Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Perfect Storm(s)

Storm #3 of this week has come and gone, and this evening we await more to come.  We are wondering when Mama Nature will end this strike!  This summer couldn't be any different than the last; looking back at our newsletters from this time last year, we were all complaining about how hot and dry it was. 

In spite of all the flood warnings, the rains have been much more of a blessing than a curse.  We haven't had to worry about watering our fields much (especially our garlic, which we had to water last year!).  Sadly, some plantings of things have washed out and certain plots on the farm aren't looking too good.  But we are happy to be done with the bulk of our planting for the summer and enjoy it while the rain waters it all in.  Tomatoes, basil, peppers, and eggplants all got in the ground this past week, and some of our zucchini was seeded out in the field!  We'll see in a while how they will cope with all this wet and cold weather.

Summer CSA continues!  We hope week one of our big CSA was satisfactory; please let us know how it went!  We missed some of you this past week and we hope to see you at the markets this time if we didn't.  We've got a big list of veggies this week, so there will be a lot to look forward to!

 
On the table this week:
  • Arugula
  • Salad Mix
  • Spinach
  • Head Lettuce
  • Stinging Nettles
  • Garlic
  • Mint
  • Asparagus
  • Radishes
  • Asian Greens/Bok Choi (it will be one or the other!)
  • Cilantro
  • Dill

Yep, we have a big line-up this week!  This week is a big one for head lettuces, which have sized up and  grown really large in our greenhouses....I would even venture to say that some of them are the size of car tires!  To get your hands on some of our biggest, brightest, and most beautiful heads of lettuce, go to the produce section at any of the New-Pi Co-ops to catch a glimpse (or even a bite) of our gorgeous New Red Fire lettuces.

Here's a few tips for you on how to keep your head lettuce good for longer!  You may notice that when we package the head lettuce for you, the outermost leaves MAY look brownish and unappetizing.  We leave them on there as a sort of "protective guard" against other items packed in with it to preserve the best, innermost leaves of the lettuce head until your mealtime; then you can just peel those leaves off, and serve/eat the good stuff.  You may also notice we leave a chunk of the root stalk on the lettuce head!  If leaves ever look wilty at all, place the lettuce head in a bowl, pitcher, or whichever container you like full of water, submerging only the root stalk.  A container full of ice works, too.  In a bit the lettuce will perk up and look full and beautiful again!  Placing the lettuce in a cool place (refrigerator/freezer) with the root stalk in contact of ice also maintains its freshness and aesthetic beauty.

Stay dry, and we'll see you soon at market!


Recipes

 Dill Mousseline Sauce (www.saveur.com)

MAKES 2 CUPS

This recipe came to us from David Lesh of the Gustavus Inn in Glacier Bay, Alaska, about 50 miles west of Juneau. It's "an updated version of the blender hollandaise my mom used to whip up for vegetables," he told us. Those who should avoid uncooked eggs—which includes infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone with immune-system disorders—should pass on this thick, buttery sauce; Egg-Caper Sauce is a fine alternative.

  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup hot melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. Whip cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside.
2. Combine egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender or food processor; process until well mixed, then, while blending, slowly pour in butter and continue blending until thick.
3. Transfer to a saucepan and fold in whipped cream. Stir in dill and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over simmering water or very low heat. Serve with Poached Salmon or other poached meaty fish.


 Stir-Fry Bok Choy in Thai Garlic Sauce (Vegan-friendly recipe) (thaifood.about.com)

 Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4 as a Side Dish

 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 "heads" of baby bok choy (OR 2 heads of large bok choy)
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or other vegetable oil
  • STIR-FRY SAUCE:
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster-flavored sauce (Vegetarians/Vegans: substitute vegetarian oyster-flavored sauce OR vegetarian stir-fry sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (Vegetarians/vegans: substitute 2 Tbsp. Thai Golden Mountain Sauce OR 1.5 Tbsp. soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce (available in most supermarkets)
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, minced

