Week 3 – Early Season Bounty, Glimpses of Summer

The golden promise of future cucumbers!

Well, hello, members!  This past week has been a whirlwind.  Wait,  I feel like we’re always  saying that–and it will just get more whirlwind-y as the season carries us along on its merciless wave of activity.   And  speaking  of waves, we’re starting to feel the ebb and flow of the crops  as they are fully harvested, or bolt and flower, and must be pulled out and their former space replanted with the next crop.   Other crops, such as the squash, cucumbers and peas are now starting to flower and bear bold little fruits.  It’s a rare joy greater than walking through our fields and catching a glimpse of a smidge of yellow or purple or orange tucked away under a sheltering leaf.   We’re looking forward to harvesting them for you all.

Don’t worry, the radishes are Utah Approved.

This week, we have several new veggies to tempt your palates.  Garlic Scapes are the elegant, long skinny flower stalks that burst from certain types of garlic this time of year, and you should use the whole thing, up to the pointy tip to add a garlicky kick to any of your meals.  Another newbie is particularly thrilling to us, and that is Kohlrabi!  Now, you may be familiar with this funny-looking ball of delight, or it’s extremely likely that you’ve never, ever in your life seen or heard of it.  It’s named after the German words for “cabbage” (kohl) and “turnip” (rabi), and it’s a member of the brassica family, along with cabbage, kale, broccoli and many other vegetables we have been and will be feeding you this season.  It looks like a root, but it’s actually the plant’s enlarged stem.  People taste different veggies when they eat it, but Wes and I think it tastes most like an especially delicious broccoli stem mixed with cabbage and a bit of radish.  It’s very versatile, and can be sliced thin and eaten raw with a little salt or dip (maybe part of a crudite platter), or tossed in a stir-fry, or cubed and roasted, used in soup, grated and used as a base for cole slaw…I could go on.   In addition to the culinary aspect of this veggie, we also had a bit of a battle with a clever groundhog to preserve the kohlrabi crop.  We hope you enjoy!

This week in your share, you can expect:

  • Baby Beet Greens
  • Kohlrabi
  • Chard
  • Cabbage (Tues: Regular Green Head, Wed: Napa/Chinese, and next week it will switch)
  • Arugula
  • Mesclun
  • Head Lettuce
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Saute Mix
  • Spinach

KOHLRABI & APPLE SLAW with CREAMY COLESLAW DRESSING

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes 4 cups, easily adapted for less

DRESSING
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon good mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste – go easy here
Fresh mint, chopped

1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated or cut into batons with a Benriner
2 apples, peeled, grated or cut into batons (try to keep equivalent volumes of kohlrabi:apple)

Whisk cream into light pillows – this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

ROASTED KOHLRABI

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4 (smallish servings since roasted vegetables shrink so much)

1 1/2 pounds fresh kohlrabi, ends trimmed, thick green skin sliced off with a knife, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic (garlic is optional, to my taste)
Salt
Good vinegar

Set oven to 450F. Toss the diced kohlrabi with olive oil, garlic and salt in a bowl. (The kohlrabi can be tossed with oil and seasonings right on the pan but uses more oil.) Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and put into oven (it needn’t be fully preheated) and roast for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring every five minutes after about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a good vinegar (probably at the table so the kohlrabi doesn’t get squishy).

NAPA CABBAGE IDEA – KIMCHI

Wes and I are going to preserve some of the abundant napa cabbage available right now by turning it into kimchi, which is a spicy pickled delight.  You can add a variety of vegetables in with the cabbage, and some of the ones you are getting in your share this week would be great–radishes, garlic scapes, kohlrabi.  You can look up different recipes online, many of which are less complicated than the one below.  But I am going to post this one in particular, from “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Katz, because it’s a lot of fun.

Cabbage Kimchi

Timeframe: 1 week or longer

Ingredients (for 1 quart):

sea salt

1 pound Chinese/napa cabbage

1 daikon radish or a few red radishes

1 to 2 carrots

1 to 2 onions

3 to 4 cloves of garlic (or try scapes)

3 to 4 hot chilies (or more, depending on how hot you like things)

3 tablespoons (or more) fresh grated gingerroot

Process:

1.  Mix a brine of about 4 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of salt.  Stir well to thoroughly dissolve salt.  The bring should taste good and salty.

2.  Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice the radish and carrots, and let the vegetables soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged, until soft, a few hours or overnight.  Add other vegetables to the brine, such as snow peas, seaweeds, anything you like.

3.  Prepare spices: Grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole.  Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice.  Experiment with quantities and don’t worry too much about them.  Mix spices into a paste.  If you wish, you can add fish sauce to the paste.  Just check the label to make sure it has no chemical preservatives, which function to inhibit microorganisms.

4.  Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine.  Taste vegetables for saltiness.  You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so.  If they are too salty, rinse them.  If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple teaspoons of salt and mix.

5.  Mix the vegetables with the ginger-chili-onion-garlic paste.  Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart-size jar.  Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises.  If necessary, add a little bit of the vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables.  Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or a zip-lock bag filled with some brine.  Or if you think you can remember to check the kimchi every day, you can just use your (clean!) fingers to push the vegetables back under the brine.  Cover the jar to keep out dust and flies!

6.  Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place.  Taste the kimchi every day.  After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.  Yum!

See you at distribution!

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