Happy 4th of July! I hope you all can celebrate with friends and family - lets hope it doesn't rain. Actually, how about it doesn't rain for a couple weeks? Things might finally get a chance to dry out- all the plants would be much happier for it! But we soldier on, despite the crazy weather. We're starting to get into the more bulky foods - again, the weather has delayed our normally scheduled produce to give out to you all.
Here's what's in your bags this week.:
Snow Peas (more coming soon!) or Swiss Chard
Just a reminder to wash your veggies before using them - especially an extra rinse for your greens would be a good idea.
With all the rain, the fields have been pretty muddy, which then splashes up onto the lettuce, spinach and chard. We rinse everything once in cold water before packing them in bags, mostly to get the heat out of them so they won't wilt. But they'll need a second washing to get rid of any leftover dirt. A salad spinner is a great tool for drying the greens after washing- they're available at some grocery stores and most hardware stores. A good investment for years of tasty salads!
I don't know if the rain is partly responsible, or that we had a real winter with good snow cover and normal, cold temperatures (which lots of shrubs and fruiting trees need), but everything is loaded with flowers and fruit this year. My roses have bloomed like never before, my 3-year-old peach tree has about 35 peaches on it, and I discovered 3 or 4 mulberry trees in our neighborhood that had never fruited before completely covered in berries.
I love fruit, and I've been picking mulberries and going to Tre-G, the local strawberry U-pick place in Pompey as often as I can. There's nothing quite as wonderful as eating freshly picked fruit.
Here's a website with some handy lists of U-pick places in the area. It's a really great thing to do with kids. It was always one of my favorite summer activities growing up (and still is, actually :>)
I've posted some recipes below, but if you're looking for more cooking guidance, I can't recommend highly enough the collection of Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks that are out on the market.
There are hundreds of excellent, delicious recipes that use normal ingredients, are quite healthy for you, and can help you learn to cook new or unfamiliar vegetables. I own and use constantly their Moosewood "Cooks at Home" and "Cooking for Health."
1) Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pecans
Actually, this is more like a salad template. Spinach and strawberries go especially well together, especially with a poppy seed dressing, but adding different fruits, fresh or dried, nuts, cheese, meat or herbs are a great way to turn your side salad into a satisfying meal all on its own. I often use golden raisins, chopped up dried apricots, an apple, a pear, any kind of nut I have on hand, bits of cheese, a radish or a carrot- if it sounds good to you, give it a try!
8-oz spinach 1 cup strawberry halves 1 cup pecan halves (or walnuts, or almonds) Dressing: 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/3 cup oil 1/4 cup sugar 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 small onion 2 tsp poppy seeds
In a large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries and pecans.
Mix cider vinegar, oil, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt pepper and onion in a food processor until smooth. Add poppy seeds and mix.
from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook yields 4 quesadillas
1 Tbsp olive oil 2 cups finely chopped onions 1 fresh chile, minced (or a sweet pepper, if you prefer) approx 5 cups chopped fresh spinach (coarsely chopped with large stems removed) pinch of dried oregano 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 4 whole wheat tortillas, or your favorite kind 1 cup grated cheese (such as Monterrey Jack)
In a large saucepan on medium-high heat, warm the oil and cook the onion and chilis for about 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the spinach, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir until the spinach had wilted, a minute or two. Remove from the heat and drain.
Place one of the tortillas in a dry skillet on medium heat. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of the cheese. After about a minute, when the cheese has begun to melt, spread 1/4 of the drained spinach mixture over 1/2 the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over the spinach and cheese to make a 1/2 circle and cook for a minute. Turn the quesadilla over and cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted.
Remove tortilla, slice into wedges, and dip in your favorite salsa. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
3) Sautéed Spinach w/ Roasted Garlic, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta
approx. 10 oz spinach 3 Tbsp olive oil 3 cloves garlic, sliced 1/2 cup onions, chopped 1/2 cup sun-dried (or roasted) tomatoes 1/4 cup sherry (optional) 1/4 cup lemon juice 5 Tbsp butter 1/2 cup feta salt & pepper to taste
Over medium heat, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until golden brown (approx. 2 minutes). Add tomatoes, add sherry and lemon juice and reduce by a third (approx. 3 minutes) Add butter and toss until it melts. Add spinach.
Cover and stir occasionally until the spinach is slightly wilted and warm (approx. 3 minutes).
Add feta and cook briefly until slightly melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
NOTE: this is great to toss with your favorite pasta!
4) Baked Swiss Chard and Spinach w/ Chickpeas and Feta Cheese
4-6 servings 4 Tbsp olive oil 10 oz Swiss chard, heavy stems removed 1 Lb Spinach, heavy stems removed One 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained 4 scallions (white and green) chopped 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 1/4 cup chopped dill salt and pepper to taste 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°F, spread 1 Tbsp oil around a 12x9x2- inch casserole dish
In a steamer pot, steam Swiss chard until it wilts, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach to the steamed chard and steam another 4 minutes until the spinach wilts, too. Remove both greens and drain, squeezing out excess water once they are cool enough to handle.
Chop greens and toss with remaining 3 Tbsp of oil, chickpeas, scallions, garlic, dill and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to the casserole dish Push the feta cheese down into the mixture and bake until it's sizzling, about 35 minutes. Serve hot.
for Lucky Moon Farm