Monday, July 6, 2009

week five

Items for this week:
lettuce, cutting mix
basil - mix of sweet, Thai, and cinnamon
chard - variety
new potatoes
Ivory Lace cheese from Hidden Hills Dairy

Some hints for this week - keep the chard fresh the same way you would the lettuce, by wrapping it in moist paper towels and keeping it in a plastic bag in the fridge. The basil is kept best by putting it in a vase of water out on the counter top or table, just change the water every other day or so. It will stay like this for a while. Get creative with the Thai and cinnamon basils - they can be used in most of the same ways you would regular basil. If you're having trouble telling the difference between the two (both are darker than sweet basil and have purple-tinted stems and flowers) just give them a sniff, the smells are distinct. The Thai basil is excellent in a curry, and the cinnamon is wonderful in a peach (or any fruit) chutney, served with meat or fish. I still have some canned some peaches from last summer, and I serve them with cinnamon basil shredded on top.

The chard can be treated just like spinach - I substitute it for spinach in lasagna recipes, wilt it by cooking with butter, garlic and lemon juice and serving as a side dish, or even using the smaller tender leaves in salads. It isn't as tough as kale and won't need to cook as long, but you will probably want to remove the thick center rib in the larger pieces.

I'm so excited about the new potatoes! "New" potatoes are actually just a potato that is harvested early - as soon as the blossoms fall off the plant (a typical potato is ready for harvest when the plant dies). Their skin is much thinner than a "full-grown" potato and they are often smaller and a bit more tender. This would be a great time to use any leftover dill or dill butter, and I would also suggest roasting them in the oven with olive oil, salt and your parsley.

Hope you enjoy the cheese! Please let me know what you think of this versus the Boltonfeta.

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