Thursday, June 24, 2010

Week 6, June 29th and July 2nd

The variety of chard I grow is called "bright lights". It is a beautiful addition to the garden...and even your flower garden. It is in the same family as spinach, so it is similar in flavor. I can cut this crop and it will regrow again and again throughout the season.

How do I eat chard? The smaller leaves can be cut up and eaten raw in your salads. Other wise, light cooking is good. You may use any of the greens recipes given out thus far.

What are the nutritional benefits of Swiss Chard?
High in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Thiamin, Folate and Zinc. Also high in Sodium
How do I store chard? You guessed it...crisper

Surfin' Simon! We went to the beach this weekend!!!

PYO Strawberries!!!

I hope you all enjoyed your quart of strawberries last week!!! I was pleasantly surprised picking, there are more berries than I anticipated and boy are they yummy! There are 3 different varieties: earliglow, honeyoye and jewel. Earliglow was hit the hardest in the freeze since it is the earliest. It is by far the best tasting, but you will find several small and "buttoned" berries due to freeze damage. They are still edible, just a bit more work : )

PYO Flower Garden
The Pick Your Own garden is starting to blossom! Feel free to wander the garden and start to pick things like: snow peas, daisies, marigolds and basil.
Please do not pick the rhubarb (it's the only thing that is not PYO, it just happens to be where I planted it--sorry)
This week's loot: lettuce, baby carrots (with tops--they make a yummy soup), chard, radish, tat soi, shell peas!, garlic scapes, mint, lemon balm, tarragon

Next week's loot: lettuce, baby carrots, baby beets, kale, shell peas, scallions, new potatoes?
Lemon Balm and Mint--This herbs are very versatile! You can use it in your meals or to make a refreshing sun tea...thought it would be perfect for the 4th of July picnics!
A little mint in fruit salad can dramatically change its flavor. Mint can also work well in green salads. A little mint and peanuts will give a salad a Southeastern Asian appeal. The herb is also commonly used in Middle Eastern food. One can garnish hummus with mint, or add a little chopped mint to tabbouleh. Mint mixed into couscous can enliven this otherwise plain grain derivative.
Cooked veggies like peas, corn and carrots can all be infused with mint flavor. A minute prior to ending cooking, add a mint leaf or two to these steamed vegetables. Remove the leaves before serving and you’ll have a new way to make these classic vegetables appealing.
Mint marinades or chopped mint goes very well with certain meats. Lamb is often served with mint, and is best known. Mint also complements certain types of seafood like lobster, scallops, and sole. Consider mint chutney with these, or lobster dipped in mint garlic butter.
If you enjoy Vietnamese food, don’t leave out the mint. Many of the “make your own” rolls served in Vietnamese restaurants include thin rice pancakes, strips or balls of cooked meat, and a beautiful pile of fresh herbs and dipping sauce to add together for an Asian style burrito. A little mint in Thai or Chinese egg rolls can also change the taste, or savory egg rolls could be dipped in a mint sauce. A tiny amount of chopped mint can garnish scrambled eggs, omelets, or egg foo yung.
loosely wrapping them in a towel and storing them in a crisper in the fridge, away from the fan. Freshness is key; tarragon loses its flavor as it dries out.
Tarragon works well in chicken, egg and fish dishes, and in cream or mustard sauces. I've even used it in soups with some success (it does tend to be a bit strong for very delicate soups). While the weather is still hot, try it in this cold Creamy Spinach and Tarragon Soup. Adventurous cooks should try it in a sorbet, like the one I mentioned above, or in this lovely, refreshing Tarragon-Spiked Lady Grey Iced Tea from Gourmet magazine.
Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
Gourmet, November 2008
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise (or use scapes!)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried currants (we skipped this)
2 pounds green Swiss chard, stems and center ribs finely chopped and leaves coarsely chopped separately
1/2 cup water
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers
6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups)
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Cook onion in oil remaining in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add currants and cook, stirring, until plumped, about 1 minute.
Stir chard stems into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chard leaves and cook, covered, until stems and leaves are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 5 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain spaghetti.
Toss spaghetti with chard, olives, and 1/2 cup cooking water, adding more cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with feta and garlic chips.

Swiss Chard SaladIngredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into wide ribbons
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil on a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until tender and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and balsamic vinegar; cook and stir until the chard is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Carrot Top Soup [serves 4] (there are several carrot top soup recipes on the web, check em out!)1 bunch carrots, including the greens
1/2 cup brown rice
1 or 2 garlic scapes
6 cups water, light chicken stock, or vegetable stock
thyme, to taste, and whatever other herbs suit your fancy (the Valymyst
Herb blends work great in this)
salt & pepper, to taste
In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add rice. Simmeruntil tender, and set aside. While the rice is cooking, pluck the lacyleaves of the carrot greens off their stems, enough for 2 to 3 cups,loosely packed. Wash thoroughly, then chop finely. Chop the carrotsinto fairly small pieces.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot topsand carrots, garlic and herbs. Cook for a few minutes, turningeverything a few times, then add the water or stock, and salt. Bring toa boil, and simmer until the carrots are almost cooked. Add the rice,heat through until the carrots are tender, then taste for salt andseason with pepper.