Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CSA Week 13

1 bunch kale
savoy cabbage
hungarian hot wax peppers
sweet peppers
sweet onions

Here’s to a beautiful Black Kettle Brassica Bounty!  

It gives me great pleasure to alert you to the fact that this week’s share is absolutely bursting with health and vitality, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and positive vibrations.  Love the chunky fall carrots, that get sweeter as the temperatures go down,  munch on peppers all day long and of course completely savor the flavor of the field ripened tomatoes, because once they are gone, it is many, many months before their authentic goodness returns.  Yes, all true, but let’s just take a minute and give thanks and acknowledge the strength and power of the ol’ Brassica family, whose nutrient dense goodness dominate your veggie haul this week. 

The Brassica family of vegetables includes kale, cabbage, collards, broccoli, radish, turnip, arugula, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts (looking good in the field these days!), mustard greens and bok choi.   The short answer to every thing food related is, all fresh vegetables are really, really good for you, so eat a lot of them all the time.  But, when you really get down to it, the Brassica family is truly where it is at in terms of overall health benefits.  These dark, leafy and super delicious green beauties fight cancer, most notably lung, intestinal track and breast, as well as beat out heart disease and Alzheimer’s.  Brassicas pump up your immune system and rival milk for it’s calcium content.  When eaten with Vitamin C, any member of the Brassica family provides an extremely high level of available iron.  Perfect!  Sweet peppers, tomatoes and kale scrambled for supper it is! Done!  Anti-cancer elixir and life force stimulation is served!

This week, take it higher, chew that kale with major mindfulness and intention and truly soak in all the health benefits that this glorious fresh food has to offer.  These plants have absorbed so much sunshine this season, dug their roots deep into the soil, fought off bugs, and most recently lapped up the strength of the powerful blue moon to grow, thrive and give all that they can to your system and ignite the glow that only Black Kettle Farm CSA members radiate.  I know each and every one of you and we have, hands down, the best looking crew of CSA folks around, quite possibly due to the fact that there has not been one week of this outstanding season that we have not consumed something or other from the Brassica family(see list above for verification).  It all makes all too perfect sense that this major Brassica boom comes to us for week lucky number 13.  Major gratitude abound!  The Kettle is just so good to us!

Roasted Carrots with Cumin
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
1 to 1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into sticks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Put the carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil; sprinkle with the cumin and salt and pepper. Roast until the carrots are tender and browning, about 25 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Roasted Carrots with Fennel Seeds. Substitute fennel for the cumin.
Roasted Carrots with Pine Nuts. Omit the cumin. Add 1/4 cup pine nuts in the last 3 or 4 minutes of roasting.
Roasted Carrots with Sesame. Substitute 2 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, and 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil for the olive oil. Substitute up to 2 tablespoons black and white sesame seeds for the cumin; add them in the last 3 or 4 minutes of roasting.
Roasted Carrots with Dates and Raisins. Omit the cumin. Add 1/4 cup each golden raisins and chopped dates in the last 10 minutes of roasting. Garnish with chopped nuts, like pistachios, almonds, or walnuts, and a couple tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves.
Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu With Kale and Red Pepper
1 bunch curly kale
1 14-ounce package firm tofu, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon peanut oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 hot pepper, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, cut in 2-inch julienne
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, add the kale and blanch 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and place in a bowl near your wok.
2. Cut the tofu into dominos and place between two paper towels.
3. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, stock and cornstarch. Combine the salt, pepper and sugar in another small bowl. 
4. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Swirl in the canola or peanut oil by adding it to the sides of the pan and swirling the pan, then add the tofu. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, until it begins to color. Add the garlic, ginger and chili and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds.
5. Add the red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the kale, salt, pepper and sugar and toss together. Add the soy sauce mixture and the sesame oil.  Stir-fry for another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the heat and serve with grains or noodles.

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