CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 5


Flying Tomato Farms News

A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.

Vol. 4, Issue 5

GARDEN NEWS:

There are a few blossoms on the sugar snap peas, so you should be seeing them in a couple of weeks. I was looking back through old newsletters and saw that I made this same comment two weeks earlier last year! Things are moving slowly—but surely.

The new asparagus crowns are mostly in the ground, thanks to Harry’s backhoe skills (I never thought I’d endorse gardening with large construction equipment, but when you have 100 crowns of asparagus to get in the ground, it helps!).

THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:

Is greens mania! Not one, not two, but three heads of romaine lettuce, plus spinach and navets (baby spring turnips with their greens). There are some greens to eat raw, some greens to eat cooked (along with their roots), and some greens to eat either way.

The reddish romaine is called Cimarron, the green is “Winter Density,” and the lovely speckled heads are “Freckles.” They are very tender and crisp, and lovely with a light vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. But then, you could go all-out with a traditional Caesar Salad! As far as “discarding the coarse outer leaves”—ha ha!—there are none with these fresh heads—it’s all tender.

Caesar Salad

1/2 to 3/4 cup croutons (see directions below)
1 coddled egg (see directions below)*
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (1 to 2 medium cloves with inner green germ removed)
1 anchovy fillet, mashed**
Pinch of
coarse salt
2 tablespoons (1/2 lemon) freshly squeezed lemon juice***
3 drops Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), divided
1 head Romaine lettuce, hearts and tender leaves only
Coarsely ground black
pepper

* Coddled egg may be substituted with 1/2 cup mayonnaise. If doing this substitution, reduce some of the olive oil.

** Use only good-quality Spanish or Portuguese anchovies in your dressing. Anchovy paste may be substituted (approximately two inches squeezed from the tube will provide the equivalent taste of one anchovy fillet).

*** Fresh lemon juice is essential. Some chefs squeeze the lemon through a cheesecloth to ensure that only the juice ends up in the salad. If you are careful to keep the lemon seeds out of the salad, a simple squeeze will do.

To make croutons: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Trim the crust from day-old peasant-style bread (Italian or French bread) and dice into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss with enough olive oil to coat, but not drench. Sprinkle lightly with salt and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Halfway through the baking time, give the pan a shake to make sure the croutons toast evenly. Remove from oven and completely cool croutons. Store in an airtight container.

To coddle egg: Coddling causes the yolk to become slightly thickened and warm. Bring a very fresh egg to room temperature by immersing it in warm water (otherwise it might crack when coddled). Place the egg in a small bowl or mug and pour boiling water around the egg until it is covered. Let stand for exactly 1 minute. Immediately run cold water into the bowl until the egg can be easily handled; set aside.

To make dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy, and salt until blended. Whisk in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the coddled egg until the mixture is thick, approximately 1 minute (this enables the lemon juice to “cook” the eggs). Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with one hand while vigorously whisking the mixture with the other. When the dressing is well combined, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.

To assemble salad: Separate the Romaine leaves and discard the coarse outer leaves. Wash, drain, and pat with paper towels or spin dry the remaining leaves. Note: Lettuce should be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use. Tear into bite-size pieces and set aside.

In a large wooden salad bowl, add 1/3 of the dressing and toss with the croutons until well coated. Add the Romaine lettuce pieces and the remaining dressing; toss until coated.

To serve: Divide the salad between two chilled plates and sprinkle each salad with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and coarsely ground pepper. Serve immediately with chilled forks.

Makes 2 to 4 servings (depending on serving sizes)

From: http://www.whatscookingamerica.net

This will be the last delivery of spinach—already it is starting to bolt (run to seed)—even the last of the three patches I planted. Feel free to eat it raw, steam it, or add it to your favorite recipes.

Navets is the French term for these small spring turnips with their greens attached. The varieties are “Scarlet Queen,” “Hakurei,” and “Purple Top White Globe.” I find the best way to serve these tasty spring roots is to cut the roots off the stems (you can leave a nubbin of stem on the root if you like), then leave the smallest ones whole and either halve or quarter the larger roots. Heat a tablespoon or two of butter or oil in a skillet on medium heat, and add the roots, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Chop the leaves coarsely and add them as well. Add a sprinkle of soy sauce and stir until the greens are wilted. Serve!

If you are feeling adventurous, you can also eat these spring turnips raw in a salad—they are sweet and a little spicy with a nice crunch.

Reusable bags are coming soon! Watch next week’s newsletter for details.

Remember to

WASH YOUR VEGGIES!

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