Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Click here to go to the recipe database.Things are definitely picking up in the fields, so the shares are getting generous accordingly! The small shares get the sputnik veggie (kohlrabi) this week, so I'll repeat my blurb on it because it's not something people are familiar with. Escarole is relatively obscure also, so I'll talk a bit about that too. I'm excited because we're getting radicchio (haven't had it in a long while) and I looooovvvvve radicchio. Some folks will be getting komatsuna instead of mei qing choi this week, but you can read about that above, as it came from our intern's garden patch so Molly wrote about it. Tom says the summer squash is really coming in, so it's time to break out the uses-lots-of-squash recipes! (Please send them in if you have new fun ones; we can always use more!) The garlic is ceasing to be 'green garlic' and will be more like a regular head of garlic with fully-formed cloves, although the heads are not dried and cured yet. There's just no more oomph remaining in the green stalks, so they'll be cut off. It's still fresh enough though that I'd keep it in the fridge rather than in your cupboard though. ~ DebbieKohlrabi; what the heck do I do with this??
Be adventurous, of course! Separate the leaf stalks from the bulbs, wash them, strip leaves from their stems, and the leaves
can be used anywhere you might use kale. And there are LOTS of great kale
recipes... I'd for sure cook them as I often cook greens, in my 'hot salad' recipe: strip leaves from stems, cook in boiling, well-salted water around 3 minutes, drain well, chop, drizzle with good olive oil, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, and maybe sprinkle on a little additional salt (if you're a salt fiend like me). Or leave off the salt and top with grated parmesan (also rather salty). I bet the kohlrabi leaves would be great in the 'crispy kale
' recipe too.
are still fairly small and tender, so Tom thinks they don't even need to be peeled. I'd have to see them to decide on that front, but basically you can just use your own judgment. If you want to peel them, grasp the skin at the top between a thumb and a knife blade and strips of skin will peel off (yeah, or you can just use a peeler). If not peeling, just cut off the leaves, slice and include in a stir-fry or gratin. I kind of like using them like jicama or celery, diced raw in tuna or egg salad, or sliced like you would radishes into fresh green salads. And of course you could just do the Weston Price treatment: boil or steam until tender, then serve with lots of butter and salt. Maybe sprinkle on some herbs.What the heck do I do with escarole??
Do you sense a pattern forming? What'd'ya think; should I start a 'what the heck do I do with it??' series? Nah, those routines can get old; the recipe database is already a default resource for discovering what the heck to do with things. ;-)
Okay, back to escarole. It is a salad green. It is a cooking green. It is a bitter green. All of the above. What Tom grows is really a frisee - he calls it 'escarole' the same way he calls mei qing choi 'bok choi'. Both escarole and endive are in the chicory family, and frisee is actually a 'curly endive'... it all gets rather incestuous and confusing so I'm just going to not worry about that part too much because they are all similar enough as mentioned above: salad green, cooking green, bitter green. The escarole aka frisee aka endive we get looks kind of like a head of frilly lettuce; light green leaves kind of thicker and firm and white towards the base. You've probably seen it in salad mix, but many folks may not realize you can cook with it too. I'll give you my favorite citrus salad recipe (the first thing I made when I first encountered escarole years ago), but here also is a wonderful blurb from a blog by a woman who gets a box from a different CSA - and for the life of me I can't find her identity to credit her, so I'll have to just give you the link to her blog "In My Box
." She expounds upon the pleasure she gets from eating bitter greens (an addiction she developed after traveling in Italy), and then goes on to share this recipe:"Venice in Your Mouth" Escarolefrom the blog In My Box
1 large bag escarole [1 or 2 heads; whatever we get in our box], washed thoroughly and chopped into 1 1/2 inch strips [since ours is the frilly kind, it's already in strips so I'd just chop it into bite-sized segments]
2 or 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat oil and butter together in a wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic begins to brown. Pile on the greens, tossing and stirring until they begin to deflate. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, tossing and stirring as needed, until the greens are cooked through. (20 minutes? I did it by feel, so I'm not sure...)Citrus Salad with Bitter Greens [Escarole, Radicchio]modified from Fields of Greens, by Annie Sommerville
[Note from Debbie: this is a rather indulgent recipe, in that you have to go out and get all the different citrus listed to make it in its full glory, however I have made it with just oranges (we have a tree) and it is still good.]
Annie Sommerville says, "Juicy rounds of tangerines, ruby grapefruit, and oranges" are arranged atop a bed of bitter greens then drizzled with a vinaigrette made from their juices. [Mmmm, see why I was drawn to this recipe?]salad ingredients
1 handful of escarole hearts [our frisee: use the smaller, tenderer, inner leaves]
1 small head of radicchio [we have that!]
1 handful of watercress [we don't have that, alas, so I just leave it out, or I'll substitute lettuce or spinach or something similar... too bad we're not getting purslane! Little sprigs of purslane in this would be good!]
citrus vinaigrette [recipe below]
2 or 3 kumquats, thinly sliced and seeded [I LOVE kumquats!]
2 navel or blood oranges [blood oranges are beautiful for color]
1 large ruby grapefruit
Remove and discard the outer leaves of the escarole; cut or tear the tender light green inner leaves into large pieces [maybe save the outer leaves for the "Venice in your Mouth" recipe, above?]. Trim the base of the radicchio, carefully separate the leaves, and cut or tear them. Sort through the watercress and pluck the small sprigs, discarding the long stems and bruised leaves. Wash and dry the greens in a spinner; wrap loosely in a damp towel and refrigerate until needed.
Make the vinaigrette, then toss the kumquats in a little of it to soften their acidity.
Using a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from the fruit, slicing a piece off the top and bottom, then working down the sides. Be sure to remove all the outer white membrane. Slice the oranges and tangerines into rounds; slice the grapefruit in half lengthwise, then into half-moons. Remove all seeds.
Place the greens in a bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Arrange them on a platter or individual plates and place the fruit on top, alternating the slices. Sprinkle on the kumquats and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.citrus vinaigrette
½ tsp. minced orange zest
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice or 1 tbsp. ea. of orange and tangerine juices
1 tbsp. champagne vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. light olive oil
Combine everything but the oil in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil. [The first time I made this recipe was my first time using champagne vinegar as well, and it is really great mixed with the fresh citrus!]We're getting fennel again, and my friend Mark Stevens emailed me with a timely recipe. After we got fennel last time, his wife Mary had tasked him with preparing it, so he looked online for inspiration and the family liked what he made so much that Mary then said, "you need to send this one to Debbie." Thanks you guys!Mark's broiled fennel and goat cheeseinspired by the following grilled fennel salad blog, says Mark
1 large bulb of fennel [or 2 small], sliced about 1/2" to 3/4" thick (our bulb ended up with 5 slices) [I believe the slices are supposed to be lengthwise to the stalk, but crosswise to the 'flat' of the bulb, so that each has a bit of root-end to hold the slice together]
Tear washed salad greens (we did a mixture of arugula and green lettuce) and divide between two plates. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees, with rack at broiling level near top of oven.
Lay out fennel slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt (I used a salt combination with citrus and rosemary from Napa Style, so any grey/sea salt combined with your choice of dried herbs should work). Drizzle balsamic vinegar and then olive oil on the fennel slices over the salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to penetrate the fennel.
Put pan in oven for 5 minutes to roast, then switch to broiler without removing pan and broil for 5 minutes more. Fennel should be starting to brown at this point.
Remove pan from oven. Add good-size dollop of goat cheese to the top of each of the hot fennel slices. Return to oven and broil for another 5-6 minutes. Goat cheese should be starting to brown.
Distribute hot slices of fennel over plated greens. Serve immediately. Yum!Here's a recent submission from my friend Alie; a recipe that's great for kids of all ages. She'd gotten it from a friend who says his 4 year old son loves them!Strawberry Popsicles
2 C strawberries
1/2 C milk
2 heaping tbsp. sugar
Blend all for 1 minute in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds (can be gotten at Target and the like). Freeze at least 6 hours. Enjoy!This is a recipe I've had in my 'save for when' file since three years ago, sent to me by member Sherry Hemingway. Perfect for this week, since we're getting three of the four possible ingredients!Braised Bok Choy (or Endive, Escarole or Radicchio)Adapted from "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 bok choy, trimmed at base and cleaned
¼ C minced prosciutto or dry-cured ham (optional)
½ C chicken, beef or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. lemon juice or white wine vinegar
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium or large non-stick skillet that can later be covered.
Add the bok choy and cook, turning once or twice, until they begin to brown.
Add the ham, stock, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over the lowest possible heat, turning occasionally, until very tender, about 20 minutes (or up to 45 for endive, escarole or radicchio).
Drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar and serve.Regarding radicchio, my absolute favorite way to prepare it is either grilled or pan-browned and there are a couple different recipes in the database for this, but I also have had this recipe which a friend sent me back in (gulp!) 2003. It, in turn, came from a friend of hers, Dorothy McNett, who had a gourmet kitchen store in downtown Hollister for many years [it closed in 2005, sadly, after 14 years in business].
