We love spring! Part of the joy is the growth of the season–but part is the surprise factor. Every year is a little different based on weather, shifts in weed and pest populations, stray deer, and other wildcards. Three years ago, for example, we refer to as “the year of the beet” because all of our various plantings of beets flourished. This year has started out as the year of the turnip–we were going to give you all a break from their deliciousness this week, but the fluctuating weather has started some of them bolting.
This week’s box is full of surprises, thanks in part to our neighbors and long-time friends at Oleo Acres, who provided some of this week’s diversity. On to the veggies!
Turnips: We love these cut into cubes (about 1/2 inch), coated with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little honey, and baked in a single layer on a cookie sheet until golden. However you eat them, as the weather warms you will stop seeing them in the bag–so enjoy while they last!
Spring onions: Soups, salads, cooked, or raw. Check below for a special recipe…
Collards: There are literally thousands of recipes for collards. Ted’s favorite: sautee a little spring garlic in olive oil (or, if you prefer, cook some bacon and use 1 tbsp of the bacon grease. Add the crumbled, cooked bacon to the dish at the end.) Wash and chop collards (remove stems) and add to sauteed garlic; stir until it just begins to wilt. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook to desired softness. Before serving, add 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, hot pepper optional.
Apple mint: (thanks Oleo Acres!) First thing–cut off the ends and put your apple mint in water. You can plant this outdoors and it will grow easily from cuttings; just be warned: it spreads! Use it in salad, with rau răm (see below), in tea, or with roasted lamb. Or:
Oak Hill Farm Mint Julep
10 leaves apple mint
1.5 teaspoons super fine sugar
2.5 oz favorite bourbon
Hard apple cider (suggest Angry Orchard Green Apple)
Chill an old fashioned glass. Muddle mint leaves and sugar until leaves start to break down. Add a splash of cider, ice, the bourbon, and another splash of cider. Porch and rocking chair optional.
Rau răm: (thanks Oleo Acres!) This is a Vietnamese herb, also known in Malaysia as Laksa leaf. It is delicious in salad or soup and has a slight cilantro flavor. Rau ram is also a standard ingredient in Pho, the ubiquitous Vietnamese noodle soup–which, incidentally, can potentially also contain green garlic, spring onions, apple mint, collards, and horseradish leaf. This recipe for pho ga (chicken noodle soup) is a good start; include any of the box ingredients as garnishes, or cook the onions, garlic, and collards into the soup.
Canh Rau Răm / Vietnamese Coriander Soup (adapted from http://www.rauom.com/2011/08/15/clarified-vietnamese-coriander-soup/)
oil for sautee
1/4 lb ground beef
Chop about 3 inches of green garlic and sautee until wilted; add ground beef and stir until brown. Add chopped tomato, water to cover, and fish sauce to taste. when it is cooked, add one fistfull of chopped rau ram leaves, chopped. Serve immediately.
Horseradish leaf: (thanks Oleo Acres!): This is the lone large leaf in the box–it is slightly spicy without being overpowering. Suggested use: cook with collards or use raw in a salad or over a soup. Don’t be afraid! How about a horseradish/collard colcannon? 3 parts potatoes (cooked, mashed, with cream and butter–your favorite recipe) and one part sauteed green stuff: green onion tops, chopped collards, chopped horseradish. Mix together, serve with a dollop of butter on top… mmmmmm.