Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 3 -- Mizuna

Roots Farm CSA Week 3: September 20 & 23

This Week:
-Tomatoes: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust, Sungold cherry
-Eggplant: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Green Bells, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Kale: Winterbor, Red Russian
-Radishes: Easter Egg, French Breakfast
-Turnips: Hakurei
-Summer Squash!: Zephyr
-Basil or Mint

On the Farm . . .
Last week we transplanted, this week, we dig. Yep, it’s sweet potato digging time. We’ve got over 300 feet of them to turn up, and it’s all done by hand. Shovels and digging forks, here we come. The rows inside our fence look great! Potatoes almost bursting forth from the ground, blanketed in waterfalls of purple-blooming sweet potato vines (they’re related to morning glories, so imagine lavender morning glory flowers). It’s beautiful and we’re excited to see what sort of buried treasure we unearth. . .

In Your Basket
This week, more of Fall’s bounty is appearing. We’ve got arugula again, as well as mizuna this time. What’s mizuna? It’s our featured veggie this week, so I’ll tell you more about it in a minute. Radishes are back, as well as some Hakurei turnips (my favorite sweet white Japanese salad turnips). Tomatoes are seriously slowing down, so enjoy them while they last. Peppers are still producing, and so are eggplant. And new to the scene . . . SUMMER SQUASH! That’s right, folks! Our late summer plantings are now beginning to produce and the buttery, delicious, bi-colored zephyrs are back in stock. Yum! Enjoy!

Fall Equinox
The Fall Equinox is this week on September 22/23 (at midnight on the 22, I think). That means that day and night are equal. It’s the balance point between summer and winter, when the days begin to get shorter leading towards the Winter Solstice in December when we have our shortest day. I just learned that on the equinox, the sun rises due East and sets due West, so it’s a good day to get your bearings around your home or favorite outdoor sit spot. After the equinox, the sun will rise in the Southeastern sky for the rest of winter. Hmmm. . . interesting. Google “Fall Equinox” and learn lots of interesting things about this time of year!

Mizuna, scientific name, Brassica rapa nipponosica, is a cool season Japanese mustard green that has long, broad, serrated, and deeply cut satin finished leaves. Though it has been primarily cultivated in Japan, mizuna is native to China. There are at least sixteen known varieties of mizuna, differing in textures, colors and flavor profiles. In America, mizuna is considered a specialty green and thus, has limited commercial exposure outside of Asian markets and farmers markets. Mizuna's flavors can be characterized as piquant and bright with a subtle earthiness. Toss peppery mizuna leaves in stir-fries the last minute of cooking. Mature mizuna makes a perfect substitute for chard or kale. Store these greens in a closed plastic bag, and for optimum flavor and texture, use within three to five days.

Soba Noodle Salad with Mizuna
2 cups Mizuna leaves, washed, stemmed, and chopped
2 carrots, cut into diagonal slices
4 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
½ cup of thinly sliced radishes
2 cups of cooked Soba noodles
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Combine Mizuna, carrots, scallions and noodles in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine garlic, ginger, oil, and soy sauce. Whisk together and pour over noodles. Top with sesame seeds and enjoy!! Makes 3 servings. From

Wok Sauteed Mizuna & Portabella Mushrooms
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 Tbs soy sauce, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp canola or peanut oil
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
½ cup chopped water chestnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini or yellow squash (or a combo of both)
1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup sliced swiss chard
½ lb mizuna, trimmed (I used micro- mizuna)
¼ cup unsalted peanuts
¼ cup finely chopped green onions

In a medium bowl, mix egg white with 1 Tbsp. of the soy sauce and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add egg white mixture and cook, stirring constantly, 4 to 6 minutes, transfer to a plate; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tsp. of oil in the pan. Add carrots, onions, water chestnuts, squash and mushrooms, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add remaining soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, swiss chard and mizuna and cook, stirring often, until slightly wilted. Return egg white mixture to pan and toss well. Garnish with peanuts & green onions and serve- either alone or on top of brown rice. Makes 6 servings. Adapted from

Mizuna with Potatoes and Shallot Vinaigrette
3/8 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut in irregular bite-size chunks
Sea salt
6 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Champagne or white wine vinegar
1 large shallot, slivered
4 oz mizuna, rinsed and dried
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1 tsp freshly crushed black peppercorns

Place potatoes in a saucepan with cold water to cover. Season water liberally with salt. Bring to a simmer, cook just until potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes, then drain. When potatoes stop steaming, transfer them to a wide bowl. Combine oil, vinegar and salt to taste, and drizzle about one-third of this dressing over potatoes. Add shallot. Fold together with a rubber spatula. Dressing will pick up creaminess from potatoes. Set aside. Place mustard greens or mizuna in a second wide bowl suitable for serving. Toss with half of the remaining dressing. Add potato mixture, and fold in gently. Halve eggs lengthwise, then cut in crosswise slices 1/8-inch thick. Scatter over salad, add remaining dressing, and fold once or twice very gently. Dust with crushed pepper, and serve. Makes 4 servings. From

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