VICTOR’S FARM SHARES – WEEK ONE (June 1/15)

In your basket this week:

  • Rhubarb
  • Arugula
  • Spinach/lettuce mix
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Oregano

A word on storing/using your produce…

Of most importance for all of your produce is to store it as quickly as possible in your fridge.  This cannot be stressed enough.  The quicker you get it into a cool environment, the longer it will keep. Our hope is, though, that it will all be consumed before this time next week!

Rhubarb–

Can be kept in the fridge for a least a week. Rinse it under cold running water and place in a plastic bag. We like it fresh used in muffins, cake, platz, or as plain rhubarb sauce.  To freeze, cut about 1/4” off both ends, chop into 1/2” chunks, put in a freezer bag and freeze.

Spinach/Lettuces/Arugula–

As soon as possible (especially if the lettuce has been picked wet due to rain), wash your lettuces by dumping it into the sink or a large bowl filled with cold water.  Gently swish the lettuces in the water.  If there is a lot of soil on the lettuce, rinse it again under cold running water as you take it out of the sink or bowl and then place it in a spinner and spin thoroughly.  Pack it lightly in a clean plastic bag (just re-use the one we give you but make sure it is clean and dried) and store in fridge.  If you do this as soon as you get your lettuce home, it will stay fresh for a least a week or two, depending on the type of lettuce.  Oakleaf lettuce is the most tender kind we grow and it should be eaten within a few days.

Oregano (and most other leaf herbs)–

Wash and store as for lettuces. Cut the stems off and chop finely or crush before using in salads, sauces, marinades, on pizza, etc.

Onions and Radishes–

You don’t have to wash these before storing.  Simply place in a plastic bag in the fridge.  The onions this week are young and tender and both the greens and bulb are delicious.  Onions keep longer if you leave the root ends on while storing.  Similarly, radishes keep longer with their green leaves on.

Generally, having your produce washed and ready to use in the fridge makes it much easier to grab for a snack or meal and we find that doesn’t end up hanging around in the fridge until limp and useless.

Recipe (Find more here): 

Picking for first day of 2015 farm shares and a neighbour from Welland dropped by to admire the gardens.  He told me of an Italian recipe his wife makes with fresh arugula so I thought I’d try it.  There are no exact measurements but this will give you the idea:
  • Chopped green onions
  • Chopped fresh oregano (he didn’t have this in his recipe but I thought it couldn’t hurt!)
  • Saute in butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Add fresh chopped tomatoes (we will have to wait a bit for those so I used some canned ones from last fall).
  • Stir into hot cooked pasta along with fresh arugula.
  • Pasta Primivera!
I am not a pasta lover so this doesn’t get a 5 star rating from me.  But it certainly is fresh tasting and I’m sure our neighbour made a much better version than I as I sent him home happy with his own bag of arugula.

Find more recipes here

Oregano/Scape Pesto

Oregano/Scape Pesto:

Mix together in food processor:
1 -2 c. oregano leaves
1 c. garlic scapes, seed pod ends removed
2 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Pulse until well blended and fine. You may need to add more juice or oil or water to get a consistency that is easy to spread.

Use on anything you can dream up….pizza, crackers, fresh bread, pasta, etc.
I made some wraps:
– spread tortillas with goat cheese
– spread oregano/scape pesto on top
– top with artichokes, roasted red peppers and chopped olives
– roll up and slice into bite size pieces
(I was out of the red peppers and olives–but they still tasted great!)

Kale Salad with Almonds

Kale Salad with Almonds
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 7 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 4 c. finely chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 c. almonds, lightly toasted
  • grated rind from one orange
  • orange sections
  • Place raisins in small bowl and soak overnight in 5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.  Or, if you are like me, just microwave on low for about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together remaining 2 tbsp. vinegar and whatever drains from the raisins once they’ve soaked, oil, salt, syrup and orange rind.  Pour over chopped kale and stir thoroughly.  Add orange sections and nuts.  Toss.
Notes:
My measurements are approximate–if you find it too dry, use a little more oil and vinegar, sticking to the 3-2-1 rule (ie. 3 parts oil, 2 parts vinegar, 1 part sweet).
It’s important to chop the kale very fine.  I chop it once in fine slices and then turn the pile and chop again finely.
This is a great “make-ahead” salad as the kale actually tastes better as it marinades in the dressing.  In fact, leftovers the next day are just as delicious!
For another fabulous recipe for kale, check out this Watermelon Kale Salad at Living Life With Food.  A meal in itself!

Caesar Salad

What to do with an enormous head of romaine lettuce….An enormous caesar salad!

  • One farm-share size head of romaine lettuce (or 2-3 store bought ones)
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • a few pieces of leftover bread
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus 2 tbsp. for the dressing)
  • fresh garlic scapes

Dressing:

  • 1/2 c. fresh garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Wash and drain lettuce, tearing into bite-size pieces.
  • Fry bacon until crispy and allow to cool.
  • Put all dressing ingredients in blender and blend on high a few minutes.
  • Butter bread slices on both sides and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.  Then toast under broiler on both sides until brown.  Cut into cubes.

Add bacon and cheese to lettuce and then dressing just before serving.  Last of all, sprinkle with croutons.

Notes:  The scapes are a great early season alternative before garlic is ready.  They add a lovely pale green colour to the dressing.  As well, although home-made croutons are rather time-consuming, the taste pays off big time (just don’t burn them like I did–the picture is burnt side down, of course).  Thanks to Dick Janssen for tips on the dressing 🙂

Arugula Feta Cheese Salad

A couple fresh ways to serve up spicy arugula–one of the garden’s first-fruits.

  • Make a bed of fresh arugula leaves.
  • Top with fresh fruit of some sort (watermelon)
  • Onions, green onions or garlic scapes
  • Feta cheese
  • Caramelized pecans (optional)
  • Make a dressing with:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Drizzle over top.  The dressing will be enough for 2 – 3 plates.

Variation:

  • Make a bed of fresh arugula leaves.
  • Place 1/2 cup cooked rice or coucous on top.
  • Place one serving of pan fried fresh BC Snapper (or fish of choice)
  • Top with fresh basil, a few chopped radishes, or chopped garlic scapes.
  • Make a dressing with:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger (optional but delicious!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Drizzle over top.