Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 3 -- Carrots

Roots Farm CSA Week 3: May 17 & 20

This Week:
-Sweet Charlie & Chandler Strawberries
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)

-Swiss Chard or Kale
-Hakurei Turnips
-Napoli Carrots!
-Chioggia Beets
-Lettuce -- Red & Green Butterheads!
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Yellow Zucchini
-Garlic Scapes

On the Farm . . .
We had a great workday last weekend--several folks came out and we transplanted almost 500 feet of sweet potatoes! And we reclaimed a whole garden’s worth of isles and rows from the weeds! Wow! Thanks so much for coming out and helping--this farmer is breathing a lot easier this week because of it. Mark your calendars for our next work weekend -- Saturday, June 11. There will be more to do and we’d love to have you out to help us!

In the Field . . .
The garlic is almost ready! We’re growing 11 varieties for 2011 and some of them are beginning to bulb up and dry out, which is just what we’re looking for. Soon, we’ll have a garage full of garlic curing--vampire beware! Also coming soon are cucumbers--the first of which we’ve begun to taste test for you from the hoop houses. There are green tomatoes on the vine, beans climbing up the trellis, squashes coming on, okra and watermelons sprouting, and pepper plants over a foot tall. It’s a great time on the farm--still in the midst of spring veggies with the overlap of summer veggies coming on. Delicious!

In Your Baskets . . .
Welcome carrots! Finally the carrots are here, and they’re beautiful. Yay, and it’s just the beginning--we’ve got over 300 feet of them and there are at least 30 carrots in a foot out there--you do the math--wow. Enjoy the turnips while they last, as well as the lettuce. Both are cool-season crops and not likely to last much past the end of May. This is the last week for cilantro, which is also a cool-season crop, and dill will also be ending soon. The onions continue and arugula is back this week, delicate and delicious. On the beet scene, the chioggia beets are coming out with their vibrant bright pink-ish roots and lightly green greens. These lovely beets are beautiful both inside and out, characterized by a white-and-red bulls-eye pattern when you slice them open cross-ways. They loose that pattern in cooking, so admire it while they’re raw. And garlic scapes are out. What is a garlic scape? It’s the flowering head of a hard-neck (one of the two main kinds of garlic--hard and soft neck) garlic plant. Not only does garlic form bulbs, but hard-neck garlic also forms seed heads called scapes. We pull them off to help divert the energy back in bulb production and give them to you as delicious delicacies. Restaurants love these things. Slice them up and saute them in the pan with whatever you’re making to add a delicate garlicky flavor. Or blend them up with salt and oil in the blender and make a quick garlic paste to enjoy on toast or in your dishes for the week (keep this preparation refrigerated in a jar for a week, tops). Garlic scapes are tasty and often curled in a whimsical sort of way. Take part in some culinary whimsy--enjoy the truly seasonal treat of garlic scapes.

The spotlight this week is our carrots. I wish I knew exactly which variety you’re getting this week, but all I can do is make a good guess since I didn’t make good notes while we planted them. They’re either Napoli, Nelson, Yaya, or Bolero . . . I’m guessing Napoli, but you’re welcome to decide for yourself. Carrots are in the umbeliferae family along with other veggies like cilantro, fennel, caraway, dill, and the flower Queen Anne’s lace. Poison Hemlock is also in the carrot family, so beware eating wild carrots if you’re not sure on your identification skills. The carrot originated in middle Asia and early varieties were purple and pale yellow. The first orange carrot did not appear until the 1600’s in the Netherlands. That orange color is indicative of beta carotene, which these carrots are high in. Carrots also pack a lot of vitamin A, calcium, potassium, fiber, and trace minerals. Enjoy!

Storage: remove the tops (which you can also eat like parsley or cook into soups and such if you’re into using everything you can) and store the roots in a plastic bag for 2-4 weeks. Preparation: I don’t know if you really need any tips on carrot usage. A ubiquitous veggie in the USA, carrots can be utilized in everything from soups to salads to stir fries, roasts, grills, sandwiches, sauces, souffles, cakes, muffins, and more. Eat them raw, eat them cooked, enjoy! Below are some carrot-y ideas for you, more of which are available here.

Spiced Carrot Salad
2 cups diagonally sliced/julienned carrots
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (~1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
11/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar (or honey, maple syrup)
1/3 cup olive oil
lemon slices

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots; boil until barely tender and still brightly colored, 1-2 minutes. Drain the carrots and immediately run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Drain well. Transfer the carrots to a large salad bowl. Add the parsley, cilantro, and mint; toss to combine. Mix the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar. Slowly pour in the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is thick and no longer separates. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Let the salad come to room temperature before serving. Top each serving with a lemon slice. This recipe also goes well with some slivered dried prunes, a handful of currants, or chopped black olives. Enjoy! Makes 4-6 servings. (from Farmer John’s Cookbook)

Baked Beet & Carrot Burgers
butter for greasing the baking sheet
½ cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups peeled, grated beets (1-2 medium beets)
2 cups grated carrots (about 4 carrots)
½ cup minced onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (about ½ tsp)
⅛- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter. Place a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the toasted seeds to a dish to cool. Return the skillet to the heat. Add the sunflower seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately transfer them tot he dish with the sesame seeds. Combine the beets, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Stir in the toasted sunflower and sesame seeds, eggs, rice, Cheddar cheese, oil, flour, parsley, soy sauce or tamari, and garlic (your hands work best here). Add cayenne and mix until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 patties and arrange them in rows on the baking sheet. Bake the patties until brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Unless they are very large and thick, it should not be necessary to turn them. Serve alone or on buns. Makes 12 patties. If you like veggie burgers, you’ll love this recipe. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Carrot Souffle
1½ lb carrots, cooked and drained
3 large eggs
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1½ cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 1½-quart casserole dish. In food processor or blender, blend all ingredients well. Spoon into dish. Bake 1 hour until lightly browned. Be careful not to over-brown the bottom—you may need to bake at 325 degrees. Makes 6-8 servings. From my Grandma Everlovin’s Kitchen. Don’t be fooled by the vegetable content into thinking this is a side dish – it is definitely in the category of desserts. So sweet and delicious, you’ll definitely want to go back for seconds!

Carrot Muffins
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups firmly packed grated carrots
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 16 regular-size muffin cups. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the carrots, maple syrup, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. The batter will be stiff; an ice-cream scoop does a great job of distributing it. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes, until they have risen and a knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes. To make the topping mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, one at a time dip the tops into the melted butter , then into the sugar and cinnamon mixture, covering the tops completely. Let cool before serving. Makes 16 servings. From Serving Up the Harvest.

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