Feb 12, 2019
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Watermelon Daikon, Lettuce, Broccoli, Tangelos, Escarole, Rutabagas and Chard.
What’s in this Week’s FRUIT BOX: Tangelos, Oranges, Meyer Lemons and Ruby Red Grapefruit
February 26 to May 21
Payment Is Due February 22
Some Dates to remember:
NO DELIVERY April 16th & 20th
Plant Sale & Family Picnic at the Farm April 13
Hats & High Tea May 11
Mother’s Day Garden Tour May 12
This Week on The Farm
I have been silent from the newsletters these past weeks; it is hard knowing how to go about our days without my mom part of our lives. As her hospice volunteer said “your mom was the center of your family’s life”, and now she is not here for us to dance our daily or hourly actions around, we are a bit lost. But I think this story might be appropriate, interesting and a glimpse of how I am navigating her being gone.
It all is around food, of course, and I will start with her shopping list. Our family did function fine without her making a shopping list before she came to live with us eight years ago, but it seems that she was still the mom and needed to direct the shopping contents-still being in charge even though it was not her kitchen or did the cooking. Well her shopping list was so organized, not a list but set in categories: veggies, meat, dairy, misc, and then the general needed items. She had lived alone for 20 years, so she did not have to accommodate for others, and got what she wanted…until she moved in with her daughter. In the winter she would write down under veggies: tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini and iceburg lettuce, and organic was not important. You would ask how could you deny a over 90 year old woman her wishes, how mean could I be, but having worked in our line of business, well really a life time of trying to make ecological and moral decisions, and even advocating to our customers that eating local and in season was a way to make a difference in our world I could not purchase those items on her list. She would keep putting them on week after week, and I remember so well, and probably told you about this that I would go to the produce department and have my hand hovering over the tomatoes in January and I could never bring myself to select and put them in a bag. I keep looking to see when the bell peppers were from California, and they never were, no matter what season. She had to learn to do without and wait for the flavorful tasty tomatoes when they were in season. Every time she would see friends from home in Santa Rosa they would ask how it was living on the farm and she would say “well I have to eat in season” and this one time she asked her friend if she ate in season, and the friend said well yes she shops at Whole Foods! As a side note, mom would be able to get these items if she asked someone else to do her shopping for her and they would momentarily satisfy her winter-time cravings. As soon as these items came into season from hothouse farms to the farmers market I would bring them home for her, and this last January she asked “when will the tomatoes be in at the farmers market?” Well the shopping list goes farther than the veggies of course, there would be items on the list that I had no idea where they were in the store or what they were, and some items were absolute, a certain brand or nothing else, such as only Knudsen’s cottage cheese. Sometimes when I would shop at the Coop they wouldn’t have Knudsen’s so I would buy an organic brand and then next week she would have on the shopping list KNUDSEN’S Cottage Cheese-nonfat! I have to admit sometimes I would do my own revolt and even if there was Knudsen’s I would buy another brand. She did not budge and would not eat my “off” brands. Then there was the solid pack tomatoes, I had no idea what a solid pack tomato was, nowhere on any label was there that description…that I saw. So I would come home and report my failures to bring home the complete shopping list, sometimes she couldn’t believe that I didn’t know what she was talking about she would explain what she wanted, sometimes with disgust, sometimes no comment, but it would appear again in the future and I would be just as confused the next time. Then of course there was the boiled ham-what is boiled ham? Well it is processed meat, she loved processed lunch meat-her brother worked at a meat processing place in Santa Rosa and they had lots of hot dogs, and lunch meat growing up. Well again, full of all sorts of stuff especially salts as preservatives that she was not suppose to have, made from the left over who knows what, and it was really hard for me to bring them home. So I would buy a chunk of turkey breast and cook it for slicing sandwiches…well I could go on and on, you can see it was a battle of the wills concerning the shopping list.
This last Saturday I went shopping it seems for the first time since mom passed, and it was the hardest event that totally took me by surprise. You see before Mom moved in with us I did most of my shopping at the Farmers Market and the Coop, but once I started getting these shopping list requests, most of what she wanted wasn’t found on their isles. I didn’t want to go shopping twice to two stores each week, so I pretty much ended up going only to Raleys or Nugget and dropped shopping the Coop. On Saturday with shopping cart poised I entered the store, I didn’t have the organized shopping list, or for that matter any list at all! As I toured the isle I realized I didn’t need to go down the Female shelves and get her weekly needs, I no longer had to buy Knudsen’s cottage cheese, or the non fat milk (Jeff loves the whole milk), and quickly found myself utterly lost in that store. I would go back and forth searching, rejecting, refusing, rejoicing and not know what to fill my basket with. Then I said I will just look for items that are brand new to me, I never buy jam, so I bought jam, or frozen edamame, but no more liverwurst or boiled ham. I walked out of that store in quite a state of emotions that cannot really be described. And then yesterday I was in town making deliveries and needed to get a bit more (without a list one tends to forget what is needed) and went to the Coop. With shopping basket poised again at the front door I stopped and realized what was happening, I was returning to who I was before Mom moved in, I was going back to my comfort zone, and yes I was in front of the store crying, fortunately with a friend that was telling me how wonderful it was that I took such good care of my mom in our home…She was from a different time, grew up through many new discoveries, loved her comfort foods especially at the end, and I don’t think ever really got use to my cooking-especially el dente cooked vegetables, but she certainly did her best to adjust, and so did we. I will always smile or give the Knudsen’s cottage cheese a nod as I pass it by. Have a great week Annie
The Roots of Rutabagas
Rutabagas are only called rutabagas in the U.S. Throughout the rest of the world, they're known as Swedes. This ordinary root vegetable is thought to have originated in Bohemia in the 17th century as a hybrid between the turnip and wild cabbage. Members of the cabbage family, rutabagas are often confused with turnips, rutabagas are larger, part white and part purple, with creamy orange flesh and ribs near the stem, and with a sweet flavor when roasted. Meanwhile, turnips are white with a purple-red top and a peppery taste. Perpetuating the confusion, other names for the rutabaga include Swedish turnip and Russian turnip.
