Cooking With This Week's Box
|Photo from iheartnaptime.net|
Mini Green Romaine Head Lettuce:
|Photo from itsybitsykitchen.com|
Green Top Red or Diana Radishes:
Hon Tsai Tai:
Welcome to week 4 of our CSA season and the last week of May! The month of May has been interesting, to say the least. In one month we’ve had temperatures in the 90’s and just this last week we woke up to frost in the valley! Despite an unusual spring and the uncertainty of the weather, Mother Nature still delivers and we continue to have food on our tables. This week we’re not featuring one particular vegetable, but rather a category of vegetables that we’re loosely calling “greens.” As I mention in this week’s vegetable feature article (See below), we have long been advocates for “eating your greens every day!” The good news is, greens are nature’s fast foods. They are quick and easy to cook and versatile in their use. This week’s featured recipe is for Marilyn’s Stir-fry Sauce (See below). Marilyn is a longtime CSA member and shared this recipe with me several years ago. It’s a great sauce that can be made in advance so you can make a quick stir-fry on the fly using any seasonal greens or vegetables you have available. It’s called creative cooking, following your instinct and using what you have available to you at that moment. So get creative with your vegetable combinations and use up some of those greens in this week’s box!
Following along with our theme of “Eat Your Greens…Every Day,” I also included recipe suggestions for using radish tops as well as the unique hon tsai tai. There are many ways you can eat and enjoy radish tops, but I like this recipe for Radish top Pasta with Chickpeas and Parsley. While Hon Tsai Tai and Shiitake Potstickers do take a little time to assemble, but they are fun to make and very tasty!
In addition to a lot of green-centric recipes this week, I’ve also included a recipe for Rhubarb Cheesecake and Sparkling Rhubarb Lemonade as well as Cheesy Baked Asparagus with Gruyere Cheese, Garlic & Bacon and Sheet Pan 30-Minute Sticky Apricot Chicken and Asparagus. These spring vegetables won’t be around for very long, so enjoy them while they are in season!
Looking ahead to next week, we’re hoping our first crop of Baby White Salad Turnips will be ready. We’re also hoping to start harvesting cilantro soon, along with more head lettuce from the field. Before I close out this week, I want to thank everyone who has been participating in our private Facebook Group. There have been some awesome suggestions, shares and interaction since the start of deliveries. It’s really fun to see what everyone is cooking up! If you aren’t part of our group yet, we encourage you to join so you don’t miss out on the fun!
Have a good week—
Vegetable Feature: Eat Your Greens. . . Every Day!
by Andrea Yoder
|Hon Tsai Tai|
|Head Lettuce starting in the tunnel Greenhouse|
|Red Radishes in the field, don't |
forget to eat the green tops too!
As we wrap up this discussion I want to circle back to my comment that greens are “Nature’s Fast Food.” While some greens such as collards and kale do require a little longer cooking time, most greens can be turned into a meal pretty quickly as they are quick cooking and/or may simply be eaten raw. I use this attribute to my advantage when I need to put a healthy meal on the table quickly, which is most days! In less than 10 minutes I can sauté greens and serve them with a fried egg on top or mix them into scrambled eggs, hot rice or pasta, hot beans or soups. I can also use greens to make a quick stir-fry. In the time it takes to cook rice, I can stir-fry greens and other seasonal vegetables along with protein such as beef or chicken. Add a quick sauce such as the recipe featured in this week’s newsletter and you can sit down to a nutritious meal in little time.
For greens that may be eaten raw, the key to quick preparation is to invest a little time in advance to make sure the greens are washed, cleaned and ready to go. I also like to keep a simple vinaigrette or salad dressing in the refrigerator. If I have clean greens and a vinaigrette, I can create a salad very quickly. In fact, it can become a main dish by adding protein such as cooked chicken, beef, tofu, nuts or seeds.
We hope you enjoy incorporating more greens into your daily meals and hopefully these tips have helped you see how to use them to your advantage, both so you don’t miss out on their valuable nutrients, but also for the ways they can help make your meal prep quick and painless so you can eat well in the midst of a busy life.
Marilyn's Stir Fry Sauce
This is an all-purpose stir-fry sauce which goes well with a vegetarian meal as well as with chicken, pork, shrimp or beef. It keeps well in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar, which is why the proportions in this recipe allow enough for two meals.
This sauce is added after the vegetables and meats are stir-fried. The final mixture is then brought back just to a boil before serving.
All the ingredients can be purchased at a good grocery store. The toasted sesame oil is needed for flavor, and can be reduced (but not omitted) to lower the fat content. The minimal alcohol involved is used to bring out flavors prior to its evaporation.
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
2 cups (14.5 oz can) chicken or vegetable stock
3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp rice wine or cooking sherry (dry cocktail sherry)
- In a small saucepan, heat sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 15-30 seconds over medium heat to bring out the flavor. Add chicken stock, soy sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice. Bring just to a boil, stirring all the time.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the rice wine, then whisk this into the sauce. Heat until the sauce thickens and reaches a full boil. Continue to stir the sauce as it thickens. Simmer just below boiling for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Any portion of sauce that you are not using right away should be cooled and then poured into a quart jar. Store it in the refrigerator until needed.
This recipe was shared by Marilyn Chohaney, long time CSA member and friend of the farm! It may be used to make your own custom stir-fries utilizing any combination of seasonal vegetables available throughout the year. During this time of year you can make some tasty stir-fries using green garlic, scallions, asparagus, radishes, greens, baby white turnips, etc. In the summer you may use peppers, zucchini, white onions, chard, fresh garlic and broccoli. As you can see, there is no recipe with exact quantities and ingredients. This is a loose concept that you can vary and play with throughout the season. You may choose to make a vegetable only stir-fry, or you can add protein of your choosing. Garnish your stir-fry with toasted cashews or almonds, sesame seeds, or even fresh cilantro.