Happyhappy Week One

So, normally we’ll post some recipes for the week’s produce before y’all come by on Thursday, but this being the first week, we were of course disorganized and a bit behind schedule. Anyhow… lettuce, arugula, and radishes seem a lot like salad to me, and the spinach could go in there too.

Broccoli raab is, according to one of our garden books, more closely related to turnips than to broccoli. To prepare it, trim the butt ends, then either peel the lower parts of the stems or chop the stalks into chunks. Heat some olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer… a few drops of sesame oil added to the olive oil would add a nice touch) and briefly saute some minced or pressed garlic. Then throw in the raab and some water (or broth would be good, too) and steam it just until it’s tender. Another option would be a stir-fry, which would be a good place to use the pak choi, as well. Be careful with that, though, as both are on the bitter side. If that’s not the kind of thing that floats your gustatory boat, maybe putting them both in a stir-fry together wouldn’t be a great choice. Or, you could put them both in, but then add tons of carrots, onions, mushrooms, and anything else you like, and make an enormous stir-fry to last several days.

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) is a relative of beets, spinach, chard and quinoa (all members of the Goosefoot family).  It came from Europe with the white folks, who cultivated it as a food crop. Apparently it didn’t hold up to the rigors of the industrial food chain, as it has largely fallen out of our culinary lexicon. However, according to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, one lambsquarters plant can produce 75,000 seeds, and that fact combined with its vigor explains why it is a familiar weed to almost anyone who’s ever tried to grow a garden in this country. It is much more nutritious than spinach and is cooked in a similar fashion. To prepare, rinse the powdery coating off and remove any bad leaves and thick stems. Lambsquarters are excellent sauteed with garlic and finished with lemon, salt, and pepper, and they also make a great throw-in for the soup pot.

This is a good time to point out that you should always wash your produce. At most, we rinse off the mud before we pass the food on to you, and if we can avoid even that, we do, because washing veggies harms their “keepability”. And while you know exactly where these veggies are coming from, and you know exactly whose hands have been on them and that they haven’t been sprayed with ‘cides of any sort, the fact remains that they are grown outside in the world, not in a vacuum. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of that gritty feeling in my creamed spinach, which is why we always wash everything we eat before we prepare it, even the salad that we grew in pots on the porch.

Anyway, first pick-up was awesome! It was really great to see everyone (almost ;)), and it feels like you’re all as excited as we are for what we’re hoping will be a great year! Hooray!

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