Thursday, June 28, 2012

People & Planet CSA June 28, 2012

Lettuce and Greens...just about all harvested

What's in the box 

Early Garlic from Poland,  Huazontle (Red Aztec Spinach),  First Potatoes of the season, last of the  Beets,   Dried Leeks,  Portuguese Stuffing Cabbage, strawberries, a little vase of herbs, Beurre de Rocquencourt green beans and lettuce.

This week's special gift:  Straw Ginger Marmalade  (Strawberry, Ginger, Lime, Lemon & Blood Orange).  Try getting that all on one label.

or Sunshine Cocktail Mix

Leo recommends this.  Mix 1 jar to 4 jars of water, pour over ice and serve.  We added Gin and it was wonderful.  Just the thing for Saturday after chores.  All we needed was a hammock built for two or two hammocks and a cabana boy to bring another pitcher.
Corn on the left, dry beans on the right, squash in the back

In Holly's Kitchen
In my kitchen I always keep basil in a vase in the window.  I have tried all kinds of ways to keep basil fresh, but once it's out of the garden, this is it.  I keep picking leaves off of mine until it's gone, then I run out and pick another.  What I love best about summer is basil.   This is the first of the season, so there's just enough there to herb up some eggs.  So where are the tomatoes to go with it?  Well, they're still sleeping.  There were enough at the stage that we could have all had fried green tomatoes, but then I wouldn't know which variety made the first ripe tomatoes this year.  I tell you it's neck and neck out there.  I've offered a bonus to the tomato plant with the first ripe tomatoes and I'm guessing that after the 4th we'll have them.  Last year we had tomatoes on July 14, and I have asked the tomatoes to beat that record by three days. 

Beurre de Rocquencourt (I originally wrote about these on August 3, 2011).  I liked these French beans so much that we have them again this year.   It's likely that we'll have a bumper crop of beans this year.  The French Filets, and Ilanz are coming along.  Behind them a bit are the Romano's and lots of new ones.  So I'm going to try and give you a new Green Bean Recipe every week for a few weeks.  These yellow wax beans stay crisp after you cook them so they are perfect in stir fry or Zack's favorite, Tempura!

Giraffes were here, pruning
Tempura Green Beans
  • It's good to use cold/ice water for the batter. This is important to prevent the batter from absorbing too much oil.
  • Preparing the batter ahead of time is not recommended. It's good to make the batter right before frying tempura. Try not to over mix the batter and not to coat ingredients with the batter too much.
  • If you are frying both seafood and vegetables, try to fry vegetables first, then fry seafood.
  • It's said that the right temperature to fry tempura is around 340-360 degree F. To check the temperature of frying oil, drop a little bit of batter into the oil. If the batter comes up right away instead of sinking to the bottom of the pan, it's higher than 370 degrees F. If the batter goes halfway to the bottom and comes up, it's about 340-360 degrees F.   Use a high heat oil (Sunflower, Corn, Peanut, or Vegetable Oil).
1 Cup of flour
1 T. of cornstarch
1 1/2 C. Selzer Water

Mix these together, dip your green beans and fry.  Yes you can use regular water, but the bubbles seem to make the batter lighter.  Leo dips the veges in flour and then the batter and then fries.  Everyone has their own ideas and gets underfoot when tempura is being made.

Huazontle (Red Aztec Spinach)  Think of this as Wild Spinach
High in vitamin C and rich in riboflavin, one cup of cooked wild spinach provides an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamins E, B6, and thiamine. Wild spinach actually contains substantially more nutrients than cultivated spinach.

Lamb's quarters (wild spinach) is a delicate, leafy green and may be used as a substitute for baby spinach, though is best in cooked preparations. Used widely in Latin cuisine it is often paired with fresh cheeses and chile sauces. Pair with fresh citrus and berries, nuts, strong cheeses, spring vegetables such as peas and asparagus, eggs and potatoes; toss with hot pasta or grains until barely wilted. Lamb's quarters (wild spinach) has a more mild, less metallic flavor than mature spinach and is complimented by vinaigrette, fresh herbs, garlic, toasted bread and beans. Keep baby spinach cool and dry until ready to use.   It's great in quiche, or scrambled eggs.  Remove all the stems when you prepare it and just use the leaves.  You can even use wild spinach to make pesto!
View from the chicken beans!

Huazontle and Beans
1 pound fresh lambsquarters or Huazontle, leaves only!
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
A bit of dried leeks (crumble them smaller), I used a handful
1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse greens several times to make sure that all sand and grit are removed. Steam greens in tightly covered pot until wilted. Drain greens and finely chop them. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic/leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in greens, beans and chili powder. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Feel free to add pasta to this dish and serve with a side of garlic bread.  

Wild Squash
What's coming:  Tomatoes, corn, and zukes .  I saw the first 2 zukes this morning.   

Have a great 4th. 

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