Week #44 (2/26 & 29)

This week your basket contains: potatoes, leeks, beets, PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI OR RAAB, and salad mix (spinach, endive, arugula and red mustard)We are feeling very relieved to finally see the kind of growth we expect in early spring.  Two weeks ago it was a struggle to find enough greens for a salad mix but this week we had plenty to choose from.  In addition to the greens listed above, you may find a bit of lettuce in your mix as well as Miner’s lettuce (pale oval cup-like leaves that may have tiny white edible blossoms in it).  While they are about a month late, we really like these greens right now.

TULIPS will be ready soon! We will have gorgeous bunches of tulips mixed with greenery available as an extra. The bunches are 10 stems and cost $6. Please email if you would like to have this harbinger of spring added to your basket when they are available, either as a one-time order or during the weeks they are blooming.

Another sign that spring is definitely here is PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI.  This is a crop that takes a lot of patience.  Seeded in June and transplanted in July these plants sit in the garden all winter long facing whatever the weather throws at them with no signs that they will ever be worth the time and effort we put in to them.  However, when spring hits and their brilliant purple sprouts start popping up it all seems worth it.  I find this the most tender and tasty broccoli we grow (it helps that they come along after the winter with no new crops).  Raab is similar to Purple sprouting broccoli in that it is the flowering top of brassica crops.  Today, if you have raab, it will be paler than PSB and may be from either kale or Brussels sprouts.  Both raab and PSB is fully edible; leaves, stems and tops should all be used together.  This is one of my favorite recipes for raab or PSB.

GINGER DRESSED PURPLE BROCCOLI

½ inch chunk fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

3 Tbs. soy sauce

A squeeze of lemon

2 Tbs. Olive oil

1 bunch Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Mince peeled ginger and garlic.  Mix remaining ingredients with ginger and garlic, drizzle over steamed broccoli and toss.

This is a recipe I usually suggest for regular broccoli, but it would work well with your Purple sprouting broccoli or raab.

BEET AND BROCCOLI SALAD 

A great salad can be made with beets and broccoli. We steam the broccoli and beets together with the sliced beets on bottom.  Generally, when the broccoli is done (i.e. just turned dark green and starting to get tender) the beets are also done.  We then toss them in a simple vinaigrette and serve them either warm or cold.  This vinaigrette is the one we use:

VINAIGRETTE

1 clove garlic

1 tsp salt

3 Tbs red wine vinegar

1 tsp wet mustard

5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

black pepper

Press garlic into the bottom of  your salad bowl.  With a fork, mix well with salt until it forms a paste.  Mix in vinegar and mustard until salt is dissolved.  Whisk in olive oil to make an emulsion.  Add black pepper to taste.  These proportions are in no way set in stone.  You should experiment to find the proportions you prefer.  Also, other spices, herbs and vinegars can be used to vary the dressing.

If you are looking for another way to use your potatoes, this has always been a winner in our house.

AWARD-WINNING PERFECT POTATO LATKES

4 baking potatoes

1 large yellow onion, peeled and grated

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 extra-large eggs

3 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

Pinch of baking soda

1 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying

Grate the potatoes, using a food processor or fine shredder.  Immediately transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and add the onion, lemon juice, eggs, flour, baking soda and salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Heat 1/8 inch of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Pour the batter into the hot oil with a large spoon and flatten with the back of the spoon to make 4-inch latkes.  Cook on one side until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes; then turn and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes.  (Turn only once).  Drain well on paper towels and serve immediately, plain or with topping.  Makes 1 doz. or 4 servings.  From The 30-Minute Kosher Cook by Judy Zeidler.