Sunday, September 29, 2013

BPF CSA Week 17: Asian Invasion!

-It's time for stir-fry, kim chee, edamame, and/or eggrolls.  This week's share is bursting with Asian-style veggies.  Your Napa cabbage might last the entire week if you don't use it for a giant batch of kim chee, so start on it now! See recipes for my favorite slaw.
-Please help choose a date for the End of Season Harvest Party and Potluck: Oct. 13 or Oct 15?

Also- we have at least two more weeks of CSA.  As you know, CSA runs at least 18 weeks, and up to 22 weeks, weather permitting.  Since this is week 17, the season could end as early as next week. However, there's no frost in the forecast for the next 10 days, which means warm-weather crops like tomatoes, melons, eggplant, basil, and flowers should keep on coming at least that long.  Right now I'm predicting a 20-week season (three more weeks after this one), but I will keep checking weather and our store of crops and keep in touch about the end date.  We'll keep going if warm-weather crops AND cool-weather crops are still going strong, but we'll usually call it a season if we've had a frost, and the last couple of weeks are all storage veggies (e.g. potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, root veggies)-- if that's the case, we'll send you home with one last extra-large share instead of asking you to come pick up the same thing in smaller quantities for more weeks.  I'll keep you updated when the end is in sight ;)

What's in Your Share This Week

Napa Cabbage (Chinese Cabbage)- one of the most versatile of Brassicas, Napa can be cooked any way you'd use round cabbage; it is more delicate so requires less cooking time.  It's also delicious raw in so many forms- shredded slaw, chopped inside of egg rolls or spring rolls, lacto-fermented into kim chee (amazing Korean kraut-style fermented greens), you name it.  Here's a link to a blog by two Philly-area CSA members about what they did with Napa in their share--with a nice recipe for pot stickers! See Recipes for my favorite slaw.

Edamame- edible soybeans!  You'll see these as a big handful of bean plants with pods still attached. Remove pods from plant, compost the plant, boil the pods whole in heavily salted water til tender. Eat the beans (seeds) from out of the pod. They should be tender and flavorful. This makes an excellent appetizer or snack- set out bowls of beanpods and bowls for people to put in the empty pods after scraping out the beans with their teeth (sort of like scraping an artichoke petal with your teeth).

Daikon Radish-- one of my favorite radishes, daikon have affectionately been called "baby arm radishes" by a few different farm crew members here-- they can get that big!  These daikon this week are thinnings from the row-- small representatives. You  might see one more week of giant daikon before the season's end.  Enjoy these any way you normally use radishes- fresh on salad, grated onto anything, roasted, etc.  They make a delicious lacto-fermented pickle, are very nice sliced paper-thin and floated on a bowl of hot miso soup, or cut into long dipping sticks for hummous, tahini-miso dip, or anything else you'd like to eat with a radish stick. ALSO-- the greens are delicious!  Smooth (not hairy) and juicy, these radish tops are interchangeable with other Asian greens like bok choi or Napa in any recipe.

Broccoli-- the fall beauties! They are looking so delicious right now.  The broccoli is one of a few things in this family that did NOT get sprayed with Bt (an organic pesticide for cabbage loopers-- cabbage butterfly larvae-- see last week's blog posting/newsletter for details). That means there may still be loopers (small green worms exactly the color of the broccoli stem and incredibly hard to see) in the broccoli.  How to remove: soak broccoli in heavily salted cold water for 30-60 min. Agitate a few times, and worms should float free.  Rinse under cold water to blast off any remaining worms and the salt. Always store broccoli in an airtight container in the fridge.  If you use in the first few days, go ahead and leave leaves on; if not, remove leaves-- just like with carrots, the leaves will continue to transpire moisture away from the plant, resulting in rubbery broccoli.  Leaves ARE edible just like kale. But remove leaves for crisper stalks/florets.

Eggplant- are you still loving eggplant? It seems like we haven't had enough. I could use one more big harvest; I haven't even made any baba ganoush this summer! But those that we've had have been delicous-- try them simmered in coconut milk for 15-20 min for a delicious start to any Thai curry dish.

Peppers-sweet and/or hot, enjoy these ripe, i.e. red (or orange or lime green etc, depending on variety) rather than green for the best flavor and sweetness, but green peppers are still crispy, beautiful, and tasty, too.

Basil- probably the last of this heat-loving herb, basil is not only great as pesto or with tomatoes, but is also a delicous finish/topping for most Thai curry dishes. Try whole leaves or flowers floated in any kind of spicy soup (e.g. tom kha, hot and sour, or any spicy brothy soup), and woody stems in your veggie stock (see last week's blog re: making stock).

Onions- a mix of yellow onions, red Lunga di Tropea, or cipoollini.

Garlic- still got a good supply in store-- check farm news for our Garlic Planting Party invitation, probably right around Halloween time.

Carrots- always store in something airtight like a tupperware or plastic bag. If they get limp or rubbery, cut in half and soak in ice cold water, right in the fridge, for a few hours, and they will crisp right back up.

Cherry Tomatoes-  these plants are certainly starting to slow down in production from cooler temps and shorter days, but aren't done yet!

Heirloom Tomatoes-  like the cherry tomatoes, these heat-loving plants aren't dead yet, but have peaked and are starting to slow down. That said, we're not done yet! If you haven't had enough caprese salad yet (sliced tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella topped with olive oil and salt and possibly balsamic vinegar too), this is a good week for it.


1. End-of-Season Harvest Party and Potluck: Which works best for you, Sun. Oct. 13 OR Tues. Oct. 15?  Harvest party from 2-6 ish; potluck from 6:30-8 ish. Come for either or both parts. Also, cider pressing in the barn, so bring apples to contribute to the mix, and a jug to take some cider home!  But please weigh in on the date ASAP- which date is better for you?

Recipe: Michelle's favorite Asian-ish Slaw

4-5 cups shredded Napa cabbage, bok choi, daikon greens, or any green Asian (or not) leafy thing you've got around
2-4 grated carrots
1 finely sliced onion
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
equal amt of fresh ginger, also minced (if you have none, put in 1 tsp ground ginger to dressing)
at least 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
optional: 1-2 fresh hot chiles, minced

toasted sesame oil
rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
soy sauce/tamari
cayenne and/or your favorite hot sauce (I like Ray's Polish Fire)
pinch ground coriander
salt and pepper

Mix slaw ingredients well.  Mix dressing ingredients well, then mix w/ slaw. Enjoy!  Top with a squeeze of fresh lime and/or bean sprouts and/or pea shoots and/or fried tofu and/or anything else you like.
Prepared edamame

small daikon radish
Napa w/outer leaves removed-- you CAN eat them, by the way!

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