Radicchio Saladby Dorothy McNett
1/2 to 1 small head radicchio
4 - 5 C fresh spinach [you could substitute lettuce]
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/3 C dry white wine
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. sea salt (coarse is nice here)
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
1 - 2 C cooked baby shrimp
freshly ground white peppercorns
Cut the radicchio into thin julienne. Tear the spinach and toss the greens together in a bowl. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, wine and salt together in a glass measuring cup. In a large saute pan, heat the oil and add the shrimp to warm them and to coat with the oil. Put the shrimp on the greens. Add the balsamic mixture to the oil and cook and stir over high heat until the liquid has reduced about by half. Pour over the greens and toss, adding the ground white pepper to taste.
[My friend Carol says that although the recipe doesn't call for it, she likes to crumble just a tiny bit of gorgonzola into the salad for a few little bursts of flavor.]What about the oyster mushrooms?
Oyster mushrooms are the pale, fan-shaped mushrooms with gilled undersides and stems (sometimes some of us end up with fresh shitakes from Ortiz mushroom farm, so you'll want to know the difference. The shitakes have a much darker top and the stems are smooth). I have this favorite recipe from way back for oyster mushrooms in garlic-lemon cream sauce... but since the only ingredient from that recipe which we have in our box is the mushrooms, it seems somehow odd to include it here... aw, okay, maybe I have to now that I've mentioned it (it really is delicious!). But also, I think I'd experiment with sauteing them with the escarole or radicchio, maybe sprinkle on some minced parsley at the end. Heck, whaddya know; here's a recipe I found online for sauteed escarole and mushroom salad! I'll modify it some (because I disagree with a few issues, such as "heating olive oil 'til it smokes'"[!]), but here's the general idea:Warm Escarole and Mushroom Saladmodified to our box ingredients from recipe found online
serves 2 to 4
1 medium head of escarole, cleaned, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
¼ C olive oil
1 lb. mushrooms [I think we're only getting a half-pound; just use 'em all]
2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 lg. shallot, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced
5 tbsp. red wine vinegar
[minced fresh parsley - optional]
Place escarole in a large bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan [I might add some butter too]; add mushrooms, garlic, shallot and thyme and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and transfer mushrooms to bowl with escarole. Pour vinegar into the pan. Stir, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom [yum!] then pour over the mushrooms and escarole. Toss all ingredients together, season with additional salt and pepper, [sprinkle with optional minced fresh parsley] and serve.Penne with Oyster Mushrooms in Garlic and Lemon Cream Sauceserves 4 to 6
[it's an old typed card from my recipe file; source was a caterer I assisted in preparing a big fundraising meal for a nonprofit decades ago. I've forgotten the caterer's name, alas.]
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lbs. fresh oyster mushrooms, stems trimmed, tops wiped clean as needed [obviously you'll need to either scale down the recipe, or be satisfied with less mushrooms in the overall recipe, which would not be the end of the world]
4 tbsp. minced or pressed garlic
3 C heavy cream [don't use ultra-pasteurized! Yuck!]
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 C tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced [I just use canned chopped tomatoes when fresh tomatoes are out of season]
1 lb. penne rigate
¾ C grated asiago cheese
Melt butter, saute mushrooms until soft; add garlic and cook for a minute. Add cream, turn heat up, bring mixture to a medium simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half (15-20 minutes). Lower heat, stir in lemon juice and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to package directions. Drain thoroughly, and combine with sauce and asiago in a large bowl. Serve immediately with additional grated asiago or parmesan.Oop, I realized that I said I was going to have some summer squash recipes for you... actually, one that really is great is the very first one in the (zucchini section of the) database, from the first season I was doing recipes for the farm, back in 1998! Back when our newsletters were one side of a sheet of paper, and I had the bottom third to fit a recipe into. Boy have we come a long way since then. This recipe is doubly-good for this week's newsletter, because it uses both summer squash and fennel. If you haven't tried it, now's the time!Sauteed Fennel & Zucchini
Serves 4 to 6
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
3 to 4 zucchini, sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pine nuts
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
First, toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet (stir, or shake pan often)
until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel
and zucchini and cook, stirring constantly, until they are cooked through
but still crisp-tender, about 7 - 8 min. Stir in the vinegar and oregano,
and season to taste w/salt and pepper. Add pine nuts and heat a minute
or two more. Serve hot.