Week 2 – June 21, 2017
Happy Solstice! It’s really hard to believe that it is late June already, this summer seems to be flying by even faster than usual. Things are finally starting to pop out in the fields and greenhouses, with the rains and hours and hours of light making crops grow notably overnight. We have been trying to stay on top of basic maintenance like mowing our paths and walkways between farm beds, but it sometimes feels like a losing proposition as the grass grows a foot every time we put the mower away.
The season of greens continues with some new offerings in your shares. Spinach is one of my favorites, and though I try to grow it through the whole season it is a really challenging crop in Alaska as it is extremely photoperiod sensitive – what this means is that it responds to our excessive amount of light by bolting – going to seed – before it sizes up. But in our cooler temps it is dense and sweet and really delicious. I hope for a couple of decent harvests early summer, then try for quick baby cuttings through the summer until the fall end of the season when things finally slow down and the spinach sizes up again. Eat it raw or cook it, you really can’t go wrong! More salad turnips in your shares and some radishes to join them. Remember that the greens of the turnips (and even the radish greens if you are still hungry) are edible. In general, always cut the greens off any bunched roots you get and then store roots and tops separately in plastic bags in your fridge. If you leave the greens on they will continue to draw moisture from the edible roots and they might get limp or soft. Most of the produce you get from us does best when stored in a plastic bag and put into the crisper of your fridge. Be careful if you are building up bags of produce crammed in the back of your fridge – lack of air circulation can cause cold spots that will freeze tender greens even if your temperature settings are fine.
The lettuces are butterheads and some leaf lettuce for the full shares, and the choi this week is a bigger heartier cousin of the Shuko we had last week. This might be the choi to try and grill! There are myriad things to do with choi, but really a simple approach is my favorite – chop it up and stir-fry with some oil and garlic, maybe a splash of tamari. It cooks down fast and is extremely tender as a veggie side.
Enjoy this mild green Solstice week!
This Week’s Share
Choi – Black Summer
Crustless Spinach Quiche
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
10 ounces chopped spinach
5 eggs, beaten
3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.
Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Bok Choi Steamed Rice
1 large head bok choy
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup long grain rice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce (such as sambal)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Separate bok choy leaves from stems. Slice stems into 1-inch pieces; chop leaves.
Combine water, rice, and soy sauce in a pot; bring to a simmer and stir in bok choy stems. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and cook until rice is almost cooked through, about 18 minutes.
Stir bok choy leaves, chili-garlic sauce, and sesame oil into rice mixture with a fork. Remove pot from heat, cover the pot with a lid, and let sit until rice is cooked through and bok choy leaves wilt, about 5 minutes more. Fluff with a fork and garnish with sesame seeds.
Grilled Bok Choi
1 (2 pound) head of bok choy
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
In a bowl, mix butter, garlic powder, paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Slice the bottom off the head of bok choy, and remove and clean the stalks. Sprinkle seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper over both sides of the stalks.
Lay the bok choy stalks on the preheated grill. Brush with seasoned butter mixture, cover the grill, and cook until the bok choy stalks show grill marks and the leaves are crisp at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the bok choy, brush with butter mixture, cover, and grill the other sides. Brush with any remaining butter mixture, and remove to a platter to serve.