CSA Week 3 June 20, 2012

Bit by bit, there is a touch more of color and substance working its way into the baskets.  There are some colorful pea pods, red swiss chard and radishes to brighten things up.  Hopefully you been finding ways to enjoy (or choke down) the bounty of greens you have been receiving. We have been pretty lucky to recieve a good amount of rain, but not too much like many folks. Still, it was poor timing and hurt the quality of strawberries, made some lettuce rusty, and drounded out some tender beets and spinach, but other things have been loving the rain and heat and look beautiful like corn and cabbages.



This week you will find a few standbys and some new things:

Asparagus – the ample rain has kept the asparagus coming well. Don’t be afraid of the fat ones, they are often just as, if not more tender as the skinny ones.

Lettuce- A larger head of romaine.  The heads are not real dense yet, but needed to be thinned.  If it is broken apart and washed it will have a tendancy to rust more unless it is dried very well.

Frisee Endive  – this is rinsed and bagged.  Endive green a little on the bitter side, but mellows out tremendously when wilted a bit.  A traditional French way of eatting endive is wilting it and adding fried egg to the top.  It can also be mixed in with other greens in a salad, just be prepared for it.  If you don’t get to using it up, don’t feel bad as I know it is not for everyone. Endive is also very nutritious being high in fiber, B vitamins, manganese, copper and iron.  So if all else fails, blend it up in a smoothie.

Salad Turnips – along with the plum purple radishes, there are a few white salad turnips.  These salad turnips are similar to radishes, and can be eatten in many of the same ways.  As their name implies, slicing them for a salad is probably their main use.

Brigh Lights Swiss Chard – swiss chard comes in a wide array of colored varieties, but for now it is mostly red.  Chard is closley related to the beet, so any ways you would use beet greens would be a way to use chard. The little leaves can be used in as salad greens, the larger ones can be used to replace spinach in many recipes and you can simply steam or boil the leaves and drown them in butter.  I like it sauteed and tossed with pasta like the Hot Chard Pasta recipe below.  Chard is exceptionally high in vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, beta carotene and many minerals.

Pea Pod Mixture – There is a mixed baggie of pea pods.  You will find the Purple Podded Pea, Sugar Ann Snap Pea and the Golden Sweet Yellow Pod.  All of these have edible pods so there is no need to shell them ( you wouldn’t find much any ways)  Eat fresh, or steam or stir fry. 

I hope you enjoy the week, and planning ahead to the 4th of July, I am hoping that we can shift the pick up to Tuesday, the 3rd as I will be out of town from the 4th to till friday or Saturday. 

Frisee Salad with Egg Bacon

1 baguette (thinly sliced on the bias in 12 inch pieces)
9 tbsps olive oil
12 lb cheese (sliced comte)
1 lb bacon (cut into pieces)
2 shallots (finely chopped)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsps sherry vinegar
4 tbs Butter
6 eggs
Frisee Endive
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Drizzle baguette slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and top with each slice with some Comte cheese. Place into oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and brown.
3 In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and bacon. Render bacon until crispy and caramelized.
4 While bacon is rendering, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the shallots and mustard. Whisk in the vinegar and the remaining extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
5 Remove the bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. In the same skillet, add butter and crack eggs 1 at a time and cook 2 minutes per side, or until yolks are set.
6 While the eggs are cooking, arrange frisee in a large bowl. Pour dressing over frisee and toss to coat.

On 6 plates, arrange a mound of salad and top with fried eggs. Garnish with the bacon, set 2 croutons on each plate and serve immediately.






Hot Chard Pasta


  • 1/3 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the spaghetti, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute to soften. Add the Swiss chard. Cook and stir until the stems of the chard are tender. You can use some of the hot pasta water to help steam the chard in the covered pan.
  3. Stir the hot spaghetti into the chard mixture. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice if desired. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.

CSA Week 2, June 13 2012

Welcome to Week Two!  While it sure felt like summer last weekend we are still in spring mode with means the basket is full of green stuff.  The timely rains have been keeping the lettuce pretty good amid the excessive heat, wind, and dry conditions. Some of you may get a new lettuce, De Morges Braun Lettuce.  It is a rare romaine style lettuce with an apple green color and a slight reddish bronze tint to its smooth, rounded leaves.  It has been growing exceptionally well.   There is also a bag of spinach.  Enjoy it as there might be a gap untill the next is ready due to a little flooding a few weeks back.  I personally love the spinach quiche recipe below. Again you will be enjoying a great asian green, only this time it is the smaller pak choi.  Stir fry is great, so is having it steamed and braised. You will find a bunch of radishes.  If yours are little, round purple ones they are called Purple Plumb.  If you have the large, long, red ones, those are Chinese Dragon.  All radishes have a little heat this time of the year, but they still make a mean radish sandwich with butter, salt and pepper. There is another ‘fancier’ version below. The final contents of the basket include onions, a little bulb of garlic, and a little bundle of lovage.

