Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Week 7 CSA Share, It's Garlic Time

We spent the morning in pursuit of garlic, and were rewarded with a lovely harvest.

The potato onions are taking center stage here, but there is actually a lot of
garlic. On the left is the softneck we grow, to the right is the hardneck.
Some of you may remember the post I wrote way back in October about the planting of this garlic (and the potato onions). If you haven't seen it, click here to learn more about the birth of this particular batch of garlic. You will see Seda played the same role in the planting as she did today, in the harvest.

Garlic harvest with potato onion flowers in the foreground.
Those droopy brown stalks you see are the garlic, they need to
die back before harvest.
We have decided to stop growing the softneck variety because our long cold winters stress it out. Many of the cloves we plant don't survive until spring and those that do show signs of stress.

Bulbils (small garlic bulblets) have formed near the base of this garlic stalk.
This is an indication that our softneck garlic is stressed.
Therefore, we're going to include only the softneck garlic in our CSA shares this year and replant all of our hardneck. That translates to a nice quantity of softneck garlic for our members this year, and, what should be, an awesome harvest of hardneck garlic for next year's members.

The garlic that will be in the shares next week is green, or uncured, garlic. That means that members should use it up quickly or hang it up in a dry area with good air flow and no direct sunlight to store it. We plan to cure the remaining garlic so that it will be easier to store.

So, what's in the week seven share besides garlic? Members have plenty to look forward to. This week's share includes Tomatoes/Eggplants/Peppers, Lettuce, Radicchio, Kohlrabi, Chard, Scallions, Sorrel, Beets or Salad Turnips, and, of course, some garlic.

My guess is a few of you still have last week's kohlrabi in the fridge. They can be a little intimidating, especially the colossal Kossack variety that has been in the shares lately. If you are at a loss as to how to prepare it, try a curry. I just made one for dinner tonight out of some of our kohlrabi rejects (even ugly vegetables deserve to be served) and it could not have been simpler. 

The ingredients included Kohlrabi, Potato, Beets, and Onion, you can add other root vegetables (carrots, turnips...use the vegetables in quantities of your choosing), water, a fourteen ounce can of coconut milk, and green Thai Kitchen curry paste (this is a prepared item that can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store). I hadn't planned ahead at all so I didn't have the coconut milk or the curry on hand, but I was actually able to find them at the Pat's Foods in Ontonagon, so I know that they are easy to find.

First, I got some rice cooking. Then, I peeled the kohlrabi and diced all of the vegetables into more or less half inch cubes (except the beets and onions, which I sliced thinly). I placed the vegetables in a wide but shallow saucepan and added enough water to come about half way up the vegetables. I let them simmer, uncovered, until they were tender (not mushy) then drained the small amount of water that was left in the pan. Then I stirred in the whole can of coconut milk and added curry paste to taste. I made sure everything was heated through and that was it. We ate it over rice and it was awesome.

You may also be curious about the bag of edible flowers in your share. They were inspired by a row of uncooperative onions that decided to bolt on us, making lovely pungent flowers but no delicious bulbs (don't worry, we still have lots of other onions on the way), and the extreme abundance of wild carrot flowers this year, so that is the bulk of what is in there. We are also including a few other edible flowers that we have planted around the farm this year. The mix can be added to a salad (keep in mind those onion flowers are mega onion-y), used as garnish for soups or casseroles, added to the end of a stir fry, or mixed into a basic unsweetened pancake batter to make flower fritters. If you think of them as fresh herbs it may be easier to figure out how to use them. If you would like to know more about the individual flowers in your share, check here.

Finally, the radicchio may be new to some of you. It is a shockingly bitter Italian green (which is actually burgundy) that can be used cooked or in salads. Cooking does take the edge off of the bitter flavor, if you want to go that route I suggest this recipe, but a well prepared radicchio salad is truly exquisite. You just need to know how to compliment the bitter flavor. You need other assertive flavors and heavy dressing that can stand up to the radicchio. Try combining radicchio with lettuce, pears, pecans, and a high quality blue cheese dressing.

Or, try the following recipe.

Radicchio Salad with Raspberries and Creamy Lime Dressing

If you don't have raspberries try substituting another sweet/tart fruit in their place. Even apple will work well here. You can also use yogurt in place of the heavy cream, if you would like a lower fat version of the dressing. You may need to increase the honey in that case though. This recipe makes a large salad, you can use less greens and berries if you want a smaller version.
  • 1 head lettuce
  • 2 heads radicchio
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Wash and tear or chop the lettuce and radicchio into bite sized pieces. Make sure they are dry, then toss them together in a large salad bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the raspberries on top of the salad greens.
  3. Whip the cream just until it is slightly thickened.
  4. Combine the lime juice and honey, stirring until the honey has dissolved into the juice. 
  5. Fold the juice into the cream, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the salad with the dressing on the side to keep the greens fresh until they are eaten.

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