Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Hello everyone, and welcome new members! If you’re new to the farm,
you may not be aware that we have an extensive database of recipes
for you on the website! So when inspiration just isn’t striking, go there and you’re
almost guaranteed to get some good ideas! Here’s the link if you want to
take a peek: (click
here to go to recipe database)
Meanwhile, this week I have contributions from members with ideas for preparing
mizuna, summer squash, cauliflower and radishes, and since we’re getting
LOTS of spinach again (sez Tom), and everyone’s getting Chinese/Napa cabbage,
I’ll just have to include something about them too! Oh, and FYI, I have
a habit of inserting my two cents into other people’s recipes; when I do,
I put my comments [in square brackets]. – Debbie
Many Mizuna Ideas
A member who prefers to remain anonymous (he’s
shy!) sent me these great suggestions. He, his wife and two children manage
to consume TWO family shares a week, mind you, so I know they know what to
do with greens!
We eat mizuna in many ways, but here are just a few:
As a salad. Toss mizuna with whatever other salad goodies you like. Any
and all. [Let’s see, from this week’s box you could add lettuce,
spinach, arugula, sliced radishes... maybe matchsticked summer squash!] Here’s
one way I like to go: I’ll take orange slices, roasted cashews, and cubed
jicama and toss them together into a kind of salsa, with a home made orange-honey
dressing. We serve a pile of Mizuna (with or without other goodies) and spoon
helpings of the above "relish" on top and chow down! The orange-honey
dressing is simply frozen orange juice concentrate thinned with just enough water
(or olive oil or any liquid, incl. wine) to reach a desired consistency, then
combined with a little honey. I have no precise measurements; all done by tastes.
You adjust and add as you wish.
Stir-Fry. This is wonderful with green garlic. [Hm, new folks, you’ll
have to scare up some garlic – we just stopped putting green garlic in
the boxes last week! But the rest of us still have lots of it in our refrigerators...
at least I do!] Divide green garlic into two parts: the green top and the lower
half including the bulb. Slice the bulb portion and slice the green top portion.
Heat a pan to cooking temperature, add oil, then quickly add in sliced bulb
portion and let it sear for 5-7 seconds or so, or until the garlic aroma hits
the nose, then add in the green top portion and stir a bit and cover. Let sit
for 10 seconds or so, then add Mizuna and start tossing until it just begins
to go limp (not until wilted). Cover for 10 more seconds or so and serve. Basically
it’s a quick hot-tossed Mizuna with garlic. [Me, I’d probably add
some salt, but that’s ‘cause I’m a salt fiend.] The green
garlic tops take longer to cook than the mizuna, so add it to the pan first.
The desirable texture is ‘just-cooked mizuna’, not ‘dead
and wilted mizuna’... with sparkingly garlicky flavors.
Other methods. We like using fresh Mizuna as a bed for cooked goodies.
The fresh greens counter-balance the cooked and seasoned flavors of the goodies
on top: Stir-fry sliced beef in various sauces and pour on top of a bed of
fresh Mizuna (sliced to bite size) to serve. Curry stewed vegetables or meat
on top of Mizuna, or braised tofu or braised shitake on top of Mizuna. Be creative!
In the end, I just cook with whatever is on hand and make the best of it, so
it is hard to provide measurements. Sometimes I cannot repeat what everyone likes
because the ingredients are gone or proportions are forgotten! :-). [This is
the kind of cooking I like to encourage though! It’s all about ‘cooking
with what you have’ in my book!]
Here’s an undated Bon Appetit recipe I modified to use mizuna (it just
says ‘greens’ and mentions mustard greens, so since mizuna is a mustard
green, I think it will be just fine!)
Penne with Greens [Mizuna], Olives, and Feta
serves 4 to 6
“Greens are paired with salty olives and feta – to great effect.
The greens cook in the pasta water, making this an efficient one-pot meal.”
¼ C chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large bunch of greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe;
about 1 lb.), stems removed (except for spinach), torn up
12 oz. penne pasta
5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
½ C coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
½ C crumbled feta cheese (about 3 oz.)
Mix parsley, lemon peel and garlic in small bowl; set aside.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add greens and cook just until tender,
1 to 6 minutes, depending on type of greens [the mizuna would be a minute or
less!! Probably more like 30 seconds or so]. Using skimmer or slotted spoon,
transfer greens to colander to drain. Return water to boil. Add pasta and cook
until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving ¾ C
pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot; add greens and 3 tbsp. oil and toss.
Stir in olives, feta, and enough reserved pasta cooking water by ¼ cupfuls
to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Drizzle with remaining
2 tbsp. oil, then sprinkle with parsley mixture and serve.
Farrell’s Favorite Summer Squash
from longtime member Farrell Podgorsek
My favorite way to eat Summer Squash is to cut them in half, coat them with olive
oil, salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet. Roast in a hot oven – 400
degrees – until they are softened and browned (You can use a lower temperature
and bake longer). When the squash are done, remove from the oven and sprinkle
fresh herbs and chopped garlic on them. If using green garlic, sauté it
first in some olive oil until soft and golden before tossing it with the squash.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Leftover squash is also nice cubed and
tossed with balsamic vinegar, then stir it into cooked grains such as Israeli
Couscous or rice.
Cauliflower Puree (instead of mashed potatoes)
another Farrell contribution
Steamed and pureed cauliflower is wonderful. It has a smooth, silky texture
and nice flavor, and is a fun, healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. To make
my version, cut as much cauliflower as you want to make into small pieces. If
stems are used, cut them into smaller pieces than the florets so they cook quickly.
Place the cauliflower in a steamer insert over boiling water. Cook until
completely soft when pierced with a knife. Transfer cauliflower to a food
processor and blend until completely pureed. You can add cooking water or milk
to thin it out if too thick. Salt & pepper to taste. I don't,
but olive oil or butter can be added to enrich the puree. You can also
stir in some minced herbs - sage is wonderful with cauliflower. If you
like, steam some garlic with the cauliflower and puree together.
From member Karen Fox, who says, “I
love radishes but my family is ‘so-so’ on
them, but then I tried this recipe and my kids devoured these tasty pickles!”
2 C water
6 tbsp. wine
6 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
2 tbsp. honey
Fresh thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley (used what we have in our herb
Boil together all ingredients to mix, then add small French radishes, baby pearl
onions, tiny carrots as thick as your finger. Bring to a rolling boil again (don't
let them get squishy), let cool in the pan then refrigerate overnight. Serve
cold as a garnish, or add to recipies that use pickles: tuna salad, potato salad...
The flavor is mild, sweet and tangy with the essence fresh herbs. The radishes
retain their crunch and have a mild flavor and less bite. I strained the liquid
before storing the leftover veggies in a jar though, as the herbs looked a little
Here’s a pair of I ran back in 2003 that I
thought bore repeating...
Simple Cooked Chinese Cabbage
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
This Asian cabbage cooks quickly and is even milder than European varieties.
Allow 1 1/2 lbs. or more for 4 servings. Chop the whole cabbage, including the
firm white base, into strips of whatever width appeals to you. Heat a few tablespoons
water or rice wine in a wide skillet, add the cabbage, and sprinkle with salt.
Cook over medium-high heat, turning the leaves with tongs, until wilted. Drain,
then toss with dark sesame oil, roasted peanut oil, or butter. Garnish with chopped
parsley, cilantro or dill; snipped chives; toasted sesame seeds, or Gomashio
(a mixture of black and white sesame seeds and sea salt).
Cold Chinese Cabbage with Cilantro
from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
Macerate finely diced shallots in white wine vinegar for 15 minutes or so. Slice
Chinese or Napa cabbage very thin, toss with the shallots and vinegar, some good
olive oil, and salt and pepper. Let the cabbage sit about 10 minutes so it starts
to wilt. Add a handful of fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
Lastly, here’s a (spinach) recipe I made
up a few years back. Simple, easy, tasty!
Debbie’s Chorizo and Eggs Florentine
Cook a bunch of cleaned spinach in boiling salted water for about a minute (alternatively
you can steam it just until wilted). Drain, squeeze out excess water, chop, and
set aside. Brown up chorizo, scramble in eggs, and when eggs are mostly set,
add spinach and scramble until eggs are done. Top with grated jack cheese (optional)
and serve with warm tortillas, and maybe your favorite salsa or hot sauce!
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