Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 5: Hot, Dry Weather and recipes for Bitter Greens

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful lake weather, because it is causing us to chase our tails a little as we try to keep the plants happy.

This is not the farm. This is a lovely view
of Fuller Lake from our canoe.
Things are still holding, but we could use a day or two of gentle rain every now and then. Please. As we barrel through July that becomes less and less likely.

But really I can't complain. Some drought stricken CSAs in Wisconsin have been forced to cancel distribution during this dry spell. I hope they have understanding members who are willing to help them survive through the challenging weather. That must be very difficult for everyone involved. It also puts my anxieties over last week's stressed cauliflower into perspective.

This week is another mix of vegetables that love the heat, and those that wish it was cooler. The shares will include: Kale or Chard; Snow Peas; Radishes; Baby Pac Choi; Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Tomatillos, OR Ground Cherries; Arugula; Mustard; Sorrel or Parsley; Scallions; Della Catalogna Lettuce or Escarole; and Salad Turnips.

We are finishing up the harvest of Della Catalogna this week and starting on the escarole. Both are bitter, sturdy greens that can be used in a salad, if you're into that sort of thing (and I know many people are not - if you are, scroll down to the bottom of this post from last year for a salad recipe that features bitter greens, swap in escarole or lettuce for the radicchio), but also do well as cooked greens. Escarole soup with sausage and white beans is a traditional Italian dish. This soup recipe looks simple and delicious. The Della Catalogna lettuce, which is an Italian heirloom lettuce, would work fine in place of the escarole. For those that aren't up for soup on an 80 degree day, below you can find a quick one dish recipe with similar flavors that won't heat up your kitchen as much as the soup.

Della Catalogna Lettuce to the left and Escarole on the right.

Salad Turnips are new to the shares this week. They are definitely not bitter, nor are they much like the rutabaga type turnips members received in last week's share. Scott describes them as "radishes injected with cream" and I think that is pretty much spot on. As you might guess from the name, they are meant to be chopped up and added to a salad.

Because you are receiving both salad turnips and radishes plus a generous amount of arugula and mustard this week, I suggest a spicy salad featuring chopped radishes and turnips briefly marinated in lemon juice, honey, and oil, salted to taste, with a little grated ginger or fancy mustard for flavor, served with several handfuls of mustard and arugula and a finely sliced scallion or two.

Sausage with Italian Bitter Greens
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves (more or less to taste) garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, green and white portions sliced thinly
  • 2 potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1/2 bunch (approximately 6 stems) flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves chopped finely
  • 1 Head escarole or Della Catalogna lettuce, cleaned thoroughly and roughly chopped into bite sized pieces.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, scallions, and potatoes. Stir until the potatoes are covered with oil and the onion greens are wilted. 

Add the sausages to the pan, making sure they are flat against the bottom of the pan rather than on top of  the potatoes. Brown on all sides.

Remove the sausages from the pan and slice them into bite sized pieces. Add the parsley to the pan, stir to combine with the potato and onions. Return the sausage to the pan.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and the sausage is fully cooked.

Stir in the chopped escarole or lettuce. Stir until the greens are heated through and lightly wilted. The center ribs should remain crisp.

Taste for salt. Generally when I cook with sausage I don't find that I need any additional salt.


  1. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

  2. This was a great dish, I used the cauliflower we got with our share instead of potatoes though.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it :) Cauliflower sounds better than the potatoes!