A cool-weather crop that stores easily, rutabagas are grown primarily in the northern United States, Europe, Great Britain, and Canada, requiring about 90 days to reach full size. Their flavor is only enhanced by light frost, which is probably how they got their European moniker, having prolific growth in Sweden. Nutty and sweet with a mild turnip-like flavor, rutabagas can be roasted, sautéed, baked, fried, boiled, mashed, and added to soups and stews. They also can be eaten raw as a snack or grated into salads or coleslaw. A mix of mashed rutabagas, potatoes, onions, and carrots, seasoned with butter and salt, is a hearty, warming dish.
Rutabaga, Carrot and Sweet Potato Mash
A colorful alternative to your traditional mashed potatoes
This recipe is proof that what you mash doesn’t always have to be regular white spuds. This version of mash developed features sweet potatoes, rutabagas (aka swedes) and carrots — is a welcome accompaniment to just about any spread you’re serving.
1 ½ cups rutabaga, peeled, small dice
1 ½ cups carrots, peeled, small dice
1 ½ cups sweet potatoes peeled, small dice
32 ounces water (or vegetable broth for additional flavor)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
In large saucepan combine rutabaga with water (or vegetable broth) and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Add carrots and continue simmering until carrots are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about another 10 minutes. Drain the vegetables into a bowl while reserving the liquid. Place liquid back in saucepan, reduce to ½ cup. Turn off heat and add vegetables from bowl back to sauce pan along with salt and pepper. With a potato masher, mash vegetables with reduced liquid until a coarse consistency. If mash needs to be heated more, just heat in saucepan until desired temperature. Remove and serve.
Escarole with Bacon and White Beans
Branch out by trying escarole, a pleasantly bitter selection that contains more fiber than other common salad greens. It works in both raw and cooked applications; here its earthiness complements the creamy beans and smoky bacon. It's also great in soups--toss a handful of chopped escarole into your favorite recipe during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
6 cups chopped escarole (about 2 [8-ounce] heads)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add escarole, and cook for 2 minutes or until escarole wilts, stirring frequently. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and chicken broth; cook 15 minutes or until escarole is tender, stirring occasionally. Add beans; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with bacon. 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup) RECIPE BY COOKING LIGHT January 2007
Watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of daikon radishes and originated in China, where they are called shinrimei. They’re a root vegetable and member of the Brassica family, which also includes arugula, broccoli, and cabbage. The watermelon radish doesn’t actually taste like watermelon. Instead, the flesh, which is green around the exterior with a deep pink to bright red center, bears quite a resemblance to its namesake. Watermelon radishes are larger than regular radishes and can range from the size of a golfball to that of a softball. They’re firm and crisp with a mild taste that’s a blend of slightly peppery and slightly sweet.
How to Use Watermelon Radishes
These pretty radishes aren’t all show — they’re also really delicious and versatile! Watermelon radishes can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. They can be braised or roasted like a turnip, or mashed like a rutabaga, though I prefer them raw since they lose their bright hue when cooked. Similar to regular radishes, this variety does not have to be peeled before eating. Just make sure to wash them very well, and scrub away any dirt.
Quinoa Salad with Watermelon Radishes and Greens
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons good, unsalted butter
1/2 cups micro greens or baby greens, such as arugula
1/2 cup sliced watermelon radishes
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sal or other flaky sea salt
Transfer the quinoa to a fine-mesh strainer, rinse thoroughly with cool water, and drain. Place rinsed quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the butter. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer over very low heat and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove the pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread the quinoa out on a dinner plate to cool completely. Toss the cooled quinoa with all other ingredients. Taste and add more salt if desired. Serve by itself or on a bed of lettuce. Serves 4 as a side salad (or 2 as a main dish)
RECIPE NOTES-Make this salad into a complete meal with a poached egg, chicken, or salmon. It would also be very good tossed with some toasted almonds and goat cheese or feta. RECIPES FROM THE KITCHN by Emily Han