Lovage is a relatively unknown herb that resembles flat leaf parsley but has more of a strong celery taste.  It is a perennial that is closely related to carrots and parsley.  It originates from Asia and the Middle east and has a long history.  It is thought to be good for stomach aches, It is extremely versatile as it can be used to replace parsley and celery in many recipes, but be cautious as it is more flavorful than both.  What to do with it?  Mix the small leaves in a salad, stuff them in fish or chicken before baking, steam the small stems or make a creamy potato soup using the leaves.  It will be coming again later you have some time to do some research. 

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

1 Pastry for Single-Crust Pie

1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

6 slices bacon, chopped

8 beaten eggs

1/2 cup dairy sour cream

1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Dash ground nutmeg (optional)

3 cups lightly packed chopped fresh spinach

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (2 ounces)

1. Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Trim; crimp edges as desired. Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels.

3. In a bowl stir together eggs, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and, if desired, nutmeg. Stir in onion mixture, spinach, and cheeses.

4. Pour egg mixture into the hot, baked pastry shell. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

5. Makes 6 to 8 servings

Fancy Radish sandwiches

  • // 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup diced radishes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon onto slices of hearty bread. Or, refrigerate and serve later.

  Braised Pak Choy

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 lb baby pak choy, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Bring broth and butter to a simmer in a deep large heavy skillet. Arrange pak choy evenly in skillet and simmer, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer pak choy with tongs to a serving dish and keep warm, covered.

Boil broth mixture until reduced to about 1/4 cup, then stir in sesame oil and pepper to taste. Pour mixture over pak choy.

CSA Share Week 1 June 6, 2012

Welcome to our first blog of the 2012 CSA Season!  What a great way for mother nature to welcome me to my summer break from teaching.  The beautiful weather makes it very inviting to head out to hoe, plant or just observe.  Observe the day-to-day changes, growth, soil conditions, and also the problems like new transplants needing water or the unwelcome great crop of cucumber beetles on the squash that need addressing. Good or bad, its good to just be there. 

Your fist week basket has what grows best early in the season.  ImageIn the open bag, Mixed heirloom lettuce.  This is a collection of Forellenschluss, Red Velvet, Australian Yellowleaf, and Pablo. This lettuce is great many ways: salad, sandwiches or my favorite use, wilted. There is a simple wilted lettuce recipe below.  I could eat wilted lettuce every day this time of year.  The lettuce was tossed in some water when picked as the ground was a bit dry and hot, but is best to store without washing.  If it is washed, be sure it is dried well before refrigerating.  A papertowl in the bag is good at absorbing the excess moisture. 

In the closed bag there is an italian spicy green mix.  This mix from Italian Seed and Tool is mix of endive, chicory, mache, arugula, and lettuce.  Some people love the spicy and bitter taste in a fresh salad such as the French Salad shown below. If the heat is too much for you, wilt it.  It takes the edge off.

Bok Choi.  Bok choi is a mild tasting green that makes an excellent base in a stir fry.  It is also fantastic braised with chicken broth, sesame oil and a little butter.

Little bundle of garlic scapes.  These are the undeveloped flowers from the hardneck garlic plants.  They can be used just as you would garlic as they have the same wonderful flavor. 

Your basket also contains some new green onions, rhubarb, a little sprig of fresh dill weed, and either sugar snap peas or asparagus. 

Finally, since it is the first week, and you may get be looking for something more substantial than greens, there is a bit of our awesome fresh chevre goat cheese.  Try it on a salad, on a pice of crusty bread with braised onions or mixed with a little honey on a cracker.  The goat cheese should last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

If you find any great ways to use any of the produce or goat cheese, feel free to share your ideas here.  Just leave a comment or link a recipe (since many are floating around the internet). 

Hope You have a great week!

French Lettuce Salad

6 to 8 servings

1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
2 – tablespoons wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
10 – cups mixed greens

Shake all ingredient except greens in tightly covered jar; refrigerate. Shake before serving. Toss with greens.

Goat Cheese with Caramelized onions. 

Caramelized onions with Brandy

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon brandy

Over medium heat melt butter with olive oil. Add onions, season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly until onions are soft. Add brandy and continue to cook until onions are golden brown. About 20 min.
Slice a baguette, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 unto golden brown.  Spread with got cheese and top with Caramelized onions. 

Wilted Lettuce,

This was my ma’s recipe passed on to me–don’t know any other way to make it.  This is really an old-fashioned dish.

1 pound leaf lettuce
4 -5 green onions


1/2 cup bacon grease

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Wash the lettuce several times; drain.
  2. Clean and cut the onions into the lettuce.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Dressing: Heat dressing ingredients to boiling; pour over lettuce while boiling hot.
  5. Stir and mix well.
  6. Serve immediately.