*** I made a last second decision for tomorrow. Normally I don’t put Southern (Cabbage) Collards in the box due to their size, but these are just too beautiful not to include. See below in the crop description for the traditional recipe, and also a newfangled way I like to cook them. If you don’t want to prepare them right away, they hold very well in the refrigerator. I also found a short, simple youtube video that shows a great way to use a lot of the ingredients in the box. I really like this lady. A very low-tech video showing simple, clean, good food.
I had a great time on delivery day last week. I got to see a lot of Members or at least wave to them. I got quite a few pictures sent to my phone as well. At least one non-human mammal seems to like the carrots. 🙂 We won’t have Rutabagas again until next week, but one Member swears by them as fries – in lieu of potatoes.
TFF Members’ Culinary Creations
Oh man is this soup as tasty as it is beautiful. Miss Jean does some fantastic preparations and this is definitely a Winter winner.
Carrot and Beet Soup
modified from Martha Stewart
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 1 cup sliced Shallots or Green Onions
- 2-3 cloves chopped Garlic
- 3 large Thyme sprigs (or equivalent of dried)
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons ground Coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground Cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon hot Red Pepper flakes
- 3 pounds Carrots thickly sliced
- 1 pound Beets, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 8 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
(Note: I just used all of the carrots and all the beets from my CSA box. It worked out well. No need to peel the beautiful carrots)
Heat oil in heavy pot over medium heat until it shimmers
Cook shallots/onion and garlic with thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper , stirring until onion tender
Add beets, carrots, coriander, cumin, 2 tsp salt, some pepper, and 8 cups water
Bring to a boil and simmer covered until veggies are very tender. (20 minutes?)
Discard bay leaves and thyme stems (if used)
Puree the soup. A stick/immersion blender work great for this. If you have one, you can just puree it in the pot. If you don’t have one, be very careful and do only small batches of the hot soup in the blender. You don’t want o spray it all over your kitchen!
Return to pot and add wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish as you choose. A dollop of sour cream is delicious. Also chopped cilantro, avocado slices, pepitas, pistachios, or whatever.
This Week’s Crop Theme Is “Crazy Weather but Fresh Beautiful Crops.”
Beets are in the Amaranthaceae family (sub-family Chenopodiaceae,) which is really just a complicated way to say they are related to spinach and swiss chard. In fact, beet greens are an excellent nutty-tasting addition or substitute to (and for) spinach. In today’s box, though, is the beet roots only.
I’ve got Miss Jean’s beautiful Carrot and Beet Soup recipe above. I’ve tried it and it is fantastic. It’s worth giving a shot. Once you know how to make this base, you can adapt the recipe to many crops. Check next week for turnip soup.
Sweet potatoes are the main edible plant in the Convolulacaea (Morning Glory) family. The other is an Asian Water Spinach, aka “Swamp Cabbage” that I think is probably better left in that distant hemisphere. Next year we will be growing some specialty white and red sweet potatoes.
One of the easiest and best ways to prepare sweet potatoes is to cook them in the microwave before finishing them in the oven until they are roughly 200 degrees on the inside, then move to a 425 degree oven to bake for an hour. Seems like a lot I know. I got this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine/website and I consider them the best resource for all things culinary. THIS POST HERE is EXCELLENT. I promise it’s worth reading. If you’re like me, you want to understand the “why,” and Cook’s always gives you the best information.
I promise. You’ll never forget this preparation and you’ll make the best sweet potatoes you’ve ever had every time from then on.
Lacinato (Dino) Kale
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. Frankly, this is one of our favorite crops in every aspect. It’s a magnificent field crop – easy to grow, easy to harvest, holds well in heat and cold. We even include it in our baby greens mix and use it as a microgreen.
