From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - May 19, 2022
From the Garden this Week… Kale, Red Romaine Lettuce, Radishes, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Carrots, Leeks, Baby Beets, Spring Onions, Garlic Scapes, Baby Yellow Squash, Artichokes, Cherries, Calendula, Cilantro and Oregano
Coming Soon… Cucumbers
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
Our spring artichokes are a special treat. These perennial flowers come each spring and provide a fun alternative to the leafy greens and root vegetables. You can boil them or cut them in half and roast them, but I have found that the easiest way to cook them is in the microwave. I leave about 2 inches of stem and put them in a large glass bowl with about 1 inch of water and a few lemon slices, cover the bowl with a plate and microwave for about 6-8 minutes, checking to make sure that the stem is tender. Once they are cooked, let them cool and then remove the outer leaves and the choke, which is the “hairy” part at the center of the flower. I like to marinate the hearts with vinegar and oil, but they also can be added to the recipe below. Add them at the end when cooking the spinach.
Spring Pasta with Squash and Spinach
8 ounces dry pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1-2 baby yellow squash, cut into bite
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup cream or half and half (or
substitute with pasta water)
3-4 cups spinach and beet greens,
washed and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese,
plus more for garnish
*Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and set it aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a very large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic scapes, red pepper flakes, oregano, and yellow squash. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by about half, 2-4 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and cream. Bring to a boil. Stir in the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the pasta, then toss to coat with the sauce for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Serve right away.
From WCG Farm to the Paulsen’s Table
Garden members Sue and Don Paulsen shared this picture of their delicious salad made from last week’s harvest. The caption read, “All Wellspring.” We are so thankful you are enjoying your fresh produce, sharing your culinary creations, and using your talents. Sue and Don are retired educators. Don is also a practicing, licensed therapist who provides supervision to interns at Wellspring Counseling Ministries. Thank you both for all you do for Wellspring Counseling and Charitable Gardens. “Guten Appetit!”
The tender spring leaves of our Swiss chard make a perfect wrap to enclose a simple vegetarian filling in this recipe. Depending on the size of the leaves and the thickness of the stems you can divide the leaves into two pieces or make one roll per leaf.
Swiss Chard Rolls
6 Swiss chard leaves
1 can or 2 cups cooked drained chickpeas
½ cup walnuts
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 cup shredded mixed carrots and radishes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 avocado, diced
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Hold the chard leaves by the stems and dip the leaves in the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove from the waters and lay on a towel to cool and dry. In a food processor add the chickpeas, walnuts, and tamari, pulse several times until blended. Toss the shredded carrots and radishes with salt. Lay the leaf on your cutting board, cut off the stem that extends past the leaf. Spread a thin layer of the chickpea mixture, about 2-3 tablespoons, on top of the center of the leaf. Cover with 2 tablespoons shredded vegetables, a sprinkle of cilantro leaves and a few pieces of avocado cubes. Roll up each leaf and use a toothpick to secure the roll until ready to eat.
Kitchen Tips… Preserving Your Produce, Part 2 by Julie Moreno
In the Refrigerator (Continued):
Most, but not all, vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator. They do like it cold, about 45 °F, but not too cold. Unfortunately, 45 °F is above the “temperature danger zone”, that food safety gold standard where bacteria don’t want to grow, so the normal operating temperature of your refrigerator is usually much lower, probably at or below 40° F. The warmest place in your fridge is the lower portion, so manufacturers have put the vegetable drawers there.
Remember, though, using the “vegetables” or “crisper” drawer alone won’t guarantee that your produce stays fresh for long. Modern refrigerators dry out vegetables and fruit, even when they are placed in the “crisper” drawer, so keep your produce wrapped in a plastic bag or stored in a refrigerator safe container that allows them to “breathe.” Plants, even when cut off from their nutrition source, are still respirating, so wrap or cover them loosely to allow exhaust gasses to escape and clean air to enter, thereby preserving their fresh smell, flavor, and texture longer.
Different vegetables and fruits do need different storage conditions, so the next articles will provide specific tips for safely storing and preserving your harvest of fresh produce placed in the refrigerator, on the countertop, or in a cool, dark place.