Monday, July 14, 2014

Week Two: Using Your Whole Share

This week, about half of the members will be getting a bunch of adorably nubby carrots in their share. (The rest will receive a bunch of Hakurei, or beets, or a few insanely precocious peppers from the hoophouse.)

precocious peppers
 The carrots are a variety called Tonda di Parigi, similar to thumbelinas. Normally these little round carrots are grown by folks with heavy soil, but we tried them this year as part of our early transplant experiment (like last week's beets). I would say the carrot portion of the experiment was semi-successful. The yield of carrots we are seeing is not great, considering how many seeds we planted (which is why only half the members get carrots this week), but they are quite good. So, I guess it's a matter of quality over quantity as far as these carrots are concerned.

Adorable, delicious, low yielding Tonda di Parigi carrots. 
In addition to carrots or other things, members will receive: Kale, Head Lettuce, Scallions or Spring Onions, Radishes or Kohlrabi, Braising Mix, Spicy Salad Mix (which includes mustard, mizuna, and arugula), Parsley, and a choice of fresh Herbs.

Some of you new members might be wondering about the kohlrabi (though, happily, kohlrabi has become much more mainstream in the last few years). If you are one of the curious, head over to the kohlrabi pinterest board for some satisfaction.

So, perhaps you were looking at the carrot photo above and you thought to yourself 'Wow, those carrot greens sure are beautiful, and abundant. Too bad I can't cook those up.' Well, if you were thinking that I have some news for you: You can totally cook carrot greens. Why not?

Just think of them as a mix between parsley, celery, and carrots. Tasty, right?

When I went to culinary school, the chefs very specifically said that we should never use "trimmings" (like carrot greens or peelings or onion rootlets) in stocks. But honestly, that makes no sense. It's just snobbery. There is good flavor and nutrition in the trimmings. Often the only reason people don't cook with them is that the texture is not ideal, or because they simply don't realize they can. 

But stock is not the only thing trimmings are good for. Please enjoy the following example:

For dinner tonight I started with a wee bit of stuff from the share. Three carrots
and three scallions (one spring onion would be fine too). Doesn't look like
much, right?
But it's actually a cutting board full of food. On top, the scallions and
stemmy portions of the carrot greens, is what I used in the recipe. The carrots
themselves were devoured raw by Seda, and the leafier green portions
and scallion rootlets went into the freezer for a future batch of stock (and a
future blog post).
Here is the recipe:

It's based on a recipe from a cookbook called the Bean, Pea, and Lentil Cookbook, by Maria Luisa Scott and Jack Denton Scott. The original recipe calls for shallots and celery, rather than scallions and carrot tops. My mom used to make this recipe when I was growing us and she always used scallions (because the kid that worked in the produce department at meijers told her they were shallots!). I don't believe she ever made it with carrot tops. Feel free to use any green thing you like in place of the carrot tops. Parsley would be good, but so would radish tops or kale or braising mix...

Lentil Pilaf

     One cup Brown Rice
     One cup Green Lentils
     3.5 cups Water or Stock
     1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
     1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
     The greens from three carrots, leafiest portions removed
     Three scallions or one spring onion

Combine the rice, lentils, water or stock, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring the water/stock to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Leave the pan covered, to simmer, for approximately 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, chop the scallions and carrot tops so they look like this:

Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Briefly saute the carrot tops and scallions, just until tender.

At this point, the rice and lentils should have finished cooking. If not, allow them to continue cooking until they are done to your liking.

Stir the scallions and carrot tops into the rice and lentils. That's it.

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