CSA week 5: Farm happenings and RECIPES!

Farm Happenings: 
As a heads up I am now going to talk about the weather for more than two sentences. (farmers must talk about the weather!) It sure feels like summer now after the hot temps and lack of rain we have had for the past week or so. I essentially have given up on trying to make sense of it all, I just keep rolling with the punches, and riding the weather roller coaster. The hot temps have h20140523_094515elped all our direct seeded summer crops from last week germinate quite nicely. Its pretty much a germination extravaganza as we have cover crop, sunflowers, winter squash, beans, okra and corn germinating all at the same time in the fields. This hot weather has also meant we have had to stay on top of watering, with as many fields and crops as we have it is a full time job for one person almost. We have all been getting our irrigation work outs in, but at least its paying off.

The heat and now lack of rain, has caused our clay soil to be come very dry and hard to work with. Which means we must water even before we weed a bed! This also makes for unhappy tillage, as the soil does not respond that well. We have melons, pick your own flowers, lettuce, and tomatoes on the planting agenda this week as we officially clear out the greenhouse till fall seedings! So we are hoping for a touch of rain!

It also means, that some of our spring crops may not size up as large as they normally are, as many spring crops are not fans of the heat! They may be smaller and still signaling us that it is time for them to be harvested and eaten! Fennel, kohlrabi, and celery are most certainly on their way! Oh and get excited for cabbages next week!

This Weeks Recipes: Salad Essentials!

I will be the first to admit salads can become boring and monotone. I think a great way to add flavor and some enticing elements is a great salad mix. As well as other toppings, or what some like to call “candy” on the plate.  This weeks make your own salad set up our way of trying to add some spice to those pesky salads everyone has likely been eating lots of! At least you know they are good for you! Here are a few simple salad mix ideas.
 

 A simple and great salad- The basics:

Types of greens:

I like to think of making a salad mix as first picking a base, and then adding to that, for additional flavor. Arugula, lettuce mix and spinach clearly make good bases, and mustard greens can be added for a  bit of kick and flavor, so can arugula….Spinach could be more textural. Just have fun with it!

Salad Additions/Toppings/Candy:  

Root Veggies, Nuts, Fruit, Onions, and Cheese-

I love nuts and fruit on my salads, of any kind really. Nuts add great texture and flavor, and fruit weather dried or fresh can add that bit of sweetness. Cheese is a great addition to spinach salads, and heartier leafs in my opinion, but its great on any salad really. Root veggies such as radishes, turnips and carrots are fantastic salad additions and add some crunch! I love onions on a salad, add some scallions for some extra flavor, or some sweet or red onions for a kick. And for those meat lovers, chicken or steak is a easy and good addition.

 

A few suggestions:

-Arugula and strawberries pairs well

-A whole leaf salad is great with bibb or butterhead- (picture to the right of one I made for a pot luck on Saturday with carrots, radishes and spring onions)

-Spinach, cheese and a creamy dressing is also a combo I really enjoy.

-Arugula and a Parmesan dressing or vinaigrette with grated Parmesan cheese are both great.

 

Salad dressings-

When I make salad dressings at home, I know what I want to use as ingredients but there are never any measurements taken. Below are my instructions, with measurements from NYtimes Mark Bittman, (One of the best at simple food and simple recipes)

 

Vinaigrette-

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons or more good vinegar — wine, sherry, rice, balsamic, etc.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • if you have-1 large shallot (about 1 ounce), peeled and cut into chunks

I know most restaurants and chefs use shallots in salad dressings, I do not usually use in my dressings and they are still great! Mix oil and vinegar, salt, pepper and mustard in a blender (ideal) otherwise shake in  a jar-vigorously!. Add minced shallots at the end if needed. Then add vinegar to taste, if needed, and enjoy!. The mustard acts as an emulsifier and hold the dressing together.

-Spice it up with some fresh herbs, or lemon juice.  Such as dill! Creamy Dressing

A simple go to creamy dressing for me is one similar to the one I use for the chinese cabbage slaw recipe I gave the first week.

-Mayo, Sugar, Salt, Pepper, and Vinegar

 

-If using a 1/4 cup mayo I use about 2 tablspoons of vinegar, and almost a tablespoon of sugar. I like to use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

 

Click here for more salad dressings recipes from Mark Bittman

 

Massaged Kale Salad

 

Kale chopped into Strips

Olive oil

lemon juice
grated or sliced carrots
toasted nuts or seeds

Salt to taste

 

Chop Kale and put into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.   Massage with your hands so that it’s well coated with the olive oil and it begins to wilt and darken, less than a minute.  Add the lemon juice ( to taste), grated carrots, and toasted nuts or seeds, and toss.

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Kids in the Kitchen

 Lettuce Wraps, or Boats

 

Kids love to eat things, when the look fun in my opinion. instead of a tortilla or bread, use a leaf of lettuce. Like tacos or burritos but with lettuce as the wrap.  You could even make it vegetarian. Heartier lettuces like bibb and romaine work better for this.

A few ideas:

-Sauteed veggies, and rice with fresh herbs wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

-corn, black bean, and rice with other veggies, and cumin.

-Asian style- rice, carrots, stems from the chinese cabbage, or tokyo bekana, and soy or braggs liquid aminos. click here for recipe.

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