Sunday, June 26, 2011

Badger Rock Farm Veggie Share Newsletter - Week #5

What a beautiful-weather week it has been! Perfect for ushering in the longest day of the year and the summer season. The plants in the garden are soaking up the sunshine and growing fast. These lovely days have allowed for some real catching up from the flood's delays and I am happy to report that all of the major crops have been transplanted out into the ground. As they put on size, it remains a time of enjoying spring's bounty (which includes largely greens and herbs), while looking ahead to summer's abundance.
Salad Mix with Edible Johnny Jump-Up & Sweet William Flowers – In this week's salad mix, there are several types of lettuce, spinach, chard, beet greens and sorrel. The herbs included are dill, cilantro, mint, thyme and chervil. The flowers are Johnny Jump-Ups and Sweet Williams. I hope that you enjoy it!

Swiss Chard – A close relative of the beet, chard is one of my favorite leafy vegetables that is able to be harvested all summer-long (as long as I win the competition for it with the grasshoppers....). You can enjoy it raw, in a salad (there are some leaves in your salad mix this week), or cooked. When cooking, take care not to keep it on the heat for too long, as it can overcook easily (been there, done that :-). Here is a recipe to try:
Sauteed Chard with Parmesan
2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste (optional)

Cut the stems and center ribs out of the chard and chop them. Separately chop the leaves. Melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook them for approx 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften (approx 5 min). Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until just wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt.

Green Garlic – This is the green garlic's last hurrah for this season. I hope that you enjoy it. Still to come later this season are mature garlic heads. Here is a new idea for how to use your green garlic:

Green Garlic Vinaigrette
3 oz. green garlic, trimmed & chopped
3 tbsp chopped cilantro 
3 tbsp white wine vinegar 
2 tbsp water 
½ cup oil Salt & pepper to taste

Blend the green garlic and cilantro first, then add the vinegar and water and blend again. With the blender still running, slowly add the oil until the mixture is well blended. Enjoy on salad, over a meat dish, or over anything else that sounds good to you!

Head Lettuce – The veggie of the season for our cool, overcast spring, head lettuce is still going strong. Enjoy it cut into a salad, on a sandwich, or even wilted:

Wilted Lettuce 
5 slices of bacon 
2 tbsp red wine vinegar 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
1 tsp white sugar 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1 head leaf lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces 
6 green onions, sliced thin. Include tops (you can substitute green garlic here, for a more garlicy, rather than oniony flavor)
Cook bacon over medium heat. Remove it from the skillet, crumble and set aside. To the bacon drippings remaining in the skillet, add the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and the black pepper. Stir mixture until heated through. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and green onions (or green garlic!). Add the warm bacon dripping 'dressing' and toss evenly to coat the lettuce. Sprinkle this dish with bacon and then serve.
Thyme – A truly versatile herb, you can sprinkle thyme on many dishes to give them a bit of extra zing. You can add a bit to your vinaigrette, sprinkle it over potatoes, add it to soup stocks, or meat marinades, place it under the skin of a chicken before roasting, add it to your scrambled eggs, dry it (after its dry, crumble the leaves from the stems), or even freeze it for later use.
Spinach – The first round of spinach would like to offer us one more helping before giving way to summer's heat. There will be more spinach to come, but this is it from the first seeding. That must mean that it's finally hot outside, right :-D?
Spinach & Strawberries
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 ½ tsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/8 cup distilled white vinegar
1/8 tsp paprika 
1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tsp minced onion 
2 cups fresh spinach, torn into bite-size pieces 
½ quart strawberries, sliced 
1/8 cup slivered almonds
In a bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Chill for one hour. In another bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Cilantro – This sowing of cilantro has decided that it is too hot for its taste and it is trying very hard to bolt. I wanted to include some in this week's share though, so you could use it in the Green Garlic Vinaigrette recipe, if you wanted to.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekly Veggie Share Newsletter


What a week it has been! Large hail hit on Tuesday 6/7 (the night funnel clouds were sighted around Billings, and even in Musselshell county). Roundup also flooded for the second time in as many weeks. This time, I got stuck out at the farm, which is a mile down the road from my house. This was a much more productive place to be trapped, and I was able to make some progress with transplanting. I think that the farm has fared through all of this crazy weather relatively well. I was lucky that I was running behind due to the previous flood, when I got stuck at the house. All of the tomatoes, squash and cucumber plants were still safe inside the greenhouse! Cabbage and broccoli were already out, however, and did receive some damage. I am hoping they stage a full recovery! Some sunshine will do them, and all of us, a world of good! Thank you, to everyone, for your patience through this challenging beginning to your weekly shares!
Salad Mix -- One of my favorite summer staples: fresh salad mix. Included in this mix are various mixed lettuces, as well as sorrel, chard, beet greens, arugula, mustard leaves, cilantro, dill and mint.
Spinach – It's delicious either raw, in salads, or cooked. Spinach quiche is can prepare it following the same recipe for the sorrel quiche from a couple of weeks ago, substituting the spinach leaves for the sorrel. Wilted spinach is also yummy:
2 quarts young spinach leaves, stems removed 
2 slices of bacon, diced 
1 tbsp flour 
2 tbsp sugar 
1/3 cup vinegar 
½ tsp salt 
3-4 tbsp diced onion
Place spinach in a serving bowl, tearing the leaves if they are too large. Fry the bacon until crisp and sprinkle it over the spinach. Add the flour to the bacon drippings that are left in the pan and stir until blended together. Then, add the sugar, salt and vinegar. Cook while stirring until the mixture is thickened. Drizzle it over the spinach and sprinkle the diced onion on top. Toss salad and serve. Serves 4.
Rhubarb – I have to apologize for the appearance of the rhubarb this week. It took a hammering from large hail the night before harvest. I only included the best looking stalks in your share, but there are still some dings and dents visible. Sorry about that. Hopefully Mother Nature sees fit to give us a break from this rigorous Spring we've received thus far!! Here is another rhubarb recipe for this week.
Rhubarb and Spinach Salad
4 stalks rhubarb, cut into thin slices                                                                                      1/4 cup sugar                                                                                                                     2 tbsp. red wine vinegar                                                                                                      Salt & pepper to taste                                                                                                         16-20 spinach leaves                                                                                                          6 tbsp vegetable oil 
Place the rhubarb in a pan, sprinkle on the sugar and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring water to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a large sieve into a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper, and place over high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup. While that is cooking, divide the spinach onto serving plates. Arrange the rhubarb over the spinach. When the liquid is reduced, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the oil. Pour over the salads and serve.
Chamomile – There is nothing like a cup of fresh chamomile tea before bedtime. To prepare, simply add approximately 2 tbsp of the fresh flowers to 2 cups of boiling water and allow to steep. You can adjust how much chamomile you add to strengthen or weaken to the tea to your taste.
Dill – Dill pickles aren't the only thing you can make with fresh dill. One of my favorites is dill dip, which can be used for dipping veggies or crackers.
1 cup sour cream 
1 cup mayonnaise 
1 ½ tbsp minced onion (or chives!) 
1 ½ tsp salt (or to taste) 
4 ½ tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, onion, salt, and dill. Mix well. Chill at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle.