Monday, October 29, 2012

The start of chicory season



Last week when I harvested the last of the lettuce I wasn't sure what would actually be left for the shares this week. It turns out there is plenty, and some really great stuff. This is the first week for a chicory. I use the term loosely, meaning plants in the Cichorium genus broadly. I grow a number of vegetables that fall into that category, and I grow them in the fall and winter when I think they taste best. Today there is a head of escarole (C. endivia) which is delicious raw or cooked. The variety is Bionda Cuore Pieno, or blonde full heart. My favorite preparation is to slice the head thinly, crosswise, which effectively shreds it. Then I soak that in cold water for 20 minutes or so to crisp it up and to draw out any bitter, which accentuates the natural sweetness. An anchovie, or even just a salty, olive oily vinaigrette fully coating the leaves goes very well. Also in the share are a couple of old favorites: carrots, celery, kale and a small fennel. The carrots are a yellow variety that is excellent for cooking, and would make a nice base for soup or beans along with the celery. 

I was surprised today when it not only didn't rain (forecast was for 90% chance), but there was actually some beautiful blue in the sky, and it was dry enough to get a little more cover crop seeded. We'll see if my luck holds out for my delivery run this evening. I rigged up a new, lighter, sleeker prototype box for the front of the delivery bike so I'm excited to test it out. So far it's working well and is easier to load and unload.

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