Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(From May 11) Passage Creek Farm CSA

The rain seems to have backed off for the time being, which means we can get some planting done this week. Our tomatoes are huge and so ready to be planted. It’s like a little forest in the greenhouse. The evenings are a little cool right now, but we should be safely post-frost within days. We have our first market this Saturday, so we’re excited to unload some our bedding plants that have been crowding the greenhouse onto the general public. It will be nice to be able to walk around in there!
The field is already crowded with weeds. We’ve tackled the weeding of the strawberries, which are in their second year, and hopefully will be plentiful enough to make an appearance in the spring shares. The peas are growing above the weeds for the moment, but the lamb’s quarters are gaining fast. We can still see the spinach and beets, but just barely. This week also begins our first foray into paid labor, since Katherine’s step-nephew will be visiting for two weeks and helping us out. He will be intimately familiar with the hand hoe by the time he goes home. Hopefully we won’t turn him off totally to gardening.

This Week:

Three heads lettuce (green leaf, butterhead, red leaf)
Swiss Chard (baby sized, you can leave the stems)

What to do with it:

Cilantro is THE love-it-or-hate-it herb, and it unfortunately does not pair well with THE love-it-or-hate-it vegetable, okra (unless you know something we don’t). But we at PCF love cilantro, and wish it were easier to grow and make plentiful for the whole season. We make black bean burritos once a week, and cilantro is always a treat. When we’re feeling adventurous and we make Indian food, we put cilantro in that, too. It’s a nice addition to salad dressing in moderation. If you hate it, don’t worry, you probably won’t see much of it after this week.
There are a couple of recipes on our website worth checking out this week: the Italian Bean Soup is great with kale or chard, as is the Cooked Greens Salad. And here’s one we featured last year in the newsletter for Lentil Soup with Kale:
Simmer one cup red lentils or yellow split peas in two cups water, with one small onion, diced; one or two cloves garlic, diced; a chopped carrot (not peeled); a tsp curry powder and ½ tsp turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until lentils are soft and then puree or put through a food mill. Return to cooktop and add more water if the soup is too thick. Add a chopped hot pepper or some red pepper flakes, and season with more curry or S/P if needed. Meanwhile, start some rice to go with the soup. Strip some kale leaves off the ribs and chop coarsely. Rinse and add to the lentil soup. Continue to simmer until the rice is done, at which time the kale should be nice and tender. Check for seasoning. Serve soup over rice and garnish with yogurt and chutney.
Normally we would tell you to boil the kale before cooking, but this weeks leave are young and very tender, so don’t over cook them. For the recipe above, we’ve found it’s not necessary to boil the kale first even with more mature leaves. Chard takes almost no time at all to sauté, maybe 5 minutes. We personally feel that overcooked greens are devoid of flavor and nutritional value, but others like hard-cooked greens, so follow your bliss.
Hope this gets your mouth watering!

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