Good Afternoon! In case you missed the news there's a major crop shuffle underway at Vrdnt. Winter crops that we planted in August, like cabbage, broccoli, and carrots, are finally starting to make their debut - carrots now, and the others soon. Meanwhile, the summer stalwarts - okra, peppers - are OUT. Adios.
We hope you're as excited as we are to cook with some of these newbies. Here are a few recipes to get you going.
Tender pea shoots, freshly snipped from their nitrogen-fixing bodies, are one of my favorite farm delicacies. They taste like spring, but winter varieties make them available in cold months, also. Pea shoots are relatively easy and quickly to grow (a favorite field snack mid-harvet), and I don't know why more farmers don't decorate their farms with these tendrils. My favorite way to eat PEA SHOOTS is to STIR FRY WITH LOTS OF AROMATICS like this recipe. But also, you can snack on them raw, add them to a simple PASTA, blitz into a SOUP or incorporate into a raw SALAD like this one that plays on their natural sweetness to balance the flavor of spicy ARUGULA & RADISHES.
Here is a recipe where PEA SHOOTS get ground with MINT and pistachios to make a versatile PESTO.
I tend to think of PEA SHOOTS as a cross between a green - like kale - and an herb - like parsley. They're special little flavor bombs -good raw or cooked - that I hope you grow to treasure as much as I do.
GREENS AND RICE: If ever I wanted to hug an Instagram post, it would be this one by Bon Appetit. "One of the simplest, most obvious (but also, smartest!) ways to turn a pot of rice into a complete meal? Add a bunch of greens to the post while the rice rests - they'll steam in the residual heat, giving you some extra veg power with no additional work or dishes." For weekday CSA meals, this technique - so obvious and so dependable - is one you should certainly add to your toolbox. Literally any Vrdnt greens would work here, but I personally would use my BRAISING MIX and PEA SHOOTS for this application.
When I was in college, I worked for Katz Coffee company at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market every Saturday morning. It was there that a farmer (I wish I could remember who!) gave me my first kohlrabi bulb. I'm allergic to raw apples, and kohlrabi quickly became my round-veg of choice to crunch down on. I still love to eat kohlrabi this way - peeled and raw, ideally with lemon and salt. Here is a more composed KOHLRABI SALAD recipe if you want those flavors. I also like to slice them thin, and mix with lime and tajin.
KOHLRABI makes a great raw component to any type of salad, though. Here it's matchsticked with APPLES, and here is another APPLE/KOHLRABI version by Ottolenghi, this one heavier on the herbs. One of my all time favorite cookbooks - Jerusalem -(co-written by the aforementioned Ottolenghi) has a creamy kohlrabi recipe where the bulb is cubed, then marinated in sour cream and yogurt, spiced with lemony-sumac. To get the exact recipe, you'll have to buy the cookbook, but here is an adapted version of the salad which conveniently incorporates CARROTS, too. In the original recipe, the creamy kohlrabi is mixed with watercress, which I enthusiastically encourage you to sub for PEA SHOOTS and you've got a Vrdnt version of this Jerusalem-dish.
KOHLRABI also makes a wonderful cooked vegetable, as the Germans know. One of the most popular German ways to cook the cabbage-turnips (kohl = cabbage, rabi = turnip) is in a "white sauce", a simple butter-based sauce, thickened slightly with flour.
Or, go vegetarian and sub KOHLRABI for chicken in this KOHLRABI SCHNITZEL recipe.
Last Kohlrabi reminder: it can do just about anything a potato can do, and makes for a wonderful addition to any kind of SOUP.
White DAIKON RADISHES are starting to roll in and truthfully, they stump me too. Luckily, Eating Well put together this list of 11 daikon recipes that are "more than just salads". I happen to love the idea of DAIKON AND TOFU LETTUCE WRAPS which would make fast use of the beautiful heads of SALANOVA LETTUCE coming off the farm. CARROTS for crunch, too. And if that's not your vibe, how about a creamy, cheesy DAIKON GRATIN. Always say yes to panko.
What I'm Eating:
Vension-shank barbacoa tacos on day 1, and then tostadas on day 2 and 3. One huge pot of creamy pinto beans, too.
Thanksgiving leftovers. I made some blistered green beans for Thanksgiving which I tossed with some garlic-olive oil, parmesan, and a bit of soy sauce - all umami-rich ingredients that would make anything it touched delicious. I used Molly Baz's technique for frying up shallots, which starts the onions in cold oil. A vegetable that has been charred or blistered by high heat, plus parmesan, plus fried shallots is a combination worth riffing off on any occasion. (BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER, BOK CHOY, I'm looking at you.)
Till next time!