Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 29

Roots Farm CSA Week 29: November 9

This Week:
-Peppers: Carmen, Islander, Lipstick, Green & Colored Bells
-Eggplant: Nadia, Hansel, Gretel, Fairytale, Pingtung Long
-Lettuce: Mix, Red & Green Butterhead Lettuces, Crisphead, Red & Green Oakleaf
-Bok Choi
-Swiss Chard
-Beans: Gold of Bacau & Northeaster
-Green Magic Broccoli or Snow Crown Cauliflower
-Radishes: Easter Egg or Watermelon
-Purple Top Turnips
-Green Tomatoes

On the Farm . . .
It finally froze out there! Saturday night got right chilly on the farm and we finally lost some of our summery veggies. The big Nadia eggplants, summer squash, okra, tomatoes, and zinnias all called it quits. In the hoop houses, the peppers, eggplants, beans, and tomatoes all took a hit but are keeping on growing. So yeah. We lost some, we kept some, abundance continues. It’s kinda nice when the freeze finally comes. It’s a definitive end to some crops that we’ve been tending since April. That’s almost 8 months. Now it’s time to clean up and pull out trellises and put some of those areas of the farm to rest for a while. A welcome change, even if it means losing some food crops. Time for them to go, anyway. How else will we appreciate them if we don’t miss them for a while?

In Your Basket . . .
Well, this week we’ve got purple top turnips, an old traditional Southern turnip that my grandma says is the sweetest. Though I don’t think Grandma ever had the Hakurei turnips, ’Ill agree that these are nice and sweet. We’ve also got Easter Egg radishes back on the scene and Watermelon radishes. The watermelon ones are white on the outside, pink inside. The tops occasionally turn green, at which point they do indeed look like watermelon slices if you cut them right. They’re tasty. Enjoy. Also, I’m excited to have broccoli and cauliflower back in the baskets this week.. Yay! And lots o’ lettuce. Plus chard! Wow! Cook up some greens and make a big salad--it’s Fall!

Bok Choi
Is the same thing as pac choi, mei qing choi, pak choi, and bok choy--these are just spelling variations of the same veggie. Different varieties of bok choi vary in stem color, leaf color, and plant shape, but rest assured that the flavors are similar enough to be interchangeable in recipes. Choi is a cool weather crop that grows especially well in spring and fall. Choi has been cultivated in China for centuries and is now commonly found in markets in the U.S. It is a member of the cabbage/brassica family and has many of the health benefits of other cole crops. Since the texture of the leaves differs from that of the stems, choi is practically two vegetables in one. The leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, while the crisp stems--sweet and mile in flavor--can be used like celery or asparagus. Oftentimes, I’ll simply chop the stems and add them in to cook longer than the greens when I’m using choi in a stir-fry or other dish. STORAGE: Refrigerated unwashed choi in a plastic container or bag. Choi keeps for over a week, but is firmest and tasties if used within a few days. Enjoy!


Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Cashew Sauce
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs bok choy
1/4 cup peanut oil

Toast cashews in a dry skillet, tossing frequently, until light brown and fragrant. Combine cashews, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, and 2-4 Tbsp water in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth. Set aside. Wash bok choy stems and leaves well, making sure to rinse away dirt in the ribs. Separate the bok choy leaves from the stalks. Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces and roughly chop the leaves. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add bok choy stems and cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Add the leaves and cook until they wilt and turn bright green, another minute or so. Remove to a platter and cover with cashew sauce, or serve sauce on the side. Makes 4 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Choi Salad with Fruit
1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds
1 cup mild-flavored vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 oz soft silken tofu
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 pac choi or other choi, trimmed, stems cut diagonally into thin slices, leaved sliced into thin strips
1 large sweet apple, peeled, cored, diced
1 cup red or purple seedless grapes, halved
salt & freshly ground pepper

Toast the almonds in a heavy skillet over high heat until they start to brown slightly. Transfer the nuts to a bowl to cool. Put the oil, honey, vinegar, tofu, poppy seeds, dry mustard, salt, and paprika into a food processor or blender. Process or blend the ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the onion. Cove the dressing and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the salad. Toss the choi, apple, and grapes in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients; toss untill everything is thoroughly combined.Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature for 15 minutes to let the flavors develop. When you’re ready to serve, stir in the toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4-6 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook. This recipe yields more than 2 cups of dressing, so you’ll have plenty left over for other salads.

Creamy Choi Soup
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions (~3), divided
3 cloves garlic, minced (~1 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 lb choi (any kind), chopped
1 large potato, peeled, diced
3 cups vegetable stock or water
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
hot pepper flakes
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp sour cream

Heat the peanut oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Set aside a couple of tablespoons of scallions for a garnish. Add the remaining scallions, garlic, and ginger to the pot. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the choi and potato. Pour in the stock or water and add the salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes to taste. Increase the heat and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from heat. Stir in the toasted sesame oil. Transfer the soup to a food processor or a blender and puree. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped scallion. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

For more Bok Choi recipes, click here.

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