Hi again. We are nearing the end of the season here at City Commons. In the boxes this week:
Tulsi Basil (Tuesday)
Sweet Potato Greens
Kohlrabi or Bok Choi (Tuesday)
Daikon Radish or Hakuri Turnips (Saturday)
For this week’s recipe, I have included an idea for a tulsi tea mixture that sounds delicious. Tulsi is also known as holy basil and has many beneficial properties. It its particularly useful for clearing mental fogginess and for fighting antigens. It is also a strong anti-inflamitory. I suggest drying the tulsi before using it in this recipe. You can do this with any left over or unused herb too. Hang upside down in a well ventilated spot away from direct sunlight. Herbs will dry within a week. Store in a paper bag until ready to use.
- 1 quart pure water
- 4T tulsi leaf or 2T powder
- 2T lemon grass
- 1T coriander seeds
- 1t anise seeds
- 1/4t vanilla powder or vanilla stevia
- 1/2t dried ginger root pieces or 1t fresh
- 1T coconut sugar or raw honey
- Infuse the above ingredients in boiling hot water for 20 minutes in a 1 quart jar with a lid.
- Strain, then add sweeteners and vanilla.
- Drink as a hot cup of tea or serve iced.
- You can store in the refrigerator for several days.
Another week passed me by and here is a late post. In case anyone was wondering what was in the boxes last week, they contained:
Turnips (hakuri, salad style turnips)
Here’s to another delicious week at City Commons CSA. Cheers!
This week we have:
Tomatoes (cherry and heirloom mix)
Parsley or Lemongrass
Collards or Mustard Greens or Spinach
Green Tomatoes or Eggplant
Spinach or Swiss chard recipe idea. So, I’ve noticed that pine nuts are less expensive than they were in years past, and I have been buying them to put in my pesto (yum). And then I remembered this delicious dish I used to make at Zingerman’s that is Spanish in origin and super simple. Sauté your spinach or chard with a generous amount of olive oil and a small amount of garlic. Do this on medium heat to wilt the greens rather than give color. (Use a large pan and stuff as many greens as you can into it. It will cook down). Once wilted, add raisins and salt, cook until the raisins are plump. Add toasted pine nuts. And chunks of soft goat cheese (optional). Serve warm.
There is plenty to enjoy this week as you work your way through another delicious box. Lots of greens are testament to the late summer cool weather we’ve had.
Braising Greens (including, collards, chard, kale, mustard)
Tomatoes (either cherry or heirloom)
I don’t know about you, but my fridge is beginning to be packed with extras from weeks past. I usually eat up what is most perishable first and leave some things that have storage potential for later. This has encouraged the accumulation of certain things in my crisper drawer. I really like to make a large pot of soup when I have a variety of veg that I just can’t seem to get onto the table in any other way. My kids have become increasingly picky eaters and will pick out large chunks of things that they find undesirable. I have begun making smaller cuts to have a more uniform soup that is harder to pick apart. The result is rewarding. Its prettier and the kids eat it all! I always start with onions, carrots and celery. Last night I added ground beef and cut it into chunks (this was the only chunky thing in the soup) with the spoon. Garlic, black pepper and a little bit of salt. Then cabbage, green beans, eggplant, herbs. I like to grind up my tomatoes in a blender before adding them to soup so I don’t get the skins floating on the top and the bitter seeds in the soup. I added three blended tomatoes, water, barley and a spoonful of Better than Bouillon (the secret ingredient to making quick and yummy soups). I left on an errand for an hour, and presto! Quick and delicious soup that everyone ate.
Now for the braising greens. What is braising?! It is using dry and hot heat followed by wet and low heat to cook something. In this case you will be braising your greens. I really like to start with either bacon or butter or both (sorry vegans! You could also use olive oil or peanut or raw sesame). Add onions, this is the dry part. Make sure those onions get coated in fat and become translucent, give them a little color. Add black pepper. Use lots of fat, that is the flavor for this dish. Now, while that is cooking, run a knife through your greens and wash them. Extract your greens from the water and put them WET into the pot (oh, this needs to be a pot, not a pan). Reduce the heat and stir to coat greens in fat and onion mixture. Cover to wilt greens, uncover and stir. Let cook for 30-45-60 minutes (depending on greens used and preference, collards take the longest to cook), add salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great way to use up an abundance of greens at once. Since they will cook down, add two or more bunches to your large stew pot. You will be surprised at how many greens you can eat!!
