curly Kale

Fennel

Spring Onions

Some tips:

I’m writing this the day before harvest so I can’t say exactly what is going to end up in the salad mix, but I know it will include at least some ruby streaks mustard, pei tsai, arugula, tat soi, baby red kale and nasturtiums.  Not bad.  These salad mixes we’ve been making are very unique because they include uncommon varieties of greens.  They are vibrant because we harvest crops that are at peak growth that morning.  It’s been fun planning for them and it looks like we’ll continue including custom salad mixes in the shares through the end of May.

Two days ago Heidi Swanson posted this recipe for a fennel and bean thing.  It sounds perfect.  But maybe I’m into it because I’ve been cooking with wine a lot lately.

Curly kale is the best for kale chips because it has more surface area so it crisps up nice.  More surface area also means good for holding salad dressings.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but kale is the new romaine in caesar salads.  Are you up for making your own caesar dressing?  Try this vegan version, it sounds better than the “regular” thing.

Hua Moa Plantains, Natures Doughnut

Today I made tostones topped with a Columbian style scallion sauce.  But first, a little bit about the plantains because these aren’t regular old plantains.  Hua Moa plantains are of Polynesian and Hawaiian decent.  They are endangered in their native habitats and are also rare every else in the world.  Willian F Whitman, a Miami-based tropical fruit explorer, brought them here in the 1960′s.  It was adopted by Cuban farmers in the Homestead area and mostly sold in Hispanic grocery stores.  After it’s peak in the 1990′s, production of the Hua Moa has declined to the point of being almost gone (you can read a more in depth history of this amazing and rare plantain on the Slow Food USA website).  I found a few plants at a farmers market in South Miami 3 years ago and two of them have bared fruit multiple times since then.  Check out this old post from the time I bought those young plants.  How time flies!

hua moapeeling hua moacut hua moa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, we’ve got a bunch of them right now and they make us feel lucky every day.  I call them natures doughnuts.  A nice ripe one, peeled, cut into thick slices and fried comes closer to a doughnut than any plant I’ve ever tried.   Served with scrambled eggs for breakfast is how I’ve been starting my days lately (although I’m not really frying them everyday!  I sear them in butter for an equally amazing effect).

tostones aftercooking stationtostone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I set out to make something a little more involved.  Partially inspired by the Hua Moa, but also by the extra bunch of scallions left over from the farmers market.  Also inspired by the beautiful weather and our outdoor kitchen.  Tostones topped with a Columbian style scallion sauce.  They are great for appetizers or tapas, but probably too heavy as a side dish.  The scallion sauce (which isn’t really a sauce, but more of a savory topping for stuff; also good on toast for example) is quick and easy to make.  The ingredients are basically one bunch of scallions, one tomato, oil and salt.  I happened to have bacon around and decided to substitute it for salt.  Side note:  I don’t take sourcing my bacon lightly.  I buy it either from Proper Sausages in Miami Shores or from My Healthy Food Club.  I’ve also made this same recipe adding cilantro and sweet red peppers.

scallionsbaconsauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make the scallion sauce, cook your bacon ahead of time if you’re going to use it.  Otherwise start by finely chopping your scallions and adding them to a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of hot oil (I used grapeseed oil, but sunflower or any other high heat oil will do).  While those cook down for a couple of minutes, chop your tomato and red pepper if you’re going to use it.  Add and stir fry for another couple of minutes.  If you want to include cilantro add it at the end, just before turning the heat off.  Salt to taste and you are done.  This sauce is yummy hot, warm or cold.  Set it aside while you prepare tostones or toasts and add as much as you want to each piece.  Enjoy!

 

CSA Week 17

This season is turning out to be all about greens.  Leafy and healthy.

 

asian eggplantdaikon radishesred kale and pei tsai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Teenage Red Kale

Arugula and Pei Tsai Bunches

Eggplant

Scallions

Daikon Radishes with great looking tops

Sweet Potatoes

Some Tips:

First thing you should do is separate the greens from the daikon radishes.  Store the greens a sealed bag or container to prevent wilting.  The tops of this weeks radishes are particularly nice!  For a quick side dish, even with breakfast, blanch the greens in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and serve with sprinkled sea salt and fresh olive oil or a bit of butter on top.  Pairs great with eggs and plantains or a savory meat like Proper Sausages.

Arugula and Pei Tsai make a good salad team.  Don’t forget it!

Try red kale pesto.  To change it up a bit, add ginger to the usual mix of nuts, garlic and oil.  A pesto without basil is less pungent therefore can be spread thick on bread for a quick snack.  It’s my favorite way to incorporate greens into my diet every single day.  If you want to make a huge batch, add some of the radish tops or arugula to the recipe.  It keeps for at least a week.

