Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4 - First Delivery - 2 of 2

Hi all:
Welcome to the bounty of our gardens. I hope everyone is enjoying the fresh, healthy, beyond organic produce found in your share this week. This is how the blog is meant to be used, as a communication tool for me to let you know what is in the share each week. Some things are self-explanatory, others might not be your run-of-the-mill vegetable and might need explanation. Below is a shot of my favorite lettuce mix. It consists of a green and a red and is very 'soft', meaning it doesn't have the texture of a mesclun which can have 'crunchy' leaves. This mix of Red Salad Bowl and Tango lettuces is perfect for a salad base or just by itself.

After getting some negative feedback last year about Paris Island Romaine Lettuce (and having trouble getting it into the bags because it's so large) I decided to branch out into some French varieties of miniature head lettuce. I wasn't disappointed. Below is a shot of Mervaille des Quatre Saisons. It's an amazingly pretty head lettuce. The other one in your share that is more green with some brown/red coloring is Australe. Both delicious. To tell them apart you might also hold them in your hands. Australe is very, very dense and feels like it weighs a ton. Full share members will find 2 heads of the Mervaille.
We also included a wonderful, hearty mix of Red Russian Kale (pictured here), baby spinach and baby Bull's Blood Beet Greens. This is a great mix to eat raw or to braise. If you don't know what braising is, you should learn. It's an amazing way to eat fresh greens. Braising is basically 'quick cooking' the greens. The way I do it is to heat some olive oil in a large skillet until it is cooking temp. Then toss in the greens (which you've washed and prepared already). Toss them in the hot oil with a wooden spoon. You need to cook them only as long as it takes you to coat all greens in oil. It should really only be about 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your stove, heat, pan, etc. The trick is that you don't want them in the heat too long. It takes only a minute to wilt the leaves properly. Overcooking removes nutrients, flavor and texture. Then I remove from heat and toss on whatever suits me. Usually it's sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Sometimes I saute them with garlic and onions (which I saute first before adding the greens).

Also this week is the first cutting from our prolific mint garden. This shot shows the 'wall-o-mint'. It's incredible aromatic. One of the best things to do with it is remove it from the bag and put it all in a glass of water (like you would with flowers, just the tips of stems in water) on your kitchen window. Makes the kitchen smell wonderful. Here, however, is a link to some ideas for mint recipes.,1-0,fresh_mint,FF.html
Also, I believe Mary, one of our CSA members has made some interesting things with the mint in last year's shares. You can search her blog by clicking the Mitten Matten link in the upper right.

And finally, chives. This variety is garlic chives. I hate to get rid of them from the herb garden because the bees love the flowers. Luckily there is plenty more where they came from. Chives make a nice addition to almost anything. If you end up braising the greens you might try them with chives. Cut them up for baked potatoes, chicken, whatever you're eating. I also love them in scrambled or fried eggs. Our chickens work hard to keep up with the deman for beyond organic, pastured eggs. Yummy!

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