Monday, March 19, 2007
March 21 newsletter
Two Small Farms Newsletter
Issue Number 388, March 21st, 2007
Table of Contents:
1) In your box this week
2) Andy’s 3 Letters on 3 vegetables from this week’s box
3) Zelda’s notes
6) Which Farm?
8) Two Small Farms Contact Information
1) In your box this week: Green Garlic, Chioggia Beets, Spinach, Salad OR Romaine Lettuce, Sorrel, Cooking Greens, Carrots, Celery
This week’s vegetable list: I try to have it updated by Monday night, sometimes by Mon. am:
2) Andy’s 3 Letters on 3 vegetables from this week’s box:
My daughter and her friends have fun picking “sour grass” in the yard and chewing on it. “Sour grass” isn’t a grass at all, but an invasive, weedy member of the oxalis family, with yellow flowers and a clover shaped leaf. The native California plant, Oxalis oregana, also known as Redwood sorrel, that grows as ground cover in shady redwood forests is a close relative in the Oxalidaceae. Neither plant is taxonomically related to the sorrel in this weeks share box, which goes by the name Rumex acetosa, and is a member of the Polygonaceae. All three herbs are sour though, because they contain varying degrees of oxalic acid. The name “sorrel” is cognate with the adjective sour, both words coming to English from the Old High German word “sur,” meaning sour. At the farmers markets I’ve noticed that most of the customers who come to the stall looking for sorrel come from Northern and Eastern Europe, which is no surprise, because the plant is native to that area. In regions where winters are fierce sorrel was esteemed as one of the first green herbs of the season. The plant has thick roots which survive under ground even when the ground is covered in snow, and at the first opportunity new shoots pop up into the sunshine. I cultivate sorrel by trying to emulate the natural environment the plant evolved in. My sorrel beds are planted at the edge of the forest where there is partial shade so the soil stays cool and moist. In Northern Europe sorrel grows wild in pastures, so here in Central California I heavily mulch the beds with straw, partly to maintain soil humidity, and partly to give the plants the humus rich soil they like.
Sorrel growing in our field next to the forest: the photo is the one at the top of the page.
One Muslim myth says that garlic sprouted from the Devil’s left hoof print when he followed Adam and Eve out of the Garden Of Eden. This is a fun idea, because the devil is supposed to cloven hooves like a goat. It’s true that a goat’s hoof print is shaped like two garlic cloves, and it is also true that garlic doesn’t set seed, but is propagated by planting cloves. Fully mature, cured heads of garlic will not be ready until mid summer, so it is nice to get some garlic flavor early by eating the plant at its scallion stage. To me, the young stems of green garlic say “spring” as much as the sorrel does. The same Muslim myth says that onions sprouted from the Devil’s right hoof print. I’m no expert on diabolism, but I am a big fan of the Alliaceae, the garlic/onion family. One of my goals is to put some manner of Allium in every harvest box. It’s a good goal to have, even if it’s hard to pull off. This weekend the crew at Mariquita Farm weeded the chive beds, so I hope we have chives for you next week.
An Italian name for Lacinato Kale is “cavolo nero”, or black cabbage. Kale is cabbage with leaves that fold out into a pom-pom instead of inward to form a ball. Spigarello, also known in Italian as cavolo broccolo, is a relative of kale, with softer leaves, more succulent stems, and a broccoli flavor. I got turned onto spigarello by my friends at A-16 restaurant in San Francisco. I really like this green vegetable, and it grows well for us. A-16 restaurant took its name from highway A-16 in southern Italy. Follow the latitude line around the world from Mariquita Farm to Italy and you will cross highway A-16, so it is no wonder the cavolo broccolo plants feel right at home—the climate is the same, the hours of sunlight are the same, and they are surrounded by people who love them. I hope you do to.
3) Zelda’s Notes:
- To even out our route days we are creating a small Friday delivery route in the San Jose/Palo Alto area. We may need to open one or two new pick up sites, particularly in Menlo Park and Palo Alto. If you are interested in hosting please let us know!
- If you have interest in donating a box for the season to Santa Cruz Aids Project, but cannot financially commit to the full season, we may be able to match you with another member. The two members would split the cost of the donation share. Call or email Zelda at 831-786-0625 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are working our way through the paperwork and will email to confirm your payment. If you have not paid, please send in your check made out to Two Small Farms, PO Box 2065, Watsonville, CA 95077.
First a gorgeous photo from *last week’s* box from April Stearns! Thanks April:
Now this week’s box veggies for photo identification:
Beets (photos and recipes: the chioggia are the pink and white striped ones.)
5) Recipes from Julia
first notes on some of the vegetables:
THE BEETS can be used anywhere you like to use red beets. My favorite for all kinds of beets is to roast them in the oven. It’s true I don’t always have time to fuss with the oven and the pyrex: then I will use my pressure cooker or just boil them. I like to let them come to room temperature then make them into a salad.
THE GREEN GARLIC can be used in many places you might use leeks. There are recipes below! If you’re thinking of using this raw you might consider blanching it for 20-30 seconds first.
THE SORREL is a lovely salad or soup green. It’s not bitter, just sour (or lemony, if you’re trying to convince family members it’s ok!). It’s also a dark leafy green so it’s impossibly packed with all sorts of vitamins and other healthy stuff!
THE COOKING GREENS are either spigarello or kale. The short answer is to cook up a little of chopped green garlic in oil then add the washed, chopped cooking greens. I like to eat some form of this several times a week. Another cooking green idea is to chop them up (this works for the sorrel too) and add them to a hearty soup, or a brothy soup. Any bean, lentil or pea soup looks much more attractive with those dark leafy greens stirred in. At least I think so.
Sorrel and Goat Cheese Quiche
2-3 cups sorrel, coarsely chopped
a few scallions, chopped
3-4 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
1½ cups milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread goat cheese (or any strong flavored cheese) in the bottom of a piecrust. Cover with chopped sorrel and scallions. Beat eggs, salt and milk together. Pour over greens. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.ps.
Source: A Luna Circle Farm original recipe
Cream of Sorrel Soup
Clean, shred from the midrib and chop:
1/2 cup sorrel leaves
1 1/2 cups leaf lettuce
Sauté them until wilted in:
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
When they are sufficiently wilted, there will be only about 3 tablespoons of leaves.
5 cups poultry or vegetable stock
Simmer about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a small amount of the soup to: 1/2 cup cream
3 beaten egg yolks
Combine all ingredients and heat until the soup thickens slightly, but do no boil. Makes 5 to 6 cups.
Source: Joy of Cooking
great as an interesting pasta coating or a thick sauce for fish.
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh sorrel, ribs removed
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
In a food processor or blender puree the sorrel, the parsley, the garlic,
the parmesan, the pine nuts and the oil, transfer the pesto to a jar with
a tight fitting lid and chill it, covered. The pesto keeps, covered and
chilled, for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.
To use the pesto: For every pound of dried pasta cooking in a kettle of
boiling water, stir together in a heated serving bowl 3/4 cup of the pesto
and 2/3 cup of the hot cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it
in a colander, add it to the pesto mixture, and toss the mixture until the
pasta is coated well. Vermicelli works very well with this recipe.
If you've never used sorrel, try adding small amounts to your salads. In any recipe that calls for spinach you can substitute a small amount of sorrel-try 1/4 sorrel, 3/4 spinach as a start. Place a sprig or two on sandwiches with the lettuce or in place of watercress. Shred sorrel into soups with a tomato or fish base. It is one of the herbs that is best added at the last minute instead of cooking for longer periods of time. Sorrel does not dry well, but you can puree the leaves and store in the freezer to use as seasoning. For salads and when using raw choose leaves that are less than 6 inches, but save the larger ones for cooking.
When adding sorrel cut back on the amount of lemon and vinegar in the recipe. It's a good herb for those on salt free diets because it adds seasoning without salt.
These are simple sorrel recipes that can be adapted to your tastes. Remember that you can add sorrel to any fresh salad, or combine with spinach in any of your favorite recipes!
recipes by Brenda Hyde:
Greens and Fish
An old authentic French recipe
1/2 pound chard
1/2 pound spinach
few leaves of sorrel
one garlic clove
2 pounds thin fish fillets
Place the greens and one peeled, crushed garlic clove in a pot and cook for ten minutes, then chop. Add the fish, and cook for 10-15 minutes until done-NO longer. Place piece of crusty bread on a plate and serve the fish and the chopped greens beside one another with the liquid.
