Break out the blender! Pesto season is here! (though this is our Bourbon Basil Chocolate Cake getting started...)
Ever thought about what a Circle M Food Cart would be like? I have. I think it would be a blast to make street food! So we’re gonna try it out next Wednesday for Blanchardville’s Music on Main event. Rick Fredrickson will be crooning classics of the 50s and 60s and we’ll be serving up Mexican Pulled Pork Sliders, Thai Spring Rolls, Goat Cheese Dips with Carrots and Crackers, Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars and Bourbon Basil Chocolate Cupcakes. Beer and wine are available, as well as all the yummy take-out available from the bars. Come Play with Your Food and with us down at the Ryan Park Shelter on Wednesday, July 30, from 6 to 7 pm.
Here’s what’s in the box. As usual, use the first things listed first.
Squash Blossoms – Oh! What can we say but, “Oh!” These are such a delight and surprise on the plate. We hope you’ll be able to make use of them quickly and well. The crew cheered when they saw that picking squash blossoms was on the harvest list this morning, because that meant stuffed and sautéed squash for lunch! Delicious. If you can’t use these right away to stuff, they will still be terrific in their wilty state baked on top of a frittata or quiche. The flavor is a light cucumber floral. We put a ton of ideas up on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page (there’s even a squash blossom ice cream!) but our basic stuffed recipe is below.
Pea Tendrils – Holy cow. Amazing. Our peas finished up this past week, and we went through the trellises picking the last pods. But while we were out there, we picked the tender growing tips to munch on, and they were amazing! So we’ve brought you this last gift of the peas. This week they will be cut to make way for the cucumbers and little acorn squash that are growing up next to them. Garnish the top of a salad, or better yet, sauté very very lightly and top a salad or side dish.
Basil – This should be enough for you to get a nice little stash of pesto in your fridge to use up in the next week or so. Mashed into pesto, covered with some olive oil, it will keep at least a week. If you want, freeze some. It freezes great. We are mixing ours with sorrel and oregano right now for a super-tart Italian style dip-starter we add to goat cheese and have on crostini. Also terrific over spaghetti squash instead of pasta, if you are trying to limit gluten. Lots of recipes on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page.
Bok Choy – This variety is called “Joy Joi” and it is a lovely, tender sort of Chinese cabbage. If you haven’t used it before, it may seem baffling to see so much stalk and so little leaf! But the entire plant, minus the dirty little bottoms at the end of the stems, is edible. Wash, tear leaves from stalks, and chop both stalks and leaves into bite size pieces. Use in stir-fry, soups or sautees, cooking the stems for a few minutes more than the leaves. The leaves should be cooked very lightly. Please see the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page for more ideas.
Summer Squash/Zucchini – First picking. Now you know it’s summer! When the squash are this young and tender we recommend eating them raw with a healthy dip or lightly sautéing in olive oil and garlic and serving with pasta or a grain. In the height of the squash season, I’ve been known to leave them in the fridge for quite sometime, but the skins on these are so young and tender they are not going to offer a lot of protection in storage. USE SOON! Shockingly good sautéed with sage.
Chocolate Mint - You’ve had a fair amount of this lately, but we are trying to keep it from blooming, and so we harvest very regularly. We made Mint Mojitos for the Thankfulness Dinner, and they were extremely popular, so we thought we’d let you make your own. Recipe is on the Box 4 Recipe Blog.
Sorrel - Still so bright and fresh, we are eating this as salad with roasted rhubarb and balsamic and adding by the bunch to our pestos. The pesto we served at the Thankfulness Dinner was 1/3 sorrel, 1/3 basic and 1/3 oregano and it got rave reviews! Also great as a wilted salad with a light lemon and bacon dressing. A little parmesan shredded on top takes it to the next level.
Scallions - Please please please don’t throw the greens away on these! They are a special Chinese variety of scallion we are trying this year and are bred to have very tender edible stalks as well as roots. I used to use just the whites of scallions, as many American cooks do. But I had the great fortune to live with a Korean roommate for a year and she was just astounded at the way Americans waste the stems of common veggies, like scallions, broccoli and cauliflower. Truly – all of these parts of the plant are edible and delicious! Chop into eggs, soup, or enjoy raw on buttered baguette slices. Growing up, one of my favorite treats out of my parents’ big garden was scallions sliced into the middle of a buttered white bread sandwich. My dad still makes these, though I’ve gotten away from the fluffy white bread.
Parsley and Sage and Thyme – Almost a Simon and Garfunkel song. We thought we were digging potatoes for you this week, but they were still too small. And we love sage with potatoes, so we picked a ton! Oh, well. It will last in the fridge in the baggie for a long time. We will likely have your new red potatoes in the next box. In the meantime, enjoy with the Yellow Squash or Zucchini! Fry up some sage leaves in butter until the butter turns slightly brown. Remove the leaves to drain on a paper towel and try not to eat them. They should be crispy and amazing. Lightly sauté the squash in the butter. Plate up and crumble some of the sage leaves on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Yum. Thyme and parsley are also great with squash or basically, with anything. Both everyday herbs. Throw whole thyme sprigs into dishes where you can see to fish out the woody stems after they’ve infused their flavor. Or, use fingernails to strip the leaves from the stems.
Kale and Collards – Kale chips? Have you tried them? Yummy! You can make them with kale, collards, even Swiss Chard. But we’ve been eating massaged kale for our summer salads here with the berries from the hedgerows and goat cheese.
Broccoli (Shortie Shares Only) - So young, so tender. Use the florets and the stalk. Cut all into bite-size pieces. Our favorite way to enjoy broccoli these days is the lazy way – chopped and steamed with several shakes of soy sauce in a covered class bowl in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!
Fresh Garlic – Our first picking of the garlic – just the biggest bulbs came out to make room for the rest to really beef up. This isn’t cured – the skin is still soft – so use quickly or store in the fridge, not the pantry. This will make your pesto ZING!
Flowering Oregano, Lovage, Summer Savory– These bunches in your box have flowering oregano, several stalks of lovage, and a sprig or two of Savory. The lovage looks like a big parsley but it is in fact a perennial celery. Both leaves and stems are useable, but obviously the stems will have to cook for while. Alternatively, blitz in the food processor and add to salad dressing. It has an amazing celery/nutmeg taste. There’s a great recipe for salad dressing here: http://ediblemadison.com/recipes/view/fresh-is-best-cole-slaw The pretty purple oregano flowers are just as tasty as the leaves. The only thing you won’t use on this plant is the woody stem. Use your imagination with these flowers and garnish pizza, cheese dips, egg dishes and pasta plates.
Rhubarb – We rarely pack rhubarb 3 times in a season, but it’s still so gorgeous and fresh and we wanted you to be able to try my Prize-Winning Fruit of the Forest Cream Pie that’s on the Recipe Blog. It’s good! I recently won first prize with it in the Hollandale Pie Baking Contest last weekend – which was a fundraiser for the Blanchardville/Hollandale Area Community Fund. The Fund is hosting another fundraiser involving food and ART next month at the fabulous folk art Grandview site outside of Hollandale: August 16 and 17th, visit Grandview and enjoy scrumptious sack lunches while watching artists create on the grounds.
Head over to the Box 4 Recipe Blog for this week's favorites.