Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 9: Nights in the 40's

It is lettuce weather again.

Pablo lettuce, one of this week's lettuces. In my imagination it's
named after Picasso because it is a work of art. But I suppose
several people are named Pablo.
This has been my year for experimenting with lettuce, I ordered something like 18 different varieties of head lettuce this year, so we have had it in the shares in some form or another nearly every week. But lettuce that grows through days that hit 90 degrees will never be quite as delicious as lettuce that has matured during a cool stretch (even if that lettuce is a carefully selected heat tolerant variety).

So, while a few cool nights will somewhat slow the harvest on the summer squash, cucumbers, and field tomatoes (and may halt the field peppers altogether), they will bring us some delectable lettuce this week as well. They will also help the late season cole crops along. I know I'm not the only one looking forward to Brussels sprouts.

Pirat, this week's other lovely lettuce. I've no theories as to the meaning
of its name.
The rest of the share is bulging with standard mid-season garden goodness. In addition to the head lettuce members can expect: Beets, Carrots, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Tomatoes plus Eggplant/Peppers/Tomatillos OR Ground Cherries, Thai Basil, Scallions, and Kohlrabi or Broccoli.

We are continuing our quest to make sure that everyone gets to try the Thai basil, this week is the group one half share members' turn. I'm curious to know what everyone that takes tomatillos is doing with them. A few years back we had a glut of them in the fall and I came up with this recipe for tomatillo chili. It calls for two pounds, which is much more than is going in the shares right now, but it could be adjusted to make a smaller recipe or used as a springboard for a different chili recipe.

There is a break on Kale and Chard this week thanks to the flea beetles and aphids respectively. 

Impressive, no? Flea beetles like cool nights too.
We will wage what non-toxic battles we can and hopefully see them again in the not too distant future. In the meantime, if you are jonesing for some cooking greens keep in mind that kohlrabi leaves can be used just like kale.

Kohlrabi also makes wonderful coleslaw. As in the following recipe.

Kohlrabi Slaw

This is a pretty standard coleslaw recipe made, I think, exceptional through the use of kohlrabi rather than cabbage. I included a little celery seed, because I don't believe that coleslaw can exist without it, but it is entirely optional. It can also be doubled if you love celery seed as much as I do. The Thai basil is also optional, but adds a subtle twist to the flavor. Another fresh herb such as parsley or cilantro would work well in its place.
  • One large kohlrabi, peeled and grated (it helps to quarter the kohlrabi before attempting this), plus four or five kohlrabi leaves, chopped into ribbons.
  • Four carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 bunch of scallions, green and white portions, thinly sliced
  • A small hand full of Thai basil leaves (about 12), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar (white wine or apple cider both work well)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. I used about a 1/4 teaspoon of each as the mayonnaise was already pretty salty.
Toss together the grated kohlrabi, chopped kohlrabi leaves, sliced carrots, sliced scallions, and chopped Thai basil in a large bowl.

In a separate small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, sugar or honey, celery seed, salt, and pepper. If you are using sugar, be sure to stir until the granules have dissolved into the dressing.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss until they are evenly combined. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. This holds well in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (which was as long as our leftovers lasted before we ate them all up!)

1 comment:

  1. I made sorrel soup from the last batch of veggies and it was the most fantastic soup I have ever made! And I stir fried up the eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, and tomato, made a peanut sauce and topped it off with thai basil served over rice noodles. Yum! Because of your veggies, I'm becoming a better cook.