ATHENS HILLS WINTER CSA:
I do believe we might be coming out of this cold spell we've had over the last week. Just when we were getting into a regular winter routine here at the farm, Mother Nature decided to shake things up and show us what winter can be. This is the longest I've see snow on the ground down here in the hills since I moved here almost four years ago. Luckily, even with the frigid temperatures, we managed to avoid any pipes freezing, any big vegetable losses, any frostbite, and we were still able (with a few evenings working overtime) to harvest all of the veggies we needed for you all, our Farmers' Market customers, and our restaurants. It is very satisfying to be able to do that for everyone. If you would like to see what the farm looks like in the winter, check out the blog this weekend. I'm hoping to post some new photos to give you an idea of how different it is here at this time of year.
One of your fellow members sent us a couple of recipes last week that I will post on the blog as well. They sound simple and delicious--just what we could all use after a hard day's work. Thanks Ruth!
I just want to extend a big thank you to everyone for returning your boxes (and bags if you pick up at Bexley) so consistently. We really appreciate it! Keep up the good work! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you enjoy these couple of days of "warm" weather!
(If you have questions about any of these veggies, email me and I will do my best to get back to you right away with storage ideas, serving suggestions, etc.)
Salad Mix (The mix this week includes two romaines, green & red salad bowl, and two Asian greens—petsai & mizuna. It’s a beautiful & tasty array of greens! )
Micromix Microgreens (We grow an array of tiny little nutritious greens and this week you get to sample some of your own. Included in the mix are our sunflower, buckwheat, radish, cabbage & kogane (pac choi) micros. They make a delicious salad of their own, but would work great with the crepe recipe this week.)
Mushrooms (Shiitakes are the name of the game this week. By now many of you will be fluent in the wonders of this fungus. Share your taste adventures with us on the blog!)
Swiss Chard (This is one of our tried and true winter greens. It's wonderful in so many dishes, but my favorite way to prepare it is to steam it (stems removed) and place layers of it in my favorite lasagna. It adds great color and flavor, not to mention all the nutrition, to a meal that has become a standard in my household.)
Spinach (You will not believe the sweetness of this favorite! If you manage not to completely devour it raw, check out the crepe recipe in this newsletter.)
Beets (We have another sweetie here this week. Again these will be hard to resist raw, but are fantastic roasted with some of your other favorite root veggies.)
Recipe: Russian Beet Salad (Serves 4 to 5)
8 healthy beets
¼ C. cider vinegar
1 medium clove garlic
1 to 2 tsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
½ C. minced red onion
2 scallions, minced
1 medium cucumber,
peeled, seeded &
2 hard-boiled eggs,
2 Tbs. minced fresh dill,
or 2 tsp. dried
1 C. firm yogurt (optional)
freshly ground pepper
Trim the beets of their stems, and place the beets in a medium-large saucepan. Cover them with water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 25 minutes, or until tender enough for a fork to slide in easily.
Meanwhile combine the vinegar, garlic, honey, and salt in a medium-large bowl.
Rinse the cooked beets under cold running water as you rub off their skins. Chop into ½-inch bits, and add them, still warm, to the vinegar mixture. Stir and let stand about 30 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste with black pepper. Mix well, cover tightly, and chill until very cold.
(Recipe courtesy of The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, 2000.)
Recipe: Spinach-Gruyere Gateau De Crepes (Serves 6)
For the crepes...
1 ¾ C. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. coarse salt
2 C. whole milk, room temperature, plus
more if needed
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 ½ oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
plus more for skillet
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, whisking to combine. Whisk in butter. Strain mixture into a medium bowl, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day). Batter should be the consistency of heavy cream; add more milk if needed.
Heat an 8- or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, and brush with butter. Ladle or pour 3 tablespoons batter (for small crepes) or 1/3 cup batter (for large crepes) into pan, turning and tilting skillet to coat bottom evenly with batter. Cook until top of crepe appears set, bottom is firm and golden brown in spots, and center is lifted by pockets of air, about 1 minute. Run a spatula around edge of crepe to loosen. Slip spatula under crepe, and gently flip in one swift gesture. (If it doesn't land quite right, that's okay; use the spatula to unfold or rearrange it.) Cook until bottom is firm and golden brown in spots, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate, and cover. (The first one will not be your finest.) Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan lightly with butter as needed (every 2 to 3 crepes). Serve immediately.
For the béchamel...
½ medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, plus more
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 ½ C. whole milk
1 ¼ C. grated Gruyere cheese (4 oz.)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
For the assembly...
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbs.)
5 oz. spinach (about 6 cups)
pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, for squeezing
12 small crepes
Make the béchamel: Place onion and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until onion is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup Gruyere, and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat, add nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble: Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add spinach, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes, and season with slat, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Let cool slightly. Squeeze out any excess liquid, and coarsely chop.
Preheat oven to 450F. Reserve 2 tablespoons of béchamel. Mix remaining béchamel and spinach in a medium bowl. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Place 1 crepe on center of sheet, and top with 3 tablespoons spinach mixture, spreading evenly. Top with another crepe, then 3 tablespoons spinach mixture. Repeat with remaining crepes and spinach mixture, ending with a crepe. Spread reserved béchamel on top, and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese. Bake until cheese melts and turns golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer gateau de crepes to a platter. Cut into wedges, and serve warm.
(Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, February, 2009.)