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.

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