1 tablespoon cream
1 cup sorrel, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 tsp salt
Shred sorrel. In a heavy pan, heat half the butter and add sorrel and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, while stirring. Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl, beating gently. Add the sorrel mixture and combine. Add the remaining butter to a skillet and heat until butter is slightly browned. Add the egg mixture and stir briskly with the back of a fork or spoon until the eggs are evenly spread on the bottom of the skillet. Keep moving the unset eggs around with the utensil smoothly until there is no liquid left. Do not overcook. Shake the pan gently over the heat a few times. Fold the omelet over in half and serve.
1/2 pound sorrel
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
Clean and shred sorrel, then chop. In a large heavy pan, heat butter. Add sorrel and cook, stirring, for ten minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Add the water, potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and mash or puree the vegetables. Stir the cooking liquid into vegetables and return to pan. Bring to boil. Stir in milk and yolk. Cook until hot, but do not boil. Serve with French Bread.
Grilled Beets from a customer
Toss with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and GRILL over direct heat for 15-20 and finish indirect heat approx. 40 min for approx. 1-1/2" dia. beet (grill with skin on of course and 1/2 of tops and roots). These are superior to oven roasting - I grilled with mesquite chips - organic? I can't go back to oven roasting now!
Green Garlic Recipes:
Jasmine Rice with Spring Garlic
Spring garlic, also known as green garlic, is young garlic that hasn't yet formed a large bulb; it has a long green stem that resembles a scallion. Granados uses it to add a delicate garlic-onion flavor to fragrant toasted jasmine rice.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice (10 ounces), rinsed
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced spring garlic or 1 medium white onion, finely chopped, plus 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the rice and spring garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil uncovered for 5 minutes, until the liquid is nearly absorbed.
Cover the rice and bake for 10 minutes, until it is tender but firm and the liquid is completely absorbed. Let the rice stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, transfer to a bowl and serve.
Recipe by Mateo Granados
From The Moonlighter's Society
Raw Green Garlic
Mince and add to salads
Pound it into a paste to make green-garlic aioli
Use in salad dressings
Cooked Green Garlic
Poach the last 4" of the tips and dress with a mustard vinaigrette
Blanch in water or chicken stock and puree it. Add the puree to a custard or soufflé.
Dice and sauté the tender portions and add to an omelet or frittata
Chop and add to stir-frys
Chop and add to homemade potato soup
Prepare - Similar to leeks, green garlic stalks trap dirt and sand within the leaves. Rinse each stalk carefully. Once washed, the entire stalk can be used.
Store - If you are growing the garlic then harvest right before you use it. Green garlic can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three or four days.
Shrimp stir-fry with green garlic
Goong Pong Gari from Chez Pim (fun food blog)
300 g. or about 10 oz. shrimps, shell on (but head off)
1/2 onion, sliced into thin rounds
1/2 cup julienne green garlic (cut into about 2" very thin sticks)
1 heaping teaspoon of curry powder
4 tbsp cooking oil (use high smoke point oil, I use grape seed oil)
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp water
1. With a very sharp knife, cut each shrimp in half lengthwise with the shell on. Clean out the veins from the shrimp halves and set the shrimps aside.
2. Heat a fry pan or a wok until hot, add oil and then about a quarter of the julienne green garlic. (This will be used as garnish at the end so you won't need much.) Cook until the sticks just begin to change color. Take them out of the oil immediately. Set aside to rest on a paper towel.
3. Turn the heat to medium then add the shrimps to the pan, laying each one the shell side down. Let the shrimps cook, shell side down only, for 2 minutes or until the shells begin to caramelize. Take the shrimps out of the pan and set aside.
4. Add onion into the pan, cook until translucent, then add the curry powder, the rest of the green garlic, and give everything a quick stir to mix well.
5. Add the shrimps back to the pan, then the fish sauce and the water. Stir vigorously until the shrimps are cooked to the desired doneness. I prefer mine a little on the under-done side, but you are welcome to cook them more. Check the seasoning, add more fish sauce if needed.
6. Transfer into a large plate, garnished with the fried green garlic, and serve with freshly cooked jasmine rice.
P.S. Despite how I feel about soups currently, I concede that green garlic is quite good in them. Might I suggest you try a variety of Vichyssoise, but use green garlic in place of the leeks? My friend Eric said it's mighty tasty.
6) Veggie Notes
From High Ground: spinach and salad, flowers
From Mariquita: Carrots, garlic, beets, sorrel, cooking greens, celery
From Lakeside Organic Gardens: Celery
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8) Two Small Farms Contact Information
Two Small Farms
Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077