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5th Share for the 2014 Boxed CSA

Posted 6/25/2014 3:57pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hello everyone! Happy official summer to you all. We have some great items in the box this week for you!

Box 5:

 

This week herbs are in abundance. It would be a great week to try some different methods of herb preservation. Herbs do well with their stems in clean water, like in a jar on the counter or in a jar with a plastic bag over the tops in the fridge for extra long life. There must not be any leaves in the water so either strip the stems or don’t fill the water too high or some combo. Just as with cut flowers, their longevity depends on perfectly clean water. If possible place the jars in a cool place out of sunlight. These herbs also store very well in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If you know you won’t be able to use all this herbage fresh you have several options: drying, pesto, compound butter, flavored vinegar, etc. There are lots and lots of possibilities. You could make an herb dip or mayo or salad dressing. You can tear fresh herb leaves into your salad mix if you want a little burst of flavor. To dry herbs, hang the bunch upside down in a cool place out of direct sun. you can hook them onto a nail or rig up a piece of string to hang them on. You can make pestos in a blender of food processor. You’ll have an easier time if you coarsely chop the ingredients before they go in (particularly with a blender). The garlic scapes would be an excellent combo with parsley pesto. You can freeze your product in ice cube trays and then store in a freezer bag (dated and labeled, of course) to use at will for the rest of the season – when you want to add flavor to a winter soup, or to a potato salad two weeks from now. Compound butters are fabulous, let your imagination be your guide. Roughly chop your herbs/ingredients of choice and put in a food processor with room temperature butter (quantity depends on how much stuff you’re using and what ratio you like). Blend well, scraping around the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl before the final blend. Turn out onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper and form into a log. Put in the freezer. Move to a dated, labeled freezer bag and now you have a flavor vehicle on hand. Slice off a few rounds of your herb butter to add to mashed potatoes, fish to roast, tuck under the skin of a roast chicken, roll hot corn-on-the-cob in it. Thaw to room temp to serve on fresh biscuits or Iggy’s French rolls. Let your imaginations go wild – and then tell me about your ideas!!!

 

Parsley. A touch of parsley can add such brightness to most any dish. There are lots of nutrients in this supergreen leaf. I like to give the parsley treatment to all sorts of things: Creamy Polenta, Risotto, Soups, Bread Crumbs for Oven Baked Chicken, Salad Dressings, Marinades, Egg Scrambles, Salsa, Mayo, Sandwiches, you name it. It is important not to overpower your family/dinner guests with the entire bunch of parsley on one dish. It does have a strong flavor, which not everyone loves like me. Parsley is the counterbalance to garlic in terms of breath freshening. A small bunch in a batch of pesto gives a nice balance to the fresh garlic. 

 

Dill. You can cook dill with seafood, use it in pasta or potato salads, or make tasty dips with! Or use some cucumbers to try this recipe for Fresh Pickles. 

 

Cilantro. This herb is fabulous and versatile. It can really pull together a tray of nachos or some bean and cheese burritos. But cilantro is also the perfect finish for Thai curries or fish tacos. I find white onions, finely diced with chopped cilantro, salt, and a squeeze of lime is a wonderful addition to any sort of taco, burrito, or even as a condiment with grilled fish or meat. Fresh chopped cilantro is also the secret to stepping up a jar of salsa to enjoy with tortilla chips. You could also use a food processor and lots of this parsley to make a great Indian-style green chutney.

 

Swiss Chard. Steam or sautee with garlic and olive oil. I usually tear the leaves from the stem, as the stems can be stringy with the large chard leaves. If you want to use the stems, just dice them and add with the garlic, before adding the greens. Chard is nice for making a simple pasta (chard and ricotta or chard, feta, toasted walnuts) or for adding to a grain salad (maybe with some pine nuts and golden raisins). Great for adding to a soup or an egg scramble.

3 Heads of Lettuce (Red Romaine, Green Butterhead, and Green Leaf)

Escarole. This is the head of green lettuce-looking stuff. Escarole is a bitter green that can be eaten raw torn into a salad, but is more often cooked or added to soups. My favorite preparation is Escarole & White Beans. I cook the coarsely chopped greens with olive oil and garlic, add a can of cannelloni beans with the juice, add enough stock for the desired thickness of the soup, and simmer until the flavors meld a little bit. You could certainly include sausage or little meatballs (for an Italian Wedding Soup style). Or try this Lentil Soup with sausage and escarole!

Scallions

Beets. Beets store best with the tops off. Beets will keep for quite a while, topless, in a plastic bag in the fridge. Most people are used to boiling or steaming beets. If you boil – I suggest doing them whole, removing when fork tender, and peeling afterwards with a fork and knife. Steaming is a way to cook them pretty fast, particularly if you slice them into thin rounds first. The best flavor comes from roasting the beets. Scrub the beets, put them on a cookie sheet in a foil packet, drizzling a little bit of olive oil and tossing in a pinch of salt before sealing tightly. Bake at 400 or so for about an hour. When done, I remove from the oven, but leave in the foil. I think it tends to steam and make the peel easier to remove. I like to do that when they’ve cooled, but you can do it while they are hot if you use a fork and knife. At this point, you can serve the roasted beets as a side or keep on hand for adding to salads or you can make a roasted beet salad – diced roasted beets with minced red onion, parsley, and blue cheese with shallot-balsamic vinaigrette is excellent. Goat cheese is always a popular topping for some roasted beets. And you can even use the beet greens for some tasty dishes too, like this one!

Pearl Drop Onions. These will keep freshest in the fridge (treat them almost as a scallion). Good-looking green tops can be used like scallion greens. The bulb is a nice sweet onion. Perfect for a quick pickle, dicing to put on a hot dog, halving to put on a skewer to grill, as a base to tuna salad, or anywhere you would normally want to have an onion.

qt. Snow peas

Garlic Scapes

1 slicing cucumber

1 Kohlrabi. The easiest preparation is to peel the outer skin and slice it into veggie sticks for snacking with a creamy dressing. Sprinkling with lemon juice and salt also makes a great, quick snack! Grate it into a fresh slaw or roast cubes of it. I think it would be good cut into matchsticks for a stir-fry with your bok choy as well. I looked up some recipes and found that kohlrabi is popular for Indian curries. A lot of the recipes include the kohlrabi greens, too! Here is one recipe I found. I haven't tried this one yet, so if you do, let me know how it is!