Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Monday, May 10, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 3

Roots Farm CSA
Week 3: May 11 & 14

-Kale (Winterbor) or Bright Lights Swiss Chard
-Butterhead Lettuce: Red Cross (red) and Sylvesta (green)
-Radishes: Easter Egg, Green Meat
-Turnips: Scarlet Queen
-Beets: Chioggia
-Broccoli Raab: Happy Rich
-Summer Squash!: Zephyr
-Sweet Onions
-Inchelium Red Garlic
-Herbs: Dill, Basil, or Mint

On the Farm . . .

It's currently just beautiful. Today, we were out hoeing the corn and we just had to pause for a minute and appreciate life. The sun was shining, a cool breeze was bringing sweet honeysuckle aromas our way, and there was a full strawberry patch with red berries beckoning only a step away. Wow. Despite all the hard work, sometimes it's not so rough living a farmer's life.

New Veggies On the Scene . . .

Yay! I just had my first meal of sauteed squash & onions of the season, and man, it was delicious! The little bi-color zephyr squash are my absolute favorites, and I'm really excited to have them back in season. Hope you are too! And not only those, but it's time for broccoli raab. Broccoli raab is a lot like broccoli--little heads or shoots with greens included. I cook it just the same as I do broccoli & greens. Enjoy it this week--this is the only time we'll have it! And not only those two, but beets are back! The chioggia beets are coming to size and we're excited to offer them this week. These beets have colorful white and red bulls-eye striping on the inside (which unfortunately turns a uniform pinkish color when you cook 'em) that shines in a grated beet salad. Beet greens are also edible and closely related to chard, so enjoy those as well. And we've got a new turnip coming your way--the scarlet queen. She's a beauty, if a bit holey. Don't let the bug damage fool you--it's only skin deep. A red version of the mild white salad turnips, these queens are sweet and yummy. Go raw or steam them and eat with butter -- yum! The greens are edible as well, you know, turnip greens. And . . .

Green Meat Radishes

We keep trying to expand our radish offerings beyond the usual excellent Easter Egg Radishes, so this year we're trying out the Green Meats. And what we're finding is that they're quite a bit spicier than the easters. They do indeed have green meat on the inside, at least at the top, so they're interesting visually and may made a good grated addition to a salad or kim chee. I'm going to suggest that you cook them to help tone down the heat. Cooked radishes have much less spice and go well in stir-fries, as part-substitutes for potatoes (especially in casseroles), and who knows what all else. I'm gonna provide more radish recipes for ya, so don't worry. And if you like daikon radishes, I think these would substitute well for those in many dishes. So pickle 'em, make kim chee, grate them into some spring rolls, and have fun experimenting with all a radish can be.

Radish Pointers

If you're going to store your radishes for any amount of time, I recommend removing the greens from the roots and storing them separately. You can eat radish greens like most other spicy greens. And they're a great source of vitamins. The greens you want to store in a closed plastic bag for up to a week. The roots will keep longer. Again, use a closed plastic container, and keep for up to a month. The spicy flavor gets more pronounced the older they get, so I recommend eating them soon if you like the mild, raw experience. The Joy of Cooking tells me that "radishes were once so esteemed as a stimulant for the appetite that people used to start their day with a handful." Breakfast, here I come? Maybe not for me. Just so you know, though, radishes aren't just for side salads--they've got lots of uses. Joy also tells me that you can add them to soups, mixed vegetable salads, pickles, and substituted for turnips in any turnip recipe. Look here for more turnip recipes. Good luck and happy cooking!


Radishes with Scallions
2 bunches radishes, well scrubbed
1 Tbsp butter
2 bunches scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup veggie stock or broth
salt to taste

Trim the leaves from the radishes and cut into quarters. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and cook, stirring, until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add radishes and stock or broth and cover the pan. Let simmer until the radishes are tender, 3-4 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high, and boil rapidly to reduce the pan juices while shaking the pan back and forth a few times. Season with salt. Makes 4 servings. Adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Spicy Chinese Radish Slaw
3 cups radish
4 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced red chile pepper or 2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
salt to taste

Slice radishes into 2-inch matchsticks. Place into a large glass bowl and toss with salt. Let stand to drain, 30-45 minutes. Rinse the vegetables under cool running water to wash off the salt. Drain well. Place in a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Let marinate for a minimum of 1 hour. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 6-8 servings. Will stay fresh for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy! Adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Radish & Cucumber Salad with Tofu
1/2 lb firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/2 tsp sugar
fresh ground black pepper
8 radishes, thinly sliced
2 cucumbers, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch slices
toasted sesame oil (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
grated fresh ginger (optional)

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the tofu cubes; boil for 1 minute. Transfer the cubes to a clean dish towel to drain and cool. Stir the rice vinegar, oil, and tamari or soy sauce in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar and pepper to taste. Whisk until well combined. Transfer the cooled tofu cubes to a serving bowl. Add the radish slices and cucumber; briefly toss. Add the dressing; toss again until the salad is thoroughly combined. Makes 4 servings.

Tender cubes of cold, barely cooked tofu are a wonderful treat in this salad. They provide a satisfying, soft complement to the crispy vegetables--similar to cubes of mild cheese. As for taste, with nippy radish slices and a delicious salty-sweet dressing, this salad has flavor to spare. Try adding a few drops of toasted (dark) sesame oil or tossing in some toasted sesame seeds for a deeper, more "authentically Asian" note. Ginger fans will enjoy a grating of fresh ginger in the dressing. From Farmer John's Cookbook.

And there are lots more radish recipes online. Click here for more of 'em! So who says a radish is only for looking good on the side of a salad. Dive into radish cookery and expand your culinary horizons. Have a great week ya'll!

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