**A massive hail storm Tuesday night destroyed Echo's greens! Many crops, like the garlic, broccoli, and kale, will make it through or bounce back. Other crops may have been damaged so that they do not produce well. Take care to eat the veggies we deliver to you this week soon, as some of them may have some bruising and therefore will not store well. The farmers are doing all they can to continue delivering food to market.**
Want to lend a hand in the field or just drive out to tour the farm? Saturday afternoons are great for that, or really any day except Friday. Call (319)325-3910 or email email@example.com, to make plans. The address is 879 Echo Ave., Mechanicsville.
On the table this week:
- Bok choy
- Radish: a bit past their prime, our pretty red radishes are starting to taste spicy.
- Nettle: the hairs on the underside of the leaves are the part of the plant that can still sting sensitive folks a little even after harvest, so take care when handling. See more info on nettle and cooking ideas in last week's letter. If you don't feel adventurous enough to cook nettle, it makes a great compost starter or compost tea.
- Bunch spinach: spanikopita is this week's idea for assorted dark leafies greens like spinach and nettle (see below recipe).
- Red head lettuce
- Asparagus: may be the last of the asparagus this year
- Spearmint: make a simple syrup (see below recipe) and mix into fruit juices, lemonades, iced teas, smoothies, or cocktails.
- Purslane: most people weed it, so why not eat it? Purslane is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (more than some fish oil supplements and more readily available to the body), vitamins E, A, and C, and many necessary minerals. The mucilaginous leaves are lemony and crisp. Chop or add whole leaves to salads. Added to the sauce near the end of cooking, it gives a slightly sour flavor to curry dishes. South Indian recipes often include it. Could be added to potato salad or cucumber-tomato salad.
- Plus more....will be determined by weather patterns
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 3-4 quarts (total) chopped dark leafy greens (fresh young nettles, spinach, arugula, purslane)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme to taste (2-3 tsp of each should work)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 c provolone, grated
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 package frozen phyllo, thawed
- 1 cup feta, crumbled
Thaw phyllo. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.
Filling: Prep nettles by rinsing in a colander and trimming stems off. Use gloves if you are sensitive to nettle stings. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add nettles, press them down, and cover to cook for 3-4 minutes, until nettles are just shrinking down. Add other greens, cover to cook 3 more minutes. Add herb seasonings. Pour this saute into a large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, provolone, and 2 eggs, and mix well.
Roll thawed phyllo out, and place phyllo under a damp dish towel on the stack to keep the phyllo moist. This is important, and you must work quickly with it as it can get dry and brittle and is hard to work with if exposed to the air too long. Place a layer of phyllo on the bottom of the pan and brush lightly with butter. Place another layer and do the same. Repeat this process until you have used half the phyllo. Pour filling over the phyllo, and sprinkle crumbled feta on top. Repeat layering phyllo until you have used the rest in the package. Cut spanikopita in diagonal pieces before baking.
Bake in oven for an hour. Top will be golden brown. Serve with a fresh wild herb salad, french bread and a hearty red wine.
Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!