First off, a reminder that Twin City boxes will be delivered on Tuesday this week to their normal locations at their normal time of day because of the holiday.
So after a bit of a slow start to the season the real summer weather has begun! The sun announced it’s presence quite firmly over the week, and the plants have been responding in kind. Our long anticipated hot season crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, are looking ecstatic to be alive, while the heat also signifies a break in the production of some of the colder season plants (see you in the fall, spinach!). Brandon and I have been braving the near 100 degree temps to make sure everything has ample water, and are happy to report that all is well. Even that mammoth storm that bullied through much of Minnesota spared us it’s golf-ball sized hail, so your veggies are still intact.
Here is a rundown of the veggies you will be receiving this week in the boxes.
And the surprise- garlic roasters!
These finely crafted ceramic pieces were made by Eric Mullis, a Twin Cities potter and artist. Him and the kind folks over at the Dock 6 pottery studio had the idea of adding a pottery share option to go along with our vegetable CSA. The idea is that throughout the season, members of the pottery share would receive pieces of pottery that coincide with what’s going on in the boxes for those weeks. The garlic roaster in your box is just a sample; other items include a vegetable roasting tray, and a set of bowls. Both Brandon and I are signed up for the pottery share and couldn’t be more excited about it. Check out the pottery share page to see more of Eric and our other potters work or e-mail us if you’re interested in signing up! Minnesota garlic won’t start showing up in your box for a few more weeks, but to use the roaster: cut off the top 1/4 inch of the garlic bulb, place in roaster and coat with olive oil and season with salt or other seasonings if desired. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. The cloves can be scooped out with a knife afterwards and will spread like butter on a nice piece of bread!
Back to vegetables-
Pac choi returns for her second appearance! Often tossed into stir fries, but can be a refreshing addition to a cold salad as well. Just chop up the the entire plant; the leaves are yummy too!
Green onions & garlic scapes:
The alium family- which includes both onions and garlic- is so essential to cooking and cuisine in general that we’ve been doing our best to try to include at least one member in each box. This week we have two! The tender shoots of the green onions and garlic scapes are delicious in a sauté or minced as a garnish to just about anything.
No need to tell you what to do with these guys. Below is a recipe for a refreshing summer time salad. The staggering heat makes it a tough go for these tender heads, but they continue to amaze us with their dedication on getting into your boxes.
Can’t get enough of this Mediterranean herb. Legend has it that the Greek goddess Aphrodite created aromatic oregano as a symbol of joy and grew it in her garden on Mount Olympus. And thousands of years later t I get to eat it almost every morning when Brandon cooks up his famous fritatas. Throw some feta cheese, green onions, and oregano in your eggs for a yummy breakfast.
A mild, soothing herb, chamomile can be steeped in hot water just as is for a comforting night time tea. Great for relaxing after all the excitement stirred up by he coming of your CSA box. The yellow flower heads are where the flavor is at, but the white petals and stems can be steeped too. You can preserve it by hanging the bunch until dry, then save the heads in a jar or bag and enjoy any time of the year! Tea bags are recommended for this one as it has a little more debris than the previous tea herbs.
Similar in appearance to dill, fennel has a distinct sweet licorice flavor that is unparalleled in the vegetable world. The whole plant is edible and makes a great addition to almost any salad, including the recipe below.
This bloody delight actually shares a common ancestor with swiss chard. Only, one group of farmers started breeding the plant for it’s meaty, bulbous root, while another group started breeding it for it’s rainbow colored, tasty stems.
Green Cabbage (full share only):
The variety is known as Galaxy cabbage (don’t ask me why). It’s a great ‘slaw cabbage, to be shredded along with shredded carrots, and even shredded beets if you’re feeling adventurous and colorful (though some people have minor allergic reactions to raw beet). Click here for a great creamy coleslaw dressing recipe.
Recipe of the week:
Beet, Orange, Fennel, and Feta salad
– 1 bunch of beets, tops trimmed all but one inch (save the beet greens, they’re great!)
– 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– roughly 4 oranges
– 1 fresh fennel bulb, cut thinly
– 1 or 2 green onions, finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– salt and pepper to taste
– a cup or two of coarsely crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place all beets in a metal pan and drizzle 3 tablespoons of the oil over them- sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cover the pan with foil and roast beets until tender, should take a little over an hour. Uncover and cool completely. Peel beets, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, and place in large bowl, each color on opposite side; sprinkle with salt and pepper..Cover and chill until they reach room temperature. Cut all peel and pith off of the oranges. Working over a bowl to catch orange juice, cut between the membranes to release segments. Add the orange segments, fennel, and green onions to bowl with beets. Transfer a couple of teaspoons orange juice to small bowl and whisk in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Stir into beet mixture. Now if you want to put this in with the lettuce you can mix it in, or just have it as it is. Sprinkle feta cheese on top and there you have it! One of my very favorites.
Until next week, bon appetite and a happy Independence Day!