Friday, May 27, 2011

May 25 & 28 CSA Share Contents, Newsletter and Recipes!

This week, I am very grateful to my garden perennials and fall-planted crops. They have bravely weathered the cold, gray rain that seems to have made up our entire Spring thus far, and are ready for enjoyment. There can be no doubt that everything in the garden is very well-watered at this point. Now we just need some warmth and sunshine to get everything growing at its expected rate. I have been working on garden bed preparation, transplanting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts, moving the electrified chicken netting, seeding more spinach and lettuce (greens will be seeded throughout the summer to ensure a constant supply), weeding carrots and placing the drip irrigation system and fabric row covers (and trying to stay dry).
Egyption Walking Onions (also called topset onions) – These hardy plants are one of the first green things to emerge in my garden in early spring. They earn their name because, instead of producing a flower at the top of their stalk as regular onions do, they produce a cluster of bulblets. As these bulblets mature, they weigh down the stalk, causing it to bend. The bulblets, now resting on the ground, root and grow into new walking onions. If left to their druthers, they can “walk” across your garden in this manner! The whole of a walking onion is edible. The hollow greens may be chopped and used raw to garnish salads or they can be cooked in stir fries and soups. The onion at the base of the stalk may be used in any recipe that calls for regular onions.
Green Garlic – Green garlic is simply immature garlic, harvested early for enjoyment in the first days of Spring. To use, chop off the roots and the upper parts of the dark green leaves (where they get tough). Keep the white bulb, the light green middle portion and first couple inches of the dark green leaves (where they are still tender). Having a milder taste than mature garlic, you can chop it up and use it to give a kick to any recipe that calls for green onions or garlic. There are many green garlic recipes available online, but here are a couple that I'd like to highlight.

Green Garlic & Sorrel Chicken

1 bunch green garlic
2 packed cups sorrel leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs
salt & pepper to taste

Make a bed of sorrel and chopped green garlic in a baking dish. Place the chicken on top. Salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for an hour and 45 minutes to two hours.
Green Garlic Pesto

Green Garlic Pesto

6 shoots of green garlic, roughly chopped
¼ cup nuts (pine nuts or walnuts)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup warm water
6 tbsp olive oil

Process the green garlic in a food processor until it is minced. Add the nuts, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the food processor and process for approx 10 seconds. In a measuring cup, combine the water and oil and slowly pour the mixture into the food processor while it is on. Process until mixture is incorporated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Add more oil if you would like a creamier texture (if pesto will be mixed with pasta, for example).

Sorrel – Sorrel is a perennial green with a delicious (in my opinion) lemony tang. It is also one of the first things to emerge after winter begins to loosen its grip. You can use it in a salad, or cooked. Here is a recipe:
Sorrel Quiche
2-3 cups sorrel, coarsely chopped
3 shoots green garlic, chopped
3-4 ounces grated cheese
3 eggs
1½ cups milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread grated cheese in the bottom of a piecrust. Cover the cheese with chopped sorrel and green garlic. Beat the eggs, salt and milk together. Pour over the greens. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Chervil – A member of the parsley family, chervil is an herb that loves the moist and cool Spring we've been having thus far. It's lacy, fern-like leaves have a mild, licorice-like flavor. My favorite way to use chervil is raw, added to a salad. It is also great cooked but it is delicate, so to avoid over-cooking only add it to a hot dish at the end of the cooking process.
Chervil and Chives Dressing
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped chervil
salt & pepper to taste

Chives – A member of the onion family, chives are one of my old-reliables in early spring. Chopped and used fresh, they make a great garnish and flavor-enhancer for baked potatoes, soups, egg or fish dishes and, of course, salads.

Mint – One of the garden's most refreshing herbs, mint is delicious chopped into a salad, but my favorite way to use it when the weather is cold, gray and rainy is for fresh mint tea. Simply pour boiling water over your fresh mint sprigs, let it steep for five minutes and enjoy! You can increase the mint flavor by adding sprigs. You can also add tea bags to combine the mint flavor with other types of tea.

Bread made from Prairie Heritage Farm Sonora wheat – Jim and I participate in an ancient grain CSA via Prairie Heritage Farm in Conrad, MT. Each fall, we get 100 lbs of various ancient grains. One of those grains is Sonora wheat, which we ground and used to make this bread for you. We hope you enjoy it, and that it helps make up for the rather lean offerings of this very first share. The garden's abundance will kick in soon, and your bags will be overflowing! Until then, if you would like to learn more about Jacob and Courtney Cowgill's grain CSA, you can check out their website at (click on Community Supported Agriculture Programs at the top of the page). I see them fairly often, so if you wanted to subscribe, I would be happy to be the transport person when it comes time for the once a year delivery. 

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