Ahhh, the mini lettuces have my heart today! Do you see just how beautiful the red mini romaine is? It's almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I'm not sure whether you should do salads with the green and red romaine mixed or have each separately. If you want to be fun and fancy, you could probably cut the whole mini head in half or in quarters and serve on the plate with whatever toppings and dressings you like. That would preserve some of the structure and beauty of the mini head and then everyone would get some inner and outer leaves on their plate. Let us know what you do with them and if you have any pretty pictures that you are posting to instagram or facebook, please tag us @rainsandsun. We love to see what you are making with our veg!
Also impressive this week are the sweet potatoes. We harvested somewhere between 800 and 1000 lbs of sweet potatoes out of two 100 ft. beds. That's like 4-5 lbs of food for every foot of bed space! I'm personally a huge fan of sweet potatoes and am pleased to have them become a major staple in our meals. Unfortunately, I haven't quite convinced my kids of their virtues. Ah well, we'll keep trying! So, since we have such an abundance of these sweeties, you'll be seeing a lot of them in these last weeks of shares. The awesome news is that they store incredibly well. We were still using sweet potatoes this June that were harvested last fall. The best storage conditions for the sweet potatoes are dark and mid-60s (basements are great if you have one). We also don't clean all of the soil off of the potatoes because they keep better this way. Just give them a good wash and scrub when you are ready to use them. The other important thing to know about our sweet potatoes is that many of them are pretty big. This is due to the way we like to grow them and we've found that it doesn't impact their flavor or texture. We'll try to make sure you get a mix of more medium size potatoes along with bigger ones. I love to use one really big 5 lb sweet potato when I'm making my sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. It's fun to tell people that you made it with just one potato :) However, if you don't want to use all of a big sweet potato at once, we've found that they freeze really well if you cut it into chunks and blanch them first.
Now that it's finally cool enough to turn on your oven, one of my go-to easy veg recipes is to chop a bunch of root veggies, coat with oil and salt and roast at 400 for 20-30 minutes. This would be an excellent way to use some of your sweet potatoes, turnips and radishes this week. If you want to put a little more effort in, you could make the roasted root veg bisque recipe Maria has below. Honestly, it's not much more effort at all and it sounds absolutely delicious. It would be so good with some crusty bread!
We decided to make a little last minute switch on one of the crops in the share this week. When I checked the napa cabbage on Friday I thought it would be ok to give this week - some of the heads had filled out nicely, most of them not quite, but it looks like the heat was taking a toll on them so I didn't think they'd be getting much better. However, when we checked on them to harvest yesterday morning, their new growth looked better and I think they may yet fill out a bit more. That combined with the fact that we harvested a lot more excellent radishes than we expected from a new planting, means that you'll be getting radishes in place of napa cabbage this week. I do still have a few heads of napa ready, so you can switch for that if you'd prefer. You will see it in a future share too - probably next week or the week after. We appreciate your flexibility with this!
Recipes from Maria:
Roasted Root Vegetable Bisque
1 large onion, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1″ dice
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 bunch turnips, peeled and chopped into 1″ dice
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tart sweet apple, peeled and chopped
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
½ T curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Saute onions in butter for about 10 minutes, add the curry and cook another minute. Add the vegetables, salt, and broth. Cook 30 minutes. Stir in apples and maple syrup and cook another 5 minutes.. Use the immersion blender to puree smooth.
When the soup is smooth, serve immediately or pour into a large pot and re-heat on the stove briefly. Season with additional salt to taste.
Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Lemon Garlic Butter
For the Roasted Cabbage
1 medium green cabbage
2 tablespoons olive oil
sprinkle of salt and pepper
For the Lemon Garlic Butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
sprinkle of salt and pepper
Roasting the Cabbage
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.
Take off the outer leaves from the green cabbage. Using a large knife, cut the cabbage in 8 pieces by cutting it in half, then in quarters, etc. Leave the stem and core on, as it helps the cabbage hold its shape.
Place the cabbage on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then carefully turn with a flipper and roast for another 20 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges and fork tender. Use your own judgement for cooking time, as each cabbage is a different size, and ovens set at 400 F will cook at different temperatures unless it’s been calibrated.
Making the Lemon Garlic Brown Butter
While the cabbage is roasting, mince the four cloves of garlic.
Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat.
Add in the garlic. Constantly stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and garlic turns a golden brown.
Remove from the heat and pour the browned butter and garlic into a small bowl.
Stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir again and adjust seasonings to taste.
When the roasted cabbage is ready to serve, brush the lemon garlic butter onto each cabbage wedge.
Cut off the core that extends past the arch for a pretty presentation.