From the Garden this Week, April 8, 2021...
From the Garden this Week…
Swiss Chard, Kale, Radishes, Carrots, Red and Green Lettuce Heads, Daikon Radish, Snap Peas, Parsnips, Leeks, Thyme, Dill, Lemon Balm, Oranges and Lemons
Coming Soon… Red Beets and Fennel
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
If you aren’t used to buying whole heads of lettuce, you might understand how dirty a head of lettuce can be. The lettuce that we have available now was planted in the ground in December and has stood up to several weeks of rain and wind before the beautiful sunshine that it enjoys now. Because we don’t use plastic on the ground when it rains, the dirt splatters onto the leaves and it gets into each of the folds of the leaves. If you don’t already own one, I highly recommend a salad spinner to wash and dry the lettuce when you bring it home. First, cut the lettuce, then put it in the bowl of the spinner, then fill the bowl with water. Swish the lettuce around for a few minutes and then pull the basket out of the bowl. Drain the water and then do it again. Spin the salad so that it is as dry as possible. If you do this when you bring the lettuce home and store the lettuce in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel, it will last for about a week. Unrelated to the salad, I have a recipe this week for sautéed radishes. Use it with the larger daikon radishes and small red radishes combined, just cut the large ones down to the size of the red. Once you start cooking radishes you might never go back to raw.
1-2 bunches radishes
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon salt
salt and fresh ground black pepper
Remove the greens from the radishes. Slice the radishes in halves or quarters, so they are
approximately the same size (larger radishes into quarters and smaller into halves). In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the radishes and move them around so the cut side is facing down in the pan. Turn the heat down to medium, and leave them alone in the pan, letting the radishes brown for 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, add ½ teaspoon salt and stir the radishes so that they cook on the other side about 2-3 minutes more. Taste and add additional salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Tips for the leafy giant AND a cookie endorsement!
This week, we have included more of our stunning, big, colorful chard. Though the leaves are large, this is a green that shrinks down a lot when cooked! Our favorite cooking method is to strip the leaves off the stem and use just the leaves for a milder flavor. The stems can, of course, be eaten if you like. For those of you feeling extra adventurous, try a pickled chard recipe!
Our first lemon balm of the season! Julie’s recipe in this newsletter got an official endorsement from our volunteer Melinda Felty – lemon balm cookies are a family favorite around her house.
Lemon balm is a lemon scented herb that is in the mint family. We have a patch at the garden that comes back each spring. When the weather warms, we cut it back and then wait for the next year. Lemon balm has a light fresh scent that is perfect in the spring. For a simple sauce, melt butter (or warm some extra virgin olive oil) and add some chopped dill (also available this week,) and chopped lemon balm for a simple sauce for chicken, shrimp, fish or even sautéed vegetables. I also recommend this simple shortbread cookie recipe using our lemon balm.
Lemon Balm Cookies
2 tablespoon minced lemon balm leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup butter, softened
⅔ cup sugar
2⅓ cup all-purpose flour
In small dish, combine the lemon balm and lemon juice, press mixture with back of spoon to blend. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in egg & lemon mixture. Gradually beat in flour & salt. Roll the dough into a log and the wrap with parchment or waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm about 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick. Bake 8-10 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Remove from the oven when slightly golden brown around the edge. Let cool and enjoy.
I keep a container of acorns in my office gathered by my husband a few years ago. I have a love for all things seed. I love them for the simple fact that they contain such incredible potential to become something, even after lying dormant for so many years.
I have been considering what happens when that seed ‘worships’ and delights in the Lord with its little being. It occurred to me that when it submits to being broken open in the depths of the earth, its outer shell softens. Eventually it becomes part of the soil in which it became broken. As that happens, the seed inside is completely transformed into something utterly new: something that reflects immense expansion and growth and the ability to reproduce.
To that end, in today’s lectio at the garden, the youngest among us made such a profound statement based upon our reading of Psalm 37. The statement was something along these lines: “Delight is the outward visible expression of joy.” Wow. I sat there stunned at the profundity of that statement. I looked up delight in Hebrew and it means, “soft, pliable, luxurious” and the word joy denotes “glee, pleasure and exceedingly glad”. As I sit and reflect upon it all these hours later, I am struck by the delight that is felt and expressed in the joy we find in being and doing all that God created us to be and do: the soft, luxurious pliability that comes from finding exceeding gladness in the Lord. It is here that we, like the seed, can expand and the fruit of our delight and joy is witnessed and can be harvested and enjoyed.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”