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From the Garden this Week - 27 January 2022

From the Garden this Week… Napa Cabbage, Broccoli, Celery, Parsley, Watermelon Radish, Kale, Spinach, Leaf Lettuce, Baby Carrots, Grapefruit, Blood Oranges, Navel Oranges, Meyer Lemons

Coming Soon… Butter Lettuce, Gorgeous Romanesco

Using Your Produce… By Julie Moreno

This week’s produce comes together in a winter salad. The recipe can be used with either green or Napa cabbage. If you are using the green cabbage, I would shred it as thin as possible and if you have it, you can use a food processor to get the thinnest slices. The watermelon radish and carrots bring a colorful crunch, and the citrus adds sweetness and acidity. For my second recipe, I included one of my new favorites - Celery Soup. I was so afraid of cream of celery soup from the can, that I would have never tried making this if we didn’t have an excess of celery here at the garden. If you like cream of broccoli, I recommend trying this alternative.

Cabbage Salad with Orange and Almonds

½ cup slivered almonds

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon honey or sugar

zest from one orange

1 small head Napa cabbage, chopped

or 1 small head of green cabbage

finely shredded

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 carrots, grated

1 grated watermelon radish

1 orange, peeled and sliced

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small pan or pie plate, toast the almonds for 5 minutes, until they are light brown. Let cool. In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, salt, honey, and orange zest. Add the cabbage, green onions, carrots, orange slices and cilantro and toss. Add the almonds and season with pepper. Toss again and serve.

The “Modest” Carrot

The modest carrot receives marginal culinary attention. Rarely does it attain star status, except in carrot cake. In other dishes, like peas and carrots, it humbly shares the marquis. Relegated mostly to mere side dish or flavor enhancer, it is, however, ubiquitous, admirably performing its supporting role in sauces, soups, and stocks.

Its perceived modesty may also derive from how it grew up. As a root vegetable, it matures unseen, showing only luxuriant green locks to the world above. At harvest, though, the normally demure carrot reveals its seedy side. Fresh, it surprises, no shocks, the harvester with a rarely seen sultry allure. Makes you wonder what’s happening beneath that ruddy, fertile cover of soil! Perhaps the coy carrot should be the star on your dinner table tonight. Eat your carrots - fresh and raw!

Celery Soup outside of the can…

This soup has earned a bad reputation coming out of a can. But, once you make it from scratch, you will have a new appreciation for this simple soup.

Cream of Celery Soup

2 tablespoons butter

1 small yellow or white onion, chopped, about 1 cup

3-4 cups chopped celery stalks and leaves

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons flour

2-3 cups water

½ cup half and half

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the onions, celery, thyme and salt over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, if needed add a few tablespoons water to keep the vegetables from drying out. Add the flour and stir well to coat the vegetables. Add water, to just barely cover the vegetables, about 2 cups. Bring to a boil stirring to combine as the flour thickens the soup. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes until the celery is soft. Remove from the heat and blend with an immersion blender. Stir in the half and half and parsley, taste for salt and pepper and adjust the consistency by adding water if desired. Enjoy now or the next day, it’s great reheated.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul… A Bug Is a Bug Is NOT a Bug by Ronda May Melendez

Our cruciferous season is drawing to close as our broccoli moves toward flowering. With that flowering comes a drawing of bugs. Yep, you’ve got it ...insects. For most, our thoughts trail to what a nuisance bugs, in general, are. We sometimes forget there are good insects present which help us in garden maintenance, such as pollinators and those beneficial predators that snack on bad bugs! It turns out a bug is a bug is not a bug! Not all bugs are created equal. Some promote health, while others destroy it. Being able to correctly differentiate between bugs and what makes them thrive is incredibly important.

Our broccoli flowers and the cilantro, as it flowers, draw good insects such as lacewings. This is a beautiful thing, and we are grateful for them. There are, however, destructive critters that we gardeners draw through our poor practices. For example, not long ago, I was out in the fields harvesting produce and simultaneously removing mal-formed leaves from plants. As I cleared, I tossed the non-glorious leaves to the ground. Heidi observed this and let me know that those decaying leaves would draw destructive interlopers, such as aphids or slugs, to our crops. I was grateful for the lesson. I honestly had not considered this in the least!

This lesson, teamed with the one about drawing good insects, has been echoing in my mind. How often do we look at something that ‘bugs’ us and just chalk it up as all bad, instead of becoming curious about the nature of the “bug” and our practices drawing it to us? What might we be contributing to the construction of life, or its destruction? A little evaluation and some understanding, getting to know our “bug”, can go a long way to promote our thriving.


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