This week’s box contains lots of goodies! There is one item with which many people are unfamiliar, sweet potato greens.
Other items include:
Tomatoes (cherry or heirloom)
Basil (last week)
Beans or Salad Mix
Peppers (The little ones are shishito, larger ones are bell)
Sweet Potato Greens
So what would one do with sweet potato greens? I have stir fried them and put them in soup. But for more information, I turned to the World Wide Web. Cultures across the world use these greens as a source of vitamins and food. Some have suggested adding them to omelettes or quiche. Others have suggested using them for a substitute spinach in recipes like saag paneer. Try them and let us know what you think.
We farmers use the term sweet peppers to refer to any pepper that’s not spicy and, generally, one that has started to turn from green to red, yellow, or orange. When peppers change colors from green they tend to gain a little sweetness, hence “sweet peppers” In this week’s share you’ll receive one of two different varieties of sweet peppers, either cubanelles, long skinny peppers, or shishitos, a small, slender, wrinkled pepper.
You may be more familiar with cubanelles. While both peppers can be eaten fresh, these are going to be the better option. They have thicker walls, are juicier, and sweeter. Cubanelles are also delicious roasted or grilled with just a little olive oil and salt.
Shishitos are common in Japanese cooking, and while considered a sweet pepper you want to be careful, about one on ten has a spicy kick! This is the first year I’ve grown shishitos at Iroquois Ave Farm and I’ve been eating my fair share. My favorite way to prepare them is to roast them in a hot pan until the skin is blistered. This is the recipe I’ve been using: Roasted Shishito Peppers. They’re great just on their own or with a yogurt dipping sauce. Or you can roast them with sesame oil and make a ginger/soy dipping sauce. Either way I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been!
This week, we have an abundant harvest which is sure to require a larger bag for picking up.
Beets or Carrots
Eggplant or Summer Squash
Celery or Hot Peppers
Grab your share and get cooking!
My youngest daughter is a little bit picky. She likes vegetables but only sometimes. I’m not sure what the secret formula is or if it depends on her mood but I have a plan for sneaking kale into her little body. Potato and Kale Gratin was suggested to me by one of our members. Try it and let us know how it turns out!
Box contents this week include:
Beets or Carrots
Great eats this week from City Commons. I hope you’re not sick of tomatoes yet because we have another dose of cherries and large slicing tomatoes. Also included in this week’s box:
Asian pears, or early apples
Eggplant or Summer squash
The other day, I was heating a large pot of water to boil corn on the cob. While it boiled, I remembered how delicious blanched vegetables can be. So I cut a bunch of of Swiss chard and a small head of cabbage into ribbons threw them into the boiling water, waited until the water came back to a boil and removed them from the water into a bowl of cold water (purists use ice water). (Almost any vegetable can be flash cooked in this way. I love green beans and broccoli blanched too.) Then I tossed the chard and cabbage with a clove of minced garlic, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. This was very yummy with rice, tofu and a runny egg. Try the same exact recipe with your green beans this week. Or mix the beans and chard. The resulting vegetables are firm yet deliciously chewy and bright green!
Cool weather has been great for keeping veggies looking good in this last half of summer. This week we present you with a beautiful array of classic vegetables to entice your eyes and mouths.
Basil (Genovese, lemon or holy)
Summer Squash (Patty pan, yellow crookneck or zucchini)
Various Slicing Tomatoes (Mostly heirloom)
I have two quick and easy recipes to share with you. First, cabbage. If you are anything like me, the cabbage is building up a little bit in the fridge. Use several small heads or one large one in this recipe. Cut cabbage into ribbons and place in a glass or ceramic baking pan. Add chopped garlic (or onions), salt and pepper, a quarter cup each olive oil and water. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until tender. I love this recipe because you can start it early and do something entirely different for an hour or more while dinner cooks. Serve with almond or green pea rice.
Ok, next the squash. Heat olive oil in pan. Be generous, it’s good for you. Slice squash and leave to brown on the first side. Add chopped garlic and flip squash. Salt and pepper or soy sauce to taste. Let get nice and toasty and eat with toast. Or rice or noodles…