Preparation:

  1. Rinse the bok choy and cut off the bottom stem part at the base of each head. Separate into individual leaves. If the white sections of these leaves are very wide or large, you can slice them in half lengthwise, or into thirds. Tip: If stir-frying larger bok choy, slice off the green leaf tips. Add the thicker white sections to the wok first, then throw in the leaves at the end (these will cook very fast).
  2. Mix all the stir-fry sauce ingredients together in a bowl or cup. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high to high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add oil and swirl around.
  4. Now add the bok choy plus 2-3 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until pan/wok starts to become dry.
  5. Now add another 2-3 Tbsp. sauce and continue stir-frying another 2-3 minutes, or until the bok choy is bright green and the white stems are softened but still crunchy.
  6. Taste-test the bok choy with the sauce. Add more sugar if too sour for your taste, or more lime juice if too salty. Also, fresh minced chili or dried chili can be added if you prefer it spicier. If you prefer more sauce, add a little more, as desired.
  7. To serve, lift out the bok choy and place on a serving platter or in a serving bowl, then pour the sauce (from the bottom of the wok or pan) over. Serve immediately with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!
    Stir-Fry Sauce Tip: Keep extra stir-fry sauce (in a covered jar or container) in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. This sauce is excellent with many different kinds of stir-fried vegetables, as well as with chicken, tofu or wheat gluten, pork, and seafood. Enjoy!

 Radish and Avocado Sandwich (www.marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sliced avocado
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Finely grated lemon zest

Directions

  1. Toss radishes with oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Repeat with avocado, and mash onto bread. Pile on radish mixture, and sprinkle with lemon zest. Drizzle with oil.


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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!






Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer CSA Begins!

It seems that, and to quote one of our farmers here: "we've just skipped May altogether and headed straight on into June!"  Somewhat true; the first blistering temps of Iowa summer are here, but at the same time spring showers aren't over, in spite of flowers popping and the leaves fully unfurling (and the fireflies emerging!)  Observing the plentiful rains, you would think it's still spring, for sure.  Our veggies have been blessed and sprinkled with plenty of moisture to keep them happy and growing without too much effort for us on the hot and dry days.  Eyeing the forecast, however, there are many more storms awaiting.  But who knows, perhaps they will only be the dry, crackly heat storms that stay true to the arrival of summer.  Maybe summer is already here.

But one thing we know for sure....Summer CSA begins this week!  Thus begins the reign of 20 weeks of delicious organic produce, as wide a variety as you can get and practically any veggie you can think of (well, mostly!). 

Whether you are a returning CSA member from Spring or just starting up anew this Summer, our pickups are staying the same as they have been through spring:

  • Saturdays, 7:30 AM-12:00 PM at the Iowa City Farmers' Market
  • Wednesdays, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM at same above location
  • Thursdays, Around/After 5:30 PM at KirkwoodSchool for Children/Tim's Daycare
    • Note: if you cannot make it for Thurs. pickup, the folks at the school can keep and look after your box in the fridge until you can pick it up on Fri. or the weekend!
 
If you have not signed up yet for Summer CSA and would like to, there is still time!!!  Sign up with us electronically by clicking the "Sign Up" tab above and following the prompts.  It only takes a few minutes!

This Wednesday (tomorrow!)
at the Iowa City Farmer's Market will mark the first official day of our CSA.  We please ask that you plan to pay the CSA amount in full upon your arrival for your first share pick up (unless you are a Work-Trader).  If you do not know how much you owe and/or would like a balance reminder/update, please let us know, and we can send you one via email.

For those of you picking up at IC Farmer's Markets, please bring a bag, box, tote, or whatever you like to carry your produce in!  At the Farmer's Markets we do our big CSA shares "buffet style" where you can walk through and pick and choose what you like from the selection we give you.  *Note: you will not be able to "trade" part of your share for extra of another item in most cases....we only pack so much for everybody to have (or at least have the choice to have) a bit of everything.


