Sunday, June 28, 2009

week four

Shares this week:
bunching onions/scallions (deep purple and ishikura)
carrots, 1 bunch
kale, 1 bunch
herbs, 1 bunch (dill, cilantro, parsley)
blushed butter lettuce, 1 bag
indigo radicchio, 1 head (full shares only)
red fire lettuce, 1 head (half shares only)

Many of you may be wondering what to do with the radicchio. You might just cut it up with lettuce in salad, and the leaves are also excellent used as lettuce wraps with a rice or quinoa salad (I've even used it for egg salad instead of bread or pita). Below is a link to a recipe for sauteed radicchio and fried kale. I've made this simple recipe as is, and have also added sauteed onions and garlic, serving it over pasta or black-eyed peas with parmesan.

You're still getting a lot of herbs, and I find that keeping them in the refrigerator wrapped in paper towels in an unclosed plastic bags keeps them fresh for literally weeks. If you find that you're running out of ways to use them, simply chop them up with the lettuce and scallions and try them in a salad.

I also have a suggestion for washing the lettuce. Unless you douse your greens in chemicals or have the facilities to thoroughly wash it, which we do not, there are bounded to be a few bugs. I put the lettuce in a large mixing bowl and fill it with cold water until it runs over the top. With the water running, gently push the lettuce to the bottom, forcing out more water and any bugs or dirt that floats to the top. Put the lettuce in a salad spinner (a great investment if you eat as many greens as I do) or let it drain on paper towels, wrap and refrigerate.


Friday, June 12, 2009

week two!

Here is what to expect in your CSA totes this week

more lettuce! 2 bags, a new variety of lettuce mix and another bag of red fire lettuce
parsley - 1 bunch
kale - 1 bunch
beets (mixture of golden, early tall top and chiogga)
small jar of raw, unfiltered fall honey

Shares will probably include either baby carrots or snow peas - I won't know for sure until I get into the garden on Sunday morning and start harvesting. I'm going to take whatever looks best this week. You will also most likely get more dill, as I have a lot of it, much more than I expected. Radicchio may also be included depending on the readiness of the carrots and peas.

Sadly, your beets will be minus the greens this time. I didn't row cover them and the dastardly cucumber beetles ate holes in many of the leaves - but the second planting of beets looks great and is growing cozily under row cover, so later in the season you will have those with their greens.

greens and beans - saute garlic and onion in oil until barely browned, add kale (see below for preparation hints), cook until greens are wilted. drizzle with juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Add black-eyed peas or your favorite beans (canned, or cooked separately) toss together in heated pan to warm. We have also made this substituting a whole-wheat penne pasta for the beans. Parmesan cheese grated on top is also super tasty.

My friend Katie also has a delicious and easy recipe for kale - saute onions and garlic, add kale. Add chicken or veggie broth, or white wine, and saute until leaves are wilted, salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the kale, strip leaves from the stems, wash, stack, slice into thick pieces.

The snow peas can be sauteed in butter with the chopped parsley, and any herbs you might have left from last. The baby carrots would be excellent with this, or cooked in butter with a bit of dill.

Beets, especially baby beets which are often candy-sweet, can be cooked, sliced and added to salads. They have such a great flavor on their own that I don't recommend doing much to them. Scrub the raw beets to remove and grit and dirt, and steam them until they are tender (can be stabbed with a fork, but are still somewhat firm). drain and immediately rinse in cold water, and peel the sides - you'll be bale to do this with your fingers.

Another suggestion for the dill, since I have so much of it, is to make a dill butter and freeze it, in anticipation of all the potatoes you'll have later in the season. Soften 1 stick of better and add the shopped dill, roll into a thick log, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze. you can slice of fresh herbed butter pats as needed!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pick up your first shares - this Sunday, June 7!

Finally it's time for the first shares! I would say that I can't believe it's already here, but it feels like I've been preparing for it for a year... probably because I have been.
The weather has been great this spring, - just enough rain at just the right times. Everything in the garden looks lush and green, and the transplants and seedlings are off to a healthy start.

Below is a pic of the *awesome* tote bags I'll be using to pack and distribute your veggies this season, and they were quite the locally made cooperative effort. The fabulous logo was designed by my very talented friend Ellen Goodman, and the bags themselves were each hand-made and screen printed by yet another talented and lovely friend, Chrissy Lambrou.
Chrissy launched her business, PristineSewing, last fall at Handmade Arcade and has been sewing up a storm ever since. She's running a bit low on inventory at the moment (perhaps because she's been slaving away on my tote bags) but please visit her website and etsy shop at
Every week you will return the empty tote bag that you received the week before, as I will use these all season long. But I fully expect people to fall in love with them and want to have one of their very own - if this is the case or if you have any other handbag/messenger bag/tote bag needs, please contact Chrissy and I'm sure she will be more than happy to take orders.

share items/swapping:
Below is a list what you can expect in your shares this week! Amounts will vary depending on whether your share size is full or partial. I will post these lists every week so you will know what to expect. If you see an item (or items) on the list that you would like to swap out in order to get more of one thing or less or none of another, let me know before Sunday and I can make that change.
The supplemental item this week is some amazing feta cheese from Lori at Hidden Hills Dairy in Central PA (
"Bolton" means round hill and we’ve got plenty of those. This is our Greek style feta, full flavored, and packed in light brine. Soak in cold water for a time if you prefer a less salty cheese. Our Boltonfeta was awarded a bronze medal in the 2008 World Jersey Cheese Awards held in Jersey, Channel Islands, UK
Enjoy it on a fresh spring salad, mixed with herbs as a spread, or substituted for another cheese in your favorite recipe.

Sunday 6/7:
buttercrunch head lettuce, green bib
buttercrunch head lettuce, speckles
red fire leaf lettuce
lettuce cutting mix
radish, 1 bunch (mix of amethyst, French breakfast, and easter egg mix)
1 bunch mint
1 bunch mixed herbs (including dill, cilantro, savory, chives)
1/4 lb Boltonfeta cheese from Hidden Hills Dairy

Each week I'll also provide some recipe suggestions, in case you're at a loss as to what to do with your goodies. Feel free to ask me any time for more suggestions or recipe ideas.
(I don't tend to cook with precision, so many of the quantities are approximates)

One of my favorite quick lunches from the garden this spring has been herb butter, lettuce, and radish sandwiches. Don't be frightened - if the French can do it, so can you.

lettuce and radish sandwich: soften 1 stick butter, chop approx 1/2 - 3/4 c various herbs, pinch of salt and pepper, mix. spread the butter on your favorite sandwich bread, layer lettuce and sliced radish. Refrigerate rest of butter for future sandwiches (or use as an ingredient in your favorite fish, chicken or pasta dish)

If you want to pile some of that great feta on a bed of lettuce and have at it, here's one of my favorite fast vinaigrettes
lemon herb vinaigrette:
1 Tbps lemon juice, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp brown sugar, salt and pepper, handful of chopped fresh herbs, mix.

We always have an abundance of mint in summer and my husband drinks lemonade by the gallon, so I like to snazz it up a bit.

mint lemonade: 1 C lemon juice plus a bit extra, slightly less than 1 C sugar (I use 1/2 cup agave syrup & 1/4 c honey instead of sugar), a handful of mint sprigs, 2 qts water. Shake vigorously to mix. (Drink as-is or mix with whiskey - which happens to be my favorite summer drink)

I hope you enjoy!