This week your basket contains: radishes, TURNIPS, arugula, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, and salad mix (spinach, lettuce, arugula, and watercress)
What a difference a weekend can make! The warm weather kept us outside and working pretty much from sun up to sun down for the past three days and we are finally looking at catching up on some of the planting. One of the hardest lessons to learn is that after a long wet spell, you can’t just rush out and work the soil as soon as it gets sunny. You have to wait for the sun to actually do some drying or you can pound the soil into muck that bakes into bricks in the sun. We had to hold back, do the prep work of spreading compost (and making more compost) and time the tilling to try to get the beds prepped before it starts to rain again. We’ve got over 20,000 square feet of garden beds made and will be planting, seeding and transplanting as fast as we can while hoping and praying that any rain we get holds off for a few days and isn’t too much when it does come.
We absolutely love these Japanese turnips. They are so different from the purple-topped varieties many of us know (and perhaps dislike). These are mild and sweet and can be eaten raw or used with dips. One family we know told us that the recipe below is their traditional “it is finally spring” celebration meal. It is hard to beat.
MORROCAN TURNIP AND CHICKEN STEW
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 small (2 1/2 lb) chickens
3 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp powdered saffron
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 lb small turnips
2 cups chopped turnip leaves and stems
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
Rinse chickpeas in water and rub lightly to remove skins; drain and set aside. Cut chickens into quarters, removing wing tips and backbones; put them aside for stock. Melt butter and oil in a casserole and lightly brown chicken on all sides, cooking in two batches if necessary. Slice onions and stir into butter and oil to color. Then add the chickpeas, stock, pepper, ginger, saffron, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add turnips and greens and simmer 20 minutes more. Remove chicken and turnips to a covered warm dish. Boil sauce to reduce, mashing some of the chickpeas against the side of the pan to thicken the sauce; it may take 10-15 minutes to produce a nice thick sauce. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the chicken and turnips in the sauce and serve. Serves 6 to 8. From The Victory Garden Cookbook.
The turnip greens are excellent as cooked greens. They can be used alone or in combination with other greens including the arugula. They would work well in this unusual sounding recipe that is one of my favorite soups.
RADISH TOP SOUP
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onions or leek
8 cups loose packed radish leaves
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
6 cups water or stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Fresh ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large saucepan, add onions or leeks and cook until golden, approx. 5 minutes. Stir in radish tops and cover pan. Cook over low heat until wilted, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook potatoes until soft in stock along with 1 tsp. salt. Combine with radish tops and cook, covered, for 5 minutes to mingle flavors. Puree finely in food processor or food mill. Add heavy cream if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold. Note: less butter can be used and cream is unnecessary. We add whole radishes to the potatoes for more radish flavor. Serves 4-6. Adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.
As we have in past years, we will be offering vegetable, flower and herb starts for sale. We will send a list of what varieties are available to order in the next few weeks.
We also have RHUBARB. We can add some to your basket for $3/bunch (approx. 1 Lb., enough for one pie).