Monday, June 15, 2015

Week One: Slow and Steady Starts the Season

Spring came on time this year. I have to admit, that kind of surprised us. It doesn't usually do that.

Once the snow melted, we were poised for a rapid upswing in temperatures like the spring of 2012, but that definitely didn't happen.

Instead spring has been slow this year, evenly coolish without being cold and with only occasional flashes of heat.

We've been enjoying lots of coastal weather, with fog coming in most mornings to remind us that we live just a few miles away from Lake Superior.

And turn the fields into this kind of lovliness.

Though it has been a bit of a challenge to get into the fields to plant seeds and set out transplants between rain showers, what has made it in so far has thrived in the calm spring weather.

These Chinese cabbage and cabbage starts couldn't
ask for better weather to grow in.
In other words, it has been an excellent spring for growing lots of normal spring crops, like the greens and radishes that are featured in this, the first share of the 2015 season.

This week members can expect: Mesclun, Baby Pac Choi, Daikon Radishes, Hakurei Salad Turnips, Sorrel, Kale OR Braising Mix, and a choice of Fresh Herbs.

Most of the items should be familiar to returning members, but some might be new for new members, so here is a brief tutorial:

Mesclun is salad mix, it contains leaf lettuce and other salad greens. This week's mesculn has baby kale, three kinds of mustard, and chrysanthemum in addition to the leaf lettuce.

Baby Pac Choi is a leafy green, but the stems are where it shines. They're mild and substantial, perfect for stir fries.

This week's daikon are on the small side. If you remove the greens you could trick your family into thinking they're about to bite into a white carrot. Not that I would be so tricky, these things are spicy ;) If you don't like the heat, cook them briefly as in the lo mein recipe below.

See, it looks just like a carrot. (Everyone blogs with a radish
on hand, right?)

Hakurei are the greatest thing ever. You can eat them raw in salads or cooked lightly. While they are botanically turnips, they have a radishy texture and a taste all their own. If you need some ideas on how to cook them, check out our hakurei pinterest board.

Sorrel is a sour green that can be used in salads (though I find it overpowering, which is why we don't mix it into the mesclun) or cooked. I always favor cooking it. It's great with other assertively flavored herbs and creamy cheeses. For lunch today we had an omelet with sorrel and chive blossom filling and a bit of muenster cheese. Omelet filling is one of my favorite uses for sorrel. Start by sauteing the sorrel in a little olive oil, it will almost melt as it cooks, then add your other ingredients.

In this case chive blossoms pulled off the flower heads, which
I didn't cook at all before putting in the omelet.
I think most of you are probably pretty familiar with kale.

Braising mix is a mix of greens for cooking. This week's mix includes baby collards, dandelion, mizuna (a mild spiky mustard), orach (a purple spinach relative) and the Asian greens senposai and yokatta na. Use it in any recipe that calls for any type of cooking green.

This week's herbs will mostly be chive blossoms or mint. Ask at pick-up if you need some ideas for using these up!

As always in the spring, the share includes a lot of greens. I know greens are not go to ingredients for a lot of cooks and can often be tough for members to use up. I always find myself telling members to "just throw them in stuff" like spaghetti sauce or scrambled eggs. We definitely do that this time of year. We also cook a lot of lo mein, which is a great way to eat up almost any quick cooking vegetable.

Lo Mein with Greens and Daikon

If you like the sound of this recipe but are going gluten free, you can make the same thing with rice noodles instead of the lo mein.

  • 8 oz dry lo mein noodles (lo mein is a chinese egg noodle similar to linguine, in a pinch you can substitute linguine)
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small (about the size of a garlic clove) knob fresh ginger, minced
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (We just discovered a chili infused sesame oil we've been using in this recipe. Use that if you like heat and can find it!) 
  • Daikon radish (three small, as in the share, or one medium) scrubbed and chopped into bite size pieces.
  • A large handful of baby pac choi and/or braising mix, roughly chopped.
Prepare the noodles according to the package directions.

Stir together the peanut oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, and hot sauce. It will seperate like a salad dressing, but don't worry. It will mix up on the noodles in the end.

Heat a small amount of peanut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the daikon and cook until it is done to your likeing. I prefer it just barely heated through so that it is still crisp but loses its radishy edge (which, sadly, gives me heartburn...)

Place the roughly chopped baby pac choi/braising mix in the bottom of a large serving bowl.

When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and immediately plop them on top of the greens. Their heat will wilt the greens. Then pour the sauce over and add the cooked daikon. Stir everything together well and serve.

1 comment:

  1. I love the citrusy flavor of raw sorel in my salads! Can't wait!!