While the solstice has told us it is summer now, along with this heat, the next two weeks will really see things out in the field turning the corner to full summer. We have our very first summer squashes, cucumbers and a hint of pink on the cherry tomatoes. The last remaining garlic scapes will be picked. And right on cue for the 4th of July the potatoes are flowering. Though for now the harvest is still lots of leafy greens: spinach, salad, bok choy, Swiss chard.
Folks sometimes ask me where I get recipe ideas from. My routine for a while had me in the car on Sunday afternoons when The Splendid Table was on the radio and it is definitely a fun listen. Of course you can listen anytime to the podcast if you don't happen to be driving around on Sunday afternoons. This weekend's episode had a nice section about leafy greens which had me nodding my head in agreement and thinking of all our CSA members. Check it out here. They also have tons of great recipes to browse on their website.
This week's share:
cucumbers... (fingers crossed)
While you can certainly mix all your leafy greens up if you are cooking a big batch, if you have to pick and choose I would suggest that spinach and chard go together. They are in the same plant family, chenopod or goose foot. Members of this family love to go with dairy in particular as the rich creaminess balances the oxalic acid. What's that? You know that funny, kind astringent aftertaste you get when eating a spinach salad? That's it. In the fall or winter I love these greens cooked down with butter and cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. When it is hot like this I'd go for a quick sautéed dish with some feta cheese or chevre, with lemon juice and zest and lots of herbs to brighten it all up. Eaten at room temp is perfectly fine.
We are also still relishing our peas; they won't be here much longer! Try a super crunchy salad of blanched peas, chopped up cucumber, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime and a few red chili flakes. So good on these hot days!