It’s also the best tasting and most versatile kale, culinarily speaking (in my opinion.) Baby leaf lacinato kale is terrific just raw. The bunch sized leaves can be added to a spinach sautee to make a heartier wilt. I’ve even used the leaves to make wraps, both cold and hot. Something else to keep in mind about collard and kale during these trying times is that they have the most Vitamin D of any other vegetable except mushrooms (vegetable?) This Lacinato Kale gets my MVP award.
You can also use kale in lieu of or in combination with Green Mustard in the Massaged Green Mustard from the video above.
Southern “Cabbage Collards”
This Southern variety, when grown traditionally, has a very long season. When planted in the early Spring, it isn’t uncommon for the farmer to pull off the outside leaves all Summer long, then allow them to “head up” going through the Fall and into the Winter.
As in the video above, this kale makes an excellent wrap because it’s sturdy. If you find them too tangy raw – which you shouldn’t this time of year – quickly parboil them in salted water before using them as wraps.
This preparation from A Fork’s Tale, is the old school, traditional way to make Southern collards. When I do it this way, I like start with some chopped bacon in the bottom of the stock pot. Once it’s renedered out a lot of the fat, I add the green onions (from the box) chopped, and once they are cooked down a bit, I deglaze with either white wine or (even better) vermouth. Then add the collard greens, wilt them, add the water and bring to a boil, reduce the temp and simmer for 45 minutes or so.
Hail to the Kale Mix
Technically, because these are brassicas and not lettuce type greens, most people would consider this a braising mix, but, these kales are so fresh and so cold-sweet that I would make a salad preparation similar to our Massaged Mustard Greens Salad.
Try this. Pour out whatever amount of Kale Mix you need onto a clean surface like the cutting board in this picture to the left. Take a rolling pin and roll over the greens a few times before tossing them into a bowl . Make yourself a simple red or white wine vinaigrette by whisking a half cup of olive oil into a quarter cup of red wine vinegar mixture (mix has S&P, honey to taste, dijon mustard dollop for emulsifier, and whatever herbs you like.) Just remember the 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, don’t forget the emulsifier, and you’re good to go after that with whatever aromatics you choose.
Carrots with Tops
Carrots are in the Apiaceae family along with celery, parsnip, dill, fennel, coriander, chervil, cumin and parsley. We will always do our best to have carrots for as many weeks of the year as possible. The carrots are larger now, full-sized, but they are still just so fresh right out of the ground. I am doubling up on bunches as I’ve heard that the Membership children really love them.
These carrots are perfect for this week’s featured Members’ Culinary Creation, Carrot and Beet Soup. What a beautiful dish!
You can also make the Carrot Hummus from our video series
Green Onions (aka Spring Onions)
I have fallen in love with this member of the Alluim family. From a grower’s standpoint, they can be grown several ways. In the past I have cut them small to let them regrow almost like Scallions (which technically are different.) However, what I’m really excited about is seeding them out in paperpot chains and using the paperpot planter to grow a larger version of this same plant that’s known as a “Welsh Onion.” They are similar to leaks in that you grow them larger but bury more of the plant to get more white stalk. Check out this youtube video showing how the Japanese do it.
Culinarily speaking, this crop is so, so versatile. While there are myriad ways to use green onions as a garnish – think salad topper, soup topper, etc. – I love to grill them whole, or, slice lengthwise and pan sear them with olive oil and S&P. I finally found a web article HERE that puts the green onion front and center in the preparation, instead of relegating this MVP to the culinary background.
I have to say that I’m really happy with the quality of the items in the box. Soil quality is extremely important and the move back to the original Teachey farm has made a world of difference. We learn new techniques all the time, too. In about two months, I’ll be adding some production videos that should be interesting.
I will also be introducing our raised bed crop system – I don’t have a name for it yet – that I wrote about in this earlier blogpost. That will be part of an ongoing series about designing and installing edible landscapes.
As always, I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow on delivery day. If you are reading this and are not a Turner Family Farms CSA Member but would like to become part of the Turner Farm Family, check out our shop page HERE for options and pricing and give me a text or call at 910-552-3467. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to be your farmer. 🙂