Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Mixed Spinach
- LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
- Purple Cape – a fun broccoli/cauliflower cross that overwinters and heads up in early spring.
- Yellow Onions
- Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- Spring Salad Mix – Spinach/Radicchio/Arugula/Tatsoi
- Lacinato Kale Rapini – It’s officially rapini season! The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around. Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
- Dried Apples – we grew them, we picked them, we dried them.
Happy Spring! We’re still waiting for a dry stretch to be able to get into the fields, but we’ve been enjoying the short sun breaks as they’ve come and so have the bees! There’s not a lot of flowering plants for the bees right now, but hopefully they’ve noticed the plum orchard is in full bloom.
While the waiting game continues we’ve attempted to be productive. Jeff’s continued his barn organization quest with the wall of cultivation. Well, I just named it that, but he did hang all the hoes for easy access which is a huge improvement over our old method of storing long handled tools in a barrel. Though it’s wet outside, the weeds are growing in greenhouses and we’ve been able to stay on top of them thus far with weekly weeding sessions. It’s especially satisfying to get after the weeds when they’re young and easily uprooted. The weeding paid off when it came to harvesting greens yesterday too!
Perhaps the most exciting event on the farm recently was last week’s purchase of a manure spreader! We’ve been looking for an affordable used spreader that was also in working condition for a couple of years on and off. We’d like to begin spreading larger quantities of compost in the field for soil health, but shoveling compost out the back of a box hooked up to the tractor gets tiresome quickly. We lucked into this antique spreader, originally used with a team of horses, that’s been kept in amazing condition unlike most spreaders from this era that have been demoted to yard ornaments. We have our fingers crossed for a dry stretch at the end of the week. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we put this old machine to work.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Seasonal Country Salad with Spiced Walnuts
For the spiced walnuts
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground star anise
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cups shelled walnut halves
For the salad
- 1 pound mixed greens such as mizuna, arugula, tatsoi, etc. washed and dried
- 1/4 cup Aged Sherry-Walnut Vinaigrette
Make the spiced walnuts:
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, spices, and salt. Toast the walnuts lightly on a sheet pan in the oven, for about 4-5 minutes. While the nuts are toasting, heat the spiced sugar in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When the sugar just begins to melt around the edges, toss in the warm nuts, straight from the oven. Shake the pan vigorously over the burner until all the nuts are coated in sugar — it will cling in somewhat uneven patches, but that is the effect I like. Pour the nuts onto a plate or baking sheet to cool — don’t be tempted to try one until they have really cooled down, since sugar at this temperature will give you a burned tongue to remember!
Make your salad:
Toss the salad greens with the spiced walnuts and the vinaigrette and top with a generous slice of ham and 1 ounce of cheese per person, according to the seasons (see Weighing Your Options).
Weighing your options:
Spring: Grilled Asparagus with Serrano Ham and Maytag Blue Cheese (to grill asparagus, blanch the asparagus to halfway tender, brush with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until lightly brown)
Summer: Fresh Black Mission Figs with Smithfield Ham and Aged Goat Cheese
Fall: Lightly Roasted Seckel Pears with Pecorino Romano and Prosciutto
Winter: Blood Oranges and Fennel with Feta and Prosciutto
From Epicurious via “Sparks in the Kitchen” by Katy Sparks and Andrea Strong, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seasonal-country-salad-with-spiced-walnuts-234558
Fresh Spinach with Garlic -Yogurt Sauce
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 dried chiles de árbol*
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves (four 6-ounce bags), divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain white rice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or drained plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Small, thin, very hot red chiles; available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add chiles and 1/3 of spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, adding remaining spinach in 2 additions and tossing often, about 4 minutes. Mix in rice. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and moisture from spinach is absorbed, adding water by tablespoonfuls if needed for rice, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mixture is dry, about 2 minutes; discard chiles.
Meanwhile, press garlic cloves into small bowl, stir in yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter with 1 tablespoon oil in small skillet. Mix in cayenne and remove from heat.
Spread spinach mixture on platter; make indentations with back of spoon. Spoon yogurt into indentations and drizzle with cayenne butter.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Engin Akin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fresh-spinach-with-garlic-yogurt-sauce-238268
Micro-Quick Hot-Sweet Salad of Broccoli Raab and Carrots
- 1 hearty bunch broccoli raab (aka rapini) (1 pound plus)
- About 1 pound fairly thin medium carrots (weighed without tops)
- 1 tablespoon sweet sherry or sweet vermouth
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
- 2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
- 1 tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
1. Cut a slice from broccoli raab base and taste to determine toughness. If fairly tender, trim only 1/2 inch or so from stalks; if tough, trim more. Wash vegetable in several changes of water, lifting out so debris settles. Without drying, spread in microwavable serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 2 minutes. Toss, then continue cooking until not quite done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Pierce plastic and allow to cool.
2. Peel carrots. Place in microwavable dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook just until carrots lose their raw crunch but are not cooked through — 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pierce plastic and cool slightly.
3. In a small dish, mix sherry, vinegar, honey, salt and hot pepper to taste, stirring to blend. Add peanut and sesame oils.
4. Line up broccoli raab stems on cutting board. Cut apart from tops (the florets and leaves). Squeeze tops dry, then blot with towel. Cut into very thin shreds; return to dish. Slice stems on a sharp angle to form long oblongs 1/8 inch thick; add to dish. Cut carrots the same way and add to dish. Toss with dressing. Season. Chill.
From Epicurious via “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” by Elizabeth Schneider, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/micro-quick-hot-sweet-salad-of-broccoli-raab-and-carrots-106236