This week your basket contains: leeks, garlic, Swiss chard, parsnips, potatoes, and salad mix (lettuce, spinach, arugula, and endive)
By my definition, spring has arrived! At the end of the snowy cold weather we’ve been having we have had at least one day in which I saw rain, snow, sunshine and hail. That is spring! In general, the farm fared very well in the snow and cold (we had a low of 170). The temporary plastic tunnel we place over the spinach liked to collapse at the slightest snowfall, but it was quick to re-erect (though some of the spinach looks a little worse for wear). We also had limited damage to the purple sprouting broccoli from the weight of the frost protection fabric we covered it with as the temperatures crept close to the point where the plants would have died. We now look forward to some warmer, drier weather that will allow us to get the gardens ready for planting.
The salad mix is NOT table ready. While we do wash and rinse the greens before we put them in the bags, we are not able to guarantee that all the soil and/or bugs are out of all the leaves. The best way to rinse your greens to insure that no stowaway slugs remain is to dissolve 2 tsp. of salt in a little warm water in the bottom of your sink. Fill the sink about half full with the coldest water and add the greens. It is best if there is enough water to float all of the greens. Swish the greens gently and let them sit in the water for five minutes or so. Gently lift the greens from the water so as not to disturb any soil that has settled to the bottom of the sink and either pat them dry with a towel or spin them dry in a salad spinner. This is a dressing we have been using lately. You can substitute leek for the onion.
1 cup +1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 avocado, skinned and pitted
1 tsp sea salt
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 small onion, minced
Place minced onion in a bowl and cover with lemon juice and set aside to marinate. This will mellow the raw onion flavor. Heat a small skillet with 1 tsp of olive oil and add raw pumpkin seeds. Cook until seeds are golden brown (3-4 min). Set aside to cool. In a food processor, chop two cloves of garlic. Add lemon juice and onion, avocado, and salt. Blend until smooth. Slowly pour in the remaining olive oil while the food processor is on high (You can optionally add ½ c. parmesan or pecorino cheese to the dressing) You can make the dressing as thick or thin as you want, just add more or less olive oil.
We’ve been loving the parsnips this winter. This soup is a nice alternative to roasting them with other roots (which I also love).
SPICED PARSNIP SOUP
1 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 onions, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic cloves, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoon oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin
1 /2 to 1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 to teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
In a skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric and ginger and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the parsnips and stock and simmer gently until tender, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Puree the soup in batches (or use your immersion blender) and serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.
We froze tomatoes last fall for use in recipes like this one. If you don’t have any frozen tomatoes, canned tomatoes work well, too.
SWISS CHARD WITH PEANUTS AND CHILES
10 leaves Swiss chard, thick stems removed
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
Boil chard in a large pot of water for 10 minutes. Drain, press out excess water and pat dry. Puree in food processor. Add oil to skillet and sauté onion, tomatoes, garlic, chile, salt and pepper for ten minutes over medium heat. Add pureed chard and chopped peanuts and stir to blend, continue cooking for two minutes then serve. From Foodday. Makes 4 servings.