ATHENS HILLS WINTER CSA:
So far this week, things are fairly calm around the farm. This past weekend the sun shone bright and warmed things up a bit around here. We can even see bits of the ground again although the ice is staying with us, especially on the shoveled walkways. John and I did enjoy working the frigid, yet sunny Athens Farmers' Market on Saturday. It is a rare occasion when we don't have to set up our canopies and can warm our faces in the bright light of the sun. On cold winter days, it makes all the difference! We were also busy at Market serving all the loyal Athens customers who I'm guessing came out to get rid of a bit of cabin fever from last week. Can't say I blame them since I was also excited about being out & about!
This week we have quite a few greens for you. Our greens love winter. You may not guess this by observing their slow growth rate, but with one taste of their sweetness, you know. There is something just right about the cold that keeps them from developing a certain bitterness that comes with warmer weather. While some prefer this stronger taste, I am pleased as punch when our lovely greens are sweet and I hope you are too. They all work so well together as well as with the potatoes, daikon and mushrooms, so don't be shy about combining ingredients. Enjoy this week's taste adventures!
Believe it or not, winter is also the time of year when we start planning our next CSA season. If you would like to give us any suggestions for our summer CSA program, please email me and I will be happy to pass it along. We always appreciate your comments & suggestions. After all, we couldn't do this without you! Have a great week!
(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.)
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 on sandwiches, egg dishes, etc.)
Mushrooms (The shiitakes are abundant and we are happy to share these great (big) beauties with you this week. Remember, you can save the woody stems and boil them for a great mushroom broth--always delicious in the middle of winter!)
Kale (Wintertime is kale's time to shine. I've included some tips and recipes that will perhaps give you a new perspective on how to enjoy these and the other greens this week.)
Swiss Chard (Chard loves the cold weather too. It is nice & sweet thanks to the cold. The greens recipes I've included this week would also work well for chard, so don't be shy.)
Spinach (I love spinach! I bet you do too. Enjoy your wealth of greens this week--they will be sure to keep you happy and healthy :).)
Potatoes ** (Yummy, yummy! Check out the recipe this week for a simple, spicy treat as well.)
Daikon Radish (See notes that follow for a description of and some culinary recommendations for this lovely root veggie.)
Recipe: Yogurt with Potatoes (Serves 4 to 6)
**NB: If you are not going to use them right away, please store your potatoes in a paper bag in the fridge to extend their shelf life.
16 oz. plain yogurt
1 to 1 ½ tsp. salt
1/8 to ¼ tsp. black
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 to ¼ tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. paprika
Boil the potatoes and allow them to cool thoroughly.
Put the yogurt in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Add the salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne. Mix well.
Peel the potatoes and dice them into ½-inch cubes. Mix with the yogurt.
To serve: Pour yogurt and potatoes into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with paprika and serve. This dish may be made several hours in advance, covered tightly and refrigerated.
(Recipe courtesy of An Invitation to Indian Cooking, 1973.)
Recipe: Braised Winter Greens (Serves 4)
For best results, be sure your greens are fully cooked and tender in step 1 before moving on to step 2.
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 C.)
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. each kale & Swiss chard, ribs
removed, leaves chopped into
3-inch pieces and rinsed (about
24 loosely packed cups)
1 C. low-sodium chicken broth
1 C. water
2 to 3 tsp. juice from 1 lemon
ground black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens, broth, water, and ¼ teaspoon salt; quickly cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring, occasionally, until greens are tender, 25-35 minutes.
Remove lid and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (bottom of the pot will be almost dry and greens will begin to sizzle), 8 to 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and remaining teaspoon lemon juice. Serve promptly.
(Recipe courtesy of Cook's Illustrated, January & February, 2009.)
Daikon Radish: So, what is this vegetable and what can I do with it?
Believe it or not the Daikon Radish is a member (although far-flung) of the cabbage family. These long white roots are commonly found in Japanese and Indian cuisines where they are used as a cooking vegetable. The daikon are well known for their medicinal qualities and are a health-promoting food. Daikon radishes are milder than other radishes in flavor and can be used like any other root vegetable in cooking.
Storage: We recommend that you place them in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. Whatever portion you don't use for your meals, just wrap back up in plastic and place back in the fridge. They will keep for about two weeks if stored as such.
Uses: Mixed with grated beets, carrots and apples, grated raw daikon makes a wonderful winter salad. The raw daikon is also said to aid digestion and is nice used as a condiment with a heavy meal. Use the daikon as you would carrots or turnips in soups, stews, and stir-fries. They work well paired with basil, chives, curry powder, dill, ginger, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley & thyme. They are also no stranger to honey, lemon juice, miso, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, butter, cream, feta, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, onions and peas. Have fun coming up with your own combinations of the flavors above!
(Suggestions courtesy of and adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables, 2006.)