You MAY have in your box: strawberries, lettuce, kale (Winterbor, Redbor, Red Russian, Tuscano/Dinosaur), chard (Fordhook white, gold, pink, and ruby), beets (Chiogga (red&white), Forono (long dark), Golden, White, Red Ace) and peas of some kind?
While it is true we grow about 6 varieties of June bearing strawberries, we also grow many varieties of lettuce, beets, chard, and kale. Yes, they all are slightly different and have their own special qualities. As nice as it is to understand the varieties of greens, knowing which pea you have is super important. In the next few weeks you might see shell, snap or snow peas. Not sure what’s what? Snow peas are flat, there are not any peas inside the pod. We grow two green varieties and a purple one; both are wonderful raw, and if you are cooking the purple ones, be sure to only saute them in a little butter for 4 minutes or less, lest their lovely purple hue turn green. One need only remove the top stem/calyx of the snow pea to enjoy. Snap peas are fully developed pods with peas inside them BUT the pod is part of the culinary package. Simply snap off the stem end, sometimes a string will come attached, and eat raw, or cook ever so briefly. Shell peas, the traditional pea, have fibrous pods with fully developed peas inside that need to be removed before enjoying. Still not sure if you can tell the difference between snap and shell peas? Bite one in half, chew. Is it pleasantly snappy and sweet? It’s a snap pea. Or did you end up with a wad of green fiber that cannot be completely chewed up? That would be your shell pea. Regardless of which pea you have, they are all sweet and delectable! If you do not see peas this week, you will next week 🙂
The beets are incredible right now. Did you know beets can naturally lower your cholesterol and blood pressure? Several studies show that drinking beet juice or eating beets can lower blood pressure 5 points for 24 hours. Cool, right? They are high in potassium and nitrates – plus, they are just downright yummy! The greens are high in potassium too 🙂 Try roasting or grilling your beets if you haven’t already done so. I quarter mine and toss them in olive oil and a little seasoning. We will probably have fennel next week, which is a wonderful combination with beets.
Coming up: peas, summer squashes, fennel…
We grow A LOT of kale. We eat a lot of kale too! Look for the classic Winterbor (dark green, frilly leaves), Redbor (the purple version of the Winterbor), Red Russian (a pink-red stemmed, smooth leaved with deep serrations), and Tuscan/Dinosaur, Black (long, lance-shaped, dark green, puckered)
The bluebirds have fledged another batch of nestlings! Faith and I had a blast watching Mama and Papa lead the little one’s out onto the Tulip Tree branches and they were all chittering at each other and flitting around. We still have four male Rose Breasted Grosbeaks at the feeder and one of them is a real fiend for suet.
Baked Risotto with Greens
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 3/4 cups low-salt vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup tomato sauce (jarred pasta sauce will do)
3/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1 bunch greens such as kale, beet greens, or chard, stems removed, washed and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
salt and pepper to tastePreheat oven to 400. In 1-quart baking dish, combine oil and onion over moderate heat. Cook until onion is soft, 3-4 minutes. Add rice, stir to coat with oil, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, and greens, and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat. Add half the cheese and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes, until rice is cooked through and has absorbed most of the liquid. Should be moist but not soupy.
Erica Fletcher (adapted from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria cookbook)
Check out Kale Crunch, Beet cake and Roasted Beet Salad, just click the magnifying glass on our website and search 🙂
Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup with Chorizo
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bruschetta
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 1 or 2 more whole cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 quarts chicken stock, water, or a combination
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch kale, large ribs removed, chopped
8 oz Stillman’s Chorizo
Heat oil in a large pot. Add garlic and oregano and cook no more than a minute. Add tomato paste and vinegar, and cook another minute. Add beans and stock and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add kale and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Season, to taste, again with salt and pepper before serving.