Sunday, June 28, 2015

CSA offerings: week 5

I don't know about you, but this heat is kind of throwing me for a loop. But luckily most of the plants on the farm are loving it. With lots of water (which, thankfully, we have), they're growing like crazy. Case in point--check out these winter squash!
Although it's not pictured here, the summer squash also exploded with fruit this week. I'm growing two varieties this year: a striped green zucchini called Costata Romanesco, and a yellow pattypan called Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop. Patisson, courtesy of local seed producer Adaptive Seeds, is new to me, and there aren't yet any fruit big enough to harvest (though they won't be long!) but I've grown Costata for years, and I think it's a winner in just about every category. Let's face it: most summer squash taste very similar (which is to say, bland), but Costata stands out as a delicious squash, with a nutty flavor and also some sweetness. It's also attractive, and its eating quality holds well even when it gets big. Try throwing slabs of it on the grill or under the broiler. It makes a fantastic sandwich filling, along with some nice crusty bread and some garlicky aioli... Mmm...

Speaking of recipe ideas, this week Delinda tackled the beet greens, which are currently the cooking green I have in the most abundance. Her recipe for Braised Beet Greens with Feta (below) is very versatile, and with minimal cooking, it's perfect for these hot days. I've always found that the saltiness of feta cheese is the perfect companion for pungent greens like beets greens, chard, and mustards. If you want a real flavor punch, try throwing in some chopped kalamata olives!

And finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't celebrate the carrots that are also finally sizing up for us. Seeded way back in March, they've been inching along, but at last they are big enough to harvest. This first harvest is a hybrid variety called Yaya. It's my favorite among all the hybrid carrots I've grown: sweet, crunchy, and relatively fast-growing. I'm also growing several older open-pollinated types this year, and I'm excited to see how they turn out, but for a reliably delicious carrot, I choose Yaya. (If you're interested, click here for a blog post I wrote last year about hybrid vs open-pollinated vegetables.)

everyone's favorite vegetable
And now, here's your recipe from Delinda!

Braised Beet Greens With Feta
(recipe from shareholder Delinda Free)

Not only are beet greens high in folate and potassium, they are delicious and easy to cook. This recipe can be made for breakfast with scrambled eggs, or for a side dish with chicken and polenta or any other grain. The leftovers can be piled on crusty bread as an open-faced sandwich, or mixed with quinoa or pasta and other veggies to become a salad.

1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed in 2 rinses of water, and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 cup of water (optional)
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon chopped dried serrano pepper, or pepper flakes (optional)
salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat butter or oil on medium heat in large sauté pan with a lid. Add minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add beet greens to pan and stir for 1 minute. Usually, the water left on the greens from rinsing is enough to steam the greens, but if they seem a little dry, add water and place lid on pan. Turn heat down to low. 

Note: As with all greens, such as chard, kale and mustard greens, be careful not to overcook beet greens to get the most nutritional benefit. They only need  to be lightly cooked until they're bright vibrant green and still slightly crunchy in the stem. If they turn dull green, then you know they've been overdone.  

Check the greens at 3 minutes, and if they're bright green, take off lid and stir until the excess water has evaporated. If not, check again in 2 minutes. When done, place in a bowl and toss with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the crumbled feta and red pepper flakes over, and lightly toss. Serves 2.

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