Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 1 -- Arugula

Roots Farm CSA Week 1: September 6 & 9

This Week:
-Tomatoes!: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Red Bells, Golden Bells, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Red Noodle Beans or Pontiac Red Potatoes
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David

Welcome to the First Week of Fall CSA!
And welcome to the official Roots Farm newsletter and blog! Each week, we’ll tell you what’s been happening around the farm, let you know about events, and feature a veggie of the week with recipes to feed your culinary imagination. All of it right here! Yay! Reminders: pickups are from 4-7pm Tuesdays or Fridays. If you’re going to miss your pickup, we need to know IN ADVANCE. Please. If you miss pickups, your share tends to get re-absorbed into the farm and is generally not just sitting patiently in the cooler, waiting for you to remember it. Help us get you your veggies. Given advance notice, we can usually find a way to meet your needs. And hey, if you’ve got an iPhone, just set your alarm to go off and remind you each week to come and get ‘em. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, beans, basil, and arugula, oh my!

On the Farm . . .
We’ve officially shifted gears and we’re moving quickly into our Fall tasks here on the farm. We’re seeding things like lettuce, braising mix, radishes, turnips, arugula, carrots, and beets. We’ll soon be transplanting chard and head lettuce. The broccoli and kale and cabbage is growing strong and we’ll be able to pick our first fall kale within a week! Now we’re doing much bed preparation, seeding, transplanting, and weeding. The cycle begins again. At the same time, we’re still picking our summer veggies, taking out old trellises, and preparing to dig sweet potatoes. Lots to do on the farm in early Fall. And at least today, there was some really good weather to do it in.

Weekend Workday . . .
Is taking the month off. Check back in with us in October.

Our veggie of the week is arugula! Yay! Arugula is a tender, leafy vegetable often used raw in salads. It’s got a spicy-peanutty sort of flavor that intensifies in the heat of summer and as the leaves mature. The spice can be tamed with a little cooking, and arugula teams well with other veggies in a saute, on pizza, and in a braising mix. Arugula tends to be a love it or hate it kind of food, and I have to admit that I used to be in the hate-it group, but I’m here to tell you that, given the right conditions, it can be downright delicious! I like tender, young arugula in a salad with other lettuces, or even in a salad of its own with some balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. If you don’t like it yet, don’t give up hope. There may be an arugula manifestation out there that suits your fancy. Storage: in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Arugula & Pear Salad
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 firm red Bartlett pears
5 c. butterhead lettuce (Bibb or Boston) washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
4 c. arugula, trimmed, washed and dried
2 Tbsp minced onion
3 Tbsp vegetable broth
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & fresh ground pepper

To prepare salad, toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Just before serving, cut pears into 16 slices each. Place in a large bowl. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and spoon 1 tablespoon of the dressing onto the pears and toss to coat. Add lettuce, arugula and the remaining dressing; toss well. Top with walnuts. Makes 8 servings. (from the Seasonal Chef website)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Rocket Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 clove garlic
1 shallot
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®)
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnut oil
1/2 pound baby arugula leaves
1 (2 inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Whisk the 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; toss the sweet potato wedges with the olive oil to coat. Place the bell pepper halves with their cut-sides down onto a baking sheet; arrange the sweet potato wedges around the peppers. Roast in the preheated oven until the potatoes are slightly charred and crispy and the the bell pepper skin is blistered, about 45 minutes. Shake the pan once mid-way through the cooking time to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan. Set the potato wedges aside to cool. Place the pepper halves into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; allow to sweat until cool, about 20 minutes. Peel the skin from the peppers and discard. Mince the garlic and shallot together in a food processor. Add the peeled peppers, lemon juice, mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper; puree until smooth. Slowly stream the 1/2 cup olive oil and the walnut oil into the mixture as it blends. Transfer to a large bowl; add the arugula leaves and toss to coat. Divide the potato wedges between 4 salad plates; top the wedges with equal amounts of the dressed arugula leaves. Shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the salads to serve. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings. From

Spinach Fettuccine with Arugula and Tomatoes
1 lb spinach fettuccine
4 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra virgin to finish
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small dried red chiles, broken in half, or several pinches of red pepper flakes
6 or more cups mature arugula leaves, large stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
4 Roma tomatoes
3 Tbsp chopped parsely
freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese

Drop the pasta into plenty of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and chile, and cook over medium heat until the garlic turns light gold. Add the arugula, season with a few pinches of salt, and saute until wilted. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley and turn off the heat. When the pasta is done, scoop it out and add it directly to the pan. Toss well and serve with a dusting of cheese and extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Makes 4-6 servings. From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Note: as they mature, arugula leaves get large, hot and spicy. They’re too robust for salads, but when cooked, their pungency softens, leaving just enough to add zest to the pasta. Enjoy!

Arugula Pesto
4-5 Cups packed arugula
3 med-large cloves of garlic
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cold pressed olive oil

In a food processor, grind garlic and walnuts into a fine paste. Add arugula and pulse to chop finely. Add salt and nutritional yeast. Blend well. With processor running, add 1/4 cup olive oil. Transfer mixture to plastic or glass container and press to remove air bubbles. Cover with 2 Tbs olive oil and refrigerate.

This is a raw vegan recipe. The nutritional yeast can be substituted with romano or parmesan cheese and you can toast the walnuts before adding, if desired. You could also make this with pine nuts. This is a very flexible recipe that can be tailored to what you have on hand. This is a thick "stock" pesto. If using with pasta, bruschetta, veggies, gnocchi, or whatever you desire, add a bit more olive oil and/or some (pasta) water to thin and coat the pasta, etc. (Thanks Jen!)

Arugula and Red Pepper Pesto
1/2 lb. arugula
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 roasted red peppers
1 cup toasted piƱon nuts (or other nuts will do)
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup olive oil

Blend everything together in a food processor, stopping to scrape sides and processing again. We like the pesto rich, salty and oily. A few cloves of sweet roasted garlic are a nice addition. As a note: older arugula can be bitter, so this pesto can be cut with fresh spinach for milder flavor is your arugula is mature. Serving suggestions: spread on pizza crust, and top with cheese & veggies; toss with hot pasta (ziti is a particularly good vehicle); add to sour cream for a dip. You can also freeze the pesto in greased ice cube trays for easy-access portions. Recipe compliments of the Seasonal Chef (

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