Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 7 -- Cabbage

Roots Farm CSA Week 7: June 13 & 17

This Week:
-Carrots: Napoli, Bolero, Nelson, Yaya
-Beets: Merlin, Chioggia
-Kale: Winterbor, Red Russian, White Russian, Rainbow Lacinato
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)
-Pole Beans: Blue Coco, Gold of Bacau
-Potatoes!!: Yukon Gold or Pontiac Red
-Cucumbers! Marketmore, Sultan, Lemon
-Cabbage: Regular or Savoy
-Fresh Garlic
-Blueberries, Blackberries, Wineberries
-Basil: Regular Sweet, Lemon, Thai

On the Farm
The deer onslaught continues. We keep tying up holes, lacing up the fence, extending the flag ropes higher, and barricading the gates, but they somehow keep making their ways in. Chris said this week that deer aren’t invincible like magical flying unicorns, but I’m beginning to wonder. Who knew that deer would eat tomato plants, green tomatoes, cucumber vines, melon plants, sweet potatoes, lettuce, beans, beets, and more? Ravenous. It’s just a challenging time of year--deer pressure, lack of rain, high heat. Plants are drying out, roasting, being eaten, and failing to fruit. Whole squash plantings are failing and I am concerned for our early tomatoes. But that’s only looking in one direction. If I look elsewhere, the cabbages look great, carrots continue to come out awesome and big, the flood of cucumbers remains, and the new plantings of corn have germinated nicely. I see pepper flowers and melons swelling on the vine. The okra is 8 inches tall and the onions are neverending. Not all is bleak, so why am I only obsessing about the problems. Silly self--remember what’s going right as well.

In Your Basket
And some of the things going right are in your baskets this week. The beet harvest continues quite nicely, as do the carrots. NEW on the scene are several items, all of which the Half and Full share members get this week. Things like POTATOES, CABBAGE, & BLUEBERRIES! Oh my! We’ve begun digging potatoes and we’ve got a choice between yellow-fleshed Yukon Golds and white-fleshed, pink-skinned Pontic Reds this week. Sweet, delicious new potatoes are in your basket, and I think you should eat them today . . . Also, the cabbage is in. We’ve got a few regular green-leaf cabbages and lots of gorgeous Savoy-leafed heads. Cabbage is in the spotlight this week, and we’ve been loving it grilled. I’ve also been experimenting quite successfully with making sauerkraut and kimchi--tasty fermented delights--yay! Plus, we’ve got blueberries for everyone! It’s all half-pints this week. Hopefully we’ll see more as the season continues. A few of our blackberries and red wineberries are also appearing. And full share folks get the first taste of pole beans for the season. Wow! Lots of new goodies coming out here in mid-June.

Weekend Workday
We had about 5 wonderful folks show up for our workday on Saturday this past week. It was great. Beautiful weather, good people, and plenty of work done. We weeded chard and kale, pulled out old strawberry plantings, processed garlic, and dug potatoes. Those potatoes in your basket this week--all hand-dug by our hard working weekend volunteers. Thanks guys and gals! All that hard work followed by yummy greens quiches and fresh blueberry pie and ice cream. Don’t miss your next chance to come out and work with us--our next weekend workday is Saturday, July 9, so mark your calendars and come join us!

Summer Solstice
Just a reminder for you all that Summer Solstice is coming up next week. That’s right--the LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR is just next week. We’ll have hit our peak of daylight hours and after that, the days will begin to gradually get shorter again. How can it be? Summer Solstice already? Celebrate by grilling out and watching the fireflies in action. Have a drink late in the warm evening. Or hey, go for a jog at dawn at 5 am! Personally, I’m more for the grill action. Perhaps some grilled cabbage . . .

This humble vegetable has been a staple crop of many different civilizations throughout time. Raw, cooked, fermented--it does them all. Cultures from China to Russia to Europe to America have strongly valued the fermented manifestations, namely sauerkraut and kimchi, as fermentation methods both preserve the cabbage (and things in it like vitamin C) and create more nutrients in it like B vitamins and additional antioxidants. Cabbage in and of itself offers generous amounts of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as iron, calcium, and potassium. It’s an amazing vegetable. Get some.

Storage: cabbage should be stored with the outer leaves on either in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or on bag-less in the hydrator drawer for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. It is sweetest fresh, but can hold for a long time. Usage: cabbage can be eaten raw, steamed, baked, boiled, stuffed, grilled, sauteed, stir-fried, or fermented. Try it out. Here are some recipes for you.

Grilled Cabbage
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 heads of green/white cabbage
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling. If you are using a charcoal grill, light a chimney full of coals and pile them all to one side once they have burned down enough to product white ash on the top coals. You gas grillers have it easy, just light half of your burners. We want the hot side really hot, to produce between 350 and 400 degrees under the lid. Remove the outer few leaves from each head of cabbage, wash thoroughly and then quarter the heads. Start with the bottom and cut through the core for your quarters so that the core of the cabbage holds each section together. Place the cabbage sections on a pan (to minimize the mess) with the cut part facing up. Thoroughly whisk together the lemon juice and oil. Brush the lemon juice and oil mixture over each section of cabbage, letting the juice run down into the leaves. Generously season each cabbage section with the Kosher salt and black pepper. Keep the cabbage sections facing up so that the lemon juice doesn’t leak out and then place the sections on the cool part of the grill. Close the lid and let them roast on the grill for about 45 minutes, or until the tops have a little char and the inside leaves are nice and tender. You may want to move the cabbage around about halfway through your grilling session so that all of them spend their time closer to the fire. The bottom leaves may get burned, but they are being sacrificed for the greater good of the cabbage. Besides, I like the burnt leaves myself. From the Grilling Companion website I also like to turn the wedges so the edges of the leaves get that crispy grilled flavor and texture, so arrange them as you will. This recipe is amazing--I never knew cabbage could taste so good!

Asian Cabbage Slaw
2 cups shredded cabbage (~1/2 small head)
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh mint
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp rice wine (such as mirin or sake)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil, plus more to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, carrot, onion, mint, and cilantro in a large bowl. Toss well. Mix the vinegar, peanut oil, rice wine, honey, and sesame oil in a small bowl until well combined. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture; toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Makes 2-4 servings. From Farmer John's Cookbook, which also says that this recipe works well with additional vegetables--julienned cucumber is nice--and makes a wonderful bed for grilled food. Enjoy!

Rice-Stuffed Cabbage in Sweet & Sour Sauce
Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 (28-oz) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Cabbage Rolls
8 large Savoy or green cabbage leaves
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup chopped scallions
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp caraway seeds, or to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is limp, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger, tomato sauce, honey, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer while you prepare the cabbage and filling. Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well. To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and scallions, and saute until limp, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and saute for another minute. Season to taste with the caraway seeds and salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking dish with oil. Spoon about 1 cup of sauce into the baking dish. To stuff the cabbage, place about 3 Tbsp of the filling near the base of each cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides, then roll up to enclose the filling. Do not roll too tightly or the cabbage roll will burst while cooking. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls. Cove rand bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 4-8 servings. From 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains.

Risotto with Caramelized Onions & Cabbage
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 cups shredded green or Savoy cabbage
2 tsp dried thyme
5 ½ cups vegetable broth
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups uncooked Arborio rice
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, cabbage, and thyme, and saute until the onions are golden, 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the broth and wine and heat to simmering. When the onions are golden, add the rice and toss to coat with the oil. Add 1 cup of the simmering broth to the rice and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding more broth, 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring as the liquid is absorbed. It will take a total of 18-35 minutes for most of the liquid to be absorbed and the rice to become tender and creamy. Stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings. From 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains.

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