Weekly Share October 3rd – 9th
Mesclun Salad Mix
Mustard Greens or Broccoli Raab
Biscayne Cubanelle Peppers
Romano Beans or Okra
Hakurei Salad Turnips
Extra: Asian Eggplant
Due to the extremely dry weather we have had this season, our basil has thrived for four long months, but now it is coming to an end. Two weeks ago when we finally got some rain, 3” in 12 hours, it was from a storm coming from the south and it brought with it the pathogen, Peronospora belbahrii, also known as basil downy mildew. This disease has only been in the US since 2006, so it is relatively new. There are many efforts being made to find basil varieties that are resistant and since our 2nd year here in Prince Edward, we have had to adopt many measures to lengthen our basil season, such as wider plant spacing, growing a succession under cover, and using drip irrigation. The pathogen spreads quickly in humid and warm (70-80 degree) temperatures, so we were pretty resistant this Summer what with high temperatures and little moisture. Alas though the past two weeks has been mild wet, and gray, never seeming to dry up and so this coming week will be our last harvests as the plants are becoming riddles with the disease. We are sending everyone basil, it may show some signs of yellowing or mold spores on the under sides of the leaves. This does not affect the flavor at all, but this basil will not hold as long as usual. We highly suggest taking a little time this week to preserve what you have by making pesto, basil oil, or drying leaves for later use. There will be a small handlful of garlic in your share too so why not preserve a bit of Summer for a cold Winter day.
The rest of this share has an unusual mix of items. You might notice the greens and quick root crops are beginning to pour in. The hakurei turnips make an amazing stir fry with bok choy, cubanelle peppers, and a few greens, or add a few thinly sliced turnips to the bok choy with oyster sauce and pepper recipe below. Always a favorite is the broccoli raab paired with sausage and pasta as well as a few Japanese recipes that could make up a delicious simple meal, especially if paired with a simple soy sauce dressing green salad. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Deep Fried Okra and Eggplant in Broth Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
2 cups rapeseed or cold-pressed sesame oil
6 small to medium Okra
6 small Japanese Eggplant
1 2/3 cups Noodle Dipping sauce
1 Tbls slivered ginger
Line a cookie sheet with several sheets of folded newspaper and top with a layer of paper towels. Set next to the stove. Heat oil in a deep, round frying pan (such as a wok) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
Make a small lengthwise slit near the tip of each okra with a sharp knife so the steam can escape, or they may pop open in the hot oil. Cut ¼” deep lengthwise slices into the eggplant skin at ¼” intervals following the natural curve of the eggplant to create a wavy pattern from top to bottom. Fry the okra quickly until no longer raw but not wilted, then drain on the paper towel-lined cookie tray. Slip the eggplants into the oil and fry gently for several minutes, turning occasionally, until the eggplant has softened. Remove the eggplant and drain.
Arrange each eggplant in a small bowl so the bottom is fanned out and rest and okra pod attractively against the golden- and purple -ribboned flesh. Ladle in a scoop of noodle dipping sauce, sprinkle with the slivered ginger, and serve immediately. Variation: Substitute green beans instead of okra if the season coincides with eggplant in your region.
Noodle Dipping Sauce Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
This sauce can be served hot or cold, depending on the season. Good for dunking udon, soba, and somen noodles.
11/3 cup Dashi
6 Tbls Kaeshi
Flavor the dashi with the kaeshi and use at room temperature, cold, or slightly warm, depending on your mood or the season.
½ cup hon mirin
11/8 cup organic sugar
2 cups organic soy
Bring the hon mirin to a simmer over high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until you no longer smell alcohol (3-5 minutes). Stir in the sugar and continue cooking (and stirring) until the sugar granules have dissolved. Add the soy sauce and watch as the kaeshi heats up and comes almost to a boil. You will see tiny bubbles form on the perimeter-remove the pan from the heat as soon as the entire surface of the kaeshi becomes a creamy tan from minute bubbles. Store for up to a year in the fridge.
1 (6”) length of Konbu
Handful of dried bonito shavings
Place the konbu in a medium saucepan containing 2 cups of cold water. Bring almost to a boil (you will see minute bubbles form on the edges of the konbu) and remove the konbu. Throw in the dried bonito shavings and simmer friskly, but not crazily, for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 8 minutes. Set a small fine-mesh strainer over a 1-quart measuring cup and pour the dashi through the strainer to remove the dried bonito shavings. You should have 1 1/3 cup dashi. If you do not, add water (pouring through the strainer holding the strained katsuobushi) to make the amount of liquid needed. Use within a day or so, if kept chilled in the fridge.
Bitter Greens with Dashi
Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
2 small bunches (1 1/3lb) Bitter Greens: mustard, turnip, or komatsuna
1/3 cup Dashi
2 Tbls Soy Sauce
2 Tbls freshly shaved katsuobushi or 3 Tbls hanakatsuo
Bring a large pot of hot water to a boil and place a large bowl of cold water on the kitchen sink. Hold the bunches of greens by their tops and lower the stems into the boiling water. Count to ten or twenty, then drop the greens into the pot and cook an additional 1-3 minutes. Scoop out the greens with a strainer and dump them immediately into the cold water. Turn on the tap and plunge your hands into the water, lifting the greens up directly into the stream of cold running tap water to cool them. Pull out a few connected strands and squeeze down the length of the greens to express the excess water. Ley the greens on the cutting board, cut off the end tips, and slice into 2” lengths.
Squeeze the greens one more time and arrange the clumps attractively on a medium-sized saucer with the cut sides face up. Season the dashi with soy sauce, pour over the greens, and sprinkle with shaved katsuobushi right before serving.
Variation: Also nice with some slivered citrus peel, such as yuzu or meyer lemon. Although in this case I would cut back, or omit the katsuobushi.
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