Week #41 (2/22 & 25)

This week your basket contains: Potatoes, leeks, cabbage, beets, MICRO GREENS, and salad mix (lettuce, spinach, radicchio, endive, Swiss chard, French sorrel, arugula, and Chinese cabbage)

February is the weirdest month, especially this year.  We have always relied on there being a dry, warmer spell in February during which we can plant peas.  We had that this year to the extent that record high temperatures were recorded.  Now, for the past several days we have been harvesting and covering crops in the fields in anticipation of the coldest overnight temperatures of this winter.  Had these two events happened in the opposite order, we would not be quite as concerned, but having the warm weather first has prompted many plants (including fruit trees) to start growing in anticipation of spring.  Of most concern is the purple sprouting broccoli which has just started to make harvestable sprouts.  We’ve done our best to cover the plants with frost protection fabric and will just have to wait and see how things go.  To add a note of irony to the situation, Monday met my definition of the first day of spring: it was the first day of the year during which we saw sun, rain, snow, and hail.

MICRO GREENS are something we tried for the first time last year.  Since we had a lot of positive feedback, we are doing it again this year.  This week’s micro greens are a mix of cabbage family starts.  You can use them like you would alfalfa sprouts; trim them now for a garnish on soups, in sandwiches, or in a salad.  They will continue to grow if you keep them on a sunny windowsill and keep them watered.  You can even use a bit of them now and plant out the remainder into your garden and see what you get!  We have a set of CILANTRO MICRO GREENS coming on.  If you don’t like cilantro, please let us know and we will do our best to get you a different mix.  While the recipe below calls for arugula, I would take this basic outline to use the salad mix from this week’s basket and top it with the micro greens.  I would also consider adding the beet greens to the mix.


2-3 beets

¼ cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)

1 Tbsp. minced shallots (or 1 small onion)

1 garlic clove, minced

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground fennel seeds

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup red lentils

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 bunch arugula, torn into bite-size pieces

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap the beets in foil and roast them for 45 minutes, or until tender; let cool.  Peel the beets (rubbing under cold water) and cut them into wedges.  In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add cumin and fennel seeds and cook just until fragrant.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne.  Season with salt and pepper and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add lentils and cook just until tender.  Drain and transfer to a bowl.  Toss the lentils with half the vinaigrette and let cool.  Stir in parsley.  Toss the arugula and beets with the remaining vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.  Mound the salad on dinner plates and spoon the lentils on top.  Garnish with the feta and serve.  Serves 4.  From Food and Wine Jan. 2001.



1 large savoy or green cabbage

1 pound potatoes, sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups milk

½ cup crème fraîche

Ground black pepper

4 ounces Gruyère, grated

1/4 cup grated Parmesan,

2 teaspoons chopped sage

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add quartered cabbage and potato slices. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain and use tongs to transfer cabbage quarters to a colander set over a bowl or in the sink. Allow cabbage to cool in colander until you can handle the wedges. Core the wedges, then cut them in half lengthwise. Finally, slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons. Return to colander and drain for another 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl with the potatoes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or gratin. Cut one of the garlic cloves in half and rub the dish with the cut surface. Then slice up all the garlic and toss with cabbage and potatoes. In a bowl, whisk together milk, crème fraîche, about 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Pour into bowl with cabbage and potatoes, add cheeses and sage, and gently toss together. Scrape into baking dish. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. During the first 45 minutes, press the vegetables down into the liquid in the baking dish every 10 to 15 minutes, using the back of a large spoon. The gratin will still be bubbling when you remove it from the oven, and you will see liquid in the baking dish. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before serving, until liquid is reabsorbed. If liquid remains in dish, serve with a slotted spoon.  Adapted from The New York Times