Last time we harvested scallions I made a sauce inspired by a Colombian friend of mine.  He made tostones for us recently and served them with a dab of this scallion sauce on each piece.  It is really simple, fast to make and good on a lot of things.  Try it on bread like they do in this very similar recipe I found.  You’ll need one bunch of scallions, one tomato, olive oil and sea salt.  You can also try adding garlic, a little green pepper and cilantro.  Heat up a generous amount of oil in a skillet and add finely chopped scallions plus garlic and peppers.  Stir fry for a couple of minutes and add chopped tomato and cilantro.  Stir and cook down for another couple of minutes.  Add salt to taste and set aside until you’re ready to eat.  It’s that easy.

almonds, garlic, ginger and sea salt in the food processor. pesto on toast

CSA Week 16

 

Basil and flowers at markettomatoesharvesting carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Kale

Carrots with tops

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Herbs (choose between Thai Basil, Chinese Leeks or Dill)

I’m playing catch up again this week!  Will add cooking tips this weekend!

CSA Week 15

This share screams SALAD!

salad mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Salad Mix (Pei Tsai, Ruby Streaks Mustard, Nasturtiums, Arugula, Purslane & Yukina Savoy)

Fennel

Heirloom Beans (purple and yellow)

Spinach

French Breakfast Radishes

Scallions

Bananas and Plantains

Some tips:

A couple of weeks ago we harvested a salad mix for the shares and we really enjoyed eating the leftovers all week.  This weeks salad mix is so appealing that we’re going to make sure there is some left for us.  This mix has more variety and more color.  It is beautiful to look at and it makes for a wild eating experience with spicy mustard and purslane which actually grows wild on the farm.  To test it out we dressed it with a honey miso dressing, balancing out the spice of the greens with a coolness and sweetness.  The dressing was inspired by a recipe on a container of Cold Mountain Miso; check out their website to find that recipe and a few others that sound pretty tasty.

I’ve been meaning to try a raw fennel salad.  A few people at the market have recommend this exact recipe.  Although it’s so simple I’d hardly call it a recipe.  Take a look and tell me this isn’t mouth watering…

The bean plants this season have been doing really well and they just keep on giving (well beyond my expectations).  Hopefully you aren’t sick of them yet.  About these beans… you may have noticed they keep for a long time so you can always hold on to them for an extra week if you’re uninspired.  I made a batch of Fasulakia with last weeks tomatoes and onions.  Fasulakia is that saucy greek dish we learned about on The Fare Field with Anastasia from Mandolin Bistro back in December.  They were also good in a quinoa salad Chef Bradley Heron prepared for episode 4.  He cut them really tiny (I think he used a mandolin, but you can definitely achieve a similar cut by hand) and they blended in with the texture of the quinoa.

beans cooking radishes in basketripe plantains

CSA Week 14

lettucemixed root bunchesbroccoli flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line up:

Root Bunches (a mix of turnips, carrots and radishes)

Eggplant

Arugula

Broccoli

Cabbage (your choice between red cabbage and napa cabbage)

Lettuce

Some tips:

I am very pleased with these mixed root bunches.  They were fun to assemble and I think they’ll be fun in the kitchen.  Save the greens separately in your fridge and always store any greens in a plastic bag or other sealed container.  This helps retain moisture and will prevent wilting!  Root tops (especially turnips and radish tops) are great for quiche.  They are also juicable and soupable, you know, good for soups.  Choose the bright green leaves and discard the yellowing or brown ones.  The roots will keep for a long time, especially if you store them in sealed container too.  You can roast a little bit of each for a colorful side dish.  Try adding whole pealed garlic cloves and whole raw almonds to the roasting pan.  Turnips and radishes are good sliced and seared in butter for breakfast with eggs and toast.  A little of each shredded or sliced with a mandolin will top off any salad and make it awesome.  Have fun with your mixed root bunches!

Nothing I’ve tried so far is as good as smoked paprika on eggplant.  If you don’t stock it, please go out to the store and get some.  Sprinkle it on slices of eggplant after drizzling them with olive oil on both sides and pop them in the oven on high for about 15-20 minutes.  Simple and so satisfying.

I’m giving you guys every part of the broccoli plant.  You’ll find a big floret, some smaller flower shoots, stem and leaves.  Use it all.  The tougher stems should be peeled, but the thinner more tender stems can be used as is.  Stir fry all the part with butter, garlic and a little bit of broth (Chinese style) and serve over brown rice as a side to your main course.  I also recently discovered broccoli is really good with mustard.   Try this recipe for roasted broccoli pate; I made it almost two months ago and I’m still obsessed with it.