What a strange few weeks of rainy, stormy weather. Our phone line has been struck by lightning once a week for the last three weeks, which has been an adventure and has made communicating a challenge. Apologies to any of you who've tried to get in contact and haven’t been able to.
Matt and I hope you can attend our summer potluck and barbecue this week at the farm on Friday the 8th at 5:30. I've been hoping for a long time to gather the CSA members together to meet each other and share food at the farm, but have been too busy to think about much of anything besides the farm work. Now things are calming down and I look forward seeing you all and to sharing with you the lovely evening hours at the farm.
Veggies this week:
· Zucchini, Cucumbers, Wax Beans or Rainbow Chard
· Young Leeks
· Cilantro or Parsley (lemongrass upon request)
· Assorted Cherry and Heirloom Tomatoes
· Assorted Spicy and Frying Peppers; Poblano, Hot Wax, Cubanelle, Jalepeno, Purple or Green Bell
· Salad Mix
Fresh lemongrass is fragrant and delicious and a whole new crop to me... it is widely used in Vietnamese cuisine and there are more recipes that call for it than I can name. Let me know what you all come up with!
“ Lemongrass can be used in one of two ways: Bruised all over with the back of a chef’s knife, then tossed in stews or other dishes whole, or chopped in easier to handle lengths. It flavors dishes this way, and you can gnaw on it after it’s cooked, but you can’t chew it. Alternatively, Trim the ends and peel off as many of the outside layers as necessary (use a small knife to make a lengthwise slit to make this easier until the relatively tender inner core is exposed. Mince this, or if a small food processor is handy, chop it, and then mince it in the food processor. “ -An excerpt from Mark Bitman’s ‘The Best Recipes in the World’. This next recipe is my adaptation of a recipe from the same book.
Iced Lemongrass Tea
3/4 Cup lemongrass stalks, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 TBS sugar or to taste
Lime wedges for serving
Combine the lemongrass with 3 cups water in a saucepan with a lid over medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat down all the way and steep for ten minutes. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Cool, then place the mixture in a blender and blend for about one minute, until the lemongrass pieces are chopped up; they will not become pureed, lemongrass is simply too tough. Strain into a pitcher and chill, serve over ice with lime wedges.
Young leeks are yummy! To use them, cut off the root, and slice the stalk in half lengthwise. This way you’ll be able to remove any dirt that is hiding in the many layers of upper leaves. Many people discard the dark green leaves and use only the stalk, but I find the leaves to be perfectly fine for cooking and eating. You can use leeks in anything you would use onions in, and they are especially good braised with olive oil or stock, or in eggs or quiche.
Caramelized Leek Salad with Pears, Cheese and Toasted Walnuts
From ‘Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables’
Note: for half shares, you may want to half the recipe, I think it will make a lot of food. Also, I know it’s not pear season yet, but I couldn’t resist this recipe!
½ Cup walnut halves
1TBS unsalted butter
5TBS olive oil, divided
2 large leeks sliced (about three cups)
4 cups mixed salad greens
¼ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
11/2 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 pears cored, sliced ( you may want to sprinkle them with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown)
4 ounces cheese, crumbled or thinly sliced ( cheve, fresh pecorino, Parmesan, fontina or smoked Gouda will work)
- Toast the walnuts in a dry heavy skillet over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool. Chop the nuts.
- Heat the butter and 1 TBS of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden color, about 45 minutes. Drain and cool.
- In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the salt and pepper to taste. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss; add the remaining olive oil and toss again. Divide the greens among four plates; sprinkle with the caramelized leeks and toasted walnuts, arrange the pear slices on the leeks. Sprinkle with cheese.