Included in tomorrow's share...

on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quick posting to let you know what I risked life and limb while picking tonite. Well, ok, maybe not "life and limb" - how about "electrocution and malaria". Wow, the mosquitoes were out in FULL force after the storm!

First off, I picked some lettuce. I know I was worried about recent batches of lettuce being a bit bitter from the heat wave....but the good news is after those initial plantings, I started MORE lettuce - some I direct seeded into the raised beds, and some I started in little pots up on the deck, and then later transplanted those out in to plastic deck planters I no longer use. Seems to have paid off!! The ones in the deck planters are sitting down on the ground on the north side of one of the raised beds, so they're even getting a bit of shade - helps protect them from some of the scalding heat rays of the sun! Annnnnyhow - so tonite's pickings include this here big head of a loosely packed iceberg (Winter Density if I remember correctly)...

...but ALSO these mixed varieties of lettuce in a larger colander...

...AND an even BIGGER colander full of mixed salad greens! YOWZA! Seriously - that's a lot of lettuce! And I taste tested here and there - most of it's not even bitter (remember, there's nasty bitterness from plants that are going to seed, and there's a milder bitterness that some folks actually WANT in their salads - think radicchio and arugula).

Now like everything else in the CSA shares, consider the stuff "mildly rinsed" - I ran all the lettuce through a huge, clean plastic tub in the sink to wash most of the soil off the leaves, and only came across two slugs. That doesn't means there's not more dirt or even bugs in the lettuce. Just like with what you buy at the store, you should definitely wash this stuff!

Here's tonite's picking of peas (thin snow peas and plump crunchy sugar snaps). Doesn't look like much? I've been picking 'em every day or two since last week's share - there's enough peas for the next three people on the random list tomorrow!

More dirty stuff - this time in the form of onions...

...and radishes. I gave all these guys a rinsing while I was outside, but between mosquitoes biting, a tick crawling up my leg, and the on and off rain, I didn't want to stay out there too long. Everyone's getting some radishes in their share, and like last week I'm bringing along of underdeveloped radishes that you can pick and choose from for their greens if you like.

Here's some fun stuff in this week's share! If you were to buy this many herbs at the grocery store, you'd pay a FORTUNE! For those who aren't sure what's what, I'll list 'em here, starting from the top left and going clockwise around the tub.

  1. Purple sage
  2. Parsley - both curly- and flat-leaved (or Italian) varieties
  3. Rosemary
  4. Thyme (there's a mix of about 5 varieties here)
  5. Lemon grass
  6. Lemon verbena
Now I'm sure the last two are the ones you're least likely to have heard of. I don't have a ton of either of these yet - but after Mary turned me on to them last year, I wanted to share. In each of your shares there's enough for one or two cups of tea. That's right - hot tea. Nuke a mug of water, stuff the lemon grass and lemon verbena down in it, and let it steep for maybe 4 or 5 minutes - you want it to turn kinda yellow. Drink and enjoy (I am right now!) - it's soooo good!

(Oh, and funny story - my mom took some of lemon verbena and lemon grass back to their house last summer, made up the tea, kept it in the fridge, and friends thought my parents had a urine sample in the fridge. So, uh, that'll let you know what color you're aiming for. ;-) (And no, I've never tried it cold - might be good!)

And finally - check this out! BASIL! LOOOOTS of basil! I cut just the tips off the plants I have growing in pots to encourage them to bush out more, and I got all of this. It's mostly Genovese basil and basil monstrosa (the leaves get much bigger, but to me taste about the same as Genovese), but there's also some lemon basil in the mix. Lemon basil has flatter leaves that are a bit more pointy? In the picture below, the lemon basil's over on the left. You've all got a mix - just brush the leaves and you'll be able to tell which ones are lemon basil.

What are you going to do with all these herbs!?!?

Most of the stuff makes great marinades for meat (or tofu?!) if you're going to grill it - just add olive oil and lemon juice or beer or wine, and maybe some salt and pepper.

I already gave you a suggestion for the lemon grass and lemon verbena.

It's no where near Thanksgiving, but with sage, rosemary, parsley and thyme I get in the mood for roast turkey (or chicken!).

The parsley's good for making tabouleh (especially if you have last week's mint - or let me know if you need more).

Basil - well, hello! - pesto!! Grind it up with olive oil, Parmesan or Romano cheese, and pine nuts or walnuts, and pour it on pasta. There's plenty of recipes out there with additional/alternate ingredients....just google around.

Another idea I love with chicken - get a roasting chicken (with the skin still on) (apologies to the vegetarians), and puree the parsley (and whatever other herbs) up with butter, garlic and lemon zest, and then squish it in the space between the breast meat and the skin before roasting. WOW - sooooo good!

Hope you enjoy this week's fixings! Don't forget - there's squash coming REAL soon!


Carolyn said...

Looks great! Thanks for the identification and the cooking ideas!

Carolyn said...

I'm trying the lemon tea, it's surprisingly full flavored. A ... deeper scent and flavor than I was expecting. I don't usually like non-trad teas, but I'm enjoying this one. Thanks!

Jeph said...

I feel the same about the lemon grass/verbena tea. At first I found it kinda stinky too - and definitely not like a fresh slice of lemon. But it IS really good!

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