What to expect for Week 1!:


  • Braising Mix
  • Arugula
  • Bunch Spinach
  • Head Lettuce
  • Stinging Nettles
  • Asparagus
  • Spring Radishes
  • Bunch Asian Greens
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro

Can't wait to see you at market!  We all look forward to being your CSA farmers this year!

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Recipes

The Modern Martini (www.bonappetit.com)

This lime- and cilantro-infused cocktail will appeal to both Gimlet and Martini drinkers. We like to use Tanqueray for its strong juniper and spice profile. 
 
Ingredients

Cilantro-Lime Gin

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 750-ml bottle London dry gin
  • 3 cups fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Assembly

  • 8 lime twists or rounds

Preparation

Cilantro-Lime Gin

  • Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water in a large jar, cover, and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add gin, cilantro, and lime juice (save gin bottle for finished product). Cover and chill 2 days. Strain into a medium bowl; discard cilantro. Pour cilantro-lime gin back into reserved bottle.

Assembly

  • For each cocktail, pour 3 ounces cilantro-lime gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover; shake until cocktail shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with lime.
  • DO AHEAD: Cilantro-Lime Gin can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled.

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2013/06/the-modern-martini#ixzz2TyffsO1G



Stuffed Head Lettuce (www.food.com)

This is so easy and so pretty. It makes a nice summer lunch, just add some fruit. I like Homemade french or Italian dressing on it.

 Ingredients
  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated carrots
  • 1 tablespoon minced green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion

Directions:

1 Wash lettuce; remove core.
2 With a tablespoon, remove enough of the lettuce around core to leave a cavity 2 to 3 in diameter.
3 Save removed lettuce for another use.
4 Combine cheeses, carrot, green pepper, tomato, pepper, salt and onion, pack firmly into lettuce cavity.
5 Wrap lettuce head in foil or plastic wrap and chill until center is solid.
6 Slice lettuce into wedges.
7 Serve with dressing of your choice.
8 A few pieces of fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries or melon) placed on the salad plate is very nice.

Read more: <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/stuffed-head-lettuce-108868?oc=linkback">http://www.food.com/recipe/stuffed-head-lettuce-108868?oc=linkback</a>
 
 Stuffed Head Lettuce. Photo by mydesigirl
 


Garlicky Asparagus Flatbread (www.bhg.com)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 1 pound  loaf frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons  butter
  • 2 tablespoons  flour
  • 1 cup  milk
  • 1/2 cup  finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces  mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
  • 1 - 1 1/4 pounds  green, white, and/or purple asparagus, trimmed and cut in 3-inch lengths
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup  thinly sliced green onions
  • Honey (optional)
 Directions
 
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease two 15x10x1-inch baking pans; set aside. For flatbreads, cut thawed dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half to a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. (If dough becomes difficult to roll, let rest for 5 minutes, then resume rolling.) Press dough into prepared pans, pressing to sides of pans. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until very lightly browned.
2. Meanwhile, for white sauce, in a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat; stir in flour. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add Parmesan cheese; cook for 1 minute.
3. Spread the white sauce within 1/2 inch of dough edges. Top with mozzarella. Lightly toss asparagus and squash with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Spread asparagus on cheese layer. Bake for 10 minutes, until browned. Cool slightly.
4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Cook sliced garlic in oil, stirring frequently, until tender and beginning to brown. Remove from heat. Spoon garlic and oil evenly on flatbreads. Sprinkle with green onions. Pass honey. 


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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! 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Spring CSA...Last Week!

That's right...Spring CSA will be delivering its last week this week!  And let us tell you...it won't end without a bang.  We've been giving you all the full array of spring greens possible, and we hope you've been enjoying it!

What to expect:

  • Arugula
  • Salad Mix
  • Bunch Spinach
  • Bunch Kale
  • Bunch Choi
  • Sunflower Sprouts
  • Garlic
  • Stinging Nettles
  • Asparagus

It don't get much greener than that!

