In the share this week:
- head of curly leaf savoy cabbage
- head of fancy cone-shaped cabbage
- bunch of sweet spring onions
- bag of mixed greens: kale and chard
- bunch of purple mustard greens
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Last summer, when we were experiencing a similar stretch of monsoon weather, I drove past a rural church whose sign outside read, “If you’re praying for rain, stop!” This might be a good time to reiterate the plea. Lord, please send some of your wonderful rain to California — we’ve got plenty!
The danger of too much rain is water-logged soil, which leads quickly to rot. Beth has spent most of this week cutting open plastic mulch to dry out stagnant water, which threatens her onions and leeks and garlic. He cauliflower, which we had hoped to give out this week, has officially succumbed to rot.
More bad news on the broccoli front. My second planting of broccoli, which yielded fat blue-green heads last year, has been mercilessly attacked by cabbage worms. As I wrote in my email last week, I applied my usual treatment of Bt, a natural bacteria that kills the worms, but the rain washes it off so quickly that it’s ineffective. Here’s what the broccoli plants looked like yesterday…
There’s an outside chance that the heads will still emerge, but I’m not betting on it. Boo-hoo.
In much better news, we’re handing out two beautiful heads of cabbage this week that rival each other in vegetative beauty. The curly-leafed savoy cabbage was new last year and has become one of the favorite things we grow. The leaves, when chopped finely in a slaw, are so delicate and sweet that you almost forget you’re eating a cabbage. Then there’s a brand-new cabbage variety called caraflex that takes on a stunning, conical shape. I haven’t tasted it yet, but it gets points for its looks alone.
Both of these cabbages — along with Beth’s first sweet onions, leeks and fine-chopped greens —would go great in this pasta and cabbage recipe we posted last year. We made it again last night to rave reviews (and an embarrassing amount of animal grunting noises).
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 2 leeks, dark green parts removed, the rest chopped thinly
- 3 garlic scapes, sliced thinly (or 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
- 1 head of savoy cabbage, core removed, sliced very thinly
- 1 lb ground beef (optional)
- generous pile of kale, stem removed and chopped into small pieces
- thyme and oregano (fresh or dried), and salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box of pasta
- parmesan cheese for the table
- Boil water and cook the pasta al dente according to package directions
- Put a large, heavy pan over medium heat, heat up the oil and then add the onions, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until nicely softened and caramelized
- Toss in the chopped garlic scapes or garlic and stir for additional minute
- In batches, stir in the cabbage. Crank in some salt to help the cabbage release its moisture, then cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft.
- If you’re using the ground beef, add it now, breaking it up into small pieces as it browns and cooks fully
- Toss in the kale and stir until it’s nice and tender, another 3 minutes
- Add in the herbs, salt and pepper until the mixture is well seasoned and flavorful
- Fold the vegetable mixture into the just-cooked pasta and serve with shredded parmesan
How to Cut a Leek
Leeks are members of the allium family, like onions and garlic, and they put on more and more layers as they grow. Sometimes soil gets trapped between those layers. So the way to prepare a leek is to remove the dark green tops, trim the dangly beard of roots, and slice the leek top to bottom down the middle. Holding the leek halves under running water, fan out each layer and rinse out any remaining soil. Now you’re good to go.
Here are some leek and onion recipes to get you rolling:
- Spicy Stir-fried Beef with Leeks and Onions
- Savory Onion and Leek Tart
- Mushroom, Leek and Fontina Frittata
- Creamy pasta with leeks and bacon
Dinner Pics of the Week
Thanks to CSA member Emily for sending us these pics of some recent family meals featuring farm veggies. Send us your own glamour shots and we’ll put them on next week’s post!