Week #44 3/29 & 4/1

This week your basket contains: Leeks, potatoes, Swiss chard, salad mix (spinach, lettuce, endive and arugula), MINT, and purple sprouting broccoli or cauliflower or raab) March hoop house 2016

On the farm, things are starting to respond to the longer days. The arugula in your salad mix was seeded in January and is getting big in a hoop house. Radishes sown in February are about a week away. Likewise, the small white Japanese turnips are sizing up and will be ready in the coming weeks. Despite the unusually wet March, which has kept us from planting outside, we’ve been seeding many crops in the greenhouse, waiting for dry weather. Broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, peas, and spinach all want to get outside and this week may be their chance. Tomatoes and zucchini for the hoop house are getting ready for their snug beds under plastic and tomatoes and peppers for outside are already seeded and up. Our earliest new potatoes are showing their heads in the hoop house. It’s slow growing at this time of year (especially with the frosts we are having at night) but it is really happening!

SPINACH AND MINT SOUP

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 (9- to 10-ounce) russet potato, peeled, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
3 green onions, chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained very well
1 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add potato and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups broth and green onions; bring to boil. Cover and simmer until potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Add spinach, 3/4 cup mint, and cilantro. Simmer soup 1 minute.  Puree soup in blender in batches; return to same pot. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in small skillet over low heat. Mix in paprika; cook 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with paprika oil; garnish with 1/4 cup mint.

LEMON MINT AND SPINACH SALAD

1 largeish lemon

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, plus extra for the top

½ tablespoon sea salt

8oz/10 cups baby spinach leaves

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut off the top and bottom of a lemon, stand it on a wooden board and, cutting down with a small sharp knife, slice off the skin and pith, rotating the fruit until you come full circle. Cut the lemon flesh into ¼ in circles and then each circle into eighths, putting them – and all juice – into a bowl as you go. In other words, you want the lemon in small chunks.

Cut the mint leaves, with scissors for ease, into thin strips over the lemon pieces, and sprinkle with salt and some pepper. Add the spinach leaves and oil and toss everything together with your hands. Now decant onto a large round or oval plate – or whatever you want to serve this on – and drop a few whole mint leaves over the dressed salad.

This is the last week for leeks, so this, the very best soup ever, seemed like the best recipe to include in this note.

LEONIE’S POTATO-LEEK SOUP

4 medium potatoes

4 Tbsp. butter

1 chopped leek

3/4 tsp. salt

6 cups stock or water

ground black pepper

snippets of fresh herbs: thyme, marjoram, basil

Chop leeks, including the greens,  into ½ inch rounds, place into a bowl of cold water with 1 tsp of salt.  Leave soaking for ½ hour.   Clean and peel potatoes and dice into 1″ chunks.   Drain leeks and saute in a saucepan with butter until translucent.  Add potatoes, stock, and seasonings.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.   When done, puree the contents of the pan, making sure the puree is absolutely smooth. Return to the saucepan.   Thin with milk if soup is too thick. Heat gently, covered, until just hot. Do not boil.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  For a wonderful touch, swirl a Tbs of heavy cream into each bowl before serving.  Serves 4-6.

RHUBARB is ready! We can send you enough for a pie (approx.. 1 Lb.) for only $3.  Email your order now and we will send it along as it is available.

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