 Remember, CSA for the whole season doesn't have to be over....we still have our Summer CSA shares available!  There is still time to sign up and get veggies from us clear until October.  For more info, click CSA Info tab above or you can sign up above.

In some brief farm news.....we are busy!  With the spring leaves here in the trees the season for harvesting, washing, and packing all we got (all day sometimes) has also arrived.  Now when all it seemed that we did was plant, we're trying to figure out when we'll do that exactly!  We have flats and flats of parsley and lettuce that needs planting soon, and we have begun planting our tomatoes!

In fact we're so busy....I might have to stop writing this newsletter!

Hope to see you at market!


Recipes

Beryn's Sunflower Sprout Salad  (www.rawlicious.co.za)

  • 1 Cup sunflower greens 
  • 1 Cup mixed sprouts 
  • 1⁄2 baby cabbage, grated 
  • 2 carrots, grated 
  • 1 handful walnuts 
  • Sprinkling of chopped dried figs 
  • 1 1⁄2 - 2 avocados, diced 
  • 1⁄2 C baby tomatoes 
  • 1 handful gooseberries 
  • parsley to garnish

Grate the carrots and cabbage first.
Combine the carrot, cabbage, sprouts, dried fruit, baby tomatoes and walnuts.
Top with diced avocado and gooseberries.
Garnish with finely chopped parsley.
Optional: Drizzle with a simple salad dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and honey.


sunflower-salad


Arugula, Tomato, and Goat-Cheese Terrine (www.marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 heads garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium yellow tomatoes
  • 6 medium red tomatoes
  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups fresh goat cheese, crumbled (13 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic on a piece of parchment paper -- lined aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Wrap to enclose, and roast until soft, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Peel, slice, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Core tomatoes, and cut an X in the bottom of each. Working in batches, blanch tomatoes until skin begins to loosen at the X, about 15 seconds. Remove, and plunge into ice bath to cool; drain.
  3. Peel tomatoes, and cut them into quarters. Place half of the red and half of the yellow tomatoes in a medium bowl for the salad. Add half of the sliced garlic, cover, and refrigerate.
  4. Remove seeds and pulp from remaining tomatoes, leaving only the flesh. Measure 1/4 cup of the seeds and pulp; cover and refrigerate for salad dressing. Discard remaining pulp and seeds. In a medium bowl, combine seeded tomatoes and remaining garlic. Add 1 cup arugula and 1/2 cup basil, and stir to combine; set aside for terrine.
  5. Place milk in a small saucepan, and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Bring milk to a simmer over low heat, whisking until gelatin has dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add goat cheese, and whisk until well blended.
  6. Line an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap leaving a 4-inch overhang on long sides. Place 2 or 3 arugula leaves lengthwise in prepared pan. Spread one-quarter of the goat-cheese mixture in the bottom of the pan. Cover with one-third of the reserved tomato mixture. Repeat layering twice. Top with remaining goat cheese. Fold plastic over terrine to cover. Refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 12 hours.
  7. Right before serving, in a small bowl whisk remaining 7 tablespoons oil with lime juice and vinegar. Add reserved tomato pulp and seeds. Pour over reserved refrigerated tomatoes, and stir gently to coat. Coarsely chop the remaining 1 cup arugula and 1/2 cup basil, and add to salad, stirring gently to combine.
  8. To serve: Peel back the plastic wrap from the terrine, and invert onto a cutting board. Remove plastic wrap, and discard. Cut terrine into eight 1-inch-thick slices. Transfer to plates, and serve immediately with salad.



Making Rennet Cheese with Stinging Nettle (www.inspirewild.com)
  
*Native Americans as well as the Scottish discovered that stinging nettle can be used instead of stomach enzymes to make a very herbal softer to semi-hard cheese like a feta or gouda. 

