Greentree Naturals CSA Newsletter - July 18, 2007
Fresh from the Garden News
The heat has taken its toll on the peas for the season. I am always so happy when the first harvest of peas come, and equally sad when we pick the last ones. They are never as sweet at the end of harvest as they are at the beginning.
We acknowledge that the weather is most definitely changing and can not recall as hot of an early July as this one. The hot isn’t good for the lettuce, although we grow it under shade cloth to keep it cooler, it grows slowly and isn’t happy about the heat wave. Personally, Thom and I would rather that the temperature never get above 80 degrees and look forward to it cooling off. Other veggies like the squash, tomatoes, onions, peppers, melons and eggplant are loving the heat. All of these will be coming to your weekly share as soon as they are ripe.
On Sunday evening, we were heading out of the house to go over to friends for dinner only to find a bull moose standing right next to the van. When he headed towards the flower bed, we made a meek effort to shoo him away. He took off when he saw us and headed straight for the garden; hopped over our seven food fence, and ran amuck in the garden for about ten minutes before partially tearing down a fence to depart. What was amazing about his garden invasion was that nothing was damaged. We are not sure how this happened, but consider it all very fortunate. I guess, with this most recent visitor to the garden, we can say that all of your vegetables this week have the essence of moose energy with them, which should make them particularly tasty!
What's in the Bag
- Romaine and Red leaf head lettuce — Last fall, most of you completed a member survey and requested heads of lettuce, so here they are. This also gives the salad mix beds some time to rest.
- Snow Peas—The first sweet taste of many more to come!
- Swiss Chard—Those colorful stems are called ‘bright lights’ and in the same bag is a mix of 2 different kinds of Kale
- Garlic scapes
- Herbs—Sage flowers (pull them off and add to your salad, or to a stir fry for yummy sage flavor), Greek Oregano, Dill, French Tarragon are all delicious chopped or blended up with olive oil into a kind of pesto that you can use for salad dressing by mixing with vinegar and oil.
- Choi– Baby Bok Choi leaves for using in a stir-fry.
Herb Flavored Vinegar from Farmer John’s Cookbook
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs
- 2 cups vinegar (wine, champagne, or cider vinegar)
1. Put the chopped herbs in a pint jar.
2. Heat the vinegar in a medium, nonreactive pot over medium-low heat until it reaches almost a simmer (do not boil). Pour the hot vinegar over the herbs and cover tightly with a nonmetallic lid or with two layers of plastic wrap and a metal lid. Set the jar aside in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 weeks.
3. Strain the vinegar through a coffee filter or a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Repeat until clear.
4. Pour strained vinegar into clean, sterilized jar or bottle. Store in refrigerator. Flavored vinegar will keep for several months. Excellent for using on all kinds of things like salad dressing or marinade for meat.
Creamy Dill Sauce from Farmer John’s Cookbook
This versatile dill sauce is wonderful in egg salad, or tossed with cucumbers, or as a sauce for fish or crab cakes. It also makes a delicious salad dressing. We like it on just about anything. You can use a food processor or make it by hand.
Makes about 3/4 cup
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot or scallion
- 1/4 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
- Pinch salt + to taste + pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- Lemon juice
1. Combine the oil, vinegar, shallot or scallion, mustard, pinch of salt and pepper in large jar. Cover tightly and shake vigorously until the oil and vinegar have thickened.
2. Beat the egg yolk with the sour cream in a separate bowl until well combined.
3. If you’re using a food processor: process the yolk and sour cream for 30 seconds and then, with the machine still running, pour in the vinaigrette in a very thin stream in about three additions, letting the sauce thicken before each addition. If you’re making the dressing by hand: using a good whisk, beat the yolk and sour cream; then add the vinaigrette a scant tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition, until the vinaigrette is fully combined with the egg yolk and sour cream.
4. Once you’ve incorporated the last of the vinaigrette and the sauce is very thick, thin it either with a little lemon juice (1-2 teaspoons) or by vigorously stirring in 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
5. Stir in the dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts
This classic Mediterranean preparation of Swiss chard is one of our favorite ways to enjoy greens. The chard’s silky, earthy flavor is nicely balanced in taste and texture with the pine nuts and raisins. This dish sits comfortably on the side of just about any entrée. It makes a great bed for grilled meats, it’s wonderful stuffed in roasted portabella mushrooms, and it makes an outstanding pizza topping. It’s even been known to find its way inside a grilled cheese sandwich. You can make the same recipe with spinach.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion or scallions
- 1 clove garlic, minced (garlic scapes work too!) or about 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 + 1/2 to 2 pounds Swiss chard, rinsed, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
2. Add the chard in batches, adding more as each batch wilts (the only water you will need is the water clinging to the leaves from rinsing), and keep the pan covered between batches. When all the chard is added and the leaves are wilted, stir in the raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
- Robert Brault