22. May 2015 · Comments Off on Yesterday’s Share – 5.20.2015 · Categories: Share Notes

Dear CSA Members,

Apologies for the general chaos and glitches this week.  The first week is always the toughest, but this year seemed to be more chaotic than most.  Hopefully things will be smoother from here on out.

Yesterday’s share should have included:  Approximately 2 and a half pounds of spinach, a bunch of radishes, two Chinese (or napa) cabbages, some green or immature garlic and a small bunch of baby beet greens.

GREEN GARLIC.  “Green garlic” is the name we give to immature garlic.  Often it looks like a green onion, and you just chop it up like you would a green onion.  This year, it’s gotten a little more mature and has begun the bulbing procees.  At this point, the plant starts sending all the good stuff to the bulb.  You may have to experiment to discover which parts are useable. Our first approach would be to peel off a couple layers and start at the bottom and start slicing across the bulb.  If the outer layers are tough and won’t slice easily, peel a couple layers off and try again until it slices easily and cleanly.  keep slicing up the bulb and stem until the outer layer becomes fibrous, peel another layer or two off and continue.  At worst you may have to peel down to the tiny cloves that are forming and use those.  Once chopped, use like you would regular garlic.

CHINESE OR NAPA CABBAGE.  The specimens you have may not match up to what you are used to seeing in a super-market.  Seed catalogs describe this variety as “lettucey”.  You might think of it as a loose leaf napa as opposed to the usual heading type.  Also, because of our long days at our latitude, our napas want to put up flowers earlier than they would in China, Japan or California.  Most of you should have gotten one with a flower stem and one with out.  If the flower stem has not opened yellow flowers yet, you can probably eat the whole stem along with the rest of the cabbage.  If it has, you will want to pinch the top out, back to where the stem becomes tender and discard the tough bit.

Our classic napa recipe comes from the Time-Life Foods of the World series: RECIPES: THE COOKING OF CHINA.  CREAMED CHINESE CABBAGE:  Trim and cut napa into 1 by 2 inch pieces.  Heat 2 tablespoons of chicken fat or cooking oil over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn down the heat to medium.  Stir fry napa for about a minute, until the napa is coated with fat. Ssprinkle with a teaspoon of salt (omit if using salted broth) and a quarter teaspoon sugar, pour in 3/4 cup chicken broth or stock, bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer 10 minutes..  Remove napa with slotted spoon to a heated platter.  Turn the heat to high under the remaining liquid.  dissolve one and a half teaspoons of cornstarch into 1/4 cup cold milk and add to pan liquid. Stir until thickened.  Pour  sauce over waiting napa.  Sprinkle with chopped ham.  We serve over rice or toasted bread.

Vegetarians and Vegans may want to substitute a vegetable broth and a rich salty garnish like salted peanuts.

SPINACH IDEAS.  We always recommend that folks eat some of the first harvest of spinach raw in a salad.  Spinach is good by its lonesome, but fresh local strawberries, craisins, orange slices, bacon, grilled chicken, parmesan cheese, bleu cheese, boiled eggs, etc. all make good accents.  Recently we topped ours with some boiled chicken warmed in some barbecue sauce made by CSA member Dave Warner.  Mmmmmmm, thanks Dave.

SPINACH PAUPIETTES.  When you’re ready to cook some of your spinach, we just tried Lynn Morash’s Spinach and Fish Paupiettes from THE VICTORY GARDEN COOKBOOK.  Lynn’s recipe calls for enough butter to cancel the healthy effects of the fish and spinach, but I think we’ll tone it down after this.  Basically you sauté some previously blanched and chopped spinach with some onion, season with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg.  Butter oven proof bowls the right size for a single serving.  Wrap a serving of fish around the inside of the bowl (we used  pacific rock fish).  Fill the bowl with spinach.  Cover the bowl with ovenproof lid or foil and place in a baking pan.  Fill the pan half way up the outsides of the bowls with water.  Place in a 400 degree oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until fish flakes. Pour off some of the juices from the bowls and prepare a white sauce with it.  Overturn the bowls onto a dinner plate and pour sauce over it.  The fish stays very moist and tender.

So, until next week

Bon Appetit.

Jim and Diane