Monday, June 14, 2010

week two

Keep those salads coming! This week in CSA everyone received a bunch of French breakfast and cherry belle radish, several heads of lettuce (oakleaf and/or butterhead varieties), a bunch of redbor and winterbor kale, a bunch of tatsoi, and a small bundle of spinach. We planned to include a variety of herbs as well but ran out of time on Sunday morning - look for those in the next CSA.

members Maeve and new mommy Chris
Most of you (aside from 2009 members) may be unfamiliar with tatsoi. I find it very similar to spinach and use the two interchangeably. Raw in salads, cooked in soups or stir fries, or just wilted in a hot skillet with olive oil, garlic and lemon zest - it's pretty delicious any way you use it. Last year some members used it to make "spinach" lasagna, and I just found a great recipe for a very simple browned butter pasta with tatsoi ( I've only ever grown tatsoi in the fall, which (as with most crops) is much easier because there are essentially no insect pests to worry about. It also grows differently in the fall, in a low rosette, whereas in the spring it's more upright. I planned to trim the plants in order to let them regrow for a second spring harvest but the wet weather and other conditions have encouraged such a high pest population for us that it would be a waste of time to try this crop again before fall.
qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqEmma, Charley and Amy with shiny new member Sam
And since we're on the dark greens let's talk about kale! It's a member of the brassica family - just like tatsoi, broccoli, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Like many brassicas kale is incredibly nutritious, packed with vitamins and antioxidants galore, and is rich in beta carotene and calcium. I also find it generally delightful. You can use it in many of the ways you use chard and spinach, but unlike those greens it should be cooked and the center rib removed. Kale is excellent in classic "beans and greens": chop & saute the kale in olive oil with garlic and onions, toss with black-eyed peas and sprinkle with grated or shredded parm. This is one of Todd's all-time favorite dishes, but he adds a twist - he fries bacon and sautes the ingredients in the bacon grease instead of olive oil, then adds the chopped bacon. I must admit it's pretty tasty. Another fun way to use kale that I've heard a lot of people talking about this year (including member Rachel Kottler, who suggested the recipe) is kale chips. You can find a few recipes to choose from here:

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