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1 pound stinging nettle (YOU MUST USE GLOVES OR YOU WILL BE SORRY!)
  • Water
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Timer
  • Spatula
  • Colander
  • Bowl
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Container

1. Place 1 pound of stinging nettle into the saucepan with gloves. Fill the saucepan with water until the water covers the stinging nettle. Set the saucepan on the stove top and bring the water to a boil.
2. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Turn down the temperature of the stove when the water begins to boil and cover the saucepan with the lid. Allow the water to bubble and simmer until the timer goes off.
3. Stir the stinging nettles with a spatula occasionally as the water boils and bubbles. As the nettles cook, the sharp hairs soften, making them safe for consumption. The water takes on a greenish tint and may appear foggy, which is only the excretion of the natural enzymes produced from boiling the nettles.
4. Place a bowl in the sink and the colander on top of the bowl. When the timer goes off, take the saucepan off the stove and pour the contents into the colander. The liquid will go straight through to the bowl, while the stinging nettle stays trapped in the colander. Remove the colander to expose the bowl and liquid.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the liquid in the bowl. If you notice that the salt is being absorbed immediately, add another tablespoon. Allow the mixture to cool.
Add the rennet to very hot not boiling milk and let it sit for several hours and you will have a nice soft spreadable cheese and curds.
If you are going to use the stinging nettle rennet with milk, use  1/2 cup of the rennet for every 1 gallon of milk you want to coagulate. Store leftover rennet in an air-tight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note: the high salt content of this rennet prevents cheeses that to be created that are ripened a significant length of time. After the rennet has been added the salt inhibits the ripening characteristics of the curd. It will work best for cheeses that are salted shortly after the curd has formed, and less salt will be needed during the salting step as well as less salt if you are brining.
Now that you have curds mold them and turn them into the cheese that you desire with the proper forming, weighing the cheese down adding additional flavors and aging. Basically now go forward with your favorite cheese recipe and enjoy!



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   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! 

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Greening....Spring Greens!

Greetings everyone!

It's true that they say April showers bring May flowers...boy was that a long shower. 

Well, the flowers have finally arrived, the leaves are popping, and the grass is green!  CSA members have received our first flush of lush, delicious, healthy greens....arugula, salad mixes, leaf spinach and bunch spinach, sunflower sprouts, as well as braising mix, a medley of hardy greens packed and ready-to-cook.  These typically feature a variety of kales and chards, and can include anything from dandelion greens to bok choi leaves....sometimes even carrot greens!  Spring is the time to munch on nature's greens in any form to get as many antioxidants and vitamins to make up for that sunless, green-less winter.  In our case, it's been months of roast turnips and winter squash!  Nice to get a splash of green in our meals these days.

Echollective's first week of market went swell!  It was quite evident that market-goers were poised and ready to pounce on the season's first asparagus shoots....we sold out in an hour on Wednesday!  We sold out our table completely on Saturday with the exception of some garlic and other things.  People simply swarmed in for greens and asparagus.

No changes to CSA pickups this week....they will remain the same.  It hasn't really been our intent to confuse you this much while getting you your delicious vegetables.  We hope you are happy to be among the first to be getting the freshest, tastiest organic greens you can get in the Iowa City area.  Only two weeks of Spring CSA remain!


"What should we expect?":

  • Braising Mix
  • Salad Mix
  • Spinach
  • Stinging Nettles
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Spring Radishes
  • ....and possibly more!

Yep, it's the return of those crazy stinging nettles again.  Don't be alarmed!  The very same plant you try to avoid on your beautiful hikes (or that inadvertently ruins a nice hike when you bump into it) is one of the most highly nutritional vegetables on land; the most nutritional green after seaweed!  (That's right...for you sushi lovers, it's time to try making sushi with nettle leaves.)  It is probably even more nutritious than your spinach....well, maybe that's stretching it.  Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is the highest source of iodine in any land-bound plant, which is imperative to healthy liver function.  Not to mention stinging nettles are chock-full of vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium, magnesium....the list goes on.

