From this Garden this Week, April 15, 2021...
From the Garden this Week…
Kale, Carrots, Mixed Salad Greens, Spinach, Mixed Asian Greens, Fennel, Radish, Celery, Leeks, Green Onions, Parsley, Oregano, Dill, Lemon Balm, Lemons, Meyer Lemon and Oranges
Coming Soon… Red Beets and Snap Peas
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
This week we have more spring herbs coming your way. If you store them carefully, they will keep for a week in the fridge. They need to have delicate balance of wet and dry. Too much moisture will degrade the herbs. I find that the best way to store these herbs is to wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel and then place the herbs, wrapped in the towel in a plastic bag that is open at the top allowing extra moisture to escape. This week I put together a kale salad with our leeks. By cooking the leeks first with the aromatic, zest and oregano this will soften the leeks and allow the aromas to come out, then combine the warm leeks with the raw kale to soften the leaves. You can make this ahead if you want a softer texture. Or if you don’t like raw kale, cook it with the leeks until completely soft. You can substitute any of our other greens like spinach and Swiss chard if you have these available instead. Their lighter texture doesn’t need as much cooking so reduce the marinating time as you desire.
Orange-Kale Salad with Braised Leek Dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek sliced into thin rounds
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
6-8 cups chopped and washed kale, swiss chard or spinach
1 tablespoon orange juice
salt and pepper
In a large sauté pan, add the leeks and oil, cook over medium heat. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally for about 3-5 minutes. Add the salt, oregano leaves, orange zest and red pepper flakes. Stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then turn the heat off. In a large bowl add the chopped kale and/or greens. Pour the leek mixture over the kale and stir well to coat all the leaves thoroughly, letting the heat from the leeks soften the leaves. Add in orange juice and taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.
Elouise, a questionable gardener…
Recently, we were blessed to have one of our volunteers, Dave Berrens, come and set up our shade cloth area for seed starting for summer and fall.
It appears that Elouise felt equally as blessed by the shade cloth area and her new treats! We have added more cloth to discourage her snacking, but she sure is a happy farm peacock!
Fennel is a strong flavored vegetable that people often love or hate. I think that I just need to help people learn to cook it. If you are not a fan of the raw fennel flavor, I recommend cooking it. The longer you cook it, the more the flavor mellows. When using fennel raw, it works better to balance it with other strong flavors. This salad recipe combines fennel with celery and parsley and neutral flavored chickpeas, that will be enhanced with time.
Marinated Chickpea Salad with Fennel and Parsley
2 cans chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked until tender
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, halved, cored and finely chopped
3/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
Drain cooked chickpeas. If using canned, rinse the chickpeas. In a large bowl combine the salt, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, chopped celery, fennel, parsley and green onion. Let the salad marinate for 30 minutes or overnight if possible.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul… By Ronda May Melendez
There seems to me to be a beautiful, albeit it painful tension found in nature that is mimicked in our lives as humans. This last week in the garden, our garden coordinators discussed the fact that our onions are beginning to bolt. In other words, they are blooming! Yes, onions have flowers, and their presence is a sure sign they have begun the process that allows them to reproduce many times over. Bolting onions are quite beautiful. However, counterbalancing this beauty is a lovely alert that the onion plant is preparing for its death.
As the onion plant begins the process of bolting, the energy housed in the bulb of the plant, the part most of us easily recognize and eat, begins to be transferred to the flowers that are about to bloom and provide the seeds. When this happens, growth in the bulb is slowed and eventually stops and does not allow for long term storage. Bolting is sometimes a sure sign of stress on the plants from frequent changes in temperatures causing them to panic and push for premature reproduction. The gardeners must consider and watch the growth environment carefully before, during, and after planting but even with such diligence, this process is not always avoided.
What a tension! We want healthy onion bulbs that are nice in size and able to be stored, but we also need to ensure that we will have seed for the next harvest. It seems to me that we tend to focus on one or the other, but the Lord is in them both. He allows the tension between life and death. It is not an act of unkindness, despite the difficulty of transition. Rather, it is a period of allowing growth to happen in the depths of our hearts, where things remain hidden until suddenly, sometimes without warning, the bloom of reproduction is seen above ground. Ironically, this tension produces ‘fruit’ for now and for ‘generations’ to come.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6