Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 3: The Greens are Still Coming

It's still pretty much greens season at Wintergreen Farm. And this week we have a new one for the members.

Frisee Endive

Frisee is a frilly, slightly bitter salad green. It is used in many traditional french salads, especially Frisee aux Lardons, a simple salad with frisee, bacon, and poached egg. This week we are going to include it in a salad mix with spicy red giant mustard and colorful merlot lettuce. If you would like some more ideas for salads with frisee, click here.

Along with salad mix, members will receive Braising Mix, Beets or Hakurei, Kohlrabi, Head Lettuce, Spring Onions, Herbs or Edible Flowers, and Basil. The basil, which will be a choice of Thai basil or sweet basil, will be in the form of basil tops. This time of year we pinch off the large top leaves of our basil plants...

Like these leaves on this Thai basil plant
With the top leaves plucked, the side leaves
will grow better, which means bushier plants and
more basil for you later this season.

The Thai basil is a little further along than the sweet basil at this point, which means some of you might get Thai when you were hoping for sweet. If you end up coming home with a handful of Thai basil tops, I suggest adding them to a stir fry, slicing them and sprinkling them on a kohlrabi salad, or trying this sesame noodle recipe I posted at basil top time last year.

We are also making a slight change to the braising mix this week. Along with the dandelion and various Asian mustard greens you have been receiving, this week you'll see baby rainbow chard, which should pretty up the mix nicely. 

See the chard? It's the pretty one to the left of the frisee.

This week's recipe features the braising mix. Usually I go for lightly cooked greens recipes, but this one calls for an hour of simmering. It is based (very loosely) on a traditional Kashmiri recipe called Haak from Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking. Haak is normally made with collard greens. It is also usually made with mustard oil, which is hard to find in the US because the FDA thinks it is unhealthy, and lots of fresh and dried chilies, which I skip because my three year old is a lightweight when it comes to spicy stuff. 

I did use the traditional asafetida, which I picked up at World Foods in Houghton some time ago. My guess is most of you don't happen to have a jar of that on hand. If not, still make the dish. There really isn't a substitute, asafetida is dried resin from the root of a plant in the carrot family. It is very stinky. The best way I can describe it is that it stinks of food. I suggest a few cloves of garlic in place of it. It won't taste the same, but the garlic will fill the hole that the missing asafetida creates. 

Also, this is meant to be served over rice. Somehow, I was out of rice. Bulgar worked nicely.

Sort of like Haak
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (or garlic)
  • 2 spring onions, white and green portions, sliced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 lbs cooking greens (for reference, you receive 3/4 lbs braising mix in your shares) chopped into bite sized pieces.
  • 1/2 salt, or more to taste
  • 1 cup water
Heat the oil over medium heat in a 4 cup saucepan with a lid. Stir in the asafetida or garlic and let it cook for about five seconds. 

Add the greens and onions, cover the pot and let the greens cook to wilt for about a minute. Open and stir the greens to mix them with the oil. Add salt and water, there should be just enough water to cover the greens. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and simmer for a half an hour. 

Check the greens at this point, if there is a lot of liquid left in the pan remove the lid and continue simmering for approximately half an hour more, or until the greens are tender. If there is a small amount of liquid (around a half cup) continue simmering with the lid on. Serve over rice, or bulgar if you forgot to buy rice.


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