Thursday, October 27, 2011

Like Monday, but different

Sorry to have missed the Monday post this week.  I was in Northern California visiting my niece and nephews, as well as a few friends, which left Kji to harvest and distribute, and without time to post.  

Today's share is similar with a leek, chard, frisee, and peppers.  On Monday the shares got a few small Hakurei turnips, but they were far and few between and we found some really nice cilantro under some row cover so that went in the shares today instead.  These are the first leeks of the season.  If you're not familiar with leeks they are a good substitute for onion, but milder.  I love them sliced in half or quarters long ways and baked until very soft, or in baked goods.  Usually they're just sliced into thin rounds and sautéed.  Leeks are notorious for harboring dirt between the layers.  To clean them thoroughly slice them lengthwise in half and then you can separate the layers gently while running the leek under water.  This also gives them a flat side for the cutting board.  

Frisee is also the first of the year.  This is one of the chicories we grow and more will be coming soon.  We actually have quite a lot of frisee because the escarole, sadly, did not germinate well, but we accidentally seeded extra flats of frisee, luckily, so that's replacing the escarole this year.   The chicories are sometimes known as bitter greens.  To reduce the bitter slice them into small pieces and soak them in cold water before using them raw, or they also hold up to cooking well and that will reduce, or remove, any bitterness and bring out the sweetness.  Frisee is frequently blanched (whitened) but we haven't done that with these heads.  If you leave the head in a completely dark place for a few days it will start to blanch from the center out.  This also reduces any bitter.  The bitter, however, is desirable to some, and pairs well with strong salty, oily flavors, like anchovy, or just plain salt and olive oil.  Sweet also goes well , like caramelized shallots.  

Not to go on too long, but we had a very productive day and all of the garlic for next season is in the ground now, as are some over wintering onions and a bit of fava seed that may or may not make it.  I even got a bit of mowing done.

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