No, we are not saying to take the Stinging Nettle out of your box and immediately chew on it.  That would hurt.  Traditionally, stinging nettles are boiled or sauteed immediately after picking, like spinach.  In the process, they lose their sting.  You may also dry nettles and save the dried herb for a hot tea.  We will include delicious recipes on how to prepare stinging nettles to your liking!  If you have any further questions about stinging nettles, please contact me at echofarmers879@gmail.com.

I should add, we had a delicious lunch the other day of cooked ground venison mixed with sauteed stinging nettles, with rice and beans in a tortilla.  We eat nettles out here, too!

In some brief farm news, any time we have not been picking, packing, and washing veggies for CSA, market, restaurants and Co-ops, we have been planting, planting, planting!  Onions, leeks, broccoli, kale, lettuces, greens.  Quite soon here we will be putting our first tomatoes in the ground!

Well, take care everybody and enjoy the week's bounty.  See you at market!

**********

Recipes

Spring Lasagna with Asparagus, Peas and Stinging Nettles
A Recipe from TheBittenWord.com, with inspiration from Martha Stewart Living and Gourmet
 Serves 6-8

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 5 cups loose stinging nettle leaves (see note); baby spinach can be substituted
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces mild goat cheese
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles

Note on preparing stinging nettles: Wearing gloves, place fresh nettles on a cutting board. Separate the leaves from the stalk. You can use the stems and leaves from the top 6 or 8 leaves on each stalk. You can also use the lower leaves, but discard the thicker stems as well as the main stalk, as they will be too thick and ready to eat.


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare stinging nettle leaves (see note above), and prepare asparagus: Cut the tips off of each asparagus spear and reserve them. Then cut asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, cook sausage, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate.

Into same saucepan, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then the pieces of asparagus spears. Sauté asparagus until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to pan, then add diced onion and sauté until just softened and beginning to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add stinging nettle leaves and sauté until wilted and cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.

Make the roux: Melt butter in a different saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan and goat cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of the roux in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then top with a layer of noodles. Top with sautéed asparagus, half the sausage, one third of the remaining roux, and another layer of noodles. Top that with sautéed nettles and onions, peas, half the remaining roux, half the lemon slices, the remaining sausage and another layer of noodles. Arrange the remaining lemon slices and the reserved asparagus tips on the top layer, then pour on the remaining roux.

Cover dish with parchment-lined aluminum foil and bake 28 minutes, until top is golden and bubbly. (You may want to finish it under a broiler for 2 minutes.) Let stand 10 minutes.




Sauteed Nettles with Green Garlic & Olive Oil (www.mariquita.com)
Created by: Armando "Tiny" Maes
serves 6

  • 1 ¼ # Nettles, Cleaned
  • 3T Green Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper (To Taste)

First preheat a large sauté pan on medium high heat, (one large enough to accommodate the nettles, you can even use a large pot as well). Second pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into the preheated pan. Then put all of the green garlic into the pan sauté briefly for about 30 seconds, just enough time for the green garlic to release its essential oils, being sure not to brown or burn the green garlic. Place the nettles into the pan and give it a good stir, let sit for just a second and then continue the stirring process. Once the nettles are completely wilted place them on a plate, drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and place a couple of lemon wedges for garnish.

Note: The nettles do not have the water content like spinach or other similar greens. So it might help to put a couple Tablespoons of water into the pan after the nettles have started cooking, just to hurry the cooking process. Myself I do not put the water, because I like the texture of the nettles when you sauté them. It is like little crispy nettle leaves and it also brings about a certain nuttiness.




Potato Nettle Soup (www.mariquita.com)

  • 2 cups Nettle Leaves (young shoots)
  • 1 Onion
  • 6 small Potatoes
  • 8 cups Water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. Parsley
  • 3 cloves Garlic OR 3 stalks green garlic

Puree onion, garlic, and nettles with 1 cup of water. Cut potatoes into small pieces. Simmer pureed mixture with potatoes and remaining water for 45 minutes or until tender. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes making the soup thick and creamy.


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