ATHENS HILLS WINTER CSA:
I hope you are all doing very well this week. The sunshine always helps me feel better and it seems to have the same effect on all of our vegetables this time of year. Everything is springing back to life after a bit of dormancy over the last month or so. Today I even found some "volunteer" violas about to bloom growing amongst the spinach plants in the Creek House (we haven't planted those in that green house for two years now!). Another sure sign of things perking up is the salad mix in your shares this week. The lettuces are waking back up and we're happy to included them again. Today being Mardi Gras, perhaps we should all celebrate the life that is coming back slowly but surely :)!
I've been working hard on the Summer CSA brochure (yet another sign of warmer temps.) and I wanted you all to know that I am hoping to email it out to current and past members in a week or two. If you know of someone who might also be interested, please feel free to forward the email to them or have them contact me and I will add their names to our CSA information request list. I am so excited about the offerings for the Summer '09 season and can't wait to share the brochure with you so keep an eye out for it soon.
For those of you who don't have a use for the canning jars that the last batch of tomatoes came in, we would love to have them back to use again this summer. We will be setting out brown boxes this week for you to place them in when you come to pick up your shares. Thanks so much for your help with this and 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.)
Micro Mix Microgreens (Yes, the dynamic combination of sunflower, radish, buckwheat, cabbage and kogane is back this week. These fresh little greens always remind me that spring is just around the corner. I hope they give you that ray of hope as well.)
Shiitake Mushrooms (Yum! I hope that you are finding many uses for these fungi. If you are stuck, check out the recipe I've included this week for a great pasta sauce.)
Kale (Many of you have commented on how wonderful the kale has been this winter--thanks! Don't forget that you can juice it along with your other favorite fruits & veggies for a fabulous vitamin-packed punch in the morning. Check out some of the nutritional benefits of kale that I've posted on the blog.)
Spinach (Yes, here it is again this week. If you are feeling overwhelmed with this fabulous green, just steam it briefly, drain, let it cool, and place it in freezer bags in your freezer to enjoy later this year when you can't get fresh sweet spinach.)
Salad Mix (Yeah! Its back after a good rest period. While the lettuces have recovered slightly, they should really start booming if we keep having beautiful sunny days like today. Yes, spring is just around the corner.)
Turnips (These beauties are fantastic boiled, tossed with olive oil, rosemary, salt & pepper, and roasted for a warm winter side dish that is sure to please.)
Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Spinach Rotollo (Serves 4 to 6)
For the Rotollo...
1 lb. fresh spinach
6 scallions, white & light
½ C. ricotta
2 oz. feta cheese
crumbled (½ C.)
2 tsp. capers, drained,
freshly ground pepper
2 sheets fresh pasta
(10 X 6 inches)
generous ½ lb. thinly
1 egg lightly beaten with
2 tsp. water
For the salad...
6 large handfuls salad
½ C Lemon Vinaigrette
(see below), or
For the Lemon Vinaigrette...
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. tarragon vinegar
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 C. light vegetable oil
coarse kosher salt &
pepper to taste
Combine the egg, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and thyme in a blender or food processor and blend for 1 minute. With the machine still running, slowly add the oil in a
thin steady steam, blending until the dressing is smooth and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The dressing will remain emulsified and will keep well, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for several weeks.
For the meal...
Rinse the spinach thoroughly and place it in a large pot with the water still clinging to the leaves. Cover and steam over medium-high heat until the leaves are tender and wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot, squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible, and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, scallions, ricotta, feta, and capers. Stir together to combine thoroughly, and season to taste with pepper.
Spread ½ cup of the filling evenly over one of the pasta sheets, leaving a ½ inch border on all sides. Top with one half of the salmon slices in a single layer, and fold the long edges in over the filling. Begin rolling from the short end, jellyroll fashion, keeping the long edges tucked in. Roll loosely, applying as little pressure as possible and taking care not to squeeze the filling out. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash along the remaining ½ inch border, and lightly press in place to seal and complete the roll. Wrap the entire roll in a single layer of cheesecloth, twisting the ends to seal them. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheet. (The rolls can be prepared to this point up to 1 day in advance; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add the pasta rolls in their cheesecloth wrapping. Poach in the simmering water for 15 minutes. Remove, drain, and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Rinse the salad mix and pat the leaves dry. Toss in a bowl with the vinaigrette, and arrange a bed of salad on each serving plate.
Remove the cheesecloth from the rolls and slice them into ¾-inch-thick rounds. Serve warm or at room temperature, on top of the salad.
(Recipe adapted from Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, 1998.)
Recipe: Artichoke Sauce with Mushrooms & Greens (Serves 4)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 C. minced onion
¾ lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried sage
½ lb. kale or other green, stemmed
3 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbs. vegetable broth or water (or for
a zippier taste, white wine)
1 Tbs. unbleached white flour
2 6oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts
freshly ground black pepper to taste
about 6 leaves fresh basil, minced
3 to 4 Tbs. milk or cream--optional
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, ½ teaspoon salt, thyme, and sage. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add the greens, garlic, and remaining salt. Stir, cover, and cook another 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add the broth, water or wine, and wait until it bubbles. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring as you sprinkle. Cook uncovered for another minute or two, stirring constantly. The liquid will thicken.
Cut the artichokes into bite-sized pieces. Add these to the skillet, along with all the liquid from the jars. Grind in some black pepper, stir in the basil, and, if desired, stir in the milk or cream. Remove from heat and serve over pasta, plain cooked rice or baked potatoes.
(Recipe courtesy of The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, 2000.)
I hope you enjoy your share and have a wonderful week!