Friday, June 13, 2014

2014 season - Weekly Newsletter 2

To me this week really feels like the beginning of summer, even though the solstice is still a week away.  Not only because school is officially out, but an event that I look forward to all year also occurred today.  Matt brought me the first ripe Santa Rosa plum of the season! It was absolute sweet-tangy-juicy-delicious PERFECTION! It is still a little on the early side to begin really harvesting since they do not usually fully ripen until early July.  However it has been a warm spring so you may see them in your box sooner than later!

This week I have assembled some tips on food storage so you know the best ways to keep the contents of your box fresh all week.  Just a few extra steps will ensure optimal nutrient content and flavor of your produce.
Lettuce and Greens: Always remove rubber bands or produce ties before preparing to store lettuce, kale or chard.  Rinse greens, but it is best to dry the lettuce leaves before placing them in the proper container.  A salad spinner works great.  Store your lettuce in a dry sealable plastic bag or container with lid. Condensation will gather on the inside of the container even though the greens have been dried so line the container with paper towels before adding the dry greens. This will keep greens fresh for about a week.   
Potatoes:  The potatoes you are receiving in your boxes are extremely freshly dug, so it is best not to wash them before storing.  A dark place is best, but never store them next to onions as the gases emitted  by each will spoil the other.
Carrots, radishes and beets:  First remove the greens, since they draw away moisture from the root. Tightly seal unwashed root veggies in a plastic bag in the coolest part refrigerator. Wash just before using since the added moisture in the bag could cause spoilage. Carrots, beets and radishes begin to go limp once exposed to air, especially tender roots like these, so wrap them up asap.
Strawberries: Do not rinse strawberries until just before using.  Store dry berries in a plastic container lined with paper towels, if they last that long!
Broccoli: Broccoli likes a little moisture as well as air circulation, so store with a damp paper towel inside a perforated bag if possible.

Roasted radishes with soy and sesame
This recipe was REALLY good! It had kind of an Asian influenced flavor, with just a little bite.  If you are not crazy about eating radishes raw, or just need a new way to prepare them, then this recipe is perfect!
1.Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Slice the radishes lengthwise into about 4 thin slices. Toss with oil on a large baking sheet. (I used sesame oil, but you can use any oil you like or have on hand)
3. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until the radishes are tender and beginning to brown.
4. Drizzle soy sauce over the roasted radishes and toss with chopped onion (I used yellow onion, but green onion would be great, and even red would work)
5. Roast for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and, if desired, cilantro.

Pasta with Bacon and Leeks

12 ounces short pasta
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed well
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Chopped fresh parsley, for topping

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.
Add the leeks to the drippings in the skillet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.
Add the pasta to the skillet along with the parmesan, half of the bacon and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat, adding enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen. To serve, top with the remaining bacon, more parmesan and parsley.

1.                   2 cups salted water
2.                   1 cup quinoa
3.                   1 bunch kale, rib removed and chopped into 1” lengths
4.                   Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
5.                   2 scallions, minced
6.                   1 tablespoon olive oil
7.                   3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
8.                   1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese  (grated parmesan would be great too!)
9.                   salt and pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, olive oil, pine nuts, and goat cheese in a large bowl.. Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff with a fork and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper.

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